Posts Tagged ‘North East Pennsylvania’

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.


The Photo Line is in Place

January 4, 2018

It was late afternoon and a group of us were hanging out at the Lakeshore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

The occasion was an outing of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts, which had a good number of members who also belong to the Akron Railroad Club.

On this particularly mid July day most of the railfans who made the trip were “dual citizens” of both clubs.

The sun angle favored westbound trains, not eastbound ones, but CSX had single track to the east due to a maintenance of way project.

These can be a railfan’s dream in some ways because it means that trains headed one direction are held while those going the opposite way are given clear signals.

And so it was on this day. After a fleet of westbounds cleared the work zone, it was time to run some eastbounds.

The downside to this was that it meant shooting right into the sunlight. I did it for a couple of trains with so-so results. Photoshop can only do so much.

For yet another eastbound I decided to do an “environmental” shot. I captured the photo line as the train came past.

Shown are from front to back Marty Surdyk, John McCown and Bill Kubas.

Shown below are two of the westbounds that came past before the eastbound parade got started.

Across the Vineyards

January 3, 2018

I was driving along U.S. Route 20 east of North East, Pennsylvania, when it occurred to me that this area might make for a nice across-the-vineyards photograph of a CSX train.

I didn’t attempt that on this trip, but kept the idea in mind for the next time I got over to North East.

That turned out to be about two weeks later when the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts held an outing to the depot museums in Conneaut and North East.

As it got to be late afternoon, our small but dedicated band, which also included Akron Railroad Club members Marty Surdyk, Bill Kubas and Tom Kendra, decided to relocate to Bort Road.

We caught a few trains there on both CSX and Norfolk Southern. Bill and Tom had to get going toward home, but Marty and I stuck it out a while longer.

Marty had agreed that the across-the-vineyard shot had possibilities. The shot works best in the late evening light of mid summer.

We heard CSX stack train Q008 calling signals on the radio and knew this was our opportunity.

We had scouted for a location earlier in the day as we drove from North East to Bort Road. We sought an area that was open and slightly higher than the tracks.

The challenge was to find a place where the tracks could be seen rather than being blocked by the grape vines.

We had found it and made out way back there in plenty of time to catch the Q008, which had the usual consist of a CSX stack train of two wide-cab locomotives and a rainbow of colors in its containers.

I tried different angles and zoomed in and out for varying compositions. You can see the results in this galley of images.


Roll em Salad Shooter, Roll em

August 13, 2017

Running as L090, the salad shooter approaches Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania.

The white refrigerated reefers on the end are a hallmark of the salad shooter.

Q090 passes has just passed the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

Qo90 is one of those trains that I can go for months without seeing and then I go through a spell where I see it regularly.

I seem to be in the latter mode this summer with the train that some CSX crews have nicknamed the salad shooter, a handle that has stuck in the railfan community.

It is a train of perishable produce that originates in California and the Pacific Northwest on Union Pacific with the two sections joining somewhere on the UP network.

Operating on an expedited schedule, the train is handed off to CSX in Chicago which takes it to a warehouse near Albany, New York.

I have rarely seen the return trip, which operates as Q091. I don’t believe this is a daily train. Almost always when I’ve seen it it has been a Sunday.

I’ve never seen the salad shooter have anything other than UP motive power.

In past years, the train had a fairly uniform consist of white refrigerated boxcars.

Those along with the UP motive power was a tell-tale sign that the train you were seeing was the Q090.

But in recent sightings, the consist has included what appear to be regular boxcars, many of them lettered for Golden West Service.

The cars appear to be marshaled in a series of cuts, which might reflect a series of loading docks and/or shippers.

I’ve never seen the Tropicana Juice train, but in my mind the salad shooter plays a similar role across the northern tier of CSX between Chicago and the Middle Atlantic. Both are a specialized service moving products that need to get there in a hurry in order to stay fresh.

Seeing Red

August 10, 2017

Train Q165 roars past the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

On a couple of back-to-back outings I had the good luck of seeing Canadian Pacific motive power on four trains.

Two of them were Q165 and Q166, which are Chicago-Buffalo, New York, run through trains on CSX that have been operating for a few years now.

I used to somewhat regularly see one of those trains at Berea, but that hasn’t been the case for a while.

I’ve only seen both of them in the same day twice and each time I was in North East, Pennsylvania.

I also found CP motive power leading a pair of Norfolk Southern trains, the 216 and the 67X. One of those was moving and the other was tied down.

I didn’t mind seeing so much red and wouldn’t mind seeing it again now that CP has resumed putting its beaver tail logo on the flanks of some locomotives.

The light was less than ideal to get Q166, which was one of five consecutive eastbounds allowed to move as CSX was single-tracking the Erie West Subdivision between North East, Pennsylvania, and a point in New York York State.

A pair of CPs lead NS 216 through the vineyard country near Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania.

The first of two views of NS train 67X tied down near Lewis Road in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.


Some Doings In North East

July 11, 2017

The Canadian Pacific run-through intermodal train still operates from Buffalo, New York, to Chicago on CSX.

I made two trips to North East, Pennsylvania, last month. Both found me spending some time at the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

It’s a good place to watch trains yet can be a challenging place to photograph them, depending on the hour of the day and the time of the year.

Shown here is selection of images from the two outings. They are not presented in any particular order.

A westbound work train is loaded with track equipment for the summer track work season.

The museum provided some lighting of the CSX tracks.

Another experiment in hand-holding a camera for night shots. This is an eastbound ethanol train.

A grandfather and his grandson watch a westbound stack train from the museum grounds.

Eastbound and westbound stack trains pass in front of the museum.

The rear of a local headed to drop off and pick up cars in Erie.

The local is finished working in Erie and returning to, I presume, Buffalo as it passes the two former Great Northern passenger cars in the museum’s collection.

Everyone is along the fence to see a westbound ethanol train pass by during the night at the museum event.

This westbound ethanol train was led by an older model Canadian National unit.

The lead unit of this eastbound auto rack train appears to to have been freshly painted. Or is is the mid-morning sunlight making it gleam?

While Waiting for Amtrak at Bort Road

July 5, 2017

Here comes CSX train Q112 bearing down on Bort Road.

Another view of the Q112.

Red and gold containers on the Q112.

Not far behind the Q112 was an eastbound trash train.

The one-lane wood bridge at Bort Road near North East, Pennsylvania, is one of my favorite places to photograph.

It spans the CSX Erie West Subdivision and road traffic on the bridge is not heavy.

In fact during an early June visit the road traffic was non-existent because the bridge was closed.

The timbers of the Norfolk Southern crossing had been removed and crews were the process of renovating the crossing.

My primary purpose in visiting Bort Road on this day was to catch Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

It was running about 45 minutes late and there were other CSX trains to occupy my attention, including the ones shown here.

Out of the Blue Hour

June 24, 2017

The main event for me during the night at the museum at the Lake Shore Railway Museum was the night photo shoot of former Chesapeake & Ohio No. 8272.

But there was time to kill before that began so I tried some things as day turned into night.

Shown is westbound CSX Q218, an auto rack train. I made this image hand holding my camera and zooming out as far as my lens would go. A shutter speed off 100th of a second provided reasonable clarity.

It was the edge of the blue hour, that magic time between sunset and darkness so that provided a little color in the background.

Overall, I was pleased with how this image turned out.

Under the Lights at North East Museum

June 19, 2017

I had heard about the annual night at the museum event hosted every summer by the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

Every year the museum stays open all night for people to watch trains on the adjacent Cleveland-Buffalo lines of CSX and Norfolk Southern.

It seemed like an interesting event, but I never made it over there for it until this year.

The promotional materials on the museum’s website said there would be a slide show in the former New York Central passenger station and a night photo shoot starting at 10 p.m.

Photographers were asked to make a donation of $20 for the night photo shoot.

Not until Friday did I make plans to go, prompted by the news that Chesapeake & Ohio No. 8272 had reached the museum.

The B30-7 had been built by GE’s Erie locomotive assembly plant in Lawrence Park Township and had been recently repainted into the Chessie System livery by CSX shop forces in Huntington, West Virginia.

I called fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and he agreed to go with me to the museum.

Neither the museum’s website or Facebook page had many details about what the night photo shoot would entail.

I presumed that C&O 8272 would be on display under lights and it was. But the museum also transformed former New York Central U25B No. 2500 into Pittsburgh & Lake Erie No. 2800.

This was done by placing black tape or paper over the NYC markings and applying P&LE markings, including white stripes on the pilot.

I’m told that the P&LE had early versions of the U28B that used a U26B car body.

The night photo shoot was not as elaborate or wide ranging as I thought it might be. It consisted of rented portable lights that illuminated the side of the C&O 8272 and P&LE 2800.

Museum personnel moved the 2800 around a couple times, using a small switcher.

The lighting was bright enough to make hand-held images, albeit with a high ISO setting. However, I made most of my images with a tripod.

The side lighting wasn’t enough to fully illuminate the nose of No. 8272, so Peter and I took turns painting the shadows with light from two flashlights that did an amazing job of adding fill-in light.

I had thought that the lights would be moved periodically to illuminate other pieces in the museum’s collection, but that didn’t happen.

Someone brought in a P&LE truck and at one point it was positioned next to the P&LE 2800.

The slide show featured images of the P&LE and Chessie system, but I ended up seeing only a few images. The interior of the depot was quite warm, so I elected to stay outside and watch CSX trains pass by.

I had been hoping to get some time exposures of CSX operations, but the last train before we left was a westbound at 10 p.m. and that was during the night photo shoot of No. 8272.

We stuck around until 12:20 a.m., but no trains came by. We faced a two-hour drive back to my house and thus left with some unfinished business left behind.

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

June 18, 2017

The latest addition to the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania, arrived late last week and was the star of the night at the museum event on Saturday.

Chesapeake & Ohio B30-7 No. 8272 was built at the nearby GE Erie locomotive assembly plant in Lawrence Park and has been retired by CSX.

CSX also agreed to have the unit repainted into Chessie System colors at its locomotive shop in Huntington, West Virginia.

After being displayed at the GE Erie plant in a private showing, the unit was moved to the museum where it joins a collection of locomotives built in Erie.