Posts Tagged ‘ARRC longest day outing’

Trains (and Rain) at ARRC Longest Day Outing in Fostoria

June 30, 2021

A CSX train passes F Tower as it rounds the connection to go north in Fostoria on June 21, 2015. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

June 27, 2021, was a much anticipated day.

It was the Akron Railroad Club’s longest Day outing to Fostoria to visit the “iron rriangle.”

My day began at 6 a.m. with loading my Jeep being out the door at 6:20 a.m. I was five minutes behind schedule, no big deal.

Traffic on Interstate 480 and the Ohio Turnpike was light as usual on a Sunday morning. With one pit stop at a rest area and a trip through the drive thru at McDonald’s in Fremont, I was in Fostoria at 8:15 a.m.

I was surprised to find myself as the only one there. I picked out a picnic table with a view of all three mains and made quick work of breakfast.

The radio began to scratch, a train was nearing. It turned out to be Norfolk Southern intermodel 234.

NS 7600 was in charge of a trio of horses. As 234 cleared, a CSX train was lined from the south on the former Chesapeake & Ohio to east on the former Baltimore  & Ohio. This was auto rack train Q214 behind a pair of locos lead by CSX 7793.

A few minutes later NS intermodel 218 was heard entering town. I lined up my shot only to say “that’s not 218, those are coil steel cars.” NS 7691 with two trailing units passed with coil steel cars extended as far as you could see.

Sixty-one cars deep the intermodal freight that 218 would normally carry was finally coming by.

“Strange” I thought to myself.

What was even stranger was the fact that 218 stopped east of town and set out the 61 coil steel cars in the “new yard.”

Those coil cars are heading to Pro-Tec Steel in Leipsic via NS local L70 as we’ll see later.

About a half hour passed with no action. The next train at 9:29 a.m. was a CSX northbound loaded coal train. The symbol sounded like U506.

It was making track speed through the interlockings and coal dust was flying off the cars as each set of wheels pounded the diamonds. The U506 was heading to the Toledo Docks where the coal will be loaded into a lake freighter.

Next up was NS local L70. They were heading to the steel plant in Leipsic with a cut of 46 coil steel cars. For power they had NS 3067 and NS 6338.

The cars that 218 set out will most likely go to Leipsic on Monday’s L70. There must have been a shortage of cars for the plant if they used a hot intermodel train to get them to Fostoria.         

Just after 10:30 a.m. a CSX eastbound turned north on the C&O. It had CSX 771 up front with three other units trailing.

This was a mixed freight. I have no idea what the symbol was; couldn’t understand a word they were saying on the radio.

Twenty minutes later, we had the first sighting of a DPU. CSX Q203 had CSX 3286 up front and CSX763 about a third of the way back on a long train of auto racks. They went from south to west.

At 11:24 a.m. NS got back into the act with the passing of westbound intermodel 217.  He had a bit of a saga trying to get through town. The detector east of town at MP 275.4 reported hot wheel, axle 26 on the fireman’s side.

The CSX dispatcher had them lined across the diamonds, but they stopped before accepting the signal at the C&O diamond to check the hot wheel.

The CSX dispatcher wanted his railroad back to run a couple of his own trains. He gave the NS train the diamonds because they were short and moving right along. After some three-way radio conversations among the CSX dispatcher, the NS trainmaster and the 217’s crew, it was decided the 217 would proceed through town and then stop and inspect the hot wheel.

CSX indeed had trains to run. For the next hour, six CSX trains passed. Leading the way was Q166, the CP run-through. CP 8724 was leading with CP 7044 in the middle. They go straight east on the former B&O.

Right on the heels of Q166 was CSX double stack Q158. It was lead by CSX 63 and one additional unit.

Southbound empty hopper train U501 went south a few minutes after Q158 cleared.

Next up was CSX westbound doubles tack Q157. It had CSX 3011 up front with CSX 3067 splitting the double stacks from a cut of auto racks.

One of the hottest trains on the railroad, CSX Q010 was next, heading east on the B&O at 12:16 p.m. He had CSX 817 and one additional unit up front with CSX 3223 in the middle.

CSX Q150 ended the flurry as it went from east to north. Its destination is Detroit.  It was lead by CSX 423 and one additional unit.

While the CSX flurry was going on NS had a train that had worked in the yard for a while and was ready to head west. The 13Q had called their dispatcher and wanted an update as to when they were going to be moving west.

“CSX says he’ll take you as soon as a window opens up for you.”

When 13Q finally got the signal to proceed, we found out why CSX was reluctant to take the train across their diamonds. The 13Q was HUGE. Coming out the yard onto the main at restricted speed it went by for 25 minutes!

It only held up one CSX train. The Q151 was coming south and looking to go west toward North Baltimore.

As Q151 cleared the skies were darkening and rain looked imminent. I went into the restroom and then was hoping to make it back to the Jeep before the rains hit. No luck.

The skies opened up and a huge downpour was underway. Inside the restroom it sounded like someone pounding on the door. I stayed put until the rain let up a bit and I made a dash out the door to the other side of the building out of the wind and rain.

Interestingly, both CSX and NS at this time had gone quiet. It was radio silence for now.

When the rain finally let up enough that I could head to the Jeep, I decided now might be a good time for lunch. It was about 1:45 p.m. and my snacks that I brought with me can only hold you so long.

It was off to Arby’s, the closest fast food to the park. I was back in no time; no line at the drive thru at this time of the afternoon.

I ate in the car. It was still radio silence. They couldn’t be done running trains for the day, could they?

It was an hour and a half between trains. CSX Q358 finally broke the dry spell (trains not rain) at 2:44 p.m. as it passed behind CSX 5467 and one additional.

NS was next with the return of local L70 about ten minutes behind the Q358. It was only a few more minutes when a northbound CSX grain train came past on the C&O. It carried symbol G326 and was lead by CSX 384.

About 45 minutes passed before our next move. This was an ethanol train that came into town eastbound and turned south on the C&O. It was lead by a pair of CP GE’s. The leader was CP 8957.

CSX was next, as they took out the trash, sort of. Earlier in the day CSX 5329 running as local H792 tied on to some garbage cars and headed south to the garbage dump. They set out the cut that they took down and came back with 75 empties. They took the empties around the southeast wye and left them in the B&O east siding.

While they did this CSX Q169 double stacker came by westbound. CSX 9010 was today’s leader of a short train.

Q635 was approaching on Main 2 with more garbage cars to set out for the dump south of town. The H792 returned light to the yard on the C&O side to wait for Q635’s set out. They would take them south before calling it a day.

Q635 had CSX 3266 up front. It had garbage cars up front, some mixed freight in the middle and more garbage on the rear.

While they tied up the southeast connection to make their set out, CSX Q201 came around the northwest connection traveling from south to west. It had CSX 47 doing a solo.

It was now after 6 p.m. Several more cars of fans were arriving. The big news of the day was CSX Q016 had CSX 3194 on the lead.

CSX 3194 is painted up in a blue and black scheme to “Honor Our Law Enforcement.”

I wondered if it would make it before dark. It had left Chicago in late morning and they had to change crews at North Baltimore. All we could do was wait and see.

CSX Q555 was next. This is a Collinwood to Cincinnati train. It had CSX 409 and 888 up front pulling a cut of steel slabs followed by some mixed freight.

On the heels of the Q555 was coke train K182. It had CSX 354 and 562 up front.

With the diamonds clear of CSX action, the CSX dispatcher let NS have the rails for one each way. The 15Q behind NS 3618 passed at 7:06 p.m. As his last cars were disappearing around the curve on their way out of town, NS 12Q came into view with four ponies up from with NS 1142 as the leader.

My last train of the day was CSX Q370 at 7:26 p.m. This mixed freight was lead by CSX 988 and CSX 110.

I didn’t leave at this point. I stayed at the park until 8:45 p.m. hoping to catch the CSX 3194 before dark. I also was concerned about the prospects of finding something to eat this late in the day. Some restaurants have been closing earlier than usual due to the shortage of workers.

I missed the CSX 3194 by about a half hour. It went by about 9:15. I watched the play back of the action from Sunday on the Fostoria Rail Cam Monday morning before leaving for work. I also missed one westbound intermodel on CSX that passed just before the CSX 3194 came by.

Oh, well, maybe next time, when things get more back to normal.

For those keeping score with me, I totaled 30 movements in 12 and a half hours. The only foreign power leading were the CPs on Q166 and the ethanol train.

I was surprised to see as much action on the C&O south of Fostoria as I did. The last time I spent a day at Marion, my train count on the C&O was zero.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Longest Day. Where are we headed?

Article by Marty Surdyk

ARRC Sets June Meeting, Longest Day Outing in Fostoria

June 21, 2021

The Akron Railroad Club will meet this Friday at 8 p.m. at the New Horizons Christian Church in Akron.

It will be the club’s first monthly meeting since February 2020.

Club President Todd Dillion will present a digital program titled Off the Beaten Path: Railfanning in the Era of COVID.

It will feature images of U.S. Sugar railroad operations in Florida, Tampa Bay trolleys and CSX tribute locomotives 911 (Spirit of our First Responders), 1776 (Spirit of the Armed Forces) and 3194 (Spirit of Law Enforcement).

The program will focus on Todd’s travels between Ohio and Florida.

The club will be having its annual longest day event on June 27 at the Iron Triangle RailPark in Fostoria.

Club members and their guests will spend the day watching and photographing trains on CSX and Norfolk Southern mainlines that pass through Fostoria.

The park is located within the “iron triangle” of the three rail lines.

As always, the event begins when the first member arrives and ends when the last one leaves.

ARRC Plans to Resume Meeting in June

May 21, 2021

The Akron Railroad Club plans to resume meeting in June with a program by club president Todd Dillon.

However, the announcement noted that plans to meet on June 25 are tentative because the New Horizons Christian Church, where the club meets, has not yet officially said the club could resume meeting there.

If the meeting is cancelled, an email notice will be sent to members.

Dillon’s digital program is titled Off the Beaten Path: Railfanning in the Era of COVID and will feature images of sugar plant railroad operations in Florida, Tampa Bay trolleys and CSX tribute locomotives 911 (Spirit of our First Responders), 1776 (Spirit of the Armed Forces) and 3194 (Spirit of Law Enforcement).

The program will focus on Todd’s travels between Ohio and Florida.

The ARRC last met in February 2020. Meetings were suspended the following month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The May meeting has been cancelled but the ARRC will hold the annual Dave McKay Day in Berea on May 29. The club also plans to travel to Fostoria on June 27 for the annual longest day outing at the Iron Triangle Rail Park.

ARRC Eyes Resuming Meetings in June

March 23, 2021

The Akron Railroad Club expects to resume meeting in June and will hold its first outing of 2021 over Memorial Day weekend.

The New Horizons Christian Church, where the club has met since January 2007, has resumed holding in-person services but is still working out its policies and procedures for groups to hold meetings using its facilities.

The ARRC last met in February 2020. Meetings have been suspended since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Club officers recently met to set the slate of activities for the year.

The first of those will be the annual Dave McKay Day in Berea on May 29.

Historically, McKay Day was held on the first Saturday in April until 2019 when it moved to the first Saturday in May.

Other events this year will include the longest day outing on June 27 in Fostoria at the Iron Triangle railfan park.

The summer picnic has been set for July 18 at Waterworks Park in Cuyahoga Falls and will be a joint event with the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts.

The ARRC plans to wrap up its year with the end of year dinner in December at the New Era restaurant in Akron.

The end of year dinner and summer picnic were canceled last year due to the pandemic.

In an unrelated development, the RRE is eyeing May as its first in-person meeting since the pandemic began a year ago.

The RRE last met in March 2020 but has held virtual meetings online in January, February and March.

The group is considering having its April meeting in Berea as part of a day of railfanning there.

ARRC Sets Longest Day for June 28 in Alliance

June 24, 2020

Although it won’t be holding a meeting this month, the Akron Railroad Club plans to hold its annual longest day outing on June 28.

This outing this year will be held in Alliance. Attendees are asked to meet at the Lincoln Monument located at the west end of the Alliance station parking lot, preferably between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The plans are to have Alliance serve as a central meeting point with attendees exchanging cell phone numbers to establish a communications network.

Attendees can then stay in Alliance or set up at such locations as Rootstown, Ravenna, Sebring, Salem or East Palestine and communicate train movements by cell phone.

At the end of the day the attendees still present will meet for dinner in Salem or Alliance.

The ARRC officers are discussing holding a Dave McKay outing on Aug. 1 in Berea.

The McKay Day outing had originally been scheduled for early May but was officially canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, some ARRC members attended an unofficial McKay Day outing in Berea on the original date.

The Aug. 1 date was chosen because it is two days before what would have been Dave’s 77th birthday.

The ARRC is still unsure if it will be able to hold a July meeting as it has not yet been cleared by the New Horizons Christian Church to resume meeting there.

The club had not met or had an official event since February.

ARRC to Hold Longest Day Outing in Alliance

May 16, 2020

The Akron Railroad Club has announced that it plans to hold its annual longest day outing on June 28 in Alliance.

