Posts Tagged ‘Ashtabula Ohio’

Combined Lake Shore Limited and Cardinal

August 21, 2021

The Cardinal’s equipment is on the rear of No. 48.

On Friday (Aug. 20) Amtrak combined the eastbound Cardinal and Lake Shore Limited as it ran through Northeast Ohio. 

This was due to a derailment in Indiana on Thursday morning but the Cardinal’s equipment had to be moved to New York. This made for an impressive 16 car train with three engines.

The reason I got up early however was because Amtrak P42DC No. 100, the Midnight Blue, and P42DC No. 46, the 50th Anniversary tribute locomotive, were both on the train.

I was hoping that it would be running a little late but alas the Late Shore did not live up to its reputation today as it was on time.  In fact it arrived 27 minutes early into Cleveland station.

I chased No. 48 east to Ashtabula hoping to get it in daylight and while the sun had started to rise it was pretty dark when it went by me at 6:40 a.m.

Also my camera misfired and cut off the nose of the 100.  At least the going away shot turned out nice. Oh well you can’t win them all.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Ashtabula Seeking to Save Coal Conveyor

May 6, 2021

Ashtabula and Norfolk Southern are expected to reach an agreement on the sale of a coal conveyor belt and bridge in the city’s harbor that will enable preservation of the structure.

The Ashtabula City Council earlier this week authorized City Manager Jim Timonere to enter into agreements with NS and the Ashtabula River Foundation to buy the conveyor belt and bridge, lease the land it’s situated on, and sublease the land to one or more appropriate entities to maintain the structure at minimal expense to the city. 

The city has limited at $10,000 how much it will spend, although that figure could be revised upward with city council approval.

The River Foundation will be responsible for maintenance of the structure with Timonere saying that only the cost of survey work will come from city funds.

The conveyor belt is located in NS Harbor Yard, which has been inactive in recent years after the railroad shifted its work to Sandusky. That move, announced in December 2015, led to 20 job cuts in Ashtabula.

Timonere has been discussing with NS the future of the coal conveyor for the past two years.

The Ashtabula Harbor coal pier primarily served the thermal coal market, trans-loading coal from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Canada and other U.S. destinations.

A Favorite Ex-NYC Signal Bridge in Ashtabula

February 18, 2021

I’ve always enjoyed using signal bridges as photo props in railfan photography.

One of my favorites was the former New York Central signal bridge at the west end of the Ashtabula yard near the grade crossing with North Bend Road. 

It was easily accessible without any trespassing on railroad property. The signals shown in these images were for eastbound traffic so the best photos were westbounds.

The top photo shows a Conrail train on April 16, 1989.

The remaining photos were made on May 4 2007. In the last photo behind the BNSF units another road crossing can be seen.

Past that crossing and closer to the entrance of the yard is where a relocated signal bridge is now in use, obviously without NYC style signals.

These are another example of what I’m glad I got when I got it.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

When Coal Still Ruled at Ashtabula Harbor

November 1, 2020

I was looking for something else when I ran across this image made in Ashtabula Harbor yard eight years ago.

The view is looking south at the rear of a coal train that is stretching out for what seems to be miles.

If you look carefully you will see the Illinois Terminal heritage locomotive in the distance. It’s bright green color should make it easy to spot.

It was a different time then. Coal trains were far more common than they are now, which is probably why I made this image and then promptly forgot about it. It had not been a highlight of the day.

Eight years later Norfolk Southern doesn’t carry as much coal as it did then. It has in recent years shifted coal away from Ashtabula Harbor in favor of Sandusky.

It has been quite a while since I last saw the harbor yard in Ashtabula so I’m not sure what use is made of it today.

NS still runs trains through Ashtabula on its Lake Erie District, the former Nickel Plate Road mainline to Buffalo, New York.

Maybe some coal still moves through town on NS or CSX. Yet that traffic must be a shadow of what it once was.

Recalling the B&LE-NS Interchange at Wallace Junction

November 1, 2020

 Back in the 1990s interchange traffic between the Bessemer & Lake Erie and Norfolk Southern was a regular happening at Wallace Junction in Pennsylvania.

Loaded coke off the Bessemer was delivered to NS at Wallace to be delivered westward.

On days off from work I would venture to Pennsylvania with the hopes of catching activity.

On days that Marty was off, he and his brother Robert would pick me up and we also had good luck on the Bessemer.

Shown are some highlights I was able to get on Thursday April 17, 1997.

The top image shows a B&LE train departing with a few cars of freight and empty hoppers at Girard

In sequence below we see NS eastbound empties arriving at Wallace, the B&LE leaving Girard, a B&LE train passed through the yard in Albion and an NS westbound at Ashtabula that had picked up coke loads at Wallace.

At the time, the B&LE still used the yard in Albion, but today most of the yard is gone and there is no activity there.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Got an ‘A’ in Photography in 1988

July 10, 2020

Norfolk & Western Class A No. 1218 was in its second year of operation in excursion service in 1988 after being restored to operating condition.

The 2-6-6-4 locomotive operated in Northeast Ohio and vicinity three times that summer and here is Ed’s A list of favorite images made while chasing the locomotive that year.

In the photograph above, the 1218 along with its train is crossing over the Rocky River in the Cleveland suburb of Rocky River on Aug. 7

In the top photograph of the series below, the 1218 is passing beneath Conrail’s Chicago Line in Vermilion on Aug. 7

In the middle image, the excursion train is crossing the Ashtabula River in Ashtabula on July 23, while the bottom image was made of the 1218 running eastbound at Bort Road outside of North East, Pennsylvania, on July 21.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Good Fortune

March 9, 2020

I finally had some good luck on Friday and Saturday in catching Norfolk Southern heritage locomotives.

I saw on Heritage Units.com that the Pennsylvania Railroad H unit was working as a DPU on train 316 and I caught it at Riverside Drive at 6:11 p.m.

Also on Friday I saw that the Wabash heritage unit was trailing on train 14M, which was headed for Buffalo, New York.

I was hoping the 1070 would return on the 15M on Saturday and be leading. Once I confirmed with Jeff Troutman that that was the case I headed to Conneaut.

The 15M operates from Buffalo to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

I initially caught the 15M at North Amboy Road after it left Conneaut once the eastbound intermodal train 206 had cleared the yard.

I also got the Wabash H unit backing around the connection at Ashtabula and then approaching Carson on the Youngstown Line.

Now if luck is with me, I thought, the 8102 will come back through Northeast Ohio on Sunday leading train 149.

The last two times a Heritage unit was a DPU on the 316 it was leading westbound on the 149 two days later.

And luck was with me. I went out on Sunday morning with Marty Surdyk and we not only bagged the Pennsy H unit leading the 149 at Perry but also caught the Central of New Jersey heritage unit leading the train 310 bound for Binghamton, New York, as it crossed the Grand River in Painesville.

Check this site later this week for those photographs and a story about that chase, which included taking in an ice hockey game in which the Mentor Ice Breakers edged the Delaware Thunder 6-5 in a wild game that lasted nearly four hours.

Catching three heritage units in two days is new for me and all of them were in beautiful weather.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Golden Light

January 18, 2018

There is golden light and then there is golden light. The golden hour is a term used by photographers to describe an hour before sunset.

Sunlight during that time tends to be warm and give objects a golden glow.

Even light in the last two to three hours of the day can be warm, particularly during the winter months when there is a low sun angle.

To take advantage of golden light at its best, you have to move fast because that light doesn’t last long. If you enjoy photographing trains you have to be lucky that one will come along during that small window of opportunity.

On this particular day that type of luck was not with us. We couldn’t get a westbound when we really needed it.

But we didn’t do too bad, either. That light looks nice on those aluminum signal standards and the train working in the yard in Ashtabula.

The vantage point is from the grade crossing of North Bend Road on the west side of Ashtabula.

Group Seeking to Save, Restore Ashtabula Depot

February 18, 2016

A group of Ashtabula residents is seeking to save the city’s former New York Central passenger station from being demolished.

Although razing of the station is not imminent, that prospect was raised after the city asked CSX to clean up the building or tear it down.

Amtrak 4The depot, built in 1901, is vacant and City Manager Jim Timonere said its deteriorated condition is in violation of city codes.

Timonere said the city itself doesn’t plan to raze the depot, which last May was placed on the list of Preserve Ohio’s 13 Most Endangered historic sites.

Bob Johnson of Ashtabula is the chair of a local non-profit group, 21st Century Ashtabula Depot Rail Experience, which is seeking to convert the station into a limited but working Amtrak station.

Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited passes by the station daily but the city has never been an Amtrak stop. Ashtabula last had passenger service in 1971 when the station was owned by Penn Central.

The depot, located on West 32nd Street between Lake and Station avenues, is one of Ashtabula’s oldest structures.

“This isn’t just an historic site — it goes along with becoming a part of the county’s tourism,” Johnson said.  “We’re looking forward to it being part of all of the other tourist attractions, like the covered bridges and wineries.”

As for making Ashtabula an Amtrak stop, Johnson said his group has had contact with Amtrak and will seek to participate in the passenger railroad’s program to help small communities save their depots.

“It’s something extremely do-able,” Johnson said. “But we are guessing it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild the depot.”

The next step in saving the station is to obtain a National Historical Landmark designation, which Johnson said would enable the station to qualify for grant money that could be used for restoration.

The depot preservation group plans to have a booth at the Ashtabula County Home Show on March 5-6 at Ashtabula Towne Square.

The booth will sell shirt and hats as a fund-raising project.

On Photography: The Emotional Power of an Average Image Made During a Memorable Outing

February 17, 2016

Ashtabula April 22 2007

For more than 13 years the photograph shown above sat in a plastic sleeve in a binder on a shelf in my home office.

It shows Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited passing the former New York Central passenger station in Ashtabula on April 22, 2007.

No. 48 has never stopped here to receive or discharge passengers.

On Photography Logo-xI’m with Marty Surdyk and this is our first photo opportunity of the day. No. 48 is on time, having left Cleveland on the advertised at 7 a.m.

This image is the third of six that I made of this passage of Amtrak No. 48 on a splendid spring morning through Ashtabula.

I do not consider it the best of the lot, although it might be second best. When I looked at this image initially, I saw flaws. What you are seeing is a cropped version.

I was using an 18 to 200 mm zoom lens with my Canon Rebel G camera and given where we were standing, this was as far in as I could get with that lens.

The best image of the six I made is a wide-angle shot that shows more of the locomotives and train. It was the image we had in mind making when choosing where we stood to make photographs.

Shooting the train with the depot in the frame was almost an afterthought. The slide – probably made on Fuji film – sat in that binder until this week.

I was working on an article for the soon-to-be launched Akron Railroad Club eBulletin about one of my most memorable railfan outings.

I saw image and decided to scan it. It was only when I was processing the image in Photoshop that the meaning of it began to come into focus.

This image captures less than a second of an outing that lasted about 12 hours. Yet that was enough to make what photographers describe as “a moment.”

As moments go, this one is not likely to resonate with many people because they don’t see what I see. You probably see an Amtrak train and an old depot. There is nothing out of the ordinary or dramatic about this scene.

More sophisticated viewers are thinking it would be a better photograph had the photographer waited a millisecond or two before tripping the shutter. That would have put the lead locomotive more to far right side of the frame and helped to cover some of the clutter.

The poles in the foreground are also clutter even if there is nothing that anyone could have done about them short of removing them from the image in Photoshop.

If this image was being judged, it probably would be rated as average. Next!

But as I looked at this photograph again I saw something that is not so obvious to the casual viewer who does not know what I do about this moment and image.

Winters are long and harsh in Northeast Ohio and this photograph was made during one of the first, if not the first, warm and sunny day of the year when I had an opportunity to get out to railfan.

The image was made not long after Amtrak rescheduled No. 48 to depart Cleveland at 7 a.m. That meant opportunities throughout much of the year to photograph an Amtrak train in daylight in Northeast Ohio.

This was the first opportunity that I had to take advantage of that. Amtrak is one of my favorite railroads and I seldom have opportunities to photograph its operations in Ohio in daylight.

Those 7 a.m. departures from Cleveland did not last long. Today, Amtrak is scheduled to leave Cleveland at 5:50 a.m.

I also like the juxtaposition of a passenger train passing a station that has not served that purpose for almost 18 years.

At one time Ashtabula was the northern terminus for NYC passenger trains originating in Pittsburgh and coming up from Youngstown. Sleepers were interchanged here with Chicago-New York trains.

What a busy place this must have been. Passenger trains on the Youngstown Line lasted through the late 1950s.

But aside from all of that, this image reminds me of one of my better railfan outings. Spring is the season of renewal so a good spring day is a promise of good days ahead.

Getting this Amtrak train was a promising start to what turned out to be a special day.

Above all it reminds me that although moments are fleeting they live on in our memories and warm, entertain and even inspire us time and again.