Posts Tagged ‘Bort Road bridge’

I Know that Guy

October 12, 2018

If that guy standing on the Bort Road bridge in North East, Pennsylvania, looks familiar, it’s because you know him.

He is Edward Ribinskas, the retired treasurer of the Akron Railroad Club.

Ed and I were getting in some railfanning in North East in late May before heading for a baseball game in nearby Erie featuring the Class AA Erie Seawolves hosting the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

I try to remember to get an occasional image of my railfanning friends to remember the good times that we had.

Amtrak 448 at Bort Road

August 14, 2018

Bort Road is one of those countless rural roads in America that most people will never travel or know about.

It has a timeless quality about it, as though time has forgotten it.

Yet to the engineers in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bort Road is well known.

It crosses the CSX Erie West Subdivision on a one-lane bridge that was built decades ago when these tracks were owned by the New York Central.

In recent years the bridge has received some repairs and been closed for several weeks at times.

PennDOT would like to replace the bridge, possibly by moving it closer to the town of North East.

Perhaps some day in the not too distant future they’ll do that. But for now passenger trains continue to pass beneath this bridge just as countless NYC and Penn Central trains did in the years before Amtrak.

Shown is Amtrak’s Boston-bound Lake Shore Limited in late May.

The crossing signals in the background are for the Lake Erie District of Norfolk Southern, which Bort Road crosses at grade.

While Waiting for Amtrak at Bort Road

July 5, 2017

Here comes CSX train Q112 bearing down on Bort Road.

Another view of the Q112.

Red and gold containers on the Q112.

Not far behind the Q112 was an eastbound trash train.

The one-lane wood bridge at Bort Road near North East, Pennsylvania, is one of my favorite places to photograph.

It spans the CSX Erie West Subdivision and road traffic on the bridge is not heavy.

In fact during an early June visit the road traffic was non-existent because the bridge was closed.

The timbers of the Norfolk Southern crossing had been removed and crews were the process of renovating the crossing.

My primary purpose in visiting Bort Road on this day was to catch Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

It was running about 45 minutes late and there were other CSX trains to occupy my attention, including the ones shown here.

New Bridge Being Eyed At Bort Road

March 31, 2017

The old one-lane Bort Road bridge over the CSX tracks near North East, Pennsylvania, may be replaced with a more modern span.

Officials in North East Township are pushing state officials to approve funding for a longer bridge that would also cross over the Norfolk Southern tracks.

They have asked the state to add a new Bort Road bridge to the region’s Transportation Improvement Program, which would make it a priority for state transportation funding.

The proposed Bort Road bridge would be east of the existing structure on land now owned by grape farmer Nick Mobilia.

He has agreed to trade two acres of his Concord vineyard to the township for the land on which the bridge now sits.

Planners say the low elevation of the NS tracks, which cross Bort Road at grade, make it impractical to locate the new bridge on the footprint of the current bridge.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has completed a study of a new bridge that estimated a replacement would cost $7 million.

Gus Neff, chairman of the North East Township Board of Supervisors, said all that needed now is funding.

The PennDOT study found that about 400 vehicles a day cross the Bort Road bridge. The wood deck is deteriorating and is limited to vehicles weighing 8 tons or less.

Township officials say the bridge is important for farmers and that a new bridge could be a second route over the railroad tracks for emergency vehicles.

Building a new bridge is not the only option, the PennDOT study found.

Two other options involve razing the bridge and either routing traffic routed to an enhanced grade crossing of both railroads at Remington Road or a building a bridge carrying Remington Road the tracks.

Watching the Sunrise at Bort Road

January 9, 2017

sunrise-bort-road-x

Railroad tracks form what photographers describe as a leading line. The term refers to the linear nature of something that leads the viewer into an image, often its focal point.

In this image, the railroad tracks to the right side of the image lead toward the rising sun near North East, Pennsylvania. The tracks belong to Norfolk Southern and are part of its Cleveland-Buffalo line.

The view is looking toward Interstate 90 and the New York border is a short distance from my location atop an old one-lane wood bridge carrying Bort Road over the CSX railroad tracks that  you can’t see.

I didn’t intend to make images here of the sun rising. It just worked out that way because by happenstance I arrived just before the sun rose. Some of the better images you make have that back story to them.

I was here and I wasn’t going to allow a photographic opportunity go to waste. Besides, I had time to kill before getting that photograph that I had come here to get, which was Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited cruising along at track speed.

Yes, I did get it and it worked out well.

Labor Day Wanderings: 2

September 7, 2016
The hogger at the throttle of Amtrak P42DC No. 12 gave me a toot of the horn as he blasted past at track speed on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision of CSX.

The hogger at the throttle of Amtrak P42DC No. 12 gave me a toot of the horn as he blasted past at track speed on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision of CSX.

Unlike the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Sunday followed a tightly scripted plan. I got up before dawn and drove to North East, Pennsylvania, to catch Amtrak 48 at Bort Road.

My motivation for doing that was multi-fold. First, I have only seen Amtrak just once in 2016. Yes, that’s right. The guy who lists Amtrak as his second favorite railroad behind the Illinois Central, has hardly seen it this year.

Second, I have not seen the Lake Shore Limited since it went to single locomotive operation last spring.

Third, there are reports that the Bort Road bridge may be razed and not replaced. That might be a year or more away, but you never know.

The character of Bort Road as a place to photograph trains would change even if a replacement bridge is built because it likely would have fences.

The existing bridge is a throwback to an earlier era when the tracks belonged to the New York Central and the Nickel Plate Road and each had a fleet of steam locomotives.

I made better time than expected, arriving at Bort Road before the sun rose over the horizon. That turned out to be a bonus because I was able to get good sunrise images.

My first train was a short Norfolk Southern No. 145. It had two locomotives and that was it.

It was the second time that I’ve seen the 145 this year running light. That also might have been on a Sunday.

There was just enough light from the rising sun to create an image, one of the more interesting photographs that I’ve created this year.

I was hoping to get a CSX westbound with the rising sun behind it. I sort of got that, but the sun was higher in the sky than I would have liked. But it still turned out well.

Two CSX westbounds passed by before Amtrak began talking on the radio. Amtrak Julie had reported that No. 48 was expected to arrive in Erie on time at 7:20 a.m. but depart three minutes late. I don’t know how she knew that.

After Amtrak blew past, I hung around until 9 a.m. There were no trains on NS during that time and two westbounds ran on CSX. Nothing ran east, which was too bad because the light favored eastbounds.

I did some experimenting with the westbound trains and was able to produce some images that I liked.

My plan was to drive to Westfield, New York, and add another Great Lakes lighthouse to my collection.

This one stands over Barcelona Harbor and is a stately stone structure. It is the eighth new for me lighthouse I’ve photographed this summer.

I wound up at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

The light was not favorable for photographing any NS trains, so I just watched them go by. I was able to do a little photography with CSX despite some tough lighting conditions during my time there.

Interestingly, I was able to make two images I had wanted to do during my last visit to the museum but couldn’t due to a lack of westbound traffic.

With CSX these days, it is difficult to tell if it is having a good or bad day traffic wise. There seemed to be more auto rack trains than I expected and, by the end of the day, about the same level of intermodal traffic as I would have expected.

But the manifest freights seemed fewer in number and longer than usual. The first CSX train I saw, the Q393, had 696 axles according to the detector at Ripley, New York.

About 3 p.m. I decided to heading for home, stopping at a Wegman’s grocery store in Erie on the way for a couple of items I can’t get in Cleveland.

Despite some miscues on Saturday, it had been a good weekend with sunny skies and warm but not hot temperatures. I could not have asked for better weather.

There had been some unexpected and pleasant surprises and I came away pleased, overall, with what I was able to find.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS train 145 is running light, really light, as another day dawns in the northeast corner of northwest Pennsylvania.

NS train 145 is running light, really light, as another day dawns in the northeast corner of northwest Pennsylvania.

Here comes the sun, which is just climbing over the horizon and casting the first light of day on CSX rails.

A golden glow to the rails of the NS Lake Erie District.

The sun rises above the head end of CSX Q393, which was a monster-size manifest freight.

The sun rises above the head end of CSX Q393, which was a monster-size manifest freight.

Conditions were ideal for early morning light glint shots. Note the second unit of this westbound CSX grain train is from BNSF.

Conditions were ideal for early morning light glint shots. Note the second unit of this westbound CSX grain train is from BNSF.

The grain train passes grape vineyards. Not much grain is grown around here.

The grain train passes grape vineyards. Not much grain is grown around here.

Auto rack cars catch the early morning light.

Auto rack cars catch the early morning light.

How much longer will vehicles be able to traverse this old one-lane bridge over the CSX tracks?

How much longer will vehicles be able to traverse this old one-lane bridge over the CSX tracks?

I've always like the panoramic perspective afforded from the Bort Road bridge of the grape country of Pennsylvania along Lake Erie.

I’ve always like the panoramic perspective afforded from the Bort Road bridge of the grape country of Pennsylvania along Lake Erie.

There were no private cars on the back of Amtrak No. 48 today.

There were no private cars on the back of Amtrak No. 48 today.

An eastbound CSX auto rack train chugs through North East.

An eastbound CSX auto rack train chugs through North East.

Three museum visitors inspect an eastbound CSX auto rack train.

Three museum visitors inspect an eastbound CSX auto rack train.

A CSX stack train passes the baggage cart on display at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station in North East.

A CSX stack train passes the baggage cart on display at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station in North East.

It's a meet. An eastbound CSX manifest freight clears just as a Canadian Pacific run-through train arrives.

It’s a meet. An eastbound CSX manifest freight clears just as a Canadian Pacific run-through train arrives.

A CP unit passes a former Great Northern dining car. Both seem to be out of place in Pennsylvania.

A CP unit passes a former Great Northern dining car. Both seem to be out of place in Pennsylvania.

This Erie-built New York Central until probably never hauled a passenger consist that looked like this.

This Erie-built New York Central until probably never hauled a passenger consist that looked like this.

A caboose is supposed to be red, right? I end this report with this caboose in the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

A caboose is supposed to be red, right? I end this report with this caboose in the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

 

Bort Road Bridge Might be Razed

August 30, 2016

CSX and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation may close and remove the single-lane bridge carrying Bort Road over its tracks near North East, Pennsylvania.

A public hearing will be held todPennDotay (Aug. 30) at the North East Township Building by PennDOT and its consultants to review alternative transportation options connected with razing the bridge and not replacing it.

The meeting, which begins at 6 p.m., will feature a presentation followed by a question and answer session.

A report on TrainOrders.com, indicated that some North East area residents are seeking to save the bridge and have posted flyers on it seeking to get people to attend the hearing.

The flyers are accompanied by a color photograph of an eastbound CSX stack train passing beneath the bridge that was made by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders and posted on the ARRC blog.

Bort Road crosses over the double-track CSX Erie West Subdivision at that location, but crosses the single-track Norfolk Southern Lake Erie District at grade.

Presumably, the NS crossing would be closed if the bridge is removed and not replaced.