Posts Tagged ‘NS Illinois Terminal heritage locomotive’

When Coal Still Ruled at Ashtabula Harbor

November 1, 2020

I was looking for something else when I ran across this image made in Ashtabula Harbor yard eight years ago.

The view is looking south at the rear of a coal train that is stretching out for what seems to be miles.

If you look carefully you will see the Illinois Terminal heritage locomotive in the distance. It’s bright green color should make it easy to spot.

It was a different time then. Coal trains were far more common than they are now, which is probably why I made this image and then promptly forgot about it. It had not been a highlight of the day.

Eight years later Norfolk Southern doesn’t carry as much coal as it did then. It has in recent years shifted coal away from Ashtabula Harbor in favor of Sandusky.

It has been quite a while since I last saw the harbor yard in Ashtabula so I’m not sure what use is made of it today.

NS still runs trains through Ashtabula on its Lake Erie District, the former Nickel Plate Road mainline to Buffalo, New York.

Maybe some coal still moves through town on NS or CSX. Yet that traffic must be a shadow of what it once was.

A Little Serendipity

August 14, 2019

At Summerail 2019 in Marion, Ohio, on Aug. 10 the second program of the afternoon was a look at the history of the Illinois Terminal presented by noted railroad author Mike Schafer.

Later that day the Illinois Terminal heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern came through Marion on the point of train 375.

Coincidence? Probably, but it sure seemed appropriate. NS 1072 is shown about to cross the Mt. Victory Subdivision of CSX in Marion.

The Early Bird Gets the ‘Glow Worm’

December 8, 2015

“You sure that there’ll be trains running today?”

That was the question posed by Lakeshia, my mom’s caregiver, as I readied myself to head to Berea for the annual Forest City Division/Railroad Enthusiasts turkey shoot.

“Yeah, they will; maybe not as many as usual, but something will be moving,” I replied.

My answer was confirmed as I walked out the door; I could hear a horn off in the distance. At least one train was moving somewhere.

Seeing a high green westbound at CP 17 from I-480 westbound was encouraging. CSX had ideas of running a train.

But the big surprise was waiting for me as I traveled the airport freeway on the way to Berea.

Holy cow!

A Norfolk Southern westbound, which I later learned was the 11T, had the Illinois Terminal heritage unit up front. It was moving slowly past the airport and approaching Eastland Road.

Initially, I went to Sheldon Road to see it, figuring the early morning light might be better there than at Berea.

I also figured there would be less chance of being blocked by another train.

I quickly scuttled those plans as the 20R was rumbling along on Track No. 2 and likely to block a view of the 11T and I settled on the cul-de-sac under the Front Street overpass in Berea for my photo of the “glow worm.”

It almost didn’t work there, either, as another eastbound intermodal was coming fast through CP 194 as I shot the 11T.

If I’d had been using a telephoto lens instead of a normal lens, I could have recorded the meet.

After both trains cleared my position, I moved on to the traditional hang out for Berea, the parking lot for the Berea Union Depot Taverne.

I was joined by Jerry Jordak, who had photographed the “glow worm” at the far west end of the interlocking in order to avoid being blocked by the intermodal train.

Things were quiet for only a few minutes before a westbound CSX intermodal train, led by a BNSF unit, came past.

It was followed by the L091, the salad shooter, with a quartet of Union Pacific locomotives.

Behind that was a stone train featuring some battered hoppers of Wisconsin Central and Algoma Central heritage.

NS was not quiet either, with several more trains passing by for our viewing pleasure.

At 9:55 a.m., we had our first two at a time with westbound intermodals on NS and CSX. The NS train was the 205 and was led by a UP unit.

The second highlight of the day was on the heels of the 205. The 67X, an empty crude oil train, was heading west behind a rather filthy Kansas City Southern de Mex “Southern Belle” with a BNSF unit trailing. That passed by around 10:10 a.m.

Just before 11 a.m., the NS 15N headed for a re-crew at Lewis Road behind an old high hood GP38-2, No. 5120, as the third unit.

At 11 a.m., I checked the scorecard and found it tied at 11 apiece. Not bad.

Other RRE members had arrived and at the high point 16 of them were patrolling the grassy strip along Depot Street.

The last four trains of the day belonged to NS. The final one for me was the 65K, another westbound crude oil train.

This one had an NS unit leading a CSX locomotive. It came through at 12:10 p.m.

I had to get back home and relieve Lakeshia, who was working only until 12:30 p.m. All in all, it had been a great day with great weather.

There was a November bite to the wind in the early morning, but overall it was party sunny to partly cloudy with temperatures up near 60.

Article by Marty Surdyk

On Photography: Turning Trail Into Triumph

February 6, 2015

H Saturday 005e

H Saturday 006f

Trail versus Fail. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of lampooning that pithy phrase since the day that I first encountered it.

That is because like so many all-inclusive bromides I want to challenge it. Always? Uh, No.

And yet I understand why it came to be. Check out the photographs that some guys post on railfan chat lists of railroad heritage locomotives in the trailing position and you’ll see that trailing units don’t always make for compelling images, even as roster shots.

Recently, I was in the Pittsburgh area when word filtered out over the railfan online grapevine that the Illinois Terminal heritage locomotive was in the motive power consist of a westbound tanker train, the 65R.

Alas, it was trailing. But that wasn’t going to stop me from photographing it.

I’ve bagged the IT unit just once. It was sitting in Ashtabula in the staging yard for the Lake Erie dock.

What I made wasn’t a very good image. So NS 1072 has long been on my list of H units to do over.

Today would be that day even if I knew that it would be mission half accomplished.

The last thing that I wanted to do was make a poor roster shot. That would look amateurish and fail to do the locomotive justice.

The results can be seen above. I set up on the bridge in Leetsdale that leads into an industrial park.

The setting is far from ideal. There is a sidewalk on the north side of the bridge but not on the south side.

For a westbound train, the vantage point is against the concrete wall on the south side.

From there you have an open view of the four-track mainline and the signal bridge for eastbound trains at CP Leets.

For now, that signal bridge has Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals. It is a classic PRR scene.

The risk, though, is standing on the edge of traffic coming around a curve. A lot of heavy trucks use that bridge.

The driver of an automobile honked at us, apparently displeased that we were “standing in the roadway.”

I wanted to make two types of images. The top image is a wide view that shows the train after the head end has passed beneath the signal bridge.

My intent was to create an environmental portrait that included not just the train, but also the surrounding town and hills.

Railroads pass through environments and what you see in this image is typical of the region along the Ohio River northwest of Pittsburgh where life and infrastructure revolves around the river and the hills.

In this image, the IT heritage locomotive was not the focal point. The image shows the train with the IT unit clearly visible, but without much detail.

Note how the train stretches back out of sight around a curve. I got lucky because the 65R had those newer white tank cars. You can make some interesting images of those cars because they contrast nicely with their usually dark surroundings.

The second image I made was close to being a roster shot. I went for a side view but made it wide enough to incorporate some of the town and hill behind the locomotive.

Much of the time, the best way to defeat “trail equals fail” is to create a side view in a pleasing if not compelling environment.

Some photographers try to make the typical three-quarter “wedgie” out of a trailing locomotive. It usually doesn’t work well because the nose is covered up by another locomotive or the first freight car in the consist.

The view that I made had the advantage of showing the detail of NS 1072, including the livery. Yet it also showed the locomotive in an environment.  I wanted to have the houses and hill in the background to add interest.

I’m a big fan of environmental portraits and I’ll explain why in a future posting.

To be sure, I would have liked to have had the IT unit in the lead. But that isn’t always possible.

So I made the best that I could of the situation and turned trail into triumph.

Commentary and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Follow Me to Illinois

September 24, 2013



In a repeat of last year’s vacation, we had a heritage unit to go west with to begin our trip. In 2012 it was the Monongahela heritage locomotive. This year it was the Illinois Terminal unit leading a Herzog train.

The top photo is at MP CD 285 just east of Vickers in Toledo. The bottom photo shows the train passing the former New York Central station in Wauseon. “Follow me to Illinois” should have been the bumper sticker on the 1072.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Nothing so Clean as My Glow Worm Machine

April 4, 2013

Before and after shots of the nose of the Illinois Terminal heritage unit at Avon Lake this past Saturday.

Before and after shots of the nose of the Illinois Terminal heritage unit at Avon Lake this past Saturday. Notice the differences?

As I awoke last Saturday morning to a sunny sky, the word on the street was that the Norfolk Southern 1072, the Illinois Terminal heritage unit, was sitting in Avon Lake after delivering a loaded train to the generating plant.

After arriving at the wye track that the pair was sitting on and taking a few photos, I could tell the morning photos were OK, but the afternoon sun would be a lot better.

After photographing the unit, I headed out in search of other trains until the sun had moved around. I kept thinking about how dirty the front of the unit looked as a lot of mud and grease had splashed up on it.

The heritage units are our pride and joy, and I was thinking how nice it would be to remove all that nose grime for the afternoon photos.
I spent the next several hours along the ex-Conrail Chicago Line catching a few trains, including the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit leading train 310 (see the blog entries below) and shooting a local on the NKP side with a nice pair of ex Southern high hood units.

One of the trains that I photographed up there was local L2T with a pair of ex-Southern high hood units running pseudo elephant style. NS 7004 is a GP50, one of about 30 still running on the NS roster.

Soon it was time to revisit the ITC unit for the afternoon shots. Low and behold almost all the grime on the plow and nose was gone, making for a much “cleaner” view. Not one to ask questions, I fired away and recorded some nice roster stills of this bright unit.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

The NS local is rounding the curve leading to the Lorain drawbridge.

The NS local is rounding the curve leading to the Lorain drawbridge.

I would catch train 287 passing through the Lorain draw later in the afternoon.

I would catch train 287 passing through the Lorain draw later in the afternoon.

Working at the North Yard multi-level facility near Avon Lake.

Working at the North Yard multi-level facility near Avon Lake.

IT Heritage Unit Relaxes in Ashtabula

October 13, 2012

Norfolk Southern No. 1072, the Illinois Terminal heritage locomotive, has made its way back to Northeast Ohio. It was a trailing unit on a train that passed through Cleveland around 5:30 p.m. on Friday evening on the former Nickel Plate Road en route to Ashtabula.

Saturday found the 1072 still sitting in Ashtabula. It wasn’t in a great location for photography, but it was visible. Here are a pair of photos of it on Saturday afternoon.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Mr. Erie, Meet Mr. Lackawanna

July 11, 2012

The Norfolk Southern 30th anniversary heritage locomotives didn’t just sit around the roundhouse during the railroad festival at the North Carolina Transportation Museum last week. The locomotives were moved out in a parade.

In some instances, they were paired with locomotives with which they shared historical significance. NS doesn’t have an Erie Lackawanna heritage locomotive, but it does have engines that honor the Erie and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroads.

Here is a selection of some of the pairings.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

The Virginian heritage unit, an original Norfolk Southern Baldwin, and the Lackawanna unit.

About the only thing that the Illinois Terminal and DL&W had in common was that both wound up becoming part of railroads that would eventually become Norfolk Southern.

The heritage unit honoring the first railroad named Norfolk Southern poses with the NCTM’s “original” Norfolk Southern Baldwin AS616.