Posts Tagged ‘Berea Ohio’

Whole Lotta Locomotives Rolling Along

April 13, 2018

Last Saturday during the annual Dave McKay Day of the Akron Railroad Club in Berea, all cameras were out as manifest freight 17N approached on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

On the point was the GoRail locomotive. But the rest of the motive power consist held some interest, too.

Immediately behind the GoRail unit was a former CSX locomotive with a line drawn through its markings. It is now a lease unit owned by a locomotive leasing company.

The motive power consist itself was out of the ordinary long, comprised of seven units. Perhaps 17N was ferrying locomotives as well as cargo.

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Bare for Now

April 12, 2018

Thus far it has felt like the winter that refuses to go away. Although March didn’t feature much deep snow, it did have endless days of high temperatures in the 30s and below freezing air at night.

April hasn’t fared much better with occasional snow and a continuation of 30-degree weather.

But spring is here already. The calendar says so. It just doesn’t feel like it.

Or at least it hasn’t felt much like it to date. But that is going to change today as warmer air pushes daytime highs into the low 70s.

With that might come an explosion of spring with trees budding and leafing out.

That will render a thing of the past such sights as this one of a lone Norfolk Southern locomotive in Berea on the Dave McKay Day of the Akron Railroad Club backing onto the consist of the M6G in the Berea siding.

Spring can’t come too soon.

Colorful Day in Berea on ARRC McKay Day

April 9, 2018

At long last Akron Railroad Club members got a Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive leading a train through Berea during the annual Dave McKay Day outing there. The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leads a westbound ethanol train late Saturday morning.

The long defunct Pan American World Airways used to have the tagline in its advertisements, “Pan Am makes the going great.”

The word “great” is much overused, yet it could fairly describe the 14th annual Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day in Berea last Saturday.

Among the more than 40 trains that at least one ARRC member observed during the event was an ethanol train with the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive on the point, another NS train led by the GoRail unit, and a CSX stack train led by a Southern Belle SD70MAC of the Kansas City Southern.

Those who got there early enough to see NS train 309 also saw a rare sighting in Berea of a Pan Am Railways locomotive, Maine Central No. 3403.

The SD40-2 was the third of three units that included Union Pacific ES44AC-H No. 8151.

It was a colorful day with more than the usual allotment of UP, Canadian National and BNSF motive power, including two trains with all BNSF motive power consists.

The day wasn’t perfect. We got hosed big time when NS intermodal train 26E passed by with a former BNSF war bonnet that was blocked from view by NS train 16T. And the weather was sunny, but quite cool.

ARRC President Craig Sanders was the first to arrive. As he rolled in at about 8:10 a.m., westbound intermodal train 23K was heading west on the NS Chicago Line.

At the far west end of the CP 194 interlocking an inbound Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train was waiting on for the 23K to clear before it could proceed off CSX Shortline Subdivision Track No. 1 to get onto NS for the journey down to Campbell Road Yard.

It has been several years since we’ve seen a W&LE train come through Berea during an ARRC McKay Day.

On the heels of the Wheeling train came an eastbound CSX ethanol train led by the day’s lone sighting of CN motive power.

CSX would go into a slumber for the next hour and a half. In the meantime, NS was busy with an eastbound fleet, including two moments when three eastbounds were side-by-side at the west end of CP 194.

Word had filtered in that two westbound NS trains, the 65N and 17N were being led by the Pennsy heritage unit and the GoRail special promotions unit respectively. Ahead of the 65N was crude oil train 67R.

They were hung up, though, by the NS eastbound parade, which had Tracks 1 and 2 tied up.

By late morning the ARRC contingent had swelled to include Vice President Todd Dillon, Ed Ribinskas and Paul Woodring. Dennis Taksar made an appearance before going off to work.

In the meantime, CSX stack train 272 lumbered through with KCS Southern Belle 3915 on the point. It was slowed by the S388 waiting ahead for westbound L163 to clear the single track through the tunnels in Cleveland.

About the time that westbound traffic got going on NS, CSX began running trains and we feared that our view of the PRR unit would be blocked.

It could have happened. As the headlight of NS 8102 bore down on Berea we saw the headlight of a westbound CSX train, the L163. The 65N got to Berea two minutes before the L163 so we were able to get clear images of the Pennsy heritage locomotive.

It is not the first time that a heritage locomotive has come through on McKay day. We saw the Wabash H unit in 2014, but it was trailing.

By early afternoon we had been joined by Rick Houck and Marty Surdyk. Rick had debated whether to come because of the cold.

They arrived in time to see the 17N with the GoRail unit go west.

NS traffic dominated the day. Of the 16 CSX trains we spotted, nine of them came through after 2 p.m. and six of them were clustered in just over an hour’s time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. during which NS was silent. In fact, seven of the last nine trains we logged were on CSX.

Dennis returned to the scene in late afternoon during which time Paul Emch made a short appearance while en route to the annual banquet of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts that was being held at Tony K’s restaurant in Berea.

Former ARRC member and occasion meeting attendee Alex Buchac also made an appearance as did ex-ARRC member Richard Thompson.

Most ARRC members and former members had departed by the time NS westbound 19A came through just before 6 p.m. with two passenger cars in its consist.

Both were former Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus cars being ferried to new owners.

It was nice not just to see a Southern Belle locomotive of the Kansas City Southern, but a clean one at that. It is leading a very long CSX stack train 272.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train made an early morning appearance.

Like race horses in the starting gate, three NS trains were briefly abreast at the west end of CP 194. Only the 294 in the middle was moving. Watching are the 16T at left and the M6G at right.

The GoRail special interest locomotive is on the point of the 17N.

Eastbound ethanol train K634 was the first CSX train of the day. Once it went by, CSX went into a lull lasting an hour and a half.

A Pan Am Railways SD40-2 made an appearance on NS train 309.

Another look at the colorful and varied motive power consist of NS train 309

Stack train 22K had a brace of BNSF locomotives running elephant style. This train will take the former Nickel Plate Road mainline east of Cleveland.

NS train 20R was one of four consecutive eastbounds that kept a fleet of westbound trains at bay east of CP Max on the Chicago Line.

A young railfan sits on what used to be a signal base to photograph westbound CSX train L135. BNSF motive power was plentiful during the McKay Day outing.

CSX No. 99 has the S388 rolling along through Berea, but not for long. The manifest freight would stop in a few miles to wait for the passage of the L163 through the single-track tunnels in Cleveland.

The Q391 used to be a manifest freight but now it hauls containers.

The rear of the Q166 passes the head end of Q561 by the former Big Four passenger station in Berea.

One of the locomotives pulling eastbound CSX intermodal train Q008 thinks it is an Alco or a steam locomotive as it pours out smoke. The railfan in the distance waving at the train is former ARRC member Richard Thompson.

McKay Day Train List

April 9, 2018

Marty Surdyk prepares to photograph CSX westbound manifest freight Q363 during the Dave McKay Day in Berea on Saturday.

Todd Dillon photographs CSX westbound stack train L163 as Norfolk Southern ethanol train 65N passes in the background. Watching at right are Ed Ribinskas and Paul Woodring.

The photo line is in place to capture an oncoming NS train. They are (left to right) Todd Dillon, Marty Surdyk and Ed Ribinskas.

 [Q 390 along I-480 en route to Berea]

8:10     NS 23K stack (na)

8:16     W&LE coke (7004, 6348, 6350)

8:20     CSX K634 ethanol (CN 5752)

8:34     NS 14K manifest (UP 4232 trailing)

8:35     NS 309 manifest (UP 8151, MEC 3403)

9:26     NS 20R stacks (9971)

9:40     NS 294 stacks (9777)

9:50     NS 16T manifest (2749)

9:53     NS 26E intermodal (na, War bonnet trailing)

10:06   CSX S388 manifest (99)

10:15   NS 205 stacks  (9167)

10:25   CSX 272 stacks (KCS 3915)

10:29   NS 67R crude oil (8028)

10:46   NS 65N ethanol (8102-Pennsylvania)

10:48   CSX L163 stacks (206)

10:55   NS 21G stacks (9884)

10:57   CSX V057 grain (BNSF 8351)

11:07   NS M6G light power (8140)

11:56   NS 21GZ intermodal (9967)

12:01   CSX Q391 stacks (5449)

12:04   NS M6G manifest (8140)

12:35   NS 22K stacks (BNSF 7190)

12:50   NS 206 intermodal (9338)

1:03     NS 24Z stacks (9923)

1:17     NS 24M intermodal (na)

1:30     NS 17N manifest (6963-GoRail)

1:42     NS 18N auto racks (9944)

1:56     CSX L135 crude oil (BNSF 4989)

2:35     CSX Q363 manifest (3242)

2:50     NS 420 coke (9682)

3:14     NS 21Q stacks (7504)

3:16     CSX Q364 manifest (5308)

3:17     NS 20E intermodal (na)

3:26     CSX Q008 intermodal (4509)

3:55     CSX Q166 stacks (UP 5544)

3:58     CSX Q561 manifest (7845)

4:27     CSX Q010 stacks (3049)

4:35     CSX Q389 manifest (145)

4:40     CSX G071 grain (na)

5:03     NS L13 manifest (na)

5:05     CSX K662 ethanol alcohol (UP na)

5:59     NS 19A manifest (na) passenger cars

The lead locomotive number is in parenthesis. Unless indicated otherwise, it is a unit of the railroad operating the train. If (na) that means the lead unit was not recorded.

Trying Something Different in Berea

February 27, 2018

I’ve been going to Berea to watch trains for more than 20 years. I’ve pretty much exhausted about every photo angle I can think of short of trespassing on railroad property.

About the only thing new to get in Berea is to catch a particular locomotive or rail car that I haven’t photographed there before. Or so I thought.

While in Berea not long ago on a rare sunny winter day, I had the idea of photographing trains splitting the signals that have been installed within the past couple of years.

In the top image, eastbound Norfolk Southern intermodal train 206 has a Canadian National unit leading. Although not visible, the trailing unit belongs to Union Pacific.

In the middle image, westbound NS manifest freight 309 is framed by the signals on the Toledo connection between NS and CSX. Behind the lead unit is the Wabash heritage unit.

The bottom images shows a westbound NS stack train framed by several signals, including the westbound home signals for CP 194 on the Chicago Line.

Changing of the Motive Power Liveries

October 20, 2017

It is August 2001 and Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvanian is rolling through Berea just after 1 p.m.

It is an era when there was a daytime passenger train through Berea that wasn’t running several hours off schedule.

The Pennsylvanian carried a lot of head-end cars, which carried mail and express shipments that were supposed to enable it to pay for itself.

But on this day my attention is on the motive power consist. The Phase V look of power blue and gray with a red stripe was introduced in 1999 on AEM-7 electric motors.

But in time it migrated to the P42DC fleet that began showing up fall 1996.

Powering the Pennsylvanian is P42DC No. 180 wearing the then new to me Phase V look. Trailing it is P42DC No. 54 modeling the modified Phase III appearance.

The P42 fleet featured a deeper shade of red than that applied to previous locomotive wearing the Phase III scheme. It also has a deeper shade of blue with both seeking to more closely mimic the colors of the American flag.

Soon all of the P42 fleet would be wearing Phase V colors. You have to wonder when Amtrak will again gives its motive power fleet a new look.

Beaver in Berea

September 6, 2017

Back in February Canadian Pacific announced that it was bringing back its beaver herald although it wasn’t until July that the modified logo began appearing on  locomotives.

CP used the beaver herald, which features a beaver, a maple leaf, a shield, the company name and the date of the railroad’s incorporation, previously, but dropped it for a more contemporary look.

The beaver has a long tradition at CP, having first been used on a company herald in 1886.

Here in the states we might think of the maple leaf as symbolic of Canada, but the beaver is our northern neighbor’s official symbol of sovereignty.

Between 1886 and 1929, the beaver appeared on four renditions of the CP herald, which featured a shield as its dominant element. In three of those iterations, the beaver appeared atop the shield.

The beaver went on hiatus between 1929 and 1946 when the CP herald was, again, shaped like a shield but featured the slogan “World’s Greatest Travel System.”

In 1946, CP brought the beaver back and it sat atop the shield through three generations of heralds. In 1968, CP decided to give itself a more “progressive look” and adopted a triangle C logo.

Other heralds would follow including one that featured the Canadian and U.S. flags. That was an effort to show that CP was a North American railroad and not just a Canadian one.

To celebrate its independent status, which included resuming use of the name Canadian Pacific Railways, CP resurrected the beaver and shield in 1997 in a bid to give itself a retro look.

Some corporations can only sit still with their image for a few years, so the beaver was put out to marsh in 2007.

CP adopted a minimalist approach with only its name “Canadian Pacific” appearing in its herald. Things got even more concise in 2012 when the herald became simply the letters CP.

Now the beaver, the maple leaf and the shield are back. Unlike the most recent beaver herald, the current logo does not feature solid gold shading in the shield. Instead, the shield has horizontal stripes.

The latest version of the beaver herald is expected to become widespread as CP ramps up a program to repaint its locomotive fleet. The herald will also adorn rebuilt locomotives.

AC400CW No. 9817 wore the previous beaver herald. It is shown leading CSX train Q166 through Berea this past Sunday sporting the new herald.

The Q166 and its counterpart, Q165, are CP run-through trains that use CSX between Chicago and Buffalo, New York.

Just over two hours after the Q166 passed by, the Q165 came rolling through Berea. It is always a good outing when you catch both CP run-through trains on the same day.

And the cherry on the top of this treat was the eastbound “salad shooter” with its usual Union Pacific motive power, shown in the bottom photo.

Yes, the Salad Shooter is Still Operating

June 10, 2017

I’m not sure why I wondered if CSX train Q090 is still operating. But in the wake of the E. Hunter Harrison takeover of the railroad this year the operating plan is in state of flux.

Known to some as the “salad shooter,” Q090 is an interchange train that CSX receives from Union Pacific in Chicago and which carries perishable produce for a warehouse located near Albany, New York.

It doesn’t operate every day, last I knew. I’ve seen it here and there, but I can’t remember the last time that I caught it. It has been several months and it might even have been more than a year ago.

But there it was racing through Berea with nothing slowing it down.

Despite its Union Pacific motive power — which has long been standard for the train — I didn’t recognize it at first. It used to be a string of solid white reefers, but that wasn’t the case on this day.

Toward the front of the train was a collection of what appeared to be standard boxcars so I thought it was just another manifest freight.

But then the consist quickly evolved into those white reefers and I later learned in a radio transmission that this was the Q090.

Somewhere in the not too distant past the train became a section from California and a section from the Pacific Northwest, Washington State, I believe. That might account for the mixed appearance.

All I can say is, “where ya been salad shooter? I sure have missed you.”

It’s a Coal Train!

June 9, 2017

CSX was in the midst of a flurry of traffic. Between 7 and 8 p.m. it put five trains through Berea, including something I haven’t seen in a long time.

I was looking through my telephoto lens at this approaching eastbound, the last of the five trains that also included two westbound stack trains, a westbound auto rack train and an eastbound manifest train when I noticed that this was a coal train.

The decline of coal traffic at CSX and Norfolk Southern has been well documented by various sources and in recent years coal trains seem to have become scarce in Northeast Ohio.

I’ve seen a few coal trains on NS, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a coal train on CSX. And this wasn’t a Powder River Basin coal train, but something that likely came up from West Virginia.

Maybe coal trains are not extinct on CSX through Cleveland and I just haven’t been trackside when they came through.

I have no idea as to the destination of this coal, but there must be a power plant somewhere east of here that still burns the black diamonds.

Not Uncommon But Still Pleasing to See

May 23, 2017

BNSF locomotives are not a rare sighting in Northeast Ohio, but not necessarily an everyday one, either. Like many people, I like their bright orange color.

So when this westbound CSX manifest freight came through Berea recently with a “pumpkin” on the nose, my camera was out.

As a bonus, the trailing unit was Union Pacific. I would have photographed it, too, had it been leading instead of the BNSF unit.

Note the passing Norfolk Southern intermodal train off to the left.