The group will meet between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. by the Lincoln monument located just west of the former passenger station platform.

Attendees of the event will be encouraged to exchange cell phone numbers and then spread out to area locations, including Rootstown, Ravenna, Sebring, Salem or East Palestine and report train movements from their location by cell phone.

The plan is to get the same trains in different locations and share photographs of those trains during the member’s night and pizza party planned for Oct. 24.

Those attending the longest day outing will meet in Salem or Alliance that evening for dinner at a restaurant to be determined.

The longest day outing is a traditional ARRC event that is typically held at an Ohio railfan hotspot.

Past longest days have been held in Marion, Fostoria, Deshler and Bellevue.

There has been consideration given to holding the 2020 longest day in the Pittsburgh region in an effort to encourage greater participation, which has lagged in recent years.

Dodging Clouds During Longest Day Outing

June 27, 2018

A former Burlington Northern “Grinstein” unit looking good aside from some exterior dirt leads train 234 through Fostoria during the Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing.

Fostoria was as good as advertised last Sunday in terms of rail traffic as a thin crowd of Akron Railroad Club members turned out to watch trains at one of Ohio’s busiest railroad junctions.

Between 8:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m., 36 trains rumbled past the Iron Triangle Railfan Park while at least one ARRC member was present.

Marty Surdyk and his brother Robert were the first to arrive, pulling in at 8:45 a.m.

One minute later they logged their first train, an eastbound manifest freight on Norfolk Southern.

Rick Houck arrived later as did ARRC President Craig Sanders. That was the extent of ARRC participation.

The day featured good weather that was not too hot, not too cool and not too humid.

But there were quite a few clouds and the often 50-50 sky conditions meant that the Surdyk brothers, both of them confirmed film users, often watched a train pass by with a shrug of WWTF because of the shadows cast by the clouds.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term WWTF it doesn’t incorporate in part the phrase “what the” but instead means “why waste the film.”

Traffic was fairly steady through Fostoria during the time that ARRC members were on hand. The longest lull was about a half-hour.

Not surprisingly, most of the trains belonged to CSX. Fostoria is the crossing of former Baltimore & Ohio and Chesapeake & Ohio mainlines with the ex-B&O handling most CSX traffic between the Midwest and Atlantic Coast.

CSX put 22 trains through Fostoria, using all of the connecting tracks between the ex-B&O and ex-C&O.

The vast majority of traffic on the ex-C&O was going to or coming from the ex-B&O with most of it taking the ex-C&O north of town.

Just one train made a straight move through town on the ex-C&O, a southbound (railroad eastbound) grain train that featured some of the most weathered covered hopper cars you will ever see.

No trains came into Fostoria from the south on the ex-C&O other than the yard job’s motive power, which was turning its locomotive to face a different direction.

It was a good day to see foreign motive power with units from Union Pacific, BNSF, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National leading trains past the railfan park.

An eastbound NS stack train, the 234, came in with a former Burlington Northern “Grinstein” unit, which is now owned by a locomotive leasing company Progress Rail. But no NS heritage units made an appearance.

CSX eastbound intermodal train Q010 had as its second unit a Chessie System sticker unit No. 7765. It looked like an oversized bumper sticker.

Traffic was a mixture of intermodal, manifest freight, auto racks and tank car trains. Noticeably absent were coal trains.

Throughout the day Robert Surdyk was monitoring the progress of the NS executive train, which had left Altoona, Pennsylvania, about 8:30 a.m. en route to Chicago.

About 5 p.m., Robert, Marty and Craig decided to head north to Oak Harbor to intercept and photograph the NS F units.

And with that the longest day shifted for another two hours to a new location.

The Q507 was another one-hit wonder, albeit a colorful one.

I took 18 minutes for auto rack train Q253 to round the curve from the ex-B&O to the ex-C&O.

A mother and her son eye an NS light power move.

NS westbound train 11Q had a load of tank cars.

Grain train E781 was the only move straight through town on the former C&O. It is shown crossing Columbus Street.

NS train 10E comes around the curve with a brace of Union Pacific motive power.

The newest addition to the railfan park is a former B&O caboose.

The Chessie System sticket on the nose of CSX No. 7765.

 

ARRC Longest Day Outing is Sunday in Fostoria

June 21, 2018

A CSX train takes the connection from the former B&O to the former C&O in Fostoria during the ARRC’s 2015 longest day outing. F Tower stands in the background.

The Akron Railroad Club’s annual longest day outing this year will take us to a very well known railfan hot spot, Fostoria.

Three major mainlines converge on Fostoria and all cross each other at grade creating an “iron triangle.”

Two of the three lines are owned by CSX. The busiest of the two is the east-west former Baltimore & Ohio from Willard to Chicago.

The other CSX line is the former Chesapeake & Ohio line from Toledo to Columbus.

Connections on all sides of the B&O/C&O diamonds allow trains to go all possible directions.

If you stay long enough, you should see one on each connecting track during the day.

Norfolk Southern gets into the act at Fostoria with the former Nickel Plate Road mainline from Bellevue to Chicago.

It crosses, first, the former C&O, then the former B&O on its way to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Chicago.

The Iron Triangle Railfan Park in Fostoria sits near the NKP/C&O diamonds.

You can easily see the B&O/C&O diamonds from the park. The B&O/NKP diamonds are about two blocks to the west.

Fostoria is not short on trains. Even with the recent CSX downsizing there will be plenty of action to keep the rails shiny. However, the trains will be much longer than you have been used to seeing.

The C&O north of Fostoria at times resembles an automotive pipeline as many of the trains that ply these rails carry newly-made automobiles from Detroit area assembly plants to all parts of the country.

The other commodity of note on the former C&O line is coal. Coal from mines in West Virginia and Kentucky move to Lake Erie via this line.

Between the auto rack trains and the coal trains, the mixed freights can have a tough time finding track to run on.

The former B&O looks like an intermodal corridor with multiple double stack and single stack trains passing each day.

Mixed freights are more common on this line moving to and from the CSX yard at Willard.

NS also has a nice variety of trains. The intermodals mostly run before daybreak, but there will be plenty of mixed freights along with seasonal grain trains.

As with all ARRC longest day outings, the day begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

Members will most likely be there from just after sun up to sun down. So come for the day, or a morning, or just an hour, but plan on spending some time in Fostoria on Sunday June 24.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Plenty of Action on NS Sandusky District on Longest Day

July 25, 2017

While Marty was out on Sunday morning chasing trains on the Sandusky District, Norfolk Southern ran a steady stream of trains through the mini plant back in Bellevue. Shown is a manifest freight going to the Sandusky District with helpers on the rear. Reportedly, this train will separate into two sections further down the road.

The 2017 ARRC longest day outing took us to the Norfolk Southern capital of Ohio, Bellevue.

My day began about 10 minutes late at 7:10 a.m. I had hoped to be on the road by 7, but not to worry, Bellevue is less than an hour if I use the Ohio Turnpike.

I got to Bellevue just minutes before 8 a.m. I made a pit stop at McDonald’s on the way into town, passing the Kemper Railfan Pavilion at 8:05 a.m. No one else had arrived yet.

Train 12V was heading south on the Sandusky District, so I gave chase.

The first spot I got it was at Frank, which is the second wide spot in the road south of Bellevue. Flat Rock is the first.

It was easy to get ahead this morning as there was no traffic to speak of and the 12V was not going at any breakneck speed.

I was heading for the northerly road crossing at Caroline. This is south of Attica. I saw a shot on Railpictures.net of a morning southbound from this crossing.

It features the train in the dip crossing Honey Creek with the Attica water tower and grain elevator in the distance.

The 12V got hung up waiting to cross CSX at Attica Junction for a few minutes, so I had plenty of time to set up my shot. Alas, 300 mm of telephoto doesn’t quite make the shot; I needed more. I shot the 12V here anyway, just to record the scene.

NS had plenty more action in the works for this morning. The 188 was on the heels of 12V, a 51V grain train and the two hot eastbound van trains, 234 and 218, were coming south.

And if that’s not enough, I got 217 and a 604 coal train going north. A seven train morning in great light on a line with multiple good photo opportunities, what more could you want? I know, eight trains.

By 11:15 a.m. the last of the seven trains was heading off to it destination and I hadn’t been back to Bellevue to see if anyone else had shown up.

I rolled into town about 11:30 to find about a dozen ARRC people gathered in the parking lot across from Wheeling Tower.

The light was still on this side of the tracks for photography. Craig’s car was there but he wasn’t. I found out a few minutes later that he and Todd Vander Sluis had walked down the street looking for the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

As noon approached, lunch sounded like a good idea. So we were off to Subway for its foot-long sub of the day, a meatball sub. As I told the gal making my sandwich, “We are what we eat.”

Alas, I was only able to eat half of the sandwich. I had placed part of it on my Jeep Patriot, but the wind blew it off and onto the ground.

Traffic past the ARRC assembled faithful in Bellevue had been steady all day so far. The longest lull was just 15 minutes, plus they got the W&LE going into the yard.

The afternoon began much like the morning ended, busy.

Another coal train came north off the Sandusky District. Two trains came in off the Toledo District. A nauto rack train came off the Toledo District and headed out on the Fostoria District. Its destination was the Mixing Center just outside Fostoria.

The L11 bound for Blair Yard in Fostoria went past behind two SD 40s.

Craig and Todd wanted to spend some time south on the Sandusky District in the afternoon. I told them to be patient and we’d pick out the right train at the right time.

About 1:30 p.m. a 194 went south. It was a little too early for this one; the sun was still too high. We’ll wait for 175 in about another 45 minutes to an hour.

Besides we might see the 194 again. CSX was doing track work on its No. 2 main around Attica Junction and the 194 might get delayed there.

The 175 left about 2:30 p.m. and Craig, Todd and I were in hot pursuit. Our first shot was at Schriver, although the corn was getting a little high. In another week this shot won’t be doable.

We went Omar for the 175, shooting it framed between two barn-like structures on the farm near the Ohio Route 162 crossing.

We continued south to find the 194 cooling its heels at West Attica. CSX had the diamonds and wasn’t giving them back. The 194 was delayed an hour and 25 minutes waiting to get across Attica Junction.

The 194 finally was let loose and  we headed toward the old reservoir at Attica. Normally the calm water makes for a nice reflection, but it was so windy today that there were white caps on the water.

We heard a northbound train as we were going to shoot the 194. It was train 25G, a one-unit wonder and a very short stack train.

The CSX dispatcher let the 25G across, because it was short, but the 175 with its almost 9,000 feet of train would have to wait.

We went north of Omar for the 25G, shooting the train while watching one of the locals cutting his grass on a riding mower.

Paul Woodring OSed to me another southbound, a potash train with symbol 60U. We shot the 175 again at the old reservoir and waited there for the 60U.

It was time to head back to Bellevue, where we arrived about 6 p.m. In our absence the rest of the gang that had stayed there had seen one of the NS green “echo” units come by, albeit trailing, off the Fostoria District.

We decided that 7 p.m. would be our curfew. Dinner would be at the Bob Evans on the north side of Norwalk.

NS had two trains for us in the 6 o’clock hour, the last being the 12Q. It passed just minutes before 7 p.m.

When it passed, we wrapped things up and headed for dinner. It had been a fantastic day in one the busiest places for NS action around. We did not see any heritage units, but if we had stayed until after dark, we would have seen the Interstate H unit pass through.

That is the only H Unit I have not SEEN. Hopefully that changes sometime soon.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Last Hour Trains

June 29, 2017

The last train of the day during the 2017 Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing passes Wheeling Tower as it rumbles in off the Fostoria District.

We would not get shut out during the last hour of the ARRC longest day outing. This train from the Fostoria District made sure of it.

The Akron Railroad Club longest day outing to Bellevue was winding down. It was the last hour of the day and the crowd of about a dozen people had dwindled to just five of which four would have dinner at the Bob Evans restaurant in Norwalk once the train watching was done.

The last hour of a railfanning expedition has a distinctively different feel than the first hour.

When the day begins, you’re filled with optimism. Anything can happen. Who knows what we will see today?

By the last hour that optimism has given way to a hard-edged realism. Unless it has been one of those rare days where everything you touch has turned to gold, the realization has set in that those sighting you had thought possible at the start of the day are not going to materialize.

The best images of the day — whatever they might have been — have probably been made and now the best you can hope for is one last surprise or at least one last good photo before calling it quits.

We ended the day having not seen any NS heritage units. There had been a Wheeling & Lake Erie sighting and I was pleased with what I was able to get during an afternoon foray south of town on the NS Sandusky District.

We had decided to stick it out until 7 p.m. and then move on to Norwalk and dinner. Truth be told I would have been OK with going to dinner an hour earlier had that been the majority view.

Everything seemed quiet in Bellevue and there was no guarantee we would be seeing any trains.

But within that last hour a couple of manifest freights came in from the Fostoria District, so the longest day outing had a good outcome and we were able to make a last round of photographs.