Posts Tagged ‘NS locomotive power’

Boats, Trains and a Jet

October 12, 2017

A Norfolk Southern stack train crosses the Cuyahoga River on Lift Bridge No. 1

Last January my fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Marty Surdyk published a feature article in the ARRC Bulletin describing a New Year’s Day outing that he and his brother Robert had made in Cleveland on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

They spent most of their time photographing near the lift bridge over the Cuyahoga River and in the Battery Park neighborhood.

I’ve been to Battery Park, but I’ve never photographed trains on the lift bridge, which spans the Cuyahoga River just south of its mouth with Lake Erie.

Marty and I talked about replicating that January outing but it didn’t come about until late September.

Who would have thought that the temperature that day would soar into the 90s? But it did as part of a string of six consecutive days during which Cleveland set records for high temperatures.

My outing with Marty would not exactly replicate what he and Robert had done eight months earlier.

For starters, they had gone out on a holiday when the bars were closed. On a Sunday in September there would be more people out and about in the Flats and all of the restaurants and bars would be open.

Our outing began with driving around the Flats looking for a parking spot.

The lot in which Robert and Marty had parked was largely vacant, but it’s a pay lot and although no one was manning the entrance gate, that could change at any time.

Complicating matters was the fact that the parking meters on the streets had covers saying “no parking, police order.”

I noticed, though, that temporary signs on utility poles referenced no parking on Friday and Saturday. This was Sunday and maybe no one had come yet to remove the covers.

Some cars were parked in those spots and after driving around for awhile we decided to chance it.

We found a space on Front Avenue near the Margaritaville Cleveland Restaurant and bar and walked the short distance to the east bank of the Cuyahoga.

There is a nice wide sidewalk along the river that leads right up to the lift bridge.

During our driving around we had not missed any trains, but had missed a lake freighter headed out to Lake Erie.

We didn’t have a long wait before bagging a pair of intermodal trains, the 21G and an eastbound stack train whose symbol we missed.

We also found out that since January that either the owner of the lot in which Marty and Robert had hung out or the railroad have erected a tall fence along the tracks.

That prevented us from making images of trains coming through the bridge and of RTA Waterfront Line trains crossing over the NS tracks as Marty and Robert had done earlier.

Not wanting to chance getting a ticket, we didn’t stay long on the east bank of the Cuyahoga.

We drove to the west side where we found a parking spot without a meter on Main Avenue beneath the Shoreway bridge over the Flats.

Back in January, Marty and Robert had parked in the lot for Shooters restaurant and bar and hung out on its deck along the river.

But it had been closed that day and no one was around. That was not the case on this September Sunday.

We had noticed while standing on the east bank a viewing platform next to an inlet of the Cuyahoga adjacent to Shooters.

It belonged to an establishment that was closed so we spent some time there.

The advantage it had was a straight-on view of the NS bridge. Another advantage was that the lighting was ideal for that photo angle.

The 17N (manifest freight) was approaching the bridge as we arrived, but we then had a long wait to get the next train. The BF10 was in the area, but the Cleveland Terminal Dispatcher had told the crew to be patient because the bridge was open.

It would remain open for quite a while and we speculated that the bridge tender was holding it open because the Goodtime III and Nautica Queen were scheduled to depart their respective docks at 1 p.m.

The Goodtime would go up the Cuyahoga while the Queen was headed out to Lake Erie. They passed each other just north of the bridge.

It is our understanding that commercial boat traffic has the right of way at the bridge, but the railroad is not obligated to open it for pleasure craft if it has a train coming.

Having not seen the written regulations, I’m not sure how it is supposed to work.

Based on what we observed on this day, though, the bridge remained up most of the time. But when rail traffic was imminent, it came down.

As it turned out, it was the approach of the 24M, a hot intermodal train with UPS trailers, that sent the bridge down.

BF10 was the first train to cross followed by the 24M. But much to the displeasure of the armada of pleasure boats waiting on both sides of the bridge, NS had more traffic to run.

Also approaching the bridge were the 412 (coke train) and the 18N (auto racks).

The latter cleared the bridge about 2:15 p.m., which made the wait for the boats nearly 45 minutes. Some boaters floated in place while others drove around in circles.

After the passage of the 18N, we went to get lunch at a Subway outlet near Battery Park.

We would eat our sandwiches at Battery Park and catch four trains, the 375 (empty coal hoppers), the 20E (intermodal), a light power move that earlier had taken the BF10 to Rockport Yard and the 11K (manifest freight).

The latter was of particular interest because it had the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit in the motive power consist, albeit trailing.

It also was, of course, the last train of the four to pass our position.

After that we meandered over to Wendy Park where we had more luck catching boats than trains. One lake freighter had already passed the bridge by the time we arrived, but I was able to get going away photos of it navigating up the Cuyahoga amid a flotilla of pleasure craft.

We also caught another freighter coming off the lake. As it made its way toward the NS bridge, a Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 passed overhead landing at nearby Burke Lakefront Airport with a load of Minneosta Twins coming to town from Detroit for a series with the Indians.

After all of that activity, we got one last train of the day crossing the bridge, intermodal train 21Q.

We also heard the dispatcher tell a track maintainer that the computer system in the dispatching officer was going to have an outage at 6 p.m. That might have had something to do with the paucity of train traffic.

Daylight was fading so we headed to nearby Edgewater Park for some sunset photographs before calling it day and heading for home.

The westbound 21G was the first train that we photographed on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River.

Westbound train 17N crosses the bridge.

BF10 crosses the bridge after a wait. There aren’t many boats on either side of the bridge — yet.

Box cars and boats.

The EOT of the 24M was welcome sight, but there were still two more trains to go.

Still waiting. A westbound coke train crosses the bridge.

18N was the last of four trains to cross the bridge in mid afternoon after about a 45-minute wait for the boats.

Between the condos of Battery Park is an NS train and Lake Erie.

Spanning 73rd Street in Battery Park

A Delta Air Lines 757 lands at Burke Lakefront Airport with the Minnesota Twins as lake freighter Saint Mary’s Cement III pulls into the Cuyahoga River from Lake Erie. The massive boat is being pulled backward by a tug boat.

Containers of NS train 21Q rumble through downtown Cleveland.

Sunset at Edgewater Park was a good way to end a most productive day in Cleveland.

Advertisements

The Paint Was Barely Dry on NS 7328

April 26, 2017

Norfolk Southern 7328 used to be Union Pacific 8263.

There was something that looked different about the Norfolk Southern train of hoppers as it approached Olmsted Falls.

The lead unit of train 547 was gleaming in the mid-morning sunlight and there was a couple of specs of orange behind it.

It turned out that NS 7328 had just been repainted. That was good news and bad news.

The good news is that a freshly-painted locomotive, even one that is black, makes for a nice image. The bad news is that this is one of the former Union Pacific SD9043MACs that NS purchased used a while back.

These units ran around in UP Armour yellow for a while, sans their UP markings, and added a spot of color to the otherwise all black NS world.

Sure, NS has heritage locomotives and special tribute locomotives to break up the black monotony, but it is still good to get some color every now and then.

In the case of this train the two trailing BNSF “pumpkins” helped to provide just enough of that to enhance the interest of this motive power set.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Let’s Get Behind the Horses

April 19, 2017

Many years ago when I was a kid we were on a family vacation out east. We saw a billboard that read, “let’s get behind the birds,” making a reference to the Baltimore Orioles Major League Baseball team.

The billboard had a team photo that was taken from behind the players, not in front of them.

The vast majority of the time, railroad photographs show the nose of a locomotive approaching the photographer.

This Norfolk Southern light power move — symbol 967 — is headed from Columbus to Bellevue.

With the exception of DPU units, it is not often that the rear of a locomotive is also the rear of the train.

Chasing a 1984 Passenger Excursion

February 3, 2017
img904hh

Eastbound crossing the Chessie System (now R.J. Corman) track east of Brewster yard.

Here is something a little bit different. This is from an excursion 32 years ago. I don’t know if this is a Norfolk Southern excursion or perhaps Orrville Railroad Heritage Society excursion. It may have been ORHS’ first excursion. It began in Orrville or Brewster, but I photographed it from Brewster to Zanesville. These photos were taken on what is now mostly the Ohio Central as the train ran southbound on Oct. 6, 1984.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

imgj880jj

Southbound under the Route 93 bridge in Dundee.

img913hh

imgj878jj

img747hh

imgj879jj

The power has cut off in Zanesville.

Pair of Pennsy Keystones

December 6, 2016
It's a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone rolling over the top of another Pennsy keystone in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. NS No. 8102 is leading westbound stack train 21Q.

It’s one Pennsylvania Railroad keystone rolling over the top of another Pennsy keystone in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. NS No. 8102 is leading westbound stack train 21Q, which is passing an eastbound stack train on the Fort Wayne Line.

Last Saturday my friend Adam Barr and I headed for Pittsburgh for a morning of railfanning Norfolk Southern in the steel city.

We had been in town about a half-hour when an an online report popped up that the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit was headed west past Manor, Pennsylvania, with a load of sea cans. That turned out to be stack train 21Q.

Manor is east of the Pittsburgh where the Pennsylvania Turnpike crosses over the NS Pittsburgh line between Pittsburgh and Altoona, Pennsylvania.

We headed for California Avenue with the idea of getting an image of the locomotive paying tribute to the PRR on a structure that was built by the PRR, the Ohio Connecting Bridge that today carries the NS Mon Line.

When I think of railroads in Pittsburgh, structures such as this come to mind. I also think of the former Pennsylvania Railroad.

We were able to get ahead of the train and catch it at CP Leets in Leetsdale. Although I had my scanner on, we didn’t get any warning of the train approaching because I didn’t pick it up calling any signals.

Our “heads up” was another railfan bolting from his car and running toward the bridge over the tracks that carries a road leading into an industrial park. I was barely able to get the shot I wanted of the Pennsy heritage unit passing former Pennsy position light signals.

We weren’t sure if we could beat the 21Q to East Conway because it was moving along at a good clip. But it turned out the stacker would have a long wait there because of traffic working in Conway Yard that needed to come out to East Conway for head room as well as the need for the 21Q to change crews.

Our last photo op of the 21Q was planned for the bridge over the Beaver River in Beaver Falls. But things did not go according to plan because Adam, who was driving, could not find a parking spot in a timely manner.

He dropped me off at the east end of the sidewalk of the bridge and I walked as fast as I could toward the river. I wouldn’t make it.

The 21Q had already called the signal at the Brighton and I could see its headlight illuminating the sides of the containers of an eastbound stack train that was slowly making its way toward Conway.

I noticed the Fort Wayne Line bridge had an old, but faded Pennsylvania Railroad keystone and decided to make that the focal point of my last photograph of NS 8102, thus ending my chase of the 21Q with an image of a pair of Pennsy keystones.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

pennsy-december-3-06-x

Coming at you on the OC bridge.

pennsy-december-3-05-x

When I think of Pittsburgh I think of massive bridges and the Pennsylvania Railroad. This is as close as I can come to recreating the golden age of the PRR in the steel city.

pennsy-december-3-04-x

For the second time in 2016, I caught the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive passing by former PRR position light signals.

pennsy-december-3-02-x

With a new crew on board, the 21Q gets underway at East Conway.

pennsy-december-3-03-x

A roster-type shot at East Conway of NS 8102.

Getting Lucky in Graytown

October 18, 2016

ns-graytown-02-x

ns-graytown-01-x

One in a periodic series of images I made last summer.

I had never been to Graytown until last July. I knew of it because Marty Surdyk has photographed there a few times.

You might have guessed by now that Marty knows of Graytown because it has a large grain elevator on the north side of the Norfolk Southern Chicago Line.

My fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I were in Graytown to get the elevator and a westbound auto rack train. That image is featured in another post.

During our time in Graytown, we caught a couple of eastbounds, one of which is shown passing the westbound auto rack train in the top photo.

The second train, which had Union Pacific motive power, was a grain train that later headed down the Toledo District at Oak Harbor.

We got lucky and were able to get the grain train passing the Luckey Farmers Inc. facility located across the road from the grain elevator.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS To Take Delivery of Tier 4 Locomotives

May 20, 2016

General Electric Transportation expects to deliver Tier-4 compliant locomotives to Norfolk Southern this spring, making it the fifth Class I railroad to receive ET44ACs.

The units are being built  in Fort Worth, Texas, and are part of a 47-unit order.

NS logo 2Tier 4 emission standards were issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and took effect last year.

The first of the locomotives, No. 3600, will be tested by the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio before being delivered to NS. The units will have roster numbers 3600-3646.

NS also has on order three ES44AC locomotives that meet Tier 3 emission standards, but are permitted under existing regulations by having the builder apply emission credits already banked toward the locomotives.

Those credits were earned by applying energy-saving design technologies to locomotives already built and in operation.

Carrying roster numbers 8166-8168, those units are being built in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern are the only North American Class I railroads that have yet to buy Tier 4-compliant locomotives.

Look What I Found in Bellevue

March 22, 2016

FullSizeRender

IMG_4703

IMG_4704

On Sunday I drove out to Bellevue to catch the Rio Grande tunnel motor pair. While driving by the Norfolk Southern yard on Ohio Route 4, I spotted a strange sight.

I turned around to park and got these photos of NS 8509 a GE C40-8.5 just out of the rebuild program. It and several sisters are testing in road service, most without a full paint job.

Unlike the SD60e program, which has been fairly successful, this rebuild program is not going so well. The other day 8505 was leading a train and failed on the road.

Currently, just the engines that have been finished will remain in use but further rebuilds have been canceled.

Article and Photograph by Todd Dillon

NS Displays GP33ECO Switchers in Atlanta

September 3, 2015

NS eco 1

NS eco 2

Norfolk Southern showed off this week its new GP33ECO switcher locomotive fleet that it plans to use in Atlanta.

Designed and built in the NS Altoona, Pennsylvania, Juniata locomotive shops, 10 of the four-axle EPA Tier-3 compliant units have been finished.

They are to be assigned to Inman Yard, a major NS intermodal hub located northwest of downtown Atlanta.

NS said that 65 percent of the cost of the locomotives has been underwritten by a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program grant administered through various federal and state agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration, the Georgia Department of Transportation Environmental Protection Division and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Based on an EMD GP50, the 3,000 horsepower GP33ECOs have 12N-710G3BT3 (“710 ECO Kit”) prime-mover from Electro-Motive Diesel, D87 traction motors, new radiators with two-speed fans, electrical cabinets with EM 2000 microprocessor, an AR15 main traction alternator (retained from the GP50) and a CA6 companion alternator (a replacement for the D 18).

Each unit has also been fitted with an NS Admiral Cab. The flared radiators “are similar to those of an SD70,” said NS Mechanical Engineer-Locomotive Design Mark Duve.

A GP33ECO mother unit will be attached to a ballasted slug unit equipped with four DC traction motors and two EMD electrical cabinets.

“Unlike other slugs, this one goes through transition and does not cut out at 20 mph,” Duve said. “The combination gets very close to Tier 4, compared to two switcher locomotives operating as a multiple unit. It runs at a higher, more efficient throttle notch setting, notches 4 through 6. We estimate its tractive effort to be equivalent to that of a new GP59.”

The railroad said the using the locomotives  “will help Atlanta achieve federal clean air standards and will produce significant, measurable emissions reductions and fuel savings.”

NS plans to use additional CMAQ grants to create GP33ECO locomotives for use in yard in Macon and Rome, Georgia, and in Chicago.

The GP33ECO features a stylistic green paint scheme with a Georgia-shaped icon and the slogan “Working Together for a Cleaner State.”

NS calculates that the 10 Eco units will account for 6.6 fewer tons of particulate matter and 155 fewer tons of nitrogen oxides in the air.

“In addition to lower emissions and fuel savings, benefits include operating efficiencies, as each Eco unit can replace two older, less-efficient locomotives,” said NS Chief Operating Officer Mark Manion. “Over the past five years, we have significantly lowered greenhouse gas emissions of our locomotive fleet, achieving an 8.5 percent reduction per revenue ton-mile.”