Posts Tagged ‘excursion train’

NS Excursion Train in Coshocton

October 29, 2021

It’s Sept. 28, 1985, and a pair of Norfolk Southern high hood units are pulling an excursion train through Coshocton. We don’t have any information as to where this train originated or was going. If you know, drop us a line.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Coming Out Party for NKP Geep

July 6, 2020

A former Nickel Plate Road GP7L returned to service on Independence Day on former NKP rails.

No. 426 was one of two locomotives that pulled 30-minute holiday excursion trains from downtown Noblesville, Indiana, for Nickel Plate Express, a tourist train operator.

The geep was on the north end of the train. Saturday’s runs were the first for the locomotives this year and the opening of the season for the Nickel Plate Express.

The tourist train uses 12 miles of a former NKP branch that once extended from Indianapolis to Michigan City, Indiana.

Most of the line, whose heritage includes the Lake Erie & Western, has been abandoned including the segment from Noblesville to Indianapolis.

The 426 was built by EMD in July 1953 and retired by the Norfolk & Western in 1977. It then served a number of other owners, including the Peabody Company.

It was donated to the Indiana Transportation Museum in 2001, where it received a NKP livery. The locomotive is now owned by the City of Noblesville, which took possession of it after evicting ITM from its longtime home in the city’s Forest Park.

ITM used the 426 to pull its Indiana State Fair trains and other excursions and I photographed it pulling a Fair Train in Fishers in August 2011.

Because it was on the north end of the train the light made getting good images of the 426 a tough assignment. But it was a historic moment and I did what I could.

In the top image, No. 426 is shown trailing as the excursion train comes into downtown Noblesville during a ferry move.

In the middle image, a railfan photographer races down a trail over the White River to get into position to photograph the second excursion of the day leaving Noblesville.

In the bottom photograph, No. 426 and a former Santa Fe Hi-Level car sit on the bridge over the White River.

Deep in the Heart of the Pennsy in 1987

June 24, 2020

A pair of former Pennsylvania Railroad E8A locomotives lead an excursion train through Thompstontown Station, Pennsylvania, on the former Pennsy mainline between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Since it’s raining today I figured I would finish off 1987. On Nov. 1, 1987, the Blue Mountain & Reading ran a marathon excursion from Temple to Altoona, Pennsylvania, that included rounding Horseshoe Curve and turning at Gallitzin.

Just about the entire train was open window coaches. The BM&R’s former Pennsylvania Railroad E8A locomotives powered the excursion mixed in nicely with the Conrail freights. From what I remember the timekeeping was pretty good. Marty and Robert Surdyk did an excellent job scouting for some premier photo locations.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Crossing the Susquehanna River west of Harrisburg on the famous Rockville bridge.

Passing Hunt Tower in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

Conrail helper locomotives escort the special around Horseshoe Curve west of Altoona.

At the Amtrak station in downtown Altoona.

A Fleeting Wisp of Ohio Central Glory

April 18, 2020

I’ve been going through my slide collection in recent weeks and scanning images to post online.

It’s been a diversion from the COVID-19 pandemic and brought back pleasant memories of what seemed to have been happier and less threatening times.

The photograph above of an Ohio Central passenger excursion train, though, is not one of those recent scans.

I scanned this image several months ago but have thus far refrained from posting it because of its lackluster quality.

Yet it’s the type of image in which I find myself taking solace these days and the fact that it’s less than ideal doesn’t matter.

I made this image on July 31, 2004, on a wood bridge at the west edge of West Lafayette, Ohio. The excursion originated in Columbus and was bound for Train Festival 2004 in Dennison.

It was one of several excursion trains I photographed that day during an event like few others I experienced in Ohio.

It was not an ideal day for train photography due to overcast skies and rain and drizzle. The slide is dark suggesting an under exposed image.

This photo has been sitting in a folder on my computer awaiting a decision to post it or delete it.

Sometimes a photograph has to wait for the right moment to be displayed, a moment when the content outweighs whatever technical flaws it has.

I was always a fan of the Pennsylvania Railroad inspired livery that Ohio Central FP9A units 6313 and 6307 had.

I once sat at a table with the late Jerry Jacobson at an Akron Railroad Club event and heard him say how much it cost to get those locomotives custom painted. I don’t recall the figure, but it wasn’t cheap.

Jerry talked about that expense in the same causal way that most people speak of how much they spent for dinner at a Bob Evans restaurant. In the scheme of things it isn’t that much.

I don’t have too many photographs of the Ohio Central FP9As in this livery and I didn’t see them operate very often.

Sure, I wish I had more photographs, but having regrets is as much a part of being a railfan photographer as bragging about what you did capture.

Everyone has missed out on something and everyone has something they wish that had more of than they do.

Everyone also can speak about days when they wished the weather and lighting had been better.

Having something is better than having nothing so although this isn’t one of my best images it reminds me of a day when I was there for something special.

There never was another train festival in Dennison or anywhere else on the Ohio Central like the 2004 event that was attended by 27,000 people.

Although the two steam locomotives that operated that day are at the Age of Steam Roundhouse, Jerry sold the FP9A locomotives and they can’t be seen in their PRR lookalike livery.

During the pandemic it is easy to think about what we can’t do.

It remains to be seen what end game the pandemic will bring, but for now we can look forward to some day resuming doing things we used to do without giving them a second thought.

Yet some things are not coming back. The steam excursions and other special movements that Jerry made possible may have lasted several years but in looking back on them now their time seems to have been rather fleeting.

Fortunately, our memories and photographs of those moments are not.

R&N Plans Excursion With Ex-NS F Units on April 18

January 8, 2020

The former Norfolk Southern F units that Reading & Northern acquired will pull their first public excursion on April 18.

The railfan-oriented trip will operate 230 miles on a roundtrip between Reading Outer Station in Muhlenberg Township and Pittston.

R&N said the locomotives, former NS F9 No. 270 and F7B No. 275, will be adorned in their new livery for the excursion.

The excursion will be the first public trip to cross the railroad’s new bridge at Jim Thorpe Junction.

Tickets for excursion are on sale and cost $99 for coach with premium seating priced at $110. Open-air car seating costs $125, and “observation dome car seating” aboard R&N’s former Milwaukee Road full-length dome costs $150.

Two café cars in the consist will offer snacks and a light lunch. The excursion will take 12 hours and two photo runbys are planned.

For more information and reservations, go to http://www.RMBNRR.com or call 610-562-2102.

The Best of the Rest of the Lima Limited

November 10, 2019

A while back I posted a story about a chase of an excursion train that I made between Springfield and Lima, Ohio, that was led northbound by a former Clinchfield F unit.

Here are two more images from that chase that didn’t make it into the original post.

In the top image the Clinchfield unit is trailing as the train heads southbound to return to Springfield.

The image was made at Clay Road south of St. Johns, Ohio.

In the bottom image the consist passes through a stand of color on each side of the former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton tracks at Santa Fe-New Knoxville Road north of Quincy, Ohio.

The excursion was sponsored by The Ohio Rail Experience and billed as a fall foliage special.

2 Heritage Units, a Passenger Train and Fall Foliage

November 2, 2019

It’s not often that you get to see two heritage units operating on the same train but that was the attraction offered in October by The Ohio Rail Experience.

Part of the Cincinnati Scenic Railway, the excursion operator ran weekend excursions with its own former Nickel Plate Road GP30 No. 901 and the visiting Clinchfield Railroad No. 800.

Both units wear their original liveries.

The 800 was built for the Clinchfield in 1948 as an F3A but later rebuilt to F7 specifications that included newer traction motors.

Schedule conflicts kept me from chasing any of the excursion trains until the final weekend of operation, when the Lima Limited operated from Springfield to Lima and return over tracks of the former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton.

The line is now owned by Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary Indiana & Ohio.

I chased the Lima Limited with well-known railroad photographer David Oroszi of Dayton.

I had been emailing Dave about coming over to his house to help him identify photographs from the collection of the late Richard Jacobs, who during the latter years of his life had been active in the Akron Railroad Club and the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society.

In one of those email I mentioned my plans to chase the train on Sunday and asked him for suggestions as to where to photograph it. I am not familiar with the former DT&I.

Dave said he planned to chase the train on Saturday and Sunday and I could ride along with him on Sunday.

Of course I jumped at that opportunity. Not only does Dave know the former DT&I well, but he also makes a great tour guide.

As we drove through western Ohio, he pointed out where various rail lines used to run and had once intersected. He also showed me around Lima, a city I’ve never visited aside from passing through in the 1980s aboard Amtrak.

We started the chase in Snyder Park in Springfield where the Lima Limited was scheduled to depart at 9 a.m.

The cloudy skies turned out to be a good thing. The Clinchfield unit was, to the displeasure of some railfan photographers, on the north end of the train.

Had it not been for the clouds many of the locations where we caught the train would have been backlighted

That included Snyder Park, which boasted some of the best fall foliage we would see during our chase.

Aside from being familiar with the ex-DT&I Dave also had some knowledge of where there was spot color to be had based on what he had observed on Saturday.

Dave had a general plan as to where he wanted to go and how to get there.

His plan worked out as envisioned although we didn’t expect to spend time in two places clearing limbs from the rails from trees that been blown down during Saturday’s storm.

The excursion train had to make a few unexpected stops to remove trees from the rails and as a result arrived in Lima more than an hour behind its noon scheduled arrival time.

It also had to wait on two eastbounds in Quincy where the I&O crosses the CSX Indianapolis Line.

We photographed the Q348 crossing over in Quincy but didn’t get the Q008.

By then we had gotten into position at the north end of the high bridge over the Great Miami River on the ex-DT&I.

In Lima we had lunch with a couple of other railfans at local chain Kewpee Hamburgers, which legend has it was the inspiration for Wendy’s. Like Wendy’s, Kewpee has square shaped burgers.

We heard a couple of CSX trains in Lima on the former Baltimore & Ohio north-south mainline and saw a couple more but were not in position to get any photographs.

We did photograph the southbound Q509 at Troy on the way back to Dave’s house after finishing chasing the excursion train.

The weather forecast had called for sunny skies by 2 p.m. and that turned out to be the case.

Much of our emphasis on the southbound chase was getting the NKP GP30, but we photographed the Clinchfield unit at times, particularly when the tracks were oriented in a northwest-southeast alignment.

Unlike the morning chase, the afternoon chase was a little more freelance, stopping in impromptu fashion to catch the train.

None of the afternoon photo locations had been places we stopped at earlier in the day.

We also didn’t get as much fall color in the afternoon as we had in the morning.

Reportedly, the Cincinnati Scenic Railway’s lease on Clinchfield No. 800 expired at the conclusion of the last excursion and the F unit will be returning to its home at the Southern Appalachian Railway Museum.

It probably won’t sit there indefinitely but who knows when it might get back to Ohio.

The consist of the Lima Limited was a mish mash of colors, liveries and equipment types with two of the cars having a Cleveland connection.

They were the two NKP open-window coaches owned by the Cleveland-based Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

This was one of my favorite images of the day. The Lima Limited is leaving behind Snyder Park in Springfield.

What a nice frame this colorful branch made as the Lima Limited got underway north out of Snyder Park in Springfield.

We cleared branches from the rails at this site west of Tremont City shortly before the excursion train showed up.

A nice stand of fall foliage was to be had along Dump Road north of St. Paris.

On the high bridge over the Great Miami River in Quincy.

Finding color at the Geyer Road crossing south of St. Johns.

Crossing River Road between Uniopolis and Lima.

Crossing the Auglaize River south of Lima on the northbound trip.

Laying over at Lincoln Park in Lima.

Trying to imitate a steam locomotive leaving a city that built plenty of them over the years. The train is approaching East Kibby Street in Lima.

Coming at you just south of Lima at Hume Road.

An expansive view of the entire train across a field north of Uniopolis, Ohio.

A bit of Cleveland in western Ohio was the two NKP coaches owned by the Midwest Railway Preservation Society. They are shown crossing Huffman Creek in Uniopolis.

Crossing Geyer Road north of Geyer, Ohio.

Fall color wasn’t as plentiful on the return trip at our photo locations but was still out there. The image was made at Santa Fe-New Knoxville Road.

About to cross the CSX Indianapolis Line in Quincy.

Passing a former DT&I depot and grain bins in Rosewood.

Clinchfield 800 Wraps up Stay in Ohio

October 29, 2019

Clinchfield F3A No. 800 completed a visit to Ohio last Sunday by pulling the last in a series of excursions sponsored by The Ohio Rail Experience on tracks once owned by the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton.

No. 800 is shown above in Snyder Park in Springfield before departing for Lima with the Lima Limited, which was billed as a fall foliage special.

The F unit pulled the train to Lima’s Lincoln Park where passengers had about a two-hour layover.

Pulling the train back to Springfield was former Nickel Plate Road GP30 No. 901, which has been repainted into its original NKP livery.

Additional photographs and a story about my chase of this train will be posted later this week.

Old Enough to Be Nostalgia

February 22, 2018

Early in its history, the modern Wheeling & Lake Erie held a competition among its employees to design a locomotive livery.

The winner was a bright combination of red and gold that was applied to two GP35s, Nos. 2662 and 2679. W&LE CEO Larry Parsons often referred to them as the “painted ladies.”

Parsons believes that the best color for a locomotive is black so the red and gold look was not widely applied.

No. 2679 has since been rebuilt and repainted in the W&LE’s standard livery, but No. 2662 remains on the active roster in its red and gold appearance.

The two units are shown together in the above images in Akron on May 8, 1994.

They had led an excursion train from Bellevue into town and parked it near Summit Street.

Passengers were taken by bus to Quaker Square for dinner. I remember that it was Mother’s Day.

The two “painted ladies” are shown ready to return to Bellevue. The train was sponsored by the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum and operated under the name Bradley Memorial Limited in honor of a boy who had died far too early.

The fact that No. 2662 is still in service means the image is not yet lost history, even if it is historic.

The images also qualify as nostalgic because the W&LE no longer will agree to host excursion trains such as these.

This would be the only time that I saw the two “painted ladies” paired together on the same train.

Nickel Plate Road 759 at Conneaut

July 17, 2017

Before Nickel Plate Road 765 was restored, there was NKP 759. Here NKP 759 is heading eastbound over the Norfolk & Western (ex-NKP) trestle in Conneaut on Sept. 8, 1968. This was her first excursion after rebuilding in 1968.

Photograph by Robert Farkas