Posts Tagged ‘Bort Road’

Roll em Salad Shooter, Roll em

August 13, 2017

Running as L090, the salad shooter approaches Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania.

The white refrigerated reefers on the end are a hallmark of the salad shooter.

Q090 passes has just passed the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

Qo90 is one of those trains that I can go for months without seeing and then I go through a spell where I see it regularly.

I seem to be in the latter mode this summer with the train that some CSX crews have nicknamed the salad shooter, a handle that has stuck in the railfan community.

It is a train of perishable produce that originates in California and the Pacific Northwest on Union Pacific with the two sections joining somewhere on the UP network.

Operating on an expedited schedule, the train is handed off to CSX in Chicago which takes it to a warehouse near Albany, New York.

I have rarely seen the return trip, which operates as Q091. I don’t believe this is a daily train. Almost always when I’ve seen it it has been a Sunday.

I’ve never seen the salad shooter have anything other than UP motive power.

In past years, the train had a fairly uniform consist of white refrigerated boxcars.

Those along with the UP motive power was a tell-tale sign that the train you were seeing was the Q090.

But in recent sightings, the consist has included what appear to be regular boxcars, many of them lettered for Golden West Service.

The cars appear to be marshaled in a series of cuts, which might reflect a series of loading docks and/or shippers.

I’ve never seen the Tropicana Juice train, but in my mind the salad shooter plays a similar role across the northern tier of CSX between Chicago and the Middle Atlantic. Both are a specialized service moving products that need to get there in a hurry in order to stay fresh.

Seeing Red

August 10, 2017

Train Q165 roars past the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

On a couple of back-to-back outings I had the good luck of seeing Canadian Pacific motive power on four trains.

Two of them were Q165 and Q166, which are Chicago-Buffalo, New York, run through trains on CSX that have been operating for a few years now.

I used to somewhat regularly see one of those trains at Berea, but that hasn’t been the case for a while.

I’ve only seen both of them in the same day twice and each time I was in North East, Pennsylvania.

I also found CP motive power leading a pair of Norfolk Southern trains, the 216 and the 67X. One of those was moving and the other was tied down.

I didn’t mind seeing so much red and wouldn’t mind seeing it again now that CP has resumed putting its beaver tail logo on the flanks of some locomotives.

The light was less than ideal to get Q166, which was one of five consecutive eastbounds allowed to move as CSX was single-tracking the Erie West Subdivision between North East, Pennsylvania, and a point in New York York State.

A pair of CPs lead NS 216 through the vineyard country near Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania.

The first of two views of NS train 67X tied down near Lewis Road in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

 

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.

Here Comes Amtrak

June 20, 2017

This time I didn’t miss. More than a week ago I told the story of how I was railfanning with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler in Willoughby when a very late Amtrak No. 48 came charging through town.

We had no inkling the eastbound Lake Shore Limited had yet to come through because we had not bothered to check to see if it had.

A week or so later I decided to make amends for that during a planned trip to North East, Pennsylvania.

I left home to get to Bort Road in plenty of time to catch Amtrak, which was running about 45 or so minutes late.

Here it is passing through the vineyard country near the shore of Lake Erie along the Pennsylvania-New York border.

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

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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.

Catching a Few Trains After Sunrise at Bort Road

October 6, 2015
NS train 205 emerges from the rising sunlight with a pair of Union Pacific wings on the nose.

NS train 205 emerges from the rising sunlight with a pair of Union Pacific wings on the nose.

The objective was to catch Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited at Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania. That meant a very early morning departure from Cleveland.

We would have needed to leave early anyway because we were out to intercept the ferry move of the Nickel Plate Road 765 and we didn’t know what time it would be leaving Buffalo, New York. Better to be too early than too late. So Amtrak and anything that came our way was really just a bonus.

The Cleveland-Buffalo mainlines of Norfolk Southern and CSX are several yards apart at Bort Road. The road crosses over the former New York Central tracks on a single-lane wood bridge while it crosses the former Nickel Plate tracks at grade.

It is just one of the many charms and quirks that make Bort Road one of my favorite places to photograph.

The last time I was here, the bridge was closed. It has since been strengthened and re-opened. We were amazed at how much vehicle traffic there was during our two-hour stay.

We had scarcely parked and gotten settled when NS ran the 205 past us with a Union Pacific leader. It was followed in short order by the 27R, another stack train.

We would also later see the eastbound NS 316, which had a pair of Canadian Pacific units on the point. That would be the last train that we saw for the day in sunlight.

Under ordinary circumstances, CSX has the most trains past here in any 24-hour period. But on this day, it was a 3-3 tie that is actually generous to CSX because it counts Amtrak and a piece of maintenance of way equipment.

A tie replacement program had CSX track No. 2 out of service for several miles and trains were being fleeted by direction.

After Amtrak 48 ran, the dispatcher sent the Q004. All trains on CSX had to use Track No. 1 and get permission from a foreman to proceed through the work zone, which extended from North East into New York state.

For a few miles in North East trains were restricted to 25 miles per hour.

Norfolk Southern also had track gangs at work, but its traffic appeared to be less affected than was the case with CSX.

By the time that the Q004 arrived, a massive cloud bank had rolled in off Lake Erie. By now, though, it was time to move on to Westfield.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Not all of the well cars on the NS 205 were filled.

Not all of the well cars on the NS 205 were filled.

Trailers behind the containers on the 205.

Trailers behind the containers on the 205.

Here comes the 27R beneath Interstate 90.

Here comes the 27R beneath Interstate 90.

The 27R had a lone unit for motive power and, for now, a clear track ahead. The latter would soon change.

The 27R had a lone unit for motive power and, for now, a clear track ahead. The latter would soon change.

A cut of JB Hunt containers bring up the rear of NS train 27R.

A cut of JB Hunt containers bring up the rear of NS train 27R.

The first of a two-shot sequence of a lone piece of CSX MOW equipment moving on to its next assignment.

The first of a two-shot sequence of a lone piece of CSX MOW equipment moving on to its next assignment.

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A pair of Canadian Pacific locomotives lead the NS 316 at North East, Pennsylvania.

A pair of Canadian Pacific locomotives lead the NS 316 at North East, Pennsylvania.

NS train 316 was the last movement we saw in sunshine. We would see this train again more than an hour later and the skies were anything but blue.

NS train 316 was the last movement we saw in sunshine. We would see this train again more than an hour later and the skies were anything but blue. Note the bank of clouds gathering behind the front end of the train to the right.

The Q004 is accelerating out of a 25 mph speed restriction that ended about a mile north of here.

The Q004 is accelerating out of a 25 mph speed restriction that ended about a mile north of here.

The one-lane wood bridge carrying Bort Road over the CSX tracks has been strengthened since my last visit.

The one-lane wood bridge carrying Bort Road over the CSX tracks has been strengthened since my last visit.

More than a hour after seeing NS 316 at Bort Road we caught it again, this time in Westfeld. By now the sunshine had been replaced by rain and gloomy skies.

More than a hour after seeing NS 316 at Bort Road we caught it again, this time in Westfeld. By now the sunshine had been replaced by rain and gloomy skies.

 

 

Bort Road Closed in North East, Pa.

September 30, 2013

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If you’ve ever photographed trains at North East, Pa., chances are you’ve spent some time shooting at Bort Road, a country road just off Interstate 90 that crosses over the CSX tracks (ex-New York Central) on a narrow, ancient bridge.

It’s an odd arrangement because right after motorists cross over CSX tracks, they encounter a single-track Norfolk Southern line (ex-Nickel Plate) at grade.

On Sunday morning, I arrived at Bort Road to find that it has been closed. There is a small pile of new steel supports of some type located next to the CSX tracks.

It was not clear if this mean that the bridge is going to be replaced, if the closure is permanent or if some other type of road work will be done. For now, it means that you can photograph from the bridge without having to dodge passing traffic.

I hung around for a while and caught the hour late Amtrak No. 48, the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

Not long after Amtrak 48 cleared, an eastbound CSX manifest freight came past on Track No. 2.

If the bridge carrying Bort Road over the tracks is replaced, chances are there will be fence on it and the open views down the tracks will no longer be available.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders