Posts Tagged ‘BNSF pumpkins’

Some Orange in Warwick

August 10, 2021

BNSF C44-9W No. 5842 leads an is eastbound in Warwick (Clinton) out of the yard on May 8, 2004. The image was made with a 3 megapixel digital camera.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Nice Way to Start the Day

April 29, 2021

We had driven up Interstate 69 to Waterloo, Indiana, which would be our first stop during a day-long railfan outing.

Scarcely had we arrived when the detector west of town on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern went off on Track 2, likely indicating an eastbound was coming.

Through my telephoto lens I could tell the lead unit was not NS black and for a moment I thought that, maybe, it was a heritage unit.

It tuned out to be a BNSF pumpkin with a Southern Belle of Kansas City Southern trailing. That’s not a bad catch although I wished the order of the units had been reversed.

It was train 880, which had come into Chicago from the Power River Basin of Wyoming and been turned over to an NS crew at Cicero, Illinois. The train was bound for Trenton, Michigan.

In the view above, it is splitting the westbound home signals of CP 367 and passing the former New York Central passenger station, which is now owned by the city and contains a waiting room for Amtrak passengers.

Some Orange in Warwick

May 27, 2020

BNSF motive power is not necessarily a rare sight in Northeast Ohio but it’s still pleasant to see it when you find it.

Here are a couple of images of a westbound CSX train passing through Warwick on March 1 being pulled by two BNSF pumpkins.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

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.

Red and Orange in Olmsted Falls

December 29, 2017

NS train 60E not only has a Canadian National leader, it is a narrow cab one to boot.

You  can pretty much count on most trains passing through Olmsted Falls on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern having NS locomotives on the lead.

That’s because most of the traffic is going to or coming from the Cleveland Line, which has cab signals. Most foreign locomotives are not equipped with a cab signal device compatible with the Cleveland Line.

One exception to this NS-only locomotives rule is trains going to or coming from the Cleveland District toward Buffalo, New York. They diverge by Rockport Yard and don’t need a unit on the point with cab signal capability.

On occasion a train will come in with a foreign unit and be shunted into the Berea siding to await a cab signal equipped leader to come out and hook on.

So when you get the chance to photograph a train on the Chicago Line in the Falls with foreign power leading, better grab it.

Vindication of Sorts on the New Castle Sub

November 30, 2017

Yesterday I wrote about an outing I had on the CSX New Castle Subdivision near Kent in which I had hoped in vain to get a westbound train in gloriously warm late-day light. It didn’t happen.

It was the second time I had come up empty hoping for a westbound on the New Castle Sub in the nice late-day sunlight.

With CSX operations still in a state of flux as the precision scheduled railroading operations model is implemented, I’ve treated my recent visits to the New Castle Sub as learning experiences.

Some trains have been annulled while others have been consolidated.

Railfanning the New Castle Sub has always tended to be a feast or famine proposition and now that is even more the case.

But if E. Hunter Harrison is trying to implement train operations that run on a schedule, then with enough observations I should be able to discern a pattern as to when those trains are likely to operate.

Four days after striking out on getting a westbound near Kent in late-day light I decided to try it again.

This time I got an earlier start, arriving at about 1:15 p.m. along the tracks where they run alongside the Portage County Hike and Bike Trail.

Aside from gathering information on how the New Castle Sub is operating these days, another benefit of these outing has been getting exercise. It is a mile walk in and a mile walk out.

This time I bought my scanner and camera bag. I set them down on a bench and began the waiting game.

I had seen trains operating westbound on the New Castle Sub in early afternoon during forays to Kent last October. Those included the Q015, the Q137 and the Q299.

I had been waiting about a half hour when the radio came to life. It was the Q015 calling the signal at “Davey Tree.”

I scrambled to get into position. The sunlight at about 2 p.m. is not as warm as that in late afternoon, but still quite nice.

That’s due to the low sun angles of this time of year and the fact that it provided more side lighting than would be the case in another two hours.

Q015 came rumbling around the curve with CSX ES44AC-H No. 721 on the point and a BNSF “pumpkin” trailing.

I suppose it would have been nice had the order of the locomotives been reversed, but I didn’t want to be too greedy.

I got the westbound that had eluded me a few days earlier, albeit in light that was not as warm as that of the earlier outing.

I debated whether to stay a little longer and hope for another westbound. I had to be home by about 4:30 p.m. so I didn’t have much time to work with.

It would take time to walk the mile back to my car and I also had a hankering to get a Norfolk Southern train crossing the Cuyahoga River by the Akron water treatment plant along Ravenna Road.

I elected to try to get the NS shot on the theory that I had a higher chance because the NS Cleveland Line has far more traffic than the CSX New Castle Sub.

I relocated to Tower’s Woods park and set up my big antenna with my scanner. I continued to monitor the CSX frequencies out of curiosity.

Sure enough, shortly after I arrived at Towner’s Wood, I heard CSX auto rack train Q299 calling signals followed not afterward by a westbound coal train.

However, I also got wind of an NS dimension train coming west and I was able to get the photograph I wanted of that train crossing the Cuyahoga. It was, for once, a win-win afternoon.

Pair of Pumpkins to Kick Off October

October 2, 2017

October is the month of Halloween, fall foliage and some really nice days to be out photographing trains. And, of course, it is the month of the pumpkin.

I went to Kent on Sunday, a place that has long been one of my favorites but which I’ve neglected in the past year or so.

It being the first day of October, I was pleased to see a pair of pumpkins leading CSX westbound intermodal train Q137.

They are shown along the Portage County Hike and Bike Trail on Sunday afternoon.

Memorable Last Train of the Day

April 12, 2017

The last train that I would photograph during an all-day outing to Bellevue and the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern last Sunday would be memorable for a few reasons, not all of them positive.

While in Bellevue around mid-afternoon, I spotted a train sitting on the Fostoria District awaiting clearance. It had a BNSF unit on the point so I waited to see where it was going.

I thought it was waiting to get into the yard, but it went to the Sandusky District and would follow the 194 and the 12V.

It turned out to be the 44G, a grain train probably headed somewhere in North or South Carolina.

The Sandusky District dispatcher had planned to have the 44G meet a 188 at Harvey just north of Marion, but those plans changed after I turned off my scanned and got out my car to await the arrival of the 44G in Bucyrus.

I met a railfan from Columbus who had a portable scanner and said the radio chatter and signal indications he had seen suggested a meet at Benson, the siding north of Bucycus.

That is, in fact, what happened. He was curious what the view on the west side of the tracks close to the diamonds with the Fort Wayne Line.

We found that it offered a straight-on view of the through truss bridge carrying the Sandusky District over the Sandusky River.

The lighting was ideal and the bright orange of the BNSF “pumpkins” was eye catching. It was my best series of images of the day.

We watched the train go by and we started to leave I reached into my pocket for my lens cap.

But it wasn’t there. I searched all of my pockets and no lens cap.

The other railfan and I looked over the area where I had been photographing but found nothing. I traced my path three times but the lens cap was nowhere to be found.

My best guess is that I put it back on my lens after shooting the 188, but didn’t attach it firmly enough to the lens.

The vibration of my moving must have jarred it off and it was difficult to find in the thick grass. It’s there somewhere but I couldn’t find it.

I can buy a new lens cap, but was bummed out about not having been more careful with my equipment.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

BNSF, Amtrak in Montana

October 28, 2016

dsc_2708-1-x

dsc_2726-1-x

dsc_2746-x

Last July, Ursula and I traveled on Amtrak to Glacier National Park in Montana to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  Here are a few photographs that highlight our trip.

The top photo shows an eastbound at the Izaak Walton Inn, where we stayed for a week.

In the middle photo is the eastbound Empire Builder at the Two Medicine Bridge at East Glacier. The bottom photo shows  a westbound at the summit of Marias Pass.

I’ll be showing more image of Montana trip next April during my program at the Akron Railroad Club meeting.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

That Was Close

May 24, 2016

The rear of the westbound intermodal train cleared just in time to get a clear look at the two BNSF pumpkins pulling an eastbound unit train.

The rear of the westbound intermodal train cleared just in time to get a clear look at the two BNSF pumpkins pulling an eastbound unit train.

Close2-x

I’m waiting for a westbound Norfolk Southern train to come through Olmsted Falls because it has a lead unit that is a little out of the ordinary.

But ahead of it is the 21Z, a hot stack train. As the head end of the stack train passed I happened to turn around, look west through my telephoto lens and spotted a flash of orange on an approaching eastbound.

It wasn’t the usual NS black and I knew it couldn’t be a heritage unit.

But would the 21Z clear in time to get a shot of whatever it was? I starting walking east hoping to get into a better position to get a shot just as the rear of the stack train cleared. I knew it was going to be close.

Luck was with me. The 21Z not only cleared, but there was enough space to get a couple of decent shots.

I didn’t catch the symbol of the eastbound, but it might have been the 68N, which an online report said was a unit train with a load of frac sand.

The consist was the type of small covered hoppers used to haul sand.

And the motive power? A pair of BNSF pumpkins. Not a bad find at all.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders