Posts Tagged ‘NS street running’

Running Down the Street in Erie

January 11, 2021

Over the years areas east and west had popular locations that were attractive for railfanning.

One spot was the Norfolk Southern (ex-Nickel Plate Road) 19th Street trackage in Erie, Pennsylvania.

It was in place for over 100 years from 1882 until October 2001. Anytime we were in the area we always found photo and video opportunities if trains were nearby.

The trains we saw included regular freights and excursions pulled by Norfolk & Western steam locomotives 611 and 1218.

There was one time Robert Surdyk was with me and we were about a minute too late to photograph NKP 765. As Maxwell Smart would say, we missed it by thatmuch.

The street running in Erie would be eliminated by relocating the route to parallel the CSX (ex-New York Central) right of way that was north of 19th Street.

When word got out that street trackage would be eliminated we made several trips to document its remaining days.

The final NS freight ran down the street on Sept. 27, 2001. On Oct. 12, 2001, a four-car special that included the NS Exhibit Car ran down the street. After it passed, a rail on each end of the street running was turned over to mark taking the line out of service. It was the formal end of the street running.

Above are photographs of a westbound on Sept. 17, 2001. Being a school day in the afternoon, kids on the way home from school are witnessing the last days of street running.

Twenty years later, I still miss the 10 mph trains on 19th Street.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

First Foray to Marion Branch Street Running

June 27, 2020

On one side of the street running on the NS Marion Branch is a residential neighborhood. A southbound enters the street running on the north end.

I’d heard about it, read about it and seen numerous photographs of it. But until recently I had never experienced the street running in Warsaw, Indiana, on the Marion Branch of Norfolk Southern.

For two blocks on the east edge of downtown Warsaw, a former New York Central line runs in the middle of Hickory Street.

Parking is allowed on the east side of the street but not the west side.

My first foray to see and photograph the street running was on a hot and humid Sunday in early June.

I got a later start than I had wanted and by the time I reached Warsaw it was late morning.

Things were quiet and the signals for the crossing of the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern – formerly the mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Chicago and Pittsburgh – were all red.

Nothing seemed to be imminent. Checking social media sites on my phone I found that the Lehigh Valley heritage unit of Norfolk Southern was out of Elkhart headed east on the lead of a train bound for a point in Virginia.

Maybe it would run down the Marion Branch. But just as quickly as I got my hopes up of breaking a long dry spell of not seeing any heritage units I saw a report that that train was through Waterloo, Indiana, and hence not coming down the Marion Branch.

Most of the parking spaces on Hickory Street were taken and even if they weren’t it would feel strange to be parking right in front of someone’s house.

There are houses lining the east side of Hickory although the west side of the street is commercial.

I wound up parking in the lot of a CVS drug store on the west side of Hickory. Later I parked in a largely empty lot just south of a bank branch.

It would be a long wait. The NS road channel for the line was silent for more than two hours.

I spent the time reading magazines and catching a westbound on the CF&E, which itself has some quasi street running in Warsaw.

Finally about 12:30 p.m. I heard what sounded like a train calling signals on the Marion Branch.

I never could understand its symbol but it was a southbound manifest freight.

The lighting would be of the “noon in June” variety, meaning it would be harsh. But at this point I was willing to take anything.

I’m not sure what the speed limit is for the street running, but the train seemed to move along.

I photographed from the east side of the street. My plan was to see if I could catch the southbound south of Warsaw.

As I was crossing the CF&E tracks, though, I saw a headlight of an eastbound CF&E train.

So much for the idea of chasing the NS train. Instead, I focused on the CF&E movement, but that is for another story.

By the time I got done with the CF&E chase it was mid afternoon. I didn’t plan to stay much beyond 3 p.m. before heading back home.

Maybe I’d get lucky and catch one more train on the Marion Branch.

The signals for the CF&E crossing were all lined red so things didn’t look promising.

Nonetheless, I settled into the CVS lot where I could see the southbound home signal for the CF&E crossing.

A couple minutes late I got lucky. The signal turned to clear for a southbound move.

Within minutes I could hear this train calling signals on the radio. I couldn’t understand the symbol this train was calling, either.

For this series of images, I stood on the sidewalk on the west side of Hickory because the light favored that.

It was another long manifest freight. I’m told that much of the traffic on the Marion Branch through Warsaw either turns onto or comes from the former Nickel Plate Road mainline at Claypool, Indiana, or the former Wabash mainline at Wabash, Indiana.

After the passage of the second train I saw on the Marion Branch it was time to head for home.

I had not expected a flood of traffic because this is not the Chicago Line and NS is operating fewer trains these days due to a combination of its new operating plan and recession-induced falling traffic levels.

But I felt fortunate that the two trains I did net for my efforts were both headed southward into the light.

Next time I might try the strategy of waiting in Goshen, Indiana, where the Marion Branch diverges from the Chicago Line.

Then I can follow a southbound to Warsaw to get some more street running photographs along with one or two other photo ops along the way.

My first glimpse of street running on the NS Marion Branch.

The west side of the street running in Warsaw, Indiana, is largely a commercial district.

A stop sign and an old-fashioned railroad signal govern traffic operating on Hickory Street.

Coming down the street in Warsaw, Indiana.

Town Plans Changes to NS Street Running Street

April 15, 2020

The city of Warsaw, Indiana, is planning to make changes to the street running of the Marion Branch of Norfolk Southern.

Plans are to make Hickory Street one way for two blocks on each side of Center Street.

Hickory would be one way north from Center Street and one way south from Center.

The city also wants to install curbs to allow for parking in the direction of traffic on both sides of the street.

The intent of doing this is to stop motor vehicles driving on the rails except crossing them to park across the track.

The city expects this practice to remove opposing vehicle traffic with one car on the rails.

The rails are expected to remain in the street.

The street running begins on Hickory at East Main Street and extends for four blocks south to East Market Street.