Posts Tagged ‘NS 4270’

NS OCS Makes Northern Ohio Appearance

June 26, 2018

The executive train of Norfolk Southern is no stranger to Northeast Ohio, but its visits and few and far between enough to make getting it still a treat when the opportunity arises.

Such was the case on Sunday afternoon when operating as symbol 955 the train of A-B-B-A F units and 12 cars can through on the Cleveland Line and then the Chicago Line.

It was en route to Chicago and reportedly stayed overnight in Elkhart, Indiana, before continuing to the Windy City on Monday morning.

I intercepted it in Oak Harbor along with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Marty and Robert Surdyk.

We had been in Fostoria for the annual ARRC longest day outing and decided about 5 p.m. to head up to Oak Harbor, where the 955 came through about 7:20 p.m.

The train did not appear to have anyone aboard other than the head end crew.

It Was Dark But I Got the OCS

October 2, 2016

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I didn’t take long for word to get out at the Great Berea Train show on Saturday that the Norfolk Southern executive train was coming. Reportedly, it was headed for St. Louis.

It departed its base in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in late morning, which meant it was likely to pass through Cleveland in late afternoon.

My fellow Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon decided to intercept it at Hudson, which it passed through just before 5 p.m.

I left the train show just after 4:30 p.m. and headed for Olmsted Falls. Eastbound manifest freight 34N or 34M (I don’t remember which letter it was) was passing through as I arrived. It would be the only eastbound I would see over the next two hours.

Operating under symbol 955, the OCS was following manifest freight 11V. L13, the Bellevue-Rockport Yard turn, and a coal train, the 552, would also depart westbound ahead of it.

About 5:30 p.m., ARRC Bulletin Editor Marty Surdyk arrived. He had planned to run home to grab his camera, but traffic leaving the train show was heavy.

He reckoned that it would be cloudy when the OCS came through and his chances of getting a good image on slide film were slim. So he just came out to watch and didn’t bother to get his camera.

Marty’s hunch proved to be correct. There was some nice sunlight just before the L13 led the late afternoon westbound parade, but by the time 955 showed up at 6:53 p.m., it was cloudy and dark.

Even with a digital camera, it was a tough image to make. But I got it and saw something I don’t see often.

It also means that the last two times that I’ve seen the NS OCS I’ve been trackside with Marty.  We had caught the OCS last month at Salem on the Fort Wayne Line.

The consist of the train was NS F9A 4270, F9B 4275, F9B 4276, F9A 4271, and passengers cars 23, Buena Vista; 24, Delaware; 19, Kentucky; 18, New Orleans; 2, Carolina; 4, Michigan; 14, Missouri; 13, Georgia; 11, Illinois; 9, Alabama; 20, Ohio; 3, Claytor Lake; 7, Pennsylvania; and 39 (a power car).

Even in the near dark it was an impressive looking consist. It was not a bad way to begin October.

Tracking Down NS Varnish in NE Ohio

September 13, 2016
The Norfolk Southern executive train rushes through Salem late on Sunday afternoon.

The Norfolk Southern executive train rushes through Salem late on Sunday afternoon.

Norfolk Southern doesn’t operate passenger trains in the traditional sense. It doesn’t offer scheduled trains for which the traveling public can buy a ticket.

But like other major railroads, it has a fleet of passenger equipment for use in its executive train fleet and for other purposes involving track inspection.

When the word got out on Sunday that the NS office car special was traveling through northern Ohio en route to its home base in Altoona, Pennsylvania, it seemed that everyone and their brother went trackside to get it.

The OCS had been in the St. Louis area and traveled on the former Wabash mainline to Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Saturday night.

It had F9A 4271, F7B 4275 and F9A 4270, and passengers cars NS 23 (Buena Vista), NS 24 (Delaware), NS 7 (Pennsylvania) and NS 21 (West Virginia).

I first heard about the move of the OCS, which operated under symbol 956, from Marty Surdyk, who joined me in Sebring for an afternoon of railfanning on Sunday afternoon on the Fort Wayne Line east of Alliance.

Marty’s nephew Henry was chasing the train around Cleveland and sent us OS updates.

We elected to photograph the executive train as it passed through Salem because the tracks here are on a northwest-southeast alignment and the lighting would be better.

Train 956 was following intermodal train 20E and both were crossed over from Track 1 to Track 2 at CP Murph to run around grain train 52T, which was stopped ahead on Track 1 at CP Lum near Columbiana.

The intermodal train and OCS went back to Track 1 at Lum to continue their journey toward Pittsburgh. A report on HeritageUnits.com indicated that train 956 reached Altoona around 10:30 p.m.

My other sighting of NS varnish came late Friday afternoon in Olmsted Falls. It was a track geometry train with NS 38, a track test unit that railfans have nicknamed “the brick” because of its rectangular shape.

No. 38 was behind NS GP40-2 No. 3035 and was accompanied by NS 36, an open platform passenger car that carries the name “Research 36” on its flanks.

I could see NS personnel wearing safety vests sitting in the rear-facing seats and watching the tracks unfold behind them. It may be a research train, but it carries passengers and wears the same Tuscan red that adorns the NS executive fleet.

Traveling under NS symbol 906, the track geometry train tied up for the weekend at Rockport Yard. It left Cleveland on Monday morning headed for Pittsburgh.

A report on HU indicated that “the brick” would be inspecting Track 1 from Pittsburgh to Altoona.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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