Posts Tagged ‘coal train’

Labor Day Weekend Heritage Hunt Yields 2 Units

September 4, 2012

I went down to southern West Virginia on Labor Day weekend because a large concentration of Norfolk Southern 30th anniversary heritage locomotives were reported to be in that area.

On Friday night, we drove to Ashland, Ky., and spent the night there. Saturday morning found us traveling to Kenova, W.Va., because a heitage unit had been spotted there. But we didn’t find anything.

We continued following the former Norfolk & Western main eastward. We found a giant mainline coal dock about 20 miles east and set up for a photo. Surely a train would pass, but after two hours of waiting nothing did.

The website had a report of the Savannah & Atlanta engine going through Columbus, Ohio, about 7 a.m. with an empty coal train bound for Williamson W.Va. But we didn’t know exactly where it was.

Following the line further east we found a nice sun-lighted tunnel, No. 7 I believe. This would make a nice photo if we had a train, but the signals were solid red.

As we were about to leave the signal turned green. After a short wait, a train appeared with the S&A unit leading.

We chased it into Williamson, catching it several times.

We then moved on to Bluefield. However, we got completely lost – there was no cell phone or GPS reception in the mountains – and the Delorme atlas wasn’t much help either. We arrived  after dark.

In the meantime, we found out that had we stayed home we could have gotten the Monongahela heritage locomotive that was going through Cleveland on Saturday morning.

On Sunday morning, we talked to a couple of railfans who said that NS heritage unit 8114 (original Norfolk Southern) was working helper service on the other side of the yard.

Alas, we didn’t find it either. They also told us that the Lehigh Valley heritage locomotive had gone west during the night heading for Ohio.

Striking out again, we headed for Roanoke, Va., where some other heritage units had been reported to be.

Again, we found no heritage units; they were in the shops for repairs.

We did visit the Virginia Transportation Museum where the N&W 1776 Bicentennial and an Alco C630 high hood had been recently repainted. So the trip here was not a complete loss.

On the drive home, we heard more reports of 8114 at Bluefield, but we still missed it.

On Monday back in Cleveland, the Central of Georgia (NS 8101) came west on the 11V, which we did get at Olmsted Falls.

So I ended up with two heritage locomotives for the weekend although I had hoped for more. Nonetheless, while we were lost on Saturday, we did find some scenic coal branches that were not being used over the weekend. It was like being adrift in the ocean surrounded by water but with nothing to drink.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Deshler Derf Dash Proved Satisfying

May 28, 2012

On my way to Derf fest in Deshler — so called because of the Derf chicken that is served — we came to an advanced state of whoa in Attica.

A Norfolk Southern coal train was blocking the U.S. Route 224 crossing. The head end power was just south of town so we detoured to check it out.

Two Dash 9s were hammerhead style (long hood forward). I thought this was strange, particularly where he was stopped he could have moved further south you would think.

Then it hit me that this wasn’t the head end but the rear of the coal train.

The power that I was looking at was the helper set. This is common in places like Pennsylvania and Virginia but not central Ohio.

We proceeded north to Attica Jct. (Siam) to find the head end. This was a monster coal train stretching over two miles long.

He was holding for a couple southbound NS trains and finally proceeded north when they cleared.

He then stopped north of the diamonds with CSX and blocked the Ohio Route 4 crossing. If the goal was to block every crossing in Ohio he was succeeding.

Also at Siam was an eastbound CSX ethanol train with two ICE SD40-2s waiting on a crew. Several CSX trains passed him but he still didn’t move so we continued our trip.

At Deshler we found a very crowded rail park and got many more good pictures. After camping out I got some reflection shots in the morning.

On the way back home I got a surprise in Fostoria. CSX has updated a former Chessie safety caboose, which is used as the shoving platform on a local freight.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Chasing Down the PRR Heritage Unit

April 23, 2012

Rounding the curve at CP 281 (Milbury, Ohio).

I had a very impromptu chase on Sunday of Norfolk Southern No. 8102, the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit, on its first revenue run.

It was looking like an all night run for it on a coal train between Conway Yard near Pittsburgh and Toledo. But some delays had the coal train departing Cleveland around 8 a.m.

I caught wind of that and took off to intercept it. Due to the cloudy weather I elected to just go to Toledo and make sure I got ahead of it.

After about an hour wait due to several other westbound trains ahead, the 8102 showed up. Luck was with us as they were going to yard the train in Toledo, so a slow trip down the controlled siding allowed for some side by side shots with other trains.

The clouds had hung on all morning, but just as the train got the OK to proceed west the sun starting breaking through a bit. A backup move is required to yard these trains on the old Stanley Secondary.

When they pulled west we headed for the Miami Street bridge and were rewarded with some sun on this shiny new unit.

Once the train was parked, I headed back to the CP 285 area to photograph other trains until the sun moved around a little more on the nose. It was a tight angle where it was parked, which by the way is on former Chesapeake & Ohio track. But I tried a few different views anyway.

To enlarge the photographs, click on the image.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Passing under the ex-New York Central style signal bridge at CP 281.

A "cornfield meet" with another NS train near CP 285.

Two trains stopped at CP 285 for the TT to cross.

The sun finally came out! NS 8102 passing under the Miami Street bridge in Toledo.

The view from the other side of the bridge as the 8102 enters the Maumee bridge.

The next three views are of the parked train on what was once C&O track in Toledo.