Posts Tagged ‘CSX intermodal trains’

The Red Grain Elevator of Wellington

May 19, 2017

A certain member of the Akron Railroad Club is known for his passion for photographing trains and grain elevators.

I know that in particular he likes the red grain facility in Wellington alongside the Greenwich Subdivision of CSX.

It makes for a dramatic  image in late afternoon sunlight. From what I can see, the facility is no longer served by rail.

I didn’t go there on a recent outing just to capture the red grain elevator. As much as anything I went there because Wellington wasn’t being covered  by clouds.

CSX cooperated beautifully by sending a pair of westbounds through town, a stack train and an ethanol train.

The ethanol train shown at top was the second of the pair and I tend to like that image the best of the two.

Stumbling Into a Photograph

May 11, 2017

Nothing about this photograph was planned. At the time that it was made, I was chasing after a Wheeling & Lake Erie train that was leaving the siding at Hiles east of New London.

The case began at the northwest parking lot for the New London reservoir. You can sit there and watch trains on the CSX Greenwich Subdivision.

With a good antenna and radio you can also pick up radio transmissions on the W&LE frequency.

And so that was how I learned that a tank train I had seen earlier in the day in the Hiles siding was reading to go east.

I wasn’t sure that I could catch that train before it got to Spencer. I started to move, then sat back down. There is too much distance.

A moment later I began having second thoughts. The train will be accelerating from a standing start. It won’t be moving all that fast. In a worse case scenario I can catch it at Spencer.

So I drove out of the parking lot and on the spur of the moment decided to take a road that would go south of New London, which I thought would save time as opposed to going through town.

I had been on the road earlier that day when I had a false start trying to chase that Wheeling tank train. In that case, the conversation I heard on the radio was not the crew of the tank train.

I’m racing along eastward on a road I don’t know well but had been on earlier in the day. I make a left turn on a road that I think will lead me to Ohio Route 162.

It did, but it wasn’t the road I wanted. I turned on Chenango Road when what I really needed was Butler Road.

Chenango Road crosses the W&LE tracks, but by the time I reached them the tank train was gone. I also realized that I had the wrong road.

OK, I thought, I’ll go north a short distance and then turn east. Except that there were no crossroads.

Maybe there would be one just beyond the CSX crossing. As I was crossing the CSX tracks, I looked to my right and saw the headlight of a westbound train. That gave me a jolt.

Just as or just after I cleared the tracks, the gates started to come down. That gave me another jolt.

At that point instinct and experience kicked in. Something told me I could get a photograph of this train.

There was a dirt road to the right. I pulled in, grabbed my camera and headed for an opening near the tracks.

There was no time to think through the shot. I spotted a puddle and instinct and experience kicked in again.

In retrospect had I been standing back a little further I might have been able to capture the ditch lights and locomotive nose in the heart of the puddle rather than on the edges.

I also had the misfortune of photographing as a cloud blocked the sun. It was one of five times when that happened.

This, like most of the photographs that I made on this day, turned out to be less than ideal. It was that kind of a day.

But at least I didn’t come away from this photo op empty handed as I had earlier when just as I was catching up to the head end of an eastbound stack train on the New Castle Subdivision, I ran out of highway because U.S. 224 was closed for construction east of Nova.

Both Sides Now

May 9, 2017

I look at this photograph and I think of that Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now. She sings about how clouds can be rows and flows of angel hair and ice castles in the air.

Clouds can add beauty and drama to an image, but they can also, as the second stanza of Both Sides Now reminds us, block the sun.

And so it was as CSX eastbound intermodal train Q010 came along as I stood atop the reservoir at New London.

My objective in making this image was clouds. I got the clouds all right, but at the crucial moment one of them blocked the sun.

Anyone who has spent time trackside has seen clouds from both sides. It is sometimes called getting cloud skunked.

I made the photograph anyway even though the train was in the shadows.

Of course, shadows can be a wonderful thing, too. But like clouds, they, too, are multifaceted. They can be your friend or they can be your adversary. Sometimes they are both at the same time.

So this image didn’t work out as I had planned, but at least I got some nice clouds.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

CSX, Schneider Ink New Contract

March 10, 2017

CSX will continue to serve as a primary rail provider for trucking firm Schneider National.

The two companies announced this week that they have reached a multiyear agreement that enables Schneider to serve the eastern United States as demand for intermodal transportation increases.

