Posts Tagged ‘NS 8103’

Seeing Blue in Lake County

July 4, 2021

It was a star spangled start to the railfanning weekend in Lake County with three locomotives focusing on the color blue passing through on Friday and Saturday.

Ed Ribinskas missed the first passage of CSX 3194, the “pride in service” locomotive that pays tribute to law enforcement. It ran east on Q020 on Friday and returned on Saturday afternoon on the Q017.

Ed writes that on Saturday he then saw an online report that this unit was at Ripley, New York at 2:40 p.m.

“I predicted it would be by the Painesville station about 4:10 p.m. Based on that I would have to go to mass at 5 p.m.

He got it in Perry at 4:07 p.m. so his prediction was not that far off.

On Friday, Ed saw on that the Norfolk & Western heritage unit was leading Norfolk Southern train 23K.

He called his friend Jeff Troutman to see if he was available. Several years ago the two of them got skunked when they tried to photograph NS 8103 in Bedford at the tot lot on a westbound. But an eastbound blocked it.

Although Ed was fortunate a few years ago getting good photos of the 8103 on two occasions, Jeff still needed it for his collection.

They got it at about 6 p.m.  the Giant Eagle at the U.S. Route 20 crossing in Painesville.

“What was strange were the auto racks on the front of the train. Is 23K now a combined train or was this just an isolated incident? I’m not sure.”

But Ed said when he spotted the 23K with the N&W heritage unit leading as it went past the Elkhart, Indiana, webcam, the auto racks had been removed.

Early on Friday morning Amtrak’s Midnight Blue P42DC No. 100 passed through in the motive consist of the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

No. 100 was the fourth of four units assigned to the train.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Getting Lucky With NS 8103 Twice

May 11, 2020

On Sunday I saw that Norfolk Southern 8103, the Norfolk & Western heritage unit, was assigned to train 309 on the lead.

Reports filed on by posters who had seen the 309 after it passed through Erie, Pennsylvania, said that it had a Canadian Pacific unit as the fourth locomotive in the motive power consist.

After seeing the North Kingsville post, I gathered my jacket, keys and camera and went to Maple Street in Perry.

I waited about 25 minutes. Initially, it was cloudy and started spitting rain. About five minutes before showtime the sun came out in exactly the most perfect angle.

The N&W H unit appeared at 5:45 p.m.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

I Made the Image Anyway

July 4, 2019

This image had two strikes against it before it even stepped up to the plate.

The light was as flat as it could be given the overcast skies and rainy conditions.

And No. 8103 was trailing. But it was the Norfolk & Western heritage unit and that’s a locomotive I’ve only photographed once before.

In fact this was only the third time that I’ve seen it. And it had the bonus value of being on former N&W rails.

So I pulled out my phone and made this image. It’s not great, but at least it is an image of the only out of the ordinary sighting of the day.

I Finally Hit One Out of the Park

April 27, 2014

This was the appetizer for the main course that I was served on Saturday afternoon. Keep reading and looking.

This was the appetizer for the main course that I was served on Saturday afternoon. Keep reading and looking.

When baseball players are mired in a deep batting slump, they must keep focused.

They take extra batting practice and field extra balls. But what do veteran railfan photographers do? They keep going trackside, keep pressing the shutter release button and hope that they get a break.

Of course, it doesn’t help to be sitting on the bench and seeing the “stars” of such sites as and hit pitch after pitch out of the park when you can’t make it to first base.

And so it has been for me this year. I’ve been thrown a lot of curve balls that I swung at and missed.

First, there was the Saturday back in early January after one of the East’s many snow and ice storms. Amtrak No. 49 was running about eight hours late with Phase III livery No. 822 on the lead.

I wasn’t working that day and there was brilliant sunshine.  I was set up with good lighting just west of the Grand River in Painesville.

The pitch came sailing toward the plate. It was an eastbound CSX freight with an attractive lash-up. I worked it for a base on balls.

But no sooner had I gotten to first, No. 49 came rushing past on the other track and I missed the shot.

I had gotten picked off and went back to the dugout without having scored.

In March, we were on our way from back from Disney World about the Silver Meteor. To our surprise the Meteor came into the Orlando station with P42 No. 145, the Phase III heritage unit, as the second unit.

Alas, we were loaded down with luggage and my camera was packed away. The best shot I was able to get was from on board the train from our Viewliner sleeper room.

I would get another turn at the plate when we stopped in Jacksonville. But Amtrak threw me a high, hard one.

No. 145 was obstructed by the platform canopy. I call this getting on base by an error then getting stranded.

A few weeks ago, Jeff Troutman and I were all set to get the Norfolk & Western heritage unit at Bedford on a westbound.

As I stood in the batter’s box, an eastbound intermodal came creeping past. And I do mean creeping.

I could see the tail end of the intermodal coming, but I also could hear the approaching westbound.

The best I could do was to “see” the NS 8103 between the trailers of the eastbound. Finally, the eastbound cleared and I got a going away shot of the N&W unit.

I would score this getting to second base and then getting hit by a batted ball in fair territory. I trudged back to the dugout.

On Saturday morning, I got a phone call from Craig Sanders. Think my luck has been bad? He hasn’t photographed an NS heritage unit on the lead since last October. Talk about a slump.

With his encouragement in the form of letting me know that the Southern Railway heritage unit was leading the 22K eastward, I kept watching and

The 22K takes the former Nickel Plate Road to Buffalo and my house is just a few minutes away. It was my weekend off, the skies were blue and things seemed to be setting up in my favor. Over in Cleveland guys were hitting the ball out of the park like the wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field.

I camped out by the single track NKP for two hours. No way was I going to miss this one. The guy in the batting order ahead of me got on base when the 206 came past with a BNSF unit leading.

It was my turn to step into the box. And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go. And now the air is shattered by the force of Edward’s blow.

Casey might have struck out, but it felt good to finally be circling those bases after hitting one out of the park. It’s been a long time and I had almost forgotten what it feels like to score.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Who would have thought getting a pumpkin and a war bonnet would be considered a disappointment?

Who would have thought getting a pumpkin and a war bonnet would be considered a disappointment?

Somewhere on the other side was the locomotive that I *really* wanted to get.

Somewhere on the other side was the locomotive that I *really* wanted to get.

The best that I was able to do was only so-so.

The best that I was able to do was only so-so.


Not much to work with here.

Not much to work with here.


It's better than nothing, I guess.

It’s better than nothing, I guess.

Just when I thought I was going to get a pitch that I could drive, I see this eastbound coming.

Just when I thought I was going to get a pitch that I could drive, I see this eastbound coming.

Somewhere between those trailers is the N&W heritage locomotive. You'll need to look carefully.

Somewhere between those trailers is the N&W heritage locomotive. You’ll need to look carefully.

It is almost in clear sight.

It is almost in clear sight.

The best I was able to do in this at bat. At least it wasn't trailing. Then it would truly be failure.

The best I was able to do in this at bat. At least it wasn’t trailing. Then it would truly be failure.

It might be. It could be.

It might be. It could be.

It is! A  home run!

It is! A home run!

Blue Skies for a Blue Locomotive

April 9, 2014





I did a little after work heritage unit photography on Tuesday since Norfolk Southern train 25V had the 8103, the Norfolk & Western heritage unit, leading. I set up in Hudson then headed for Olmsted Falls for another view. While waiting for the 25V, a 16E came east out of the setting sun, so I attempted a “glint” photo.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

N&W H Unit ‘Sags’ Through Beloit

April 5, 2014



I headed for Beloit, Ohio, and the “Garfield Sag” after work on Wednesday for a little heritage locomotive action. The Norfolk & Western unit was leading a 65K tanker train. I have always liked how you can often see an entire train at this location as it drops down from CP Murph and closes in on Alliance.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Elusive N&W H Unit Passes Through Cleveland

September 21, 2013



Norfolk Southern No. 8103, the heritage locomotive honoring the Norfolk & Western Railway, has not been a frequent visitor to Northeast Ohio.

But late Friday afternoon it made a daylight appearance here, leading RoadRailer No. 261.

I saw a posting on that the 261 had the N&W unit on the lead. A post on by Roger Durfee reported the 261 past Alliance at 2:30 p.m.

At the time I read that, it was nearly 3:30 and I was at home. I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to get to Bedford in time to photograph it, so I headed for Olmsted Falls. The lighting might be better there, too.

By the time I reached the Falls, though, clouds had begun rolling in. Given those conditions, I elected to photograph on the north side of the track.

I estimated that the 261 would arrive at about 5 p.m. It came through at 10 minutes past the hour so I was nearly spot on.

I would later read on TO that fans waiting at Berea got skunked by a stack train that was on Track No. 2. I wondered about that given that the dispatcher had told that train that it would go over to No. 1 track as soon as the 261 cleared CP Max.

The crew of the eastbound intermodal train also told the 261 that “a lot of people will be out taking your picture with that engine.”

So I got another heritage locomotive “in the wild” to add to my collection. It is the first new sighting I’ve had since May. All other H units I’ve seen since then I had photographed previously.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Big Blue Locomotive (N&W Style) In Town

January 12, 2013

Much to my surprise the Norfolk & Western heritage locomotive passed by work on Friday on Norfolk Southern train RR 262.

I had finished switching and we had just sat down for a break in the yard office when I saw it was heading my way.

A quick check showed it only a couple miles away, so I grabbed my camera and walked out behind the yard office to photograph it. The clouds were thick, but at least it had stopped raining.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

New App Helps Land NS Heritage Unit

September 10, 2012

I bagged Norfolk Southern’s  Norfolk & Western heritage locomotive this weekend and here are some pictures and a story.

Using a new app that will tell you what NS heritage units are within a certain radius from where you are at (say 100 miles), we were able to chase down and get the N&W 8103 on Saturday.

The app said that it had been spotted at Sandusky about two hours earlier, the time being 1 p.m.). So we loaded up and went to find it.

We checked to no avail several logical places, including the north end of the yard, the docks and the former New York Central local yard.

We then checked the south end of the former Pennsylvania Railroad yards and found the 8103 sitting out in the open. It was a successful trip using Internet reports.

However, not all Internet reports can be trusted. The same app also said that the Lackawanna heritage locomotive was on the former Nickel Plate Road in Pennsylvania heading to Buffalo.

If true it would have traversed Cleveland about 9 a.m., yet there were no sightings or reports here.

Well that was because the Lackawanna unit was sitting at Roanoke. Va., Somone had misposted its location, which they corrected later, but such is the problem with Intenet posts.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon