Posts Tagged ‘bridges’

New Bridges Bring New Vantages points for Rail Photographers in Cleveland, Akron

October 3, 2021

On a recent Sunday, I had the opportunity to head to Wendy Park at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and check out the new foot bridge over the Norfolk Southern tracks at CP Drawbridge.

The foot bridge brings the Towpath Trail to its northern terminus at Lake Erie.

For us railfans it means an elevated vantage point to photograph NS Chicago Line trains. Lighting during the afternoon I spent there was perfect for westbounds coming off the Cuyahoga River lift bridge.

Depending on where the sun is you can get buildings in downtown Cleveland as your backdrop, or, as it was when I was there, FirstEnergy Stadium and the industrial structures on the east bank of the river.

To access the footbridge you park at Wendy Park or on the west bank near the Willow Street lift bridge over the old river bed.

A short walk up the ramp will get you to the best spots for photography. The fence is the large chain link so most camera lenses will fit between the links.

In Akron, the new Evans Avenue overpass over the CSX New Castle Subdivision at the east end of Akron Yard will be opening soon. The new bridge will have a fence on it over the tracks, but we’ll have to see what it looks like from beside the fencing for shots of CSX trains on the former Baltimore & Ohio.

Akron Railroad Club member Ron McElrath visited the bridge site on Sept. 17 and reported the bridge was about to open.

An access road descends toward the former grade crossing, which at the time still had working gates and lights despite the lack of a road.

The new bridge has a sidewalk that is fenced over the tracks. The Freedom Trail, which uses a portion of the former Erie Lackawanna right of way, offers good vantage points, particularly the wood stairs opposite the connection to the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Friendly Wave at Alliance

May 30, 2021

It’s July 1972 in Alliance. The fireman of Penn Central Alco C628 No. 6314 is giving a friendly wave as the train enters the Bayard Branch on its way to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh. Also in the motive power consist are PC 6314, 6300, and 6317. The track under the rear trucks of No. 6314 is the Fort Wayne Line to Canton and Chicago.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Conrail Two for Tuesday

September 15, 2020

It’s Tuesday and time to present a pair of images from the same railroad.

In the top image, we see Conrail SD60M leading an eastbound manifest freight on the Fort Wayne Line in Orrville on May 25, 1996.

The bridge it is passing beneath carries the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

The photographer wrote about the image, “while Conrail tolerated my entering their little-used yard in Orrville, Norfolk Southern would not allow this today.”

In the bottom image, Conrail SD45 No. 6130 is shown in Akron in June 1979 during the railroad’s relatively short life in the rubber city.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

 

 

Vintage Scene in Alliance

July 1, 2020

It is July 9, 1972. Penn Central GP 40 No. 3221 is eastbound in Alliance on the Fort Wayne Line.

Much of what you see here is gone although the track layout remains largely the same.

The bridge in the background carries Main Street in Alliance over the maze of former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

The rear of No. 3221 is over the diamond of the Fort Wayne Line and what is today the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern that goes to Bayard and Yellow Creek on the Ohio River. The PRR called it the Mahoning Secondary Track.

One of the more interesting elements of this scene involves the signals on the bridge, which in Pennsy days was known as Bridge 83.23.

As explained by author Robert J. Yanosey in volume 12 of his Pennsylvania Railroad Facilities series, this was not an interlocked crossing although it almost was.

By law, railroads in Ohio were required to place a target signal on mainline tracks at non-interlocked crossings.

The position of the target controlled the signal circuits so that signal indications could not be displayed unless the target was lined correctly for the route of travel.

When the target was in the vertical position, Fort Wayne Line trains could move with the flow of traffic if they received a signal indication of better than stop.

The signal heads mounted on the bridge are for Tracks 2 and 3 while the signal for Track 1 was on the ground.

Just to the right of the nose of the 3221 is the Alliance block station, from which the signals for the crossing of the Cleveland Line and Fort Wayne Line were operated.

It was a block station only for Cleveland Line trains.

Today all of these signals are gone and the Fort Wayne Line here is a single track. Most traffic uses a double-track connection between the Cleveland Line and Fort Wayne Line.

But back in 1972 that connection was a single track

Photograph by Robert Farkas

The Rio Grande of the East: Part 4

April 2, 2020

The east end of the Wheeling & Lake Erie is known for its many tunnels and high steel bridges.  Probably the best known is Speer trestle over the Monongahela River.

Completed in 1929, Speer is a masterpiece of iron and steel and uniquely was built to house two different rail lines, including the former Pittsburgh & West Virginia on top and the Monessen Southwestern on the lower deck.

The Pennsylvania Railroad objected to this and the lower track was never completed but it makes for a unique design nonetheless. I have caught a coupe trains here over the last few weeks.

The first two pictures are of the Denver & Rio Grande Western pair heading back to Pittsburgh from Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

The last two photographs are of a train heading to Connellsville. The typical operation is a train running Pittsburgh to Connellsville one day and returning the next.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Rocky River and Its Railroad Bridges

October 18, 2019

It was only in recent years that I discovered there is a part of Berea and its railroads that few railfans either know about or have sought to photograph.

Many railfans know that CSX and Norfolk Southern span the East Branch of the Rocky River on bridges that were built in the early 20th century.

But there are some nice images to be had involving those bridges if you take the time to explore the Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks.

This image was made from a  trail that leads to Berea Falls, which is just north of the NS Chicago Line bridge.

The CSX bridge is the farthest and the NS bridge the closest.

In the middle is the abandoned Lake Shore & Michigan Southern bridge.

The bridges are an interesting study in design. I can’t image a railroad today creating a bridge that uses stones as the LS&MS bridge does or even concrete arches as the does the CSX and NS bridges.

Presumably, these bridges are structurally sound enough to bear the heavy rail traffic they see every day.

It probably is a matter of time before the bridge departments of these two railroads will begin discussing replacing them.

Perhaps those discussions have occurred already. Bridges don’t last forever.

Yet they are expensive to replace and given the high volume of traffic on these routes would also entail extensive planning.

Their replacement will likely be put off until absolutely necessary.

NS Opens New Painesville Bridge

October 1, 2018

Norfolk Southern opened the new bridge in Painesville over the Grand River on Sunday evening.

Akron Railroad Club member Jeff Troutman reported that the first train over the new structure was intermodal train 206, which started across at 6:58 p.m. The train had two locomotives and 45 cars.

Development of the new bridge began in March 2017. The 1,318-foot structure is supported by seven concrete pillars.

It replaces a steel trestle built in 1905 by the Nickel Plate Road that has 14 support structures and is located just north of the new bridge.

The Painesville bridge is part of the NS Lake Erie District that links Cleveland and Buffalo, New York. The line sees 10 to 15 trains per day.

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.

NS Wants to Remove Bridge in Toledo

January 24, 2018

A bridge over the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern in Toledo that is often used by railfan photographers may be coming down soon.

The railroad has offered to the city of Toledo to remove the bridge at no expense to the city.

The bridge, which is located at the west end of Central Union Terminal, now know as Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, is no longer open to vehicular traffic, but is used by pedestrians.

An NS government affairs officer told the Toledo City Council that the bridge presents a problem if the tracks need repair.

“The underlying track bed that the trains ride on top of is limited for maintenance because you’re unable to do any sort of raising of the underlying track bed at the location because of the tightness of where the bridge is,” he told the council.

Councilman Peter Ujvagi asked that the vote be delayed until he has the opportunity to meet with residents of the neighborhood who use the bridge.

Councilman Tyrone Riley expressed general concerns about NS bridges in the city, saying they need maintenance and are “in very deplorable condition.”

Kristin Cousino, a senior engineer with the City of Toledo, agrees with Riley. “[NS has] been reluctant to do so to the standards that the city will like.”

Historic Toledo RR Bridge Available for Free

January 5, 2018

If you’ve driven on the Ohio Turnpike past Toledo you’ve probably seen an abandoned railroad bridge over the Maumee River alongside the highway.

It once carried the tracks of the Toledo Terminal Railroad, which made a loop around Toledo. It was in its day the only complete railroad beltway in the country to form a complete loop.

Now The Wood County Port Authority and the Ohio Department of Transportation have a deal in place that will allow the bridge to be removed.

The agreement, which also includes the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, requires the bridge to be documented and, if possible, reused.

The bridge was built in 1902 and in its current condition cannot be used for railroad, highway or even trail uses. CSX conveyed it to the port authority in 2011.

The port authority is willing to give the bridge to a community or park system if they will place it somewhere else.

ODOT has agreed to preserve the spans before and after they’re removed. The swing spans are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places because they are an example of an uncommon type of bridge.

A commemorative plaque and display about the bridge and railroad will be placed near its present site and parts of the bridge could be used along the Chessie Circle Trail.

Before the bridge is removed, it will be documented using Historic American Engineering Record standards. So far, no one has come forward to claim the bridge.