Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

Rail Projects Being Reviewed by Ohio Council

January 29, 2015

A handful of rail projects, including some in Cuyahoga County will be reviewed today by Ohio’s Transportation Review Advisory Council.

The projects include grade separations in Butler and Lima, an extension of CSX Transportation’s line to Dayton International Airport, a new rail bridge in Hamilton, and the relocation of CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway bridges in Cuyahoga County.

The council will vote on the projects during a meeting to be held at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s central office in Columbus.

Established in 1997, the nine-member TRAC assists in developing the project selection process for ODOT’s largest investments. The council also approves major projects for funding.

CF&E Track Rehabilitation Nears Completion

January 29, 2015

The Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad expects to complete by late January a rail rehabilitation project between Crestline and Tolleston, Ind.

The improvements to the 315-mile line include leveling and aligning nearly 50 track miles, replacing segments of rail and installing more than 10,000 new ties.

When finished, the top speed on the line, which was formerly the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad, will be 40 mph.

CF&E officials said that up to six additional eastbound freight trains will be using the line daily. Those will be Norfolk Southern trains carrying crude oil, grain, general merchandise and other freight.

NS has operating rights over the line and dispatches all trains on the route. Railroad officials said use of the line will alleviate freight-rail congestion in Chicago by creating an alternate route.

There are more than 400 public and private grade crossings on the line, of which 213 already accommodate 40-mph train speeds.

After the work is completed, train speeds will be increased to 40 mph at another 221 crossings.

“This private-sector investment enhances an important piece of transportation infrastructure in Indiana and Ohio,” said CF&E President Chuck McBride. “By increasing the railroad’s capacity to transport freight, the improvement project benefits existing customers, and also makes the CFE corridor more attractive for potential new customers and economic development opportunities along the line.”

NS to Close Roanoke Office Building

January 28, 2015

Norfolk Southern said on Tuesday that it would close its office building in Roanoke, Va., and move all of its functions to either Atlanta or Norfolk, Va.

Affected will be 500 of the railroad’s 1,700 people working in Roanoke, which will remain the headquarters for the Virginia Division.

The cutbacks do not affect yard, shop or maintenance functions performed in Roanoke.

The functions to be relocated include marketing, accounting, information technology, and other departments.

The Roanoke office building was built in 1992 and has of 203,000 square feet of office space. NS said disposition of the building has yet to be determined.

 

NS Set 5 Financial Records in 2014

January 27, 2015

Norfolk Southern has announced that it set five annual financial records in 2014.

Those included railway operating revenue of $11.6 billion (up 3 percent over 2013); income from railway operations at $3.6 billion (up 10 percent); net income at $2 billion (up 8 percent); diluted earnings per share at $6.39 (up 9 percent); and operating ratio at 69.2 (a 1.8-point improvement).

Volume rose 4 percent to 7.67 million units and railway operating expenses rose 1 percent to $8 billion.

At the same time, the company announced that its 2014 fourth quarter revenue and net income were flat at $2.9 billion and $511 million, respectively even as income from railway operations increased 1 percent to a record $891 million for the quarter.

Volume increased 4 percent to 1.93 million units, railway operating expenses declined 1 percent to $2 billion and the operating ratio improved 0.4 points to 69 compared with fourth-quarter 2013 results. General merchandise volume rose 5 percent to 646,800 units and revenue increased 3 percent to $1.7 billion.

Within the sector, chemicals and metals/construction revenue grew 11 percent and 5 percent, respectively, and automotive revenue was flat, while paper/forest products revenue dipped 3 percent and agricultural products revenue declined 2 percent.

Meanwhile, intermodal volume climbed 6 percent to 979,300 units and revenue rose 5 percent to $649 million. Coal volume slipped 6 percent to 302,100 units and revenue tumbled 15 percent to $543 million due to weak shipments in the utility and export coal markets.

“Norfolk Southern delivered another solid quarter of financial performance, capping a record-setting year,” said NS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman in a statement.

NS projects that its capital spending in 2015 will be about $2.4 billion compared with $2.1 billion in 2014 and $1.97 billion in 2013.

The 2015 budget includes $927 million for roadway maintenance and projects, $404 million for freight cars, $238 million for locomotives, $238 million for facilities and terminals, $220 for positive train control implementation, $199 million for various other projects, $104 million for infrastructure and $65 million for technologies.

Rail Connections Added in Massillon

January 27, 2015

Two Massillon brothers have created a short line railroad in their city that they expect will serve the natural gas industry.

Steven and Dave DiPietro are linking the the former Republic Steel property that they purchased in the southwest corner of the city with two railroads.

The project involves rehabilitating an existing 3.5-mile existing rail line and building three new rail lines of a mile each. The Republic Short Line will connect with Norfolk Southern and R.J. Corman.

The two have spent about $4 million since August on the rail lines.

The former Republic property will be used to store 600 miles of pipe used for natural gas developments in Ohio, Michigan and Canada.

Steven DiPietro said the first deliveries are expected to arrive on Feb. 1.

“We’re putting Massillon dead center in Utica Shale play,” he said. “We could become the biggest pipe yard in the country.”

The 460-acre site to be used to store the pipes is also home to a sand and gravel company. The brothers are also actively seeking to entice other businesses to locate to the property.

DiPietro said plastic and petroleum companies have expressed interest in shipping commodities to be stored at the site. Yet another prospective customer might store canned tomatoes there.

“We want to be a viable rail option for any company wanting to do business,” DiPietro said.

The DiPietro brothers also own eight pizza restaurants in Stark County.

 

 

Black and Blue at Brady Lake 36 Years Apart

January 26, 2015

 

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Once I got word that the Conrail/Penn Central heritage duo would be through my area in daylight (thanks to all for updates), the choice of location was a no brainer for me.

I have been photographing from this location since the 1970s, all through Conrail’s existence.

It’s been said “you can’t go home again,” but the Norfolk Southern heritage program provides a close stand-in for how the past might look like today.

The top photo is, of course, the 24M from Sunday and the second photo is from January 1979 of a Conrail eastbound with an earlier blue/black duo. Who’d a thunk it?

Overgrowth has hidden the former Lake Erie & Pittsburgh (New York Central) northern flyover track and the trough truss bridge came out in the clearance project of the mid 1990s.

The south connection is still in as the Hugo lead for about two miles but is currently out of service.

Also included in the sequence are two more earlier Conrail photos from Brady Lake that were created in February 1979.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

There’s a New Look to the Piney Fork Branch

January 19, 2015
A rebuilt bridge with new decking and rail at Bergholz, Ohio.

A rebuilt bridge with new decking and rail at Bergholz, Ohio.

Last Saturday I ended up in Minerva and chased the former New York Central line south.  I hadn’t been down south of Minerva in a few years and was in for quite a surprise.

What had been at best a sleepy branch and at worst a car storage line has been completely rebuilt.

Crossing signs all had warnings of “attention be aware increase in train traffic effective January 2015.”

The entire line, which goes about 30 miles to Hopedale, Ohio, had all new ties, fresh ballast and relay rail.

The line was jointed rail and still is but looks to be good for about 40 m.p.h. operation.  I don’t know what the actual speed limit will be but it is now in very good condition.

I hadn’t heard any reports of new traffic other than Minerva yard, which itself has been completely rebuilt and now has a new frac sand rail to truck transfer facility.

Apparently, a Utica shale oil staging facility will be built near Bergholz, Ohio.  Also Norfolk Southern will start running oil trains from the south end of the line.

This is an exciting development with at least daily weekday service and probably weekends as well.  For the railfan, it is a new and scenic line to chase.  So far it doesn’t look like any trains have run the line but that should soon change.

I can’t wait to return this will be a prime target this spring and summer.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Fresh ballast was poured in many places, including this location in Amsterdam, Ohio.

Fresh ballast was poured in many places, including this location in Amsterdam, Ohio.

New track was everywhere, too.

New track was everywhere, too.

These signs were at every grade crossing.

These signs were at every grade crossing.

An old New York Central map showing the Piney Fork Branch and other lines in the region that made up the Cleveland Division.

An old New York Central map showing the Piney Fork Branch and other lines in the region that made up the Cleveland Division.

 

 

Winter’s Beauty on the NS Chicago Line

January 15, 2015
Here is Amtrak's train 48 on Tuesday at Battery Park in Cleveland. It was nice catching clean units in the snow on a track that will be gone by the end of this year.

Here is Amtrak’s train 48 on Tuesday at Battery Park in Cleveland. It was nice catching clean units in the snow on a track that will be gone by the end of this year.

Wintry blasts have caused havoc with Amtrak operations in the past week. The Lake Shore Limited in particular has been running hours off schedule.

On Monday, No. 48 left Chicago nearly 4 hours behind schedule and halted in Cleveland at 10:20 a.m. When it departed 11 minutes later it was 4 hours and 41 minutes down.

But things are looking up for No. 48. It departed from Chicago on time on Tuesday night and got out of Cleveland a mere 19 minutes late.

Winter has a beauty of its own despite the cold and snow. Roger Durfee has been recording that along the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern. Here is a sampling of his work.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Another late No. 48 rolling through Cleveland last week.

Another late No. 48 rolling through Cleveland last week.

NS 35N with the Lackawanna heritage unit leading.

NS 35N with the Lackawanna heritage unit leading.

A unit coil train in the snow.

A unit coil train in the snow.

Few Moving Trains, But An Enjoyable Outing

January 13, 2015
An abandoned bridge that once carried a Pennsylvania Railroad branch line in New Brighton, Pa.

An abandoned bridge that once carried a Pennsylvania Railroad branch line in New Brighton, Pa.

Last Saturday was a cold but bright day; it was perfect for photography.  A trip down the Ohio and Mon river valleys was in order.

My first stop was the Youngstown & Southeastern, but it being a weekend nothing was moving.  The next stop was New Brighton, Pa., to find the remains of the original Pennsy mainline and a branch that served a steel mill in Rochester, Pa.

We did find remains of the original Pennsylvania railroad mainline but the branch to Rochester was more difficult to spot.

If you are familiar with the topography of Rochester, the town sits high above the Beaver and Ohio rivers.

The former PRR mainline follows these waterways for a relatively grade-free route.  The Valley Steel Company is located well above the mainline tracks and was served by a switchback branch line.

We found the mill is now just served by trucks. The right of way of the branch is still visible, but we were unable to follow the branch due to poor access.

This is one of the advantages of rail lines; they have the ability to go where roads cannot.  We then drove past the massive Conway yard to Leetsdale.

Leetsdale has a very large industrial park that is served by Norfolk Southern and the Mol-Dok industrial.

The Mol-Dok rosters an SW900, formerly of Conrail and Reading ancestry. Several of the industries have trackmobiles to move freight cars around.  Again, being the weekend there was nothing moving here.

We then proceeded to Neville Island, which lies within the Ohio River.  It is heavily industrialized and served by CSX and the Pittsburgh & Ohio Central railroads.

We found locomotives but nothing was moving. Moving south we followed the Scully Branch out of McKees Rocks to the Wheeling & Lake Erie Rook Yard and finally the NS Mon Line.

The Clairton Coke works of U.S. Steel made for some compelling photos with the afternoon sun.

Our last stop was West Brownsville where an empty coal train was waiting for a trip to the mines.  By now the light had faded and we started our return trip home.

Even though we didn’t catch very many moving trains, it was still an enjoyable day of railfan photography.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

On top of the abandoned bridge that once carried a PRR branch line.

On top of the abandoned bridge that once carried a PRR branch line.

The switch engine in the Leetsdale, Pa., industrial park.

The switch engine in the Leetsdale, Pa., industrial park.

CSX locomotives idle between assignments on Neville Island.

CSX locomotives idle between assignments on Neville Island.

NS coke hoppers at the Clairton Works.

NS coke hoppers at the Clairton Works.

The Pennsylvania Railroad built this bridge over the Monongahela River in West Brownsville, Pa.

The Pennsylvania Railroad built this bridge over the Monongahela River in West Brownsville, Pa.

 

 

2 Out of 3 H Units on Snowy Monday Morning

January 11, 2015

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On Monday, Jan.5, Cleveland was graced with three Norfolk Southern heritage units leading trains through town. The Erie H unit took an all ex-Nickel Plate Road routing through town on train 287 so I wasn’t able to see that one. I did catch the other two, the Interstate and the New York Central, both seen negotiating the temporary shoo fly track at Battery Park, MP CD 184 on the Chicago Line in a couple of typical winter scenes.

Photographs by Roger Durfee


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