Posts Tagged ‘NS motive power’

Definitely Not Black

November 8, 2018
Norfolk Southern No. 1800, the first of the SD70 rebuilds turned out by the NS shops in Roanoke, Virginia, led 25V today. I caught it at East Conway near Pittsburgh and at New Galilee, Pennsylvania

Photographs by Todd Dillon


Going Green

October 28, 2018

A lot of companies with which you do business through the mail are trying to entice you to switch to online payment of bills.

They often use the slogan “go green,” to make it seem as though paying online is environmentally sound.

It might be in the sense that it creates less paper, but I’ve always suspected that the real motivation is cost cutting.

This image of a westbound Norfolk Southern stack train rumbling through Olmsted Falls gives another meaning to the phrase “going green” as the first block of containers are all painted green.

Primer Noses

September 14, 2018

Several years ago Norfolk Southern needed to get some of its new locomotives out on the road so badly that it sent them out in primer paint with the NS initials and a road number.

Eventually, those units were painted black and white and the “primer boats” as some wags called them became a thing of the past.

NS has been power short in recent months and turned to the lease market for help. But apparently the “primer boat” look is back, at least in a modified form.

Chris Toth, who operates a website ( and Facebook page devoted to NS motive power, reported that AC44C6M Nos. 4120 and 4121 were rebuilt by the shops in Roanoke, Virginia, from Dash 9-40C Nos. 8883 and 8864 and released for duty with their electrical cabinets, noses and cabs still in primer paint.

When I caught up with No. 4121, it was the last unit in the daily light power move from Columbus to Bellevue as it passed through Marion.

Chris reported that the units will be painted at the Juniata shops at Altoona, Pennsylvania, but I’ve seen some photographs online of them working in the field in the meantime.

Just Dark Clouds

September 12, 2018

Some of the most dramatic railroad photographs I’ve seen involved storm light.

The ideal storm light photograph shows a train whose consist or locomotives are illuminated by sunshine against a backdrop of very dark clouds.

You have to have good fortune and good timing to make such images and I’ve yet to find either.

It is not all good luck, though. Photographers who carefully study weather conditions know when they are most likely to be able to find storm light.

More often than not I’ve encountered situations such as this one made of a westbound Norfolk Southern intermodal train on the Lake Erie District near North East, Pennsylvania.

In this case it was a rising sun spotlighting the motive power against some dark clouds that produced a small amount of rain, but no storm.

It may not be a dramatic storm light image, but I’ll take it any day.

The Tradition Continues

August 8, 2018

Uncle Pete lends a hand to NS train 209 on the Chicago Line in Amherst.

I have a tradition during the annual picnic of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts in Amherst of walking to the Jackson Street bridge over the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

The picnic is always held on a Saturday and doesn’t get underway until mid afternoon, so I’m always going up to the bridge in late afternoon.

Usually, I’m joined by RRE member Jerry Jordak. This year was no exception.

We took our places on the bridge around 5 p.m. and staked it out for the next hour and a half.

The light at that time of day clearly favors westbound traffic, which is good because there is a fence on the west side of the bridge where the sidewalk is located.

Fortunately, Jackson Street is not overly busy so we are able to walk to the east edge, get our images and scurry back to the sidewalk.

NS cooperated nicely this year by sending four westbounds our way. This included a pair of stack trains, manifest freight No. 309 and auto rack train No. 287.

The 309 had a Union Pacific leader, which marked the first time I’ve landed foreign power leading a train through Amherst.

The 287 took the siding at CP 213 located just east of Jackson Street en route to Fairlane Yard.

In all the years I’ve photographed from Jackson Street I’ve never caught an NS heritage or special tribute locomotive.

The most interesting sighting we’ve made was the NS executive train in 2014.

There is still bit of heritage left in Amherst. The eastbound home signals for CP 313 still have Type G signal heads even though they now are mounted on a modern support stand.

We also spotted a former Santa Fe cover hopper car that still carried its original markings and reporting numbers.

That was an appropriate find given that the program presented later that evening by Marty Surdyk prominently featured images of Santa Fe trains in in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, California and other points.


What’s Roger Seen Lately?

July 18, 2018

Wheeling 7005 on Z642 in Akron on July 17.

Some out of the ordinary motive power has operated through Northeast Ohio lately and if you missed it, Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee has you covered.

Roger caught up with those moves and sends along some images of them along with a few routine operations that he captured.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

NS 20E (detour move) meets two tied down stack trains at Bellevue on July 8.

Clean shot of NS No. 34 at Bellevue on July 8.

KCS 3909 at Akron with Q292 on July 11.

FEC 104 at Sandusky on July 8.

BNSF 759 on Q277 at Cuyahoga Falls on June 15.


Whole Lotta Locomotives Rolling Along

April 13, 2018

Last Saturday during the annual Dave McKay Day of the Akron Railroad Club in Berea, all cameras were out as manifest freight 17N approached on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

On the point was the GoRail locomotive. But the rest of the motive power consist held some interest, too.

Immediately behind the GoRail unit was a former CSX locomotive with a line drawn through its markings. It is now a lease unit owned by a locomotive leasing company.

The motive power consist itself was out of the ordinary long, comprised of seven units. Perhaps 17N was ferrying locomotives as well as cargo.

Bare for Now

April 12, 2018

Thus far it has felt like the winter that refuses to go away. Although March didn’t feature much deep snow, it did have endless days of high temperatures in the 30s and below freezing air at night.

April hasn’t fared much better with occasional snow and a continuation of 30-degree weather.

But spring is here already. The calendar says so. It just doesn’t feel like it.

Or at least it hasn’t felt much like it to date. But that is going to change today as warmer air pushes daytime highs into the low 70s.

With that might come an explosion of spring with trees budding and leafing out.

That will render a thing of the past such sights as this one of a lone Norfolk Southern locomotive in Berea on the Dave McKay Day of the Akron Railroad Club backing onto the consist of the M6G in the Berea siding.

Spring can’t come too soon.

Still Some Snow Left

March 16, 2018

There was still some snow left in Olmsted Falls when I made this image of an eastbound stack train rolling down Track No. 2 of the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

The snow that remained was primarily in area that are cast in shadows for much of the day.

I didn’t catch the train symbol but it might be train 206, which operates via the former Nickel Plate Road mainline between Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

The 206 originates in Chicago at the 47th Street terminal and terminates in Buffalo.


Way Too Early for Amtrak

February 28, 2018

It would be nice to be able to use the Amtrak station signs in Alliance to frame the Capitol Limited arriving into the station.

But No. 29 is scheduled in at 1:39 a.m. and No. 30 at 3:05 a.m. Given Amtrak’s habit of being tardy at intermediate stations, it probably doesn’t happen often that either train arrives at exactly those times.

I’ve yet to be in Alliance railfanning in the middle of the night and I’ve never had any luck getting Amtrak arriving in Alliance several hours late.

So framing a Norfolk Southern westbound stack train at the Amtrak station is the next best thing.

These images were made on the afternoon of the January Akron Railroad Club meeting.