Posts Tagged ‘NS in Marion Ohio’

Better Than I Initially Recognized

September 9, 2017

There have been times when I’ve given a second or even third look to an image I made and concluded that it had something going for it that I failed to see the first or second time.

Such was the case with this eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight cruising through Marion.

I had been walking back to Marion Union Station with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Richard Antibus during the dinner hour of Summerail.

I had a little bit of time before the evening shows were to begin.

This is not the location from which I would have preferred to have captured this train.

Given the position of the sun, I would have liked to have been on the west side of the tracks.

But just as we got near the tracks, the gates started going down. My practice is to not to dash across tracks if the crossing warning devices have activated.

I zoomed in on the train to get it crossing the CSX Mt. Victory Subdivision by AC Tower.

I then zoomed back to get a wider perspective, which was what I initially though to be the best image that I made. That image was the one that I posted online shortly after I got home.

Yet while thinning out images from that day and moving them into storage on an external hard drive, I took another look at the image above.

What I saw that time that I had missed earlier was the nice contrast between the light playing on the nose of SD70M No. 2587 and the shadows on both sides of the tracks.

Light and shadows adds tension to an image as well as visual interest.

The contrast extends to the rails that No. 2587 and its train are about to traverse. Ditto for the rest of the train, which can be seen enveloped in shadows in the distance.

The light is also illuminating the heads of the railfans along the fence watching the train pass.

I wouldn’t categorize this as the best railroad photograph I’ll make this year and many might see it as just another train picture.

Maybe so, yet it reminds me that sometimes you have to look at an image multiple times to really see it.

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Summerail and Train Watching in Marion

August 14, 2017

Summerail returned to Marion last Saturday and there are indications that it will be back there again in 2018.

Master of ceremonies Ron Flanary announced toward the end of the program that the 2018 event will be held on Aug. 11 at the Palace Theater in Marion, where it was also held in 2016.

Traditionally, Summerail has been held in Cincinnati, but was moved to Marion last year due to construction at Cincinnati Union Terminal.

The move to Marion was expected to be for just two years, but Marion does offer some advantages over Cincinnati, primarily the use of an auditorium with expansive seating.

Past sessions of Summerail have sold out weeks before the event, but the Palace Theater has enough seating to make possible walk-up sales of tickets on the day of the event.

The 22nd edition of Summerail offered 10 multi-media programs with images set to music. Each program was about 45 minutes in duration and featured digital images.

A few programs had introductory commentary and videos embedded amid the usual progression of still images.

None of the programs were presented by Northeast Ohio residents and scenes of railroading from Northeast Ohio were scarce.

I spotted several Akron Railroad Club members in Marion during the day including Peter Bowler, Ron McElrath, Mark Demaline, Jim Mastrommateo, David Mangold, Richard Antibus and Tom Fritsch.

Some of them spent their day watching trains at Marion Union Station rather than viewing the Summerail programs.

The original Norfolk Southern heritage unit led an eastbound NS coal train through Marion in late afternoon, but I missed it because its passage occurred during the last set of afternoon programs.

Some Summerail regulars have a practice of dining at a Skyline Chili restaurant in Cincinnati during the dinner break.

Although Skyline has several franchises outside of southwestern Ohio, there are none in Marion.

Railfan & Railroad magazine arranged a catered Skyline chili dinner at Marion Union Station.

Tickets were $12 with a portion of the proceeds going to the station association.

The dinner was catered by a Skyline franchise in Westerville, a Columbus suburb.

A railfan sits at the operator’s desk in AC Tower as CSX train Q007 passes by.

BNSF motive power leads an eastbound grain train on the Columbus Subdivision of CSX.

Some Summerail attendees spent part of their dinner break watching trains. An eastbound NS manifest freight passes the photo line.

CSX westbound stack train Q007 had a pair of Kansas City Southern “Belles” in the motive power consist.

As westbound Q007 passes AC Tower, NS train 234 waits in the background.

The rear of NS train 234 passes the Erie Lackawanna caboose, which sits at the site of a former Erie Railroad division headquarters building.

 

 

NS 961, a light power move from Columbus to Bellevue, passes AC Tower.

Master of ceremonies Ron Flanary introduces a program.

Dishing out the Skyline Chili.

Railfan & Railroad editor Steve Barry dives into a cheese coney in the waiting room of Marion Union Station.

Pair of Uncles Petes Minutes Apart in Marion

July 13, 2017

NS train 175 pounds the diamonds with the CSX Mt. Victory Subdivision as it passes AC Tower in Marion, Ohio, on the NS Sandusky District.

NS Train 195 approaches AC Tower in Marion.

Union Pacific motive power is hardly a rarity on the Norfolk Southern lines radiating from Bellevue.

What might be a little out of the ordinary is seeing two trains led by UP locomotives in a span of less than five minutes.

That was the treat for trackside observers in Marion last Sunday afternoon when train No. 175, a Bellevue to Macon, Georgia, (Brosnan Yard) manifest freight cruised through town and past AC Tower with a pair of faded UP units on the point.

The 175 met at South Marion the 195, a Linwood, North Carolina, to Bellevue manifest freight that was led by a newer UP unit.

Minutes after the 175 cleared AC Tower, the 195 came roaring past.

Just Another ‘Routine’ Day in Marion

April 14, 2017

One highlight of my day in Marion in early March was this Kansas City Southern “Belle” helping to pull the Q106.

Every time that I plan a day railfan outing I’m always hoping for something out of the ordinary to occur.

Typically, I hope for something other than the same old, same old in motive power or train consists.

By that standard, my outing to Marion in early March was pretty average. Norfolk Southern didn’t send any heritage or special tributes through town during the nine hours that I was there.

No foreign units led any of the 30 trains that I logged. There were foreign units trailing in three motive power consists, one of which was the Q106, a run-through intermodal train from the Kansas City Southern.

The second unit in the motive power consist of that train was a KCS Southern Belle. I would have liked for it to have been leading. I would liked even more for that motive power set to have gone back west that afternoon, but it didn’t.

Motive power matters aside, I considered the outing to be a success. Train traffic was steady throughout the day. CSX was its usual hit and miss, but it provided 12 trains, although nothing ran west on the CSX Columbus Subdivision.

It took longer than I expected for the temperatures to warm to a comfortable feeling, but the skies were mostly sunny. That alone can make it a good day.

I had not been in Marion since last August when I attended Summerail so I wasn’t aware of a major change that has improved photography there.

CSX has removed the poles on the south side of the Mt. Victory Subdivision. One of those used to block the sight lines of photographs made from AC Tower.

A stub of a pole by the diamonds of the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern with the Mt. Victory Sub holds station identifier signs for NS. It looks kind of funny, but it is what it is.

Here is a selection of some of my better images of the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The first “foreign” locomotive that I spotted was a BNSF unit trailing a CSX leader on a westbound auto rack train on the Mt. Victory Sub.

An eastbound NS coal train approaches the junction with CSX.

CSX grain train G646 is about to rattle the diamonds as it rumbles eastward on the Columbus Sub.

Without poles along the CSX tracks, the sight lines from AC Tower are now open for shooting eastbound trains passing Marion Union Station on the Mt. Victory Sub. The train is the Q008.

Remember that pole that you used to have to shoot around from the steps of AC Tower? I can’t say that I miss it.

An NS engineer gives a wave to railfans in Marion.

 

Penn Central Memories Bleeding Through

January 16, 2017
A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away in the collection of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

Penn Central disappeared as a railroad on April 1, 1976, when many of its railroad assets were absorbed by the newly-formed Consolidated Rail Corporation.

But Penn Central as a corporate entity continued to exist because it had extensive real estate holdings.

The railroad of the name Penn Central is far better known than the Penn Central Corporation, which continue to hold and manage the non-rail assets owned by the railroad that Conrail didn’t want.

A decade after Penn Central, the railroad, ceased to operate, Penn Central, the corporation, continued to sell and manage those assets. It even reorganized itself on Oct. 24, 1978, when it adopted the Penn Central Corporation moniker, and on March 28, 1994, when it was renamed American Premium Underwriters.

That suggests an insurance company, which is exactly what it was. It had its headquarters in Cincinnati and later was acquired by American Financial Group.

But enough history of Penn Central the financial company. Penn Central the railroad best known for seeking bankruptcy protection in June 1970 still lives if you look for it.

You can find vestiges of PC in the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum as well as on the sides of covered hopper cars.

I present here a gallery of Penn Central memories that were still living that I found in the past year and a half at various locations in Ohio.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Look closely and you'll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

Look closely and you’ll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.

Few More From the Longest Day in Marion

July 6, 2016
A corner of the model board and CTC panel from F Tower in Fostoria is visible as an eastbound CSX train passes Marion Union Station on the Mt. Victory Subdivision.

A corner of the model board and CTC panel from F Tower in Fostoria is visible as an eastbound CSX train passes Marion Union Station on the Mt. Victory Subdivision.

As I said in a report, the 2016 longest day outing in Marion was a fairly average affair. But it provided the opportunity to photograph and watch nearly 30 trains of CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Here are a few more of my favorite images from the outing.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

An eastbound NS train meets the caboose painted in Erie Lackawanna colors and markings.

An eastbound NS train meets the caboose painted in Erie Lackawanna colors and markings.

A lone CSX locomotive is able to handle a westbound manifest freight on the Columbus Subdivision.

A lone CSX locomotive is able to handle a westbound manifest freight on the Columbus Subdivision.

For my last photo of the day I decided to emulate an image I made as my last photo of the day at the 2009 Marion longest day outing. However, in 2009 I was still using slide film.

For my last photo of the day I decided to emulate an image I made as my last photo of the day at the 2009 Marion longest day outing. However, in 2009 I was still using slide film.

A CSX locomotive is trying hard to emulate a steam locomotive. The second unit making all of the smoke is on the Q366, which is about to cross over at the crossover in the foreground.

A CSX locomotive is trying hard to emulate a steam locomotive. The second unit making all of the smoke is on the Q366, which is about to go through the crossover in the foreground.

The Spirit of Louisville was one of four "feature" locomotives that we spotted that are tracked on HeritageUnits.com. I didn't know that CSX had a unit honoring Louisville, Kentucky, until I saw it.

The Spirit of Louisville was one of four “feature” locomotives that we spotted that are tracked on HeritageUnits.com. I didn’t know that CSX had a unit honoring Louisville, Kentucky, until I saw it.

NS Operation Lifesaver locomotive No. 9252 leads eastbound train No. 175 through Marion in mid morning.

NS Operation Lifesaver locomotive No. 9252 leads eastbound train No. 175 through Marion in mid morning.

Just an Average Longest Day in Marion

June 28, 2016
The highlight of the 2016 longest day in Marion was seeing the Monongahela heritage unit trailing in the motive power consist of train No. 376.

The highlight of the 2016 longest day in Marion was seeing the Monongahela heritage unit trailing in the motive power consist of train No. 376.

If I had to sum up the 2016 Akron Railroad Club longest day outing in Marion in one word, I would describe it as “average.”

It had its moments, but it also provided yet another lesson in how CSX operations these days can be erratic due to falling traffic and an operating plan that concentrates traffic on longer and fewer trains.

CSX traffic died in early afternoon and stayed comatose for four hours.

One contributing factor for that might have been that CSX was virtually shut down in parts of West Virginia due to flooding. Traffic that we might normally have seen on the Columbus Subdivision was being held elsewhere.

The highlight of the day was catching the Monongahela heritage unit of Norfolk Southern, which came through town westbound in late morning as the second of three units pulling train No. 376.

The appearance of No. 8025 was a surprise. The last sighting of it reported on HeritageUnits.com had been two days earlier in Kentucky.

