Posts Tagged ‘boats on the Cuyahoga River’

NS to Leave Drawbridge Up Most of the Time

July 24, 2019

Norfolk Southern has agreed for now to keep its lift bridge over the Cuyahoga River in a raised position unless rail traffic is imminent.

The move comes after an incident in which the bridge was down for several hours, which effectively closed the river to almost all marine traffic.

The Goodtime IIII reportedly missed a trip out to Lake Erie and other boaters were reported to be furious.

Railroad officials said the bridge was in the down position on that day due to track maintenance.

Boaters have complained for years that having the bridge in the down position creates delays and safety issues.

Tom Werner, NS vice president of corporate communications, said the railroad has not decided if the new policy will be permanent.

A high-ranking NS manager who knows the bridge well is working with the operations department to come up with a permanent plan for operating the bridge.

Werner said dispatchers who know the intricacies of the bridge, including its quirks, left the company when dispatching operations were centralized in Atlanta last year.

When the bridge is down during warm weather for extended periods of times, flotillas of boats congregate on both sides of it.

Once the bridge is raised, those boats begin to move and, owners of businesses along the river say, crate dangerous wake.

Impatient boat operators tend to gun their engines in anticipation of being able to race out to the lake or back down the river from the lake.

Historically, control of the bridge was in the hands of an operator at Drawbridge Tower.

But three years ago that control was transferred to dispatchers along with control of the track crossovers near the bridge.

There are still bridge tenders at Drawbridge who raise or lower the bridge upon orders from the dispatcher. The bridge is manned around the clock seven days a week.

When the New York Central was still in existence, dispatchers had the option of leaving Drawbridge 1 in the up position and routing trains around the Lakefront Wye to the Big Four and across Drawbridge 2 to Linndale. But that route is no longer possible due to track abandonment.

Nautica Entertainment, which operates anther sightseeing boat, the Nautica Queen, said its captains are encouraged by the change in policy.

Laurie Dittoe of Great Lakes Water Sport, which rents kayaks, boats and jet skis,  told Cleveland.com that last Saturday was at least 50 percent better than the week before.

“Sunday was not as good as the curtain stayed closed for about 90 minutes at one point. BUT, to be fair there was a pretty steady dose of trains running throughout that time frame,” she said. “We did see much improvement.”

Boats and an NS Heritage Unit

May 8, 2018

I thought on Sunday that I would intercept Norfolk Southern train 287 with the Central of Georgia Heritage unit at the Cuyahoga River Bridge.

While I was waiting, the Sam Laud, an ore boat, was heading upriver to the Mittal Steel mill.

As the Sam Laud was clearing a tugboat with a barge left just as the 287 came through.

Photographs by Todd Dillon