Posts Tagged ‘NS Chicago Line’

Two for Tuesday: Getting CP Heritage, Sort of

March 28, 2023

Canadian Pacific’s maroon and gray heritage locomotives have been around a while but I’ve had no luck in seeing one, let alone photographing it. When it comes to CP heritage units, my luck has been so bad that I haven’t even had a near miss in getting one.

Everyone and their brother, it seems, has photographed a CP heritage unit, but I haven’t.

My luck changed dramatically last Sunday. I was standing on the platform of a railroad park by the former New York Central depot in Chesterton, Indiana, next to the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

An eastbound was approaching, which turned out to be the 34J, a manifest freight that comes off the Indiana Harbor Belt in Blue Island, Illinois, and runs to Elkhart, Indiana.

From a distance I could tell the lead unit was not a run of the mill NS locomotive.

It was a clean Canadian Pacific locomotive. That in and of itself is nothing out of the ordinary. But as the train bore down on me I suddenly noticed there was something different about the trailing unit. It wasn’t run of the mill CP.

It was maroon and gray with block lettering No. 7016. And with that my CP heritage drought abruptly ended. Well, sort of.

My find comes with a few caveats. The 7016 was trailing and not leading. That is at best a consolation prize.

Second, the weather was far from ideal for photography. It was a cloudy day with flat light. Many rail photographers would not have bothered to have gone out under such conditions.

Third, seeing my first CP heritage unit caught me off guard. I’m amazed I was able to get what I did of this unit. But, hey, I got it.

I just hope that I don’t have to wait several years to catch another CP heritage leading in better light and for which I am better prepared.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Boaters Upset Over NS Handling of Drawbridge

November 20, 2022

Boats wait for an NS train to clear the drawbridge on the Chicago Line near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland in Sept. 24, 2017. The view is looking northward toward Lake Erie.

A Cleveland TV station recently reported that boaters and Great Lakes freighters operating on Lake Erie are disenchanted with Norfolk Southern’s handling of opening and closing its drawbridge over the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland.

The I-Team of WJW-TV said it was told by the U.S. Coast Guard that the bridge being closed when boats want to pass has been a chronic problem for years.

Blair Stanifer of the Coast Guard told Channel 8 that the agency has seen delays of two hours and even three hours when the bridge was closed.

He said if a train isn’t coming close to going over the bridge it must go up for boats and ships.

 “Once you make a request, provided it’s safe to do so, the bridge is supposed to open promptly and fully.,” he said.

The Coast Guard has the legal authority to fine the railroad up to $30,000 per complaint.

However, the WJW report said that it can take months and even years for the Coast Guard to hear and decide on complaints with some complaints filed in 2019 having been dismissed.

“They open when they feel like they want to . . . not by the law which is a requirement when a signal is sounded by a vessel coming through,” said Eric Peace, vice president of of the Lake Carriers Association, a shipping industry trade group.

“You bring a 700-foot ship, and you put them inside this break wall, they have to be able to hold position if they can’t get through that bridge. You actually have to tread water. It becomes a safety problem.”

Peace said the only way to get NS to be more responsive to boaters is to continue to raise the fines.

In a statement NS said it works with the Coast Guard and others to ensure that rail and marine traffic keeps moving. The statement said the railroad seeks to balance the needs of both.

Move Faster Clouds, Faster

November 2, 2022

The morning of Oct. 23 in Porter, Indiana, was pleasant but skies had sun and clouds mixed. That meant playing a game of “dodge the clouds” whenever a train showed up.

Such was the case with the arrival of the Amtrak Train 49, the Lake Shore Limited.

If you look toward the front of the train you’ll see it is in sunlight. But the two New York section Viewliner sleepers and baggage car are still in shadows because a cloud hadn’t moved enough out of the way of the sun.

Still I like the contrast between the “dark” end of the train and the brilliant fall foliage in sunlight above and to the side of No. 49.

The train is in the middle of the CP 482 interlocking, which is a junction of the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern, the Grand Rapids Subdivision of CSX, the Amtrak Michigan District and the NS Porter branch.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Heritage in There Someplace

October 20, 2022

The sun was still rising above the tree line when I arrived in Goshen, Indiana, last Sunday in search of fall foliage.

I knew from last year that the trees in Oakridge Cemetery along the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern could put on quite a display. I also knew that it might be several days before the foliage reached its peak color.

But the weather looked promising for Sunday morning so I made the trek to Goshen in search of color.

I had scarcely arrived and parked along River Avenue when NS intermodal train 22X showed up with a “special guest.”

The Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive was the second of the three units working the 22X eastbound. You can sort of see it even though it is enveloped in shadows. Likewise, trailing behind the NS H unit is a “Southern Belle” of Kansas City Southern.

It was a quite different motive power consist and got the day off to a good start.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Night Operations Inside and Outside

October 12, 2022

It’s May 3, 2007, in Olmsted Falls. The Cuyahoga Valley and West Shore Model Railroad Club is holding an operating session inside the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (later New York Central) passenger station that it owns.

As trains run on the club’s various layouts inside the depot, trains are running outside, too. The station is located next to the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

I was there that night with a tripod to try my hand at making some night photographs. That streak in front of the station is a westbound NS train.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Street Still Closed for Derailment Cleanup

October 12, 2022

A street in Sandusky remained closed on Tuesday as workers cleaned up a Norfolk Southern derailment.

Columbus Avenue was blocked after tank cars from a Saturday afternoon derailment of Train 310 fell onto the roadway.

The tank cars were carrying paraffin wax and although some of it leaked officials said that did not create a health hazard.

No injuries were reported in the derailment whose cause remains under investigation.

A city official told the Sandusky Register that Columbus Avenue would remain closed until further notice. Officials were trying to determine if road repairs were needed.

Sandusky Derailment Snarls NS Chicago Line

October 11, 2022

An aerial view shows the NS Derailment on Columbus Avenue in Sandusky. (Photo by City of Sandusky)

No injuries were reported after a Saturday afternoon derailment of NS Train 310 in Sandusky that snarled traffic on the Chicago Line.

The derailment occurred on a bridge over Columbus Avenue and sent tank cars and debris to the street below.

News reports indicated that the derailed cars were carrying paraffin wax. Although some cars spilled some of their load, officials said that posed no hazardous materials threat.

The derailment, which occurred about 4 p.m, knocked down a power line, interrupting electrical service to about 1,300 customers.

Amtrak’s eastbound and westbound Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited were combined on Sunday morning in Toledo and Cleveland respectively to take a detour route via Bellevue over former Nickel Plate Road tracks.

The detour left the Chicago Line at Oak Harbor and rejoined it west of Vermilion.

Trains magazine reported the combined trains lost about two hours in each direction during the detour.

The magazine’s report said the runs of the Capitol Limited that were scheduled to depart Sunday were canceled in their entirety.

The Lake Shore Limited operated from Chicago to Toledo on Sunday night and Toledo to Chicago on Monday morning.

The segment of the Lake Shore between Toledo and New York was cancelled.

An Amtrak spokesman told Trains the cancellations were “based on what Norfolk Southern can accommodate” on the detour route.

The Sandusky Register reported Sunday night that workers were still clearing debris from Columbus Avenue.

An NS official told the Register that 20 of the 101 cars on the train derailed. Power to Sandusky residents and businesses that had been disrupted by the derailment had been restored by Sunday afternoon.

An online report indicated that Train 310 was crossing over when the derailment occurred.

NS traffic did not resume going through the area of the derailment until Sunday evening.

Amtrak’s Venture Fleet is Coming Back

October 6, 2022

The last I knew, the new Venture passengers cars built by Siemens for corridor services in the Midwest and on the West Coast had been sidelined due to various mechanical issues.

The cars had begun revenue service in February in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor, but that assignment proved to be brief.

It didn’t take long to discover that some tray table magnets were too strong, that trap-door handles were falling off, that bathroom doors were malfunctioning, and that sliding step extenders were getting jammed with snow.

But last Sunday in Porter, Indiana, I saw evidence that these issues apparently have been resolved and the Venture coaches are back in service.

Shown is above is a three-car Chicago-bound Pere Marquette, which originated in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The consist includes two Venture coaches and an Amfleet food service car. Eventually Venture cafe cars with a business class section are expected to join the fleet.

The train shown above is entering the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern from the CSX Grands Rapids Subdivision. On the point is an SC-44 Charger locomotive, also built by Siemens.

The Chargers are now the standard motive power for Midwest corridor trains. Note how the Venture coaches have a higher profile than Amfleet equipment.

NS Intermodal Trains Given New Symbols

September 6, 2022

Norfolk Southern last month made several changes in its train symbols for intermodal operations. The following information was posted on the Facebook page of a Chicago Line group.

All premium intermodal trains have 20-alpha series symbols with the exception of the two RoadRailers between Detroit and Kansas City

The alpha code correlates to a train’s destination. The codes are A: Atlanta Inman; B: Buffalo Bison; C: Chicago Calumet; E: Erail, New Jersey; F: Florida East Coast Bowden Yard; G: Chicago 47th Street; H: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; J: Jacksonville, Florida; K: Meridian, Mississippi; L: Chicago Landers Yard; M: Morrisville, Pennsylvania; N: Charlotte, North Carolina; P: Chicago 63rd Street; R: Rutherford, Pennsylvania; S: Union Pacific at Shreveport, Louisiana; U: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; V: Baltimore Bayview; and X: Croxton, New Jersey.

All standard intermodal trains that have the numerical 200-series symbol and are grouped by origin/destination.

•21* – Originate or terminate Kansas City (Exception Rutherford trains)

•23* – Originate or terminate Rickenbacker

•24* – Originate or terminate Atlanta (Exception Rossville/Memphis trains)

•25* – Originate or terminate Rutherford

•26* – Originate or terminate Chicago Area

•27* – Originate or terminate Norfolk

•28* – Originate or terminate Memphis/Rossville

•29* – Originate or terminate Georgia/South Carolina ports

The following are the new symbols for the Chicago Line. The old symbols are in parentheses. All trains operate daily.

20X (22W) Chicago 47th Street-Croxton

22X (20E) Chicago 47th Street-Croxton

23G (new) Croxton- Chicago 47th Street

25G (21Q) Harrisburg-Chicago 47th Street

26X (20W) Chicago Ashland Avenue (BNSF Z LACNYC)-Croxton

27G (21E) Morrisville-Chicago 47th Street

27P (new) Harrisburg-Chicago 63rd Street

28B (206) Chicago 63rd Street-Buffalo

28E (new) Chicago Ashland Avenue-Erail

28M (26E) Chicago 47th Street-Morrisville

28U (294) Chicago 47th Street-Bethlehem

28V (24M) Chicago 63rd Street-Baltimore

28X (20K) Chicago 47th Street-Croxton

29G (21M) Croxton- Chicago 47th Street

29P (205) Buffalo-Chicago 63rd Street

261 (23M) Port Newark-Chicago Corwith (BNSF)

263 (new) Bethlehem-Chicago 47th Street

264 (22K) Chicago 63rd Street-Mechanicville, New York

265 (23K) Mechanicville-Chicago 63rd Street

266 (26N) Chicago Ashland Avenue-Sandusky, Ohio

267 (25N) Sandusky-Chicago Global 2 (Union Pacific)

268 (20R) Chicago Landers-Port Newark

269 (25V) Port Newark-Chicago Landers

Using a portion of the Chicago are the following trains and their new symbols.

236 (20N) Columbus Rickenbacker-Detroit North Yard

258 (20T) Kansas City-Rutherford

259 (21T) Rutherford-Kansas City Voltz Yard 271 (21N) Detroit Livernois-Norfolk, Virginia

Cleared to Land

July 21, 2022

One of fringe benefits of railfanning in Olmsted Falls is that it can also be a great place to watch aircraft landing or departing from nearby Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Depending on wind direction, some planes make their final approach right over the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station that is now owned by the Cuyahoga Valley & West Shore Model Railroad Club.

These two images were made on May 3, 2007. It just happened that the club was having an operating session that night and thus the depot lights were on. Both images are time exposure, hence the streak of light from the landing lights of the aircraft. Each image was scanned from a slide.

Photographs by Craig Sanders