Posts Tagged ‘NS Lackawanna Heritage Locomotive’

Catching Up with NS 1074

June 3, 2020










This past Sunday I saw online that Norfolk Southern No. 1074, the Lackawanna heritage unit, was leading on intermodal train 206. Just before noon, I drove up to the bridge carrying the NS Lake Erie District over the Grand River in Painesville to meet Jeff Troutman. I got stopped by a super long 22K. About 20 minutes later a very short 206 showed up.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Somethin’ Different on CSX in Kent

April 16, 2018

On Saturday the Lackawanna heritage unit of Norfolk Southern led CSX train S370 through the Akron area at about 4:30 p.m. I caught it passing under the Erie station in Kent. The train originated in Chicago on Friday.

Photograph by Todd Dillon

IC, CP and an All Day Wait for NS 1074

May 6, 2017

Achieving my first objective of the day was easy. A Canadian National train with three Illinois Central locomotives showed up shortly after I arrived in Conneaut.

Last Sunday didn’t get off to a good start. I got up later than I expected or wanted.

I had toyed with the idea of leaving at 5 a.m. and trying to catch the eastbound Lake Shore Limited in Conneaut or North East, Pennsylvania.

But with the weather looking iffy, I didn’t want to get an early start only to have mostly cloudy skies. Catching No. 48 can wait for a better day.

Shortly before 7 a.m. someone posted on that the Lackawanna heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern was leading the 14M at Wampum, Pennsylvania.

A quick online check of NS train symbols showed the 14M to be a Conway to Buffalo, New York, train.

How long would it take to get to Conneaut? I figured it to be a manifest freight that might work in Youngstown and even in Conneaut. Somewhere along the way it would need to change crews.

I didn’t get away until about 8:30. As I drove on I-90 past Carson Yard on the NS Youngstown Line south of Ashtabula I looked to see if the 14M was there. It wasn’t.

Once in Conneaut I headed north on Mill Street but nothing was sitting in the yard other than the usual yard power.

I got stopped at the CSX crossing by an eastbound ballast train. I parked in the lot for the Conneaut Historical Society across from the CSX Erie West Subdivision tracks.

I had three objectives for the day. Catch a train on Canadian National – the former Bessemer & Lake Erie – get the 14M and bag a pair of those Citirail units that CSX has been leasing of late.

There was no guarantee the Bessemer would be operating today from Conneaut, but there was  a good chance that it would and that it would have Illinois Central motive power.

The 14M looked like a good bet but bagging the Citirail units would be a long shot.

I set up my antenna, checked the frequencies on my scanner and waited. Less than two minutes later I heard a transmission on the B&LE channel. A train was working in the yard.

Over to the Main Street crossing I went. The B&LE channel got quiet for about 10 to 15 minutes before the switching moves resumed.

By now NS 316 had arrived in town and was working the yard. In the process they discovered they had a loaded car destined for Bellevue. Should they leave it in Conneaut or take it to Buffalo?

“Take it with you,” was the response of the Youngstown Line dispatcher.

It was getting to be late morning when Illinois Central 1034 and two sister IC units came out of the yard and poked their noses out beyond the NS trestle over Conneaut Creek.

The crew was wrapping up putting together its train. I was hoping to get the lead unit of the NS 316 crossing the trestle above IC 1034, but it was not to be.

The CN train had left town by the time the 316 ambled eastbound with Canadian Pacific No. 8917 on the point.

Under normal circumstances, I would have chased the CN train into Pennsylvania. But today I still had unfinished business. I returned to the historical society parking lot next to the CSX tracks.

It was about noon when I heard the Youngstown Line dispatcher make radio contact with the 14M.

The discussion occurred on the Youngstown Line frequency so 14M still had yet to reach Ashtabula.

Eastbound traffic on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline through Ashtabula was heavy, so the dispatcher agreed to recrew the 14M at Carson.

In the eastbound parade were intermodal trains 22K and 206 along with auto rack train 28N.

I didn’t bother to seek out the 22K or 206. Instead I focused on CSX for awhile.

An eastbound rail train came through around 12:30 p.m. that was followed by an eastbound stack train.

Shortly thereafter, a westbound monster freight, the Q393, slowly made its way through town with all 15,000 feet of it making all of 30 mph.

Welcome to the world of E. Hunter Harrison’s precision scheduled railroading.

I later heard the IH dispatcher tell another train he would do his best to get that train around the Q393, but it would be difficult.

Around 1:38 p.m. the Youngstown Line dispatcher talked with the 14M again. The new crew was on board and the train was on the move.

It must have moved slowly because by mid-afternoon it still wasn’t out of Ashtabula. It would follow train 310.

In the meantime, another story began playing out on NS. I had heard the dispatcher periodically tell the crew of westbound 287, an auto rack train, that it would be waiting in yet another siding for yet another eastbound.

The 287 must have been in and out of every siding between here and Buffalo.

Around 3 p.m. the dispatcher told the 287 it would have to go into the siding at PA for the 310 and the 14M. The latter was just now coming around the Buffalo connection in Ashtabula.

The 287 crew reminded the dispatcher it had been on duty since 5 a.m. But his brushed that aside saying they needed to take that up with the first trick dispatcher who was on duty “when that baby was born.”

I also learned that the 14M would be dropping off a locomotive at Conneaut. Less than 15 minutes later the dispatcher, his supervisor or the NS computer program that makes train dispatching decisions had a change of heart.

The 287 would come into Conneaut for a recrew. But the new crew would have the same experience the old crew old had, having to wait for opposing traffic. In this case it would mean waiting at the west end of Parish siding for the 310 and 14M.

It was getting to be late afternoon and I was getting impatient. Where was the 14M?

I decided to go look for it. I drove out to Parish Road on the west side of Conneaut, parked and walked up onto the bridge.

But there was no sign of the 14M and the signal at the west end of the yard for eastbounds was red. A CSX westbound passed by but I didn’t pay it much mind.

I noticed that the connecting track from NS to CSX, which I’ve been told was put in during the Conrail era and once hosted a detour of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, is still in place, but overgrown with weeds.

NS has altered the switch so that it now appears to act as a derail yet it is no longer possible to move a train into the connection track to CSX.

As I waited for the 14M, a large bank of clouds moved in and covered the sun. It had been sun and clouds for most of the day, but the weather was taking a turn.

I was about to give up and go back into town when I heard a horn to the west. Maybe that was the 14M.

Soon a headlight popped up on the horizon. The signal at the west end of the yard was still red and the train was moving slowly.

A glimpse through my telephoto lens confirmed that the Lackawanna H unit was on the point.

The 14M stopped but it didn’t last long because the signal turned to an approach indication.

I got my photographs and drove back to the historical society. Shortly after arriving, the heavens opened and we had an intense, although brief, shower that produced small hail pellets.

I listened to the 14M on the radio as it worked in the Conneaut Yard. During the process I got a CSX westbound freight that was a mere 300 plus axles. I guess those cars wouldn’t fit on the Q393.

By now it was apparent I wasn’t going to get any Citirail units leading on CSX today.

The 14M finished its work and I drove over to the Main Street crossing of the B&LE to photograph NS 1074 on the trestle over Conneaut Creek.

It was nearly 5:30 p.m. and I needed to head for home. It had taken all day, but I had finally got a heritage unit, the first one I’ve photographed since January.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Looks like it is going to be a nice spring day.

IC 1034 and its train will be leaving town shortly.

Looking west down Main Street.

NS train 316 had a Canadian Pacific leader and a loaded car that was supposed to have been routed to Bellevue.

The W021 has a load of rail bound for some eastern work site.

The ATVs racing along side this eastbound CSX stack train were not part of the original plan for making this image.

Trying to show Q017 along with a pair of flowering trees.

The crew of NS train 287 was relieved to hear the dispatcher say there had been a change of plans and they would come into Conneaut sooner rather than later.

A black locomotive and a bright red garage.

At last the 14M is approaching Conneaut with the feature attraction of the day on NS.

Coming into Conneaut on an approach.

After the rain came a short by today’s CSX standards manifest freight.

The last image of the day was one I waited several hours to get.

An ‘All Day’ Heritage Unit Chase

May 2, 2017

It took nearly all day, but I finally caught Norfolk Southern No. 1074, the Lackawanna heritage locomotive, on  Sunday in Conneaut.

No. 1974 was on the point of train 14M, a Conway to Buffalo, New York, manifest freight.

It is shown at Parish Road just before entering the Conneaut Yard.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Generations Apart

August 5, 2016

EL generations 2

EL generations 1

Here is some Erie Lackawanna heritage that is generations apart. The top photo of the Lackawanna heritage unit of Norfolk Southern was made in July 2016 at Macedonia while the bottom photo is from April 1976 in Akron. As luck would have it, both are leading two black painted units and both are EMDs. All the units in the 1976 photo are gone as are the ex EL tracks they are on.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

For One Fleeting Moment

December 14, 2015





While Thomas Wolfe has written that “you can’t go home again,” sometimes you can get close. All of my morning plans got put aside this past Saturday when I learned that the Lackawanna heritage unit was out of New Castle and running west on CSX.

There was no question where I wanted to photograph this train. It would be from the same spot that I shot an Erie Lackawanna train back in 1975, the Thornton Street bridge in Akron.

Yes, the 1074 was not on ex-EL track for the simple reason there isn’t any EL track remaining here.

That road to the left of the 1074 was where the EL mainlines used to be. Still, I never would have believed I would ever shoot gray, maroon and yellow passing through downtown Akron again.

I’d like to think maybe the ghosts of the EL were pacing this train as it rolled west, mere inches from where the EL once was. Regardless, it brought a bittersweet smile to my face. For one fleeting moment I was close to home.

Truth be told, that photo probably had more meaning to me than any other one I’ve taken this year.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

‘Phoebe Snow’ Does CSX New Castle Sub

July 13, 2015

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The Lackawanna heritage unit of Norfolk Southern made an appearance last Saturday on the New Castle Subdivision of CSX.

Coming over CSX from Delaware gave several days of advance notice for this trip.

Early Saturday morning, the empty oil train that it was leading pulled into the yard at Connellsville, Pennsylvania, for its 1,000 mile inspection.  This took about eight to nine hours before getting underway again.

Progress through Pittsburgh was slow going and we headed to New Castle, Pennsylvania, which would be the next crew change point.

After getting a couple pictures in New Castle we headed a little west toward Lowellville, Ohio.

About a half hour later the “Pheobe Snow” came through. We chased it to Youngstown, barely missing it there.

The next stop was Akron where I got it at the location of the old Erie freight house, which is now an apartment complex catering to University of Akron students.  Here my chase ended as the sky had clouded up.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Heritage Locomotive Bonus Day in Pittsburgh

February 4, 2015
The Lackawanna and Central of New Jersey heritage locomotives teamed up to lead an eastbound crude oil train beneath the iconic Pennsylvania Railroad signal bridge at Leetsdale, Pa.

The Lackawanna and Central of New Jersey heritage locomotives teamed up to lead an eastbound crude oil train beneath the iconic Pennsylvania Railroad signal bridge at Leetsdale, Pa.

Last Saturday was almost one of those days that railroad photographers dream about.

Every so often you’ll see a posting on a railfan chat list in which the poster brags about having bagged multiple Norfolk Southern heritage locomotives in a single outing.

There’s an element of luck involved in doing that. You have to be in the right place at the right times on the right day.

I nearly had one of those days last Saturday. The day dawned with four heritage locomotives sitting in Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

This included the Central of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Lackawanna and Central of New Jersey heritage units.

By mid morning the Monongahela H unit had joined them after coming in on the lead of a manifest freight that had traveled the Fort Wayne Line to Alliance and then the Cleveland Line to Rochester, Pa.

East of Pittsburgh, the Illinois Terminal unit was the second locomotive in the power consist of a westbound tanker train. If you’re not counting that is six heritage locomotives and I saw all of them.

A friend and I were railfanning the Fort Wayne Line at Highland Cut where I was looking to make some winter photographs of the snow and ice on the sides of the cut as trains maneuver through an S curve.

There was a report that the Lackawanna and Central of New Jersey H units had teamed up and were backing onto a train at Conway. But the report was confusing as to whether the train would be doing east or west.

We decided to head for Conway to check it out. It turned out that the train was the eastbound 66Z.

It was just starting to move as we arrived. In the meantime, we spotted the Central of Georgia H unit sitting at the engine service facility.

This is the only NS heritage locomotive that I had not photographed. I still don’t have a photo of it.

Sitting near the fuel rack was the Pennsy H unit. It was coupled to a pair of Canadian Pacific locomotives.

Rather than loop back so I could get a drive-by photo of the Central of Georgia unit, we continued to Leetsdale because the 66Z was on the move.

After checking out the photo angles from the bridge to the industrial park, we elected to shoot at ground level just east of the westbound signals at CP Leets.

That proved to be a good decision. The 66Z came by us shortly after we got situated.

The engineer of the NS 1074 (Lackawanna H unit) reported to the Conway Terminal Dispatcher that the locomotive had stopped loading and he reset everything.

It then began slowly loading again. The dispatcher advised the crew to keep him informed if there was any change.

After photographing the 66Z in Leetsdale, we took off to see if we could catch the train a second time.

It was moving along at a good clip and we got off to a late start. We also didn’t know if it would go via the Mon Line or through West Park near downtown Pittsburgh.

We had to travel the congested and traffic light plagued Ohio River Boulevard. Our chances didn’t look too good, but we tried anyway.

As luck would have it we caught the 66Z and didn’t see it on the Ohio River Connecting Bridge that is part of the Mon Line.

Then Adam missed the turn to get off the freeway. The GPA on his smartphone recalculated and we got off at another exit north of where we wanted to be.

We had to navigate a maze of city streets. In our favor, though, was a report from the dispatcher to the 66Z to take it easy to Milvale because there was a train ahead stopped to get a new crew.

That meant that the 66Z was moving at a near crawl. I spotted the ditch lights as we rolled up to the Ridge Avenue bridge over the trench in West Park.

We probably parked illegally, jumped out and ran to the bridge. At the same time, a cluster of railfans were also converging on the bridge from two directions with cameras in hand.

A couple who were cross country skiing in West Park asked us to step out of the way so they could cross the bridge on the snow on the sidewalk.

We obliged and wondered what they must have been thinking at seeing a bunch of guys with cameras come running up.

I got the photo and we headed back to Leetsdale, checking out the locomotive situation in Conway.

The Central of Georgia and Pennsylvania heritage locomotives were covered up so there was no chance of getting a clear drive-by shot of them.

We saw the Monongahela H unit in a motive power consist at the west end of Conway that appeared to be attaching to a train. But a passing coal train and the guard rail prevented me from getting a clear shot. It was trailing anyway.

With the Illinois Terminal unit on a 65R that was in the Pittsburgh area, we hung out at Leetsdale to photograph that train.

Of the six heritage units I had seen, I was able to photograph three of them. Sure, I’d would have liked to have gotten all six, but I was pleased with what I was able to see and photograph. It had been an amazing day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A wide angle view of NS 1074 and NS 1071 at Leetsdale. To the right is a stopped westbound tanker train waiting for a signal.

A wide angle view of NS 1074 and NS 1071 at Leetsdale. To the right is a stopped westbound tanker train waiting for a signal.

Despite traffic signals turning red, heavy traffic and making a wrong turn, we got to West Park just in time to capture the 66Z going through the trench.

Despite traffic signals turning red, heavy traffic and making a wrong turn, we got to West Park just in time to capture the 66Z going through the trench.

The photographers huddled together on the Ridge Avenue bridge cast a shadow on the snow and soon the NS 1074 in Pittsburgh's West Park.

The photographers huddled together on the Ridge Avenue bridge cast a shadow on the snow and soon the NS 1074 in Pittsburgh’s West Park.



NS OCS Makes Appearance in Region

June 26, 2014




The Norfolk Southern executive train, also known as an office car special, passed (slowly) through Cleveland last week.

I managed to catch it after work in Bedford at CP 107 on the Cleveland Line. It was stopped for traffic ahead.

Direct sunlight was tough to come by, but I did manage two photos of it as 14K was just clearing  and as the OCS started west, passing under the westward home signals at CP 107.

A couple of hours earlier, I had used the “aught” track off to the right to enter Motor Yard with a transfer from Rockport. The Lackawanna H unit made an appearance about weeks ago on the 14K, shown passing through the same CP 107 as the OCS. It looks like some touch up paint is in order.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

2 for Thursday in NS Heritage Locomotives

January 17, 2014




Thanks to a heads up from the Akron Railroad Club blog I was able to score a twofer of Norfolk Southern heritage units on Thursday.

In the top photograph, the Lackawanna heritage locomotive leads train 205 through Cleveland on the bridge over the Flats.  I barely just got to the University Inn seconds ahead of the train.

Simultaneously, the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit was leading counterpart train 206 through Cleveland with the two meeting at Rockport yard.  I caught this train off the old Broadway Road overpass (or what’s left of it).

These two railroads have more in common than simply ending up owned by Norfolk Southern many years later.

During the 1950s, the Lackawanna owned a controlling interest in the Nickel Plate with freight and passenger traffic handed off to each other at Buffalo.

The Lackawanna even tried to merge with the NKP at this time. That particular merger failed but both ended up under the NS umbrella.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon