One of the benefits of the new Inner Belt Bridge Project in Cleveland is the addition of some new park areas near the new spans.
One such park, located on Abbey Avenue, has opened some new photo possibilities for shooting westbound Norfolk Southern trains s crossing the lift bridge on the former Nickel Plate Road over the Cuyahoga River.
A word to the wise: Don’t dawdle on getting to Abbey. Once the funding for the parks runs out the vegetation will be allowed to grow at will and the shot will be overwhelmed.
But for now here is what you need to know about shooting from Abbey Avenue park.
The park is located obviously on Abbey Avenue at the east end of the Abbey Avenue viaduct over the NKP and several city streets.
The parking area is right under the new freeway bridge and when trains aren’t moving on the NKP the view of downtown Cleveland is quite nice to behold.
To get there from Interstate 90 westbound, just exit at the Abbey Avenue/West 14th Street exit. It dumps you right into the parking lot for the park, which is right across Abbey Avenue.
From northbound I-71 or Ohio Route 176, exit at West 14th Street, go around the roundabout and head all the way to the foot of West 14th Street. Follow the signs for Sokolowski’s Restaurant to reach Abbey Avenue. The park and parking area are just to the west, a left turn on Abbey Avenue.
When you reach the park, you will find several angles available for shooting westbound trains coming off the lift bridge with the Cleveland skyline in the background. A wide angle lens works best, but a 50 mm lens can be used.
There is some clutter along the tracks that will limit some shots, but look around and choose the best angles for your type of lens, camera and personal tastes.
Lighting is best from about mid morning to mid afternoon, but during these hours you can usually count on trains like 205 and 23K to show up.
On July 4, we witnessed the 205 and a 65W empty oil train running back to back. I did two different angles and can’t wait to see the results.
The former NKP here is controlled by the Cleveland Terminal Dispatcher on radio frequency 161.250.
The lift bridge is manned, but only goes up to clear the big lake boats. There is plenty of clearance for smaller pleasure crafts and sightseeing boats like the Goodtime III.
Spend some quality time or just catch a train or two, but check out the scene at Abbey Avenue.