“By combining the expertise of one of the country’s largest intermodal providers and one of the country’s major railroads, Schneider has been able to provide creative solutions to more efficiently move intermodal freight with truck-like service,” said Jim Filter, senior vice president and general manager of Schneider Intermodal.

CSX has served as Schneider’s primary Eastern rail provider since 2008. Schneider maintains a terminal in Marion, Ohio, that is served by CSX and uses the railroad’s Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal at North Baltimore, Ohio.

The latest agreement provides Schneider customers with capacity and operational interfaces designed to increase accessibility and efficiency of rail moves.

“There is significant opportunity to optimize modal selection and convert freight from highway to rail in the Eastern U.S. CSX continues to invest in the intermodal growth opportunity, and we are excited to extend our relationship with Schneider as they truly are a premier intermodal provider,” said Dean Piacente, CSX vice president-intermodal, in a statement.

My First Railfan Outing of 2017

January 17, 2017
My first train of 2017 had a few things in common with my first train of 2016.

My first train of 2017 had a few things in common with my first train of 2016.

It had been more than a month since I had been trackside. Holiday activities, bad weather and other factors had kept me at home.

The stars finally lined up on Sunday, Jan. 15. I drove to Painesville to meet with Ed Ribinskas to take care of business related to the transfer of the Akron Railroad Club’s treasurer duties.

It was a sunny day and we moseyed over to Perry where the Erie West Subdivision of CSX and the Great Lakes District of Norfolk Southern run a block apart.

Let the record show that the first train of 2017 that I photographed had a few things in common with the first train that I photographed in 2016.

Both were short, headed eastbound, captured in January and there was no snow on the ground.

But the first train of 2017 was a CSX intermodal whereas the first train of 2016 had been an NS local.

Does this mean anything? Not really, but it is of passing interest.

We arrived in Perry around 11:30 a.m. and by the time we left at 4:30 p.m. we had logged 12 trains.

Three of them were on NS, all eastbounds. Interestingly, the NS traffic came within a 45-minute window.

Otherwise, NS was quiet the rest of the day and there was not so much as a peep of a westbound.

CSX offered some moderate variation. Six of its nine trains were intermodals with a seventh being the Canadian Pacific run-through train that is mostly stacked containers with some manifest freight tacked on.

The CP train had CP motive power and an eastbound crude oil train had a pair of BNSF pumpkins. NS train 206 had a Union Pacific unit trailing. That was the day’s foreign power.

CSX also ran a westbound auto rack train, but we never saw one of those 500 plus axles of a monster manifest freight that CSX has become known for within the past year. In fact, we never saw a manifest freight of any length on CSX.

We also seldom heard the dispatcher of either railroad on the radio. Most dispatcher transmissions had to do with speaking to maintenance of way personnel. Only once did the dispatcher give operating information to a train.

As the afternoon wore on the clouds began thickening although it never reached overcast conditions. The sun continued to pop through even if it was filtered light.

All in all it was a nice way to kick off the 2017 railfanning season.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Eastbound NS 22K was the first NS train that I photographed in 2017. The leader is one digit off from being the bar code unit.

Eastbound NS 22K was the first NS train that I photographed in 2017. The leader is one digit off from being the bar code unit.

That's the Perry nuclear power plant blowing off steam behind a westbound CSX stack train.

That’s the Perry nuclear power plant blowing off steam behind a westbound CSX stack train.

NS train 206 passes a westbound CSX stack train. Twice CSX sent a westbound intermodal train past as we waited for an eastbound NS intermodal train.

NS train 206 passes a westbound CSX stack train. CSX twice sent a westbound intermodal train past as we waited for an eastbound NS intermodal train.

The lead of NS train 310 reflected in a pool of water in a drainage ditch. It was the only manifest freight we saw in five hours of railfanning.

The lead unit of NS train 310 reflected in a pool of water in a drainage ditch. It was the only manifest freight we saw in five hours of railfanning.

Another short intermodal train. Is this about giving better customer service or was the business handled by the train way down?

Another short intermodal train. Is this about giving better customer service or was the business handled by this train way down?

Bright colors for the motive power of an eastbound crude oil train.

Bright colors for the motive power of an eastbound crude oil train.

A westbound auto rack train cruises along on Track No. 1

A westbound auto rack train cruises along on Track No. 1

The day ended as it started with an eastbound CSX intermodal train.

The day ended as it started with an eastbound CSX intermodal train.

CSX Expects 3rd Quarter Earnings to Fall

September 9, 2016

A CSX executive said this week that the railroad expects its third-quarter earnings per share to decline from what it posted during the second quarter.

CSX logo 1Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro said this week that volume will decline by single digits year-over-year.

Lonegro spoke during the Cowen and Company’s annual Global Transportation Conference in Boston.

“Third quarter earnings per share are expected to decline slightly from second quarter levels, based on high single-digit volume reductions that are partially offset by improving efficiency benefits and strong pricing gains that reflect a service product that meets and exceeds customer expectations,” Lonegro, said in a statement.

An improving global market for coal is expected to result in some better results for CSX coal traffic.

Lonegro noted that coal traffic has posted some modest improvement in recent months leading company officials to project that for the year coal tonnage will decline between 20 percent and 25 percent.
CSX plans to focus on high-density routes serving merchandise and intermodal growth.

As part of its “CSX of Tomorrow” strategy, it is extending sidings on key routes and running longer trains.

Lonegro said CSX also is investing in intermodal terminals and double-stack clearance projects to capture a greater share of the 9 million truckload market in the East.

Labor Day Wanderings: 2

September 7, 2016
The hogger at the throttle of Amtrak P42DC No. 12 gave me a toot of the horn as he blasted past at track speed on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision of CSX.

The hogger at the throttle of Amtrak P42DC No. 12 gave me a toot of the horn as he blasted past at track speed on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision of CSX.

Unlike the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Sunday followed a tightly scripted plan. I got up before dawn and drove to North East, Pennsylvania, to catch Amtrak 48 at Bort Road.

My motivation for doing that was multi-fold. First, I have only seen Amtrak just once in 2016. Yes, that’s right. The guy who lists Amtrak as his second favorite railroad behind the Illinois Central, has hardly seen it this year.

Second, I have not seen the Lake Shore Limited since it went to single locomotive operation last spring.

Third, there are reports that the Bort Road bridge may be razed and not replaced. That might be a year or more away, but you never know.

The character of Bort Road as a place to photograph trains would change even if a replacement bridge is built because it likely would have fences.

The existing bridge is a throwback to an earlier era when the tracks belonged to the New York Central and the Nickel Plate Road and each had a fleet of steam locomotives.

I made better time than expected, arriving at Bort Road before the sun rose over the horizon. That turned out to be a bonus because I was able to get good sunrise images.

My first train was a short Norfolk Southern No. 145. It had two locomotives and that was it.

It was the second time that I’ve seen the 145 this year running light. That also might have been on a Sunday.

There was just enough light from the rising sun to create an image, one of the more interesting photographs that I’ve created this year.

I was hoping to get a CSX westbound with the rising sun behind it. I sort of got that, but the sun was higher in the sky than I would have liked. But it still turned out well.

Two CSX westbounds passed by before Amtrak began talking on the radio. Amtrak Julie had reported that No. 48 was expected to arrive in Erie on time at 7:20 a.m. but depart three minutes late. I don’t know how she knew that.

After Amtrak blew past, I hung around until 9 a.m. There were no trains on NS during that time and two westbounds ran on CSX. Nothing ran east, which was too bad because the light favored eastbounds.

I did some experimenting with the westbound trains and was able to produce some images that I liked.

My plan was to drive to Westfield, New York, and add another Great Lakes lighthouse to my collection.

This one stands over Barcelona Harbor and is a stately stone structure. It is the eighth new for me lighthouse I’ve photographed this summer.

I wound up at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East where I spent the rest of the afternoon.

The light was not favorable for photographing any NS trains, so I just watched them go by. I was able to do a little photography with CSX despite some tough lighting conditions during my time there.

Interestingly, I was able to make two images I had wanted to do during my last visit to the museum but couldn’t due to a lack of westbound traffic.

With CSX these days, it is difficult to tell if it is having a good or bad day traffic wise. There seemed to be more auto rack trains than I expected and, by the end of the day, about the same level of intermodal traffic as I would have expected.

But the manifest freights seemed fewer in number and longer than usual. The first CSX train I saw, the Q393, had 696 axles according to the detector at Ripley, New York.

About 3 p.m. I decided to heading for home, stopping at a Wegman’s grocery store in Erie on the way for a couple of items I can’t get in Cleveland.

Despite some miscues on Saturday, it had been a good weekend with sunny skies and warm but not hot temperatures. I could not have asked for better weather.

There had been some unexpected and pleasant surprises and I came away pleased, overall, with what I was able to find.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS train 145 is running light, really light, as another day dawns in the northeast corner of northwest Pennsylvania.

NS train 145 is running light, really light, as another day dawns in the northeast corner of northwest Pennsylvania.

Here comes the sun, which is just climbing over the horizon and casting the first light of day on CSX rails.

A golden glow to the rails of the NS Lake Erie District.

The sun rises above the head end of CSX Q393, which was a monster-size manifest freight.

The sun rises above the head end of CSX Q393, which was a monster-size manifest freight.

Conditions were ideal for early morning light glint shots. Note the second unit of this westbound CSX grain train is from BNSF.

Conditions were ideal for early morning light glint shots. Note the second unit of this westbound CSX grain train is from BNSF.

The grain train passes grape vineyards. Not much grain is grown around here.

The grain train passes grape vineyards. Not much grain is grown around here.

Auto rack cars catch the early morning light.

Auto rack cars catch the early morning light.

How much longer will vehicles be able to traverse this old one-lane bridge over the CSX tracks?

How much longer will vehicles be able to traverse this old one-lane bridge over the CSX tracks?

I've always like the panoramic perspective afforded from the Bort Road bridge of the grape country of Pennsylvania along Lake Erie.

I’ve always like the panoramic perspective afforded from the Bort Road bridge of the grape country of Pennsylvania along Lake Erie.

There were no private cars on the back of Amtrak No. 48 today.

There were no private cars on the back of Amtrak No. 48 today.

An eastbound CSX auto rack train chugs through North East.

An eastbound CSX auto rack train chugs through North East.

Three museum visitors inspect an eastbound CSX auto rack train.

Three museum visitors inspect an eastbound CSX auto rack train.

A CSX stack train passes the baggage cart on display at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station in North East.

A CSX stack train passes the baggage cart on display at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station in North East.

It's a meet. An eastbound CSX manifest freight clears just as a Canadian Pacific run-through train arrives.

It’s a meet. An eastbound CSX manifest freight clears just as a Canadian Pacific run-through train arrives.

A CP unit passes a former Great Northern dining car. Both seem to be out of place in Pennsylvania.

A CP unit passes a former Great Northern dining car. Both seem to be out of place in Pennsylvania.

This Erie-built New York Central until probably never hauled a passenger consist that looked like this.

This Erie-built New York Central until probably never hauled a passenger consist that looked like this.

A caboose is supposed to be red, right? I end this report with this caboose in the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

A caboose is supposed to be red, right? I end this report with this caboose in the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

 

Day With CSX on the New Castle Sub in Clinton

August 12, 2016
CSX Clinton July 24 01-x

L394 passes one of the handful of Baltimore & Ohio color position light signals that still stands on the New Castle Subdivision of CSX.

Last month the Akron Railroad Club held its annual picnic in Warwick Park in Clinton, Ohio, which has hosted many club gatherings in past year although none since 2014.

I got there early, but found myself in the middle of a four-hour lull on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Things began to move around 10:15 a.m. when the first of four consecutive westbounds came down from Lambert on the single track that extends between Warwick and Akron.

Meanwhile, two eastbounds were waiting for the westbound parade to clear up.

Traffic for the rest of the day was here and there, which is to be expected on the New Castle Sub. The traffic mix was typical of the line with its array of container, manifest, auto rack and coal trains.

Motive power was a variety of wide-cab units with narrow cabs being rather scarce. It was an all CSX parade with no rent-a-wreck motive power observed. Just one train had “foreign” power.

There did seem to be a flurry in early evening when I spotted the only “foreign” power of the day. Here is a selection of what came by during ARRC picnic 2016.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Another view of the L394 moving out onto the single track as it heads toward Akron.

Another view of the L394 moving out onto the single track as it heads toward Akron.

The crew of the Q388 watched four westbounds pass before it got a clear signal at Warwick. It is shown passing the power for the local that is based at Warwick.

The crew of the Q388 watched four westbounds pass before it got a clear signal at Warwick. It is shown passing the power for the local that is based at Warwick.

A westbound intermodal train crosses Chippewa Avenue and skirts Warwick Park.

A westbound intermodal train crosses Chippewa Avenue and skirts Warwick Park.

Three manifest freights were part of the westbound parade in late morning. Shown is Q353.

Three manifest freights were part of the westbound parade in late morning. Shown is Q353.

The sides of this car of lumber appear to be bulging as the westbound manifest freight rounds the curve west of Second Street.

The sides of this car of lumber appear to be bulging as the westbound manifest freight rounds the curve west of Second Street.

After the rain stopped, the Q016 made an appearance. No trains passed through the rain.

After the rain stopped, the Q016 made an appearance. No trains passed through the rain.

The rear of the Q016 passes Warwick Park.

The rear of the Q016 passes Warwick Park.

The nose of a westbound as seen through the trees of Warwick Park.

The nose of westbound U700 as seen through the trees of Warwick Park.

Looking down Chippewa Avenue as a westbound Herzog ballast train rumbles through town.

Looking down Chippewa Avenue as a westbound Herzog ballast train rumbles through town.

I liked how in this image the head end is enveloped in shadows but the low sunlight is glinting off the trailing auto rack cars.

I liked how in this image the head end is enveloped in shadows but the low sunlight is glinting off the trailing auto rack cars.

When I really wanted a westbound due to the late day sunlight, CSX came through with a coal train.

When I really wanted a westbound due to the late day sunlight, CSX came through with a coal train.

An eastbound train of empty coal hoppers.

An eastbound train of empty coal hoppers.

An eastbound intermodal train approaches Chippewa Avenue. Usually, the intermodal trains are gone before evening arrives.

An eastbound intermodal train approaches Chippewa Avenue. Usually, the intermodal trains are gone before evening arrives.

Colorful containers on a late day eastbound intermodal train.

Colorful containers on a late day eastbound intermodal train.

The last train of the day that I photographed also had the only foreign power of the day, a Union Pacific unit on a westbound auto rack train.

The last train of the day that I photographed also had the only foreign power of the day, a Union Pacific unit on a westbound auto rack train.

I was driving toward home on Clinton Road when I noticed a nice sunset. Of course I had to get out and capture it.

I was driving toward home on Clinton Road when I noticed a nice sunset. Of course I had to get out and capture it.

CSX Expects to Begin Using Englarged Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Washington by Late This Year

July 23, 2016

Trains magazine is reporting that the Virginia Avenue Tunnel being enlarged by CSX will be ready to handle double-stacked container trains later this year.

CSX logo 1Completion of one phase of that project will mark a major milestone in the development of the railroad’s National Gateway program.

Work on enlarging the tunnel began in May 2015. The tunnel enlargement drew some opposition in Washington and CSX said it has made more than 51,000 contacts with people living over the tunnel to explain the project.

That included public meetings, social media interactions and email newletters. CSX also established an office near the tunnel’s west portal.

The project involves creating a new tunnel and then replacing the existing tunnel, which was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1872.

Trains reported that CSX is using a cut-and-cover approach to building the tunnels, which involves digging a new trench adjacent to the existing bore and then placing a concrete cover over it.

Disruptions to the neighborhood are being minimized by drilling pilings to support the walls of both new tunnels.

CSX has set up a website to provide information and updates on the project at

www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com

Completion of the tunnel will mean that double-stacked container trains can travel between the Northwest Ohio Intermodal facility in North Baltimore to the Southeast.

Presumably, that traffic will move over the New Castle Subdivision via Akron.

CSX is also constructing a new intermodal terminal near Pittsburgh that also is expected to send traffic over the New Castle Sub.

So Where Was Quality Control?

May 28, 2016

Different numbers

It’s pretty obvious that the number boards are not the same on this CSX C40-8 as it led the Q113 through Berea.

One number is much larger than the other. My guess is that the number with the larger numerals is original while the smaller numerals are more modern.

No. 7583 has been around the CSX system for awhile, having been built by General Electric in September 1989. It probably has been through Berea numerous times. Maybe this is not the first time I’ve seen it or even photographed it.

I didn’t notice the difference in the number boards until I was looking at my photographs after having downloaded them.

I think I know what happened here. The shop needed to get the 7583 back on the road and a foreman said to put on whatever numerals were available. So long as the numbers on the right and left matched, the unit was good to go.

Perhaps some day No. 7583 will have matching number boards. But given all of the things that need the attention of the mechanical department, that is probably not high on the priority list.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders