Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

Where Ed Once Lived. No, Not that Ed

September 20, 2016

Bedford 20E-x

I was railfanning in Bedford a while back when a guy came up to me and introduced himself as Ed.

He pointed toward a gentlemen he was with him and said that was his father, who was also named Ed.

Then Ed Jr. pointed to the yellow house across the tracks and said he used to live there. I can see why Ed became a railfan.

The Eds still live in Bedford in another home a few blocks west of the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern.

As for the headline of this posting, well in the Akron Railroad Club Ed is Edward Ribinskas, our treasurer.

Ed the treasurer and I have spent time over the years railfanning in Bedford before ARRC meetings.

So this photograph of eastbound NS train 20E rolling past the yellow house in Bedford by the tracks is for Ed, Ed and Ed.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

NS-Served Coal Mine in Kentucky to Close

September 20, 2016

An eastern Kentucky coal mine served by Norfolk Southern will close and the 114 employees there will be laid off.

NS logo 2The mine in Sidney, Kentucky, is the last mine still operating in the state that is owned by Alpha Natural Resources. The closing is expected to become effective on Nov. 7.

Closing the mine would likely mean the end of rail service on the 7-mile Sidney branch that was once owned by Norfolk & Western.

The Sidney branch connects to the Long Fork and Nolan branches, which join with the Kenova District in Nolan, located 10 miles west of Williamson, West Virginia.

The Sidney, Long Fork and Nolan branches have total mileage of 13 miles.  The Sidney coal mine is one of two customers on those branches.

Trains to the Sidney mine have been based out of Williamson. The mine can accommodate 130 cars.

I Do Believe That is a Warbonnet

September 18, 2016

Warbonnet 1

Warbonnet 2

I was hanging out in Olmsted Falls late on a Friday afternoon, checking out the action on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

A eastbound NS manifest freight was approaching so I got out to take a look. Nothing out of the ordinary in the motive power department was likely to come through the Falls as far as I knew.

The train had an NS unit leading and the trailing unit was BNSF orange. But what about that third unit? It looks like neither NS or BNSF.

It turned out it was a BNSF unit wearing the Santa Fe warbonnet livery. It’s tough to get a good image of the third unit in a consist and with a warbonnet you really would like to get the nose.

Warbonnets are becoming scarce as BNSF retires or idles its older locomotives.

I found it interesting that this particular warbonnet had Santa Fe lettering on the nose but BNSF markings on the flanks.

The car following No. 720 was a boxcar, so there was little chance to get much of the nose. I don’t know if this will be the last warbonnet that I see in a moving motive power consist. But in case it is, I have a record of it.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Seeing (CN) Red in Downtown Cleveland

September 17, 2016
Norfolk Southern train 145 had a consist of three Canadian National locomotives as it rolled through Cleveland on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern.

Norfolk Southern train 145 had a consist of three Canadian National locomotives as it rolled through Cleveland on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern.

Yeah, I'd rather that the three CN units be heading toward me rather than going away, but it is still a good image anyway.

Yeah, I’d rather that the three CN units be heading toward me rather than going away, but it is still a good image anyway.

My friend Adam and I were hanging out at Old Broadway in Cleveland when we heard a westbound train calling signals.

That wasn’t what we had wanted to hear. I wanted to get an eastbound with the Cleveland skyline behind it in all of its glory.

But I wasn’t going to pass up any train. It had been more than an hour since we had arrived and I wanted to get something, anything.

The train was the 145, a westbound that originates in Buffalo, New York, and terminates in Kansas City.

I have an interesting history with the 145. In early February 2014 I bagged the 145 crossing the Painesville trestle over the Grand River on one of the best days for winter photography that I’ve ever experienced.

Ed Ribinskas won a photo contest for his image of the 145 that he made that day and received a free enlargement from Dodd Camera that prominently is displayed in his home.

More recently, I caught the 145 in Conneaut with a pair of Union Pacific locomotives and nothing else. Yes, it was running light as two UP units.

The 145 soon came into sight and as it did I could see the nose wasn’t black. We didn’t know of any Norfolk Southern  heritage units on the former Nickel Plate line.

The lead unit turned out to be a Canadian Pacific locomotive. And so was the trailing unit and so was the third unit. It was an all CN motive power consist.

Those are not necessarily rare, but not common in Cleveland, either. Not a bad way to start the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Colorful NS Motive Power Duo

September 15, 2016

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It wasn’t an all heritage locomotives consist, but Norfolk Southern train 64T had an unusual motive power consist when it passed through Northeast Ohio during the morning hours of Monday, Sept. 12.

Leading the train was the Erie Railroad heritage locomotive while the tailing unit was the DC to AC conversion No. 4000.

The same duo had led the train or tank cars westbound through the region last Saturday, but that was during early morning hours and NS 4000 had been leading.

Reports on HeritageUnits.com indicated that on Monday the 64T was reported at Alliance at 11:06 a.m.

No reports were made for the time that train passed through Cleveland.

Rich Thompson was able to get to Hines Hill Road near Macedonia to capture the 64T as it made its way east on the NS Cleveland Line.

Photographs by Richard Thompson

NKP 765 Steams Into Cleveland

September 14, 2016
Nickel Plate Road 765 crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

Nickel Plate Road 765 crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

This year’s ferry move of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 went via Cleveland instead of through Akron as it has in previous years.

On Tuesday morning social media exploded with the news that NKP 765 would have its ferry move that day. The Berkshire-type locomotive operated as 765 and not as 767, the number it reportedly will wear during its time on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

I figured on getting a couple shots between Bellevue and Cleveland, going for quality not quantity.

I went to Vermilion where I met up with Todd Vander Sluis and Alex Bruchec. As we were talking ,NS train 20E went by but none of us lifted a camera to take a photo.

It only had the Wabash heritage unit leading so not a big deal right? Ugghh! Well, we didn’t make the same mistake when the ferry move came through an hour later.

I then headed to Brook Park across from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport as the light was still good there.

I got it passing the new signals in Brook Park and again from the Interstate 480 overpass as it entered Rockport yard.

NKP 765 was to spend the night at Rockport and the crew call time is 6 a.m. on Wednesday to finish the move to the CVSR.

Norfolk Southern will take it to Campell Road Yard and deliver it to CSX at West Third Street for final delivery to the CVSR.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon 

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NS Trains at Cleveland’s Old Broadway

September 11, 2016
NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

Old Broadway is a favorite go-to place of railfan photographers when a Norfolk Southern heritage unit is leading a train eastward on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline through Cleveland.

It features an open view of eastbound traffic with the Cleveland skyline in the background. I’ve seen a number of H units photographed here, but never done it myself.

Old Broadway is also a place where fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Marty Surdyk likes to photograph. His strategy is to hang out in Berea until the 22K or the 206 comes past and then barrel up Interstate 71 toward downtown to get into position.

He has been known to get his shot at Old Broadway and then hot foot it out to Willoughby and get the iconic Willoughby Coal Company building in an image.

Going back even father to the 1950s, photography Herbert Harwood photographed at Old Broadway, catching Nickel Plate steam and various passengers trains headed to Cleveland Union Terminal.

As for myself, I had never photographed at Old Broadway and it has long been on my “to do” list.

With the help of my friend Adam, I finally was able to cross it off the list.

It turns out that the term “Old Broadway” is something of misnomer. It is actually located off the end of Rockefeller Avenue.

The Old Broadway name dates to the time when, or so I am told, Broadway Avenue crossed the tracks here.

There is still a concrete foundation that appears to have once supported a bridge.

You park in a cul-de-sac that looks modern. I can’t tell you how many vehicles came down Rockefeller, saw the cul-de-sac and then turned around and went back toward where they came. Either these folks don’t have a GPS, have a faulty GPS or can’t read a map.

We were banking on the fact that the 22K and the 206 both seem to be reliably late morning trains through Cleveland.

Maybe so on most days, but not on this day. We arrived about 9 a.m. and sat for an hour-and-a-half before getting a train. It was a westbound, the 145.

Just over a half-hour passed before another train showed up. It, too was a westbound, the 205.

It was almost noon and we decided to give it just a little more time. Then we got lucky.

The scanner brought news that we not had one, but two eastbounds coming, the 206 and the 310.

As we expected, the 206 arrived first. The last containers of the 206 were still in sight when the head end of the 310 came around the curve.

By now the sky had turned to sun and clouds so we played dodge ball with the light and shadows, not always winning.

But the images turned out well enough. We might have to give Old Broadway another try some day. Maybe this one of those eastbounds will have a heritage unit on the lead.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower, which is partly shrouded in shadows.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren't casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren’t casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.

Mix of Uncle Pete and Espee

September 10, 2016
SP Patch 02-x

I first encountered the UP 6161 passing the grain elevator at Oak Harbor. I didn’t know it was coming until it showed up.

Coming into Graytown.

Coming into Graytown. We were able to get ahead of the train because it had to be talked by a signal that was on the fritz.

Passing the grain elevator in Graytown.

Passing the grain elevator in Graytown. The crew of this train would be banner tested a few miles west of here by an NS road foreman. It passed the test and went on its way.

There are well over 100 Union Pacific “patch” locomotives floating around America. They are units still wearing their original colors and markings, but which have received a UP roster number as a patch.

I don’t pay much attention to these patch jobs, but they are tracked on HeritageUnits.com. I suppose there are people who are seeking to collect all of them.

Most of the patch units are of Southern Pacific heritage, but there also are some of Chicago & North Western and Denver & Rio Grande Western vintage.

Every so often one of these patch units gets repainted and removed from HU.

I was out along the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern when I happened upon one of those UP patch jobs, the UP 6361 leading westbound 25E, an auto rack train.

It found it interesting that the 6361 has had its Southern Pacific markings painted over on the body, but not on the nose.

Red lettering reading “Union Pacific” has been applied over the light gray paint used to paint over the SP markings on the flanks.

There are, no doubt, some folks out there who despise patch jobs because the original colors and markings tend to be badly faded and the locomotive is a mish-mash of markings.

If so, UP 6361 is a good example of that. It sorta of looks like an Espee unit, but it has a strong UP identify that doesn’t quite look like UP.

I photographed No. 6163 at Oak Harbor because it was a train that happened to come along and because it is out of the ordinary.

Soon enough all of these SP patch units will be gone, although some might survive if stricken from the roster than then sold to locomotive leasing company which might rent it as is. In that case it would be a double patch.

Then again maybe 6163 will eventually be scrapped before it is repainted. Class 1 railroads have been retiring or furloughing large numbers of their locomotives in the past year because of falling traffic.

No. 6163 may is an “older” unit, having been built in 1995 as SP 101.

Perhaps the fate of No. 6163 (nee SP 101) has been or will be determined soon at a desk in Omaha.

When I last checked, the 6361 was still out working on the UP. It may or may not return some day to Ohio.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

 

STB Says CSX, NS Not Revenue Adquate

September 10, 2016

Neither CSX nor Norfolk Southern made the list of revenue adequate railroads for 2015.

STBThe U.S. Surface Transportation Board said this week that four of the seven Class I railroads in the United States had adequate revenue last year.

The STB said that based on its determination of a 9.61 percent cost of capital, it found that BNSF, Grand Trunk Corporation. (Canadian Nation), Soo Line Corp. (Canadian Pacific), and Union Pacific were revenue-adequate for 2015.

A railroad is considered to be revenue-adequate if it achieves a rate of return on net investment equal to at least the current cost of capital for the railroad industry, which for 2015 the Board said was 9.61 percent.

In an unrelated announcement, the STB also said that it now has a new website address.

The agency’s website address is now www.stb.gov rather than www.stb.dot.gov.

The STB said the change reflects its status as a wholly independent federal agency, as a result of the STB Reauthorization Act of 2015.

Previously, the STB had been administratively affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

2 W.Va. Coals Mines Expected to Reopen

September 9, 2016

Coal mines in West Virginia and Virginia will reopen following a $90 million investment. Both are served by rail.

West VirginiaThe mines are owned by Ramaco LLC and produce metallurgical coal used in making steel.

The Elk Creek Mine in southern West Virginia is served by the Logan Subdivision of CSX while the the Berwind Mine on the West Virginia-Virginia border is served by a Norfolk Southern branch line from its Pocahontas Division.

“It’s a fairly big deal, frankly, for southern West Virginia,” Ramaco CEO Randall Atkins said.
Workers will begin test mining at both sites in early 2017 although the company said preparations for reopening the Elk Creek mine is expected to get underway sooner.

“We will start construction at the Elk Creek property just as soon as we get all the equipment lined up there,” Atkins said.

Coal may not begin being shipped by rail until 2018. Ramaco officials said they still need to discuss contracts with potential buyers.