Posts Tagged ‘NS in Bellevue Ohio’

NS Acknowledges Closing Hump in Bellevue

June 18, 2020

Norfolk Southern acknowledged this week that it is ending hump operations in its Bellevue yard and will use the facility for flat switching.

The move comes as NS continues to see a slump in its carload traffic.

An NS spokesman told The Blade of Toledo that some workers would be furloughed but did not say how many.

“This alteration will allow for greater efficiencies and customer service that achieves the goals set forth in the company’s strategic plan,” said NS spokesman Jeff DeGraff.

DeGraff said those furloughed would be given the opportunity to apply for positions elsewhere at NS.

NS had told shippers recently that it was reviewing operations at yards throughout its system in part in response to lower traffic volume and in part as it moves to the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

Thus far in the second quarter of 2020 NS merchandise traffic volume is down 32 percent.

The carrier had earlier closed the hump at its Linwood yard in North Carolina.

The yard in Bellevue, which is named for retired NS CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman, was expanded in eight years ago during a $160 million project that added another hump and classification bowl.

Moorman was the head of NS when the yard was expanded.

The hump in Bellevue was built in 1966 by Norfolk & Western.

Although NS has declined to say how many workers in Bellevue will lose their jobs, a social-media post from a private Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen said it was 26 carmen.

Moorman Yard is the largest classification yard on the NS network and second largest classification yard in the United States behind Bailey Yard on Union Pacific in North Platte, Nebraska.

For now NS will continue to operate hump yards in Elkhart, Indiana, and at Conway Yard north of Pittsburgh.

NS to Change Operations at Moorman Yard

June 5, 2020

NS trains classify cars at the hump in Bellevue in August 2015.

Norfolk Southern is planning to change operations later this month at Moorman Yard in Bellevue but has yet to say what those changes will entail.

The changes are part of a larger review the railroad is undertaking of yard operations throughout its system Chief Marketing Officer Alan Shaw said in a letter to shippers.

The letter indicated that NS has completed its review of Moorman Yard, which is the largest classification yard in the East and second largest in the country behind Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska.

NS may idle hump operations in Bellevue and convert it to flat switching.

Since 2008, NS has closed five humps including two in the past year as part of its transformation to the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

Closed were humps in Sheffield, Alabama, and Allentown, Pennsylvania. More recently, NS changed operations at Linwood Yard in North Carolina by taking the hump out of service and furloughing 85 workers.

NS Chief Financial Officer Mark George said during an investor conference last month that those moves would save $10 million to $15 million annually.

Aside from the move to PSR, NS is also being motivated by falling carload traffic, which has declined 33 percent to date in the second quarter.

In his message to shippers, Shaw said there will be service modifications later this month pertaining to Bellevue and that shippers would be notified of those changes.

“We are reaching out to affected customers directly over the next two weeks to discuss the planned changes,” Shaw wrote.

“We are especially mindful of first- and last-mile changes, and we plan on working closely with you as we implement these steps.”

Bellevue was a major terminal for the former Nickel Plate Road and its successor, Norfolk & Western, built a larger classification yard there in 1967.

NS expanded the yard in 2014 to add a second hump and classification bowl that doubled the yard’s maximum classification capacity to 3,600 cars a day.

Earlier this year NS Chief Operating Officer Mike Wheeler said NS was looking at its yard and terminal network with an eye toward determining what it can live without.

He did not officer specifics as to which terminals and yards must be closed or trimmed in size.

Although NS has suffered the largest decline in carload traffic among Class 1 railroads, its management has said that was because it is more closely tied to industrial sectors that have been hard hit by the economic downturn, including the auto industry and steel mills.

Shaw noted in his letter that NS was conducting a review of its network before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“The current economic disruption is a challenge for all of us, but we are using this time to find additional ways to streamline our operations,” Shaw said.

He said NS is seeking to make its network more efficient while “providing a platform for growth.”

This includes routing shipments more directly to their destinations with fewer handlings and classifications along the way.

