Posts Tagged ‘NS Lake Erie District’

An Enjoyable Outing to Start 2022

April 9, 2022

This past Sunday Marty Surdyk and I drove to Erie to see an Erie Otters minor league hockey game.

After Marty picked me up at my house in Painesville, we stayed close to both railroads on either Route 84 or Route 20 Between Madison and Geneva.

We heard on the scanner that Norfolk Southern intermodal train 22K was near and we set up at Brown Road midway between Geneva and Saybrook.

The top two images above are what I captured of the 22K at this location.

Heading east we wanted to check out a rumor that Marty heard recently that the Norfolk Southern (ex-Nickel Plate) trestle at Conneaut would be replaced just as the trestle in Painesville was a few years ago. 

We also heard on the radio that 22K would take the siding at Woodworth Road east of the Conneaut Creek trestle to allow approaching 206 to pass it.

What we found was that a construction road has been cut through the trees off Main Street at creek level before the road started uphill out of the valley.

Then on Woodworth Road on the east end we spotted construction equipment and markers on the south side of the trestle for the new bridge. Over the next year I’m sure we will return to view and photograph the progress.

We then headed east and set up at Lucas Road near East Springfield, Pennsylvania, to await NS 206. Lucas Road is the last of back-to-back road crossings. The third photo above was made at that location.

Our last photo op would be the next crossing at Townline Road west of Girard, Pennsylvania. Photo 4 shows the 22K after it came out of the siding several miles back.

It was a gloomy day but we did enjoy an exciting hockey game in which the Otters defeated the Kitchener (Ontario) Rangers 6-2.

The arena is adjacent to the ballpark for the Class AA Erie SeaWolves. Actually the arena is the left field wall for the ballpark.

I always had a nickname for that when we’ve attended baseball games there. Fenway Park has the famous Green Monster. Erie has the Arena Monster.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trestle Tales: The End Less Photographed

February 9, 2022

Most of the images Ed Ribinskas has made of the former Nickel Plate Road trestle over the Grand River in Painesville were made at the east end of the bridge.

He stayed away from the west end for several years to avoid trespassing on the property of Coe Manufacturing. Another factor was that it would be a tight shot because of tree growth that dated back to the end of the steam locomotive era.

After Coe Manufacturing closed and its building were razed, Ed felt more comfortable scouting for photo angles at the west end.

Nonetheless, it was still a tight shot. The best time of year to photograph the west end of the trestle was during the winter.

“Probably the very few times I photographed there resulted in my best and favorites,” Ed wrote.

The bottom two photographs were made of westbound manifest freight 145 at about 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2014 (Super Bowl Sunday).

With Ed that day were fellow Akron Railroad Club members Marty Surdyk and Craig Sanders.

The top two images were made in early afternoon on May 6, 2018.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trestle Tales: Finding the Out of the Ordinary

February 7, 2022

Rivers are not static. They shift course and their levels rise and fall. These developments can damage bridge abutments as happened in spring 1985 when NS had to reroute some trains and issue slow orders for others until the Painesville trestle over the Grand River could be repaired (top photo).

Over time, some bridge abutments have been replaced, the results of which can be seen in the images of the Triple Crown RoadRailer trains crossing the trestle in April 1989.

The former Nickel Plate Road route between Cleveland and Buffalo never had the high level of traffic as the parallel CSX and former New York Central route, but it had its share of out-of-the ordinary sightings.

On Oct. 27, 2004, Norfolk Southern sent an Operation Lifesaver train from Rockport Yard in Cleveland to Ashtabula and back.

The encroaching vegetation is evident on the east end of the bridge as compared to what it was in the views recorded 15 years earlier.

Another unique movements that crossed the trestle was the eastbound Lake Shore Limited using the NS route due to a CSX derailment in Painesville. Amtrak Train 48 was photographed on Oct. 13, 2007.

On July 23, 2015, a large crowd of railfan photographs turned out to photograph Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 no. 765 cross another NKP institution on a ferry move from Cleveland (Rockport Yard) to Ashtabula to be in position to pull public excursions between Ashtabula and Youngstown.

Finally, on Aug. 3, 2016, the NS business train led by F units passed through Painesville.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trestle Tales: Vestiges of the N&W

February 6, 2022

The Nickel Plate Road built a steel trestle over the Grand River in Painesville in 1905. It continued to stand through two changes in railroad ownership, the transition from steam to diesel power, and the end of passenger service.

But even a structure as imposing as a steel trestle is not forever. In March 2017 contractors hired by Norfolk Southern began building a new bridge largely constructed of pre-cast concrete.

That 1,318-foot structure opened to rail traffic on Sept. 30, 2018, when eastbound intermodal train 206 was the first train to use it.

The contractor then began removing the trestle, which was located north of the new bridge, and before the end of the year it was gone.

Since 2003 Ed Ribinskas has lived minutes away from the Painesville trestle. He attended Riverside High School, which was and still is a stone’s throw away from the trestle’s location.

The trestle appears in many of his railroad photographs made on the Nickel Plate Road mainline in Painesville.

This is the first of series of articles with photographs showing how the environment around the trestle and rail operations on the ex-NKP mainline between Cleveland and Buffalo have changed over the years.

Today, Ed looks back to the late 1980s during the first decade of NS operation.

In that era, the trestle was mostly clear of trees and brush. The top two images are thought to be train CN 90 and were made on March 29, 1986.

The CN 90 is shown the next day in the third photograph running long hood forward, which was the usual operating practice during the Norfolk & Western era of the 1970s and 1980s.

The last photo shows Norfolk & Western Class J No. 611 headed to Erie, Pennsylvania, on a ferry move on Aug. 1, 1986.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Here Comes the NS 145 in Painesville

January 30, 2022

For several years in late January or early February, I would get together with Ed Ribinskas and Marty Surdyk for a day of railfanning in Lake County. Sometimes Jeff Troutman would join us.

We would spend much of the day on the CSX Erie West Subdivision and the Lake Erie District of Norfolk Southern in and near Perry.

This being Northeast Ohio, we always expected winter weather. By that I mean snow. But not every year saw bountiful snow on the ground despite Lake County being in a region of Ohio known for heavy snow.

During a few of those outings, the day was dark and dreary with little evidence of the beauty of winter.

That was not the case, though, during our outing of Feb. 2, 2014.

Overnight it had rained and then snow fell as the temperatures dropped.

The wet conditions meant that snow clung to just about everything in sight and pretty much stayed that way all day.

The result was one of the best winter railfanning outings I’ve ever had.

Several image from that day I’ve posted on this site before and Marty has shown during Akron Railroad Club programs some of the slides he made that day.

Ed won a monthly “best photograph” contest at Dodd Camera and received a free framed enlargement of that image that he has hanging on a wall of the dining room of his house.

That winning image was made late in the afternoon of westbound NS manifest freight 145 crossing the trestle over the Grand River in Painesville.

Last week I was rummaging through some of my digital file folders from early 2014 when I came across the images I made on Feb. 2.

Much to my surprise, I’ve only posted a few of those images on my Flickr page.

So I spent a couple days selecting and processing in Photoshop some images that had never been processed.

Shown above is a three-image sequence of the 145 crossing the now replaced Grand River trestle.

We were standing just beyond the west end of the bridge with all of us taking slightly different angles. What I liked about this series is how each image offers a different perspective.

The sequence begins with the train approaching the trestle from the east end, which captures that sense of anticipation that something memorable is about to happen.

It continues with an image of the train about halfway across the trestle and offers that compressed view common with images made with a telephoto lens.

The final image is what many would consider the money shot. Ed won the photo contest with an image similar to this one.

The train has reached the west edge of the bridge but is not yet off of it. The image combines the elements of a close train with a wide scenic view in a sort of convergence.

When I originally processed that image nearly eight years ago I converted it to black and white. There wasn’t much color in the scene and the conditions just seemed to say “black and white world.”

But after working with the image in color I decided it looks good in that form, too.

This day was one of the very few times I ever photographed NS operations on the Painesville trestle at the west end. I have numerous images from the east end, but rarely sought to do the west end.

The trestle had been built decades earlier by the Nickel Plate Road and was one of those structures that was always there even though ownership of the railroad changed to Norfolk & Western and then to Norfolk Southern.

It was always there even after the steam locomotives were retired, after the passenger trains were discontinued and after one generation of diesel locomotives had made way for another.

Generations of railroaders hired out and later retired after having crossed this bridge countless times during their long careers.

And then, so it seemed, one day the trestle was gone, replaced by a bridge that seems nondescript by comparison.

When viewed in this context, I’m even more pleased that we took the time in 2014 to get the photographs that we did of the 145 crossing the trestle.

Interestingly, that day was the only time I ever photographed an NS train crossing the trestle from ground level. But that is a story for another day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Catching it on the Rebound With a Little Luck

August 4, 2021

Back on July 25 Jeff Troutman and I photographed Canadian National 8952, the Grand Trunk Western heritage unit, leading eastbound CSX train K614.

We caught it in Perry just after 7 p.m. The sun angles at that time of the early evening were not ideal. 

Last Sunday, Marty Surdyk and I drove to the Mahoning Valley to visit the Cornerfield Model Railroad in Huntsburg, and watch a Mahoning Valley Scrappers ballgame in Niles.

We also did some railfanning, but the only train we photographed was the local sitting in Perry (bottom photo above) that was probably getting its crew the next day.

We were hoping that we might get lucky and the GTW heritage unit would be returning. But it turned out to be not that day.

Two days later Heritage Units.com showed that westbound CSX train K615 had the GTW heritage unit leading.

What would be the chance it would get into my neighborhood in time before dark? With tons of luck it showed up near the same time as it had on July 25.

It was about 6:30 p.m. and the sun was nearly at the same angle as it had been on July 25th making it absolutely perfect for westbounds. I’m happy.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

It Just Might Be My Photo of the Year

July 20, 2021

Over the years I’ve seen excellent photos at this location on Erie Street in Willoughby. It appears in one of the Morning Sun books featuring the photography of the late Dave McKay. I’m sure he had several shots at this spot.

I’m pretty sure others have had good luck here as did Roger Durfee. I’m hoping this entree will allow me entry into the club of great photos. My entree is of the Denver & Rio Grande Western heritage unit of Union Pacific on Norfolk Southern eastbound intermodal train 206 on Monday at 11:22 a.m.

Article and Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

Some D&RGW Came to Me

July 17, 2021

I had planned a visit to Colorado last summer that would have been to Denver & Rio Grande Western territory. That got scrubbed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I still felt uneasy this year about making that trip.

Then on Tuesday the D&RGW heritage unit of Union Pacific passed through Painesville on the point of Norfolk Southern train 206.

Here is my catch passing over the Grand River at 11:45 a.m.

The same locomotive came back west Friday morning on the point of NS 205. A week earlier, the UP’s Missouri Pacific heritage unit led NS trains 22K and 23K through Northeast Ohio.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Topping Off the Day at Bort Road

June 18, 2021

After spending much of last Sunday chasing the FA units on the New York & Lake Erie excursion train in New York State, Marty Surdyk and I headed back toward Cleveland in late afternoon.

We stopped for an hour at Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania, one of our favorite places to photograph trains on the CSX Erie West Subdivision and the Lake Erie District of Norfolk Southern.

In just over an hour we bagged six trains only one of which was an intermodal train. Our first catch was a CSX westbound at 5:43 p.m. Our last train was NS 315 at 6:53 p.m.

In between we caught NS 309, a CSX auto rack train, a CSX westbound manfest and the Q003.

The westbound manifest freight had a surprise, a pair of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority MP36PH-3C units.

Nos. 010 and 011 are the only such units on the MBTA motive power roster and were acquired used from Utah Transit.

Marty and I speculated that they might be dropped off at the Wabtec plant in Erie for overhaul.

After a productive outing at Bort Road we continued west and exited on Route 19 at Erie to eat dinner at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant just down the road

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Super Outing, Super Memories

June 4, 2021

Marty Surdyk, Craig Sanders and myself had a super bowl hours before the NFL game started on February 2, 2014.. All of our photos from that day were all keepers thanks to the unique weather conditions from that day. I miss seeing the “late” former Nickel Plate Road trestle every time I see Norfolk Southern train 206 in the top photo. Seeing NS train 145 in the middle and bottom images always brings a smile to my face.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas