Posts Tagged ‘NS Pennsy heritage locomotive’

Whole Lotta Heritage Going By

May 23, 2020

This was one of those days when a cloudy sky was a benefit to photography.

Had it been sunny much of the detail of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 would have been lost in the shadows.

The Berkshire-type locomotives is steaming through Alliance on May 30, 2013.

Note that trailing it are the Pennsylvania Railroad and Conrail heritage locomotives of Norfolk Southern.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Fort Wayne Line Memories

April 9, 2020

An eastbound Conrail RoadRailer train approaches the diamonds with the Indianapolis Line in Crestline on Sept. 12, 1998.

The news that Norfolk Southern plans to reduce the infrastructure of its Fort Wayne Line between Alliance and Crestline brought back a lot of memories of the trains I over the years on that route.

That sent me into my photo collection where I discovered I had a surprisingly wide variety of trains and types of motive power.

I say surprising because the Fort Wayne Line has not often been a place where I’ve spent a lot of time, particularly west of Alliance.

East of Alliance the Fort Wayne Line is a busy railroad hosting a extensive assortment of NS traffic operating between the Midwest and East Coast.

But west of Alliance is another story. It was a moderately busy place in the Conrail era because traffic coming east from Columbus, Indianapolis and St. Louis joined the Fort Wayne Line at Crestline.

But after NS and CSX split Conrail, traffic on the Fort Wayne line plummeted.

It wasn’t always that way. The Fort Wayne Line was a principal freight and passenger artery to Chicago for the Pennsylvania Railroad, hosting many of the railroad’s Blue Ribbon fleet passenger trains.

Conrail downgraded the Fort Wayne Line west of Crestline in the late 1980s, a move that sent Amtrak’s Broadway Limited and Capitol Limited onto other routes in November 1990.

I first experienced the Fort Wayne Line on June 12, 1995, during the Orrville Railroad Days festival.

Conrail would send a locomotive to display and you could visit the cab.

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society would operate track cars and a passenger train on a siding that was the original Wheeling & Erie mainline before the Orrville bypass was constructed.

You could count on seeing a few Conrail freights pass during the late morning hours.

I got lucky during the June 1998 festival and caught the rear head end of an eastbound W&LE train passing over the top of the rear of an eastbound Conrail manifest freight on the west side of Orrville.

I got even luckier by scoring cab rides twice in the battered F unit the ORHS used to pull the excursion train during that era.

During the final years of Conrail I got out with Dan Davidson to railfan the Fort Wayne Line and we nabbed some good photographs of Big Blue in Crestline and Orrville.

The railroad days festival later moved to August and one year the Akron Railroad Club had a table at a train show held in a pole barn owned by a lumber company.

By then NS owned the Fort Wayne Line and trains were far fewer in number so my forays there were limited to outings when I knew something out of the ordinary was coming.

The Fort Wayne Line was among the favorites of the late ARRC member Richard Jacobs, who lived not far from in Apple Creek.

Jake was active in the ORHS and spent a lot of time in Orrville. He therefore knew when the locals could be expected to arrive.

Jake and I twice photographed the NS locals in Orrville and caught an R.J. Corman train on the Fort Wayne Line once.

Corman uses the Fort Wayne Line to reach its isolated operation in Wooster, a remnant of a former Baltimore & Ohio secondary line, where it serves a Frito Lay plant.

Fellow ARRC member Paul Woodring and I also caught the NS local in Orrville in June 2008 when it had a caboose. Or should I say it had a shoving platform?

Paul and I would railfan the Fort Wayne Line four years later when we chased a ferry move of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

We picked up the chase in Massillon where I recreated a scene that the late ARRC member Robert Redmond had made decades earlier of a westbound PRR steam train coming off the fabled curved bridge over the Tuscarawas River.

Getting the NKP 765 in the same location was tough because by the time it arrived I was photographing right into the sun. But I got the shot.

We later captured the 765 east of Mansfield and at North Robinson passing a pair of classic Pennsy position light signals.

I photographed a number of noteworthy visitors to the Fort Wayne Line over the years.

There was the NS executive train on April 30, 2011, as it made its way to the Kentucky Derby with the F units that have since been sold.

I chased it with Roger Durfee, getting it at Maximo and Orrville.

Then there was Bennett Levin’s Pennsylvania Railroad E8A Nos. 5711 and 5809, which were headed back to Philadelphia after pulling a private car special during the Dennison railroad festival on the Ohio Central in August 2004.

And there was the time during the 2016 ARRC picnic in Warwick Park in Clinton when we learned that the NS Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive was leading eastbound manifest freight 12V.

We followed its progress on social media throughout the day and several of us headed for Massillon in late afternoon to get it.

I chose to catch NS 8102 splitting the PRR position light signals at CP Mace. It just might be my favorite Fort Wayne Line photograph made west of Alliance.

NS increased its use of the Fort Wayne Line around 2014 by diverting some crude oil and ethanol trains that had been using the Chicago Line.

Thinking there might be enough increased traffic to make a day outing worthwhile I drove to Orrville one Saturday morning on a photo safari.

The day got off to a promising start when an eastbound crude oil train with helpers on the rear came through shortly after I arrived.

I heard the crew of that train talking on the radio to another train, which I presumed was in Massillon meeting the tanker train at CP Mace, where the Fort Wayne Line becomes single track to Orrville.

However, it would be an hour before that westbound, a coal train, showed up.

Once it passed through it would be four hours before another train came along, an eastbound crude oil train.

It was a good thing I brought plenty of magazines to read.

None of the four regular manifest freights that use the Fort Wayne Line through Orrville showed up during my time there on this day.

My last photo outing to the Fort Wayne Line was more productive. On Sept. 3, 2016, Adam Barr and I had gone to Alliance to railfan but got word that the Southern heritage unit was leading a westbound coal train over the Fort Wayne Line and would meet the 64T at Mace.

The 64T was being led by a Union Pacific unit and had the Erie heritage unit trailing.

We drove over there and caught both trains as planned. A bonus was a northbound R.J. Corman train waiting to cross at Mace.

It couldn’t get much better than that.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

You could always count on seeing some Conrail action in late morning in June during the Orrville Railroad Days festival. In a view made from Orr Tower a westbound RoadRailer comes through town.

The late Richard Jacobs and I caught the NS local working in Orrville on a couple of occasions including November 2010 when it was backing off the Fort Wayne Line and onto a remnant of the former Cleveland, Akron & Columbus line.

En route to see the thoroughbreds run in the Kentucky Derby, another thoroughbred strikes a classic pose in Maximo on April 30, 2011.

A touch of the Pennsy passes a former PRR passenger station in Orrville as Bennett Levin’s E8A locomotives return to Philadelphia.

It may be trailing but at least I caught the Erie Railroad heritage locomotive at CP Mace.

This just might be my favorite photograph that I’ve made on the Fort Wayne Line. The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leads the 12V at CP Mace in Massillon.

The lighting was tough but I managed to recreate with Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 an image similar to one made of a Pennsy steam locomotive by Bob Redmond leading a train west from the curved bridge in Massillon.

Good Fortune

March 9, 2020

I finally had some good luck on Friday and Saturday in catching Norfolk Southern heritage locomotives.

I saw on Heritage Units.com that the Pennsylvania Railroad H unit was working as a DPU on train 316 and I caught it at Riverside Drive at 6:11 p.m.

Also on Friday I saw that the Wabash heritage unit was trailing on train 14M, which was headed for Buffalo, New York.

I was hoping the 1070 would return on the 15M on Saturday and be leading. Once I confirmed with Jeff Troutman that that was the case I headed to Conneaut.

The 15M operates from Buffalo to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

I initially caught the 15M at North Amboy Road after it left Conneaut once the eastbound intermodal train 206 had cleared the yard.

I also got the Wabash H unit backing around the connection at Ashtabula and then approaching Carson on the Youngstown Line.

Now if luck is with me, I thought, the 8102 will come back through Northeast Ohio on Sunday leading train 149.

The last two times a Heritage unit was a DPU on the 316 it was leading westbound on the 149 two days later.

And luck was with me. I went out on Sunday morning with Marty Surdyk and we not only bagged the Pennsy H unit leading the 149 at Perry but also caught the Central of New Jersey heritage unit leading the train 310 bound for Binghamton, New York, as it crossed the Grand River in Painesville.

Check this site later this week for those photographs and a story about that chase, which included taking in an ice hockey game in which the Mentor Ice Breakers edged the Delaware Thunder 6-5 in a wild game that lasted nearly four hours.

Catching three heritage units in two days is new for me and all of them were in beautiful weather.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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

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Coming at you on the OC bridge.

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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.

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

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

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

‘Family Tree Week’ Continues at Rockport

February 1, 2015

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It was family tree week at Rockport Yard in Cleveland last week with the Pennsylvania ,  Penn Central, Conrail and, of course, NS locomotives making an appearance.

In a previous blog entry we saw the Conrail and the Penn Central H units. In this entry the PRR is featured at Rockport.

This colorful duo was power off the 11J that was heading for the Knob to spin. The PRR would be cut away after the turn and added to an eastbound as its cab signal leader.

The 7239 would then take the 11J solo to Fairlane Yard. I was happy to catch the ex-Union Pacific big EMD with a clean nose. These units are usually coupled to NS units due to the ex-UP units not being cab signal equipped.

Article and Photoraphs by Roger Durfee

And There Sat the Interstate H Unit

December 30, 2013

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This past Sunday we went to a train show in Michigan.  We were hoping to catch the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit at Clay Center, where it had been since last week.

Upon exiting the Ohio Turnpike at Milan, we were surprised and shocked to find the Interstate heritage unit leading an ethanol train (65T) sitting on the U.S. 250 overpass.

After bagging the 8105 we continued to Clay Center and caught the 8102. That’s not bad for a mornings work.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

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Looking for PRR Remnants for The PRR H Unit

August 19, 2013
The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leading Norfolk Southern train 15M waits for a CSX auto rack train to clear at Center Street in Youngstown on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.

The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leading Norfolk Southern train 15M waits for a CSX auto rack train to clear at Center Street in Youngstown on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.

I headed for Youngstown this past Saturday morning in hopes that Norfolk Southern 8102, the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit, would make daylight around the Center Street crossing on the lead of the 15M.

In a bit of perfect timing, it had just pulled up to wait on some CSX traffic to cross as I arrived. The chase starts out on ex-New York Central tracks or at least close to ex-NYC since the track arrangements at Center Street have changed dramatically over the years.

I shot the meet with CSX eastbound Q216 then it was 15M’s turn. My next stop was Lowellville, Ohio, with the 15M firmly on ex PRR track at that point. There is a former PRR station there, but the shot wasn’t what I had hoped for due to tree growth around the station and a ton of poles and wires. It’s been a few years since I’ve shot there. Now I was off to try and intercept the 15M near Rochester. I drove into New Brighton, Pa., just ahead of the train, shot a tele-smash photo then a wider view. I then headed down the road and caught up with the 8102 slowing for a stop just west Rochester.

Although there are not a lot of “this was the PRR” landmarks around in that area, the pseudo four- track “broad way” says Pennsy to me even if two of the tracks are the Youngstown Line. The stop at CP Rochester allowed me to get a photo of the PRR heritage unit passing under the classic position light signal bridge there.

Now it was off to east Conway in hopes that the 15M’s power would cut across for East Park there. It did, but a 17G was bringing its train into Conway in two pieces so the 15M’s power was basically blocked. I did a few verticals just to do them. After the 12V’s power was out of the way, the 15M power set made its way into the engine service tracks. Can you spot the other H unit in the last photo?

I called it a day after that, but it proved to be a good “PRR morning.”

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Getting a clear at Center Street.

Getting a clear at Center Street.

The shot at Lowellville was not quite what I hoped that it would be.

The shot at Lowellville was not quite what I hoped that it would be.

At New Brighton, Pa.

At New Brighton, Pa.

A wider perspective at New Brighton.

A wider perspective at New Brighton.

On the Pennsy "Broad Way" at Rochester, Pa.

On the Pennsy “Broad Way” at Rochester, Pa.

Another PRR hallmark at Rochester -- position light signals.

Another PRR hallmark at Rochester — position light signals.

Another view at Rochester.

Another view at Rochester.

At East Conway after cutting away from the train.

At East Conway after cutting away from the train.

Another view at East  Conway.

Another view at East Conway.

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The sign says Norfolk Southern . . . but what's that Tuscan unit off in the distance?

The sign says Norfolk Southern . . . but what’s that Tuscan unit off in the distance?

Sunday with the NKP 765

May 19, 2013
The day and chase began at Rocky River when I got the shot of the outbound train arriving on the trestle.

The day and chase began at Rocky River when I got the shot of the outbound train arriving on the trestle. It was worth the wait of an hour.

Steamin' and chuggin' past the east end of Vermilion.

Steamin’ and chuggin’ past the east end of Vermilion.

About to pass beneath the Ohio Route 4 overpass in the NS Yards at Bellevue. We ran into "The Griff" here along with his uncle, Marty Surdyk.

About to pass beneath the Ohio Route 4 overpass in the NS Yards at Bellevue. We ran into “The Griff” here along with his uncle, Marty Surdyk.

Slowly making its way to the stop at Bellevue.

Slowly making its way to the stop at Bellevue.

Sunday's Rocky River to Bellevue trip was like going back 25 years. We ran to basically everybody and their brother. The crowd at Bellevue (shown here) was like the old days.

Sunday’s Rocky River to Bellevue trip was like going back 25 years. We ran to basically everybody and their brother. The crowd at Bellevue (shown here) was like the old days.

Marty's favorite Norfolk Southern heritage unit. I'll bet he spent a whole roll of film on this baby alone.

Marty’s favorite Norfolk Southern heritage unit. I’ll bet he used a whole roll of film on this baby alone. He probably wished he still had Kodachrome.

An unexpected treat. The Southern Railway heritage locomotive leads a coal train at Kimball.

An unexpected treat. The Southern Railway heritage locomotive leads a coal train at Kimball.

The Southern heritage unit was nice, but this is the "real" reason why we were camped out at Kimball on a Sunday afternoon in mid May.

The Southern heritage unit was nice, but this is the “real” reason why we were camped out at Kimball on a Sunday afternoon in mid May.

Back to where we started at the trestle in Rocky River.

Back to where we started at the trestle in Rocky River.

Another view of the NKP 765 on the trestle at Rocky River. I wonder how many times the 765 crossed this bridge decades ago pulling freight when no one was watching, let alone photographing.

Another view of the NKP 765 on the trestle at Rocky River. I wonder how many times the 765 crossed this bridge decades ago pulling freight when no one was watching, let alone photographing.

Whenever there is a steam train, chances are a foamer will also be there to get into at least one of your photos, even if inadvertently.

Whenever there is a steam train, chances are a foamer will also be there to get into at least one of your photos, even if inadvertently.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Heritage Units Sunday

May 13, 2013

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No less than five members of Norfolk Southern’s heritage locomotive fleet traversed northern Ohio on Sunday. The Pennsylvania Railroad unit was with Nickel Plate Road No. 765 of course and had I thought about it more I could have probably gotten them all.

As it was I managed to miss the Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit, but I did get three others plus the two Rio Grande painted tunnel motors that the Wheeling & Lake Erie has.

I got the PRR heritage unit several times between Cleveland and Bellevue and I managed to miss the S&A by less than an hour. It met the Southern heritage just south of Bellevue and had I not been chasing 765 I could have gotten it.

Oh, did I mention there was a steam fan trip today? Well that’s another story. I did chase down the Southern and while I was doing that the Conrail heritage returned from National Train Day duties in Chicago.

I was hoping to get the Southern unit at Route and then go to Vermillion and get it and the Conrail unit but, the Conrail locomotive was just too fast.

It led a hot intermodal train that cleared Sandusky at 1 p.m. when the Southern was still sitting in the middle of the yard. I decided to bail out and did a high speed run back to Berea. I pulled in just after 2 p.m. only to find that I had just missed it. No problem. I was off to Macedonia where I finally got him.

In retrospect I could have gave up on 765 earlier and gotten the Southern/S&A combo and then stuck around to photograph the original Norfolk Southern heritage unit that was trailing in the motive power consist of a coal train that went through Mansfield. I could have then headed to Alliance or somewhere else and gotten the Conrail unit. Still, I was very pleased with what I did get.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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It Worked Out in the End

April 23, 2012

Myself and a couple buddies were planning on going to Blissfield, Mich., on Sunday for its railroad days event. The problem was that we realized it had been on Saturday so we worked out a plan B.

A quick check on Trainorders.com for the whereabouts of the Norfolk Southern heritage units yielded this post by Terry Chicwak: “NS/PRR 8102 leading NS 544 Conway/Detroit west of Berea at 8:07 a.m.”

Well it was now 8:13 a.m., so we were minutes behind him. We hopped in the SUV and headed west, figuring we could intercept the train at Sandusky.

I wasn’t certain what type of train the 544 is. I don’t pay attention to the symbols. I simply take pictures.

I texted Cody Zamostny and he replied that it was a coal train. Upon crossing the Sandusky Bay bridge an NS train was also crossing westbound. This wasn’t the 544 but made for a nice photo at the overpass at west end of the bay.

After a quick stop at McDonalds, we continued west, following a coal train. Sure enough this was our target.

We got a quick grab shot on the U.S. 2 overpass at Port Clinton to confirm that it was our train. We then headed to Oak Harbor.

Once there we waited and waited and waited. A couple trains took the connection heading to Bellevue including one with a CN dash 9 leading and an Illinois Central SD70 trailing.

That would normally warrant a chase in itself but we had another target.

Finally, after an hour’s wait, a headlight appeared and we got him going past the elevator. We then proceded further west.

Our next stop was Millbury where the 8102 was stopped east of town. Here we ran into the railfan chase group including Roger Durfee.

Once the train got moving (slowly), we were able to get multiple photo spots between Millbury and Vickers including a three-way meet at Vickers.

Here he sat in the siding so we decided to go to Blissfield anyway. The local model railroad club was open and had a very nice HO scale double-deck layout.

Even though the Adrian and Blissfield wasn’t running, we checked out the equipment. I haven’t been there in a few years and they had some new equipment including a dome observation car from The Canadian.

Also, an ethanol plant has opened, giving them a lot of new traffic. Covered hoppers were everywhere.

I’ll have to get up there on a weekday when they are switching.

Coming back through Toledo we found the 8102 parked on a siding and got some sunlit views. It was pretty overcast in the morning.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon