Posts Tagged ‘Bellevue Ohio’

Finds on the Wheeling & Lake Erie

September 12, 2022

Last Saturday was a nice day weather wise but I didn’t have a specific plan for railfanning.

I went to Berea and then saw on social media that an eastbound Wheeling & Lake Erie train was powered by the Rio Grande tunnel motor pair.

I drove to Wellington in hopes of catching it. I then saw it was still waiting for a crew so I drove to Bellevue following the line just in case.

I got there about 11 a.m. and found them sitting outside of town where I took these photos.  I stayed at the railfan platform hoping they would get a crew and then chase them east.

Another Wheeling train from Norwalk showed up about 3:30 p.m. and went into the Norfolk Southern yard.

I took photos of that, also.  I waited until dark but, sadly, no crew ever showed up so I drove home.

Later I found out that the other Wheeling train combined the trains together on the return to Norwalk.

W&LE 5412 was formerly Rio Grande 5391 but was renumbered last winter.  Sister unit 5413 retains its original Rio Grande unit number.

I also can confirm that NS is indeed using the hump at Bellevue yard again.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

NS Has Resumed Hump Operations in Bellevue

September 9, 2022

Norfolk Southern said this week that hump operations resumed about two weeks ago at Moorman Yard in Bellevue.

In a post on the website LinkedIn, NS said the operating change will enable the yard to increase from 1,200 to 1,900 cars at day that Bellevue can process, which the railroad said would ease congestion at other rail yards.

The NS post said car dwell time at Moorman Yard had fallen nearly 8 percent since humping operations resumed.

Moorman Yard is the largest classification yard in the NS system and was expanded in 2015 with the addition of a second hump.

On a daily basis, NS said Moorman Yard distributes about 3,200 carloads of freight daily, which the carrier said “promotes fluid movement of long-distance freight across the entire rail network.”

Bellevue is located where five NS lines converge. Moorman Yard, which is named for former NS CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman,” was originally a Nickel Plate Road facility.

NS to Reopen Hump in Bellevue

July 31, 2022

NS grain train 54G passes the cemetery in Sommerville, Ohio, on the New Castle District on July 13, 2022.

Norfolk Southern plans to resume hump operations in Bellevue, Trains magazine reported on its website.

The move was announced during the Class 1 railroad’s second quarter earnings call last week.

NS Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn said reopening the Bellevue hump is part of the carrier’s new operating plan.

Since 2020 Bellevue has been a flat switching yard. NS also has resumed humping operations in Macon, Georgia.

Sanborn said reactivation of the two humps was done to create more capacity in the regions each yard serves. She said the changes will free up yard crews for assignment to local service.

Workers are doing maintenance work in Bellevue and once the hump reopens NS plans to use half of the two yard bowls.

Sanborn would not say if the hump resumptions at both yards is temporary or permanent. “It may be short term, it may be longer term, we’ll just see how it evolves,” she said.

NS once had humps at 10 classification yards but with its embrace of the precision scheduled railroading operations model it closed six of them. At the time officials said the move was made in favor of more block swapping en route rather than routing cars through a hump in a classification yard.

 Bellevue was the nation’s second largest hump yard and classified traffic on five routes.

During her presentation, Sanborn said NS has increased by 20 percent the number of trains using distributed motive power.

The new operating plan includes changing train schedules to minimize meets or situations in which one train needs to pass another.

That has resulted in changes to the schedules of 180 of NS’s 200 scheduled road trains. Some changes were made to local services.

NS officials said during the earnings call that changes between Chicago and Conway Yard near Pittsburgh will mean some merchandise trains will have faster schedules while others will have longer running times.

The officials said the changes were made to avoid delaying intermodal trains on the route.

In some instances, trains are doing less en-route switching in order to increase their average speed.

On a systemwide basis, NS has increased the number of daily intermodal trains from 79 to 85.

Starting in August, NS will re-symbol four intermodal trains in each direction between Chicago and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The new symbols will be 28U, 22X, 20X, and 28M eastbound, and 263, 23G, 27G, and 25G westbound.

More information about the NS operating changes can be found in a story posted on the Trains magazine website at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/norfolk-southern-resumes-hump-operations-at-two-yards-under-new-operating-plan/

Is an Outing to Bellevue Worth $80?

June 14, 2022

What is a day of railfanning in Bellevue worth? As Marty Surdyk sees it could cost almost $80.

Using the current average price of a gallon of gasoline, Surdyk, calculated that driving from the Cleveland area to Bellevue and back would cost between $30 and $40, assuming your vehicle averages 20 miles per gallon.

If you buy lunch and/or dinner on the way or in Bellevue, that runs the cost up to about $80.

Bellevue is a nice place to railfan, but is it worth paying that much?

Writing in The Mainline, the newsletter of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts, Marty added this kicker: “Just for a day of railfanning NS in a familiar location.”

Those in the RRE who are active railfans probably have been to Bellevue numerous times.

If they make the trip there this Saturday for the RRE’s annual Bellevue outing they are unlikely to see much, if anything, they haven’t seen or photographed before.

Nor will they likely see anything they couldn’t see in Berea or Olmsted Falls, both popular Cleveland area railfan spots on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

After all, an NS locomotive looks the same in Bellevue as it does in Berea. Most of the NS trains that pass through Berea don’t pass through Bellevue but an NS train is an NS train.

From a strictly train watching perspective, it would be more economical to stay closer to home to railfan.

Sure, Belleveue is a change of scenery, but is it worth $80?

There are other factors that enter the cost-benefit analysis other than raw economics.

An intangible benefit to making the trip to Bellevue is the socializing that will occur among club members. Sure, RRE meets every month so there are ample opportunities to socialize with people you know.

Yet most of RRE’s monthly meetings don’t involve standing trackside to watch live trains. Maybe that’s worth something. But $80?

Still, keep in mind that if you don’t buy meals during the outing but instead bring your lunch and wait to eat dinner when you get home, the Bellevue outing will cost less than half of $80.

This summer some Northeast Ohio railfans will make much longer drives to see, photograph and, perhaps ride behind, the former Reading 2102 on the Reading & Northern in eastern Pennsylvania, or the former Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Maryland.

It will cost far more than $80 to make those trips. Yet the cost of gasoline won’t stop those railfans from making those trips or enjoying them.

They may grumble every time they stop to refuel but they’ll make the trip anyway because the allure of seeing a newly-restored steam locomotive in action is an experience they want to have.

Had Union Pacific not paused its plans to run its Big Boy steam locomotive this summer in the West some Northeast Ohio railfans would have paid whatever it costs to go catch it.

Seeing the Big Boy in action is an experience that make the cost worth paying even as those travelers gripe about higher air fares, higher rental car costs and higher prices of gasoline.

It is like any endeavor in life. How much does it mean to you and can you afford the cost?

More than likely, many, if not most, of the RRE members interested in this week’s Bellevue outing will make the trip despite the cost because they can afford it and they want to enjoy the experience.

Marty went on to write in his column, “It’s a tough pill to swallow. If you’re like me and love to explore the countryside for new and different photo locations, you need to tow a Brink’s truck behind you to have enough cash available for food and fuel.”

The Brinks truck reference is an exaggeration, but it makes a point.

The price of railfanning can’t be ignored – not that it ever could be – and with gasoline prices at elevated levels and likely to stay that way for the rest of the summer it means many railfans won’t be getting out as often or roaming as far as they might have if the price of gasoline was still what it was early this year.

Marty didn’t say he wouldn’t be making the Bellevue trip because of its cost. But he and others will think about that more than they might have otherwise.

Commentary by Craig Sanders

RRE to Railfan in Bellevue on Saturday

June 13, 2022

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will be holding an outing in Bellevue this month in place of its regular meeting.

The outing will be held at the Kemper Railfan Pavilion on Saturday and has no set time to begin or end.

As in the past, the event is considered to have begun when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

The pavilion is located between the NS Toledo and Sandusky district tracks and sees most of the Norfolk Southern and Wheeling & Lake Erie trains that operate in Bellevue.

The next meeting of the FCD-RRE will be July 15 with a program by Bram Bailey.

The club is undecided as to whether to hold a regular meeting in August or to instead conduct a picnic.

Bellevue Rail Company Acquired

May 7, 2022

Comet Industries has acquired a railroad parts company based in Bellevue.

The Kansas City-based Comet specializes in sales of new and reconditioned freight car parts and is buying Seneca Railroad and Mining, which manufactures insulated rail joints, rubber plates, and pads used for railroad crossings, turnouts and switches.

Ohio, Indiana Terminals Added to NS Program

April 15, 2022

Norfolk Southern has expanded its conductor trainee incentive program to include terminals in Bellevue; Elkhart, Indiana; and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The Class 1 railroad is offering eligible conductor trainees a starting bonus of $5,000. This increases to 12 the number of terminals at which NS is offering the incentives.

Other terminals already in the bonus program include Cincinnati; Harrisburg and Conway, Pennsylvania; Louisville, Kentucky; and Buffalo, New York.

The terminals are considered “priority” locations at which NS has been experiencing operating crew shortages.

Newly-hired conductors undergo 10 to 13 weeks of training with the first two weeks held at the company’s training center in McDonough, Georgia. The remaining training takes place at the terminal to which the conductor has been assigned.

NS said conductors who finish the training program are guaranteed a minimum yearly income of $52,000 with guaranteed minimum earnings increasing over a four-year period to approximately $63,500.

In a news release, NS officials said most conductors earn far above the guaranteed minimum due to “additional work opportunities.”

Steam Saturday: Annoyed, But Still Like the Shot

February 5, 2022

Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 Class A No. 1218 is returning to Bellevue during its Aug. 15, 1987, Toledo-Columbus roundtrip.

From what I remember the 1218 would be cut off in Bellevue. I purposely framed the locomotive with the ex-Pennsy position signals in the late afternoon/early evening lighting.

All these years I was irritated that the keystone whistle post was cut off.  I would think that I would have had that included in the shot.

Recently I went through my negative files and found the negative. The whistle post was fully in the exposure. I just became annoyed, but I still like the photo.

Article and Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

NKP 765 Back Home Again in Indiana

October 7, 2021

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 returned home to New Haven, Indiana, On Monday after spending much of September in Ohio.

The Berkshire-type locomotive pulled excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Northeast Ohio and then put in an appearance at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

While in Bellevue, the 765 was reunited with one-time running mate NKP 757, which is being cosmetically restored by the Mad River museum.

It was the first time two NKP Berkshire locomotives were coupled together since the early 1960s when many steam locomotives were lined up waiting to be scrapped.

Museum officials said that more than 2,000 purchased tickets for caboose rides, hostling tours, and a night photo session.

They said several hundred more showed up just to see the two locomotives together.

During the event, the 765 crew ran a steam line to No. 757 to allow the latter’s whistle to sound. During the night photo session, a third Berkshire made a temporary appearance with No. 765 assuming the cosmetic role of Wheeling & Lake Erie No. 828, whose whistle has been featured on the 765 previously.

Some cosmetic changes to the 765 were undertaken to give it the appearance of a W&LE steamer.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the 765 said planning is underway to celebrate the locomotive’s 50th anniversary next year.

Society officials said they are talking with various possible hosts in locations the 765 might be able to visit.

FtWRHS Vice President Kelly Lynch said next year also is the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, so plans for a special Steam in the Valley experience are in the works.

Sunday with NKP 765 in Bellevue

October 5, 2021

This past Sunday I was at the Berkshires in Bellevue event with my brother-in-law Karl West, his son (my nephew) Owen, and Jeff Troutman.

What had been forecast as an all-day rain turned out party cloudy and some sun the whole time we were there.

We had four tickets to ride in the cupola in Nickel Plate caboose 783 on the 1 p.m. shuttle behind with NKP 2-8-4 No. 765.

On an adjacent track on static display was NKP Berkshire-type No. 757, which I photographed from the caboose cupola.

I had two tickets for the 2 p.m. NKP 765 cab ride which I shared with Owen. We both enjoyed the experience.

After our shuttle excursions we visited the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum. Shown are images made from the cab of former Wabash F7 No. 671 and former NKP GP30 No. 900.

 It’s great to have some fantastic railroad museums that far from home.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas