Posts Tagged ‘ARRC Vermilion Day’

Vermilion From Trainside

November 8, 2019

There were no railfans at the railfan platform on this late June morning when Amtrak No. 48 sped past.

The boat launch as seen from the bridge carrying the NS Chicago Line over the Vermilion River.

The new connection that NS built from the Chicago Line to the former Nickel Plate mainline. The connection was built so eastbound trains on the Chicago Line could easily access the former Nickel Plate route.

In recent years the Akron Railroad Club has held an annual outing in Vermilion in late August.

Typically, the event begins on a Saturday morning at the city boat launch on the Vermilion River, which lies between the bridges of two Norfolk Southern rail lines spanning the river.

After spending the morning and part of the afternoon catching trains primarily on the bridge carrying the NS Chicago Line, the group then moves on to the railfan platform downtown along the aforementioned NS route.

Some of us would head west of town for a while and hang out at one of the grade crossings on the Chicago Line including the one just west of the connection to the former Nickel Plate Road mainline.

Over the years I’ve made dozens of photographs of NS trains at both locations in Vermilion, but last June I had the opportunity to photograph from the train side.

I was aboard the eastbound Lake Shore Limited, which was running nearly three hours late.

That put No. 48 through Vermilion in daylight hours. As we flew through town I didn’t notice any railfans having turned out to watch us go by.

ARRC to Meet Aug. 23, Railfan in Vermilion Aug. 24

August 19, 2019

The Akron Railroad Club will hold its August meeting on Friday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. at the New Horizons Christian Church at 290 Darrow Road in Akron.

Three presenters will team up to give the program.

Long-time ARRC member Richard Antibus will show slides made in and around Orrville, Ohio, in the 1980s

The program will feature events that were sponsored in part by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society and are no longer held.

Those include Orrville Depot Days, the Medina Loop excursion train, the Santa train and the Spirit of Charleston. Rich will also show many personalities of the day.

ARRC member Tom Goughnour will show photographs he made during a visit to the Whitewater Valley Railroad tourist railroad in Indiana.

Tom made a trip on the railroad from Metamora to Connersville that followed the Whitewater Canal.

He also visited a car museum in Connersville where manufactured Aburns, Duesenbergs and Cords were once built. He got a ride in one of the cars from Richmond to Cambridge City.

Brian Szemon will round out the programs with images of the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy steam locomotive during its trip last May from Evanston, Wyoming, to Ogden, Utah.

The program will offer images made at Promontory Point, Utah, after the official celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

Brian may also have images shots of the UP Big Boy’s trip from Chicago to Iowa in July.

The ARRC also will be holding its annual railfan outing to Vermilion on Aug. 24 to watch and photograph Norfolk Southern operations.

The NS Chicago Line and Cleveland District pass through Vermilion.

The outing will begin at the city’s boat launch on the Vermilion River, which features a view of the Chicago Line crossing the river.

Later in the day participants will hang out at the railfan platform in downtown Vermilion next to the Chicago Line.

Those still there in the evening will have dinner at the Quaker Steak and Lube restaurant on Liberty Street east of downtown Vermilion.

Trying to Stay Dry on Vermilion Day

August 29, 2018

An eastbound coal train crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line at about 4:30 p.m. during the Akron Railroad Club outing in Vermilion. Where was a boat on the river when we needed it?

It started with rain and ended with rain. In between we managed to see some Norfolk Southern action interspersed with long periods of waiting.

And that in a nutshell summarizes the 2018 Akron Railroad Club day in Vermilion that was attended by eight members.

As we expected, most of the action was on the Chicago Line, which boasted its usual assortment of manifests, intermodals and single commodity trains.

But the iffy weather meant that few boats were plying the Vermilion River by the boat launch that was our base of operations for much of the day.

No NS heritage units came through but the 9-1-1 unit made an appearance late in the afternoon trailing in the motive power consist of a coal train.

Two ARRC members saw it from the rail platform in downtown Vermilion, but three of us missed it because we were in Huron seeking photographs of trains passing beneath the old signal bridge with its Type G signal heads that NS is about to replace.

It took a long wait before an eastbound and westbound came through Huron.

In the meantime, we heard the Toledo East dispatcher talking to trains east of us and multiple trains coming onto the Chicago Line and turning west in Sandusky from the Sandusky District.

Those of us in Huron missed the 9-1-1 unit because its train diverged from the Chicago Line west of Vermilion and went to the Cleveland District en route to Bellevue.

The Cleveland District, which is the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, was largely quiet during the day.

As I arrived in the Vermilion area I spotted an eastbound stack train east of town on the Cleveland District.

Presumably it was either the 206 or the 22K and had taken the new connection west of Vermilion that allows eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to move onto the Cleveland District.

Otherwise, the only other train on the Cleveland District was eastbound manifest freight 210, which had one locomotive on each end, something we’d never seen on this train.

One eastbound coal train came past with BNSF motive power and a few trains had former CSX units still wearing their CSX colors.

The rain stopped around mid day and gradually the clouds moved out to afford us alternating sunny skies and conditions of sun and clouds.

But as the five of us who had dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube came out of the restaurant about 9:45 p.m. light rain was falling and continued to fall throughout my drive home. Maybe that was a fitting way to end our day.

ARRC member Todd Vander Sluis (blue shirt) watches the L13 as it passes the former passenger station in Vermilion.

ARRC member Alan Nagy gets video of westbound NS stack train 25V as it races through Vermilion. It was the last train we saw before going to dinner and then calling it a day.

ARRC Vermilion Day Outing is Saturday

August 22, 2018

The early hours of the Akron Railroad Club outing to Vermilion this week will find us getting images such as this one from the 2017 outing. An eastbound Norfolk Southern train crosses the Vermilion River by the boat launch.

The Akron Railroad Club will return to Vermilion on Saturday, Aug. 25 for a day of railfanning Norfolk Southern.

Vermilion features two NS lines, the busiest of which is the Chicago Line, an ex-New York Central route. Also passing through is the former Nickel Plate Road line that is now the Cleveland District.

The Cleveland District through Vermilion traditionally has host far less railroad traffic than the Chicago Line, but traffic has risen with the completion of a new connection from the eastbound Chicago Line to the Cleveland District a couple of miles west of Vermilion.

Intermodal trains 205, 206, 22K and 23K are expected to be regular users of the connection.

The Chicago Line hosts 40 to 50 trains daily with a traffic mix of intermodal, mixed freights, tanker trains, coal trains and Amtrak.

We will begin our day at the boat launch located on West River Road between the two railroad bridges over the Vermilion River.

Being summer there should be ample boat traffic on the river to watch between trains.

An eastbound on the bridge is the prized shot for this location. Shooting a westbound these days is tough. You will need a wide-angle lens.

But don’t let that deter you from enjoying some time at the boat launch. It is an enjoyable experience.

After lunch, when the light shifts to a more westerly direction, we will move to the railfan pavilion downtown.

This spot sets up well for westbounds with the city’s water tank as a backdrop.

Eastbounds can be shot with the Vermilion station that sits just to the east of the pavilion. This is also a wide-angle shot due to some pine trees along the tracks.

Still, it is a nice place to hang out and watch trains. The crossings in town are quiet zones, so there is no horn blowing.

Train crews know that the crossing protection is working if the “X” at the top of the poles at each crossing is flashing.

Once evening arrives, those of us still there will head to Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner.

As with most ARRC activities, the event begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last one leaves. Spens a few hours or the entire day, just plan to spend Saturday in Vermilion.

To get to the boat launch go into Vermilion on Ohio Route 60. As you enter town and after crossing the single-tracked former NKP tracks, Route 60 will make a right turn at a flashing light.

About a block to the east, Route 60 will turn left but continue straight ahead on South Street to the stop sign at West River Road.

The entrance to the boat launch is a little left of straight across from that intersection. Park at the far end of the lot near the picnic table. You will have both railroad bridges over the Vermilion River in sight.

The Railfan pavilion, known as Vermilion Mainline Rail, is on Route 60 where it crosses the NS Chicago Line at the north end of Victory Park.

From the boat launch, go back west on South Street to Route 60 north at Main Street and make a right. The pavilion is on the right just before crossing the tracks.