Posts Tagged ‘NS Cleveland Line’

Hanging Out With NS in Alliance

February 26, 2021

Under normal circumstances the Akron Railroad Club would be holding its February meeting tonight. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic the club won’t be meeting. In fact it last met in February 2020 and who knows when the next meeting will be.

In past years I sometimes would drive to Alliance on the afternoon of ARRC meetings and spend a couple hours watching NS trains there.

In late afternoon I’d put the camera and scanner away and head north out of town and eventually west on Interstate 76, stopping for dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Ravenna or the Bob Evans on Gilchrist Road in Akron right around the corner from the club’s meeting site.

Shown above is an eastbound headed by SD70 No. 2563. The train is about to take the connection from the Cleveland Line to the Fort Wayne Line as it continues its trip toward Pittsburgh.

This locomotive was built for Conrail and Chris Toth’s NS locomotive website reports it has since been retired.

First Look at the NS F Units

July 18, 2020

I don’t recall when I first became aware of the plans of Norfolk Southern to buy a fleet of F units and rebuild them for use with its executive train.

However, I do recall reading about the locomotives as I sat in my car at Cassandra, Pennsylvania, on an October morning in 2007.

It was my first visit to Cassandra and at that moment traffic was in a lull.

Although I knew it was highly unlikely, I thought maybe NS will send those fancy looking F units out on a test run and I’ll get to photograph them.

Cassandra is not that far from Altoona, where the F units were based. Such are the trackside fantasies of railfans.

In reality, I didn’t get to see the NS executive units for eight more months.

My opportunity finally came in June 2008 at Brady Lake when the executive train came up the Cleveland Line en route to Bellevue.

It was being sent there to help celebrate the retirement of an NS executive who had begun his career in Bellvue.

The F units and its train would park by the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum and I would be among the hundreds — maybe it was thousands — who turned out to see and photograph them.

But that was a few days away as I stood next to the old Erie Railroad bridge spanning the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline at Brady Lake.

A headlight to the east was my clue to get my camera ready.

The F units were well received by railfans in part because they were different.

In a sea of wide cab locomotives that all looked the same the NS F units provided a welcome contrast.

It also helped that the units wore a classic looking livery that hearkened back to the “tuxedo” look that once adorned the Southern Railway F units.

As the executive train came into my viewfinder I was impressed with what I saw.

You can’t really appreciate what you’re seeing as you’re photographing it. If stop to admire a moving train you’ll miss getting the photographs you want.

My recollection is that the day I got my first in-person look at the F units was a cloudy one. I was using slide film and worried that there wasn’t enough light for a good exposure of a train doing track speed.

The conditions may not have been ideal, yet there was just enough light and with some Photoshop work on the scanned images they don’t look too bad.

As I wrote in a post last November I only was able to photograph the F units 12 times before NS sold them.

It would have been nice to have captured them a few more times, but life has a way of intervening and limiting your opportunities.

My first photographs of the NS F units were not my best images of them but I find these images to be satisfactory. There is something about a first that makes it special.

Light, Shadows and Fall Foliage in Ravenna

July 9, 2020

I ran across this slide as part of my search for the past campaign yesterday. It was a hot and humid day so I had an incentive to stay inside in the air conditioned comfort to look at old slides.

The date of this image is Oct. 28, 2005. The Akron Railroad Club met that night and it would be the penultimate meeting we had at the carriage house of the Perkins Mansion of the Summit County Historical Society.

Ed Ribinskas probably was with me when I made this image. It was late in the day and the light was warm as it typically is in late October.

Shown is a westbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight rounding the curve in Ravenna on the Cleveland Line.

The fall foliage is past its peak but there is still plenty of color left in those trees to make for a pleasing image.

Although I had forgotten about this particular photograph, I had not forgotten about this outing because of a dramatic image I made on the CSX New Castle Subdivision in Ravenna after I got this photo on NS.

As the sunlight was about to drop out of sight, a westbound train showed up at just the right moment.

Using a Baltimore & Ohio color position light signal and a block limit sign as props, I made what I still consider one of my best late day light photographs.

No wonder that I had forgotten about getting anything on NS.

It would turn out that that 2005 outing in Ravenna would be one of the few times I would photograph there before an ARRC meeting.

We explored other locations and finally settled on watching trains most of the time before ARRC meetings in Bedford.

Eastbound in Alliance

June 24, 2020

The photographer is standing to the east of the Amtrak station in Alliance at the far end of the interlocking.

NS 9255 leads an eastbound on the morning of Oct. 14, 2016, onto the Fort Wayne Line.

The interlocking controls moves between the Fort Wayne Line and Cleveland Line, which accounts for the majority of movements in Alliance.

The signal heads with the letter “C” on them are for trains whose lead unit is not equipped with working cab signals.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

The Classic Alliance Pose

May 26, 2020

If you hang around the Amtrak station in Alliance to watch trains on the Fort Wayne Line and Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern you probably have several images similar to the one above.

The image above shows an eastbound on the Cleveland line taking the connection to the Fort Wayne Line to continue its journey toward Pittsburgh.

This particular image was made on May 19, 2012, but the scene is timeless.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

 

Empty Table

November 14, 2018

Alliance is a good place to watch Norfolk Southern action because it is the junction of two mainlines.

Most of the traffic through Alliance transitions from the Cleveland Line to the Fort Wayne Line or vice versa.

Few moves take the Fort Wayne Line straight through town. Even rarer are trains going to and from the Cleveland line east of Alliance via Bayard.

Shown is eastbound intermodal train 24M making the transition from the Cleveland Line to the Fort Wayne Line.

I made this image before an Akron Railroad Club meeting and because it was winter I was the only railfan present at the time.

Quiet Please

October 19, 2018

There are a number of quiet zones in Northeast Ohio in which trains are prohibited from sounding locomotive horns except for safety or emergency reasons.

One of those spans straddles Hudson and Macedonia on the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern.

This sign in Maple Grove Park in Hudson reminds engineers that their train is entering the quiet zone.

It is not surprising that NS put up this sign, but I was a little surprised how far back from the tracks that it is.

I wonder if the maintenance of way crews periodically trim the vegetation threatening to block the view of the sign.

PTC is Coming

September 6, 2018

With America’s railroads facing a Dec. 31 deadline to install positive train control, there are many trackside scenes such as this one of workers putting the PTC infrastructure into place.

In this case, a contractor was laying plastic conduit in Alliance under contract for Norfolk Southern.

Most of the work was being down on the segment of the Cleveland Line that goes toward Bayard and on the Fort Wayne Line west of the diamonds of the two routes.

NS OAR Train Passes Through NEO

August 22, 2018

On Sunday the Norfolk Southern OAR Operation Awareness and Response train cane through Northeast Ohio. I caught it at Brady Lake.

Photograph by Todd Dillon

Baseball, Hot Dogs and Trains

July 25, 2018

CVSR train No. 34 approaches the Big Bend station, but no one wanted to get on or off.

Back in late spring Ed Ribinskas proposed that Marty Surdyk and I join him in attending a baseball game in Akron featuring the Class AA Rubber Ducks.

The Ducks, who are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, were honoring former Cleveland Cavaliers star Mark Price that night and Price is Ed’s favorite former Cav.

As part of the festivities, the first 1,000 fans were to receive a bobble head doll of Price wearing a Rubber Ducks uniform with the same number he wore during his NBA career.

It would be my first trip to Canal Park in several years. The last time I was there the team was still named the Aeros.

We agreed to do some railfanning in the afternoon before the game.

The outing started at Marty’s house and from there we headed for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to chase a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train.

We were driving along Riverview Road when Marty asked, “where are we going?”

I suggested we go to the Big Bend station in Akron, which is located in the Sand Run Metropark.

Big Bend is the only CVSR station where I’ve never photographed a train.

We easily found the station, which isn’t much, just a gravel platform lacking any signs identifying it as a CVSR stop.

The northbound train from Akron to Rockside Road arrived not long after we did. We got our photographs of it alongside a trail and then headed north in pursuit.

I was hoping that C424 No. 365 would be on the north end of the train as it had been the previous weekend. But that was not the case.

Instead, FPA-4 No. 6771 was on the point. That’s not bad because it features the V stripe on the nose.

The next photo stop was at Indigo Lake and after that we caught the train at Boston Mill.

I wanted to get the train passing the under construction CVNP visitor’s center.

Earlier, the National Park Service purchased a private apartment building and is gutting it to create the visitor’s center, which is expected to open in May 2019.

We continued to follow the train northbound, figuring to maybe getting it at Brecksville.

But Riverview was closed north of Jaite so the chase came to an abrupt halt.

We still had more than an hour to kill before heading to Akron and I suggested we check out Maple Grove Park in Hudson next to the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern.

Marty has been there but I haven’t. He wrote about it in a past issue of the Bulletin.

We arrived in the park just ahead of westbound intermodal train 25T, which was slowing to go around a train ahead that was getting a new crew.

The 25T would cross over to Track No. 2 once the eastbound 20E cleared CP 102. The two stack trains met in front of us.

We didn’t have a much longer wait before the train that was stopped, the 24W, got on the move eastbound.

In the meantime someone walking on the trail asked if we were trainspotters. Well, yes, we are, but I associate that term with British railfanning.

After passage of the 24W, it was time to head for Canal Park. The gates opened at 6 p.m. and we had a good half hour or more wait in line to get in.

It turned out that only 200 people got a Mark Price bobble head doll. The vendor had not sent the allotted 1,000 bobble heads so those who were among the first 1,000 into Canal Park but not in the initial 200 received a voucher to receive their bobble head at the Aug. 26 game against Harrisburg. They also received a free ticket to that game.

I didn’t care about the bobble head and had I been offered it I would have given it to Ed or said give it to someone else.

I had eaten a tuna salad wrap from Sheetz during the ride to Akron, but Ed and Marty went to the concession stand to get hotdogs.

The weather was pleasant for a baseball game and it was announced late during the game that it was the eighth sellout of the season.

Price threw out a ceremonial first pitch and signed autographs for fans during the first hour of the game.

The Ducks got the better of the Richmond Flying Squirrels by a score of 4-1, scoring three times in the seventh and once in the eighth.

Following the game was a fireworks display set to music by the Counting Crows. It was nice, but not the best fireworks shows I’ve seen.

It had been an enjoyable day filled with a few firsts for me and visits to four parks.

That gravel to the right of the train is the boarding platform for Big Bend station.

Here comes the train at Indigo Lake.

Boarding at Indigo Lake after a visit to Hale Farm.

Leaving Indigo Lake behind.

That old red building at Boston Mill will several months from now be the new visitor’s center for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Here comes the 25T at Maple Grove Park.

Eastbound 20E meets the 25T at Maple Grove Park.

NS stacker 24W was our last train of the day.

Seems like I’ve seen these guys somewhere before. Maybe it was even in Akron.

Mark Price throws out a first pitch. The ball is at the top of the frame.

The finale of the post-game fireworks show.