Posts Tagged ‘NS Chicago Line’

NKP 765 Ferry Move: 2

September 13, 2017

Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon also went out to photograph the ferry move of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 after it reached Northeast Ohio. Here are three of his photographs.

Top photo: Crossing the Vermilion River in Vermilion as seen from the South Street boat launch.

Middle Photo: Passing the signals near milepost 192 on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern and across from Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Bottom photo: Moving through the switches at CP Max as seen from Interstate 480 as the train enters Rockport Yard.

 

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Night Trains

September 2, 2017

Back in early August I had some magazines that had been donated to the Akron Railroad Club to convey to Marty Surdyk, who stores the inventory of merchandise that we sell at trains shows.

We arranged to meet in the evening at Olmsted Falls, where we would also spend some time railfanning the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

It was reminiscent of an outing we had in the Falls several years ago when I brought my tripod and dabbled with night photography.

I admire the work of those who have mastered the art, but that hasn’t motivated me to do much of it myself.

But my appetite for night photography was whetted earlier this summer during a night photo shoot at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

I’ve also wondered what I could do with a digital SLR camera. One advantage of digital is that you will know right away if what you tried worked.

In North East I was working with steady light. That would not be the case in Olmsted Falls.

I was fortunate that much of the NS traffic on this evening was moving west.

I was able to get some late day images with natural lighting that didn’t require a tripod.

But along about 9 p.m. it was time top set up the tripod and shuttle cable release.

My first effort is the top image that accompanies this post. It was a straight-forward long shutter release of seven seconds at f/16 at ISO 100.

It has the streaks that I wanted and there was enough natural light to bring out some detail in the station and the fading blue light.

About 25 minutes later I tried this technique again, this time focusing on an approaching train. This image, shown immediately below the text, was made with a 16-second exposure a f/16 at ISO 100.

OK, what do I do for an encore? Marty suggested “painting” the station with light from a small flashlight, then keeping the shutter open but covering the lens with the lens cap.

I did a couple test images by shining the flashlight on the station. The results were good results.

Marty said that if I did that as a train approached, the crew might mistake the light for a signal telling them to stop their train.

My first effort was promising. I kept the shutter open for 77 seconds. Getting the lens cap on and off was more tricky than it might seem because I did not want to cause any vibration.

I tried the same technique a second time with an exposure time of 36 seconds. I also changed the f stop to 22. Of the two images, I liked the second one the best and it shown below this post.

Of course I didn’t like all of the “spots” on the image. That was light reflecting the aperture and made it appear that it was raining and I had water droplets on my lens.

I swung my camera around to try to get the train going away with the red light of the EOT “trailing behind.”

This ideal didn’t work well. I couldn’t get the blinking red light to “trail.” My best image, shown below, didn’t feature the train so much as a landing aircraft at nearby Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

For an encore, I went over to Berea and tried getting NS and CSX trains there.

The results were only so-so. The best of the lot is the final image shown below showing an eastbound.

Like any endeavor, there is a learning curve to learning how to do night photography. It requires study, practice and no small amount of trial and error. Having good equipment, particularly the tripod, also helps.

For most photographers, it is much easier to get trains in daylight. Yet some of the most dramatic images I’ve seen have been made at the extremes of the day in varying lighting conditions.

I don’t know that I’ll be doing much night photography, but I’m willing to learn and try it again.

 

West of Vermilion on the Chicago Line

August 31, 2017

One of the byproducts of making a trip last Saturday to inspect the progress of the new connection from the Chicago Line to the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern was an opportunity to check out some new photo locations.

Last year when members of the Akron Railroad Club inspected the connection site during our day in Vermilion, no NS trains came through.

This year, though, we caught a small flurry of trains, two of them westbound, that we photographed at three locations.

In the top photograph, a string of JB Hunt containers approaches Risden Road near the Vermilion Country Club. This is the site where the new connection will join the Chicago Line.

The second photograph from the top features a westbound manifest freight approaching Poorman Road at milepost 225.

In the last two images, an eastbound intermodal train is rounding a curve by the Joppa Road crossing, which is at the apex of the curve.

Into the Siding Leading to Fairlane

August 30, 2017

Passing the 213 milepost in Amherst as train 287 takes the siding.

About to duck beneath the Jackson Street bridge.

A parting shot as the auto rack cars catch a little glint from the filtered late day sunlight.

Traffic on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern has all but dried up.

A lull of more than an hour was broken by a radio transmission from the Toledo East dispatcher to westbound auto rack train No. 287.

The dispatcher informed the crew it would be going into the siding whose eastern end begins in Amherst beneath the Ohio Route 58 bridge.

They also received yarding instructions for Fairlane.

That prompted me to begin walking briskly from the restored former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern depot in Amherst to the bridge carrying Jackson Street over the NS tracks.

I had been shooting the breeze with the guys at the joint picnic hosted by the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts to which Akron Railroad Club members had been invited.

The RRE annually has its picnic in Amherst and every year I’ve attended I’ve spent time photographing on the Jackson Street bridge.

The headlight of the lead unit of the 287 was already in sight as I reached the bridge.

Slowly the train made its way into the siding, making it the first train I’ve shot in this siding.

For awhile I wasn’t sure if I would keep my Amherst bridge tradition going. So I felt better as I walked back to the depot knowing the streak had been kept alive.

Little Progress Made on NS Vermilion Connection

August 29, 2017

In a view looking west from Risden Road, the grading has been done for the connection to the Chicago Line, but little else has been finished.

In a view looking east, the Chicago Line is at the far left while the path of the connection curves to the right.

The new connection once finished will reach the Cleveland District in the far distance to the right.

Last year during the Akron Railroad Club’s outing in Vermilion a few of us made the trek west of town to inspect the progress of a new connection being installed by Norfolk Southern.

Once complete, the connection will enable eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to directly access the Cleveland District, which is the former Nickel Plate Road mainline.

Those expected to use the connection include intermodal trains 22K and 206.

Of course, the connection will also benefit westbound trains on the Cleveland District headed for the Chicago Line, such as intermodals 23K and 205..

For several years there has been a connection between the two routes at CP 222 on the Chicago Line, but it is oriented toward westbound trains on the Chicago Line going to the Cleveland District and eastbound trains on the Cleveland District going to the Chicago Line.

The new connection is located at Risden Road near the Vermilion Country Club.

Last year workers had completed grading the route of the connection and panel track had been deposited at the site.

A year later work has not progressed much beyond that. Track is still on the ground waiting to be put into place.

No significant progress has been made in creating the turnout from Track No. 2 of the Chicago Line to the connection.

Perhaps when the ARRC goes back to Vermilion in 2018 more work will have been done.

ARRC Vermilion Outing Set for Saturday

August 23, 2017

An eastbound Norfolk Southern train crosses the bridge over the Vermilion River near the boat launchy during a previous Akron Railroad Club outing there.

The Akron Railroad Club will return to Vermilion on Saturday for another day along the Norfolk Southern Chicago Line. But this outing will feature something different.

In late afternoon we’ll travel to nearby Amherst for a picnic at the restored former New York Central depot.

Vermilion features two NS lines, the busiest of which is the ex-NYC route. Also passing through is the former Nickel Plate Road line that is now the NS Cleveland District.

The Cleveland District through Vermilion isn’t much at present as far as railroad traffic, but that is expected to change once NS completes installation of a new connection from the eastbound Chicago Line to the Cleveland District a couple of miles west of Vermilion.

Intermodal trains 205, 206, 22K and 23K are expected to be regular users of the connection.

But all of that is in the future. The Chicago Line hosts 40 to 50 trains with a traffic mix of intermodal, mixed freights, tanker trains, coal trains and even Amtrak.

We will begin our day at the boat launch located on West River Road between the two railroad bridges over the Vermilion River.

Being summer there should be ample boat traffic on the river to watch between trains.

Photographs of an eastbound on the bridge is the prized shot for this location.

Shooting a westbound these days is tough. You will need your wide-angle lens.

But don’t let that deter you from enjoying some time at the boat launch. It is an enjoyable experience.

After lunch, when the light shifts to a more westerly direction, we will move to the railfan pavilion in town.

This spot sets up well for westbounds with the city’s water tank as your backdrop.

Eastbounds can be shot with the Vermilion station that sits just to the east of the pavilion. This is also a wide-angle shot due to some pine trees along the tracks.

Still, it is a nice place to hang out and watch trains. The crossings in town are quiet zones, so there is no horn blowing.

Train crews know that the crossing protection is working if the “X” at the top of the poles at each crossing is flashing.

In late afternoon ARRC members are invited to head to the depot in Amherst, about 10 miles east of Vermilion, for dinner.

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts is having its annual picnic there that evening and Chef Martè, a.k.a. as Marty Surdyk, would love to grill up some burgers and dogs for you.

ARRC President Craig Sanders, who is also an RRE member, will present a program titled When the IC had a G featuring images taken on the Illinois Central Gulf in the 1970s and early 1980s.

A highlight of the program will be a cab ride aboard an ICG intermodal train from Champaign to Centralia, Illinois.

As with most ARRC activities, the event begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last one leaves. Spent a few hours or the entire day, just plan to spend Saturday, Aug. 26, in Vermilion and Amherst.

To get to the boat launch go into Vermilion on Ohio Route 60. As you enter town and after crossing the single-tracked former NKP tracks, Route 60 will make a right turn at a flashing light.

About a block to the east, Route 60 will turn left but continue straight ahead on South Street to the stop sign at West River Road.

The entrance to the boat launch is a little left of straight across from that intersection. Park at the far end of the lot near the picnic table. You will have both railroad bridges over the Vermilion River in sight.

The Railfan pavilion, known as Vermilion Mainline Rail, is on Route 60 where it crosses the NS Chicago Line at the north end of Victory Park.

From the boat launch, go back west on South Street to Route 60 north at Main Street and make a right. The pavilion is on the right just before crossing the tracks.

Forgotten Photograph, Not Forgotten Man

May 27, 2017

I ran across this photograph recently while clearing out an electronic file folder on my computer.

The image was made in August 2014 in Amherst during a picnic of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts, a Cleveland-based group.

You probably recognize the man making a photo as the late Tim Krogg, who served as secretary of the ARRC between 1989 and his death in March 2015.

This westbound Norfolk Southern train was among the last that he photographed. I don’t know how active Tim was in photographing while trackside, but I get the impression he didn’t make photographs very often.

Maybe this is the last train he photographed. It is likely the last image made of him photographing a train.

We’ve never had a practice in the ARRC of paying tribute to our deceased members aside from the annual Dave McKay Day outing in Berea in April.

Memorial Day is approaching and it’s a time to remember those who have gone before us.

The Paint Was Barely Dry on NS 7328

April 26, 2017

Norfolk Southern 7328 used to be Union Pacific 8263.

There was something that looked different about the Norfolk Southern train of hoppers as it approached Olmsted Falls.

The lead unit of train 547 was gleaming in the mid-morning sunlight and there was a couple of specs of orange behind it.

It turned out that NS 7328 had just been repainted. That was good news and bad news.

The good news is that a freshly-painted locomotive, even one that is black, makes for a nice image. The bad news is that this is one of the former Union Pacific SD9043MACs that NS purchased used a while back.

These units ran around in UP Armour yellow for a while, sans their UP markings, and added a spot of color to the otherwise all black NS world.

Sure, NS has heritage locomotives and special tribute locomotives to break up the black monotony, but it is still good to get some color every now and then.

In the case of this train the two trailing BNSF “pumpkins” helped to provide just enough of that to enhance the interest of this motive power set.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Spring in Olmsted Falls

April 25, 2017

 

During a railfan expedition to Olmsted Falls last Sunday, I noticed a small flowering tree next to the parking lot for the city park that sits along the north edge of Norfolk Southern’s Chicago Line.

I would have liked for that tree to have been larger and closer to the rails. But it wasn’t and I had to work with what I had.

Framing trains with that tree was a challenge. No matter what angle I tried the light was not going to be ideal. It might be in late in the day in the middle of summer, but trees flower in the spring and not in June.

I’ve not had much luck being able to photograph trains and flowering trees. I’ve found very few of them along railroad tracks anywhere, particularly in large numbers. Such trees might exist somewhere next to an active rail line, but I haven’t found such a location yet.

Like peak fall foliage, flowering trees in the spring bloom in a short window that closes all too soon, giving way to what Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee likes to refer to as the great green blowout of summer.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

 

Last Gasp of Winter

April 11, 2017

Where did the winter go? That’s a term more commonly heard about summer, a season  that most people embrace, and not winter, a season that most people dread.

We had snow this winter, but not as much as I remember there being in past winters and for various reasons I didn’t get out when we had it to make any photographs.

It is not that I didn’t make photographs during the winter months, but when I did get out there was little to no snow on the ground.

So here it is April and this is one of the best snow and trains photograph that I have to show for the winter of 2016-2017.

Yeah, I know it is kind of lame, but at least there is snow in the image even if little of it.

There will always be another winter and the next one might have more opportunity than I care to have. But I’ll deal with that then.