Posts Tagged ‘NS heritage units’

Southern H Unit Damaged in Derailment

December 14, 2021

The Southern Railway heritage unit of Norfolk Southern sustained damage on Sunday after hitting a rock slide and derailing near Pittsburgh.

ES44AC No. 8099 and another unit were pulling a 100-car intermodal train bound for Chicago when it struck the rock slide and derailed about 4 a.m. in the borough of Baldwin.

No injuries to the crew were reported and no hazardous materials involved, The 8099 was leading the train. Both locomotives derailed along with five cars.

Officials said the derailment occurred along the Monongahela River in an area that had experienced high winds and up to a half-inch of rain.

Trains magazine reported on its website that the status of No. 8099 has yet to be determined.

To see photographs of the damaged heritage locomotive visit https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/ns-derailment-damages-southern-railway-heritage-unit/

My Very Few Highlights Around Thanksgiving

December 2, 2021

For most of my years while I was working, I very rarely had the opportunity to railfan on or around the Thanksgiving holiday.

If I wasn’t working, then I had family related activities. I did find a couple days I was able to sneak away for a few moments.

One of those was Thanksgiving of 1983. I was able to use vacation time for a family trip to Libertyville, Illinois for a holiday outing with my sister Janet.

The day after Thanksgiving I went to the ex-Milwaukee Road tracks near Rondout, Illinois , hoping to see and photograph Amtrak No. 8, the Empire Builder.

This was long before cell phones and the Internet. I was hoping No. 8 would be close to advertised. I do remember a bit of prayer was evident.

The Empire Builder did show up pretty close to schedule.

Two days after Thanksgiving 2017, I photographed the Central of New Jersey heritage unit, No. 1071, coming out the siding at Unionville, Ohio, on Norfolk Southern train 316.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Breaking a Year Long Drought

November 21, 2021

I should have left for home more than a half hour earlier. The sun had sunk below the tops of the trees and shadows enveloped the tracks of the New Castle District of Norfolk Southern in its namesake city in Indiana.

But I wanted to get “one more” even though I knew the images I might make would be marginal from a lighting standpoint.

That “one more” was not an ordinary train. It was NS train 282, a container train operating from Simpson Yard in Jacksonville, Florida, to Landers Yard in Chicago, with ES44AC No. 8102 on the point.

You might recognize that as the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive. An added bonus was that I would be catching the 8102 on rails that once had been the Pennsy’s primary passenger route between Chicago and Cincinnati.

It wasn’t like I haven’t photographed the 8102 before. I’ve caught it several times, including with such Pennsy artifacts as position light signals at CP Mace in Massilon and a bridge with a PRR keystone logo still painted on it in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

Getting the PRR heritage unit in and of itself, though, wasn’t what was keeping me trackside.

It had been a year and two days since I had last caught an NS train with any heritage unit leading.

For that matter it had been more than seven months since I landed an NS train with a heritage unit trailing. My luck has been that bad.

I had known for several hours about the 282 having the PRR heritage locomotive. There had been reports on HeritageUnits.com from Kentucky and in Cincinnati.

The last of those, at 12:40 p.m. reported the 282 was moving north in the Cincinnati terminal after having worked in the yard.

An unanswered question was how long it would take the 282 to get up from Cincinnati to New Castle. There had been no more reports on HU.com of en route sightings.

By late afternoon I knew the 282 was tantalizing close. The dispatcher had contacted the 282 crew to give it a 25 mph speed restriction. And I had heard a voice say the 282 was on the approach, whatever that meant.

Two trains, the 122 and the 174, were ahead of it and I photographed both in the nice late day light of late autumn that I was hoping would linger long enough for the passage of the 282.

As each minute ticked away the sun got a little lower and the shadows moved a little further over the rails. Sunset would be at 5:22 p.m. and it was now nearly 5 p.m.

It was shortly after 5 p.m. when I finally heard what I had been waiting to hear. The detector went off at milepost 95.3. The 282 was about five miles away.

Several minutes later came the sound of a locomotive horn blowing for grade crossings I couldn’t see. Then around a curve came a headlight.

Looking looked through my telephotos lens I determined that – yes – the nose was Tuscan red with gold pinstripes.

Two of the several images I made were decent enough to show, especially after I processed them in Adobe Photoshop. Still they are grainy and feature a dark locomotive in shadows.

I hope my next heritage unit on the lead sighting won’t take a year to get and that it will be in better lighting. But who knows.

There is a lot of luck involved in finding heritage and tribute locomotives. It is the proverbial being in the right place at the right time. Some places tend to be more right than others.

All I can do is get out there and hope the sun, the stars and the moon are all in alignment.

In fact, last Friday, when I made the images of the NS 8102 was a full moon day. You don’t think . . . nah, that can’t be it. Or is it?

They Might Have Been Surprised But I Wasn’t

August 24, 2021

My one and thus far only catch of the Central of Georgia heritage locomotive came in March 2015

Early Monday morning I opened my new email folder expecting to find a message from Edward Ribinskas containing a photograph of the Central of Georgia heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern passing through Berea.

Ed had told me of his plans to attend a Frontier League baseball game in Avon Lake on Sunday afternoon with Marty Surdyk. They had planned to railfan in Berea before going to the game.

Catching the NS 8101 may have surprised Ed and Marty, but it didn’t surprise me.

On Saturday evening I had checked HeritageUnits.com to see if anything was setting up to come through Berea Sunday morning that they might catch.

I noticed an 11N with the NS 8101 was making its way across Pennsylvania en route to Sterling Heights, Michigan, from Doremus, New Jersey.

On Sunday morning I checked HU.com again to see how far west the 8101 had been reported.

The latest report was in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, at 10:54 p.m. on Saturday. Had the 8101 been leading an intermodal train it more than likely would have been through Northeast Ohio hours before Marty and Ed arrived in Berea.

But the 11N works Conway Yard near Pittsburgh and manifest and bulk commodity trains don’t always move expeditiously, sometimes getting held for long periods of time for higher priority traffic and/or a new crew.

On Sunday afternoon I checked HU.com and found the 11N was reported at Berea at 11:05 a.m. or 11:07 a.m., depending on whose report you want to believe.

That would have been within the window of when I expected Ed and Marty to be in Berea; hence I was looking for Ed to send a photo of the 8101.

The two of them also caught DC to AC conversion unit 4000, one of the “Blue Brothers” locomotives that are so named because of a blue and gray livery.

You may recall reading in Ed’s report as well as a post Marty had written about his formula for having railfan success that getting the 8101 on Sunday morning completed Marty’s collection of photographs of all 20 NS heritage units.

Marty is correct in saying that success in catching out of the ordinary trains and locomotives hinges in part in doing your homework. Likewise, he is correct in saying that there is a lot of luck involved in being in the right place at the right time to catch something.

Neither Ed nor Marty indicated it they checked HU.com before heading for Berea on Sunday. If they had they might have found out as I did that there was a chance they might see the Central of Georgia H unit.

I say might because the latest report on HU.com before they actually saw the 8101 was the previous evening in Johnstown. If anyone saw it in Alliance and anywhere else east of Cleveland, they didn’t report it.

Likewise, the most recent report on NS 4000 was at Rochester, Pennsylvania, at 8:19 p.m. on Saturday.

Relying on HU.com or other online reports, e.g., Facebook, sometimes can only take you so far in determining what lies down the tracks that is headed your way.

That means Marty is also correct in saying that above all you need to be there if you want to catch something out of the ordinary or, sometimes, anything at all.

By coincidence the Central of Georgia H unit was the last one I needed to complete my check list of NS heritage units. When I finally photographed the 8101 on March 12, 2015, in Olmsted Falls, it was not the first time I had seen it.

I had seen it at least once but had not been in a position to get a photograph. One of those sightings occurred as I drove east on Chester Avenue in Cleveland and it passed in front of me on the Cleveland Line bridge over the street.

Although I’ve forgotten the details I have a hazy memory of having had a few near misses in getting NS 8101 in the weeks and months leading up to finally bagging it.

Alas, I haven’t seen or photographed the 8101 since then.

While researching this article I noticed that had Ed and Marty gone back to Berea or even to Olmsted Falls after the baseball game they could have caught the Monongahela H unit, which came west leading the 25Z.

It was reported at Berea at 7:23 p.m. but that probably was too late for them to still be trackside.

At some point you just have to call it a day, move on to other things, and hope that luck is still with you next time you are trackside.

We all need to remind ourselves from time to time that railfanning for most of us is a hobby and not a job with all of the pressures and demands that come with it. I have met railroad photographers who make rail photography into something akin to work.

They come back with some spectacular images that we all admire and enjoy. Maybe we even wish we could have gotten that image. You could have if you had been willing to do the work required to get it.

Yet is going to work the reason why you go trackside? For some the answer is yes.

As for Ed and Marty, I have a hunch that even if their Sunday in Berea had been just another routine day and the NS 8101 and NS 4000 had never come along they still would have enjoyed themselves and not been greatly disappointed about the two that got away.

Article by Craig Sanders

Seeing Blue in Lake County

July 4, 2021

It was a star spangled start to the railfanning weekend in Lake County with three locomotives focusing on the color blue passing through on Friday and Saturday.

Ed Ribinskas missed the first passage of CSX 3194, the “pride in service” locomotive that pays tribute to law enforcement. It ran east on Q020 on Friday and returned on Saturday afternoon on the Q017.

Ed writes that on Saturday he then saw an online report that this unit was at Ripley, New York at 2:40 p.m.

“I predicted it would be by the Painesville station about 4:10 p.m. Based on that I would have to go to mass at 5 p.m.

He got it in Perry at 4:07 p.m. so his prediction was not that far off.

On Friday, Ed saw on HertageUnits.com that the Norfolk & Western heritage unit was leading Norfolk Southern train 23K.

He called his friend Jeff Troutman to see if he was available. Several years ago the two of them got skunked when they tried to photograph NS 8103 in Bedford at the tot lot on a westbound. But an eastbound blocked it.

Although Ed was fortunate a few years ago getting good photos of the 8103 on two occasions, Jeff still needed it for his collection.

They got it at about 6 p.m.  the Giant Eagle at the U.S. Route 20 crossing in Painesville.

“What was strange were the auto racks on the front of the train. Is 23K now a combined train or was this just an isolated incident? I’m not sure.”

But Ed said when he spotted the 23K with the N&W heritage unit leading as it went past the Elkhart, Indiana, webcam, the auto racks had been removed.

Early on Friday morning Amtrak’s Midnight Blue P42DC No. 100 passed through in the motive consist of the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

No. 100 was the fourth of four units assigned to the train.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Filthy and Clean CNJ Units

April 19, 2021

All the times I photographed the Central of New Jersey heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern, No. 1071 was always filthy.

That can be seen in the top two photographs, both of which were made at Unionville, Ohio, on November 25, 2017. The dirt is particularly evident on the head end.

The next two images I made in Painesville on March 8, 2020, on an outing with Marty Surdyk just prior to the statewide shutdown after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In these images, Lady Liberty is barely visible on the front side.

In looking through my collection, I found that back on June 21, 2008, I shot photos of clean CNJ F3s, actually ex Bangor & Aroostook, at Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, during a Reading & Northern 425 steam excursion.

Photo 5 is taken from the train upon arrival at Jim Thorpe while photo 6 was made during the layover.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Fingers Crossed Then Pushing the Shutter Button

April 12, 2021

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I checked Heritage Units.com and saw that Norfolk Southern’s Interstate heritage unit had been spotted leading an unidentified intermodal train on the Elkhart, Indiana, rail camera.

I went to the site and rolled back to 2:21 a.m. to see it. To me it looked like it could be the 22K.  A later post still showed the train to be unknown. My fingers were crossed.

At 9:10 a.m. a post indicated the 8105 and its train were in Lakewood and designated as the 22K.

Could I finally get it in the lead with the lighting correct? When I left the house it was bright sun.

When I got to my spot behind the school buses in Painesville a huge bank of dark clouds appeared. Keeping my fingers crossed I was hoping.

As I heard a locomotive horn the sun was on the edge of the cloud bank. Success came at 10:50 a.m. 

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

Monongahela H Unit in ‘Perfect Light’

November 10, 2020

Monday was another unusually warm fall day in Northeast Ohio. When I got word that the Monongahela heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern was leading train 179 westbound on the Lake Erie District, I grabbed my camera and headed over to Riverside Drive in Painesville.

I caught it in perfect lighting at 3:30 p.m.

Train 179 originates in Buffalo (Bison Yard) and terminates in Irondale, Alabama (Ernest Norris Yard).

Along the way it stops to work six times in Ohio including in Conneaut, Bellevue, Columbus, Middletown, Sharonville and Cincinnati. It also works in Chattanooga, Tennessee,

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

No. 20 is Now in the Camera

October 12, 2020

“Done,” as they said at Promontory.

That is what I proclaimed at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday in Bedford. Once I saw that Norfolk Southern No. 1067, the Reading heritage locomotive, was leading stack train 21Q I promised myself that the 8 1/2 year-quest would be completed.

It started way back on April 9, 2012, when I photographed Nickel Plate heritage unit 8100 at Ashtabula Harbor.

Even though the lighting on Saturday wasn’t perfect, I did not care. Looks good enough to me. I can proudly say I have all 20 NS heritage units leading a train.

Article and Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

Double Heritage Unit Friday in Northeast Ohio

September 26, 2020

On Friday Norfolk Southern sent two heritage units through Northeast Ohio.

Todd Dillon caught the New York Central H unit passing the former NYC depot in Olmsted Falls.

It was on the point of the 21Q headed for 47th Street in Chicago after originating in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Next he caught the Interstate H unit going through Hudson leading the 25V. The train originates in Elizabethport, New Jersey, and terminates at Landers Yard in Chicago.

Both units came through during the afternoon.

Ordinarily, Friday night would have been Akron Railroad Club meeting night for September. But that meeting was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there was an impromptu ARRC meeting in Hudson with club president Dillon, Vice President Bill Kubas (shown on the ladder) and Tom Kendrick on hand in Hudson to get some photographs and video.

Photographs by Todd Dillon