Posts Tagged ‘Olmsted Falls Ohio’

Sunset in Olmsted Falls

August 12, 2021

I switched to digital photography in late July 2011 and my early weeks in the digital world were spent seeing what my camera could do.

On Sept. 24, 2011, I spent some time photographing Norfolk Southern trains in Olmsted Falls. My time there extended into the darkness hours so I tried my hand at some sunset images.

NS cooperated by sending an eastbound my way just as the sun was hovering above the trees in the distance. Here was the result.

Double Heritage Unit Friday in Northeast Ohio

September 26, 2020

On Friday Norfolk Southern sent two heritage units through Northeast Ohio.

Todd Dillon caught the New York Central H unit passing the former NYC depot in Olmsted Falls.

It was on the point of the 21Q headed for 47th Street in Chicago after originating in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Next he caught the Interstate H unit going through Hudson leading the 25V. The train originates in Elizabethport, New Jersey, and terminates at Landers Yard in Chicago.

Both units came through during the afternoon.

Ordinarily, Friday night would have been Akron Railroad Club meeting night for September. But that meeting was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there was an impromptu ARRC meeting in Hudson with club president Dillon, Vice President Bill Kubas (shown on the ladder) and Tom Kendrick on hand in Hudson to get some photographs and video.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Remembering the NS F Units

November 22, 2019

Norfolk Southern decided sometime earlier this year to sell its distinctive F units and bids were due this past Wednesday.

At this writing the winning bidder has not been identified but that information is likely to be revealed at some point.

As it turned out, I photographed the F units of Norfolk Southern 12 times.

They didn’t operate that often and when they did make it through Northeast Ohio I often was busy with other activities and couldn’t make it out to photograph them.

All 12 times that I caught the F units were at locations within Ohio with nine  of those being in Northeast Ohio. Five times I bagged the F units in Olmsted Falls.

The last time I photographed the F units was in June 2018 in Oak Harbor on the day of the Akron Railroad Club’s longest day outing to Fostoria.

I also photographed the F units in Amherst during the picnic of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts.

My first photograph of the F units was made in June 2008 at Brady Lake when the executive train was en route to Bellevue.

A few days later I was in Bellevue to watch that train arrive at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum as part of a retirement party for a high-ranking NS executive who had begun his career in Bellevue.

It would be the only time that I made static photographs of the NS F units.

NS is not selling its executive fleet. Presumably it will continue to operate with a power car and freight locomotives.

Perhaps the executive train will some day operate with one of more of the NS heritage or tribute locomotives on the point.

It won’t be the same as it was with the F units, but it will still be worth capturing.

Some railfans have lamented on social media that they didn’t photograph the F units more often.

That is a commonly heard refrain when something of value is about to vanish or is already gone.

Do I wish I had gotten out to photograph the NS F units more often? My answer is “yes, but.”

In the abstract there are numerous trains I wish I had photographed or photographed more often, but I understand why that didn’t happen.

I’m satisfied with the opportunities I did have to photograph the F units and the images I was able to make.

That includes the photograph above, which one of my favorites.

It is mid October 2013 in Olmsted Falls and the executive train is headed westbound on Track 1 of the Chicago Line. The trees are about to reach their peak fall colors.

It is a reminder of how good we had it and how nothing lasts forever.

Early Morning and the Westbound Lake Shore Limited

October 26, 2019

The sun is slowly climbing over Olmsted Falls as a very late Lake Shore Limited scoots toward Chicago.

Under normal circumstances Train No. 49 would have passed here in darkness.

The sun angle when this image was made on May 11 made photography tricky but did yield a nice reflection from the lead P42DC locomotive No. 92.

The former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (later New York Central) depot at right is now the home of a model railroad club.

Just Like Sunday Mornings With Grandpa

August 18, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited is more than four hours late as it passes through Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on a Sunday morning in mid May.

It was a sunny and pleasant Sunday morning in Olmsted Falls as I stood next to the tracks of Norfolk Southern at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station that is now owned by a model railroad club, the Cuyahoga Valley & West Shore.

I was waiting for a tardy eastbound Lake Shore Limited that Amtrak predicted would arrive in Elyria at 9:12 a.m. and depart two minutes later.

If that held, that would put No. 48 through Olmsted Falls at about 9:25 a.m.

As I waited, my thoughts flashed back to Sunday mornings in the early 1960s when my grandparents on my mother’s side would come to my hometown in east central Illinois from St. Louis for a weekend visit.

On Sunday morning, grandpa would take my sister and I for a walk of about four blocks that we called “going to the trains.”

On the west side of Mattoon not far from our house was an open area that still had tracks leading to a an abandoned shop building once used by the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville, which was absorbed by the Illinois Central in the early 20th century.

The tracks leading into that long-closed shop were still in place, but rusty and covered in weeds. Cinders were plentiful in the ballast.

This area was located between the tracks of the IC – that former PD&E – and the St. Louis line of the New York Central.

We would walk across those tracks to stand near the Central tracks. Two NYC passenger trains were scheduled to pass through Mattoon during the mid to late morning hours.

The eastbound train was the Southwestern and the westbound train the Knickerbocker. They were all that was left of the Central’s service to St. Louis.

In the early 1960s, both of those trains were still quite grand with sleepers, dining cars and coaches, some of which operated through to New York and all of which operated to and from Cleveland.

Sometimes the motive power for the trains were E units still wearing NYC lightning stripes, but at others times the motive power was Geeps in the cigar band look.

I thought about those trains as I waited for Amtrak No. 48, which had lost time starting with a late departure from Chicago Union Station the night before.

But something happened between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, where the bulk of the lost time occurred.

Amtrak equipment, like much of that used by the Central, is silver-colored stainless steel. The Central had some two-tone gray smooth sided passenger cars that were assigned to the St. Louis trains.

There are some parallels to where the Central’s passenger service was in the early 1960s and where Amtrak is today.

NYC management under the leadership of Alfred Perlman was convinced that long-distance trains had no future and throughout the 1950s the Central had aggressively discontinued as many of those trains as regulators would allow.

There might not have been any NYC passenger trains for myself, my sister and my grandpa to watch during our walks “to the trains” had the Illinois Commerce Commission allowed the Central to discontinue all service to St. Louis as it wanted to do in the late 1950s.

Amtrak management under the leadership of Richard Anderson has been signaling that it wants to transform its network into a series of short-haul corridors between urban points.

That strategy would eviscerate Amtrak’s long-distance network and probably spell the end of the Lake Shore Limited, the only daily train between Chicago and New York.

Those walks “to the trains” did not last long. By the middle 1960s my grandparents were no longer traveling from St. Louis to Mattoon to visit us.

In the meantime, the Southwestern and Knickerbocker grew shorter, shrinking to one sleeper and a couple of coaches. The dining car no longer operated west of Indianapolis.

In late 1967 the Central posted notices of its intent to discontinue its last trains to St. Louis. By then the trains only operated between St. Louis and Union City, Indiana, the NYC having used the “Ohio strategy” to discontinue them between Union City and Cleveland.

The “Ohio strategy” was a rule of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that allowed a railroad to discontinue a passenger train within the state of Ohio without PUCO approval provided it was not the last passenger train on that route.

The NYC and other railroads used that rule to devastating effect in the 1960s.

The Interstate Commerce Commission stayed the discontinuance of the remnants of the Southwestern and Knickerbocker, but after conducting an investigation concluded they were not needed for the public necessity and convenience. They made their last trips in March 1968.

By then they had shrunk to one E unit and one coach.

My grandpa died in 1982, the same year that Conrail won regulatory approval to abandon the former NYC through Mattoon. The tracks were pulled up through town in May 1983.

In the meantime, the IC razed the former shops used by the PD&E. That area where we used to walk remains an open field passed by a handful of trains of Canadian National.

No. 48 was slowly gaining back some of its lost time a minute or two at a time as it made its was east from Toledo. It departed Elyria about when Amtrak predicted it would.

The Lake Shore Limited continues to be an impressive looking train with three sleepers, six coaches, a baggage car, café car, dining car and two locomotives. But the dining car no longer serves meals freshly prepared onboard.

Just like the Central did, Amtrak is slowing chipping away at onboard service in an effort to cut costs.

As the Lake Shore flashed past, I again felt myself going back to the early 1960s and watching the Southwestern rush past also en route to New York City.

I couldn’t think of too many better ways to spend part of a Sunday morning.

Passing the Olmsted Falls depot, now the home of a model railroad club.

All the meals being served in that dining car behind the Amfleet coach were prepared off the train. The chefs were laid off or reassigned to other runs.

Great Day for Photographers, Not For Passengers

August 6, 2019

Not many who rode Amtrak’s Capitol Limited or Lake Shore Limited on June 7, 2019, can say they had a great experience.

A derailment on Norfolk Southern the day before that blocked both mainline tracks in Swanton, Ohio, led to a severe disruption in Amtrak service.

About the only good thing that could be said about that day from a passenger perspective was that at least passengers got to their destination even if it was several hours late.

Your trip also included a ride on a school bus between Toledo and Bryan, Ohio, where the eastbound and westbound Lake Shore and Capitol were halted and reversed direction.

The lateness of the train, though, was good news for photographers.

By the time No. 30 and No. 48 got to Olmsted Falls it was mid afternoon.

The schedules being what they are, it is not unusual to capture the eastbound Lake Shore Limited in Northeast Ohio in daylight in the summer months.

But catching the Capitol Limited in daylight, although not unheard of, is harder to do.

But on June 7 both came through about a half-hour apart.

Short Stack

September 1, 2018

Although CSX has become well known for its long trains in the past year, all Class 1 railroads have followed a trend of longer trains.

From a management perspective, that means fewer crews, fewer locomotives and less expense. Wall Street analysts like it, too, because they are fixated on cost cutting.

Some of these monster trains approach or exceed two miles in length.

So when this stack train passed through Olmsted Falls last March on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern, it got my attention for being so short.

I was able to easily fit the entire train into my viewfinder. Apparently, NS decided that moving this cargo outweighed holding it a day to make up a longer train. There might be other explanations for why this train is so short.

But it is the exception and not the rule for traffic patterns these days.

Am I Allowed to Post These?

May 1, 2018

As you can clearly see, the top image features the Interstate heritage unit of Norfolk Southern. You can also clearly see that No. 8105 is trailing in the motive power consist of a westbound stack train passing through Olmsted Falls on the NS Chicago Line.

The bottom image features the Wabash heritage unit in the motive power consist of NS westbound manifest freight 309.

And you know what they say, “trail equals fail.” Maybe so but I photographed them anyway and I posted them anyway. Feel better now?

Good Timing

April 3, 2018

One of the the most frustrating things that can happen is when an auto rack trains on a double or triple track mainline and is on the track closest to you.

It means that anything that passes on other track(s) is going to be blocked from view.

It has happened to me numerous times in Berea over the years, particularly when a CSX auto rack train blocks the view of something going by on Norfolk Southern.

You know it is your day, though, when just as the auto rack train clears your position you can see something else coming.

That isn’t quite what happened here, but the auto rack train cleared before the stack train passed the depot in Olmsted Falls on the NS Chicago Line.

Signal Indication is a Shadow

March 8, 2018

It’s late afternoon in Olmsted Falls. The sun is swinging around toward the southwest and illuminating the west end of the former New York Central station, which is now owned by the Cuyahoga Valley & West Shore Model Railroad Club.

One of the latest additions to the club’s modest 1:1 scale of railroad collectables at the depot is a two-headed Type G signal.

You don’t see the signal above, but it is casting a shadow on the side of the station.