Posts Tagged ‘NS 911’

A Sense of Urgency to Catch NS 9-1-1

July 23, 2016

Reprinted from the July 2016 Akron Railroad Club Bulletin

“Papa, you want to come see the train?” was the question I overheard when the bro answered his phone while we sat at the picnic table in Alliance.

“Uncle Mart and I are in Alliance right now, Grif.”

Grif was referring to the Norfolk Southern 9-1-1, the First Responder’s Tribute unit. It was coming north on train No. 178. It was sighted at Columbus shortly after we arrived in Alliance.

A few minutes later, it was reported at Lewis Center, a northern suburb of Columbus. I figured we wouldn’t make Bellevue before it did, so we stayed put in Alliance.

Our quarry for the day was either a westbound on the Ft. Wayne Line or an eastbound going down the Bayard Line that we could chase.

In the meantime, we had plenty of intermodal trains to shoot moving from the Cleveland Line to the Ft. Wayne Line.

Henry, Grif’s father, decided to go after the 9-1-1. He, Grif and Nicole, Henry’s wife and Grif’s mother, were heading for Bellevue in hopes of intercepting the colorful NS unit.

We wished them luck and waited patiently for NS to run something in the right direction.

It wasn’t long before I heard the switch roll over west of the diamond. The bro walked east to see if the crossover near the Amtrak platform was also lined. It was.

It looked like our westbound heading for the Ft. Wayne Line was nearing. The Cleveland Line Dispatcher confirmed our sighting.

“580, OK into Alliance”

580 was a westbound loaded coal train, most likely loaded on the former Monongahela in southwest Pennsylvania.

We headed out of town to the cemetery in Maximo for our first shot. The tracks are heading south here, so a morning westbound can be done in good light. Although on this morning high clouds were obscuring the sun.

The 580 had NS 3603 up front, a new unit in fresh black paint. Two additional units trailed.

They were rolling right along, so we couldn’t dawdle if we were to stay with the train.

From Maximo, we made our way west to US 62 West, a four lane divided highway and a 70 mph speed limit until you get to the outskirts of Canton. Then it is 50 mph with numerous traffic lights and lots of congestion. If we were ahead, we soon lost our edge.

US 62 runs with I-77 for a ways through Canton. When we went over the tracks, the 580 was going by underneath.

We picked up US 30 on the south side of Canton and decided on Orrville for our next shot.

We should beat him there because he has Buck Hill west of Massillon to slow him down.

Our arrival in Orrville was slowed by the last few cars of a Wheeling & Lake Erie westbound that was crossing Ohio Route 57 on the south side of Orrville.

We alighted on the south side of the tracks across from the depot and tower. I figured we had a few minutes to kill, so I broke out my sandwich and started to eat lunch. It was a few minutes after noon.

I took about two bites, when the 580 called the distant signal for CP Orr and horns were heard to the east. Time to drop the sandwich and get to my photo spot.

So much for having some time. Buck Hill must have seemed like a speed bump.

We shot the 580 and thought about heading onward, but the Pittsburgh West Dispatcher came on the radio and informed 580 that their re-crew at Mansfield was not on duty until 2 p.m.

We decided to finish our lunch here and regroup. Henry was on the phone seeing if we had any news on the whereabouts of the 9-1-1. It was not in Bellevue yet and they were heading south looking for it.

We were again headed west in a few minutes and the 580 should be nearing Mansfield by now. If we stayed with the 580, we had time to kill or should we continue on US 30 west to Bucyrus and try to intercept the 9-1-1?

Henry and company made it all the way to Marion without a 9-1-1 sighting. Some fans were trackside waiting for it, but no one had seen it yet.

A check of HeritageUnits.com still showed the last sighting at Lewis Center over four hour ago. What the heck happened to it?

With this news to go on, we committed ourselves to the 9-1-1. As we approached Bucyrus, Henry called and OSed 9-1-1 on train 178 at Marion. They and the 9-1-1 were coming north.

We decided to head for Ridgeton, a few miles north of Bucyrus for a shot.

Ridgeton used to be one of my favorite grain elevator shots in Ohio until the elevator was demolished.

I went to the spot where I used to shoot the elevator with a train and did a “what’s missing from this picture?” shot.

The bro stayed on the other side of the tracks. He wanted to stay near the Jeep, so we could get out of town faster after the train passed. The only problem was that I had the keys.

Henry, Grif and Nicole shot the 9-1-1 at the next crossing north of Ridgeton. They missed the road to Ridgeton.

We had our sights set on the new reservoir at Attica for our next photo spot.

Henry got there first; we were about a minute behind. At first I thought we wouldn’t make it; we were not catching and overtaking the 9-1-1 very quickly.

But as it neared the Honey Creek crossovers, it slowed way down. CSX had the diamonds at Attica Junction and he was going to be held for a few minutes.

This gave us time to catch up with the family. Grif was sporting a digital camera of his own. How many 5-year-olds have their own camera? But Nicole had her camera out, so everyone was shooting today.

The 9-1-1 whistled off and resumed its journey to Bellevue. We lensed it and made tracks out of town.

“Papa, come with us!” yelled the Grif. Papa declined, his camera gear was in my Jeep and he might want to change lenses at the next spot, wherever that may be.

The 9-1-1 made good time until it got close to Bellevue. They were going to be held out of town to let some other traffic clear before they would be allowed into the yard.

This gave us a chance for a shot at Shriver south of the town of Flat Rock. He stopped at signals that are called “Flat Rock” on the railroad and waited his turn.

We arrived at the Kemper Railfan Park in Bellevue in time to view an eastbound coming in off the Toledo District, led by a Canadian Pacific unit. Then one came in off the Fostoria District. The 178 with the 9-1-1 was next.

Everyone scattered to their photo spot as the 9-1-1 approached.

Afterwards, Henry and family were going to try for one more view at the Ohio Route 4 overpass in the yard and then head for home. The bro and I were going to hang out here at the platform for a while before calling it a day also.

Behind the 9-1-1 were two more trains. The 866 that made the turn onto the Fostoria District. The 217 did the same. A 28N auto rack train came in off the Fostoria side.

Things got quiet for a few minutes, so we checked out the new connection on the north side of the yard that lets trains access the Sandusky District directly from the yard. Previously, they would have to back out of the yard and reverse directions in order to head to Sandusky.

The trip home on the Ohio Turnpike as quick and uneventful.

I’m glad Grif called his grandfather and let us know that the 9-1-1 was coming. It was had been an interesting day.

Heritage units sometimes just pop up in the darndest places sometimes.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Roger’s Take on Toledo National Train Day

May 11, 2016
Among the first responders who posed with Norfolk Southern 9-1-1 were a Toledo Fire Department Truck . . .

Among the first responders who posed with Norfolk Southern 9-1-1 were a Toledo Fire Department Truck . . .

 . . . an a Norfolk Southern police vehicle.

. . . an a Norfolk Southern police vehicle and officer.

The former BNSF speeder that I rode.

The former BNSF speeder that I rode.

The far east end of Toledo Central Union Terminal as seen from a speeder.

The far east end of Toledo Central Union Terminal as seen from a speeder.

NS 9-1-1 and Ann Arbor 3879 lined up for display.

NS 9-1-1 and Ann Arbor 3879 lined up for display.

An Amtrak Thruway bus features the Amtrak logo as well as the markings of its owner/operator.

An Amtrak Thruway bus features the Amtrak logo as well as the markings of its owner/operator.

Greyhound now serves Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Greyhound now serves Toledo Central Union Terminal.

I stayed overnight in Toledo on Friday and then spent Saturday at the annual National Train Day festival. Here is a selection of special photographs that I made.

BNSF No. 336 is the speeder I rode. The station photo showing the old platforms  at the east end was taken from the speeder.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

NS 9-1-1, Amtrak 156, Ann Arbor Heritage Unit Shine Under Friday Night Lights at Toledo C.U.T.

May 9, 2016
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Amtrak’s Phase I heritage locomotive was on the point of a four car display train that mimicked the consist of the Lake Shore Limited.

Here is a selection of the night photos from Toledo’s National Train Day festival that were made on Friday night.

The engineer is Engineer Steve, one of the main driving forces behind the National Train Day in Toledo and the one who set up the equipment. Lighting was provided by David Patch, a transportation reporter with The Blade of Toledo.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Norfolk Southern's  first responders tribute unit looks spiffy. Behind it is Ann Arbor GP38 No. 3879.

Norfolk Southern’s
first responders tribute unit looks spiffy. Behind it is Ann Arbor GP38 No. 3879.

Watco brought out its Ann Arbor heritage locomotive, a GP38.

Watco brought out its Ann Arbor heritage locomotive, a GP38.

Engineer Steve poses at the controls of SD60E No. 9-1-1 on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Engineer Steve poses at the controls of SD60E No. 9-1-1 on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Engineer Steve climbs aboard Amtrak P42DC No. 156 as he "goes to work."

Engineer Steve climbs aboard Amtrak P42DC No. 156 as he “goes to work.”

NS 9-1-1 and the photographers that captured it under the lights.

NS 9-1-1 and the photographers that captured it under the lights.

 

Sights at Toledo National Train Day

May 8, 2016
The NS 9-1-1 and Watco No. 3879 sit on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

The NS 9-1-1 and Watco No. 3879 sit on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Honing in on the Ann Arbor heritage GP38, which is now operated by Watco.

Honing in on the Ann Arbor heritage GP38, which is now operated by Watco.

Getting "nosey" with NS 9-1-1, an SD60E that honors the nation's first responders.

Getting “nosey” with NS 9-1-1, an SD60E that honors the nation’s first responders.

Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Toledo held its annual National Train Day festival on Saturday (May 7) at Central Union Terminal. Among the exhibits were Norfolk Southern Southern 9-1-1, the first responders tribute locomotive; Watco GP38 No. 3879, which is painted in an Ann Arbor Railroad heritage livery; Amtrak P42DC No. 156, which is painted in the Phase I heritage livery; and an Amtrak display train that was a miniature version of the Lake Shore Limited.

There also were speeder rides; model train layouts; vendors selling videos, books and other railroad related items; and informational displays by various organizations.

Several Akron Railroad club members were on hand as either visitors or vendors.

Here is look at the major prototypes that were on display.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS 9-1-1 Spotted in Cleveland Last Sunday

February 2, 2016

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This past Sunday I caught the Norfolk Southern 9-1-1 at Battery Park in Cleveland crossing the new Edgewater Park overpass. I was happy to see several photo ops around the bridge and thought I should let others know about it.

The 9-1-1 was leading the eastbound 16G and was reported through Berea at about 11:30 a.m. About an hour later it rolled through Macedonia as it continued its way down the Cleveland Line toward Pittsburgh.

Photographs by Alex Bruchac

Pair of Special NS Locomotives

December 17, 2015

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Norfolk Southern train 34N on Wednesday didn’t have the ordinary motive power on the point. Pulling it was NS 6920, the veteran’s tribute unit, and the 9-1-1, the first responders tribute unit.

The train passed through Cleveland in late morning. The train is shown passing Battery Park on the near west side of Cleveland.

The two locomotives had worked together last weekend to pull a Santa Claus train on NS out of Decatur, Illinois.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

Getting the EL and the 9-1-1 Locomotives

October 17, 2015

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I drove to Mansfield on Friday to catch the NS 1700 a former Erie Lackawanna SD45-2 that has been restored to its original paint.  I did get it, but unfortunately it developed problems and needed a mechanic to look at it.

This meant it would sit for a while. While waiting, I saw that the 9-1-1 First Responders unit was leading a train north from Columbus.  I drove to Marion where it finally showed up at quarter to six.

I then gave chase north catching up to it at Chatfield and again at Attica.  By now it was nearly dark so I headed back home.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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Catching Up with NS 9-1-1

August 7, 2015
Norfolk Southern SD60E No. 9-1-1 leads the Whistle-Stop Safety Train on the Cleveland Line near Egbert Road in Bedford on Thursday afternoon. This is my favorite image of the day that I made of t he train.

Norfolk Southern SD60E No. 9-1-1 leads the Whistle-Stop Safety Train on the Cleveland Line near Egbert Road in Bedford on Thursday afternoon. This is my favorite image of the day that I made of the train.

The first time that I saw Norfolk Southern 9-1-1 was in a photograph released by the company.

I was duly impressed and made a mental note that I had to see and photograph that locomotive, which pays tribute to the nation’s fire fighters, police and EMTs.

The first time I saw the 9-1-1 in person I didn’t recognize it. We were driving across the Ohio Route 4 bridge in Bellevue looking for the NS Whistle-Stop Safety Train, which was being led across the state by the 9-1-1 on a three-day journey that began in Cincinnati and also included stops in Dayton and Columbus.

Maybe it was the early morning sunlight, but I spotted a locomotive in the yard with a whitish-looking nose and mistakenly thought it might be a Union Pacific unit.

My memory of the 9-1-1 is that its nose is mostly red. There is a lot of red on the nose, but the area around the cab windows is solid white and when that combines with the broad white stripes on the nose the locomotive looks white coming at you from a distance.

That factoid was just one of many that I learned about the 9-1-1 during a chase of the safety train from Bellevue to Bedford.

I also learned you have to see the 9-1-1 in person to appreciate its striking features.

I didn’t realize until I photographed the 9-1-1 for the third time that there is much detail on the roof, including gold paint on the air conditioning units and exhaust fans.

NS went to great lengths to give this locomotive a distinctive look.

Fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I teamed up on Thursday to chase and photograph NS 9-1-1 and the NS safety train in Kimball, Olmsted Falls and Bedford.

The 9-1-1 led a four-car train of invited guests that included local officials, Operation Lifesaver officials, school transportation directors and first responders.

The first group of passengers boarded in Bellevue and had an hour-and-a-half ride to Rockport Yard in Cleveland before being bused back to Bellevue.

Another group boarded in Cleveland and rode to Alliance.

The consist included two coaches, the NS exhibit car and an open-air platform business car.

As we expected, the train rolled right along from Bellevue to Cleveland. It was following traffic on the Chicago Line so that slowed it somewhat when it encountered approach indications.

At Olmsted Falls, we met a woman with a camera. She had propped up her cell phone on a board placed on a pile of ballast to use as a makeshift tripod to get video of the train.

We learned that her husband, Andy Wolf, was the locomotive engineer of the safety train from Bellevue to Cleveland.

An online report indicated that the train left had Rockport at about 11:15 a.m., but it must have encountered congestion because it didn’t show up at Egbert Road in Bedford until nearly two hours later.

The images that I made at Egbert Road were my favorites of the day. You have to see the 9-1-1 from above to view all of the care that went into the design of this livery.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Splitting the signals at Kimball where the Cleveland District goes to single track east of Bellevue.

Splitting the signals at Kimball where the Cleveland District goes to single track east of Bellevue.

I liked the contrast of the bright locomotive nose with the dark green leaves of the tree behind the train.

I liked the contrast of the bright locomotive nose with the dark green leaves of the tree behind the train.

Roster-like shot at Kimball.

Roster-like shot at Kimball.

Fortunately for us, NS 974 was following traffic into Cleveland and was slowed by an approach signal at MP 200. That gave us a little more cushion to get into place at Olmsted Falls.

Fortunately for us, NS 974 was following traffic into Cleveland and was slowed by an approach signal at MP 200. That gave us a little more cushion to get into place at Olmsted Falls.

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No one was on the platform of the NS business car as the train rolled through Olmsted Falls. The NS train ahead is stopped in the Berea Siding near Lewis Road.

No one was on the platform of the NS business car as the train rolled through Olmsted Falls. The NS train ahead is stopped in the Berea Siding near Lewis Road.

A telephoto view from the Egbert Road crossing.

A telephoto view from the Egbert Road crossing.

A handful of passengers enjoy the view of the Cleveland Line as the train approaches the Motor Yard.

A handful of passengers enjoy the view of the Cleveland Line as the train approaches the Motor Yard, which lies beyond the bridge in the background.

NS Puts 2 Special Trains Through NE Ohio

August 7, 2015
The engineer of the Norfolk Southern office car special waves to the photographers.

The engineer of the Norfolk Southern office car special waves to the photographers.

Norfolk Southern offered a double dip of special passenger trains in Northeast Ohio on Thursday. The Whistle-Stop Safety Train operated from Bellevue to Alliance via Cleveland while the company’s executive train ran across the state on the Fort Wayne Line.

Both trains passed through Alliance and continued on toward Pittsburgh, with the executive train taking the Bayard Line.

I couldn’t get the favored shot at Moultrie with the farm silo’s the background.  Unfortunately, the cornfields were too high for a photo but I did manage a few going away photos of this rare move on the Bayard line.

The image of the NS 9-1-1 pulling the safety train were made in Alliance.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

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NS Safety Train Begins Ohio Swing

August 4, 2015

Norfolk Southern’s Whistle-Stop Safety Train began its journey through Ohio this morning when it left Cincinnati en route to Columbus.

Although NS has not announced the schedule for the train, it is reportedly scheduled to leave at 9 a.m. on each of the days that it operates in Ohio.

Reports on Heritage Units.com today supported the information that the safety train will depart at 9 a.m.

On Wednesday the train will travel from Columbus to Bellevue while on Thursday it will travel from Bellevue to Alliance via Cleveland.

A 9 a.m. departure from Bellevue would put the train into Cleveland by late morning. Given that the train will be bound for Alliance, it is likely to take the connection in Vermilion to the Chicago Line.

The train is being pulled by NS 9-1-1, the tribute unit to first responders. Select first responders along with elected officials and other invited guests will be aboard the safety special, which is being co-sponsored by Ohio Operation Lifesaver.

Although an NS news release spoke of the train making “stops” in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Bellevue, Cleveland and Alliance, it does not appear that those will be public events. The stops appear to be for the purpose of boarding and discharging invited guests.

Before coming to Ohio, the safety train made a swing through North Carolina and South Carolina.