Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern OCS’

NS OCS Makes Northern Ohio Appearance

June 26, 2018

The executive train of Norfolk Southern is no stranger to Northeast Ohio, but its visits and few and far between enough to make getting it still a treat when the opportunity arises.

Such was the case on Sunday afternoon when operating as symbol 955 the train of A-B-B-A F units and 12 cars can through on the Cleveland Line and then the Chicago Line.

It was en route to Chicago and reportedly stayed overnight in Elkhart, Indiana, before continuing to the Windy City on Monday morning.

I intercepted it in Oak Harbor along with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Marty and Robert Surdyk.

We had been in Fostoria for the annual ARRC longest day outing and decided about 5 p.m. to head up to Oak Harbor, where the 955 came through about 7:20 p.m.

The train did not appear to have anyone aboard other than the head end crew.


NS OCS Passes through NE Ohio

May 25, 2018

On Wednesday the Norfolk Southern office car special came through Northeast Ohio. I caught it at Alliance. I was about to head home when I heard a report that the Central of New Jersey heritage unit was leading NS train 15V. This train takes the Fort Wayne line at Alliance. I went to Louisville where I got him at the MP94 signals which are still a Pennsylvania Railroad design.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

It Was Dark But I Got the OCS

October 2, 2016




I didn’t take long for word to get out at the Great Berea Train show on Saturday that the Norfolk Southern executive train was coming. Reportedly, it was headed for St. Louis.

It departed its base in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in late morning, which meant it was likely to pass through Cleveland in late afternoon.

My fellow Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon decided to intercept it at Hudson, which it passed through just before 5 p.m.

I left the train show just after 4:30 p.m. and headed for Olmsted Falls. Eastbound manifest freight 34N or 34M (I don’t remember which letter it was) was passing through as I arrived. It would be the only eastbound I would see over the next two hours.

Operating under symbol 955, the OCS was following manifest freight 11V. L13, the Bellevue-Rockport Yard turn, and a coal train, the 552, would also depart westbound ahead of it.

About 5:30 p.m., ARRC Bulletin Editor Marty Surdyk arrived. He had planned to run home to grab his camera, but traffic leaving the train show was heavy.

He reckoned that it would be cloudy when the OCS came through and his chances of getting a good image on slide film were slim. So he just came out to watch and didn’t bother to get his camera.

Marty’s hunch proved to be correct. There was some nice sunlight just before the L13 led the late afternoon westbound parade, but by the time 955 showed up at 6:53 p.m., it was cloudy and dark.

Even with a digital camera, it was a tough image to make. But I got it and saw something I don’t see often.

It also means that the last two times that I’ve seen the NS OCS I’ve been trackside with Marty.  We had caught the OCS last month at Salem on the Fort Wayne Line.

The consist of the train was NS F9A 4270, F9B 4275, F9B 4276, F9A 4271, and passengers cars 23, Buena Vista; 24, Delaware; 19, Kentucky; 18, New Orleans; 2, Carolina; 4, Michigan; 14, Missouri; 13, Georgia; 11, Illinois; 9, Alabama; 20, Ohio; 3, Claytor Lake; 7, Pennsylvania; and 39 (a power car).

Even in the near dark it was an impressive looking consist. It was not a bad way to begin October.

Tracking Down NS Varnish in NE Ohio

September 13, 2016
The Norfolk Southern executive train rushes through Salem late on Sunday afternoon.

The Norfolk Southern executive train rushes through Salem late on Sunday afternoon.

Norfolk Southern doesn’t operate passenger trains in the traditional sense. It doesn’t offer scheduled trains for which the traveling public can buy a ticket.

But like other major railroads, it has a fleet of passenger equipment for use in its executive train fleet and for other purposes involving track inspection.

When the word got out on Sunday that the NS office car special was traveling through northern Ohio en route to its home base in Altoona, Pennsylvania, it seemed that everyone and their brother went trackside to get it.

The OCS had been in the St. Louis area and traveled on the former Wabash mainline to Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Saturday night.

It had F9A 4271, F7B 4275 and F9A 4270, and passengers cars NS 23 (Buena Vista), NS 24 (Delaware), NS 7 (Pennsylvania) and NS 21 (West Virginia).

I first heard about the move of the OCS, which operated under symbol 956, from Marty Surdyk, who joined me in Sebring for an afternoon of railfanning on Sunday afternoon on the Fort Wayne Line east of Alliance.

Marty’s nephew Henry was chasing the train around Cleveland and sent us OS updates.

We elected to photograph the executive train as it passed through Salem because the tracks here are on a northwest-southeast alignment and the lighting would be better.

Train 956 was following intermodal train 20E and both were crossed over from Track 1 to Track 2 at CP Murph to run around grain train 52T, which was stopped ahead on Track 1 at CP Lum near Columbiana.

The intermodal train and OCS went back to Track 1 at Lum to continue their journey toward Pittsburgh. A report on indicated that train 956 reached Altoona around 10:30 p.m.

My other sighting of NS varnish came late Friday afternoon in Olmsted Falls. It was a track geometry train with NS 38, a track test unit that railfans have nicknamed “the brick” because of its rectangular shape.

No. 38 was behind NS GP40-2 No. 3035 and was accompanied by NS 36, an open platform passenger car that carries the name “Research 36” on its flanks.

I could see NS personnel wearing safety vests sitting in the rear-facing seats and watching the tracks unfold behind them. It may be a research train, but it carries passengers and wears the same Tuscan red that adorns the NS executive fleet.

Traveling under NS symbol 906, the track geometry train tied up for the weekend at Rockport Yard. It left Cleveland on Monday morning headed for Pittsburgh.

A report on HU indicated that “the brick” would be inspecting Track 1 from Pittsburgh to Altoona.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders






NS OCS Passes Through NE Ohio on Monday

October 27, 2015
Norfolk Southern's office car special passes some fall foliage in Ravenna on Monday afternoon.

Norfolk Southern’s office car special passes some fall foliage in Ravenna on Monday afternoon.

The Norfolk Southern executive train made a trek through Northeast Ohio on Monday afternoon. Online reports indicated the train was bound for Fort Wayne, Indiana, via Cleveland and Bellevue.

The train passed through Ravenna about 3:30 p.m. and picked up a new crew at Rockport Yard in Cleveland. It then went through Berea at about 5:50 p.m. It was spotted in Bellevue at 8:30 p.m. and continued westward.

Photograph by Todd Dillon

NS Puts 2 Special Trains Through NE Ohio

August 7, 2015
The engineer of the Norfolk Southern office car special waves to the photographers.

The engineer of the Norfolk Southern office car special waves to the photographers.

Norfolk Southern offered a double dip of special passenger trains in Northeast Ohio on Thursday. The Whistle-Stop Safety Train operated from Bellevue to Alliance via Cleveland while the company’s executive train ran across the state on the Fort Wayne Line.

Both trains passed through Alliance and continued on toward Pittsburgh, with the executive train taking the Bayard Line.

I couldn’t get the favored shot at Moultrie with the farm silo’s the background.  Unfortunately, the cornfields were too high for a photo but I did manage a few going away photos of this rare move on the Bayard line.

The image of the NS 9-1-1 pulling the safety train were made in Alliance.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

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NS OCS Pays Visit to Northeast Ohio

June 10, 2015
Norfolk Southern F9A No. 4271 leads train 955 past the Willis Picnic Area  of the Bedford Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks on Tuesday.

Norfolk Southern F9A No. 4271 leads train 955 past the Willis Picnic Area of the Bedford Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks on Tuesday.


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The Norfolk Southern executive train made a trip to Northeast Ohio on Tuesday afternoon and spent the night at Rockport Yard.

Online reports indicated that the train was to leave early Wednesday for Chicago where it would make a same-day turnaround and return to Cleveland later in the day.

The reports did not say why the office car special was traveling to Chicago.

Operating under symbol 955, the train was led by F9A No. 4271. That locomotive along with SD60E No. 9-1-1 is scheduled to appear on June 13 and 14 at Norfolk Southern Days at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg.

The 955 passed through Alliance in early afternoon and was making good time until tripping a defect detector near milepost 101 on the Cleveland Line just after 2:30 p.m.

After about a half-hour delay, the 955 continued on to Rockport Yard without further incident.

It was reported today through Elyria at 8:06 a.m. and operating as No. 951.

Photographs by Craig Sanders


Late Day Norfolk Southern OCS in Cleveland

November 21, 2014



A deadhead move of the Norfolk Southern OCS train occurred last week. By the time it got to me it was well into late afternoon with fading light. I elected to go grayscale to lessen the harshness of the less than stellar lighting. It is shown here at milepost 184 in the Battery Park area of Cleveland. I liked the small reflection of the F unit on that UPS trailer in the wider photo.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

NS OCS Makes Cleveland-Bellevue Trek

September 24, 2014
The return trip passes Sheldon Road.

The return trip passes Sheldon Road.

At Olmsted Falls earlier in the day as the train sprinted to Bellevue.

At Olmsted Falls earlier in the day as the train sprinted to Bellevue.

I was able to break away from work to capture the Norfolk Southern OCS train late Tuesday morning in Olmsted Falls. While there, I found a certain Akron Railroad Club officer also covering the event.

I also got the OCS return trip at Sheldon Road.  I thought there were investors on board, but there didn’t seem to be anybody riding.  It didn’t stay long at Rockport, if at all, as it cleared Sheldon Road a little after 5 and Hudson an hour later.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

NS OCS Makes Run Through NE Ohio

August 3, 2014





The Norfolk Southern executive train made a run through western Pennsylvania and northern Ohio on Saturday. The OCS doesn’t usually operate on weekends so this was a special treat.

I was at the picnic of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts at the former New York Central station in Amherst on Saturday afternoon with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Marty Surdyk, Tim Krogg and Dennis Taksar.  The weather could have been better, but at least it had stopped raining.

I had seen online reports before leaving home for the picnic about the train’s progress and thanks to Roger Durfee, I got an update that also confirmed that NS train 955 had taken the Cleveland Line out of Alliance and not the Fort Wayne Line.

We were located just west of milepost 213 on the Chicago Line. The 955 faced a traffic jam. NS crews were out working on Track No. 1, so single tracking was the order of the day.

Ahead of the 955 was the 145, which was waiting for eastbound traffic. The 145 and 955 would go over to No. 2 track at CP 216 and eventually into the connection at Vermilion to get onto the former Nickel Plate route to Bellevue.

We positioned ourselves on the Jackson Street bridge over the NS tracks and waited. We could hear the 955 and the 262 calling signals. Who would arrive first? It was the RoadRailer, which changed our respective approaches to getting the OCS. Ideally, we wanted no train on Track No. 2.

That didn’t quite happen. But because 955 had an approach at CP 212, it ran slow enough that this enabled the tail end of the RoadRailer to get far enough east to create somewhat of the shots that we wanted.

There was no one visible in the rear of the theater car and the shade was drawn part of the way. This suggested that the OCS, which online reports said was en route to St. Louis, was running as a deadhead move.

For Marty, it was the first time that he had seen, let alone photographed, the NS executive train with its classy-looking F units. We were all pleased with what we got.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders