Posts Tagged ‘NS Sandusky District’

Plenty of Action on NS Sandusky District on Longest Day

July 25, 2017

While Marty was out on Sunday morning chasing trains on the Sandusky District, Norfolk Southern ran a steady stream of trains through the mini plant back in Bellevue. Shown is a manifest freight going to the Sandusky District with helpers on the rear. Reportedly, this train will separate into two sections further down the road.

The 2017 ARRC longest day outing took us to the Norfolk Southern capital of Ohio, Bellevue.

My day began about 10 minutes late at 7:10 a.m. I had hoped to be on the road by 7, but not to worry, Bellevue is less than an hour if I use the Ohio Turnpike.

I got to Bellevue just minutes before 8 a.m. I made a pit stop at McDonald’s on the way into town, passing the Kemper Railfan Pavilion at 8:05 a.m. No one else had arrived yet.

Train 12V was heading south on the Sandusky District, so I gave chase.

The first spot I got it was at Frank, which is the second wide spot in the road south of Bellevue. Flat Rock is the first.

It was easy to get ahead this morning as there was no traffic to speak of and the 12V was not going at any breakneck speed.

I was heading for the northerly road crossing at Caroline. This is south of Attica. I saw a shot on Railpictures.net of a morning southbound from this crossing.

It features the train in the dip crossing Honey Creek with the Attica water tower and grain elevator in the distance.

The 12V got hung up waiting to cross CSX at Attica Junction for a few minutes, so I had plenty of time to set up my shot. Alas, 300 mm of telephoto doesn’t quite make the shot; I needed more. I shot the 12V here anyway, just to record the scene.

NS had plenty more action in the works for this morning. The 188 was on the heels of 12V, a 51V grain train and the two hot eastbound van trains, 234 and 218, were coming south.

And if that’s not enough, I got 217 and a 604 coal train going north. A seven train morning in great light on a line with multiple good photo opportunities, what more could you want? I know, eight trains.

By 11:15 a.m. the last of the seven trains was heading off to it destination and I hadn’t been back to Bellevue to see if anyone else had shown up.

I rolled into town about 11:30 to find about a dozen ARRC people gathered in the parking lot across from Wheeling Tower.

The light was still on this side of the tracks for photography. Craig’s car was there but he wasn’t. I found out a few minutes later that he and Todd Vander Sluis had walked down the street looking for the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

As noon approached, lunch sounded like a good idea. So we were off to Subway for its foot-long sub of the day, a meatball sub. As I told the gal making my sandwich, “We are what we eat.”

Alas, I was only able to eat half of the sandwich. I had placed part of it on my Jeep Patriot, but the wind blew it off and onto the ground.

Traffic past the ARRC assembled faithful in Bellevue had been steady all day so far. The longest lull was just 15 minutes, plus they got the W&LE going into the yard.

The afternoon began much like the morning ended, busy.

Another coal train came north off the Sandusky District. Two trains came in off the Toledo District. A nauto rack train came off the Toledo District and headed out on the Fostoria District. Its destination was the Mixing Center just outside Fostoria.

The L11 bound for Blair Yard in Fostoria went past behind two SD 40s.

Craig and Todd wanted to spend some time south on the Sandusky District in the afternoon. I told them to be patient and we’d pick out the right train at the right time.

About 1:30 p.m. a 194 went south. It was a little too early for this one; the sun was still too high. We’ll wait for 175 in about another 45 minutes to an hour.

Besides we might see the 194 again. CSX was doing track work on its No. 2 main around Attica Junction and the 194 might get delayed there.

The 175 left about 2:30 p.m. and Craig, Todd and I were in hot pursuit. Our first shot was at Schriver, although the corn was getting a little high. In another week this shot won’t be doable.

We went Omar for the 175, shooting it framed between two barn-like structures on the farm near the Ohio Route 162 crossing.

We continued south to find the 194 cooling its heels at West Attica. CSX had the diamonds and wasn’t giving them back. The 194 was delayed an hour and 25 minutes waiting to get across Attica Junction.

