Posts Tagged ‘NS Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit’

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.

An H of a Day (Heritage, Heritage and Hockey)

March 13, 2020

As I rolled east into a bright early morning sunrise over Lake County, I didn’t have any inkling as to what kind of day this would be.

Ed Ribiniskas and I were going to spend some time trackside around Painesville and then head to the afternoon’s Mentor Ice Breakers Hockey game.

Ed called me Saturday evening and pushed our rendezvous time back to sometime after 9:15. We originally had an 8:30 call time at his house in Painesville.

I stayed on my original schedule and decided to spend a few minutes at the former New York Central depot in Painesville before heading to Ed’s house.

I wanted to see what, if any, photo angles could be had of the Painesville depot from the south side of the tracks.

Between the fences and vegetation that surround the depot, photo angles were few. A westbound mixed freight running as the Q561 was the first train to pass.

Shortly after its EOT blinked past, an eastbound ethanol train shot past. I managed to shoot the eastbound. It had a single CSX GE up front and a BNSF SD70 on the rear.

It was now about quarter past nine so I was off to Ed’s house. He was ready to go and he had some news on Norfolk Southern heritage units.

The Pennsylvania Railroad H unit was leading NS train 149. It had been reported a few minutes ago at Kingsville waiting for a meet with an eastbound.

Ed only lives a couple of minutes from the new NS Painesville trestle over the Grand River. We were heading there to hang out.

While we waited at the trestle for something to go by, CSX ran an eastbound. We heard him calling signals and heard the horns off in the distance.

NS was quiet for a few more minutes when horns to the west alerted us the arrival of intermodal train 206.

We shot the 206 on the trestle in perfect light. Since we knew that the 149 wouldn’t be coming soon, we headed to Perry to find a better sun angle for a westbound in these morning hours.

Lately out here in Lake County, I have had problems hearing any radio chatter on NS. I wondered if they had changed the radio frequency out here. I hoped to find out. I don’t like running silent.

When we got to Perry another railfan was parked trackside. As we pulled up beside him, his scanner picked up 206 calling a signal. He had the right radio channel so I asked him what it was.

He said that a while back NS had changed the frequency on the former NKP east of Cleveland to 161.085.

I plugged that number into both scanners and PRESTO we could hear what was going on on NS.

I thanked the gentleman for the information and we headed to the Maple Street crossing in Perry to wait for the 149.

CSX wasn’t really busy this morning. They ran only one eastbound double-stack while we staked out the 149.

That eastbound was lead by No. 765. I asked Ed if he wanted to give chase but his focus was on the PRR H unit.

While checking for updates on the HeritageUnits.com website, Ed also noticed that another H unit, the Central of New Jersey, was leading NS train 310.

The 310 also would be coming our way. Since the report was at Amherst it would be along, hopefully, before too long.

The 149 was now heard calling signals as it approached our vantage point.

The PRR is one of the H Units that I had seen but never got a photo of on the lead. It shot by us at track speed heading for a meet with the CNJ on 310 somewhere ahead.

From here it was back to the Painesville trestle to await the arrival of the 310. I have shot the CNJ before.

It made an appearance on train 287 during an Aug. 11, 2013, Akron Railroad Club outing to Vermilion when we got it in Avon Lake.

It was now past 1 p.m. and the sun was starting to shift to the west. The NS trestle over the Grand River is on an east-west alignment so, hopefully, the 310 would get here before too long. We weren’t the only railfans here; two other carloads of fans and one large black dog were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 310.

Eventually the NS channel came to life. Something was in the neighborhood.

Turns out it was the 310. A few minutes later horns. to the west confirmed show time was at hand.

Unlike the PRR H unit, which was fairly clean, the CNJ H unit was rather filthy. But we shot it anyway. We didn’t come here to be picky.

The 310 had two motors on the lead and two more in the middle. He had a good-sized train. I lost track of his car count (ran out of fingers and toes). I would estimate about 150-180 cars.

With the rail action finished we were off to lunch and the hockey game.

The Mentor Ice Breakers were playing the Delaware Thunder. That’s Delaware as in the state of, not the town near Columbus.

Mentor was outplayed in the first period and was lucky to be down only 2-1.

At the 16:23 mark of the second period three things happened. Right in front of our seats at the blue line a Mentor player was leveled by Delaware player. It took our attention away from the action which featured Mentor scoring the tying goal.

Also at that time the scoreboard went blank. Play was halted as they tried to resolve the issue. A “rain delay” for lack of a better term of over an hour ensued.

After a conference between the officials and the team coaches, it was decided the game would resume at the adjacent east rink. Mentor plays their games in the west rink, which features a much larger seating area.

Everyone moved over to the other rink and play resumed. Mentor’s play after the delay was much more spirited and they skated to a hard fought 6-5 win.

After the game I dropped Ed off at his house and headed back home. I did pause to shoot a sunset shot at the crossing at the east end of the Painesville trestle.

The sky was ablaze with orange and yellow as the sun dropped behind the trees and out of sight. It had been quite a day.

Article by Marty Surdyk, Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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

Ed’s McKay Day Favorites

April 10, 2018

ARRC member Ed Ribinskas attended the recent Dave McKay Day outing for the first time in several years.

Ed used to not be able to come because he was working on Saturdays, but he retired last November and mow has weekends free.

He said he was very happy with his results and in particular was pleased to get a clean Kansas City Southern ‘Belle” as compared to the dirty one he got on a Super Bowl Sunday outing with Marty Surdyk and Craig Sanders.

Ed had seen the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive No. 8102 pass by as he drove over the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern on Rockside Road in Maple Heights at 9 a.m.

“On my way in I thought I was doomed. However, luck was with me and I was very happy at 10:43 a.m. at Berea” when the NS 8102 led train 65N westbound past Berea Tower.

He sends along a few of his favorites from the McKay Day, one of which he said he made because he wanted to get a nice lash-up with Dave’s memorial in the foreground.

Photographs by Edward Ribinkas

Colorful Day in Berea on ARRC McKay Day

April 9, 2018

At long last Akron Railroad Club members got a Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive leading a train through Berea during the annual Dave McKay Day outing there. The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leads a westbound ethanol train late Saturday morning.

The long defunct Pan American World Airways used to have the tagline in its advertisements, “Pan Am makes the going great.”

The word “great” is much overused, yet it could fairly describe the 14th annual Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day in Berea last Saturday.

Among the more than 40 trains that at least one ARRC member observed during the event was an ethanol train with the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive on the point, another NS train led by the GoRail unit, and a CSX stack train led by a Southern Belle SD70MAC of the Kansas City Southern.

Those who got there early enough to see NS train 309 also saw a rare sighting in Berea of a Pan Am Railways locomotive, Maine Central No. 3403.

The SD40-2 was the third of three units that included Union Pacific ES44AC-H No. 8151.

It was a colorful day with more than the usual allotment of UP, Canadian National and BNSF motive power, including two trains with all BNSF motive power consists.

The day wasn’t perfect. We got hosed big time when NS intermodal train 26E passed by with a former BNSF war bonnet that was blocked from view by NS train 16T. And the weather was sunny, but quite cool.

ARRC President Craig Sanders was the first to arrive. As he rolled in at about 8:10 a.m., westbound intermodal train 23K was heading west on the NS Chicago Line.

At the far west end of the CP 194 interlocking an inbound Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train was waiting on for the 23K to clear before it could proceed off CSX Shortline Subdivision Track No. 1 to get onto NS for the journey down to Campbell Road Yard.

It has been several years since we’ve seen a W&LE train come through Berea during an ARRC McKay Day.

On the heels of the Wheeling train came an eastbound CSX ethanol train led by the day’s lone sighting of CN motive power.

CSX would go into a slumber for the next hour and a half. In the meantime, NS was busy with an eastbound fleet, including two moments when three eastbounds were side-by-side at the west end of CP 194.

Word had filtered in that two westbound NS trains, the 65N and 17N were being led by the Pennsy heritage unit and the GoRail special promotions unit respectively. Ahead of the 65N was crude oil train 67R.

They were hung up, though, by the NS eastbound parade, which had Tracks 1 and 2 tied up.

By late morning the ARRC contingent had swelled to include Vice President Todd Dillon, Ed Ribinskas and Paul Woodring. Dennis Taksar made an appearance before going off to work.

In the meantime, CSX stack train 272 lumbered through with KCS Southern Belle 3915 on the point. It was slowed by the S388 waiting ahead for westbound L163 to clear the single track through the tunnels in Cleveland.

About the time that westbound traffic got going on NS, CSX began running trains and we feared that our view of the PRR unit would be blocked.

It could have happened. As the headlight of NS 8102 bore down on Berea we saw the headlight of a westbound CSX train, the L163. The 65N got to Berea two minutes before the L163 so we were able to get clear images of the Pennsy heritage locomotive.

It is not the first time that a heritage locomotive has come through on McKay day. We saw the Wabash H unit in 2014, but it was trailing.

By early afternoon we had been joined by Rick Houck and Marty Surdyk. Rick had debated whether to come because of the cold.

They arrived in time to see the 17N with the GoRail unit go west.

NS traffic dominated the day. Of the 16 CSX trains we spotted, nine of them came through after 2 p.m. and six of them were clustered in just over an hour’s time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. during which NS was silent. In fact, seven of the last nine trains we logged were on CSX.

Dennis returned to the scene in late afternoon during which time Paul Emch made a short appearance while en route to the annual banquet of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts that was being held at Tony K’s restaurant in Berea.

Former ARRC member and occasion meeting attendee Alex Buchac also made an appearance as did ex-ARRC member Richard Thompson.

Most ARRC members and former members had departed by the time NS westbound 19A came through just before 6 p.m. with two passenger cars in its consist.

Both were former Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus cars being ferried to new owners.

It was nice not just to see a Southern Belle locomotive of the Kansas City Southern, but a clean one at that. It is leading a very long CSX stack train 272.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train made an early morning appearance.

Like race horses in the starting gate, three NS trains were briefly abreast at the west end of CP 194. Only the 294 in the middle was moving. Watching are the 16T at left and the M6G at right.

The GoRail special interest locomotive is on the point of the 17N.

Eastbound ethanol train K634 was the first CSX train of the day. Once it went by, CSX went into a lull lasting an hour and a half.

A Pan Am Railways SD40-2 made an appearance on NS train 309.

Another look at the colorful and varied motive power consist of NS train 309

Stack train 22K had a brace of BNSF locomotives running elephant style. This train will take the former Nickel Plate Road mainline east of Cleveland.

NS train 20R was one of four consecutive eastbounds that kept a fleet of westbound trains at bay east of CP Max on the Chicago Line.

A young railfan sits on what used to be a signal base to photograph westbound CSX train L135. BNSF motive power was plentiful during the McKay Day outing.

CSX No. 99 has the S388 rolling along through Berea, but not for long. The manifest freight would stop in a few miles to wait for the passage of the L163 through the single-track tunnels in Cleveland.

The Q391 used to be a manifest freight but now it hauls containers.

The rear of the Q166 passes the head end of Q561 by the former Big Four passenger station in Berea.

One of the locomotives pulling eastbound CSX intermodal train Q008 thinks it is an Alco or a steam locomotive as it pours out smoke. The railfan in the distance waving at the train is former ARRC member Richard Thompson.

Chasing the PRR H Unit on the ex-Pennsy

July 28, 2016

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Last Sunday the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit led Norfolk Southern train 12V across the former Pennsy mainline via Bucyrus and Alliance.

With our club picnic being held in nearby Warwick Park, four ARRC members were out in force to catch this move.

My first stop was Mace interlocking in Massillon where the PRR crosses the former Baltimore & Ohio from Warwick.

Myself, Craig Sanders, Steve McMullen and a few others were there to witness its passage.

I also found out that a 66Z with Canadian Pacific motive power was following the 12V. I didn’t stick around for that as I wanted to catch 12V at some other spots.

Next up I went to Wandle crossing in Canton. Jim Mastramatteo and Ron McElrath were already set up.

After that I went to Fairhope which is the east end of Canton yard. The 12V was doing some switching there and I caught a meet with a westbound coal train, the NS 776.

Next was Beech Road at Maximo where Don Woods and Dave Shepherd were there waiting. They had a slight scare as the NS 169 showed up right before 12V, but it was on the opposite track and all was well.

It had been overcast and even raining but here the sun came out, which made for some nice photos.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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Double PRR Heritage at Mace

July 25, 2016

PRR at Mace-x

From a train watching perspective, the highlight of the 2016 Akron Railroad Club picnic was the passage of the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit in late afternoon.

Of course, I had to drive to Massillon to see it because it was leading Norfolk Southern train 12V, a Bellevue to Conway (Pittsburgh) manifest freight that works in Mansfield and Canton en route.

I’ve only seen NS 8102 trailing and each time it was behind Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765.

So here was my chance to get it leading and get it on former Pennsy rails to boot.

I chose to set up at Cherry Road NW just south of Mace interlocking. I wanted to get it coming past the PRR position light signals there.

That called for a straight-on shot and I thought I could move over and get a three-quarter roster type shot.

But the 12V was moving faster than I expected and I couldn’t move fast enough or get set in time to get that other image.

But I’m satisfied with this one even if the lighting wasn’t the greatest. Call it a double dose of PRR heritage.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders