Posts Tagged ‘CSX auto rack trains’

Dashing Through the Snow in Ravenna

December 24, 2020

There is still some snow left on the tracks of the CSX New Castle Subdivision a day or two after a winter storm passed through the area in March 2008.

Shown is an eastbound auto rack train approaching the Diamond Street crossing in Ravenna.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

A Barberton Two for Tuesday

December 15, 2020

This week’s two for Tuesday finds us trackside in Barberton in two distinct eras in CSX history.

In the top image, Five CSX locomotives of varying liveries team up to pull a westbound auto rack train through Barberton on the New Castle Subdivision on Sept. 5, 2010. Lead unit 7589 is a GE C40-8 that was built in September 1989.

In the bottom image, we’ve gone back in time more than 22 years to March 11, 1988. This is a CSX train but the motive power all wears liveries of CSX predecessor railroads.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Early CSX Motive Power in Akron

May 20, 2020

CSX turns 40 this year although that anniversary date is several months away on Nov. 1.

Like Conrail the early years of CSX were marked by a rainbow of liveries of predecessor railroads.

Unlike Conrail, which decided on a livery of blue with white lettering and stood with it pretty much until the end, CSX has made a number of changes in how it has painted its locomotives.

One of its early liveries was known as blue stripe for a large blue stripe along the engine walkway.

It was a short-lived look that lasted a year but not before 178 units received it.

This CSX auto rack train is eastbound in Akron in mid-1989.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Pair of Westbounds in Clinton on the New Castle Sub

March 24, 2020

The top and middle images of CSX westbound trains were photographed on March 1 on the New Castle Subdivision in Clinton.

In the top image is auto rack train Q299 at the west end of the yard.

The middle image was made at the west end of Warwick Park.

The bottom image was also made by Warwick Park but on March 8.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Traffic Jam Near Greenwich

December 10, 2019

It’s a pleasant late fall day on the CSX New Castle Subdivision in November 2013.

I’m out with Roger Durfee chasing trains along the New Castle Sub as well as the Greenwich Sub in the area between Nova and Willard.

Westbound trains on the New Castle Sub that can’t get into Willard and/or must wait for traffic to clear in Greenwich ahead of them sometimes wait east of town in this area along Alpha Road.

If you look in the distance you’ll see another headlight of another westbound waiting behind the auto rack train in the foreground.

There was more traffic on the New Castle Sub in late 2013. It was before the arrival of E. Hunter Harrison and the precision scheduled railroading operating philosophy of fewer, longer and heavier trains.

Harrison might argue that PSR was designed to prevent situations such as this from occurring, to keep trains moving.

CSX still has dedicated auto rack trains, but now it is common to see auto racks moving in blocks as part of manifest freights.

It may be that trains still have to wait near Alpha Road for traffic to clear ahead. It might not happen as often.

Getting it While I Can

October 30, 2019

Interlocking towers once dotted the railroad landscape in large numbers.

But the vast majority of them have been closed and their functions of lining switches and signals transferred to a dispatcher’s desk hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

Railroads generally don’t like to let vacant building stand unused next to their rights of ways so scores of former interlocking towers have fallen victim to the wrecking ball or a front end loader.

Somehow the tower in Union City, Indiana, has survived. But it may be living on borrowed time.

At one time, Union City Tower guarded the crossing of the Pennsylvania Railroad (Pan Handle) route between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, of the New York Central (Big Four) route between Cleveland and St. Louis.

The two railroads crossed at a sharp angle by Columbia Street. In fact the crossing was movable switch points rather than a set of diamonds for the double track mainlines of both railroads.

The tower closed in 1968 and changing traffic patterns led to the abandonment by Conrail of the former PRR line through Union City.

But the tower remained standing. CSX would like to knock it down, but is willing to allow Union City interests to have it provided that they move it at least 50 feet back from the tracks.

The cost to do that is $60,000 and the city doesn’t have that kind of money. There is a fund raising campaign underway but small towns struggle to raise that level of money.

The latest report is that the city hopes to talk CSX into allowing the tower to remain in its current location but be surrounded by a fence.

The railroads is willing for now to give the city more time to raise money to pay to move the tower and its uncertain how it will respond to the fence idea.

Union City has been told that the tower is off the demolition list, at least for now.

But just this past July IU Tower in downtown Indianapolis and railroads, like any other company, can be notorious for doing what they want with their property.

Nostalgia and history don’t contribute to revenues, increase stock prices or help pay dividends to stockholders.

During a recent outing to Union City I made sure to capture a train passing the tower.

The auto rack train is headed westbound on the Indianapolis Line. I hope that it is not the last image I made of this tower, but you never know.

When the Lighting is Less Than Ideal

October 19, 2019

There are times when the good news is that you’re trackside with camera in hand when a train is approaching.

The bad news is the lighting is not favorable for photography.

In those instances your best option is to take the resulting image with its subdued colors and convert it to black and white.

The top and middle images are westbound Norfolk Southern trains in Alliance that were photographed on Aug. 24. The bottom image is a CSX eastbound captured in Akron on the evening of Aug. 23.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Street Running

August 17, 2018

It was mid afternoon and those still at the Akron Railroad Club picnic in Warwick Park were sitting around talking and contemplating whether to have another burger or hot dog.

The scanner finally came alive after a long silence with the Q292 calling a signal at Warwick.

That sent me scrambling with my camera to get into position to photograph it.

Of late the Q292 has sometimes had Kansas City Southern motive power and maybe I would get lucky today and bag a Southern Belle.

The auto rack train originates at Rose Lake Yard near East St. Louis, Illinois, and terminates in Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

It is a rather reliable train to catch in the Akron area in mid to late afternoon.

On this day, though, luck was not with me. The Q292 had run of the mill CSX motive power.

It also was moving father than I was. I wasn’t able to get to my preferred spot to photograph and to settle for a bit of street running.

In this case, I was running down the street trying to get into position.

Gloomy Start to My Day

July 23, 2018

I had a hankering to drive over to North East, Pennsylvania, for a day of railfanning a while back.

The weather forecast looked promising. It would be mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 60s.

I left early enough to get to Bort Road in time to catch Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

But as I motored toward Erie, Pennsylvania, it was obvious that things were not going to work out as I had planned.

Fog shrouded the highway and remained in place until I reached North East.

The fog was not necessarily a bad thing because you can get some interesting effects in fog.

I didn’t have to wait long before a westbound CSX auto rack train came along.

In this case the fog was a good thing because otherwise this train would be coming out of the rising sun.

Notice there is a former CSX unit on the point of a CSX train. Yes, the CSX markings have been blotted out.

The fog did not last long. Amtrak was running late and by the time No. 48 showed up the fog had dissipated. My hopes for a P42DC coming out of the fog evaporated with it.

The Long Line of Auto Racks

July 15, 2018

Auto rack trains aren’t the most attractive trains on the rails. Their tall and solid profile blocks your view of other tracks and trains, particularly if you are railfanning in Berea and a CSX auto rack train comes past on the the track closest to you.

As unit trains, they also tend to have a consistent appearance, although even that is not as uniform as, say, a tank car or coal train, because some auto rack cars might have slightly different sizes and colors.

As an example of the latter, look at the roofs of the cars above in an eastbound auto rack train rolling through Marion on the CSX Mt. Victory Subdivision.

Some roofs are white while others are a silver gray. Some cars feature yellow on their sides, but others are white.

Still, something about these auto racks caught my eye and captured my imagination.