Used to be a Common Bellevue Sight

March 19, 2020

Well into the Norfolk Southern era high hood locomotives were a common sight working trains in Bellevue.

The photograph above, though, was made in the early NS era. GP40 No. 1372 was built in August 1967 for the Norfolk & Western.

The N&W and Southern, particularly the latter, ordered locomotives in that era with high hoods.

Note that behind the 1373 is a unit still in its N&W markings but with a short hood. The date is July 12, 1984.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

I Made the Image Anyway

July 4, 2019

This image had two strikes against it before it even stepped up to the plate.

The light was as flat as it could be given the overcast skies and rainy conditions.

And No. 8103 was trailing. But it was the Norfolk & Western heritage unit and that’s a locomotive I’ve only photographed once before.

In fact this was only the third time that I’ve seen it. And it had the bonus value of being on former N&W rails.

So I pulled out my phone and made this image. It’s not great, but at least it is an image of the only out of the ordinary sighting of the day.

A Tie Back to the 2010 Longest Day in Bellevue

June 18, 2019

Life has a way of circling back to previous events in our lives at times when we’re not expecting it.

I found myself in one of those moments during a June 15 trip to Bellevue where the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts held an annual outing that takes the place of the monthly meeting.

I had gone over to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum grounds to see the group’s latest acquisition, Nickel Plate Road Berkshire-type No. 757, which is on display in the coach yard by Southwest Street.

It was not a great day for photography with overcast skies and periodic rain showers that became a more steady rain later.

The lighting was so iffy that Marty Surdyk proclaimed it one of those WWTF days. That’s “why waste the film” for those who were wondering.

I made a couple of images of the 2-8-4 and was ready to head back to the Kemper Railfan Park when a headlight on the Toledo District got my attention.

It was an inbound ethanol train that would take the Mad River Connection to continue its journey on either the Sandusky District or Fostoria District.

I noticed a large puddle next to the tracks and thought a reflection photograph might work. It did.

Seeing that image reminded me of another railroad club outing to Bellevue on June 27, 2010, when the Akron Railroad Club held its longest day outing there.

That day began with ample sunshine and an activity report written at the time noted that it was a sultry day with many members spending their time in the shade of some large trees at the foot of Cemetery Street to escape temperatures in the high 80s.

By contrast, the weather this year saw temperatures hovering in the high 60s with a southwest wind that at times made it seem colder.

Going back to 2010, by afternoon the first of a series of thunderstorms passed through, leaving a puddle in about the same location as the one I saw during this year’s RRE outing.

Back in 2010, there were two signals standing next to the track and I remember trying to make a reflection shot using those signals and a reflection in the puddle. The results were satisfactory.

We didn’t get a hard count of how many people attended that 2010 outing, but the report published on the blog said it was at least 20.

Those thunderstorms ultimately brought the outing to a close about 7 p.m. when those still there decided to head for dinner at a Bob Evans restaurant in Norwalk.

This year rain and cold combined with hunger prompted Marty Surdyk and I to call it a day around 6:15 p.m. and head for that same Bob Evans restaurant.

Back in 2010 when we walked out after dinner we were greeted by a rainbow to the east. This year as Marty and I left there wasn’t a rainbow, but there was a hint of the sun trying to peak through the clouds off to the northwest

This year the ARRC plans to return to Bellevue for its longest day, an outing that has been set for June 23.

Unless something dramatic happens to tie up the mini plant for long periods of time, those who make the trip should expect steady train action throughout the day.

Going Left, Right or Straight?

October 25, 2018

You’re looking down Slaughterhouse Road in Bellevue toward the Fostoria District of Norfolk Southern.

The train approaching in the distance is the L83, which is headed for Moorman Yard in Bellevue.

However, there is a switch there that could route trains onto the Sandusky District toward Columbus.

With a little imagination you can see the train continuing straight.

That railroad crossing sign, by the way, is for the connection to the Sandusky District. The road makes a sharp left turn by those signals.

Interesting Saturday on the Rails

June 11, 2018

This past Saturday brought a couple interesting trains. First the Norfolk Southern “Honoring Our Veterans” unit led 11K through northern Ohio.

I got it passing the soon to be replaced signals at Huron.

Next we went to Bellevue as there were storms approaching from the west but for a few hours we had sunny weather.

Another railfan said that a grain train was waiting south of town with a Florida East Coast engine leading.

This is one of four FEC engines currently on lease to Norfolk Southern. This train turned out to be 51Q bound for Dwight, Illinois.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

That Western Look

May 12, 2018

I caught Norfolk Southern intermodal train 234 three times this spring in Bellevue or on the Sandusky District and all three times it had western railroad motive power.

Two of those times it had Union Pacific locomotives in the lead. The third time the train had BNSF motive power upfront.

Train 234 is an easy one to catch. It originates at Landers Yard in Chicago and follows the former Nickel Plate Road mainline to Bellevue where it turns south onto the Sandusky District.

It’s ultimate destination is Norfolk, Virginia. It tends to reach the Bellevue area in late morning to early afternoon.

In the top photograph, the 234 is on the move off the Fostoria District after getting a new crew. It is making its way through a set of crossovers to get to the connection to the Sandusky District, which can be seen in the lower left-hand corner.

In the middle image, the head end is about to cross Slaughterhouse Road. In the bottom image it is skirting a farm as it rounds the connection to head toward Bucyrus, Marion and Columbus.

A Solo CN Act on NS

May 10, 2018

Norfolk Southern train 28N saunters into Bellevue off the Fostoria District with a load of auto rack cars earlier this year.

Leading the way is Canadian National 2342, an ES44DC which carries on its flanks the expected amount of road dirt and grime.

The train is making its way past Wheeling Tower, through the mini plant and into Moorman Yard.

Judge Rules NS Must Provide Noise Tests in Class Action Lawsuit Over Noise From Moorman Yard

May 8, 2018

A federal judge has ruled that Norfolk Southern must share results of noise tests at Moorman Yard with attorneys for parties who are suing the railroad.

U.S. District Court Judge James Carr ruled against NS, which had said it did not need to provide that information.

“Norfolk Southern, by its persistent lack of response, communicated an unstated message to its neighbors that it did not care, that it could and would continue to do as it wanted and that it had nothing to fear, no matter how many voices sought to be heard,” Carr said in his ruling.

The class action lawsuit was filed by a year ago by dozens of people who live near the yard and seeks to force the railroad to operate more quietly.

At issue is what the plaintiffs termed a constant loud shrieking, screeching and squealing of wheels against retarders as freight cars are going over a hump for classification in the bowl tracks below.

Carr ruled that the noise study conducted on the railroad’s behalf might help the plaintiffs.

He said that by refusing to hand out the results of the study NS is impeding the discovery process.

The tests in question were conducted in 2015 by Environmental Health and Safety Solutions LLC.

NS attorneys said in court that the railroad does not need to submit this information. Carr disagreed and said NS must produce the information in a timely fashion.

“I find that Norfolk Southern has failed to meet its burden of showing even reason to believe, much less probable cause, that it engaged to do noise testing,” Carr wrote in his ruling.

Representing the plaintiffs in the case is the law firm of Murray & Murray in Sandusky.

“Residents are unable to hold conversations, open windows or hear their televisions,” the plaintiffs said in the suit.

They have argued that the noise has decreased their property values, had adverse effects on their health and hindered their enjoyment of life.

The plaintiffs contend that sound levels routinely exceed 100 decibels, which is equivalent to a jet flying directly over someone’s head.

Lead plaintiff’s attorney Dennis Murray Jr. said the residents were fine with the noise that came from the yard before NS expanded it a few years ago.

“What they want is fair compensation for what has been taken from them, namely the ability to live peacefully in their homes and for the significantly diminished value of their property, as determined by a jury,” Murray said.

NS spokesman Jonathan Glass said the company “is reviewing the court order and has no additional comment at this time.”