Posts Tagged ‘CSX trains’

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

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.

Harrison Gives Preview of What’s in Store at CSX

April 21, 2017

CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison gave a preview on Thursday about what is in store at the railroad in the coming months and years.

Speaking during a conference call with Wall Street investors, Harrison called the CSX network a bowl of spaghetti when compared to the linear-oriented systems he oversaw at Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and Illinois Central.

E. Hunter Harrison

Although he thinks that CSX does well in moving intermodal trains, Harrison believes merchandise freight needs to move faster.

The average speed of CSX merchandise freight is now 18 mph between terminals, but Harrison believes it could be boosted to 27 to 28 mph.

One way to boost transit times is by skipping terminals. Ultimately, Harrison wants to see CSX provide merchandise service that is on a par with trucks.

CSX Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sanborn said CSX has made two significant operating changes since Harrison arrived.

Some traffic that had been moving in unit trains has been merged into merchandise trains and four of the railroad’s 12 hump yards have been converted to flat switching.

Sanborn said the changes will allow CSX to provide seven-day-a-week service, bring balance to the system, increase train length, cut terminal dwell time and reduce the time that freight spends in transit.

CSX is expected to continue closing humps although Sanborn said she doesn’t know by how many because management is studying each yard individually.

Harrison described hump yards as a relic of an era when a much higher percentage of rail freight traffic was merchandise service.

In a related matter, Harrison said CSX will consolidate yards in areas where multiple yards now exist and sell the land used by yards that are closed.

There was speculation earlier that CSX would sell some secondary lines, but Harrison said he doesn’t expect any major line sales in 2017 because management is focusing on improving operations of the current network.

Other steps CSX plans to make, Harrison said, include having fewer train sets devoted to unit coal train service, but having faster cyling of cars between mines and customers.

CSX is not looking to drop some of its less-profitable merchandise traffic as Canadian Pacific did while Harrison was that railroad’s CEO.

“No, we’re not looking at demarketing,” he said. “We’re looking at marketing.”

As predicted, Harrison will trim the CSX work force. The railroad now has a hiring freeze in place and expects to lose 9 percent of its work force through attrition.

He added, though, that management does not have a target for work force cuts.

Another labor-related change may see CSX pull out of national negotiations with labor unions and instead bargain directly with the unions.

Harrison would like to see train and engine crews paid by the hour in return for the company offering job guarantees. Ultimately, Harrison said he wants to lower T&E costs by 30 to 35 percent.

One area in which Harrison does not expect change is the number of crew members on each train. “I’m not a one-man crew advocate,” he said. “ . . . to take a 20,000 ton train on line of road, with one person, I don’t think it’s good business,”

Sounding like a union officer, Harrison said there are safety issues with one-person crews and he sees the value of having extra set of eyes and ears in the cab.

If one crew member had to deal with such things as a broken air hose or a knuckle failure, that could result in delays.

Harrison said one-person crews might make sense in some situation, citing switching at mines.

Changing Face of Voris Street in Akron

November 11, 2016



For decades, photographers who hung out at Voris Street in Akron, made photographs featuring the former Akron Brewing Company building in some of their images.

Trains of the Erie, Pennsylvania and Baltimore & Ohio railroads passed here for decades.

Construction of the Akron Brewing facility began in 1903, but the building’s function as a brewery was short-lived with Prohibition putting it out of business.

The building took on a variety of functions over the years, including housing such companies as Beatrice Foods, Sumner Butter and Tasty Pure Food Company.

Planners working on a new interchange determined that the building was in the path of a planned new interchange with Interstates 76/77 and South Main and South Broadway streets.

Demolition of the building began in April and work on building the new interchange is well underway.

The Voris Street crossing of the CSX New Castle Subdivision is officially closed although the gates and flashing lights are still in operation.

The top photograph was made in July 2011 from the ramp leading from the interstate to South Broadway and shows a westbound CSX tanker train.

The bottom photograph was made from the same ramp on Nov. 6 and shows that the site where the Akron Brewing Building once stood is now being reworked to become a highway ramp.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Disappearing Cuyahoga River in Kent

November 2, 2016



I mentioned in  a post earlier this year that the trees growing along the bank of the Cuyahoga River in downtown Kent are obscuring the river.

When I went to Kent on a recent Saturday morning I was presented with graphic evidence of how much that is the case.

In the top photograph, the river is somewhat visible in an image made with a telephoto lens.

But it won’t be long before those trees growing between the CSX tracks and the river are tall enough to block the view of the river entirely.

The bottom photograph was made with a wide-angle focal length. The river is only partially visible toward the lower left-hand corner of the frame. Yet the dense foliage makes the water almost an afterthought that you need to search to find it.

There remains open views of the river and the decorative dam if you stand along the fence above the tracks south of the Main Street bridge. But the view of the river from the bridge is going, going almost gone.

The train, by the way, is a westbound manifest freight. I think it was the Q353. The detector at Munroe Falls said it had more than 500 axles.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

CSX Train Changes Affecting Northeast Ohio

June 8, 2016

CSX is making a number of operating changes with merchandise trains, including some that affect trains in Northeast Ohio.

Among them are the abolition of Q641/Q640, which has been operating between Buffalo, New York, and Cumberland, Maryland, via the CL&W Subdivision between Cleveland and Sterling.

CSX logo 3The Lordstown trash blocks on Q641 and the Cumberland block will now move on Q389.

The Selkirk, New York, blocks from Cumberland and Lordstown will now move on Q388.

L388 will operate on a normal schedule on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, originating on the Belt Railway of Chicago and operating to Cumberland.

Its counterpart, L389, will operate depart from Cumberland on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and terminate in Chicago on the BRC.

Q388 will run on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from Chicago BRC and pick up empty trash cars at Lordstown for Selkirk. This train will also work at Cumberland and travel the River Subdivision out of Philadelphia for Selkirk.

Q389 will operate Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, departing Selkirk with Lordstown trash blocks and blocks for Cumberland.

Like the Q388, it will operate over the River Line to Philadelphia Eastside and Bayview. At Cumberland, Q388 will pick up and set off. The train will set off Lordstown trash blocks at Ohio Junction and terminate on the BRC in Chicago.

Q371 has been established to replace the Q710/Q635 and will operate Sunday through Friday from Selkirk to Columbus. The train will have blocks for Fostoria and Columbus and pick up blocks for the same destinations at Willard.

Q378 has been established to replace the Q711/Q634 and will operate Monday through Saturday from Columbus to Selkirk It will have blocks for Willard and Selkirk. This train will work Fostoria and Willard and pick up overflow traffic at Rochester and Syracuse, New York.

The South Kearny trash block from Columbus will be abolished.

Q634 has been abolished and its Willard block will move on the Q378 from Columbus. Q635 has been abolished and its Fostoria and Columbus blocks will move on Q371 from Willard.

The Q710/L710 unit trains profiles have been abolished and this traffic will now move on Q371 from Selkirk. The Q711 unit train profiles have been abolished and that traffic will move on Q378 from Columbus.

No Injuries in CSX Fostoria Derailment

April 18, 2016

No injuries were reported when a Willard to Toledo CSX freight derailed in Fostoria on Monday morning.

The manifest freight derailed 11 cars near Township Road at about 6:33 a.m.

CSX logo 1At least nine cars reportedly overturned but none of them was carrying hazardous materials.

The train was moving through the northeast connection from the ex-Baltimore & Ohio east-west mainline to the ex-Chesapeake & Ohio north-south route.

CSX spokesperson Gail Lobin said the train had 232 cars, including 157 empties and 75 loaded freight cars. Five locomotives were on the head end.

“Several of the cars have been re-railed and that east-west rail traffic is moving,” Lobin said.

The freight being hauled included plywood, cardboard, fertilizer, railroad ties and scrap steel.

I Was More Lucky Than Good, But That Was OK

February 23, 2016

CSX and fencepost

It was an absolutely gorgeous Saturday in Northeast Ohio and there was no way that I was not going to get out with my camera.

With the temperatures soaring into the upper 50s, it was a rare nice day in the dead of winter that felt like spring.

So, I’m walking along the Portage Hike and Bike trail toward Kent. I brought my camera along because who knows what I might see that I’d want to photograph.

I didn’t have in mind trains because the former Erie Railroad line that is now operated by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway and which the trail follows for much of its path doesn’t have any traffic on weekends.

There was a chance I might see a train on CSX, but that can be hit and miss.

I heard a CSX train rumbling along shortly after I began my walk, but no way would I reach the bridge over the tracks in time to see, let along photograph this train.

Anyway, I finally came to where the trail and the CSX tracks run parallel in close proximity. I stopped next to a fence post. The light was nearly perfect for a westbound.

I wondered how that fence post might work as a photo prop.

I took the cap off my camera lens and moved the camera off the position I had had it on my shoulder to ensure that it wouldn’t drop as I walked.

I stuck the lens cap in my pocket, stepped back a few steps and started to bring the viewfinder up toward my head.

I wanted to see how the frame would look and do a couple test shots. But about the time I got the viewfinder up to my eye I heard a noise that sounded like a diesel locomotive.

Westbound trains come around a curve here and there is a heavy line of trees that ensure that by the time a train comes around that curve it will almost be on top of you.

I caught a glimpse of a yellow CSX nose.

Bleep! Here comes a train.

I didn’t have time to compose the frame. I only had time to react.

Here is the result. I might have liked to have stepped back a bit more and maybe moved a little further down to include more of the fence and the trail.

But, you know what? For an impromptu image, it ain’t all that bad. In fact, I was quite pleased with the result.

It was one of those monster manifest freights that CSX is becoming known for and it was running on Track No. 2 rather than No. 1, which is the usual track used by westbounds. I’m not sure why that was the case.

You know the old saying about how “I’d rather be lucky than good?”

You’re looking at one moment when that turned out to be the case for me.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Catching a Couple on CSX

November 30, 2015
Westbound Q009 is racing the approaching shadows as it races toward County Line Road in Unionville. If only the hole in the clouds had been a little wider.

Westbound Q009 is racing the approaching shadows as it races toward County Line Road in Unionville. If only the hole in the clouds had been a little wider.

The Spirit of Cincinnati leads eastbound Q008 at Davis Road east of Perry.

The Spirit of Cincinnati leads eastbound Q008 at Davis Road east of Perry.

We were on our way back to Cleveland from Ashtabula, but chose not to drive on Interstate 90.

I was monitoring my scanner and listening for any nearby CSX trains. I had the Norfolk Southern frequency on, too, but we missed an eastbound NS stack train.

As we approached Unionville, we turned onto County Line Road. I had heard a detector go off and a train was calling signals. But was it going east or west?

It was the westbound Q009 with a new ET44AH on the point. GE Transportation has been releasing these Tier 4 compliant locomotives en mass over the past couple of months.

This would be the first time I’d seen one of these units on the point of a train. I posted a photo of this unit earlier.

After bagging the Q009, we continued westward. Another CSX train was calling signals and, again, we didn’t know if it was going east or west.

We chose the Davis Road crossing to photograph this train, which turned out to be the eastbound Q008. On the point was CSX 5500, the Spirit of Cincinnati.

There was backlighting, so I sought to emphasize the clouds, which were plentiful.

It would be the last train we saw that day. Darkness was coming and I had to get back home.

But not before making a swing through Perry to check the NS signals. They were all red in both directions.

Yet that short little detour did yield the information that the former New York Central signal bridge over the CSX tracks has been removed.

I and countless other photographers have used it as a photo prop for years. It has been a while since I’ve been in Perry so it may have been taken down months ago.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders


CSX and Late Fall Colors

November 13, 2015
An eastbound coke train on the New Castle Subdivision approaches an isolated rural crossing. I just the trees to frame the locomotive nose.

An eastbound coke train on the New Castle Subdivision approaches an isolated rural crossing. I just the trees to frame the locomotive nose.

I recently spent time near New London looking to make some images of CSX trains and late fall colors.

The browns and dark reds of late fall are not as compelling as the vivid gold, red and orange of the peak of fall foliage in October. Yet I’ve always found something warm and comforting about late fall.

On this day, traffic on CSX was not as high as I’ve seen in past visit. I parked in a lot next to the New London Upground Reservoir and waited. It has been quite a while since I had been out this way.

The Greenwich Subdivision was in front of me and the New Castle Sub was a mile away.

Here is selection of what I was able to get on a sunny day in November.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Coming west toward Greenwich East Townline Road.

Coming west toward Greenwich East Townline Road.

Tucked into the motive power consist of this westbound manifest freight are two new ET44AH locomotives that are Tier 4 compliant.

Tucked into the motive power consist of this westbound manifest freight are two new ET44AH locomotives that are Tier 4 compliant.

The Q010 was the only intermodal train that I saw all day on the Greenwich Sub. That seemed unusual.

The Q010 was the only intermodal train that I saw all day on the Greenwich Sub. That seemed unusual.

Looking north on Greenwich East Towline Road at an eastbound on the Greenwich Sub.

Looking north on Greenwich East Towline Road at an eastbound on the Greenwich Sub.