Posts Tagged ‘NS Cleveland District’

RRE Cancels October Meeting, Will Hold Railfan Outing in Vermilion on Oct. 10 Instead

October 5, 2020

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts has canceled its October meeting but instead will conduct a railfan outing in Vermilion.

The Cleveland-based group had been set to meet on Oct. 9 but will go to Vermilion on Oct. 10 weather permitting.

Norfolk Southern has two routes through Vermilion, the busy Chicago Line and the far less busy Cleveland District.

Plans are to meet in the morning at the boat launch on the Vermilion River and then move to the railfan platform downtown on Main Street in mid afternoon.

The boat launch is located off West River Road with parking in either the upper lot or at river level.

The railfan platform is located in Victory Park on the south side of the Chicago Line.

The FCD/RRE also announced that it will hold its annual turkey shoot on Thanksgiving morning in Berea.

However, rather than meet at a local restaurant for breakfast as members have traditionnaly done they plan to get coffee, donuts and breakfast sandwiches at the Dunkin’ Donouts on Front Street in Berea if it is open that day.

Trying to Stay Dry on Vermilion Day

August 29, 2018

An eastbound coal train crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line at about 4:30 p.m. during the Akron Railroad Club outing in Vermilion. Where was a boat on the river when we needed it?

It started with rain and ended with rain. In between we managed to see some Norfolk Southern action interspersed with long periods of waiting.

And that in a nutshell summarizes the 2018 Akron Railroad Club day in Vermilion that was attended by eight members.

As we expected, most of the action was on the Chicago Line, which boasted its usual assortment of manifests, intermodals and single commodity trains.

But the iffy weather meant that few boats were plying the Vermilion River by the boat launch that was our base of operations for much of the day.

No NS heritage units came through but the 9-1-1 unit made an appearance late in the afternoon trailing in the motive power consist of a coal train.

Two ARRC members saw it from the rail platform in downtown Vermilion, but three of us missed it because we were in Huron seeking photographs of trains passing beneath the old signal bridge with its Type G signal heads that NS is about to replace.

It took a long wait before an eastbound and westbound came through Huron.

In the meantime, we heard the Toledo East dispatcher talking to trains east of us and multiple trains coming onto the Chicago Line and turning west in Sandusky from the Sandusky District.

Those of us in Huron missed the 9-1-1 unit because its train diverged from the Chicago Line west of Vermilion and went to the Cleveland District en route to Bellevue.

The Cleveland District, which is the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, was largely quiet during the day.

As I arrived in the Vermilion area I spotted an eastbound stack train east of town on the Cleveland District.

Presumably it was either the 206 or the 22K and had taken the new connection west of Vermilion that allows eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to move onto the Cleveland District.

Otherwise, the only other train on the Cleveland District was eastbound manifest freight 210, which had one locomotive on each end, something we’d never seen on this train.

One eastbound coal train came past with BNSF motive power and a few trains had former CSX units still wearing their CSX colors.

The rain stopped around mid day and gradually the clouds moved out to afford us alternating sunny skies and conditions of sun and clouds.

But as the five of us who had dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube came out of the restaurant about 9:45 p.m. light rain was falling and continued to fall throughout my drive home. Maybe that was a fitting way to end our day.

ARRC member Todd Vander Sluis (blue shirt) watches the L13 as it passes the former passenger station in Vermilion.

ARRC member Alan Nagy gets video of westbound NS stack train 25V as it races through Vermilion. It was the last train we saw before going to dinner and then calling it a day.

The Old and the New in Painesville

January 26, 2018

The new bridge that Norfolk Southern is building over the Grand River in Painesville is starting to take shape.

Workers have poured the concrete for the piers that will support the yet to be installed deck of the single-track bridge.

Being built just south of the existing trestle erected decades ago by the Nickel Plate Road, the new bridge is expected to open this summer.

Shown above is NS eastbound manifest freight 316 crossing the old trestle.

NS to Expand Maple Heights Intermodal Yard, Complete New Vermilion Connection in 2018

January 13, 2018

Norfolk Southern plans to expand its intermodal yard in Maple Heights in 2018 and finally finish a new connection in Vermilion.

Those projects are among the capital spending plans for the railroad this year.

Work on the Vermilion connection began a couple of years ago but stalled due to lack of funding.

NS is installing connections between the Chicago Line (former New York Central) and Cleveland District (former Nickel Plate Road) that will enable trains from either line to access the other and go east or west.

There is currently a connection between the two lines, but it does not enable an eastbound train on the Chicago Line to go westward on the Cleveland District toward Bellevue or a train from Bellevue to go westward on the Chicago Line.

NS said it will also increase mainline capacity in Buechel, Kentucky; Charleston, South Carolina; and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Intermodal capacity will be expanded in Kansas City, Missouri; and at Calumet Yard in Chicago.

Tie and rail replacement will remain in 2018 at the same levels of 2017. NS will lay 272.7 miles of dual rail and 177.3 miles of single rail. That equals 86,492 tons of rail of which 88 percent will be new 136-pound rail.

Track gangs are expected to put down 2.48 million new crossties and 2.13 million tons of ballast.

NS officials have could not provide a total capital spending figure because the company has not yet finalized its 2018 capital budget.

Consolation Prizes on a Frustrating Day

January 5, 2018

I found the three images posted here in a folder while going through another folder in which I store images that I want to post online.

Like so many images that get sideline, I had forgotten what I had until I opened this folder during a house-cleaning operation.

All three images were made in Perry during an outing I had with Peter Bowler last May.

It had been a frustrating day. We missed an opportunity to photograph a late running eastbound Lake Shore Limited because we neglected to check if No. 48 was running on time or late.

Then we heard on the radio that the Norfolk Southern local to Fairport Harbor was operating today. Despite multiple efforts, we never could find it in a place where we could photograph it.

Our last “failure” occurred in Perry while waiting for it to return to home rails and go back to Conneaut.

We ran out of time. The consolation prize was getting a few CSX and NS trains on the mainlines that run through Perry.

Although you have to look for it, in the middle photograph, CSX locomotive 5327 has the Western Maryland “fireball” emblem.

Straight Down the Tracks

December 14, 2017

The advance signals on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern for the location west of Vermilion where the connecting track to the Chicago Line diverges.

There is a group on Flickr titled Tracks Without Trains. I’ve posted there a few times because I like to make photographs of empty tracks.

I like the look of rails going off into infinity, which seems to invite you to travel.

Sure, I’d prefer to be photographing a train here instead, but sometimes the rails are all you get.

The first two images below were made of the former Erie Railroad mainline between Kent and Brady Lake. The piece of track was lying on the former right of way of the Akron, Canton & Youngstown west of New London. The bottom image is the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern west of Vermilion.

 

NS 9-1-1 Spotted in Northeast Ohio

December 1, 2017

Akron Railroad Club member Jeff Troutman spotted Norfolk Southern locomotive 9-1-1 on Thursday morning at 11:06 in Painesville.

The Honoring First Responders SD60 was on the point of manifest freight 316 headed eastbound on the Cleveland District to Buffalo, New York.

Over and Under

October 16, 2017

We were hanging out at the boat launch in Vermilion watching trains on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern cross the Vermilion River.

Someone heard on their scanner an eastbound call a signal on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, now the NS Cleveland District.

Ron McElrath and I started walking up toward the grade crossing near the boat launch while everyone else decided to photograph the train crossing the river.

I’d done that before, but I’d never photographed from the grade crossing. I didn’t get there in time to get into the position I wanted.

As the eastbound was blowing for the crossing, I heard another horn. The timing of the sounds reminded me of my childhood days in Illinois when the New York Central had locomotives whose horns alternated high and low pitches.

It turned out there was a westbound stack train on the Chicago Line blowing for another crossing.

I wished that I had more focal length on my zoom lens and that that highway bridge wasn’t in the foreground. But you work with what you have and I ended up with a over-under sequence.

Seeing (CN) Red in Downtown Cleveland

September 17, 2016

Norfolk Southern train 145 had a consist of three Canadian National locomotives as it rolled through Cleveland on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern.

Norfolk Southern train 145 had a consist of three Canadian National locomotives as it rolled through Cleveland on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern.

Yeah, I'd rather that the three CN units be heading toward me rather than going away, but it is still a good image anyway.

Yeah, I’d rather that the three CN units be heading toward me rather than going away, but it is still a good image anyway.

My friend Adam and I were hanging out at Old Broadway in Cleveland when we heard a westbound train calling signals.

That wasn’t what we had wanted to hear. I wanted to get an eastbound with the Cleveland skyline behind it in all of its glory.

But I wasn’t going to pass up any train. It had been more than an hour since we had arrived and I wanted to get something, anything.

The train was the 145, a westbound that originates in Buffalo, New York, and terminates in Kansas City.

I have an interesting history with the 145. In early February 2014 I bagged the 145 crossing the Painesville trestle over the Grand River on one of the best days for winter photography that I’ve ever experienced.

Ed Ribinskas won a photo contest for his image of the 145 that he made that day and received a free enlargement from Dodd Camera that prominently is displayed in his home.

More recently, I caught the 145 in Conneaut with a pair of Union Pacific locomotives and nothing else. Yes, it was running light as two UP units.

The 145 soon came into sight and as it did I could see the nose wasn’t black. We didn’t know of any Norfolk Southern  heritage units on the former Nickel Plate line.

The lead unit turned out to be a Canadian Pacific locomotive. And so was the trailing unit and so was the third unit. It was an all CN motive power consist.

Those are not necessarily rare, but not common in Cleveland, either. Not a bad way to start the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS Trains at Cleveland’s Old Broadway

September 11, 2016

NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

Old Broadway is a favorite go-to place of railfan photographers when a Norfolk Southern heritage unit is leading a train eastward on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline through Cleveland.

It features an open view of eastbound traffic with the Cleveland skyline in the background. I’ve seen a number of H units photographed here, but never done it myself.

Old Broadway is also a place where fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Marty Surdyk likes to photograph. His strategy is to hang out in Berea until the 22K or the 206 comes past and then barrel up Interstate 71 toward downtown to get into position.

He has been known to get his shot at Old Broadway and then hot foot it out to Willoughby and get the iconic Willoughby Coal Company building in an image.

Going back even father to the 1950s, photography Herbert Harwood photographed at Old Broadway, catching Nickel Plate steam and various passengers trains headed to Cleveland Union Terminal.

As for myself, I had never photographed at Old Broadway and it has long been on my “to do” list.

With the help of my friend Adam, I finally was able to cross it off the list.

It turns out that the term “Old Broadway” is something of misnomer. It is actually located off the end of Rockefeller Avenue.

The Old Broadway name dates to the time when, or so I am told, Broadway Avenue crossed the tracks here.

There is still a concrete foundation that appears to have once supported a bridge.

You park in a cul-de-sac that looks modern. I can’t tell you how many vehicles came down Rockefeller, saw the cul-de-sac and then turned around and went back toward where they came. Either these folks don’t have a GPS, have a faulty GPS or can’t read a map.

We were banking on the fact that the 22K and the 206 both seem to be reliably late morning trains through Cleveland.

Maybe so on most days, but not on this day. We arrived about 9 a.m. and sat for an hour-and-a-half before getting a train. It was a westbound, the 145.

Just over a half-hour passed before another train showed up. It, too was a westbound, the 205.

It was almost noon and we decided to give it just a little more time. Then we got lucky.

The scanner brought news that we not had one, but two eastbounds coming, the 206 and the 310.

As we expected, the 206 arrived first. The last containers of the 206 were still in sight when the head end of the 310 came around the curve.

By now the sky had turned to sun and clouds so we played dodge ball with the light and shadows, not always winning.

But the images turned out well enough. We might have to give Old Broadway another try some day. Maybe this one of those eastbounds will have a heritage unit on the lead.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower, which is partly shrouded in shadows.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren't casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren’t casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.