Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

611 Ferry Move back to Roanoke Set for May 30

April 19, 2015

The long-awaited return of Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 after its restoration will occur on May 30 when the 4-8-4 will travel under steam from North Carolina to its home in Roanoke, Va.

The 220-mile trip will begin on the former Southern Railway main line with No. 611 entering its former home rails at Lynchburg, Va.

From there the 611 will traverse a route that it once traveled in scheduled passenger service in the 1950s.

No public tickets are being sold for the ferry move to Roanoke, which the 611 is expected to make without any diesel helpers.

However, a welcome home reception for the 611 in Roanoke at the former N&W passenger station will be open to the public. The 611 is expected to arrive in Roanoke between 2 and 6 p.m.

Among the VIPs who will be aboard the excursion train to Roanoke will be NS CEO Wick Moorman and President Jim Squires.

The 611 is owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation and officials say that the May 30 date is significant because it is 65 years and one day after the engine entered revenue service and one year after its appearance at the Streamliners at Spencer festival that in part served as a kickoff for the locomotive’s restoration at the North Carolina Transportation Museum.

In the meantime, workers have completed insulating the 611’s boiler. Jacketing and painting the locomotive are the next tasks to complete. A testing firing will then be conducted before the locomotive makes its test runs.

The 611 was one of 14 Class J passenger locomotives built at Roanoke in 1950 and ran in revenue service through 1959.

It was displayed in Roanoke’s Wasena Park until being restored to operating condition in 1981. It pulled numerous excursions through late 1994 when it was placed on display at the Virginia transportation museum in Roanoke.

The museum in 2013 began a study that concluded that the 611 could be restored for $3.5 million with another $1.5 million needed for an endowment.

The museum has thus far raised more than $3 million from across the United States and 19 countries.

Fund raising continues for an on-campus shop and education facility that the museum hopes to begin constructing this summer.

Katy Red 37 Years Apart

April 10, 2015
Missouri-Kansas-Texas No. 106 in Kansas City, Kan., in July 1978.

Missouri-Kansas-Texas No. 106 in Kansas City, Kan., in July 1978.

Union Pacific's MKT heritage locomotive at Vermilion, Ohio, last week.

Union Pacific’s MKT heritage locomotive at Vermilion, Ohio, last week.

up1988v00

up1988v04nose

up1988v05side

NS 7629 was added to the motive power consist so that the train had a leader with cab signal capability on the Cleveland Line. The unit was added at Vermilion.

NS 7629 was added to the motive power consist so that the train had a leader with cab signal capability on the Cleveland Line. The unit was added at Vermilion.

I was able to catch Union Pacific No. 1988, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas heritage unit last week after it had stopped to add a cab signal leader.

I never would have thought that back in July 1978 on a trip to Kansas City that I would be seeing a tribute to Miss Katy sitting in front of me in Ohio in 2015.

In 1978 I was just happy to catch a few units still in the older red scheme as the “John Deere” green and yellow had pretty much covered most of the MKT roster.

Ten years after making my original photo, the MKT was merged into the UP and Armour yellow or the cutting torch ended seeing any more Katy

Then the UP Heritage program happened. Although not faithful to the original scheme, I’ll take it. The two tone reds and the large The Katy lettering added a splash of color to an otherwise dull day.

Historical correctness aside, we railfans have had it pretty nice out here with all the nods to railroad history, both by the UP, my company (Norfolk Southern) and other carriers. It is truly a golden age for these kinds of tributes.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

NS Seeks FRA Waiver for Rail Testing

April 9, 2015

Norfolk Southern is seeking Federal Railroad Administration approval for a pilot program of nonstop continuous rail testing on its mainline between Cleveland and Chicago.

NS needs from the FRA a waiver of compliance from certain provisions of railroad safety regulations.

The project would be carried out for three years starting on May 1 and will be conducted between milepost 181.2 and 523.3 of the Chicago Line.

“The nonstop continuous rail test vehicle will be a self-propelled ultrasonic/induction rail flaw detection vehicle operating at test speeds up to 30 mph,” NS said in its FRA filing. “Upon completion of each daily run, data will be analyzed offline by technical experts experienced with the process on other Class I railroads.”

NS said it will test the rails about every 30-45 days with its engineering department providing the FRA Rail Integrity Office with rail test reports for review as required.

“The analysis will categorize and prioritize suspect locations for post-test field verification and hand tests,” NS said. “Field verification will be conducted by qualified and certified rail test professionals with recordable field validation equipment based on GPS location and known track features identified within the flaw detection electronic record.”

NS plans to expand the test program to additional routes in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

NS Heritage Unit, NKP Heritage Signals

April 6, 2015
Norfolk Southern 1065, the Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotive, splits Nickel Plate Road vintage signals at Parrish on the west side of Conneaut.

Norfolk Southern 1065, the Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotive, splits Nickel Plate Road vintage signals at Parrish on the west side of Conneaut.

On our recent venture to Conneaut, Ed Ribinskas and I were sitting in my car when a fellow railfan approached and told us that the Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern was leading an auto rack train westward.

That was news to us. Ed had seen online that NS 1065 had reached Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday night, but it was thought that it would go back eastward.

Instead, it wound up on the point of the 287. The local railfan later came back to let us know that the 287, which by now had the symbol I87, was parked at Thompson Drive waiting for eastbound traffic to clear.

The Bessemer & Lake Erie train that we were waiting on was still working in the yard so off we went to get the stationary H unit.

The I87 ended up waiting for about an hour and a half while the 14T, the 206 and 22K passed by.

As the 22K was still crossing the trestle over Conneaut Creek, the Youngstown Line dispatcher came on to tell the I87 that as soon as the 22K cleared Woodworth – the signal at the end of double track east of the trestle – to look for a light.

We had given up chasing the B&LE train because we wanted to get the S&A H unit crossing the trestle.

After getting it there, we headed west to intercept it again. Our plan was to get it passing the ex-Nickel Plate Road station at North Kingsville, which is now used by a building supply company. The train had to move rather slowly through Conneaut, which worked to our advantage.

Despite having to travel city streets, we were able to beat it to Parrish Road, which goes over the NS tracks on a bridge built in recent years. The NKP vintage signals at Parrish still stand.

The I87 beat us to North Kingsville, so we didn’t get any photos at that location. That was OK because I liked the scene at Parrish.

We then intercepted the I87 in Perry before heading for the Akron Railroad Club member’s night event.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Waiting at Thompson Drive for eastbound traffic. It would be a long wait.

Waiting at Thompson Drive for eastbound traffic. It would be a long wait.

Soaring over Conneaut Creek.

Soaring over Conneaut Creek.

Alas, the B&LE road freight had already left town so there was no chance of an over and under shot today.

Alas, the B&LE road freight had already left town so there was no chance of an over and under shot today.

Into the afternoon sunshine at Parrish.

Into the afternoon sunshine at Parrish.

The going away shot at Parrish. Note the track above the locomotives. It once connected the NS and Conrail Cleveland-Buffalo mainlines. Ed once photographed Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited using this track to make a detour move on the ex-NKP.

The going away shot at Parrish. Note the track above the locomotives. It once connected the NS and Conrail Cleveland-Buffalo mainlines. Ed once photographed Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited using this track to make a detour move on the ex-NKP.

 

 

 

NS 1065 in Conneaut, Perry . . .

March 31, 2015
Norfolk Southern train I87 waits east of the grade crossing at Thompson Road in Conneaut. The train was waiting for two eastbound intermodal trains to clear the single track on the trestle over Conneaut Creek.

Norfolk Southern train I87 waits east of the grade crossing at Thompson Road in Conneaut. The train was waiting for two eastbound intermodal trains to clear the single track on the trestle over Conneaut Creek.

A side view of NS 1065 at Thompson Road in Conneaut.

A side view of NS 1065 at Thompson Road in Conneaut.

 

A side view of NS 1065 at Thompson Road in Conneaut.

A side view of NS 1065 at Thompson Road in Conneaut.

Crossing Conneaut Creek and the tracks of the Bessemer & Lake Erie.

Crossing Conneaut Creek and the tracks of the Bessemer & Lake Erie.

A Parrish Road west of Conneaut.

At Parrish Road west of Conneaut.

Rounding the curve and coming into Perry.

Rounding the curve and coming into Perry.

Akron Railroad Club Treasurer Ed Ribinskas along with President Craig Sanders ventured to Conneaut on Saturday to catch some Bessemer & Lake Erie action. While there, a local railfan gave them a heads up that the Savannah and Atlanta heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern was leading a westbound auto rack train.

They were able to photograph NS 1065 and its train at Thompson Road near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, crossing the trestle over Conneaut Creek, from the bridge at Parrish Road and in Perry.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

F Tower Handles Last Train in Fostoria

March 31, 2015

Control of the interlocking in Fostoria was transferred on Monday morning from F Tower to the CSX IP dispatcher.

The F tower operator lined the signals for the final time just before 9 a.m. for train R348-29, which took the southeast connecting track between the former Chesapeake & Ohio and Baltimore & Ohio mainlines.

Operators were still being stationed in the tower through Tuesday to ensure that the transition goes smoothly.

The IP dispatcher, based in Indianapolis, controls the ex-B&O between Greenwich and Deshler.

The first train to pass through the interlocking after it was handed off to the IP dispatcher was Norfolk Southern train 20R, an intermodal.

When eastbound NS train No. 218 called the tower to get through Fostoria, the operator replied,. “I don’t have control anymore. It’s been given to [Indianapolis].”

About 120 trains a day pass through Fostoria on the three mainlines. This includes the ex-B&O between Chicago and Pittsburgh, the ex-C&O between Toledo and Columbus and the ex-Nickel Plate Road (now NS) between Bellevue and Fort Wayne, Ind.

Trains magazine reported that several railfans were on hand to record the event, including former F Tower operator Dale A. DeVene Jr. “I’m sad to see it go,” he told the magazine. “It’s sad to lose the history.”

He has good memories of working in the tower. “It was a great place to work, it really was,” said DeVene, who left the railroad in December 1983.

 

 

NS to Make Juniata Shop More Energy Efficient

March 29, 2015

Norfolk Southern announced that it has begun a $53 million energy conversion project at its Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, Pa., that will seek to cut carbon emissions and water usage at the 70-acre facility.

The shop’s coal boilers will be replaced with natural gas heaters and a 1.2-megawatt capacity combined heat and power generator that will produce enough electricity to cover the 16-building complex.

When completed in late 2017, NS expects the program to save $4 million in electricity costs, reduce water usage by 49.4 million gallons from steam-water recovery, and eliminate more than 29,000 tons of carbon emissions on an annual basis.

Also being added are insulation, energy-efficient windows at key locations, high-speed roll-up doors on locomotive bays, and new roofing.

“This project showcases Norfolk Southern’s commitment to sustainability and innovation,” CEO Wick Moorman said in a news release. “The Juniata Locomotive Shop has a 125-year legacy of leading the rail industry in locomotive technology, and with our energy conversion project, this shop and its employees will remain an industry frontrunner in the 21st century.”

NS said that the project follows a comprehensive review of work demands and energy consumption at Juniata, the largest locomotive repair shop in North America and headquarters for the railroad’s locomotive rebuild program. The shops have about 1,050 employees.

C27 Leaving Orrville on a Sunny Afternoon

March 26, 2015
NS 5827 leads the C27 Orrville local onto the Fort Wayne line from the former CA&C on March 25, 2015.

NS 5827 leads the C27 Orrville local onto the Fort Wayne line from the former CA&C on March 25, 2015.

I stopped trackside in Orrville on my way to supper. The Norfolk Southern C27 local was leaving the Orrville Secondary (former CA&C) after switching Smuckers. It looked nice in the afternoon sun.

Photograph by Richard Jacobs

NS Annual Report Cites Record Performances

March 26, 2015

Norfolk Southern touted earning “record-setting net income, revenues, operating income, earnings per share, and operating ratio” in its 2014 annual report.

“2014 was an outstanding year,” wrote CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman in a letter that accompanied the report. “Our performance during the year demonstrated the increasing demand for our services, the growing value of freight rail transportation in the marketplace, and Norfolk Southern’s progress in enhancing service to meet the needs of customers and create long-term value for shareholders.”

“As business began to rise dramatically following the difficult winter, we invested significant resources to align our people, equipment, and rail capacity with the volumes we were experiencing on the network,” Moorman said.

NS hired 1,344 train and engine employees during 2014 and placed 169 locomotives into service.

It also oversaw several infrastructure projects in Chicago and the upper Midwest to increase system capacity and operating flexibility.

“We remain committed to our proven strategy of operating an efficient, high-velocity railroad, which enables us to offer the best possible customer service and retain and grow business at rates that provide a superior return for our shareholders,” Moorman said.

The report, titled “Behind Every Train” is posted online at www.nscorp.com.

Well Worth the Wait in Elkhart

March 25, 2015

Soo 1a

Soo 2b

Soo 3c

I accompanied my friend Adam last Saturday to Michigan City, Ind., where he was meeting a guy from Wisconsin to sell him some model railroad equipment.

On the return trip home, we stopped in Elkhart, Ind., in what turned out to be a futile attempt to catch the Illinois Terminal heritage unit of Norfolk Southern.

The late day light on the signal bridge at CP 421 was too good to pass up. I just had to get a shot of a westbound train coming beneath that ancient New York Central relic.

NS has been taking these old signals down and replacing them with modern signals. Maybe this signal bridge is on the hit list, too. If the bridge stays up, it will get new signal heads.   But all of the traffic was eastbound.

It was interesting to listen to the Chicago East dispatcher talk with trains about what the computer was planning to have them do and when.

My take on those conversations is that if she didn’t have to let the computer make decisions than she might have made different choice.

At one point she told a waiting eastbound stack train at CP 423 that the computer seems to want to go west now.

A few minutes later, she radioed the EB stacker, to say that the computer had changed its mind. It was going to take the EB stack train next.

Then the computer decided to take a third eastbound, an ethanol train with Canadian Pacific power on the head end.   In the meantime, she also told a westbound CP train that the plan for it was to cross over at CP 421 and to re-crew at 426.

That is indeed what happened, although not as soon as the dispatcher initially thought that it would.   With the prospect of getting a westbound coming past the signal bridge into the late day sun, we ended up staying in Elkhart longer than we had planned.

It was well worth the wait. The westbound didn’t have CP power, but it had something better.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 76 other followers