Posts Tagged ‘Chesapeake & Ohio Railway’

Badger Still Expected to Get Historic Designation

January 27, 2016

Despite a bureaucratic snafu, the former Chesapeake & Ohio car ferry on Lake Michigan is expected to receive National Historic Landmark status.

The designation could come as early as next month. The National Park Service recently mistakenly stated on its Facebook page that the S.S. Badger has received the landmark designation.

Badger logoHowever, the Park Service now says that the application to grant the Badger historic landmark status is still being reviewed and that the announcement had been in error.

The Badger entered service in 1952 to transport freight cars between Ludington, Michigan, and the Wisconsin cities of Manitowac, Milwaukee and Kewaunee.

The 410-foot vessel is the only coal-fired steamship still in operation in the United States. The ship remains in operation today between Ludington and Mantiowac and passage can be booked by visiting the ship’s website at

The cruise takes four hours and covers approximately 60 miles. The Badger can accommodate 600 passengers and up to 180 vehicles.

The Badger was placed in 2009 on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

“The snowstorm in Washington, D.C., was making it difficult to get through to anybody,” Chris Powell, the assistant director for communications for the National Park Service told the Ludington Daily News. “Sally Jewell, the Secretary of the Interior, ultimately signs all such designations.”


Third CSX Locomotive Gets Predecessor Herald

September 8, 2015

A third CSX locomotive has received a logo of a predecessor railroad, this time from the Chesapeake & Ohio.

Shop forces in Waycross, Georgia, applied the herald on the both sides of the nose of CW40-8 No. 7376.

It is the third locomotive to receive a herald from a CSX predecessor company.  CSX plans to affix the herald of 10 predecessors to 10 locomotives.

Other locomotives receiving emblems have included No. 256 (Seaboard Coast Line) and No. 323 (Louisville & Nashville).

C&O Sentinels Still Standing in Fostoria

August 8, 2015
The C&O style block signals still protect eastward movements over the Norfolk Southern tracks in Fostoria on the Pemberville Subdivision.

The C&O style block signals still protect eastward movements over the Norfolk Southern tracks in Fostoria on the Pemberville Subdivision.

Stack trains did not exist when these signals were put up decades ago.

Stack trains did not exist when these signals were put up decades ago.

Photographers who like older railroad block signals have been scrambling in the past few years to make images of training passing those veteran sentinels.

Class 1 railroads have been active of late in replacing signals that have stood for decades and whose design reflected the heritage of the long-time owner of the line.

Some signals have even been associated with a particular railroad. So it is with the Chesapeake & Ohio. It is not that the signals used by the C&O were unique, but they did have a look about them that said C&O.

CSX has been replacing the C&O style signals along the ex-C&O mainline between Toledo and Columbus. The former C&O signals are now all gone in Marion and some of them have been replaced in Fostoria.

But not all of them. The eastward home signals on the CSX Pemberville Subdivision for the diamonds with Norfolk Southern’s Fostoria District were still standing when I visited Fostoria in late June.

If CSX has plans to replace these signals, it is not evident. No new masts or support structures were in place next to the C&O signals.

In time, the C&O signals will probably be removed. As the old adage goes, get your photos while you can.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Storm Takes out C&O Signals on CSX Route

June 16, 2015

CSX operations in West Virginia were hampered last week after severe storms knocked out Chesapeake & Ohio era block signals in Logan County.

The disruptions occurred after a tree fell on a signal known as Lyburn at milepost 72.3 on the Logan Subdivision.

The signal was destroyed and the supporting code line was severed, which resulted in signals being out for nearly 12 miles of the line.

Trains continued to operate under TWC-D operating rules requiring verbal authority from the dispatcher. CSX routinely uses this practice on lines lacking block signals.

CSX has been replacing the C&O signals in recent years with modern signals.

In an unrelated development, Unimin Energy Solutions took delivery from CSX on Monday its first unit train of frac sand to its terminal in the Marcellus oil and gas region of Jerry Run, West Virginia.

The facility is located along Highway 50 and has a 20,000-ton storage capacity. It can load 25 trucks per hour.

In a news release, Unimin said that CSX will shuttle unit trains to continuously replenish its frac sand inventory.

Something to Smile About Today

June 12, 2015


Sometimes an image brings back good times from the past. While this image was not taken on a special “good” day, I can’t help but smile. Perhaps this will make you smile, too.

Shown is Chesapeake & Ohio No. 3916 heading west through Akron on May 3, 1981.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

C&O 1309 Reaches Cumberland, Unloading Begins

July 25, 2014

Crews were working Thursday to unload the Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 at its new  home on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Md.

The steam locomotive arrived at the CSX-WM interchange late Thursday morning and Hulcher and the railroad spent much of the afternoon disconnecting cables and assembling dozers in anticipation of the locomotive’s unloading at the Ridgeley shops.

By mid-afternoon, Hulcher crews had successfully unloaded the locomotive’s front drivers from a flat car to one of the shop’s spur tracks.

Once unloaded, crew immediately shifted their efforts to the locomotive’s tender, using four “side-winders” to unload it.

The locomotive arrived in Cumberland late Wednesday afternoon on a Baltimore to Cumberland revenue freight led by CSX SD40-2 No. 8870 and GE C40-8 No. 7583

The 1309 was transported on two TTX railcars, which were the fourth and fifth cars in the consist of the manifest freight. Photographers and bystanders stood trackside along the train’s route along the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline.

Detroit-Holland Rail Ridership Study Coming

July 12, 2014

Authorization for the Michigan Department of Transportation to study reinstituting passenger rail service between Detroit and Holland, Mich., via Lansing and Grand Rapids, was part of the fiscal year 2015 budget approved by Gov. Rick Synder.

The study of potential ridership along the route is expected to be conducted later this year.

A grant application has been filed with the Service Development and New Technology program for $100,000 to fund the study. The program is a federal grant program facilitated by MDOT.

The grant is expected to be awarded in August with the study taking six months to complete.

The authorization for the study mandates that the results be reported to the Michigan state legislature by May 2015.

The ridership study will be limited in scope. An alternative analysis and environmental impact study will need to be conducted if the ridership study finds that demand supports the re-establishment of a passenger rail line between Detroit and Holland.

The cost of an alternative analysis and environmental impact study is expected to be between $700,000 to $1 million, according to Dan Sommerville, a policy associate with the Michigan Environmental Council and member of the Michigan By Rail team.

“(The ridership study) is a much lower-cost study, but it’s going to give us the main piece of whether or not to proceed with the rest of the planning process,” he said.

Sommerville said ridership demand would be determined by looking at a such things as traffic patterns along Interstate 96, which runs parallel to the former Pere Marequette route that would be used.

The ridership study will also examine population densities, employment concentration, and people’s origin and destination patterns along the corridor.

“We’ve got a number of statistics and data that shows the ridership demand is there, but essentially what this study does is looks at the ridership demand — what is the real demand for passenger rail service in this corridor,” Sommerville said.

He said a 2002 study only examined the Lansing to Detroit segment of the corridor.

“Since 2002, when that last report came out from Detroit to Lansing, there has been a 78 percent increase in rail ridership just here in Michigan,” he said.

The location of colleges and universities is another factor expected to support ridership demand in the Detroit-Holland corridor.

Sommerville said more than a dozen colleges and universities sit within walking distance of corridor rail stations.

“U of M put out a study that looked at what are the different kinds of riders that we have here in Michigan,” he said. “They broke down who was riding the train, and found that more than 20 percent of Michigan riders are students. That is a considerable source of demand right there.”

Sommerville noted that Michigan is trying to attract young workers, and studies have shown that young workers want a variety of public transportation options.

He said passenger rail is one of the pieces of infrastructure that Michigan needs to invest in to keep young workers from leaving the state.

Economic impact is another factor in favor of passenger rail service.

Sommerville said Grand Valley State University conducted a study in 2009 looking at the annual community benefit of having a rail station in a city. The study found $62 million in annual community benefits that are attributable to having a train station in town.

The study looked at the cost savings to passengers of taking rail over driving or flying, the spending of a rail passenger on retail, restaurants and hotels, and Amtrak’s annual investment in Michigan.

“Amtrak, in 2013, invested over $31 million in goods and services from Michigan companies,” Sommerville said. “That is a sizeable amount of investment that is coming from having rail service in Michigan.”

No cost estimates have been made for bringing the ex-Pere Marequette line – now owned by CSX – up to passenger train utility.

“Upgrading tracks to run trains at a higher speed is much less costly than getting new land and laying new tracks,” Sommerville said. “Essentially, the cost we are looking at here is upgrading the current rails and procuring new train cars.”

Until the May 1, 1971, inception of Amtrak, the Chesapeake & Ohio operated four trains a day between Detroit and Holland.

After Amtrak began, the only intercity rail service in Michigan linked Chicago and Detroit. That route has since been extended to Pontiac.

Michigan funds Amtrak service between Chicago and Grand Rapids, and between Chicago and Port Huron.