Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

No Injuries in NS Pennsylvania Derailment

June 2, 2016

No injuries were reported after nine cars of a Norfolk Southern train derailed on the Lurgan Branch in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.

NS logo 2The derailment blocked rail traffic for several hours.

Nine boxcars turned over on their sides on a curve. The train had originated at Enola Yard and was heading for Hagerstown, Maryland.

The line had reopened by 9:55 p.m. Media reports indicated that two Amtrak trains were delayed by the derailment.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

NS Won’t Support Chicago Bypass Project

June 1, 2016

Norfolk Southern will not support an effort by a group seeking to construct a railroad bypass around Chicago.

In a letter to the U.S. Surface Board of Transportation, NS said it would not work with Great Lakes Basin Transportation, which has proposed building a 278-mile route linking Indiana and Wisconsin that would run south and west of Chicago.

NS logo 1Great Lakes Basin contends that the line would help alleviate freight congestion in Chicago.

Earlier, Union Pacific had said it, too, is not interested in working with Great Lakes Basin to create the $8 billion rail line.

In its letter to the STB, NS said it would focus on improving its own tracks.

The STB is currently taking public comments as part of an environmental impact statement regarding the project.

“Norfolk Southern has a robust route network, with multiple routes into and out of the Chicago area and also owns its own bypass route that runs directly to Kansas City,” NS wrote. “For this reason, we are not inclined to think that the proposed Great Lakes Basin route would work well with our system or that we would be a user of the route.”

A Pittsburgh Saturday

May 21, 2016
An eastbound stack train rolls through Glenfield, Pennsylvania, on a nice spring day. The day had begun rather cloudy, but had cleared up by mid afternoon.

An eastbound stack train rolls through Glenfield, Pennsylvania, on a nice spring day. The day had begun rather cloudy, but had cleared up by mid afternoon.

The day after the April meeting of the Akron Railroad Club I ventured to Pittsburgh with my friend Adam Barr. Neither of us had been there in a while so we were overdue to make a trip.

Adam had seen a location that he thought was promising in Glenfield. We parked next to a ball diamond where a game was progress when we arrived.

Our arrival coincided with a lull in traffic that lasted more than an hour. But in time things picked up and after getting a few shots, we motored up to Leestdale.

Here is a selection of what I was able to record.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

This might be train C88, which operates from Conway Yard to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and ferries motive power with it.

This might be train C88, which operates from Conway Yard to Altoona, Pennsylvania, and ferries motive power with it.

A grab shot of a westbound auto rack train that I made as we were making out way toward Leetsdale.

A grab shot of a westbound auto rack train that I made as we were making out way toward Leetsdale.

A westbound stack train passes beneath the former Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals in Leetsdale.

A westbound stack train passes beneath the former Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals in Leetsdale.

A coke train rumbles through Leetsdale. The train originated at in Clairton, Pennsylvania, and is headed for either Chicago or Detroit.

A coke train rumbles through Leetsdale. The train originated at in Clairton, Pennsylvania, and is headed for either Chicago or Detroit.

Watco to Acquire W.Va. Secondary From NS

May 21, 2016

Watco will acquire more than 300 miles of the West Virginia Secondary from Norfolk Southern and expects to begin operating it by late July.

The short line operator said it will hire 29 employees, including 25 positions in train service, mechanical, and track.

The track in question extends from milepost RR 7.0 in Refugee, Ohio, to milepost RR 116.5 at Hobson Yard near Middleport, Ohio, and from milepost WV 125.6 at Conco, Ohio, to milepost WV 253.4 in Cornelia, West Virginia.

The transaction does not include a 9-mile segment owned by CSX in southeast Ohio.

WatcoAs part of the acquisition, Watco will acquire a portion of the Princeton-Deepwater District on the former Virginian Railway between milepost V435 in Alloy, West Virginia, and milepost V382 in Maban, West Virginia.

The newly acquired properties will operate as the Kanawha River Railroad. Watco will have the use of supporting facilities owned by NS.

Watco plans to focus initially on re-opening the West Virginia Secondary to Columbus.

Until NS idled the route in February, it had handled chemical traffic and served some local industries.

Watco will assign nine of its own locomotives to the West Virginia Secondary.

The operating plan calls for a scheduled Monday, Wednesday, and Friday manifest freight to operate between Columbus and Dickinson Yard, south of Charleston, West Virginia. That train will operate northward the following day.

Two local jobs will operate out of Dickinson Yard on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to serve nearby industries.
Under an agreement with NS, Watco will forward coal from mines near Charleston over the former Virginian to NS, which will then take the trains to customers in Virginia and the Carolinas.

These trains will have Watco crews and NS run-through equipment.

Watco is eyeing returning coal traffic to the north end of the West Virginia Secondary via Columbus, but expects that 70 percent of the outbound coal that it handles will move via the former Virginia route.

NS To Take Delivery of Tier 4 Locomotives

May 20, 2016

General Electric Transportation expects to deliver Tier-4 compliant locomotives to Norfolk Southern this spring, making it the fifth Class I railroad to receive ET44ACs.

The units are being built  in Fort Worth, Texas, and are part of a 47-unit order.

NS logo 2Tier 4 emission standards were issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and took effect last year.

The first of the locomotives, No. 3600, will be tested by the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio before being delivered to NS. The units will have roster numbers 3600-3646.

NS also has on order three ES44AC locomotives that meet Tier 3 emission standards, but are permitted under existing regulations by having the builder apply emission credits already banked toward the locomotives.

Those credits were earned by applying energy-saving design technologies to locomotives already built and in operation.

Carrying roster numbers 8166-8168, those units are being built in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern are the only North American Class I railroads that have yet to buy Tier 4-compliant locomotives.

Indiana, Pennsylvania Short Line Honored

May 20, 2016

Short line railroads in Indiana and Pennsylvania were recently honored by the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association for their efforts to design and enact innovative and successful marketing initiatives.

The Indiana Rail Road was cited for its partnership with Canadian National to provide direct intermodal service from the West Coast, extending its intermodal markets into southern Indiana and the Ohio Valley.

Indiana Rail Road 2INRD invested $2.5 million to upgrade facilities, including construction of a two-track intermodal pad and a five-acre container yard at its Senate Avenue Terminal.

The facility is open six days a week and is within a day’s drive of 80 percent of U.S. consumers.

Containers move from Shanghai, China, to Indianapolis via the Port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, in 21.5 days on average, which is the fastest overall transit time in the industry.

The service handled 12,563 containers in 2014 and 17,233 containers in 2015. CN and INRD expect to move 18,000 containers in 2016.

The Nittany & Bald Eagle, and the Buffalo & Pittsburgh teamed up with Norfolk Southern to move lime pellets from Graymont Lime at Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania, to the Homer City Generating Station at Homer City, Pennsylvania.

The lime has transformed the plant from one of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants to a model of how such power plants can economically reduce pollution.

The three railroads cover the 190-mile haul with 45-car trains operating on a three-and-a-half day schedule.

The service is expected to deliver more than 3,000 cars annually of lime.

Reading & Northern’s latest “Rapid Response” example is its rehabilitation of the Old Forge Warehouse near Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The facility is used to move wood pulp to a large paper mill. The warehouse needed to be located where the wood pulp could be delivered on a next-day basis.

More than 350 carloads were handled during the first six months of operation.

“The four railroads we honored for the 2015 work are risk takers in the very best sense of the word. They work daily to bring new customers to their lines with reliable connections, creative use of real estate assets and flexible service offerings. And in the end, they keep small towns and small shippers connected to the national railroad system,” said Linda Bauer Darr, president of the ASLRRA. “Their success is the result of a commitment to never standing still and never fearing change.”

Use Your Imagination and What do You See?

May 18, 2016

Train Order Hook

Suppose that someone asked you describe what you see in this image. Most people would see the railroad tracks, snow and the bare trees.

A few railfans, though, might see something else. See that falling tree that appears to be propped up by a utility pole? Do the branches at the end look sort of like a Y-shaped train order fork?

At one time, train crews might have picked up train orders here. Behind me is Brady Lake Tower, which controlled the switches and signals for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie line that diverged here and ran to Marcy in Cleveland.

That was during the days of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central. At one time there used to be a signal bridge just beyond this fallen tree that held the home signal for eastbound trains at Brady Lake Tower.

There is a photo of it that appears on Page 101 of Volume 12 of the Pennsylvania Railroad Facilities in Color series published by Morning Sun Books.

That signal bridge and the LE&P are long gone, abandoned by Penn Central years ago. A few traces of the LE&P are left if you know where to look.

And if you use your imagination, you can see a train order hoop hanging out toward Track No. 1 of the Cleveland Line.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

N&W 611 in the Spirit of O. Winston Link

May 10, 2016
Signal bridge at Webster, Virginia, ascending Blue Ridge grade.

Signal bridge at Webster, Virginia, ascending Blue Ridge grade.

Last Saturday, I went to Roanoke, Virginia, to chase the steam trips powered by Norfolk & Western J class No. 611.

With the current state of Norfolk Southern cost-cutting, these and a few more upcoming trips might be the last mainline trips 611 runs. I certainly hope that’s not the case but felt I needed to catch these runs.

The morning trip went east to Lynchburg, Virginia, over the famous Blue Ridge grade. The afternoon trip went to Radford over the Christianburg grade through Montgomery tunnel.

I have long admired the photographs taken in this area in the late 1950s near the end of steam operations. Primarily, I liked those made by O. Winston Link, but also others I’ve seen make me wish I could travel back in time to record that era.

Well these fan trips are the closest thing to a time machine. Here are some of my results converted to black and white.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

The classic coal dock shot at Lowry, Virginia.

The classic coal dock shot at Lowry, Virginia.

Montgomery tunnel on the Christianburg grade.

Montgomery tunnel on the Christianburg grade.

Going away from Montgomery tunnel.

Going away from Montgomery tunnel.

At Bonsack, Virginia, descending Blue Ridge grade.

At Bonsack, Virginia, descending Blue Ridge grade.

Going away at Bonsack, Virginia.

Going away at Bonsack, Virginia.

Sights at Toledo National Train Day

May 8, 2016
The NS 9-1-1 and Watco No. 3879 sit on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

The NS 9-1-1 and Watco No. 3879 sit on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Honing in on the Ann Arbor heritage GP38, which is now operated by Watco.

Honing in on the Ann Arbor heritage GP38, which is now operated by Watco.

Getting "nosey" with NS 9-1-1, an SD60E that honors the nation's first responders.

Getting “nosey” with NS 9-1-1, an SD60E that honors the nation’s first responders.

Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Toledo held its annual National Train Day festival on Saturday (May 7) at Central Union Terminal. Among the exhibits were Norfolk Southern Southern 9-1-1, the first responders tribute locomotive; Watco GP38 No. 3879, which is painted in an Ann Arbor Railroad heritage livery; Amtrak P42DC No. 156, which is painted in the Phase I heritage livery; and an Amtrak display train that was a miniature version of the Lake Shore Limited.

There also were speeder rides; model train layouts; vendors selling videos, books and other railroad related items; and informational displays by various organizations.

Several Akron Railroad club members were on hand as either visitors or vendors.

Here is look at the major prototypes that were on display.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Marion Operator’s Viewpoint (Reconstructed)

May 6, 2016

Marion

It has been many years since an operator lined the switches and signals from AC Tower in Marion.

In fact, it has been several years since the tower itself was moved across the tracks to its current location and restored as a museum run by the Marion Union Station Association.

The tower is a popular spot to photograph trains in Marion, particularly from its metal stairway.

I’ve seen a few images made over the years through the tower’s windows and I’ve tried my hand at it myself.

The photo above is not a pure representation of what the operator would see while sitting at his desk. For one thing, the operator would not be standing behind the desk as I did.

And I highly doubt that when operators worked in AC tower that they had a contribution jar on their desk.

Still, museums exist to give visitors a sense of how it once was during a given era that is no more. The number of interlocking towers where operators line switches and signals had dwindled to a small number and they might not be around much longer.

But this is the beauty of a museum. We can create visual representations of what it looked like and what it must have felt like to have been standing at the elbow of the operator as he watched a train pass by.

It’s not the real thing, but it’s as close as we can get to going back into a bygone era.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

 


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