The 194 finally was let loose and  we headed toward the old reservoir at Attica. Normally the calm water makes for a nice reflection, but it was so windy today that there were white caps on the water.

We heard a northbound train as we were going to shoot the 194. It was train 25G, a one-unit wonder and a very short stack train.

The CSX dispatcher let the 25G across, because it was short, but the 175 with its almost 9,000 feet of train would have to wait.

We went north of Omar for the 25G, shooting the train while watching one of the locals cutting his grass on a riding mower.

Paul Woodring OSed to me another southbound, a potash train with symbol 60U. We shot the 175 again at the old reservoir and waited there for the 60U.

It was time to head back to Bellevue, where we arrived about 6 p.m. In our absence the rest of the gang that had stayed there had seen one of the NS green “echo” units come by, albeit trailing, off the Fostoria District.

We decided that 7 p.m. would be our curfew. Dinner would be at the Bob Evans on the north side of Norwalk.

NS had two trains for us in the 6 o’clock hour, the last being the 12Q. It passed just minutes before 7 p.m.

When it passed, we wrapped things up and headed for dinner. It had been a fantastic day in one the busiest places for NS action around. We did not see any heritage units, but if we had stayed until after dark, we would have seen the Interstate H unit pass through.

That is the only H Unit I have not SEEN. Hopefully that changes sometime soon.

Article by Marty Surdyk

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Sunday Afternoon Foray to the Sandusky District

July 4, 2017

Norfolk Southern train No. 175 seems to be skimming the tops of the corn plants south of Flat Rock on the Sandusky District.

It was mid-afternoon of the Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing in Bellevue.

Todd Vander Sluis asked Marty Surdyk if there was somewhere else we could go for a change of scenery. I was game to come along.

We had spent all morning and a couple of hours of the afternoon photographing a steady parade of trains through the mini plant.

It’s good to see rail traffic, but the mini plant is not the most photogenic location. After a while, all of your photographs look alike.

Marty said that once train 175 was ready to go east then we would head out on the Sandusky District to chase it and, perhaps, catch another train or two or three.

By then the sun would have shifted to the west of the tracks.

No. 175 originates in Bellevue and terminates in Brosnan Yard in Macon, Georgia.

It left town around 2:30 p.m. although we easily got out ahead of it in Marty’s Jeep Patriot.

The first photo stop was in a small rural cemetery south of Flat Rock where the corn wasn’t too high to prevent an across-the field image.

Marty is an old hand when it comes to railfanning the Sandusky District and he claims to know it like the back of his hand.

As we headed south on Ohio Route 4, we could see the 175 in the distance. It was slowing because there was a train ahead of it at West Attica waiting for a signal to cross CSX at Attica Junction.

CSX was doing track work and had a single-track railroad on both side of Attica Junction. Trains of both railroads faced long waits, with some NS trains waiting more than an hour to get across.

We set up west of the Ohio Route 163 crossing to catch the 175 again, working barns into the shots to give them added interest and a rural feel.

In the meantime, westbound NS train 195, a Linwood, North Carolina (Spencer) to Bellevue train finally had gotten the signal at Attica Junction after a long wait.

We stayed along Route 162 to get the 195 coming north, using an old barn and the fields as photo props. It was one of one of those afternoons of sun and clouds and I sought to emphasize clouds in some of my images.

But those clouds were dense and when a train came past I often got cloud skunked.

After the passage of the train 195, we continued our trek southward with the objective of getting the 175 at the old Attica reservoir at Caroline.

But CSX decided to run some more eastbound traffic, including the “salad shooter,” which we saw from a distance.

As we approached Attica, we saw NS train 29G, a Norfolk to Detroit stack train pass us headed west.

The radio traffic on the NS road channel indicated that the 29G would have to wait at Attica Junction for, it turned out, an eastbound CSX auto rack train. Then it would be allowed to cross.

But the 175, which was waiting at West Attica, would stay put. We surmised that the short length of the 29G enticed the CSX dispatcher to clear the signal for it.

We saw most of the CSX auto rack train while stopped at the crossing in Siam, the hometown of Attica Junction.

Marty wanted to catch the 29G near County Road 24 (Seneca County), but missed the turn. We ended up instead getting it at Township Road 126.

There is a home next to the tracks there and a guy was out on a riding mower cutting the grass. That added a touch of human interest.

After the passage of the 29G, we headed back toward Caroline with a few diversions along the way.

We saw from a distance a westbound CSX manifest freight finally get the signal at Attica Junction to cross the NS tracks. We had seen that train sitting at the signal twice while passing through Siam.

After an hour and 25-minute wait, the 175 finally got the signal at West Attica and Attica Junction.

In the meantime, Paul Woodring had called Marty to report that a potash train had left Bellevue headed for the Sandusky District.

Train 60U, I think it was, caught a break. It was allowed to cross CSX at Attica Junction following the 175.

We photographed both trains at the reservoir in Caroline. My image of the 60U skirting the reservoir would be my favorite image of the day.

After the passage of the 60U it was 5:30 p.m. and time to make our way back to Bellevue to rejoin what remained of the nearly dozen ARRC members who had ventured west for the longest day outing.

Train 175 as seen between a pair of barns along Ohio Route 162 near Omar.

This wold not be out last view of the 175.

I made good use of that old barn, this time to frame westbound train 195.

In the foreground is NS train 195. In the distance on the other side of those trees is the rear of the 175, which is waiting at West Attica.

I wonder why those trees are there as the motive power of NS train 195 passes by.

Working the sky and clouds with NS train 195.

Getting a bead on the 29G.

Saying farewell to the 29G.

A CSX westbound manifest freight has the signal at Attica Junction. NS trains, meanwhile, continued to cool their heels.

This turned out to be my favorite image of the day. The 60U skirts the old reservoir at Caroline.

But is He a Railfan?

June 27, 2017

Marty Surdyk, Todd Vander Sluis and I were out chasing Norfolk Southern trains on the Sandusky District south of Bellevue on Sunday during the Akron Railroad Club’s annual longest day outing.

CSX was single tracking in the vicinity of Attica Junction and had trains backing up. Norfolk Southern ended up paying the price.

The 29G, though, got lucky. The CSX dispatcher agreed to let it across between CSX traffic without much delay, but NS train 175 on the other side of the crossing would have to wait at West Attica.

We elected to chase the 29G and catch it somewhere north of Attic Junction. That turned out to be at a crossing along a township road where there was a home next to the tracks.

The homeowner was out mowing the grass. The guy has a great view of NS operations here, but I wonder, is he a railfan? He hardly looked up as the 29G came past. It was just another train.

Neither Flipping nor Flopping in Bellevue

April 28, 2017

Of course the highlight of the day, or any day for that matter, for me is catching an Illinois Central unit. It is leading train W08 on the Toledo District into the mini plant.

OK, so what did my trip to Bellevue in early April have in common with Marty Surdyk’s venture there last winter that he wrote about this week in the Akron Railroad Club Bulletin and the ARRC blog?

Actually, very little. The soles on both of my shoes stayed firmed in place and I did not do any flipping or flopping while waiting for trains. I’m still laughing about that story.

I didn’t get any NS heritage units as Marty did in catching the Lehigh Valley H unit on northbound train No. 174.

But I did chase No. 194 southward (railroad eastbound) and my catch of the day was a former Illinois Central SD70 leading a train into town on the Toledo District.

I posted a photograph earlier of the IC unit along with a few other highlights of my day, so here are a few more images from my day in Belleveue, which also involved a chase down the Sandusky District.

The first train that I saw was a monster Wheeling & Lake Erie manifest freight sitting outside of town.

A railfan who goes by the screen name of Camcorder Sam on Trainorders.com, said that the W&LE didn’t come into Bellevue on Saturday so the Sunday train was extra long.

I would get it creeping around the Brewster Connection at Center Street.

If it wasn’t such a great day for heritage locomotives, it was a good day for western foreign power. Two trains had Union Pacific power sets leading them. BNSF power led the 44G, a grain train that came in on the Fostoria District and west south on the Sandusky District.

The crew putting together the 12V had the mini plant tied up for a good half-hour to 45 minutes, causing three trains to have to sit and wait before they could leave town or come into town.

The dispatcher used a term to describe this that I’ve never heard before. It sound like “shopping” but it could have been “chopping.” Whatever work it was had an “op” sound to it.

The crew of L14 toured the mini plant as they spun their motive power set because the original lead unit had some type of issue.

ARRC members will be going to Bellevue in June for our annual longest day outing and Bellevue will be the subject of the cover story in the June ARRC eBulletin.

Just remember to wear a good pair of shoes that day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Union Pacific No. 4012 leads train into town as another one leaves town. They are passing at Southwest Street.

A trio of UP units leads a train out of town.

The W&LE always seems to have to wait before it gets into the NS yard in Bellevue. An inbound train is shown on the Brewster Connection.

It’s all about steel wheels on steel rails. Shown are the wheels of a car on the W&LE train.

The L14 maneuvers around the Mad River Connection in the background as seen between two auto rack cars on an inbound train coming off the Fostoria District.

After spinning its power the L14 finally got underway. It is passing the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum on the Mad River Connection.

As the 12V was being assembled and had the mini plant tied up, it operated as symbol L07.

Train 194 had to wait for the 12V to finish its assembly work before it could leave town. The 12V picked up a Mansfield Crew near Flat Rock and the 194 went around and out ahead of it. The 194 is leaving Bellevue with a CSX unit tucked behind lead locomotive 2661.

The 194 had to wait for a CSX intermodal train at Attica Junction before it could resume its journey. It is shown on the south edge of Siam (Attica Junction)

The 12V saunters through Attica in a view made from the cemetery along the tracks.

Tank cars bring up the rear of NS train 188 as it crosses the Fort Wayne Line at Colson in Bucyrus. The 44G was waiting for it to clear.

 

Flip-da-Flop, Flip-da-Flop. Chase of the ‘Valley Girl’ on the Sandusky District Had Plenty of Sole

April 26, 2017

This particular Sunday dawned sunny with unseasonably warm temperatures. The sunlight through the stained glass windows at church had a special glint to it today. It was going to be a memorable day. Little did I know in what way.

My plans for the day were set, at least for the early hours. I was to attend the birthday party for my great nephew Griffen in the morning. Yes, in the morning, actually, 11 a.m.

The Grif had a hockey game later in the afternoon. Yes, beside trains, cars and trucks, the Grif is a hockey puck. (Hard to believe he’s 6 already)

I thought I might head out trackside in the afternoon, depending on what the weather was doing and/or if any Norfolk Southern heritage units were around.

I was the first from nephew Henry’s side of the family to arrive. We went to the basement to inspect the work he’s done on his new HO scale train layout.

The bro and his clan arrived shortly after I did. The first thing Robert said wasn’t, “Hi,” it was, “Lehigh Valley at Columbus coming north on No. 174.”

“Wonderful.” I thought to myself. “One of the units I’ve never seen close by and a nice weather day . . . figures.”

As lunch was served and the party progressed, the progress, or lack thereof, as it turned out, of the Valley Girl was tracked via the Heritage Unit app.

“Lewis Center at Noon.”

Didn’t look good; we still had cake to cut and presents to open. I was hoping for a miracle, maybe, just maybe, it would get delayed somewhere.

As the gathering broke up about 1:30 p.m, the Valley Girl was still shown at Lewis Center at noon. Could this be our miracle or just no one reporting it today?

Robert was game for heading to Bellevue to see if we might catch it. Henry got sprung from parenting duties to join us. Grif, unfortunately, had to get ready for his hockey game.

We were off to Bellevue shortly after 2 p.m. We used the Ohio Turnpike to make the best time. You can make Bellevue via the Turnpike from my house in less than one hour.

Upon arrival in Bellevue, we found no railfans in position to catch an imminent move of a heritage unit. Either it was already by or still a long way off.

We stopped for a leg stretch at the south wye to watch two westbounds go by on the Fostoria District.

To my surprise, while driving out to Bellevue the sole of my right shoe came about two-thirds of the way off. When I walked it made a flip-da-flop noise.

I tried to attach it, but it didn’t hold. The noise didn’t bother me, but Robert and Henry didn’t care for it.

So I walked around as much as I could . . . flip-da-flop . . . flip-da-flop.

Since it looked like it hadn’t arrived yet in Bellevue, we continued south in search of the Valley Girl.

We would occasionally pick up a train calling signals as we rolled south. We were behind train No. 194, but gaining on it.

No. 194 was routed into the Benson siding north of Bucyrus. No. 194 would sit here for several hours before continuing on.

The Sandusky District dispatcher finally cleared up the situation as he explained to No. 194 what his plans were.

He had five northbounds between Columbus and Marion. The last one was an 11,000 foot monster. No. 194 would be held at Benson for all five to pass. One of them had to be No. 174 with the LV.

Henry found a post about the No. 174 and the Valley Girl that said that it was leading a long train with mid-train DPUs. “That must be the 11,000 foot monster the dispatcher was talking about.”

We stopped south of Bucyrus to shoot the second of the five northbound trains. The first one got by us as we tangled with traffic in Bucyrus.

This was a grain train, the lighting was not very good, but we did the best we could. The search was on now for a suitable photo spot for the 174/Valley Girl.

Late afternoon, in the dead of winter, with a northbound train? Not a good set up, but it was all we had to work with.

The third northbound, we shot closer to Monnet. Again, not great light. We continued on.

The spot we settled on was at Tobias. There are some spots here that you can get back enough to get some side lighting on a northbound.

The fourth northbound was fast approaching. Tobias is north of the U.S. Route 23 overpass on the northern outskirts of Marion. The coaling tower at Harvey can be seen in the distance.

We had a chance to get a “test shot” of the 195 as it passed. This should work for the Valley Girl, as its headlight was right on the block of the 195.

As we waited, I made sure to walk around as much as I could. Flip-da-flop . . . flip-da-flop . . . flip-da-flop.

As train time approached, two more cars full of railfans showed up. This was more like it. Show time was now upon us.

The gates went down at the crossing we were at. The Valley Girl was leading a Canadian Pacific GE. About three-quarters of the way back, there were two NS black DPUs.

The chase was on. I had Robert drive due to my shoe malfunction. I didn’t want the flap of my shoe to get caught under the brake or gas pedal and cause a serious safety issue, especially in the heat of the chase.

No. 174 and the Valley Girl weren’t setting any speed records; the trains ahead kept their pace in check.

We got through Bucyrus and headed for the north end of the Benson siding.

The rear end of No. 194 was clear of the crossing when we went by earlier. This would be the best lighted shot we would get. The tracks turn a little to the northwest here.

We had a couple of minutes to wait. I passed the time flip-da-flopping . . . flip-da-flopping.

Finally the train showed up. Film and pixels were exposed and we were off again.

“Let’s go for the Attica Reservoir,” Robert said. Since he was driving, he calls the shots.

We arrived to see the last cars of No. 195 passing by. The 174 better hurry, the sun was getting very low. Thankfully this is flat country and the sun stays up a lot longer than in the mountains.

We also had to hope that they didn’t get stabbed by CSX at Attica Junction. If 174 has to stop our day was over.

All things worked out and the 174 passed by us while the sun was still up.

If we were to get another shot, we would have to beat it to the Ohio Route 4 crossing north of Attica Junction. Otherwise, we would have to wait for all 11,000 feet of train to pass.

Just enough traffic and a red light in Attica cost us any chance of getting one more shot. I was able to count 48 cars behind the DPUs, as we waited for the train to cross Route 4.

By now both Robert’s and Henry’s wives were on the phone, wondering if we’d be home for dinner. The chase was called off at this point and we headed for home, satisfied with our results.

What do the Grif and the Valley Girl have in common? They were both the star of the show on the same day.

Article by Marty Surdyk

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.

Memorable Last Train of the Day

April 12, 2017

The last train that I would photograph during an all-day outing to Bellevue and the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern last Sunday would be memorable for a few reasons, not all of them positive.

While in Bellevue around mid-afternoon, I spotted a train sitting on the Fostoria District awaiting clearance. It had a BNSF unit on the point so I waited to see where it was going.

I thought it was waiting to get into the yard, but it went to the Sandusky District and would follow the 194 and the 12V.

It turned out to be the 44G, a grain train probably headed somewhere in North or South Carolina.

The Sandusky District dispatcher had planned to have the 44G meet a 188 at Harvey just north of Marion, but those plans changed after I turned off my scanned and got out my car to await the arrival of the 44G in Bucyrus.

I met a railfan from Columbus who had a portable scanner and said the radio chatter and signal indications he had seen suggested a meet at Benson, the siding north of Bucycus.

That is, in fact, what happened. He was curious what the view on the west side of the tracks close to the diamonds with the Fort Wayne Line.

We found that it offered a straight-on view of the through truss bridge carrying the Sandusky District over the Sandusky River.

The lighting was ideal and the bright orange of the BNSF “pumpkins” was eye catching. It was my best series of images of the day.

We watched the train go by and we started to leave I reached into my pocket for my lens cap.

But it wasn’t there. I searched all of my pockets and no lens cap.

The other railfan and I looked over the area where I had been photographing but found nothing. I traced my path three times but the lens cap was nowhere to be found.

My best guess is that I put it back on my lens after shooting the 188, but didn’t attach it firmly enough to the lens.

The vibration of my moving must have jarred it off and it was difficult to find in the thick grass. It’s there somewhere but I couldn’t find it.

I can buy a new lens cap, but was bummed out about not having been more careful with my equipment.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Massively Overshadowed

February 21, 2017

ns-and-truck-01-x

ns-and-truck-02-x

ns-and-truck-03-x

One in a series of posts of photographs that I made last summer.

The driver of this Norfolk Southern track car had authority on the Sandusky District as far as the mini plant in Bellevue.

That wasn’t the driver’s final destination. As I recall, the track car needed to get into the yard, but the dispatcher had traffic to run so the truck sat and sat and sat.

One of those trains was an outbound move with a pair of Union Pacific units in the motive power consist.

Those UP engines also overshadowed an NS high-nose GP38-2 that was trailing them.

I wondered what it would be like to be sitting behind the wheel of a track car and seeing this massive train coming at you.

It must have made for an interesting site provided, of course, that it was on another track and stayed on that track.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A Sense of Urgency to Catch NS 9-1-1

July 23, 2016

Reprinted from the July 2016 Akron Railroad Club Bulletin

“Papa, you want to come see the train?” was the question I overheard when the bro answered his phone while we sat at the picnic table in Alliance.

“Uncle Mart and I are in Alliance right now, Grif.”

Grif was referring to the Norfolk Southern 9-1-1, the First Responder’s Tribute unit. It was coming north on train No. 178. It was sighted at Columbus shortly after we arrived in Alliance.

A few minutes later, it was reported at Lewis Center, a northern suburb of Columbus. I figured we wouldn’t make Bellevue before it did, so we stayed put in Alliance.

Our quarry for the day was either a westbound on the Ft. Wayne Line or an eastbound going down the Bayard Line that we could chase.

In the meantime, we had plenty of intermodal trains to shoot moving from the Cleveland Line to the Ft. Wayne Line.

Henry, Grif’s father, decided to go after the 9-1-1. He, Grif and Nicole, Henry’s wife and Grif’s mother, were heading for Bellevue in hopes of intercepting the colorful NS unit.

We wished them luck and waited patiently for NS to run something in the right direction.

It wasn’t long before I heard the switch roll over west of the diamond. The bro walked east to see if the crossover near the Amtrak platform was also lined. It was.

It looked like our westbound heading for the Ft. Wayne Line was nearing. The Cleveland Line Dispatcher confirmed our sighting.

“580, OK into Alliance”

580 was a westbound loaded coal train, most likely loaded on the former Monongahela in southwest Pennsylvania.

We headed out of town to the cemetery in Maximo for our first shot. The tracks are heading south here, so a morning westbound can be done in good light. Although on this morning high clouds were obscuring the sun.

The 580 had NS 3603 up front, a new unit in fresh black paint. Two additional units trailed.

They were rolling right along, so we couldn’t dawdle if we were to stay with the train.

From Maximo, we made our way west to US 62 West, a four lane divided highway and a 70 mph speed limit until you get to the outskirts of Canton. Then it is 50 mph with numerous traffic lights and lots of congestion. If we were ahead, we soon lost our edge.

US 62 runs with I-77 for a ways through Canton. When we went over the tracks, the 580 was going by underneath.

We picked up US 30 on the south side of Canton and decided on Orrville for our next shot.

We should beat him there because he has Buck Hill west of Massillon to slow him down.

Our arrival in Orrville was slowed by the last few cars of a Wheeling & Lake Erie westbound that was crossing Ohio Route 57 on the south side of Orrville.

We alighted on the south side of the tracks across from the depot and tower. I figured we had a few minutes to kill, so I broke out my sandwich and started to eat lunch. It was a few minutes after noon.

I took about two bites, when the 580 called the distant signal for CP Orr and horns were heard to the east. Time to drop the sandwich and get to my photo spot.

So much for having some time. Buck Hill must have seemed like a speed bump.

We shot the 580 and thought about heading onward, but the Pittsburgh West Dispatcher came on the radio and informed 580 that their re-crew at Mansfield was not on duty until 2 p.m.

We decided to finish our lunch here and regroup. Henry was on the phone seeing if we had any news on the whereabouts of the 9-1-1. It was not in Bellevue yet and they were heading south looking for it.

We were again headed west in a few minutes and the 580 should be nearing Mansfield by now. If we stayed with the 580, we had time to kill or should we continue on US 30 west to Bucyrus and try to intercept the 9-1-1?

Henry and company made it all the way to Marion without a 9-1-1 sighting. Some fans were trackside waiting for it, but no one had seen it yet.

A check of HeritageUnits.com still showed the last sighting at Lewis Center over four hour ago. What the heck happened to it?

With this news to go on, we committed ourselves to the 9-1-1. As we approached Bucyrus, Henry called and OSed 9-1-1 on train 178 at Marion. They and the 9-1-1 were coming north.

We decided to head for Ridgeton, a few miles north of Bucyrus for a shot.

Ridgeton used to be one of my favorite grain elevator shots in Ohio until the elevator was demolished.

I went to the spot where I used to shoot the elevator with a train and did a “what’s missing from this picture?” shot.

The bro stayed on the other side of the tracks. He wanted to stay near the Jeep, so we could get out of town faster after the train passed. The only problem was that I had the keys.

Henry, Grif and Nicole shot the 9-1-1 at the next crossing north of Ridgeton. They missed the road to Ridgeton.

We had our sights set on the new reservoir at Attica for our next photo spot.

Henry got there first; we were about a minute behind. At first I thought we wouldn’t make it; we were not catching and overtaking the 9-1-1 very quickly.

But as it neared the Honey Creek crossovers, it slowed way down. CSX had the diamonds at Attica Junction and he was going to be held for a few minutes.

This gave us time to catch up with the family. Grif was sporting a digital camera of his own. How many 5-year-olds have their own camera? But Nicole had her camera out, so everyone was shooting today.

The 9-1-1 whistled off and resumed its journey to Bellevue. We lensed it and made tracks out of town.

“Papa, come with us!” yelled the Grif. Papa declined, his camera gear was in my Jeep and he might want to change lenses at the next spot, wherever that may be.

The 9-1-1 made good time until it got close to Bellevue. They were going to be held out of town to let some other traffic clear before they would be allowed into the yard.

This gave us a chance for a shot at Shriver south of the town of Flat Rock. He stopped at signals that are called “Flat Rock” on the railroad and waited his turn.

We arrived at the Kemper Railfan Park in Bellevue in time to view an eastbound coming in off the Toledo District, led by a Canadian Pacific unit. Then one came in off the Fostoria District. The 178 with the 9-1-1 was next.

Everyone scattered to their photo spot as the 9-1-1 approached.

Afterwards, Henry and family were going to try for one more view at the Ohio Route 4 overpass in the yard and then head for home. The bro and I were going to hang out here at the platform for a while before calling it a day also.

Behind the 9-1-1 were two more trains. The 866 that made the turn onto the Fostoria District. The 217 did the same. A 28N auto rack train came in off the Fostoria side.

Things got quiet for a few minutes, so we checked out the new connection on the north side of the yard that lets trains access the Sandusky District directly from the yard. Previously, they would have to back out of the yard and reverse directions in order to head to Sandusky.

The trip home on the Ohio Turnpike as quick and uneventful.

I’m glad Grif called his grandfather and let us know that the 9-1-1 was coming. It was had been an interesting day.

Heritage units sometimes just pop up in the darndest places sometimes.

Article by Marty Surdyk

And There Was the CNJ Heritage Unit

July 3, 2016
Norfolk Southern train 52V passes the grain silos in Attica with the Central of New Jersey heritage unit in tow.

Norfolk Southern train 52V passes the grain silos in Attica with the Central of New Jersey heritage unit in tow.

There are few things more pleasing when railfanning than lucking into a find you weren’t expecting, particularly when it involves a Norfolk Southern heritage unit.

It hasn’t happened to me often, but it occurred late on a Saturday morning in Bellevue.

I had seen at a distance a pair of trains that appeared to be waiting north of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum, so I went up there to have a look.

One of the trains was a grain train — the 52V it turned out — and there was some color behind the lead locomotive.

Upon closer inspection I realized I had just stumbled onto the Central Railroad of New Jersey heritage locomotive.

I walked along a city street to get a closer view when the train started moving. That was all right because I had made all the photographs I wanted to make of it in Bellevue.

Fellow Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon was railfanning in Bellevue with a friend and he waved at me as they drove off.

Was the 52V going out on the Sandusky District or the Fostoria District?

I had to wait for the 52V to clear before I could cross the tracks, get in my car and give chase. While crossing the Ohio Route 269 bridge over the NS tracks I could see the train taking the Sandusky District.

I gave chase and my first effort to get it ended in failure at Flat Rock. There was not enough time to get out to make a photograph at the crossing where I was.

I was able to catch up and get ahead of it, turning down a rural road and getting it at a crossing. I’m not sure of the name of the road, but it is just south of milepost 88.

I resumed the chase and caught a break because the train had to wait for a signal at West Attica. That enabled me plenty of time to go into Attica and scout photo locations.

I finally settled on an across-the-field shot from the grass parking lot at the fairgrounds.

The dispatcher told the crew of the 52V that it would meet one at Chatfield. That turned out to be a rolling meet.

Satisfied with what I had, I broke off the chase and went on to other pursuits.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

What's that color behind the lead unit of NS train 52V? Why, it's a heritage unit.

What’s that color behind the lead unit of NS train 52V? Why, it’s a heritage unit.

Here comes the 52V at milepost 88 on the Sandusky District.

Here comes the 52V at milepost 88 on the Sandusky District.

A crew member is either striking a pose or trying to see if he can get me to fall for the old "look over there" trick.

A crew member is either striking a pose or trying to see if he can get me to fall for the old “look over there” trick.