Posts Tagged ‘Florida East Coast locomotives’

Another Summerail in the Books

August 13, 2018

Steve Barry, editor in chief of Railfan & Railroad magazine, presides at the 2018 Summerail event held at the Palace Theater in Marion.

Thirteen programs highlighted the 2018 Summerail event held last Saturday at the Palace Theater in Marion.

None of the presenters were from Northeast Ohio and as was the case last year images made in NEO were sparse.

Nonetheless, all 13 of the programs were of top quality and it was the strongest program slate I’ve seen at Summerail. OK, so this was just my third time at Summerail.

Throw in some train watching along with socializing and you had an enjoyable day of viewing railroad photographs and video set to music.

My “gold medal” for best program would go to Land of Enchantment by John Ryan and Paul Swanson of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Janesville, Wisconsin, respectively.

It focused on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief on its route between La Junta, Colorado, and Albuquerque.

The program featured video set to a piece of classical music performed by a symphony from London with a vocalist.

The video portrayed the Chief traversing a piece of railroad that has changed little since the days of the Santa Fe and which is now the center of controversy over Amtrak’s proposal to replace the train with buses between Albuquerque and Dodge City, Kansas.

The time frame of the scenes was recent years but the scenery was timeless, filled with wig wag grade crossing signals and semaphore block signals.

Some video was made from a drone, including some footage looking straight down.

Nos. 3 and 4 were shown traveling through high plains, desert canyons, and the stunning beauty of Raton and Glorieta passes. It was enchanting, indeed.

My “silver medal” would go to EL’s West End by Mark Llanuza of Chicago.

Showing scanned slides from his collection and those of four other photographers, Llanuza portrayed the EL primarily in Indiana and the Chicago region during its final years

The closing segment of Mark’s program borrowed an idea from Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee. It featured the Moby song One of These Mornings to show a series of then and now scenes.

Roger created a similar music and images program in spring 2012 about the EL, his favorite railroad. Mark had seen Roger’s program and used the Moby song in a similar format with Roger’s permission.

My “bronze medal” is a tossup between Richard Baldwin’s Richard Baldwin’s Greatest Hits and George Pitary’s A Taste of Maine.

Baldwin, an Indianapolis native and resident, had the only program to go back as far as the 1950s and 1960s, showing various railroads in the Midwest, South and West with music recorded during the period portrayed on the screen.

The program took in the end of steam and the early diesel era, showing many liveries and railroads that no longer exist. Richard was a photojournalist by trade before his retirement.

Pitarys is a retired railroader who covered 45 years of railroad operations in Maine.

A Maine native, George covered the major carriers and modern-day short lines. The program also highlighted the scenery of the state in all four seasons.

Ohio wasn’t left out of the programs. Brian Seller presented a program devoted to short-line railroads of the Cincinnati region as well as passenger specials and excursion trains in the Queen City.

Before the programs began in early afternoon and during the dinner break, CSX and Norfolk Southern provided a fairly steady flow of traffic past Marion Union Station.

However, many photographers, myself included, got hosed on the highlight of the day, the original NS heritage unit leading a westbound auto rack train that came through town as an eastbound auto rack train also was passing through.

You got both trains if you were on the east side of the NS Sandusky District tracks, but I, like most railfans, was on the west side. Specifically, I was standing at the top of the steps of AC Tower, which was open all day.

Our consolidation prize was the Union Pacific unit leading the eastbound auto rack, which carried symbol 288.

Another prize was a Florida East Coast SD70M-2 No. 105 trailing in the motive power consist of westbound stack train 25N, which originates in Columbus and terminates at Corwith Yard in Chicago.

It was my first spotting of one of the FEC units that NS is leasing to cover a motive power shortage. Heck, it is the first FEC unit of any kind that I’ve ever photographed.

Shortly after I arrived at Marion US during the dinner break, CSX sent a sulfur train eastbound on the Columbus Subdivision. It had a Canadian National leader and a UP trailer.

ARRC member Richard Antibus said it was the sixth train he had seen on the former Chesapeake & Ohio line since arriving in Marion about mid morning.

Antibus and ARRC Secretary Jim Mastromatteo spent the day railfanning at the station while Ron McElrath manned his table at the train show at the Palace Theater.

I also spotted ARRC members Steve Heister, Dennis Tharp and Tom Fritsch in the crowd at the Palace Theater.

For the second year there was a catered Skyline Chili dinner in the waiting room of the depot that was arranged by the Marion Union Station Association and White River Productions.

This year’s Summerail was dedicated to Joe Slanser, who died earlier this summer. Mr. Slanser, a well-known Marion railfan, played a key role in preserving Marion Union Station after it sat vacant for more than a decade after closing after the last passenger trains stopped there on April 30, 1971.

Steve Barry, the editor of Railfan & Railroad, magazine served as the emcee for most of the day during the programs.

Summerail 2019 will return to Marion on Aug. 10. I’m already looking forward to it.

For me, at least, this was the highlight of the day while railfanning in Marion during the 2018 Summerail event.

NS train 101 trundles through Marion during the dinner hour.

NS eastbound auto rack train 288 is about to cross the CSX Mt. Victory Subdivision. It would block the NS heritage unit on the westbound 27V.

Q008 was the last CSX train that many Summerail attendees saw before heading for the Palace Theater and first session of programs.

This westbound auto rack train must be empty if it only needs a single locomotive to pull it.

An eastbound CSX sulfur train is led by a Canadian nation al unit as it approaches Marion Union Station on the Columbus Subdivision.

CSX manifest freight Q651 heads into the lay day light in Marion.

Jerry Jordak enjoys a dish of Skyline chili while checking out the latest news in the world of railroads and railfanning while eating at Marion Union Station during the dinner break of Summerail.

Photographers get their photographs of a westbound NS light power move passing AC Tower in Marion.

What’s Roger Seen Lately?

July 18, 2018

Wheeling 7005 on Z642 in Akron on July 17.

Some out of the ordinary motive power has operated through Northeast Ohio lately and if you missed it, Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee has you covered.

Roger caught up with those moves and sends along some images of them along with a few routine operations that he captured.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

NS 20E (detour move) meets two tied down stack trains at Bellevue on July 8.

Clean shot of NS No. 34 at Bellevue on July 8.

KCS 3909 at Akron with Q292 on July 11.

FEC 104 at Sandusky on July 8.

BNSF 759 on Q277 at Cuyahoga Falls on June 15.


Interesting Saturday on the Rails

June 11, 2018

This past Saturday brought a couple interesting trains. First the Norfolk Southern “Honoring Our Veterans” unit led 11K through northern Ohio.

I got it passing the soon to be replaced signals at Huron.

Next we went to Bellevue as there were storms approaching from the west but for a few hours we had sunny weather.

Another railfan said that a grain train was waiting south of town with a Florida East Coast engine leading.

This is one of four FEC engines currently on lease to Norfolk Southern. This train turned out to be 51Q bound for Dwight, Illinois.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Flordia East Coast Family Days

April 27, 2017

Last week I flew to Florida to help a friend drive back to Ohio. The first stop Saturday morning was the FEC family days train at St Augustine Florida.

Power was the two engines painted in the Susan G Komen find the cure for breast cancer scheme. The recently repainted St Augustine, an unnamed Observervation car and a generator car rounded out the consist.

Unfortunately due to time constraints I was only able to get some roster photos and not the train running.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon 

Sampling the Railroad Action of Central Florida

May 30, 2016

Amtrak’s Silver Star crossing the St Johns River at Sanford, Florida.

The southbound Autotrain at Sanford.

The southbound Autotrain at Sanford.

The Silver Meteor makes a station stop at Deland, Florida.

The Silver Meteor makes a station stop at Deland, Florida.

Florida East Coast train 101-29 at Daytona Beach, Florida.

Florida East Coast train 101-29 at Daytona Beach, Florida.

An FEC train crossing the Tomoka River at Ormand Beach, Florida.

An FEC train crossing the Tomoka River at Ormand Beach, Florida.

A Sunrail commuter train at the station in Debary, Florida.

A Sunrail commuter train at the station in Debary, Florida.


Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon was in Florida this past weekend and sends along these images from the Sunshine State. He caught some Florida East Coast, Amtrak and Sun Rail commuter trains.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

GE to Begin Delivering New FEC Locomotives

November 3, 2014

There is no official word on how they will get there, but railfans in Northeast Ohio will want to be on the lookout for new locomotives being delivered to the Florida East Coast Railway from the General Electric Transportation plant in Erie, Pa.

FEC will shortly take delivery of the first of 24 Tier 3-compliant ES44C4 locomotives that will wear a striking “Champion” paint scheme.

All 24 locomotives are expected to be delivered and placed into service by the end of 2014.

“It’s fitting that these new GE locomotives are outfitted in the ‘Champion’ paint scheme introduced by FEC many years ago,” said FEC President and CEO James R. Hertwig in a news release. “Similar to the early times of rapid expansion and growth along Florida’s east coast, these locomotives will be utilized to champion FEC, providing the efficient horsepower needed to support the transportation of intermodal, carload, auto, and port business for the growing Florida economy.”

The first of the 24 locomotives recently was spotted on the test track in Erie.

The locomotives will be used on the railroad’s 351-mile mainline between Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami.

A Rainbow in the Sunshine State

February 26, 2014

A motive power consist fit for a champion.

As much as I like photographing in the snow – and we all know there has been multiple chances for that this year – I do like my winter break in Florida.

With a lot of family down there I usually try to head south sometime in February. This year, for the first time in a long time, I elected to drive down.

In all the years (since 1976) that I have ventured to the Tampa/Clearwater area, I never headed over to photograph the Florida East Coast Railway.

With major motive power changes looming on the FEC I decided to take a day or so and see what I could come up with as I ventured back to snowy Northeast Ohio.

On the way down I made a brief stop at Bowden Yard in Jacksonville but the heavy overcast found me taking a quick grab shot of some power before moving on.

Better luck would prevail on my return trip north. Variety is the spice of life these days on the FEC road trains.

I’ll be the first to tell you I’m looking forward to solid sets of like painted FEC consists, but for now I will take the variety that is running up and down the coast today.

My first rendezvous would be with train 101 in Holly Hill near Daytona. I had spent the morning catching some CSX in Tampa and Amtrak in Lakeland, and then rolled east in hopes I could catch this afternoon train.

With some long distance help from a friend in Ohio I was able to set up and grab this SD40-2 trio with two of the “Champion” painted units leading a Union Pacific unit.

After the 101 it was (1) a drive on the beach at Daytona then (2) a drive up to St Augustine for the night in hopes of catching some northbounds in the morning.

My hotel had the FEC main right behind it. I noticed a clear signal as I walked over to check the area out and my friend Jeff in Ohio indicated that the 107 was out and running.

It would be a race against the sun as it was setting fast. In the very last light of the day, an almost pure set of blues rolled past. I’ve shown one in color and one in black and white as the grayscale conversion seemed to tone down the orange cast of that setting sun.

Fast forward to the next morning. Information showed there were two trains coming north, a southbound local and that there was time for breakfast.

This is the first northbound train (No. 226). Having shot a “Champ” leading the day before, I was OK with the ex-Union Pacific yellow leader. The still morning made for a nice reflection.

Between the two northbounds, local No. 905 ran south. It would clear up on the former Palatka Branch in St Augustine for the second northbound.

The next move was the second Bowden bound train (No. 224?) with, count ’em, seven units.

I couldn’t get them all in one photo. One of the CITX units was leading a couple of ex UPs, the 104, the 425 in pink, and two blues.

I don’t normally do rolling nose coupled roster grabs but couldn’t resist the pink trimmed 425.

That would be all for a while in St Augustine so it was north to Jacksonville and a rendezvous with train 101 again. Right on the money it was pulled out of the yard and parked at Sunbeam Road to wait on the road crew. Colorful SD70M-2 106 had the honors.

I’ll finish this up with one of the quick photos at Bowden on my down bound trip. I wasn’t a big fan of that pole in the middle of the photo, but of interest were the two former straight GP40s (the last two on the roster) that had just been re-lettered “EMDX”, including the 2000 in Champion colors. Both have since left the property.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

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It was a race against the sun to get this all-blue consist.

The black and white version of that late day train.

The black and white version of that late day train.

That's right! This train had seven locomotives.

That’s right! This train had seven locomotives.

I couldn't resist this grab it roster shot of the pink ribbon unit.

I couldn’t resist this grab it roster shot of the pink ribbon unit.

I was OK with this ex-UP unit being ahead of the "champ."

I was OK with this ex-UP unit being ahead of the “champ.”

A southbound local made an appearance amid the northbound traffic.

A southbound local made an appearance amid the northbound traffic.

Train 101 was right on the advertised for its crew change.

Train 101 was right on the advertised for its crew change.

Not a bad haul for 24 hours on the FEC.

Not a bad haul for 24 hours on the FEC.


A gathering of motive power.

A gathering of motive power.


New FEC Locomotives May be Built in Erie

February 7, 2014

Railfan photographers may have a reason to make a trip to Erie, Pa., this year. And then again maybe they won’t.

The Florida East Coast Railway recently announced that it will order 24 new ES44C4 locomotives from General Electric.

However, neither GE nor the FEC have indicated if the new locomotives will be built in Erie or at the new GE locomotive plant in Texas.

What is known is that the new locomotives will wear the FEC’s red and yellow “Champion” livery, Trains magazine reported on Thursday.

The “Champion” paint scheme was used on FEC’s passenger locomotives beginning in 1939 and the FEC has recently begun applying the scheme to its SD40-2 locomotives.
Delivery of the locomotives, which are the first that FEC has bought from GE, will begin in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Trains reported that FEC officials said that 11 FEC SD70M-2s  will become surplus after the arrival of the new locomotives and will be removed from the company’s motive power roster.

FEC also has yet to assign road numbers to the ES44C4s units it ordered.