Posts Tagged ‘Norfolk Southern’

NS Taking a Holiday on Christmas

December 16, 2017

If Rudolph worked for Norfolk Southern, he’d have Christmas Eve off.

The Class 1 railroad said this week that it will suspend operations at 3 p.m. on Dec. 24 and resume them at 10 p.m. on Dec. 25.

NS said it will no longer accept trains for interchange starting at 7 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

The service suspension includes road trains, yard switchers, and local trains servicing customers.

Operations will be normal during the period Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 for road trains. Yard and local operations will operate as governed by volumes and customer needs.


A Whatisit on the NS Cleveland Line

December 15, 2017

I made reference to this train in a previous post, but for those who missed it or forgot it, it is a westbound Norfolk Southern dimension train on the Cleveland Line carrying two large pieces of equipment and operating as symbol freight L053.

I’m told this equipment is transformers used to step up or down electrical voltage for transmission.

As a railfan, I love it when these special moves are out on the line because the dispatcher tends to talk to them a lot to let them know what opposing trains they will meet.

When you are hunting for trains to photograph you can never have too much information about what it out there.

My intent had been to photograph a train crossing the Cuyahoga River along Ravenna Road near Lake Rockwell and the Akron water works plant. I’d photographed it once before, but that was several years ago.

Akron doesn’t own the Cuyahoga River here, but it sure does what it can to try to discourage people from being here. There are fences all around Lake Rockwell along with no trespassing signs.

Over the years, I’ve seen people parked beneath the NS bridge over Ravenna Road and fishing in the Cuyahoga on the south side of the NS bridge over the river. But I’ve never hung out here to wait for and photograph trains.

Within the past year or so, someone created a public canoe launch site, complete with a parking lot and signs. That creates at least the aura of it being a public location where railfans can make photographs of NS trains on the Cleveland Line.

My strategy was to sit in the parking lot at Towner’s Woods park about a mile to the east and monitor the radio frequency. From there I can hear the detector at Rootstown as well as trains calling the signal at CP 86 in Ravenna.

That would give me ample time to motor down to the bridge and get into position.

And so it was with the dimension train. I got the photographs that I wanted and was about to turn and head back to my car when the eastbound 20E came charging past.

I had heard the dispatcher tell the L053 that the 20E would be the next train he would meet. But by the time I got to the canoe launch I had forgotten about it.

That was a close call. Had that intermodal train shown up a minute earlier, it would have blocked the L053. But this time at least things worked out to near perfection.

I got my westbound train on the bridge and I got a reflection shot in the calm waters of the Cuyahoga in late day light. You can’t complain about that.

Straight Down the Tracks

December 14, 2017

The advance signals on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern for the location west of Vermilion where the connecting track to the Chicago Line diverges.

There is a group on Flickr titled Tracks Without Trains. I’ve posted there a few times because I like to make photographs of empty tracks.

I like the look of rails going off into infinity, which seems to invite you to travel.

Sure, I’d prefer to be photographing a train here instead, but sometimes the rails are all you get.

The first two images below were made of the former Erie Railroad mainline between Kent and Brady Lake. The piece of track was lying on the former right of way of the Akron, Canton & Youngstown west of New London. The bottom image is the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern west of Vermilion.


NS Opens Portageville Bridge in New York

December 13, 2017

NS train 36T crosses the new Portageville bridge on Dec. 11. (Norfolk Southern photo)

Norfolk Southern on Monday opened its Portageville Bridge in Letchworth State Park near Castile, New York.

The first train across the bridge was the 36T, a Buffalo, New York, to Allentown, Pennsylvania, manifest freight, which crossed the 945-foot steel arch structure in mid afternoon.

The new bridge replaces an iron truss  structure built by the Erie Railroad in 1975. Intermodal train I2K to Mechanicville, New York, was the last train to use that bridge.

It took two years and $75 million to construct the new bridge over the 235-foot-deep Genesee River gorge. Funding came from a public-private partnership that included NS, the New York State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

NS said in a news release that the new bridge will enable it to transport rail cars over the Southern Tier Line loaded to the industry standard of 286,000 pounds.

The old bridge had a weight limit of 13,000 pounds below that standard while the top train speed was 10 mph. The top speed on the new bridge is 30 mph.

More Conneaut Doings

December 12, 2017

NS eastbound manifest freight 316 has a pair of Union Pacific locomotives in charge as it crosses Conneaut Creek in a view made from the U.S. 20 bridge.

In a recent post I described a recent Sunday afternoon catching a Canadian National train in Conneaut on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie. CN wasn’t the only operations that I observed and photographed.

Traffic on Norfolk Southern was slow for most of the morning with nothing running. Things began picking up before noon when the 22K showed up followed by the 206, the 098 and the 316.

I never saw or heard of a westbound on NS during my time in Conneaut.

I spent most of the morning on CSX where traffic was heavy after I arrived with four trains coming through in the first hour that I was there.

I was surprised that none of the CSX trains I saw were intermodals. Once NS got into action, I moved away from the CSX tracks.

After the CN train showed up around 1 p.m., the likelihood of my going back trackside along the CSX Erie West Subdivision became minimal.

Here are some highlights of what I saw on NS and CSX on this day.

It’s the eastbound stack train 22K.

NS train 206 has one of the DC to AC conversion units on the point today.

Can you guess which way the 098 is going? It is headed for work in Pennsylvania.

A two-image sequence of a westbound CSX crude oil train.

A westbound CSX manifest freight passes the former New York Central freight house, which is now owned by the Conneaut Historical Society.

CSX eastbound auto rack train Q254 passes the Conneaut water tank.

NS Safety Train Visited 23 Cities in 2017

December 11, 2017

The Norfolk Southern safety train trained 3,241 firefighters, law enforcement, emergency management personnel and other first responders this year during visits to 23 communities in 14 states.

The safety train program ended for the year on Dec. 1. Among the cities visited were Canton; Columbus; South Bend, Indiana; and Louisville, Kentucky.

The safety train, which began in 2016, has a dedicated locomotive, two box cars converted into classrooms, three tank cars used in transporting all types of chemicals, and two flat cars equipped with intermodal containers and multiple tank car valve arrangements that can simulate leaks.

The train is part of the of railroad’s Operation Awarene3ss and Response program.

The Almost Always Reliable L13

December 6, 2017

If you hang out in Olmsted Falls or Berea in the afternoon, chances are you’re going to see the Norfolk Southern rain L13. Sure, there is a fleet of other regularly scheduled trains that you can count on seeing during the afternoon hours, but those are primarily intermodal trains with fairly standard consists.

The L13 is a Bellevue to Rockport Yard turn. It typically arrives in Cleveland in late afternoon and departs in early evening. During the summer months you can catch it going both directions in daylight.

On occasion the crew will run out of time and the L13 won’t return to Bellevue until the next morning.

The consist of the L13 can vary widely. I’ve seen it running light and I’ve seen it with enough cars to appear to be a regular manifest freight.

For a good part of this year, the L13 had one or more “triclops” units for power. Those are SD60M units that were built for Burlington Northern and feature a unique looking three-piece windshield.

The rendition of L13 shown here doesn’t have triclops in the motive power consist, but it does seem to nearly as many locomotives as freight cars. Some of the units may might be being ferried to Rockport for assignment.

Reflections in Conneaut

December 5, 2017

Illinois Central SD70 No. 1018 and its running mates are reflected in the relatively calm water of Conneaut Creek.

One of the challenges of railroad photography is finding new ways to portray something you’ve already captured a dozen or more times.

Even then it might not be that you are doing something new as much as putting a new twist on something you’ve done before.

I ended up doing that during a visit last Sunday to Conneaut. My objective in going there was the same as it always is: Capture all three railroads that come into town.

But I also wanted to do something I hadn’t done in awhile. I recently showed some images of Norfolk Southern trains crossing the trestle that I had made in November 2005.

During that outing, fellow Akron Railroad Club member Ed Ribinskas and I had stood fairly close to the trestle carrying the former Nickel Plate Road tracks over Conneaut Creek.

I’ve been to Conneaut dozens of times since then, but seldom have I stood near the trestle. All other times I photographed from a distance with a telephoto lens.

I did that this past Sunday, too, but for the passage of eastbound NS intermodal train No. 206 I got close to the trestle.

The lighting conditions last Sunday were similar to what we had had during that 2005 outing. Both were sunny days with low sun angles that produced a warm feeling.

I created an image of the NS motive power crossing the bridge that was similar to the work that I did in 2005.

But after photographing the NS motive power, I noticed that the train was being reflected in the relatively calm water of Conneaut Creek.

I had to step back to fit the train and its reflection into the frame. The results are shown below.

I also created some reflection images when the Canadian National taconite pellets train came out of the yard later that day on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie. Those results can be see above and below.

The reflections are not as pronounced as they were with NS 206 and its containers and trailers, yet still pleasing.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve used Conneaut Creek as a mirror. It was the first time I’ve done it since the ex-ICRR locomotives showed up in 2015 and it was the first time I’ve focused on reflection photography from the NS trestle in this manner.


By the Glint’s Late Day Light

December 4, 2017

I had a trunk load of railfan magazines to convey to Marty Surdyk to be sold at trains shows at which the Akron Railroad Club has a table.

We arranged to exchange the magazines one evening last summer in Olmsted Falls, which is a favorite railfanning haunt for both of us.

After transferring the magazines, we settled in to do some evening railfanning. I had brought my tripod to try some night photography.

But before you get to darkness you get to that time when the low sun angle makes for some nice glint lighting.

Of course you need a train to show up when the light is just right to go glint hunting.

On this evening NS cooperated by sending eastbound manifest freight 16G at just the right time. As a bonus, the Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive was on the lead.

Strictly speaking, the going away shot of the NS 8114 below is not a glint shot. But I liked it and included it in the gallery because it is part of the story.

NS 9-1-1 Spotted in Northeast Ohio

December 1, 2017

Akron Railroad Club member Jeff Troutman spotted Norfolk Southern locomotive 9-1-1 on Thursday morning at 11:06 in Painesville.

The Honoring First Responders SD60 was on the point of manifest freight 316 headed eastbound on the Cleveland District to Buffalo, New York.