Posts Tagged ‘NS Chicago Line’

Striking Autumn Gold in Goshen

November 6, 2021

The Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern skirts the southern boundary of Oak Ridge Cemetery in Goshen, Indiana. In autumn, some of the trees near the tracks put on a colorful display.

On Friday I sent some time there in late afternoon. River Avenue runs parallel to the tracks for a short distance and offers marked parking spaces. You can see the westbound home signals of CP 412.

In the top image, a pair of BNSF pumpkins wheel intermodal train 206 past the cemetery on Track 1. About 10 minutes earlier manifest freight 174 came off the Marion Branch as seen in the second image.

Image three shows the rear of train 14J, which also came off the Marion Branch. I had seen this train earlier in the day in Warsaw.

Finally, there is a cut of stacked containers on the rear of the 174.

NS Expanding LCL Service

October 10, 2021

Earlier this year Norfolk Southern launched an experimental less than carload service that involved moving freight in boxcars attached to intermodal trains.

The first trains to provide that service operated in the Chicago-Atlanta-Florida service lane.

It appears, though, that the LCL service has been extended to intermodal trains operating between Chicago and the Middle Atlantic region.

Shown is a boxcar in the consist of the 21M at Waterloo, Indiana, bound for Chicago (63rd Street) from Croxton, New Jersey, on the NS Chicago Line.

Curses, Foiled Again

October 7, 2021

I was sitting in Waterloo, Indiana, next to the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern when I heard talk on the radio about a train 880.

The 880 is a loaded Powder River coal train handed over to NS in Chicago by BNSF at Cicero Yard and it usually has BNSF motive power.

It is destined for a Detroit Edison power plant in the Monroe/Trenton, Michigan, area.

Although it was late morning, the lighting remained favorable for an eastbound. I planned to get the lead unit of the 880 passing a former freight station.

As soon as I heard the defect detector go off near milepost 370 I started getting into position because the train was less than three miles away.

I was standing in a city parking lot next to the former New York Central passenger station, which also serves as an Amtrak waiting room although the boarding platform is a block west.

The tracks here are slightly elevated from the level of the parking lot.

I heard a locomotive horn and figured that to be the 880 blowing for a crossing on the west side of town.

Just as the orange nose of the lead BNSF unit came into sight on Track 2, out of nowhere came a westbound manifest freight on Track 1, which blocked the shot I planned to get of the 880. I was able to get a glimpse of the 800 but that was it.

To be honest, what I said was stronger than the favorite saying of cartoon character Oil Can Harry of Mighty Mouse fame whenever something didn’t go his way.

It turned out the horn I heard was that of the westbound for a crossing about a block to the east. I had heard another train making scratchy calls on the radio, but it didn’t seem that close. Alas, it was closer than I thought.

What else can I say? Things like this happen when you’re trackside.

New Bridges Bring New Vantages points for Rail Photographers in Cleveland, Akron

October 3, 2021

On a recent Sunday, I had the opportunity to head to Wendy Park at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and check out the new foot bridge over the Norfolk Southern tracks at CP Drawbridge.

The foot bridge brings the Towpath Trail to its northern terminus at Lake Erie.

For us railfans it means an elevated vantage point to photograph NS Chicago Line trains. Lighting during the afternoon I spent there was perfect for westbounds coming off the Cuyahoga River lift bridge.

Depending on where the sun is you can get buildings in downtown Cleveland as your backdrop, or, as it was when I was there, FirstEnergy Stadium and the industrial structures on the east bank of the river.

To access the footbridge you park at Wendy Park or on the west bank near the Willow Street lift bridge over the old river bed.

A short walk up the ramp will get you to the best spots for photography. The fence is the large chain link so most camera lenses will fit between the links.

In Akron, the new Evans Avenue overpass over the CSX New Castle Subdivision at the east end of Akron Yard will be opening soon. The new bridge will have a fence on it over the tracks, but we’ll have to see what it looks like from beside the fencing for shots of CSX trains on the former Baltimore & Ohio.

Akron Railroad Club member Ron McElrath visited the bridge site on Sept. 17 and reported the bridge was about to open.

An access road descends toward the former grade crossing, which at the time still had working gates and lights despite the lack of a road.

The new bridge has a sidewalk that is fenced over the tracks. The Freedom Trail, which uses a portion of the former Erie Lackawanna right of way, offers good vantage points, particularly the wood stairs opposite the connection to the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Reminiscent of the Illinois Central

September 27, 2021

Norfolk Southern manifest freight 14N had something quite out of the ordinary in its consist when it left Elkhart, Indiana, on Sunday afternoon en route to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

Tacked on the rear were two former Iowa Pacific passenger cars reportedly en route to the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern, a Pennsylvania regional railroad.

The cars are painted in a livery inspired by the orange and chocolate brown of Illinois Central passenger trains, which reflected the interests of former IP CEO Ed Ellis.

The observation-type car is named Lookout Mountain and lettered “Rio Grande Scenic,” one of a number of passengers operations once operated by IP.

The cars were sold in the wake of financial difficulties that led to IP filing for bankruptcy protection in March 2021. As part of that proceeding, the trustees of IP began selling the company’s fleet of passenger equipment.

The train is shown at the west end of the CP 367 interlocking in Waterloo, Indiana.

A UP Kind of Day

September 10, 2021

This past Wednesday was a Union Pacific kind of day. It began with catching a former Union Pacific 10-6 sleeping car on the rear of Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited in Chesterton, Indiana.

The car, now owned by Webb Rail, was built in June 1950 by Budd. In its current reiteration, it read “Pullman” in the letterboard and “Pacific Union” in the car name space.

A few hours later I had ventured further east to Otis, Indiana, where I caught Norfolk Southern train 39E coming around a curve with a pair of UP motors.

The train originates in Elkhart and goes to the UP at Proviso Yard in Chicago.

Sunset in Olmsted Falls

August 12, 2021

I switched to digital photography in late July 2011 and my early weeks in the digital world were spent seeing what my camera could do.

On Sept. 24, 2011, I spent some time photographing Norfolk Southern trains in Olmsted Falls. My time there extended into the darkness hours so I tried my hand at some sunset images.

NS cooperated by sending an eastbound my way just as the sun was hovering above the trees in the distance. Here was the result.

Stuck Bridge Disrupts NS Chicago Line Traffic

July 28, 2021

Traffic on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern was disrupted this past Sunday after a failure of the drawbridge over Sandusky Bay.

The bridge became stuck in the up position and when the operator was finally able to lower it it would not lock into place. The bridge, located at milepost 248 is controlled remotely.

Some marine traffic because stranded when the bridge wouldn’t lock into place and boaters anchored their vessels and called friends to pick them up.

Smaller watercraft were able to pass beneath the bridge despite a warning light being illuminated that there was insufficient clearance.

The drawbridge failure lasted for more than three hours and halted train traffic on a line that hosts more than 50 movements a day including Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

However, Amtrak was unaffected by the failure because its trains pass over it between midnight and 6 a.m.

NS maintenance forces were able to repair the bridge and it resumed normal operation.

The bridge was built in 1929 and is a double-track rolling Scherzer-type drawbridge

Clear at CP 412

June 24, 2021

The crew of Norfolk Southern container train 294 is looking at a clear signal indication on Track 2 of the Chicago Line at CP 412 in Goshen, Indiana.

In the distance a tie gang is working on Track 1 and the foreman had given the 294 permission through his work limits at 25 mph with instructions to make some noise.

The tie gang had Track 1 out of service until 5 p.m. on this Tuesday from CP 412 to CP 397.

The downside to track work season is traffic is generally reduced during work hours. The upside is the trains that are allowed to go through the work zones must identify themselves to the foreman in charge to get verbal permission through the zone.

Not far behind the 294 was the 22W, another eastbound intermodal train with stacks and trailers. But before these two trains showed up there had been a lull of more than an hour.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Pole Line Remnants

June 3, 2021

There was a time when major railroad lines had poles carrying code lines used in communications systems. Newer forms of technology did in pole lines and many railroads have removed the poles and wires.

The latter in particular were often targeted by thieves seeking to steal the copper wire to sell at a salvage yard.

When pole lines were common, some railroad photographers disliked them, seeing them as clutter. But I’ve come to view pole lines or what is left of them in a different way.

Where they exist they add a sense of railroad history to a scene.

The photographs above were made on May 29 on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern just west of Brimfield, Indiana.

I had heard the eastbound 20E calling signals over the radio and looked for a grade crossing at which to catch it. When I saw the remnants of a pole line here I knew this was the place.

It also was nice to have some adjacent farm fields in which the corn is coming up for another harvest season.