We also spotted three other locomotives that are tracked on HeritageUnits. These included CSX No. 12 (the Spirit of Louisville), NS Operation Lifesaver No. 9252 and a former Chicago & North Western unit still in its original colors but with a Union Pacific patch.

Of the four “feature” locomotives that we spotted, only NS 9252 was leading its train. It was that type of day.

During the nine hours that I was in Marion, NS provided what you would expect. It put 16 trains through town with seven headed west and nine going east. NS traffic was fairly even throughout the day despite some lull periods.

After an NS track gang cleared up about 3 p.m., three eastbound trains rolled through Marion in succession, with two of them nearly running on the block of the train ahead.

It was a good thing because CSX had gone into a slumber. After the 1:30 p.m. passage of the L132 from the Mt. Victory Sub to the Columbus Sub, CSX went dormant.

I left at 6:20 p.m. and the CSX train count was 11 with three trains having gone west on the Columbus Sub and none going east. The Mt. Victory Sub had seen three westbounds and five eastbounds.

It was a hot, humid day with temperatures reaching into the upper 80s. Both railroads had heat patrols out. CSX also had a work zone on the Columbus Sub south of Marion.

Aside from two Union Pacific units on the L132, we did not see any other foreign power.

Nine ARRC members made the trip and our party swelled to 15 if you count former members and guests who were on hand.

The Marion Union Station Association opened the depot around noon and Pete gave tours of the signal collection and AC tower.

We spent much of our time in the station’s breezeway, which, thankfully, had shade and a southerly breeze for much of the day.

The day started out mostly sunny, but by late afternoon it had become mostly cloudy with dark clouds gathering to the northwest that never developed into a storm. We did briefly get some light rain.

We filled the lull periods with stories about past excursions and railfan outings. We also decided that next year’s longest day will be held in Bellevue.

For more photographs from the 2016 ARRC longest day outing, click on the link below:

https://akronrrclub.wordpress.com/about/activities/2016-longest-day-in-marion/

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Train Time in Marion

June 14, 2016
A CSX westbound auto rack train bangs the diamonds of the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern.

A CSX westbound auto rack train bangs the diamonds of the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern.

The view of an eastbound NS manifest freight as seen from the stops of AC tower.

The view of an eastbound NS manifest freight as seen from the stops of AC tower.

And a ground level view of an eastbound NS manifest freight on the Sandusky District.

And a ground level view of an eastbound NS manifest freight on the Sandusky District.

In less than two weeks it will be time for the Akron Railroad Club to set out on its annual longest-day outing and this year we’re going to Marion.

The busy railroad junction northwest of Columbus was the site where the ARRC held its first longest day venture in the 1980s. We’ve been back there several times.

This past April I stopped by Marion for a few hours on my way home from the Columbus train show.

Traffic was about what you would expect although nothing out of the ordinary passed through during my time there.

Here is a sample of what I saw, which should preview what we can expect to see on June 26 during the longest day outing.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Marion Operator’s Viewpoint (Reconstructed)

May 6, 2016

Marion

It has been many years since an operator lined the switches and signals from AC Tower in Marion.

In fact, it has been several years since the tower itself was moved across the tracks to its current location and restored as a museum run by the Marion Union Station Association.

The tower is a popular spot to photograph trains in Marion, particularly from its metal stairway.

I’ve seen a few images made over the years through the tower’s windows and I’ve tried my hand at it myself.

The photo above is not a pure representation of what the operator would see while sitting at his desk. For one thing, the operator would not be standing behind the desk as I did.

And I highly doubt that when operators worked in AC tower that they had a contribution jar on their desk.

Still, museums exist to give visitors a sense of how it once was during a given era that is no more. The number of interlocking towers where operators line switches and signals had dwindled to a small number and they might not be around much longer.

But this is the beauty of a museum. We can create visual representations of what it looked like and what it must have felt like to have been standing at the elbow of the operator as he watched a train pass by.

It’s not the real thing, but it’s as close as we can get to going back into a bygone era.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders