Posts Tagged ‘CSX at Greenwich Ohio’

Out ‘West’ on CSX

October 14, 2020

Today we’re going out west to view a couple of CSX trains at two hotspots.

You probably think of somewhere west of the Mississippi River or in the Rocky Mountain states when seeing the term “out West”

But in this instance we mean west of Akron.

Both photographs mere made on April 21, 2011. The top image was made in Williard at toward the end of the yard.

The bottom image shows an eastbound on the former Big Four crossing the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline that runs through Akron and Youngstown.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Circle Trip of Reservoirs and Railroads

June 5, 2018


My original plan for railfanning on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend was to drive down to New London and “recreate” a memorable Akron Railroad Club outing of 2006.

I remember that outing for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that it was billed as a trip to Greenwich but started out in New London because that is where Marty Surdyk wanted it to begin.

We did get to Greenwich, eventually, but not until mid to late afternoon.

I had never been to either location so I had to rely on Marty for directions on getting there.

My memories from that day include seeing the CSX executive train headed westbound through Greenwich, seeing a caboose on an eastbound manifest freight at New London and catching a BNSF warbonnet leading a train at New London.

There was also the emphatic manner in which the late Tim Krogg suggested that it was time to get some bleeping lunch and how Peter Bowler schooled us in how a flock of buzzards is known as a kettle.

I enjoyed that outing so much that I suggested in 2013 that we do it again. It was scheduled, but I was the only person who showed up.

As I was heading west on Interstate 480 I decided to modify my plans.

I would make this a reservoir circle trip with stops in Wellington, New London and Attica. By day’s end I wanted to have photographs of trains and water at four reservoirs, three of them located above ground.

This would hinge, of course, on the cooperation of CSX, which since the onset of scheduled precision railroading has reduced the number of trains it operates. Those that do run tend to be much longer.

Sure enough, CSX was dead when I arrived in Wellington. I would wait 45 minutes before finally hearing an eastbound stack train calling signals on the radio.

Making images of an above-ground reservoir and trains is a challenge because of the distance between the shoreline and the tracks.

If you feature the shoreline that is closet to the rails, you have to use a wide-angle lens, which guarantees you’ll only get a portion of the water. In proportion to the scene the train will be small.

The latter doesn’t bother me but it does some railfan photographers.

You can also try to shoot across the water with a telephoto lens but you might not get the train. Remember, these are above ground reservoirs.

My first catch of the day in Wellington was an eastbound stack train with a pair of BNSF locomotives running elephant style. Not bad.

It was late morning so I decided to move on to New London. But as I was walking toward my car I heard the westbound Q163 stack train calling signals and decided to wait for it.

I tried a different angle, going for the north shoreline that is perpendicular to the tracks. The downside of this view is that I could get very little of the train into the image. Interestingly, the Q163 also had BNSF motive power.

I arrived in New London during another CSX lull that also lasted about 45 minutes.

I could hear other CSX trains on the radio, but nothing that would be coming through New London.

I also heard a Wheeling & Lake Erie train get track authority from Hartland to Spencer, meaning I would have seen it had I stayed in Wellington.

I finally got a train just before noon, an eastbound crude oil train with three BNSF units.

Hmmmm. I’m starting to see a pattern here. Did BNSF buy CSX and I didn’t know about it? Fat chance of that.

My idea was to shoot this train in the same manner that I did the Q163 at Wellington. It would have worked had I been paying more attention to the water and less to the locomotives.

I managed to create an image that didn’t show any of the water.

That would not be the case with the next train, a W&LE train off the Carey
Subdivision carrying stone in gondola cars and a few covered hoppers.

I heard this train get permission from the IP dispatcher in Jacksonville to enter CSX track at Greenwich at GN Tower.

At the time time, I thought this was fantastic news. I would be getting a Wheeling train after all.

Yet when the train showed up, it’s locomotives were both running long hood forward.

At least I got some water in this image and the lead unit is a former BNSF locomotive still in its BNSF colors. That sort of kept my BNSF motive power streak alive.

That streak was snapped when the Q348 showed up with CSX motive power. It stopped at CP 47 to allow the Q008 to pass.

I got the Q008 passing the manifest freight and some water.

The chatter on the radio indicated that more trains were coming, including the Q010 so I stayed a little longer at New London.

That paid off when a westbound auto rack train came past with a CREX (Citirail) ES44AC in the lead.

I’ve always like the color scheme of these Citirail units, but I’ve seldom been able to catch them leading a train.

The trailing unit of the auto rack train, by the way, was, you guessed it, a BNSF unit, which would be the final binsiff I would see on this day.

After the passage of the Q010, I set out for Attica but distractions along the way kept me from getting to the Attica reservoirs until late afternoon.

First, I stopped in Greenwich to photograph an eastbound CSX auto rack train whose headlight I saw in the distance as I crossed the Mt. Victory Subdivision tracks on U.S. Route 224.

Upon crossing the Sandusky District tracks of Norfolk Southern in Attica, I saw the rear of an eastbound and decided to check it out.

It turned out to be a grain train with three Canadian National units for motive power that I wound up chasing to Bucyrus where I got it going around the connection to the Fort Wayne Line.

I made further stops near Chatfield to photograph across a field a stopped eastbound NS manifest freight and to make some non-rail photographs in Chatfield of a hardware store that is going out of business.

By the time I got to the lower Attica reservoir, the Sandusky District had been turned into a parking lot because of a malfunctioning switch at Colsan in Bucyrus.

I waited a while before catching the eastbound 188 passing the reservoir, which had surprisingly smooth water for a windy day. That yielded a nice reflection image.

I had heard the 20E calling signals and thought I’d get it at the upper Attica reservoir a short distance away.

The dispatcher had told the 188 to stop at County Line Road and maybe the 20E would stop behind it.

I drove up to the top of the upper Attica reservoir, but there was no 20E. It was getting late and I didn’t want to get home too late, so I decided to forgo getting an image from my fourth reservoir of the day.

Although I looked, I never did see the 20E. Either the train I photographed at the lower Attica reservoir had been the 20E or it slipped past me as I was driving through Attica.

 

 

Competitors and Partners

June 13, 2017

I recently read a quotation from a railroad trade group official to the effect that trucks are among the strongest competitors for railroads and at the same time one of their best partners.

Trucks have taken away large quantities of business from railroads over the years and yet given large amounts of business in return.

Shown is CSX eastbound train Q226 on the Mt. Victory Subdivision in Greenwich.

I heard it coming and was looking for a location to photograph it before it went into the connection to the New Castle Sub to head toward Akron and Youngstown.

Framing the lead locomotive with a fleet of trailers sitting near the tracks was a last-minute decision.

Seeking the New Normal on CSX in Greenwich

March 5, 2016

Eastbound Q015 rattles the diamonds at Boyd in Greenwich as it rolls out onto the New Castle Subdivision in Greenwich.

Eastbound Q015 rattles the diamonds at Boyd in Greenwich as it rolls out onto the New Castle Subdivision in Greenwich.

I recently went to Greenwich because I hadn’t been there for quite some time but also to check out how busy CSX is or isn’t these days.

During my recent outings in Berea, it has seemed as though the number of trains on CSX is down.

Greenwich is as busy a CSX hotspot as you’ll find in Northeast Ohio. You’ll see all of the traffic that passes through Berea as well as all of the traffic that passes through Akron.

I arrived in Greenwich in late morning on a Sunday and was surprised to find that I was the only railfan there.

The first hour was pretty quiet with the only trains being a pair of intermodals, one in each direction, on the Greenwich Subdivision.

Although there seemed to be fairly steady radio transmissions, Greenwich didn’t have the feel of activity as it has in the past.

The Willard Subdivision west of Greenwich is known for having trains stacked up waiting to get into the yard.

Nothing I heard on the radio indicated that that was the case on this day.

The IP dispatcher didn’t seem to be facing any “crisis” situations as has often been the case in the past.

Listening to the radio in Greenwich can be deceptive. If you have a good antenna you’ll hear discussions involving trains in the yard and operating west of Willard.

Many of those trains have either already passed through Greenwich or won’t be arriving for a good hour or more.

I had brought along the most recent issue of Trains and had plenty of time to read it.

The news section had stories about the changing nature of railroad freight traffic, including assertions that the future lies with intermodal.

So perhaps it was noteworthy that of the 17 trains that I saw, eight of them were intermodal trains.

Traffic began picking up about mid afternoon and at times the Greenwich of today resembled the Greenwich of yore.

A few railfans drifted in and out of town, stopping for a while to watch trains.

Things seemed to return to “normal” when two westbounds became stacked up east of town on the New Castle Subdivision.

A Q263 sat for a while at the home signals for CP54, a.k.a. Boyd, waiting for a pair of trains to come up the single-track Mt. Victory Subdivision from Crestline.

And it wouldn’t be a day in Greenwich without at least one problem bothering the dispatcher.

A Q163 arrived on the Willard Sub with an hour left to work and a bad order car to set out. There was quite a bit of chatter about that, primarily involving how far west the train would go before getting a new crew.

Aside from the eight intermodal trains, the day’s count included a crude oil train, two auto rack trains, one coke train, three manifest freights and two Wheeling & Lake Erie trains.

It has been quite a while since I’ve seen a coal train on CSX in Northeast Ohio. Maybe that traffic has dried up. Do any more Power River Basin coal trains still run on CSX through Northeast Ohio?

All in all, it had been a good outing from a railfanning perspective with most of the traffic coming in the final two hours of my five-and-a-half-hour day.

I haven’t kept records of how many trains I’ve seen in Greenwich during past outings so I can’t draw any definitive conclusions about CSX traffic being significantly down.

Still, I came away with the feeling that things are not quite what they used to be. What I observed on Sunday seems to be the new normal for CSX in our region.

There remain many trains to watch and photograph, but not quite as many of them as there used to be.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Here comes the Q163 off the Greenwich Sub and onto the long connection in Greenwich.

Here comes the Q163 off the Greenwich Sub and onto the long connection in Greenwich.

There are still a few crude oil trains left to see, including this eastbound.

There are still a few crude oil trains left to see, including this eastbound.

The head end of the Q010 is passing the tail end of the Q113 on the connecting tracks in Greenwich.

The head end of the Q010 is passing the tail end of the Q113 on the connecting tracks in Greenwich.

That's quite a colorful motive power consist that the Q004 has. The dominant color is red.

That’s quite a colorful motive power consist that the Q004 has. The dominant color is red.

The Q375 was able to highball on through Greenwich without waiting. It is shown passing the home signals for Boyd on the New Castle Sub.

The Q375 was able to highball on through Greenwich without waiting. It is shown passing the home signals for Boyd on the New Castle Sub.

I don't know if that rail is old or new, but it sure looks rusty. The Q263 is headed onto the single track toward Crestline.

I don’t know if that rail is old or new, but it sure looks rusty. The Q263 is headed onto the single track toward Crestline.

The L017 is taking the long connection today off the Greenwich Sub.

The L017 is taking the long connection today off the Greenwich Sub.

The K182 had to wait awhile east of Greenwich before getting a signal at Boyd. The coke train is shown in the growing shadows of late afternoon transitioning from the New Castle Sub to the Willard Sub.

The K182 had to wait awhile east of Greenwich before getting a signal at Boyd. The coke train is shown in the growing shadows of late afternoon transitioning from the New Castle Sub to the Willard Sub.

The Little Guys Wins One in Greenwich

March 3, 2016

Feb28 Greenwich 01-x

Regional and short-line railroads that have trackage rights on a busy Class 1 mainline are not always a top priority on someone else’s property.

No one knows that better than the Wheeling & Lake Erie, which must use CSX tracks to get between CP47 in New London on the CSX Greenwich Subdivision and GN Tower in Greenwich on the Willard Subdivision, where the W&LE line to Carey diverges.

So when I heard a W&LE train key up the CSX IG dispatcher last Sunday to get permission to enter the Greenwich Sub at New London, I expected the Wheeling train would have a long wait.

The dispatcher, though, seemed to indicate that the wait would be short. “Watch for a signal” after a UPS train passed by. That would be the Q010, which was already through Greenwich.

Not long after that, though, what had been a relatively quiet Greenwich Sub sprang to life with a parade of eastbound traffic, including the Q008, Q004 and L382.

Also in the mix was a Q263, which pulled up and stopped at the home signal for the connecting tracks from the Greenwich Sub to the Willard Sub.

The Q263 had to wait for the Q008 and an auto rack train to come up the single-track Mt. Victory Sub from Crestline.

It had been more than two hours since I had heard the Wheeling train talking with the CSX dispatcher and it was getting to be late afternoon when I finally heard the W&LE 6354 calling signals as it made its way west on the Greenwich Sub.

The Q353 was still waiting and as I saw the headlight of the W&LE train come into view I expected to see it stop next to the CSX train.

But it kept going and went around the Q353. Was the W&LE getting dispatching priority?

Well, maybe not. The Q263 still had to wait a while longer for an auto rack train to come up from Crestline and go east on the New Castle Sub.

The auto rack train reached Greenwich 16 minutes after the Wheeling train took the short connection to the Willard Sub. So either the dispatcher or a computer decided that a 36-car Wheeling train could move on through quick enough not to delay any CSX trains.

Still, I’d like to think that seeing a W&LE train go around a CSX train was a victory for the little guy for once.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

A Difference of 5 Seconds

March 11, 2015

CP chase 1a

CP chase 3c

CP chase 2b

I thought I was on my way home. It was getting late and I had more than an hour’s drive ahead of me with a stop en route to grab something to take home for dinner.

But the sun had come back out and I couldn’t resist taking some back roads near New London to make some winter images.

With a week of above freezing temperatures in store, the snow cover would be melting fast and this might be my last opportunity to make some photographs of winter in the country.

I was making my way down a dirt road (Township Road 1461) that crossed the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

I had heard the IO dispatcher talking to westbound trains not long before about having to wait in line to get through Greenwich. Maybe one of those trains would be hanging back from the crossing with TR 1461. I had seen it happen before.

My scanner starting beeping that low battery sound and I turned it off. I figured I was done chasing trains for the day.

I was making a “snow in the woods” image along when I heard a locomotive horn.

I had been photographing from the driver’s seat so I put my camera down and accelerated as hard as I dared on a wet, muddy road.

Through the trees I saw a flash of red. The lead unit was a shiny Canadian Pacific unit and, man, did that thing look great in the bright late day sunlight.

But I had no chance get to the crossing in time to jump out and get a photo. If I had just had five more seconds!

Instead, I shot a mediocre image (top photo) through my dirty windshield before pulling up to the crossing and stopping. I made a few images of the train passing the 187 milepost (middle image).

I’m not going to let this guy go. That bright red lead unit is too good to pass up. I gotta get it in this late day sunlight.

I could catch it in Greenwich if it stopped there or maybe at Edwards Road west of town.

It was a long train and after it passed I headed for Greenwich. I had to zig and zag and as I crossed the New Castle Sub again on Alpha Road I could see the rear of the train in the distance.

I continued on, crossing the CSX Greenwich Subdivision and heading into town.

I came to a T intersection by a school. I had been this way before and remembered seeing the school. Do I go past the school on the north side or the south side?

I didn’t have time to consult a map so I went left. Bad decision. The road I wanted went north of the school.

I wound up going into town and the train was crossing over the street. It had gotten a clear signal at Boyd (the crossing with the Greenwich Sub).

Even worse, the rear of the train passed over me as I went beneath it. I was more annoyed to learn the street I was taking was taking me eastward when I needed to chase a westbound train that had a good head start.

I cut over to U.S. 224 and raced westward. I could see the train from the road and as I came to Edwards Road I could see that the head end had already passed there. But my quarry seemed to have slowed.

Alas, that bright sunlight that had been bathing the train earlier had vanished, a bank of clouds having mostly covered the sun.

My next option was the bridge over the tracks on Old State Road. I made the right turn and sped northward. Fortunately, there was no other traffic ahead of me.

As I approached the bridge I could see the train wasn’t there yet, but it was bearing down on it.

I slammed on the brakes, came to a stop, grabbed my camera and jumped out.

I didn’t have time to put on my hazard lights or even close the door. Furthermore, I had failed to put the transmission into neutral, thus killing the engine. I didn’t care. At least the car was sitting still.

CP No. 9622 was closing the distance at what seemed like the speed of an Acela Express even if the train wasn’t traveling nearly that fast.

I didn’t have time to think about composition. Just run into position and begin firing away, hoping that the camera settings were OK.

I got off four frames and then raced to the other side of the bridge to photograph the train going away. Why I did that I don’t know. I was just reacting.

I had gotten there just in time. Those five seconds I had missed getting train show that I had wanted at Township Road 1461 had been returned to me at Old State Road. What a difference that a mere five seconds can make.

I gave up the chase at this point, satisfied that I had gotten a “coming at you” shot that turned out to be not quite what I had hoped to get, but pretty darn good nonetheless.

That bright red of CP 9622 had really popped.

Had I gotten the image I had wanted at TR 1461 I would not have chased this train west. And because I did I spotted a Wheeling & Lake Erie grain train sitting at Edwards Road west of Greenwich. I got that train, too, but the nice photos I made of it are for another day.

As for my broadside image of CP 9622, upon further review I decided that it might  not be quite as bad as I initially thought. After I leveled it in Photoshop and cleaned it up a bit, it didn’t look too bad.

It still tells a story about a train at an isolated rural crossing and how five seconds can make all the difference.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Memorial Day Weekend With CSX–Part 2

May 28, 2013

The sudden appearance of a westbound Wheeling & Lake Erie stone train would help me make up my mind about how to spend the rest of the afternoon. It shown approaching the crossing with Greenwich Town Line Road 79 S.

The sudden appearance of a westbound Wheeling & Lake Erie stone train would help me make up my mind about how to spend the rest of the afternoon. It shown approaching the crossing with Greenwich Town Line Road 79 S.

In early afternoon, a Wheeling & Lake Erie train had called the CSX IG dispatcher for permission to get onto the Cleveland Subdivision at CP 47 in New London.

At the time, the dispatcher said he would be waiting for two eastbounds. When those had passed and still no signal, the W&LE crew called its own dispatcher, who said he had talked to the IG dispatcher about 10 minutes previous and been told that the Wheeling train would have to wait for one more.

The W&LE crew, though, didn’t believe it, telling their own dispatcher, “They always say there is one more.”

They had good reason to be skeptical. Not only had they experienced this drill before, but one more would turn out to be three more.

The rumbling of diesels that I heard shortly after 3 p.m. would be the Wheeling train headed for the Carey Subdivision.

I scrambled to the road crossing for photographs. My original plan had been to shoot this train broadside from the top of the reservoir, but there wasn’t time to get up there now.

Although I had been monitoring the radio, I had not heard the W&LE train call any signals.

By now, though, the lighting favored the grade crossing shot.

The lead unit had been repainted recently – or maybe washed – and its nose gleamed in the afternoon sunlight.

A high, thin layer of clouds had moved in, so the sunlight was a bit filtered.

I drove over to Greenwich where I planned to photograph the train west of town on the former AC&Y.

I managed to get ahead of the train, thanks to it having to slow through the crossovers to get back onto its own tracks. I elected to meet it at Edwards Road.

After that, I went back into town where not one, but two Greenwich cops were monitoring traffic for speeding on the main drag.

I parked at the unofficial railfan park. A couple had set up a motor home there, something I had seen before.

There were three other railfans on hand, one of whom had an older model Pentax film camera. Another couple had between them three cameras, one of which used film.

I had just missed a tank car train led by a BNSF unit with two CSX locomotives trailing.

I hung around for about an hour. The prize catch was a westbound manifest freight coming into town on the Cleveland Sub with a Canadian National unit on the lead and a BC Rail unit trailing.

My last train was a westbound grain train on the New Castle Sub. It was time to pack up and head home.

But not before making my first ever visit to the Green Witch for some ice cream. It was a most fitting ending to an enjoyable day with CSX.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The W&LE train approaching Edwards Road west of Greenwich. The crops in the adjacent field are poking through the soil as another growing season gets underway.

The W&LE train approaching Edwards Road west of Greenwich. The crops in the adjacent field are poking through the soil as another growing season gets underway.

Passing some wild flowers in Greenwich as a manifest freight heads for Crestline.

Passing some wild flowers in Greenwich as a manifest freight heads for Crestline.

A notch in the vegetation enabled this shot of a westbound stack train on the long connection at Greenwich.

A notch in the vegetation enabled this shot of a westbound stack train on the long connection at Greenwich.

Canadian National power leads a manifest on the short connection at Greenwich.

Canadian National power leads a manifest on the short connection at Greenwich.

My last train of the day was a westbound grain train on the New Castle Sub.

My last train of the day was a westbound grain train on the New Castle Sub.