Posts Tagged ‘North East Pennsylvania’

Just Dark Clouds

September 12, 2018

Some of the most dramatic railroad photographs I’ve seen involved storm light.

The ideal storm light photograph shows a train whose consist or locomotives are illuminated by sunshine against a backdrop of very dark clouds.

You have to have good fortune and good timing to make such images and I’ve yet to find either.

It is not all good luck, though. Photographers who carefully study weather conditions know when they are most likely to be able to find storm light.

More often than not I’ve encountered situations such as this one made of a westbound Norfolk Southern intermodal train on the Lake Erie District near North East, Pennsylvania.

In this case it was a rising sun spotlighting the motive power against some dark clouds that produced a small amount of rain, but no storm.

It may not be a dramatic storm light image, but I’ll take it any day.

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Always a Thrill To See

September 10, 2018

Union Pacific locomotives are far from being a rare sight on trains in Northeast Ohio even though the western carrier does not have any track in Ohio.

But with railroads freely using each other’s motive power, seeing Uncle Pete’s units on CSX or Norfolk Southern is quite common.

It may not be an everyday occurrence, but it is common. Still, I’m pleased when a UP unit is leading a train on either railroad because chances are most the trains I see that day with have the same old, same old owner’s motive power.

The top image has a UP unit leading a pair of CSX locomotives on an eastbound auto rack train.

The bottom photo has a pair of Uncle Petes as the sole source of motive power on a westbound CSX manifest and auto rack train.

Both images were made from the Bort Road bridge near North East, Pennsylvania.

Got There at the Right Time

August 31, 2018

I didn’t journey to North East, Ohio, last spring for the express purpose of photographing the signal bridge at CP 73, which is located east of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

But since I was there and I noticed that the CSX signal department was out in force putting in new signals, I decided I better get an image of the old signals.

The top and middle images were made on May 23. Note the new signals at the far left of both images are ready to be placed into service.

The bottom image was made eight days later and features Q020 charging eastbound on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision.

It was a good thing I made this photo because the following week these signals fell. There are only a handful of the old-style Type G signal heads mounted on their original masts or signal bridges left on CSX between Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

Amtrak 448 at Bort Road

August 14, 2018

Bort Road is one of those countless rural roads in America that most people will never travel or know about.

It has a timeless quality about it, as though time has forgotten it.

Yet to the engineers in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bort Road is well known.

It crosses the CSX Erie West Subdivision on a one-lane bridge that was built decades ago when these tracks were owned by the New York Central.

In recent years the bridge has received some repairs and been closed for several weeks at times.

PennDOT would like to replace the bridge, possibly by moving it closer to the town of North East.

Perhaps some day in the not too distant future they’ll do that. But for now passenger trains continue to pass beneath this bridge just as countless NYC and Penn Central trains did in the years before Amtrak.

Shown is Amtrak’s Boston-bound Lake Shore Limited in late May.

The crossing signals in the background are for the Lake Erie District of Norfolk Southern, which Bort Road crosses at grade.

Gloomy Start to My Day

July 23, 2018

I had a hankering to drive over to North East, Pennsylvania, for a day of railfanning a while back.

The weather forecast looked promising. It would be mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the upper 60s.

I left early enough to get to Bort Road in time to catch Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

But as I motored toward Erie, Pennsylvania, it was obvious that things were not going to work out as I had planned.

Fog shrouded the highway and remained in place until I reached North East.

The fog was not necessarily a bad thing because you can get some interesting effects in fog.

I didn’t have to wait long before a westbound CSX auto rack train came along.

In this case the fog was a good thing because otherwise this train would be coming out of the rising sun.

Notice there is a former CSX unit on the point of a CSX train. Yes, the CSX markings have been blotted out.

The fog did not last long. Amtrak was running late and by the time No. 48 showed up the fog had dissipated. My hopes for a P42DC coming out of the fog evaporated with it.

Night at Museum Set in North East

June 12, 2018

The Lake Shore Railway Historical Society will hold its annual night at the railroad museum event on June 16-17 at the former New York Central passenger station in North East, Pennsylvania.

The museum will open at noon on Saturday and remain open all night and through 4 p.m. on Sunday.

There will be a night photo session with several smaller scenes set up with artificial lighting. The session will cost $20 per photographer.

No details about the scenes to be staged have been listed on the museum’s website or Facebook page.

There will be a public program starting at 8 p.m. focused on Operation  Lifesaver and presented by Scott Daley.

New this year will be a food truck at the museum site. Speeder cars will also be operating on Saturday and Sunday.

Lake Shore Limited ‘Summer Consist’

June 2, 2018

As soon as the eastbound Lake Shore Limited rounded a curve in North East, Pennsylvania, I had the answer to a question I had come here to get answered.

The Chicago-Boston only edition of the train is much shorter than the usual order.

A summer track and bridge project on the route that Nos. 48 and 49 use to access New York Penn Station prompted Amtrak to suspend the New York Section of the train through early September.

Passengers boarding the Lake Shore Limited bound for New York City must make an across the platform transfer in Albany-Rensselaer, New York, to reach the Big Apple and all other points served by No. 48 south of Albany.

I expected a shortened consist for the Lake Shore, but was a little surprised at how short it was.

What I saw on Thursday was a P42DC locomotive, Viewliner baggage car, four Amfleet II coaches, two cafe cars and two Viewliner sleepers.

This is just three cars longer than the normal consist of the Boston section of a Viewliner baggage car, cafe car, Viewliner sleeper and two coaches.

Also different is that the train is operating as Nos. 448/449. Those numbers have long been used by Amtrak to denote cars assigned to the Boston section.

But it was the first time I’ve heard the train use those numbers for operational purposes west of Albany.

Meet Me at Interstate 90

May 30, 2018

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited meets a westbound CSX auto rack train beneath the bridge carrying Interstate 90 over the CSX Erie West Subdivision at the State Line exit on the border of Pennsylvania and New York just outside North East, Pennsylvania.

The auto rack train has Union Pacific motive power and a cut of manifest freight.

No. 48 was operating 43 minutes late when it left Erie, but the New York section made it to Penn Station in New York less than 10 minutes late.

2 Days Before the Summer Hiatus

May 29, 2018

Due to construction on the Spuyten Duyvil bridge and Empire Tunnel on its route in New York City this summer, the New York section of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited is being suspended between May 26 and early September south of Albany, New York.

New York-bound passengers are being directed to make an across-the-platform transfer at the Albany-Rensselaer station to an Empire Service train that will take them to New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

Of course back in the day the Lake Shore Limited as well as all New York Central Water Level Route passenger trains terminated at Grand Central.

No. 48, shown here near North East Pennsylvania, had just four more trips to make to Penn Station before the summer hiatus was to begin when I made this image from the Bort Road bridge.

And it will be a little over a week before changes are made to the food service being offered to passengers on Nos. 48 and 49.

Reportedly, a new Viewliner dining car will be assigned to the trains, but it will operate as a sleeping car passenger lounge rather than a dining car.

The immediate future of the Lake Shore Limited is as gloomy as the fog shrouding the surrounding hills of the Lake Erie escarpment here.

Good Old Bort Road

January 16, 2018

Q363 passes beneath the venerable Bort Road bridge over the CSX Eries West Subdivision tracks near North East, Pennsylvania.

One of my favorite places to railfan is the one-lane rickety bridge carrying Bort Road over the CSX tracks near North East, Pennsylvania.

The bridge has stood there for decades and probably dates well into the steam era.

Such ancient bridges are fast being removed and the Bort Road bridge is not likely to be standing too much longer.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is studying how to replace it. One idea is to build a new bridge at the site of the existing one. Another idea is to build the new bridge further west of the current bridge.

The bridge project will also change the roads in the area, which has aroused some opposition.

One way or another, though, I can’t imagine Bort Road bridge standing too much longer.

I don’t get there often, but last July I made a couple of visits. Most of the action was on CSX, which was to be expected.

Although not shown in this gallery of photographs, Bort Road is one of my “go to” places to photograph Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited. But that’s a morning occurrence and I was here in July in the late afternoon to early evening hours.

Getting a little glint on the Q008. It followed the Q010 by 10 minutes and got the sunlight that eluded the Q010.

Here comes the Q010.

Westbound manifest freight Q389 has a Guilford locomotive tucked away in its motive power consist.

Grain train G309 comes lumbering along.

An Uncle Pete is spliced between two NS units in the motive power consist of the 216. We were hoping to get a westbound on NS but got shut out both times.

NS train 216 passes beneath Interstate 90. A short distance to the left I-90 crosses into New York state.

The classic westbound train shot at Bort Road shows it splitting the milepost 70 markers. Shown is the Q007.

An endless line of auto rack cars on the rear of the Q363. These cars used to move in a dedicated auto rack train.