Posts Tagged ‘NS New Castle District’

Coming Into Camden

August 25, 2022

Led by a Union Pacific unit, an eastbound Norfolk Southern merchandise train rolls into Camden, Ohio, on the New Castle District in the southwest corner of the state. The train is crossing Barnetts Mill Road on the north edge of town. There is a passing siding here and a westbound was sitting in the siding having been there for several hours awaiting a new crew. The image was made April 2, 2022.

UP: Cloud Skunked; BNSF: Sunshine

July 17, 2022

Everything was in place to get a killer photograph of an eastbound train on the New Castle District of Norfolk Southern in Seven Mile, a small town in Southwest Ohio north of Hamilton.

Train 25A was waiting on the main for a meet with westbound manifest freight 174, which would go into the siding.

We had set up along a rural road to get a view over a cornfield of the 25A passing a grain elevator on the south side of town. We had earlier gotten a side view of the 174 on the north edge of New Miami.

The rear of the 174 rumbled past and we waited in anticipation of seeing the ditch lights of the lead unit of the 25A come on to indicate it was on the move. A bonus was the three Union Pacific locomotives lashed together elephant style that were pulling the 25A.

This is an intermodal train that originates at Calumet Yard in Chicago and carries a block of containers that NS gets from the UP. It also carries blocks of manifest freight.

We waited, and waited and waited. It would be 45 minutes before the dispatcher directed the 25A to continue east. We don’t know why the train didn’t leave sooner.

But as we waited what had been a few decorative clouds grew into additional and larger clouds.

You’ve probably figured out where this story is headed. By the time the head end of the 25A reached the grain elevator the sun had ducked behind one of those clouds.

We got cloud skunked.

I made some photographs anyway, one of which is the top image above.

We chased the 25A to Hamilton and managed to get an image of it coming around a curve in good sunlight. It was nice but not the image we had wanted to get.

After getting lunch at Subway, we returned to our location along that rural road at Seven Mile and waited for another eastbound.

Nothing was moving so we headed north. Along the way we got wind that the 189, a Detroit (Oakwood Yard) to Atlanta (East Point) manifest freight was coming.

The 189 would go into the siding at Seven Mile to meet the westbound 282, a stack train running from Jacksonville, Florida, to Chicago (Landers Yard).

The 189 had a BNSF leader and a Ferromex unit as a rear DPU. The nose of the Ferromex locomotive was pointed outward.

By now we were into high sun and harsh light time but that wasn’t going to stop us from chasing and photographing the 189.

We got it on the north side of Collinsville, Ohio, and then got into place to do the grain elevator shot at Seven Mile.

It wouldn’t be the same composition as earlier with the 25A because the sun had shifted to favor the other side of the former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

The clouds had also thinned a bit and we got plenty of direct sunlight as the 189 came rolling past the elevator.

With that we headed north and managed to get the 282 at Eaton.  I would catch one more train, the 142, at Conley Road northwest of Eaton before calling it a day and heading home.

Some May Not Mind This Stop on the Way Home

May 6, 2022

School has let out for the day and those who live in the country are aboard the bus on their way home. As the bus travels a narrow road in Southwestern Ohio known as Oxford-Middletown Road the gates and flashers come down for a crossing with Norfolk Southern tracks. The location is near Sommerville in Butler County.

Headed railroad westward is stack train 282, which originates in Jacksonville, Florida, and is bound for Landers Yard in Chicago. In this area it runs on the New Castle District.

It may be that at least one passenger aboard the bus doesn’t mind waiting for the train. He’s a young railroad enthusiast and he’ll take any opportunity he can get to watch a train go by.

Past the Fence Posts

April 13, 2022

Norfolk Southern train 25A passes a pair of unused fence posts along Conley Road near New Hope, Ohio, in the southwest corner of the state. The train originated at Calumet Yard in Chicago is bound for DeButts Yard in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It caries a cut of manifest freight along with a long string of double-stacked containers. It is shown running on the New Castle District. The image was made on April 10.

Giving it a Rolling Inspection

March 13, 2022

The crew of the New Castle Southern job was just about done for the day. They had tied down their train in New Castle, Indiana, and were wrapping up some loose ends before going off duty and going home.

But then Norfolk Southern grain train 50Q showed up headed toward Cincinnati. The NCSR crew stopped what they were doing and got into position to conduct a roll-by inspection of the 50Q.

Nothing was amiss so the NCSR crew finished their work, got in a couple of vehicles and drove off to other things until it was time to report to duty again.

NS 2022 Capital Projects Outlined

January 7, 2022

Norfolk Southern has outlined its capital spending priorities for 2022, which include extending sidings and improving intermodal terminals.

Trains magazine reported on its website that NS Vice President of Engineering Ed Boyle outlined the capital plans during a presentation to the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association.

Among the sidings to be extended is one in Campbellstown Township in Southwest Ohio on the New Castle Subdivision.

The siding, which is located southeast of Richmond, Indiana, will be extended to 15,000 feet.

It is one of six siding extension projects planned as part of the 2022 capital budget.

Also planned is upgrading yard lead tracks in Cincinnati. Most of the intermodal terminal projects will be in Chicago.

NS has not said how much it plans to spend on capital projects this year or detailed all of its projects. However, it spent $1.6 billion in 2021 on capital projects and expects to expend a similar amount this year.

Boyle noted during his presentation that bridge and structure work also will be a focus of the capital spending plan with plans set to replace 21 bridges and rebuild 28 others.

During this year NS plans to lay 500 miles of new rail, conduct 2,700 miles of tie and surfacing work, and replace 450 panel turnouts.

More information is available in the article, which can be found at https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/norfolk-southern-sets-siding-terminal-improvements-in-capital-plan/

First Train of the Day

December 7, 2021

Getting that first train of the day during a photography outing can feel special, particularly if it comes along shortly after you’ve reached trackside.

Shown is NS train 25A at Ball interlocking in Cowan, Indiana, on the New Castle District. Ball is a set of crossovers toward the middle of a long passing siding south of Muncie, the home of Ball State University and a glass jar manufacturer in whose honor the college is named.

I had first spotted the 25A in Muncie and hustled out here to make this image. I’ve photographed several westbounds in Cowan but never an eastbound.

This train is typical of railroading in the precision scheduled railroading era. The 25A is, in theory, an intermodal train operating from Calumet Yard in Chicago to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It did have some containers in the consist but these days you can find just about anything in the consist of many trains.

The 25A would not be operating very much further beyond Ball before halting near York Point, where the siding ends. The 142 was coming west.

I didn’t wait around to see that meet. I was heading back into Muncie to catch the 142 on a bridge over the White River.

Shorty

November 28, 2021

The precision scheduled railroading era has ushered in super sized trains that are a mile or longer and contain blocks of freight that used to move in separate trains. Therefore, you might find a long cut of double-stacked containers in the consist of a manifest freight or manifest freight in the consist of a train carrying an intermodal symbol.

It has meant fewer and longer trains, which management likes because that means fewer crews to pay, hence lower expenses and an improved operating ratio.

The longer is better trend, though, has yet to be applied to locals although in some instances through freights have been assigned switching responsibilities once performed by locals that have since been abolished.

Shown above is Norfolk Southern train L82 sitting just south of Cowan, Indiana, on the New Castle District. Based out of East Yard in Muncie, it works as far south as New Castle Monday through Friday before returning.

When I ran across the L82 on a recent Friday afternoon, the give-car train was sitting short of a control point known as York Point, where a four mile passing siding ends on its south (railroad east) end.

The dispatcher had informed the L82 crew that it would be waiting on a 122, a daily manifest freight operating from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Decatur, Illinois.

Those plans later changed and the L82 was allow to do some work at Oakville.

But at the time I photographed the L82 it was doing was trains have always spent part of their time doing: waiting.

Breaking a Year Long Drought

November 21, 2021

I should have left for home more than a half hour earlier. The sun had sunk below the tops of the trees and shadows enveloped the tracks of the New Castle District of Norfolk Southern in its namesake city in Indiana.

But I wanted to get “one more” even though I knew the images I might make would be marginal from a lighting standpoint.

That “one more” was not an ordinary train. It was NS train 282, a container train operating from Simpson Yard in Jacksonville, Florida, to Landers Yard in Chicago, with ES44AC No. 8102 on the point.

You might recognize that as the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive. An added bonus was that I would be catching the 8102 on rails that once had been the Pennsy’s primary passenger route between Chicago and Cincinnati.

It wasn’t like I haven’t photographed the 8102 before. I’ve caught it several times, including with such Pennsy artifacts as position light signals at CP Mace in Massilon and a bridge with a PRR keystone logo still painted on it in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

Getting the PRR heritage unit in and of itself, though, wasn’t what was keeping me trackside.

It had been a year and two days since I had last caught an NS train with any heritage unit leading.

For that matter it had been more than seven months since I landed an NS train with a heritage unit trailing. My luck has been that bad.

I had known for several hours about the 282 having the PRR heritage locomotive. There had been reports on HeritageUnits.com from Kentucky and in Cincinnati.

The last of those, at 12:40 p.m. reported the 282 was moving north in the Cincinnati terminal after having worked in the yard.

An unanswered question was how long it would take the 282 to get up from Cincinnati to New Castle. There had been no more reports on HU.com of en route sightings.

By late afternoon I knew the 282 was tantalizing close. The dispatcher had contacted the 282 crew to give it a 25 mph speed restriction. And I had heard a voice say the 282 was on the approach, whatever that meant.

Two trains, the 122 and the 174, were ahead of it and I photographed both in the nice late day light of late autumn that I was hoping would linger long enough for the passage of the 282.

As each minute ticked away the sun got a little lower and the shadows moved a little further over the rails. Sunset would be at 5:22 p.m. and it was now nearly 5 p.m.

It was shortly after 5 p.m. when I finally heard what I had been waiting to hear. The detector went off at milepost 95.3. The 282 was about five miles away.

Several minutes later came the sound of a locomotive horn blowing for grade crossings I couldn’t see. Then around a curve came a headlight.

Looking looked through my telephotos lens I determined that – yes – the nose was Tuscan red with gold pinstripes.

Two of the several images I made were decent enough to show, especially after I processed them in Adobe Photoshop. Still they are grainy and feature a dark locomotive in shadows.

I hope my next heritage unit on the lead sighting won’t take a year to get and that it will be in better lighting. But who knows.

There is a lot of luck involved in finding heritage and tribute locomotives. It is the proverbial being in the right place at the right time. Some places tend to be more right than others.

All I can do is get out there and hope the sun, the stars and the moon are all in alignment.

In fact, last Friday, when I made the images of the NS 8102 was a full moon day. You don’t think . . . nah, that can’t be it. Or is it?

The Right Direction This Time

April 20, 2021

About a week ago I was chasing trains on the New Castle District of Norfolk Southern in southwestern Ohio when we wound up in Somerville.

The tracks cross Sevenmile Creek there on a nice looking bridge. I was able to photograph a train here but it was a westbound manifest freight.

The images were fine yet not what I would have ideally wanted.

So last Sunday we got wind that an eastbound was coming and made our way to Somerville to wait on it.

The wait was worth it and the resulting image more what I wanted to get here.

Shown is manifest freight 143 on its way from Eklhart, Indiana, to Chattanooga, Tennessee.