Posts Tagged ‘Bort Road North East Pa.’

Topping Off the Day at Bort Road

June 18, 2021

After spending much of last Sunday chasing the FA units on the New York & Lake Erie excursion train in New York State, Marty Surdyk and I headed back toward Cleveland in late afternoon.

We stopped for an hour at Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania, one of our favorite places to photograph trains on the CSX Erie West Subdivision and the Lake Erie District of Norfolk Southern.

In just over an hour we bagged six trains only one of which was an intermodal train. Our first catch was a CSX westbound at 5:43 p.m. Our last train was NS 315 at 6:53 p.m.

In between we caught NS 309, a CSX auto rack train, a CSX westbound manfest and the Q003.

The westbound manifest freight had a surprise, a pair of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority MP36PH-3C units.

Nos. 010 and 011 are the only such units on the MBTA motive power roster and were acquired used from Utah Transit.

Marty and I speculated that they might be dropped off at the Wabtec plant in Erie for overhaul.

After a productive outing at Bort Road we continued west and exited on Route 19 at Erie to eat dinner at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant just down the road

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Paying Tribute to Amtrak P42DC 66 and 156

March 29, 2021

With Amtrak’s 50th anniversary approaching and the upcoming paint schemes to be applied to six locomotives, I looked back to remember P42DC No. 66, which was lost to the scrappers in 2016 due to a bent frame suffered in the last accident it was involved in.

That locomotive was painted in the Phase II scheme to commemorate the 40th anniversary in 2011.

P42DC No. 190 has since had the Phase II livery applied to it to replace No. 66.

I first saw both Nos. 66 and 156 (Phase I livery) on an early outing with a private car excursion to the Rock Island (Illinois) train festival in July 2011.

At the festival it was on many of the excursions with No. 156 and one of the visiting steam locomotives.

No. 156 is also sidelined after being in a collision. With  another P42DC getting the Phase 1 scheme for the 50th anniversary it’s possible that Nickel Plate No. 765 will be the survivor of the three locomotives highlighted in these photos.

The 66 and 156 are shown together at Moline, Illinois, on July 21, 2011, and at Colona, Illinois, on July 22.

No. 66 is shown on the point of the eastbound Lake Shore Limited at Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania, on July 31, 2011.

Finally, we see No. 66 leading the eastbound Lake Shore at 7:52 a.m. in Painesville on July 11, 2013.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Got an ‘A’ in Photography in 1988

July 10, 2020

Norfolk & Western Class A No. 1218 was in its second year of operation in excursion service in 1988 after being restored to operating condition.

The 2-6-6-4 locomotive operated in Northeast Ohio and vicinity three times that summer and here is Ed’s A list of favorite images made while chasing the locomotive that year.

In the photograph above, the 1218 along with its train is crossing over the Rocky River in the Cleveland suburb of Rocky River on Aug. 7

In the top photograph of the series below, the 1218 is passing beneath Conrail’s Chicago Line in Vermilion on Aug. 7

In the middle image, the excursion train is crossing the Ashtabula River in Ashtabula on July 23, while the bottom image was made of the 1218 running eastbound at Bort Road outside of North East, Pennsylvania, on July 21.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Weekend Trip Nets Games, Trains and Rain

August 20, 2019

An eastbound CSX manifest freight passes the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania, late Sunday morning.

It was a 3-2 weekend in Erie, Pennsylvania, for three Akron Railroad Club members.

Marty Surdyk, Ed Ribinskas and Jeff Toutman ventured to Erie to see a pair of minor league baseball games pitting the Erie SeaWolves against the Akron Rubber Ducks that both ended with identical scores of 3-2.

Akron won on Saturday night but Erie returned the favor on Sunday afternoon.

Of course railfanning was on the agenda of the trio on their trip, which started late Saturday afternoon in Painesville.

After checking in at a Red Roof Inn by Interstate 90, they went to UPMC Park for a game that featured fireworks at the conclusion of the Rubber Ducks’ win.

Sunday morning found the trio getting an early start to catch trains at Bort Road near North East under overcast skies.

Shortly after they arrived at 7 a.m., a CSX westbound trash train rumbled past. Less than 10 minutes later came an eastbound on Norfolk Southern.

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited was right on the money shortly after 7:30 a.m. with its usual consist of two P42DC locomotives, three Viewliner sleepers, an Amfleet café car, six Amfleet II coaches, a Viewliner diner and a Viewliner sleeper.

After the passage of Amtrak, the group decided to get breakfast at the Freeport restaurant north of North East, but it wasn’t open yet.

They killed about 15 minutes at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East where they noted a clear signal for a CSX westbound.

But nothing showed and they went back to the Freeport for breakfast, getting there just ahead of a heavy thunderstorm that also swept through Cleveland.

In fact, Ed’s wife, Ursula, texted that the power at their house in Painesville had gone out.

With breakfast completed and the rain letting up, Marty, Ed and Jeff returned to the museum.

Jeff checked HeritageUnits.com on his phone and learned that CSX train K603 with the Chicago & North Western heritage unit of Union Pacific on the point had cleared Lake City, Pennsylvania, at 9:23 a.m.

It must have passed through North East while they were having breakfast up the road. Ed noted the clear signal they had seen earlier must have been for the K603.

However, even if they had stuck around and waited for it they would have been trying to photograph UP 1995 in a downpour.

UP 1995 was later reported by Berea at 2:20 p.m. and Greenwich at 3:14 p.m.

Clearing skies and sunlight were the order of the rest of the morning at the museum along with passing trains.

New in the museum is a CSX U36B that is the eighth GE Erie-built locomotive in the collection.

No. 7764 was built in 1970 as No. 1776 for the Seaboard Coast Line. Its most recent assignment had been serving as a training unit for the Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association.

After the Sunday afternoon game concluded, Marty, Ed and Jeff made their way back to Lake County, noting that there was a lot of storm damage in Geneva and Madison.

As they made their way back they stopped in Swanville and Lake City in Pennsylvania, and in Conneaut in Ohio to reminisce about what those places looked like back in the day compared with their modern day appearances.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Amtrak No. 48 was running on time when it passed Bort Road near North East.

Some folks might think they would get a better breakfast at McDonald’s than what Amtrak serves these days to its sleeping car passengers under its contemporary dining program.

The latest member of the collection of GE diesels that were built in Erie is on display at the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

The former Chicago, South Bend & South Shore “Little Joe” is another Erie-built GE unit on display in North East.

The westbound CSX trash train has a full load as it passes Bort Road under overcast skies.

Always a Thrill To See

September 10, 2018

Union Pacific locomotives are far from being a rare sight on trains in Northeast Ohio even though the western carrier does not have any track in Ohio.

But with railroads freely using each other’s motive power, seeing Uncle Pete’s units on CSX or Norfolk Southern is quite common.

It may not be an everyday occurrence, but it is common. Still, I’m pleased when a UP unit is leading a train on either railroad because chances are most the trains I see that day with have the same old, same old owner’s motive power.

The top image has a UP unit leading a pair of CSX locomotives on an eastbound auto rack train.

The bottom photo has a pair of Uncle Petes as the sole source of motive power on a westbound CSX manifest and auto rack train.

Both images were made from the Bort Road bridge near North East, Pennsylvania.

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.

Gloomy Start to My Day

July 23, 2018

I had a hankering to drive over to North East, Pennsylvania, for a day of railfanning a while back.

The weather forecast looked promising. It would be mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 60s.

I left early enough to get to Bort Road in time to catch Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

But as I motored toward Erie, Pennsylvania, it was obvious that things were not going to work out as I had planned.

Fog shrouded the highway and remained in place until I reached North East.

The fog was not necessarily a bad thing because you can get some interesting effects in fog.

I didn’t have to wait long before a westbound CSX auto rack train came along.

In this case the fog was a good thing because otherwise this train would be coming out of the rising sun.

Notice there is a former CSX unit on the point of a CSX train. Yes, the CSX markings have been blotted out.

The fog did not last long. Amtrak was running late and by the time No. 48 showed up the fog had dissipated. My hopes for a P42DC coming out of the fog evaporated with it.

Lake Shore Limited ‘Summer Consist’

June 2, 2018

As soon as the eastbound Lake Shore Limited rounded a curve in North East, Pennsylvania, I had the answer to a question I had come here to get answered.

The Chicago-Boston only edition of the train is much shorter than the usual order.

A summer track and bridge project on the route that Nos. 48 and 49 use to access New York Penn Station prompted Amtrak to suspend the New York Section of the train through early September.

Passengers boarding the Lake Shore Limited bound for New York City must make an across the platform transfer in Albany-Rensselaer, New York, to reach the Big Apple and all other points served by No. 48 south of Albany.

I expected a shortened consist for the Lake Shore, but was a little surprised at how short it was.

What I saw on Thursday was a P42DC locomotive, Viewliner baggage car, four Amfleet II coaches, two cafe cars and two Viewliner sleepers.

This is just three cars longer than the normal consist of the Boston section of a Viewliner baggage car, cafe car, Viewliner sleeper and two coaches.

Also different is that the train is operating as Nos. 448/449. Those numbers have long been used by Amtrak to denote cars assigned to the Boston section.

But it was the first time I’ve heard the train use those numbers for operational purposes west of Albany.

Meet Me at Interstate 90

May 30, 2018

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited meets a westbound CSX auto rack train beneath the bridge carrying Interstate 90 over the CSX Erie West Subdivision at the State Line exit on the border of Pennsylvania and New York just outside North East, Pennsylvania.

The auto rack train has Union Pacific motive power and a cut of manifest freight.

No. 48 was operating 43 minutes late when it left Erie, but the New York section made it to Penn Station in New York less than 10 minutes late.

2 Days Before the Summer Hiatus

May 29, 2018

Due to construction on the Spuyten Duyvil bridge and Empire Tunnel on its route in New York City this summer, the New York section of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited is being suspended between May 26 and early September south of Albany, New York.

New York-bound passengers are being directed to make an across-the-platform transfer at the Albany-Rensselaer station to an Empire Service train that will take them to New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

Of course back in the day the Lake Shore Limited as well as all New York Central Water Level Route passenger trains terminated at Grand Central.

No. 48, shown here near North East Pennsylvania, had just four more trips to make to Penn Station before the summer hiatus was to begin when I made this image from the Bort Road bridge.

And it will be a little over a week before changes are made to the food service being offered to passengers on Nos. 48 and 49.

Reportedly, a new Viewliner dining car will be assigned to the trains, but it will operate as a sleeping car passenger lounge rather than a dining car.

The immediate future of the Lake Shore Limited is as gloomy as the fog shrouding the surrounding hills of the Lake Erie escarpment here.