Posts Tagged ‘NS first responders tribute locomotive’

Near Miss in the H Unit Lottery

May 15, 2018

National Train Day wasn’t too bad depending on where you were.

Railfans in Rochelle, Illinois, got treated to two of Union Pacific’s heritage units on the same train.

Closer to home something unusual started to unfold. The Lehigh Valley heritage unit was leading an eastbound intermodal spotted at Chesterton, Indiana, early that morning.

That’s isn’t so unusual. We typically get more than our share of heritage engines in Northeast Ohio on Norfolk Southern.

Also that morning the NS Honoring First Responders unit was leading an eastbound CSX freight. This turned out to be the S370 which takes the New Castle Sub through Akron.

As both were still hours away I settled in at Rootstown to railfan Norfolk Southern yet still be close enough to jump over to CSX if need be.

As the day progressed I relocated to Ravenna where the two lines cross on a bridge.

Checking on the progress of both trains, it was going to be close. I began hoping for an over and under meet which is difficult enough but with two special painted engines that’s like hitting the lottery.

Well, the Lehigh Valley arrived first and the 9-1-1 engine came within 10 minutes. I didn’t get an over and under but I did get the two engines at the same location. Not a bad day at all.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

A Sense of Urgency to Catch NS 9-1-1

July 23, 2016

Reprinted from the July 2016 Akron Railroad Club Bulletin

“Papa, you want to come see the train?” was the question I overheard when the bro answered his phone while we sat at the picnic table in Alliance.

“Uncle Mart and I are in Alliance right now, Grif.”

Grif was referring to the Norfolk Southern 9-1-1, the First Responder’s Tribute unit. It was coming north on train No. 178. It was sighted at Columbus shortly after we arrived in Alliance.

A few minutes later, it was reported at Lewis Center, a northern suburb of Columbus. I figured we wouldn’t make Bellevue before it did, so we stayed put in Alliance.

Our quarry for the day was either a westbound on the Ft. Wayne Line or an eastbound going down the Bayard Line that we could chase.

In the meantime, we had plenty of intermodal trains to shoot moving from the Cleveland Line to the Ft. Wayne Line.

Henry, Grif’s father, decided to go after the 9-1-1. He, Grif and Nicole, Henry’s wife and Grif’s mother, were heading for Bellevue in hopes of intercepting the colorful NS unit.

We wished them luck and waited patiently for NS to run something in the right direction.

It wasn’t long before I heard the switch roll over west of the diamond. The bro walked east to see if the crossover near the Amtrak platform was also lined. It was.

It looked like our westbound heading for the Ft. Wayne Line was nearing. The Cleveland Line Dispatcher confirmed our sighting.

“580, OK into Alliance”

580 was a westbound loaded coal train, most likely loaded on the former Monongahela in southwest Pennsylvania.

We headed out of town to the cemetery in Maximo for our first shot. The tracks are heading south here, so a morning westbound can be done in good light. Although on this morning high clouds were obscuring the sun.

The 580 had NS 3603 up front, a new unit in fresh black paint. Two additional units trailed.

They were rolling right along, so we couldn’t dawdle if we were to stay with the train.

From Maximo, we made our way west to US 62 West, a four lane divided highway and a 70 mph speed limit until you get to the outskirts of Canton. Then it is 50 mph with numerous traffic lights and lots of congestion. If we were ahead, we soon lost our edge.

US 62 runs with I-77 for a ways through Canton. When we went over the tracks, the 580 was going by underneath.

We picked up US 30 on the south side of Canton and decided on Orrville for our next shot.

We should beat him there because he has Buck Hill west of Massillon to slow him down.

Our arrival in Orrville was slowed by the last few cars of a Wheeling & Lake Erie westbound that was crossing Ohio Route 57 on the south side of Orrville.

We alighted on the south side of the tracks across from the depot and tower. I figured we had a few minutes to kill, so I broke out my sandwich and started to eat lunch. It was a few minutes after noon.

I took about two bites, when the 580 called the distant signal for CP Orr and horns were heard to the east. Time to drop the sandwich and get to my photo spot.

So much for having some time. Buck Hill must have seemed like a speed bump.

We shot the 580 and thought about heading onward, but the Pittsburgh West Dispatcher came on the radio and informed 580 that their re-crew at Mansfield was not on duty until 2 p.m.

We decided to finish our lunch here and regroup. Henry was on the phone seeing if we had any news on the whereabouts of the 9-1-1. It was not in Bellevue yet and they were heading south looking for it.

We were again headed west in a few minutes and the 580 should be nearing Mansfield by now. If we stayed with the 580, we had time to kill or should we continue on US 30 west to Bucyrus and try to intercept the 9-1-1?

Henry and company made it all the way to Marion without a 9-1-1 sighting. Some fans were trackside waiting for it, but no one had seen it yet.

A check of HeritageUnits.com still showed the last sighting at Lewis Center over four hour ago. What the heck happened to it?

With this news to go on, we committed ourselves to the 9-1-1. As we approached Bucyrus, Henry called and OSed 9-1-1 on train 178 at Marion. They and the 9-1-1 were coming north.

We decided to head for Ridgeton, a few miles north of Bucyrus for a shot.

Ridgeton used to be one of my favorite grain elevator shots in Ohio until the elevator was demolished.

I went to the spot where I used to shoot the elevator with a train and did a “what’s missing from this picture?” shot.

The bro stayed on the other side of the tracks. He wanted to stay near the Jeep, so we could get out of town faster after the train passed. The only problem was that I had the keys.

Henry, Grif and Nicole shot the 9-1-1 at the next crossing north of Ridgeton. They missed the road to Ridgeton.

We had our sights set on the new reservoir at Attica for our next photo spot.

Henry got there first; we were about a minute behind. At first I thought we wouldn’t make it; we were not catching and overtaking the 9-1-1 very quickly.

But as it neared the Honey Creek crossovers, it slowed way down. CSX had the diamonds at Attica Junction and he was going to be held for a few minutes.

This gave us time to catch up with the family. Grif was sporting a digital camera of his own. How many 5-year-olds have their own camera? But Nicole had her camera out, so everyone was shooting today.

The 9-1-1 whistled off and resumed its journey to Bellevue. We lensed it and made tracks out of town.

“Papa, come with us!” yelled the Grif. Papa declined, his camera gear was in my Jeep and he might want to change lenses at the next spot, wherever that may be.

The 9-1-1 made good time until it got close to Bellevue. They were going to be held out of town to let some other traffic clear before they would be allowed into the yard.

This gave us a chance for a shot at Shriver south of the town of Flat Rock. He stopped at signals that are called “Flat Rock” on the railroad and waited his turn.

We arrived at the Kemper Railfan Park in Bellevue in time to view an eastbound coming in off the Toledo District, led by a Canadian Pacific unit. Then one came in off the Fostoria District. The 178 with the 9-1-1 was next.

Everyone scattered to their photo spot as the 9-1-1 approached.

Afterwards, Henry and family were going to try for one more view at the Ohio Route 4 overpass in the yard and then head for home. The bro and I were going to hang out here at the platform for a while before calling it a day also.

Behind the 9-1-1 were two more trains. The 866 that made the turn onto the Fostoria District. The 217 did the same. A 28N auto rack train came in off the Fostoria side.

Things got quiet for a few minutes, so we checked out the new connection on the north side of the yard that lets trains access the Sandusky District directly from the yard. Previously, they would have to back out of the yard and reverse directions in order to head to Sandusky.

The trip home on the Ohio Turnpike as quick and uneventful.

I’m glad Grif called his grandfather and let us know that the 9-1-1 was coming. It was had been an interesting day.

Heritage units sometimes just pop up in the darndest places sometimes.

Article by Marty Surdyk

The Intricate Detail of NS 9-1-1

June 4, 2016
NS 9-1-1 on display at Central Union Terminal in Toledo for National Train Day. 2016.

NS 9-1-1 on display at Central Union Terminal in Toledo for National Train Day. 2016.

I had seen Norfolk Southern 9-1-1 once before. It was pulling a Safety Express train and fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I chased it from Bellevue to Bedford.

Since then, the first responders tribute locomotive has been through Northeast Ohio several times, but never when I was able to go trackside.

Some might say that when a locomotive is on display as the NS 9-1-1 was in early May at Toledo National Train Day, it is an artificial environment because the train is not really working.

Maybe so, but such displays enable the photographer to hone in on details you might miss when it zooms past you at track speed.

Although not a heritage unit per se, the 9-1-1 is an honorary member of the heritage locomotive family because it doesn’t look like your run of the mill NS engine.

It’s nose is about as colorful as any locomotive snout gets on any railroad with its bright red accented with white stripes, which creates a striking appearance.

The red is so dominant that it is easy to overlook the fact that most of the unit is actually painted black and the nose and cab have as much white as they do red.

NS 9-1-1 is one of those rare locomotives that also must be seen from the top down as from a bridge in order to truly appreciate the all-encompassing nature of its livery.

Presented here are a series of images showing various facets of the NS 9-1-1, including detail that might otherwise escape a trackside viewer.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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A view from the rear forward nicely shows the detail of the flanks

A view from the rear forward nicely shows the detail of the flanks.

Hundreds of images were made of NS 9-1-1 during the Toledo National Train Day festival.

Hundreds of images were made of NS 9-1-1 during the Toledo National Train Day festival.

A reminder of who is being honored with this locomotive.

A reminder of who is being honored with this locomotive.

A chance to see the rear of the unit uncovered.

A chance to see the rear of the unit uncovered.

Roger’s Take on Toledo National Train Day

May 11, 2016
Among the first responders who posed with Norfolk Southern 9-1-1 were a Toledo Fire Department Truck . . .

Among the first responders who posed with Norfolk Southern 9-1-1 were a Toledo Fire Department Truck . . .

 . . . an a Norfolk Southern police vehicle.

. . . an a Norfolk Southern police vehicle and officer.

The former BNSF speeder that I rode.

The former BNSF speeder that I rode.

The far east end of Toledo Central Union Terminal as seen from a speeder.

The far east end of Toledo Central Union Terminal as seen from a speeder.

NS 9-1-1 and Ann Arbor 3879 lined up for display.

NS 9-1-1 and Ann Arbor 3879 lined up for display.

An Amtrak Thruway bus features the Amtrak logo as well as the markings of its owner/operator.

An Amtrak Thruway bus features the Amtrak logo as well as the markings of its owner/operator.

Greyhound now serves Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Greyhound now serves Toledo Central Union Terminal.

I stayed overnight in Toledo on Friday and then spent Saturday at the annual National Train Day festival. Here is a selection of special photographs that I made.

BNSF No. 336 is the speeder I rode. The station photo showing the old platforms  at the east end was taken from the speeder.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

NS 9-1-1, Amtrak 156, Ann Arbor Heritage Unit Shine Under Friday Night Lights at Toledo C.U.T.

May 9, 2016
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Amtrak’s Phase I heritage locomotive was on the point of a four car display train that mimicked the consist of the Lake Shore Limited.

Here is a selection of the night photos from Toledo’s National Train Day festival that were made on Friday night.

The engineer is Engineer Steve, one of the main driving forces behind the National Train Day in Toledo and the one who set up the equipment. Lighting was provided by David Patch, a transportation reporter with The Blade of Toledo.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Norfolk Southern's  first responders tribute unit looks spiffy. Behind it is Ann Arbor GP38 No. 3879.

Norfolk Southern’s
first responders tribute unit looks spiffy. Behind it is Ann Arbor GP38 No. 3879.

Watco brought out its Ann Arbor heritage locomotive, a GP38.

Watco brought out its Ann Arbor heritage locomotive, a GP38.

Engineer Steve poses at the controls of SD60E No. 9-1-1 on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Engineer Steve poses at the controls of SD60E No. 9-1-1 on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Engineer Steve climbs aboard Amtrak P42DC No. 156 as he "goes to work."

Engineer Steve climbs aboard Amtrak P42DC No. 156 as he “goes to work.”

NS 9-1-1 and the photographers that captured it under the lights.

NS 9-1-1 and the photographers that captured it under the lights.

 

Sights at Toledo National Train Day

May 8, 2016
The NS 9-1-1 and Watco No. 3879 sit on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

The NS 9-1-1 and Watco No. 3879 sit on display at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Honing in on the Ann Arbor heritage GP38, which is now operated by Watco.

Honing in on the Ann Arbor heritage GP38, which is now operated by Watco.

Getting "nosey" with NS 9-1-1, an SD60E that honors the nation's first responders.

Getting “nosey” with NS 9-1-1, an SD60E that honors the nation’s first responders.

Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Toledo held its annual National Train Day festival on Saturday (May 7) at Central Union Terminal. Among the exhibits were Norfolk Southern Southern 9-1-1, the first responders tribute locomotive; Watco GP38 No. 3879, which is painted in an Ann Arbor Railroad heritage livery; Amtrak P42DC No. 156, which is painted in the Phase I heritage livery; and an Amtrak display train that was a miniature version of the Lake Shore Limited.

There also were speeder rides; model train layouts; vendors selling videos, books and other railroad related items; and informational displays by various organizations.

Several Akron Railroad club members were on hand as either visitors or vendors.

Here is look at the major prototypes that were on display.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Amtrak Display Train, NS 9-1-1 to Headline 9th Toledo National Train Day Celebration on May 7

May 2, 2016

National Train Day

A display of Amtrak equipment will join the Norfolk Southern first responders’ tribute locomotive at the National Train Day event in Toledo on Saturday, May 7.

Amtrak has agreed to send a P42 locomotive, a new CAF Baggage Car, a Viewliner sleeper, a dining car and an Amfleet II coach.

Also on display will be NS SD60E No. 9-1-1 and a Watco GP38-2 painted in Ann Arbor heritage colors .

The free event will be held at Toledo Central Union Terminal, now known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The plaza is located at 415 Emerald Ave. Free parking will be available at the Port Lawrence garage next to Huntington Center. A shuttle will take event attendees to and from the train station.

An opening ceremony is set for 9:30 a.m. in Children’s Park, which is across the street from the entrance to the station.

It will be the ninth National Train Day in Toledo. Other attractions will include model train layouts, handcars and speeders, a train trip drawing, displays, vendors, food, music, an Operation Lifesaver kids rail safety event, a Chuggington play area and a kids zone featuring a Children’s train ride

On Friday (May 6), the Friday Night by the Tracks event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on the third floor of the grand lobby of the station.

The event will feature a tour of the NS 9-1-1 locomotive and the Amtrak display train along with hors d’oeuvres, soft drinks, a cash bar and live entertainment by The Villains

Dress is business casual and attendees must be at least age 21. Ticket are $30 per person or $50 per couple.

All proceeds will go to the Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association and the Toledo Design Center.

For information visit: www.facebook.com/NationalTrainDayToledo

Pair of Special NS Locomotives

December 17, 2015

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Norfolk Southern train 34N on Wednesday didn’t have the ordinary motive power on the point. Pulling it was NS 6920, the veteran’s tribute unit, and the 9-1-1, the first responders tribute unit.

The train passed through Cleveland in late morning. The train is shown passing Battery Park on the near west side of Cleveland.

The two locomotives had worked together last weekend to pull a Santa Claus train on NS out of Decatur, Illinois.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

NS Creates 2nd First Responders Locomotive

November 21, 2015

NS new unit

Norfolk Southern has painted a GP38-2 into a first responders livery that honors the training of emergency workers.

No. 5642 wears a livery similar to that of SD60E No. 9-1-1 and will be assigned to the NS Safety Train that travels throughout the railroad’s network.

The Safety Train is used to provide educational programs to first responders who might respond to railroad accidents.

Getting the EL and the 9-1-1 Locomotives

October 17, 2015

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I drove to Mansfield on Friday to catch the NS 1700 a former Erie Lackawanna SD45-2 that has been restored to its original paint.  I did get it, but unfortunately it developed problems and needed a mechanic to look at it.

This meant it would sit for a while. While waiting, I saw that the 9-1-1 First Responders unit was leading a train north from Columbus.  I drove to Marion where it finally showed up at quarter to six.

I then gave chase north catching up to it at Chatfield and again at Attica.  By now it was nearly dark so I headed back home.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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