Posts Tagged ‘CSX trains’

Good Old Bort Road

January 16, 2018

Q363 passes beneath the venerable Bort Road bridge over the CSX Eries West Subdivision tracks near North East, Pennsylvania.

One of my favorite places to railfan is the one-lane rickety bridge carrying Bort Road over the CSX tracks near North East, Pennsylvania.

The bridge has stood there for decades and probably dates well into the steam era.

Such ancient bridges are fast being removed and the Bort Road bridge is not likely to be standing too much longer.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is studying how to replace it. One idea is to build a new bridge at the site of the existing one. Another idea is to build the new bridge further west of the current bridge.

The bridge project will also change the roads in the area, which has aroused some opposition.

One way or another, though, I can’t imagine Bort Road bridge standing too much longer.

I don’t get there often, but last July I made a couple of visits. Most of the action was on CSX, which was to be expected.

Although not shown in this gallery of photographs, Bort Road is one of my “go to” places to photograph Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited. But that’s a morning occurrence and I was here in July in the late afternoon to early evening hours.

Getting a little glint on the Q008. It followed the Q010 by 10 minutes and got the sunlight that eluded the Q010.

Here comes the Q010.

Westbound manifest freight Q389 has a Guilford locomotive tucked away in its motive power consist.

Grain train G309 comes lumbering along.

An Uncle Pete is spliced between two NS units in the motive power consist of the 216. We were hoping to get a westbound on NS but got shut out both times.

NS train 216 passes beneath Interstate 90. A short distance to the left I-90 crosses into New York state.

The classic westbound train shot at Bort Road shows it splitting the milepost 70 markers. Shown is the Q007.

An endless line of auto rack cars on the rear of the Q363. These cars used to move in a dedicated auto rack train.

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Consolation Prizes on a Frustrating Day

January 5, 2018

I found the three images posted here in a folder while going through another folder in which I store images that I want to post online.

Like so many images that get sideline, I had forgotten what I had until I opened this folder during a house-cleaning operation.

All three images were made in Perry during an outing I had with Peter Bowler last May.

It had been a frustrating day. We missed an opportunity to photograph a late running eastbound Lake Shore Limited because we neglected to check if No. 48 was running on time or late.

Then we heard on the radio that the Norfolk Southern local to Fairport Harbor was operating today. Despite multiple efforts, we never could find it in a place where we could photograph it.

Our last “failure” occurred in Perry while waiting for it to return to home rails and go back to Conneaut.

We ran out of time. The consolation prize was getting a few CSX and NS trains on the mainlines that run through Perry.

Although you have to look for it, in the middle photograph, CSX locomotive 5327 has the Western Maryland “fireball” emblem.

Back When We Still Were Wearing Shorts

December 23, 2017

Remember last July? Remember the day of the Akron Railroad Club picnic? It was warm that day and most of us had shorts on with t-shirts or short sleeve shirts.

CSX cooperated and ran some trains. Nothing out of the ordinary came past that day. Unlike at the 2016 picnic, a report of a heritage unit on the Fort Wayne Line of Norfolk Southern didn’t send several of us scurrying to intercept it at Massillon or some other point.

As is typical of the CSX New Castle Subdivision, there were some long lulls between trains.

The action picked up some late in the day. Those of us still there even walked down the street and stood next to the easternmost building in “downtown” Warwick to catch the K182 as it rolled into the nice early evening light.

About 15 minutes earlier, the photo line had captured local D750 returning to its home base after working in Akron and Barberton.

It remains to be determined if the ARRC will return to Warwick in 2018 for its annual picnic or go elsewhere. The officers will hash that out in January.

In the meantime, here are a few memories of this year’s picnic.

The K182 had a hopper car still wearing the Family Lines markings.

After a long day, the D750 returns to its home base in Warwick.

The rear of the U700 lumbering eastbound.

Westbound train Q375 makes an appearance.

The westbound Q299 had a road slug in its motive power consist.

Here comes the Q299 making some smoke as it accelerates.

The Q235 rolls around the curve and into Warwick. It was one of two auto rack trains that came through town during the late morning hours.

The North Side is Nice, Too

September 29, 2017

The book on photographing CSX in Conneaut during the morning hours is to be on the south side of the tracks.

The classic image features the town’s water tank with an eastbound train coming around a curve.

I’ve done that before and was looking to do it again earlier this month on a Sunday morning that featured sunny skies.

I parked by the historical society, which is housed in the former New York Central freight depot on the north side of the tracks and turned my scanner on.

I figured to get enough warning to get out, walk to the other side of the tracks and to get into position in advance of a train.

However, I forgot to bring my railroad employee timetable pages for that area and couldn’t remember the mileposts on the CSX Erie West Subdivision.

That was how I got caught flat footed as I was sitting in my car and the gates started to go down. I had heard the eastbound Q116 calling signals but it was not as far west as I thought it was.

So I got out and did the best I could on the north side of the tracks. Shown in the top photograph, that photo op turned out better than I expected.

There was ample nose light and the sides of the containers were not as much in shadows as I feared they would be.  One reason for being on the south side of the tracks is to get sunlight bathing the entire train.

When an eastbound ethanol train came along about half-hour later, I deliberately stood on the north side of the tracks.

Shown in the middle, this image of a train that identified itself on the radio with symbol number 452, had some side shadows, but in the past year I’ve grown to like those because it gives an image some contrast, which in turn creates visual tension.

As much as I liked what I was getting on the north side, I still wanted to get the classic view, so when the Q388 was nearing town, I moved to the south side. The result can be seen in the bottom image, which has a BNSF unit trailing the lead CSX locomotive.

The Conneaut water tank is better positioned in this image than it is in the middle photograph. Also, standing on the south side puts the photographer on the inside of the curve.

There are multiple advantages of being on the south side of the rails when in Conneaut at the Mill Street crossing. But you can get some pleasing results on the other of the tracks, too.

CSX Touts Improved Transit Times

June 16, 2017

A CSX executive said this week that by closing hump yards, reducing car handlings, and adjusting its operating plan, the railroad has been able to reduce the transit time of merchandise carloads by nearly a day.

Speaking at the Citi 2017 Industrials Conference, CSX Chief Marketing Officer Fredrik Eliasson said the decrease in average transit time is a 15-percent improvement. It had been 5.9 days.

Eliasson said CSX also cut coal train cycle times by reducing loaded transit time to 2.3 days, down from three days in March.

The executive attributed the improvements to the implementation of the scheduled precision railroading operating plan of CEO E. Hunter Harrison, who presumed his position on March 6.

On-time originations have improved 12 percent, while on-time arrivals have improved 36 percent, Eliasson said, noting that premium intermodal trains have arrived on time 97 percent of the time in the second quarter.

“For our customers this is a big deal,” Eliasson said. CSX management believes that reduced transit times and more consistent service will enable the railroad to capture business from trucks.

Eliasson said there have been some problem spots in the wake of the conversion of seven 12 hump yards to flat switching.

And the pace of the changes has meant that despite a commitment to communicate with customers about service changes and seek their views that it has not always been possible to touch base with shippers before operational changes are implemented.

Eliasson said that earlier this year about 25 percent of intermodal trains operated daily. Now, half of them do, which he said reflects Harrison’s belief in operating a balanced network.

In some instances trains have been combined due to volume and scheduling reasons.

CSX also is continue to reduce the number of trains it operates but is still moving roughly the same amount of tonnage.

It has stored 700 locomotives stored — up from 551 in May — and retired more than 24,000 freight cars through storage, scrapping or returning them to lessors.

Eliasson  said CSX doesn’t expect to order new locomotives anytime soon. “Overall, we are good on locomotives,” he said.

CSX second-quarter volumes have increased 1 percent in the second quarter, which is slightly lower than expected. The company expects volume to improve later this year as trucking capacity tightens.

CSX Plans Major Changes for Indianapolis

June 15, 2017

CSX is planning major changes to its operations in Indianapolis, including closing Avon Yard and its dispatching center, and spending millions to rebuild smaller facilities.

The news was reported on Trainorders.com by a poster who reprinted a memorandum from a railroad labor union officer who attended a meeting held in Indianapolis to be briefed on the changes.

The only date given for the changes was Oct. 31, when dispatching operations now based in Indianapolis will be moved to Jacksonville, Florida.

The CSX Indy dispatch office is a former Conrail facility that now oversees former Conrail territories that CSX acquired in 1999. It also dispatches all former B&O lines in Northeast Ohio operated by CSX.

Avon is a former New York Central hump classification yard that opened in June 1960.

Earlier this month CSX said it would close the locomotive shop there, but now it plans to farm out its other activities to the Hawthorne, Transfer and State Street yards. A new intermodal facility is to be constructed at a site to be named.

All of those facilities will be receive track upgrades and new buildings. The operating plan is to base scheduled jobs out of all yards on all three shifts.

Hawthorne will handle road trains while State and Transfer yards will handle the local and industry work.

As part of the restructuring, the local jobs will be assigned three-person  crews, which CSX management believes will be able to more efficiently handle switching.

Hawthorne, a former Pennsylvania Railroad yard, is a stub-end facility because the ex-PRR mainline on the east side of Indianapolis has been abandoned.

Avon crew pools will change at one of the three yards, although the operating plan is still being worked out.

This will include re-advertising all of the pool jobs to take into account adjustments in mileage and other operating changes.

One report is that some switching now done at Avon will be taken over by the Alton & Southern in the St. Louis region.

In years past, Avon built blocks for Penn Central and Conrail that were interchanged with western railroads in St. Louis and the St. Elmo, Illinois, gateway.

Locomotive fueling now done in Avon will be done throughout the Indianapolis terminal by fuel trucks. Car department repairs will be performed at Hawthorne.

The union memorandum said CSX wants to move quickly on the terminal changes, ideally within the next 45 days.

One impetus for closing Avon might be that the area around it has developed into a busy commercial-residential area and CSX might see an opportunity to sell land to developers.

CSX Reinstates Train Q390

June 15, 2017

An online report this week indicated that CSX has reinstated manifest freight train Q390. The train, which resumed operating on Monday, originates in Willard and terminates in Selkirk Yard near Albany, New York.

There are now three eastbound manifest freights that work at Willard and continue to Selkirk. They also include Q382 and Q384.

Train Q390 once originated on the Union Pacific at North Platte, Nebraska, and was known for sometimes having UP motive power.

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.

Not Uncommon But Still Pleasing to See

May 23, 2017

BNSF locomotives are not a rare sighting in Northeast Ohio, but not necessarily an everyday one, either. Like many people, I like their bright orange color.

So when this westbound CSX manifest freight came through Berea recently with a “pumpkin” on the nose, my camera was out.

As a bonus, the trailing unit was Union Pacific. I would have photographed it, too, had it been leading instead of the BNSF unit.

Note the passing Norfolk Southern intermodal train off to the left.

CSX Making Operations Changes to CL&W Sub

May 22, 2017

CSX has made some long anticipated changes to operations on its CL&W Subdivision, the former Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling line of the Baltimore & Ohio from Sterling to Lorain and Cleveland via Lester.

First, the line from Sterling to Lester is said to be unused. A recent trip to shoot some Wheeling & Lake Erie action took us across the tracks at Seville and there were signs of use.

Could this just be to as far as the lumber yard north of Seville?

In the Cleveland area, CSX is running a yard job, with symbol Y124 from Collinwood to West Third Street Yard. This is often seen in the afternoon at Parma.

It turns west to south at Parma and then picks up a shoving platform (caboose) and backs down to the Cleveland Sub to West Third Street.

I have not seen it come back from West Third Street, but I would assume that they shove up the hill back to Parma, drop their caboose and head back to Collinwood.

The Y124 also brings to Parma cars to/from Lester and the Lorain side of the CL&W.

The local that works out of Lester brings the cars to Parma a couple of days per week. I would imagine that the other days they service the Lorain side and any other customers along the line.

Article by Marty Surdyk