Posts Tagged ‘R’

Train Time at Harpers Ferry: Part 2

August 4, 2014
An empty westbound coal train crosses the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, W. Va. Once Amtrak got out of the way, CSX ran a slew of freight trains.

An empty westbound coal train crosses the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, W. Va. Once Amtrak got out of the way, CSX ran a slew of freight trains.

I arrived in Harpers Ferry about 4 p.m. Amtrak wasn’t due for another hour so I thought maybe I’d catch a CSX freight or two. Fat chance of that. Nothing ran at all through town before the westbound Capitol Limited arrived.

It was frustrating to hear the dispatcher talking with trains in nearby Brunswick only to realize those trains were eastbound and headed away from my position. I heard an auto rack train with an odd numbered symbol get an EC1 form, but that train was somewhere west of Harpers Ferry.

No. 29 had barely left town when the gates for a nearby crossing went down and an eastbound coal train came by. It was as though trains began to materialize out of nowhere. In a little over a half-hour, CSX sent six trains through, including two westbound empty hopper trains, two eastbound loaded coal trains, a westbound MARC commuter train and an eastbound tanker train.

The tanker train, alas, blocked most of my view of the MARC train. The tanker pulled in and stopped short of the passenger platform. Shortly after the MARC train arrived, the tanker train began moving.

Overall, though, it had been a nice visit. I’d like to get back to Harpers Ferry again and spend some more time there to wrap up some unfinished business.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Only one locomotive was needed to pull these empty hoppers.

Only one locomotive was needed to pull these empty hoppers.

This was the best view I was able to get of the head end of the MARC train. If only the tanker train had been running a little later.

This was the best view I was able to get of the head end of the MARC train. If only the tanker train had been running a little later.

MARC had three rush hour trains from Washington, D.C., that operate to Martinsburg, W.Va. This was the first of the three and only one to have bi-level cars.

MARC had three rush hour trains from Washington, D.C., that operate to Martinsburg, W.Va. This was the first of the three and only one to have bi-level cars.

Given that this tank train had a buffer car on each end, I am guessing that it was carrying crude oil.

Given that this tank train had a buffer car on each end, I am guessing that it was carrying crude oil.

The lead unit of a westbound empty hopper train pops into view between two large trees. I did not seen any foreign power on CSX today.

The lead unit of a westbound empty hopper train pops into view between two large trees. I did not seen any foreign power on CSX today.

The former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station is owned by the National Park Service.

The former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station is owned by the National Park Service.

The rear of the first coal train is about to vanish into the tunnel.

The rear of the first coal train is about to vanish into the tunnel.

Clouds and sun create a contrast between shadows and light. The mountain in the foreground is in Maryland whereas the mountains visit in sunlight in the background are in Virginia.

Clouds and sun create a contrast between shadows and light. The mountain in the foreground is in Maryland whereas the mountains visit in sunlight in the background are in Virginia.

Paying Tribute to the CPLs at Deshler

July 18, 2014
A southbound manifest freight passes beneath the signal bridge south of Deshler where the mainline becomes one track.

A southbound manifest freight passes beneath the signal bridge south of Deshler where the mainline becomes one track.

For the past few years, railroad photographers have been on a mission. The Class I railroads are replacing block signals on their mainline routes that have stood for decades.

In many instances, these signals represented an identity with a particular railroad. Think of the Baltimore & Ohio, for example and what comes to mind? Color position light signals.

Most of the former B&O mainlines still in service today are owned and operated by CSX. That company has made major strides in replacing the CPLs, but there remain pockets and routes where these iconic signals still guide trains to safe passage.

One such route is the Toledo Subdivision between its namesake city in Ohio and Cincinnati.

In Deshler, CPLs still stand guard on the mainline and the connecting tracks.

During a visit to Deshler in June, I made it a point to photograph CSX operations with the surviving CPLs.

I did not see any evidence that the replacement signals are poised to go up here, but that process could begin at any time and by the time I get to Deshler again the CPLs might be gone.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Union Pacific, the company, is one of the few things still around that is older than this CPL. Chances are, though, that this particular locomotive is far younger than the signal that it is about to pass.

Union Pacific, the company, is one of the few things still around that is older than this CPL. Chances are, though, that this particular locomotive is far younger than the signal that it is about to pass.

An auto rack train is about to enter the Toledo Sub using of the three connecting tracks in Deshler.

An auto rack train is about to enter the Toledo Sub using of the three connecting tracks in Deshler.

Coming around the connection from the Willard Sub and onto the Toledo Sub.

Coming around the connection from the Willard Sub and onto the Toledo Sub.

I didn't get out here to get the head end of this southbound auto rack train coming past the signals south of Deshler. But I still liked the image I was able to capture.

I didn’t get out here to get the head end of this southbound auto rack train coming past the signals south of Deshler. But I still liked the image I was able to capture.

A local could not say how long this signal bridge has been in place. He could only say it has been there many, many years.

A local could not say how long this signal bridge has been in place. He could only say it has been there many, many years.

CPLs still guard the crossing of the Toledo Sub with the east-west route of the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline. A northbound is about to pass the Deshler passenger station.

CPLs still guard the crossing of the Toledo Sub with the east-west route of the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline. A northbound is about to pass the Deshler passenger station.