Posts Tagged ‘Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park’

Trains (and Rain) at ARRC Longest Day Outing in Fostoria

June 30, 2021

A CSX train passes F Tower as it rounds the connection to go north in Fostoria on June 21, 2015. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

June 27, 2021, was a much anticipated day.

It was the Akron Railroad Club’s longest Day outing to Fostoria to visit the “iron rriangle.”

My day began at 6 a.m. with loading my Jeep being out the door at 6:20 a.m. I was five minutes behind schedule, no big deal.

Traffic on Interstate 480 and the Ohio Turnpike was light as usual on a Sunday morning. With one pit stop at a rest area and a trip through the drive thru at McDonald’s in Fremont, I was in Fostoria at 8:15 a.m.

I was surprised to find myself as the only one there. I picked out a picnic table with a view of all three mains and made quick work of breakfast.

The radio began to scratch, a train was nearing. It turned out to be Norfolk Southern intermodel 234.

NS 7600 was in charge of a trio of horses. As 234 cleared, a CSX train was lined from the south on the former Chesapeake & Ohio to east on the former Baltimore  & Ohio. This was auto rack train Q214 behind a pair of locos lead by CSX 7793.

A few minutes later NS intermodel 218 was heard entering town. I lined up my shot only to say “that’s not 218, those are coil steel cars.” NS 7691 with two trailing units passed with coil steel cars extended as far as you could see.

Sixty-one cars deep the intermodal freight that 218 would normally carry was finally coming by.

“Strange” I thought to myself.

What was even stranger was the fact that 218 stopped east of town and set out the 61 coil steel cars in the “new yard.”

Those coil cars are heading to Pro-Tec Steel in Leipsic via NS local L70 as we’ll see later.

About a half hour passed with no action. The next train at 9:29 a.m. was a CSX northbound loaded coal train. The symbol sounded like U506.

It was making track speed through the interlockings and coal dust was flying off the cars as each set of wheels pounded the diamonds. The U506 was heading to the Toledo Docks where the coal will be loaded into a lake freighter.

Next up was NS local L70. They were heading to the steel plant in Leipsic with a cut of 46 coil steel cars. For power they had NS 3067 and NS 6338.

The cars that 218 set out will most likely go to Leipsic on Monday’s L70. There must have been a shortage of cars for the plant if they used a hot intermodel train to get them to Fostoria.         

Just after 10:30 a.m. a CSX eastbound turned north on the C&O. It had CSX 771 up front with three other units trailing.

This was a mixed freight. I have no idea what the symbol was; couldn’t understand a word they were saying on the radio.

Twenty minutes later, we had the first sighting of a DPU. CSX Q203 had CSX 3286 up front and CSX763 about a third of the way back on a long train of auto racks. They went from south to west.

At 11:24 a.m. NS got back into the act with the passing of westbound intermodel 217.  He had a bit of a saga trying to get through town. The detector east of town at MP 275.4 reported hot wheel, axle 26 on the fireman’s side.

The CSX dispatcher had them lined across the diamonds, but they stopped before accepting the signal at the C&O diamond to check the hot wheel.

The CSX dispatcher wanted his railroad back to run a couple of his own trains. He gave the NS train the diamonds because they were short and moving right along. After some three-way radio conversations among the CSX dispatcher, the NS trainmaster and the 217’s crew, it was decided the 217 would proceed through town and then stop and inspect the hot wheel.

CSX indeed had trains to run. For the next hour, six CSX trains passed. Leading the way was Q166, the CP run-through. CP 8724 was leading with CP 7044 in the middle. They go straight east on the former B&O.

Right on the heels of Q166 was CSX double stack Q158. It was lead by CSX 63 and one additional unit.

Southbound empty hopper train U501 went south a few minutes after Q158 cleared.

Next up was CSX westbound doubles tack Q157. It had CSX 3011 up front with CSX 3067 splitting the double stacks from a cut of auto racks.

One of the hottest trains on the railroad, CSX Q010 was next, heading east on the B&O at 12:16 p.m. He had CSX 817 and one additional unit up front with CSX 3223 in the middle.

CSX Q150 ended the flurry as it went from east to north. Its destination is Detroit.  It was lead by CSX 423 and one additional unit.

While the CSX flurry was going on NS had a train that had worked in the yard for a while and was ready to head west. The 13Q had called their dispatcher and wanted an update as to when they were going to be moving west.

“CSX says he’ll take you as soon as a window opens up for you.”

When 13Q finally got the signal to proceed, we found out why CSX was reluctant to take the train across their diamonds. The 13Q was HUGE. Coming out the yard onto the main at restricted speed it went by for 25 minutes!

It only held up one CSX train. The Q151 was coming south and looking to go west toward North Baltimore.

As Q151 cleared the skies were darkening and rain looked imminent. I went into the restroom and then was hoping to make it back to the Jeep before the rains hit. No luck.

The skies opened up and a huge downpour was underway. Inside the restroom it sounded like someone pounding on the door. I stayed put until the rain let up a bit and I made a dash out the door to the other side of the building out of the wind and rain.

Interestingly, both CSX and NS at this time had gone quiet. It was radio silence for now.

When the rain finally let up enough that I could head to the Jeep, I decided now might be a good time for lunch. It was about 1:45 p.m. and my snacks that I brought with me can only hold you so long.

It was off to Arby’s, the closest fast food to the park. I was back in no time; no line at the drive thru at this time of the afternoon.

I ate in the car. It was still radio silence. They couldn’t be done running trains for the day, could they?

It was an hour and a half between trains. CSX Q358 finally broke the dry spell (trains not rain) at 2:44 p.m. as it passed behind CSX 5467 and one additional.

NS was next with the return of local L70 about ten minutes behind the Q358. It was only a few more minutes when a northbound CSX grain train came past on the C&O. It carried symbol G326 and was lead by CSX 384.

About 45 minutes passed before our next move. This was an ethanol train that came into town eastbound and turned south on the C&O. It was lead by a pair of CP GE’s. The leader was CP 8957.

CSX was next, as they took out the trash, sort of. Earlier in the day CSX 5329 running as local H792 tied on to some garbage cars and headed south to the garbage dump. They set out the cut that they took down and came back with 75 empties. They took the empties around the southeast wye and left them in the B&O east siding.

While they did this CSX Q169 double stacker came by westbound. CSX 9010 was today’s leader of a short train.

Q635 was approaching on Main 2 with more garbage cars to set out for the dump south of town. The H792 returned light to the yard on the C&O side to wait for Q635’s set out. They would take them south before calling it a day.

Q635 had CSX 3266 up front. It had garbage cars up front, some mixed freight in the middle and more garbage on the rear.

While they tied up the southeast connection to make their set out, CSX Q201 came around the northwest connection traveling from south to west. It had CSX 47 doing a solo.

It was now after 6 p.m. Several more cars of fans were arriving. The big news of the day was CSX Q016 had CSX 3194 on the lead.

CSX 3194 is painted up in a blue and black scheme to “Honor Our Law Enforcement.”

I wondered if it would make it before dark. It had left Chicago in late morning and they had to change crews at North Baltimore. All we could do was wait and see.

CSX Q555 was next. This is a Collinwood to Cincinnati train. It had CSX 409 and 888 up front pulling a cut of steel slabs followed by some mixed freight.

On the heels of the Q555 was coke train K182. It had CSX 354 and 562 up front.

With the diamonds clear of CSX action, the CSX dispatcher let NS have the rails for one each way. The 15Q behind NS 3618 passed at 7:06 p.m. As his last cars were disappearing around the curve on their way out of town, NS 12Q came into view with four ponies up from with NS 1142 as the leader.

My last train of the day was CSX Q370 at 7:26 p.m. This mixed freight was lead by CSX 988 and CSX 110.

I didn’t leave at this point. I stayed at the park until 8:45 p.m. hoping to catch the CSX 3194 before dark. I also was concerned about the prospects of finding something to eat this late in the day. Some restaurants have been closing earlier than usual due to the shortage of workers.

I missed the CSX 3194 by about a half hour. It went by about 9:15. I watched the play back of the action from Sunday on the Fostoria Rail Cam Monday morning before leaving for work. I also missed one westbound intermodel on CSX that passed just before the CSX 3194 came by.

Oh, well, maybe next time, when things get more back to normal.

For those keeping score with me, I totaled 30 movements in 12 and a half hours. The only foreign power leading were the CPs on Q166 and the ethanol train.

I was surprised to see as much action on the C&O south of Fostoria as I did. The last time I spent a day at Marion, my train count on the C&O was zero.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Longest Day. Where are we headed?

Article by Marty Surdyk

A Few From RRE’s Fostoria Outing Last Saturday

August 10, 2020

The Southern Railway heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern is on the point of eastbound train 148, which is crossing the Toledo-Columbus line.

Last Saturday the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts had a meet at the Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park.

I’m not sure how many attended. I saw a few members although the park was packed in the afternoon.

There was a decent amount of traffic on all the lines, at least 15-20 trains that I saw.

We stayed at Fostoria in the morning and drove down to Carey after lunch, catching some switchers and Wheeling & Lake Erie power, then came back for a few more trains at Fostoria.

We headed to Bellevue trying to chase an eastbound NS grain train.

The Norfolk Southern line used to be the Fort Wayne Division of the Nickel Plate Road.

It was famous for their Berkshires running freight trains as fast as 70 m.p.h.

This train was trying its best to emulate that as we got it a Maple Grove only to watch it roll by without getting any pictures.

Anyway here are a few pictures that I took.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

A CSX train coming into Fostoria on the line linking Toledo and Columbus.

David Kachinko looks to get a photograph of a CSX train turning west off the line to Columbus and onto the line to Chicago.

A northbound CSX train on the Columbus Subdivision led by Union Pacific motive power.

RRE to Hold Outing in Fostoria on Aug. 8

August 3, 2020

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiast will have an outing in Fostoria on Saturday (Aug. 8) in lieu of its regular meeting.

In the past the Cleveland-based group has held a picnic in August but that was scrubbed this year in favor of a train watching and photography event.

Members and guests are to meet at the Iron Triangle Rail Park at 499 S. Poplar Street, which sits between three mainline railroad routes.

Norfolk Southern comes through town on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline between Bellevue and Fort Wayne, Indiana, now known as the NS Fostoria District.

It sees a mix of intermodal, manifest freight and single commodity unit trains that add up to about 20 trains per day.

CSX has two routes included a former Chesapeake & Ohio line between Toledo and Columbus now known as the Columbus Subdivision.

Once a coal corridor, the line now handles primarily auto traffic to and from assembly plants in Toledo and Detroit.

There are occasional coal trains and some manifest freights on the line.

The busiest CSX route is the former Baltimore & Ohio Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline that operates via Akron but also hosts traffic between Chicago and the New York and Boston regions that passes through Cleveland.

Known as the Willard Subdivision it has connecting tracks with the Columbus Sub on all four quadrants of the junction once controlled by F Tower.

The south connecting tracks are the least used with only a couple of trains per day using them. The northerly connecting tracks see more with the northwest connection being the busiest.

The combination of the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the onset of the precision scheduled railroading operating model has dropped traffic levels in Fostoria from 100 trains a day to the 75 to 80 range on a good day.

As with most FCD/RRE events it begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

Although RRE is scheduled to hold a regular meeting on Sept. 11, that is tentative and hinges on how things are going then with the pandemic.

RRE Planning Outing to Fostoria

July 17, 2020

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will hold an outing in Fostoria on Aug. 8.

The event at the Iron Triangle Rail Park will replace the traditional August picnic. The Cleveland-based railfan group will not have an August meeting.

The event will begin when the first person arrives and end when the last person leaves.

Fostoria is the crossing of two CSX lines and a Norfolk Southern route.

Earlier this summer the RRE had an outing at the railfan park in Bellevue. It’s next scheduled meeting will be on Sept. 11 subject to further developments during the COVID-19 pandemic relating to social distancing and group gatherings.

Dodging Clouds During Longest Day Outing

June 27, 2018

A former Burlington Northern “Grinstein” unit looking good aside from some exterior dirt leads train 234 through Fostoria during the Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing.

Fostoria was as good as advertised last Sunday in terms of rail traffic as a thin crowd of Akron Railroad Club members turned out to watch trains at one of Ohio’s busiest railroad junctions.

Between 8:45 a.m. and 4:35 p.m., 36 trains rumbled past the Iron Triangle Railfan Park while at least one ARRC member was present.

Marty Surdyk and his brother Robert were the first to arrive, pulling in at 8:45 a.m.

One minute later they logged their first train, an eastbound manifest freight on Norfolk Southern.

Rick Houck arrived later as did ARRC President Craig Sanders. That was the extent of ARRC participation.

The day featured good weather that was not too hot, not too cool and not too humid.

But there were quite a few clouds and the often 50-50 sky conditions meant that the Surdyk brothers, both of them confirmed film users, often watched a train pass by with a shrug of WWTF because of the shadows cast by the clouds.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term WWTF it doesn’t incorporate in part the phrase “what the” but instead means “why waste the film.”

Traffic was fairly steady through Fostoria during the time that ARRC members were on hand. The longest lull was about a half-hour.

Not surprisingly, most of the trains belonged to CSX. Fostoria is the crossing of former Baltimore & Ohio and Chesapeake & Ohio mainlines with the ex-B&O handling most CSX traffic between the Midwest and Atlantic Coast.

CSX put 22 trains through Fostoria, using all of the connecting tracks between the ex-B&O and ex-C&O.

The vast majority of traffic on the ex-C&O was going to or coming from the ex-B&O with most of it taking the ex-C&O north of town.

Just one train made a straight move through town on the ex-C&O, a southbound (railroad eastbound) grain train that featured some of the most weathered covered hopper cars you will ever see.

No trains came into Fostoria from the south on the ex-C&O other than the yard job’s motive power, which was turning its locomotive to face a different direction.

It was a good day to see foreign motive power with units from Union Pacific, BNSF, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National leading trains past the railfan park.

An eastbound NS stack train, the 234, came in with a former Burlington Northern “Grinstein” unit, which is now owned by a locomotive leasing company Progress Rail. But no NS heritage units made an appearance.

CSX eastbound intermodal train Q010 had as its second unit a Chessie System sticker unit No. 7765. It looked like an oversized bumper sticker.

Traffic was a mixture of intermodal, manifest freight, auto racks and tank car trains. Noticeably absent were coal trains.

Throughout the day Robert Surdyk was monitoring the progress of the NS executive train, which had left Altoona, Pennsylvania, about 8:30 a.m. en route to Chicago.

About 5 p.m., Robert, Marty and Craig decided to head north to Oak Harbor to intercept and photograph the NS F units.

And with that the longest day shifted for another two hours to a new location.

The Q507 was another one-hit wonder, albeit a colorful one.

I took 18 minutes for auto rack train Q253 to round the curve from the ex-B&O to the ex-C&O.

A mother and her son eye an NS light power move.

NS westbound train 11Q had a load of tank cars.

Grain train E781 was the only move straight through town on the former C&O. It is shown crossing Columbus Street.

NS train 10E comes around the curve with a brace of Union Pacific motive power.

The newest addition to the railfan park is a former B&O caboose.

The Chessie System sticket on the nose of CSX No. 7765.


ARRC Longest Day Outing is Sunday in Fostoria

June 21, 2018

A CSX train takes the connection from the former B&O to the former C&O in Fostoria during the ARRC’s 2015 longest day outing. F Tower stands in the background.

The Akron Railroad Club’s annual longest day outing this year will take us to a very well known railfan hot spot, Fostoria.

Three major mainlines converge on Fostoria and all cross each other at grade creating an “iron triangle.”

Two of the three lines are owned by CSX. The busiest of the two is the east-west former Baltimore & Ohio from Willard to Chicago.

The other CSX line is the former Chesapeake & Ohio line from Toledo to Columbus.

Connections on all sides of the B&O/C&O diamonds allow trains to go all possible directions.

If you stay long enough, you should see one on each connecting track during the day.

Norfolk Southern gets into the act at Fostoria with the former Nickel Plate Road mainline from Bellevue to Chicago.

It crosses, first, the former C&O, then the former B&O on its way to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Chicago.

The Iron Triangle Railfan Park in Fostoria sits near the NKP/C&O diamonds.

You can easily see the B&O/C&O diamonds from the park. The B&O/NKP diamonds are about two blocks to the west.

Fostoria is not short on trains. Even with the recent CSX downsizing there will be plenty of action to keep the rails shiny. However, the trains will be much longer than you have been used to seeing.

The C&O north of Fostoria at times resembles an automotive pipeline as many of the trains that ply these rails carry newly-made automobiles from Detroit area assembly plants to all parts of the country.

The other commodity of note on the former C&O line is coal. Coal from mines in West Virginia and Kentucky move to Lake Erie via this line.

Between the auto rack trains and the coal trains, the mixed freights can have a tough time finding track to run on.

The former B&O looks like an intermodal corridor with multiple double stack and single stack trains passing each day.

Mixed freights are more common on this line moving to and from the CSX yard at Willard.

NS also has a nice variety of trains. The intermodals mostly run before daybreak, but there will be plenty of mixed freights along with seasonal grain trains.

As with all ARRC longest day outings, the day begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

Members will most likely be there from just after sun up to sun down. So come for the day, or a morning, or just an hour, but plan on spending some time in Fostoria on Sunday June 24.

Article by Marty Surdyk

B&O Caboose Arrives at Fostoria Railpark

May 18, 2017

A former Baltimore & Ohio caboose was delivered by truck this week to the railfan park in Fostoria.

Photographs posted on showed the caboose arriving on Monday evening.

The Fostoria Rail Preservation Society acquired the caboose last summer.

The caboose arrived without its wheels, which will, presumably be reattached soon before the car is set on rails for display.

Fostoria Rail Park Getting B&O Caboose

June 9, 2016

The Fostoria rail fan park is getting a former B&O caboose.

B&O logoThe Fostoria Rail Preservation Society purchased a 400-foot long C-3008 from an auction service for $1,500. the caboose was located in Alvada, Ohio.

The caboose was built in November 1965 by International Car Company in Kenton.

In Fostoria, it will be placed near the Iron Triangle Visiting Center and Viewing Area at the south side of the platform.

The Fostoria group is hoping that CSX will donate a 40-foot section of track on which the caboose will be placed.

Also coming to the rail park are picnic tables and benches, a concrete sidewalk, WiFi and cameras.

CSX, NS Trains Nearly Collide in Fostoria

December 1, 2015

Railroad officials are investigating a near miss collision in Fostoria that was witnessed by railfans watching trains on Sunday at the Fostoria Iron Triangle Rail Park.

Trains magazine reported that the near miss involved a loaded Norfolk Southern ethanol train and westbound CSX manifest freight.

The magazine cited railfans saying that CSX train Q355 was on a connecting track leading from the Willard Subdivision to the Pemberville Sub en route to Walbridge Yard near Toledo.

NS train 66N was operating eastbound on the Fostoria District.

One of the railfans, who was described by Trains as a former railroad employee, said the engineers of both trains applied their emergency brakes.

The witness said “the NS train hit the air right about Poplar Street” after seeing the approaching CSX train. “CSX landed about 50 feet from NS,” the witness said.

Another NS train, the westbound 412, had just cleared the diamond of the Fostoria District and the Pemberville Sub before the near miss occurred. The connecting track on CSX passes behind F Tower.

Norfolk Southern spokesman David Pidgeon confirmed the incident.

“An eastbound NS train approached the diamond at Fostoria with a clear signal and when the crew spotted a northbound CSX train approaching the diamond, the NS crew put their train into an emergency brake (application),” Pidgeon told Trains.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle said the incident is under investigation.

It took about an hour for officials from both railroads to arrive on the scene. Ten CSX trains that were approaching Fostoria were delayed.

Rail traffic through Fostoria is controlled by the CSX IP dispatcher in Indianapolis.

Few More From Fostoria

August 20, 2015

A stack train splits the eastbound home signals for the diamonds by F Tower. Morning light in the summer if reasonably good for shooting eastbound trains on the CSX Willard Subdivision from the Iron Triangle railfan park.

A stack train splits the eastbound home signals for the diamonds by F Tower. Morning light in the summer if reasonably good for shooting eastbound trains on the CSX Willard Subdivision from the Iron Triangle railfan park.

The Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing to Fostoria was more than a month ago, but here are a few more images that I made of CSX operations during my time at the Iron Triangle Railfan Park.

It was a busy outing with trains passing by throughout the day. A track project on the CSX Willard Subdivision had Track No. 1 out of service and that backed up traffic on all three mainlines through town.

As expected, there was a mix of traffic and motive power. On CSX I spotted locomotives of Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian Pacific.

A UP unit led a westbound on Norfolk Southern and we were also treated to the NS Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit.

It was a good show during an all-day outing.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

A colorful set of red and blue containers brings up the rear of a Detroit-bound stack train.

A colorful set of red and blue containers brings up the rear of a Detroit-bound stack train. The tracks in the foreground are the NS Fostoria District.

A southbound (railroad eastbound) crosses over on the just north of the diamonds where the Pemberville Sub crosses the NS Fostoria District. It was the second of two trains in rapid succession to come down the Pemberville Sub and continue across the diamonds with the Willard Sub at F Tower and onto the Columbus Sub.

A southbound (railroad eastbound) crosses over on the just north of the diamonds where the Pemberville Sub crosses the NS Fostoria District. It was the second of two trains in rapid succession to come down the Pemberville Sub and continue across the diamonds with the Willard Sub at F Tower and onto the Columbus Sub.

A light power move has just cleared Columbus Avenue as it heads northward (railroad eastbound) on the CSX Pemberville Sub.

A light power move has just cleared Columbus Avenue as it heads northward (railroad eastbound) on the CSX Pemberville Sub.

An almost graffiti free Pan Am Railways boxcar on an eastbound manifest freight on the Willard Sub.

An almost graffiti free Pan Am Railways boxcar on an eastbound manifest freight on the Willard Sub.

Three flatcars carrying large pipes made for an interesting and out of the ordinary sight. The train was moving from the Willard Sub through the northeast connection to the Pemberville Sub.

Three flatcars carrying large pipes made for an interesting and out of the ordinary sight. The train was moving from the Willard Sub through the northeast connection to the Pemberville Sub.