Posts Tagged ‘Railfanning in Bellevue Ohio’

Bonus Time in Bellevue

August 15, 2017

The 5413 has a pair of mismatched number boards as it leads its train out of Moorman Yard on Norfolk Southern.

Whenever I go to Bellevue I figure that if I get any Wheeling & Lake Erie trains it’s a bonus.

I go to Bellevue to see Norfolk Southern and if the W&LE comes into or leaves town that is value added to my day.

Such was the case during a recent visit in which my W&LE bonus time began in Monroeville when I spotted the railroad’s business car sitting on a siding.

A few more miles down the road revealed a WE train sitting at Yeomans with its locomotives pointed eastward.

I wasn’t there when this train showed up and when I left town about 9 p.m, that night this train was still sitting where I had last seen it.

There would be yet one more W&LE bonus to be had in Bellevue. The job that interchanges with NS in Moorman Yard came out on the Brewster connection with a former Denver & Rio Grande Western SD40T-2 leading.

I doubt that anyone ever tires of seeing the Rio Grande on the Wheeling, particularly when one is leading or if two of them are paired together.

A closer view of the 5413 and its mismatched number boards as it rumbles onto the Brewster connection.

Stripes on the noses of W&LE 4000 and 6997.

A tunnel motor and a corn field.

Near Ohio Route 4 and sitting beside the trail built on the former New York Central right of way.


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 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

ARRC Longest Day is Sunday in Bellevue

June 21, 2017

The Akron Railroad Club will use the Kemper Railfan Park in Bellevue for its base of operations for the 2017 longest day outing.

Although it has been less than two years since the Akron Railroad Club held an outing in Bellevue, the club’s last longest day outing there occurred on June 27, 2010.

The outing was memorable for being cut short in late afternoon by a major thunderstorm.

We retreated to the Bob Evans restaurant in Norwalk for dinner and were greeted with a rainbow upon leaving. By then the storm had moved on.

Much has changed since the last ARRC longest day in Bellevue. The NS motive power fleet has grown more colorful with the addition of 20 heritage locomotives paying tribute to NS predecessor railroad.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has added a railfan park on Monroe Street inside the NS mini plant, and the yard has been enlarged and named after former NS President and CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman.

With any luck we will be able to bag an NS heritage locomotive and maybe a train or two on the Wheeling & Lake Erie, which also comes into Bellevue.

Foreign power from Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian National makes regular appearances in Bellevue.

It’s a given that there will be a lot of trains throughout the day. But we won’t be seeing the RoadRailer trains that we saw in 2010 and high-hood diesels, once a common sight in Bellevue, are pretty much gone.

Also gone are the Nickel Plate Road-style block signals on the Fostoria District, the Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals on the Sandusky District and the searchlight signals on the Toledo District. They’ve all been replaced by Safetrans signals.

The traffic mix will be mostly merchandise freight and auto rack trains. Some intermodal trains run on the Sandusky District, many of which take a connection between the Sandusky and Fostoria districts near Slaughterhouse Road on the south side of town.

As with other ARRC longest day events, it begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum will be open between noon and 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (age 60 and older) and $5 for children (ages 5 to 12).

A portion of the museum’s collection, though, can be seen for free. This includes some locomotives and rolling stock.

Those still around at the end of the day will likely gather somewhere for dinner before heading home.

Maybe it will be the Bob Evans in Norwalk or somewhere else. It remains to be seen.

The focal point of the day will be the Kemper Railfan Park. It features a pavilion with tables and is strategically located to see most rail traffic in and out of Bellevue.

Parking along Monroe Street at the park is limited, so you might have to park across the tracks in a large gravel lot.

Also be advised that there are no restroom facilities at the railfan park.

As for food, there is a pizza shop (Pizza House West) within walking distance that is said by some railfans to be good. Subway has a shop at 301 East Main Street and there are a variety of restaurants in town including the standard fast food joints of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, East of Chicago Pizza, Marco’s Pizza, Burger King and Taco Bell.

Local establishments include Bone Boy’s BBQ The Smokehouse, Pizza Wheel, Twin Lakes Restaurant, Jenny’s Amsden House Restaurant, Happy Garden, Fontana’s Italian Eatery, Casa Mexicana, Little Italy Pizza, and Long Way Home Family Restaurant.

Sunday Surprise (and Prize) in Bellevue

April 10, 2017

Illinois Central No. 1028 leads the W08 off the Toledo District of Norfolk Southern in Bellevue and into the mini plant.

I knew I wanted to go to Bellevue this past weekend. The question was whether it would be Saturday or Sunday.

The original plan was to go on Saturday. But as Friday night approached I began having second thoughts. I had work to do at home over the weekend and the banquet of the Railroad Enthusiasts to attend on Saturday night.

The weather forecast for Sunday called for temperatures in the 70s and mostly sunny skies. It would be warmer than it was going to be on Saturday. And I’d have more time if I went on Sunday because I wouldn’t have to leave as early to attend an evening event.

So I went with Sunday. Of course Saturday would be the day that two Norfolk Southern heritage locomotives — the Interstate and the Norfolk Southern units — passed through Bellevue.

I would learn that four Ferromex locomotives also made an appearance in Bellevue on Saturday. So there would have been much to see had I gone out there on Saturday.

I had time to think about what I had missed on Saturday during my first hour in Bellevue on Sunday, which wasn’t too bad. Traffic was steady and a couple of trains were led by Union Pacific motive power, not that that is all that unusual of a sight in Northern Ohio.

I mentioned to the railfan who gave me the “what I missed on Saturday report” that I was hoping to something great today.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to wait long for that.

About 10:30 a.m., the railfan was looking through his binoculars and said an inbound train on the Toledo District had what looked like an Illinois Central unit in the lead.

What! An Illinois Central locomotive on an NS train in Bellevue? That seemed to good to be true.

There aren’t that many ICRR units left and they hardly ever show up in Northern Ohio, let alone leading a train.

But it was true. IC SD70 No. 1028 was on the point with a Canadian National unit trailing of the W08 making its way into Moorman Yard.

For what it’s worth, I never did see any NS heritage units on this day. I did see a Wheeling & Lake Erie train come into town and into the yard on the Brewster connection. The railfan who gave me the Saturday report said the Wheeling didn’t come in on Saturday.

If you know me, though, then you know how Sunday was the better day for me to have been in Bellevue.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Enjoying Warmer Weather and NS Action

April 5, 2017

Norfolk Southern Train 18M at CP Shriver near Flat Rock with the Virginian heritage locomotive on the point.

Despite some meandering clouds, I wanted to get out and enjoy some warmer weather last Sunday.

So I headed for the Bellevue area, where the Virginian heritage unit of Norfolk Southern was leading an 18M east out of Bellevue after changing crews.

He had to wait for some traffic to clear, which helped me as I got a late start from home.

While waiting at CP Shriver in Flat Rock for the 18M to depart the siding on the ex-Wheeling & Lake Erie/Nickel Plate Road Toledo main back in Bellevue, a westbound freight with a Union Pacific-NS combo showed up.

The good news was he didn’t block the shot of the 18M, which showed up about 10 minutes   later.

I caught the 18M just out of Bellevue at Flat Rock, at the CP Shriver crossovers

After waiting for two CSX trains to clear the diamonds at Attica Junction, he finally came   around the curve at the old Sunrise elevator in the town of Attica

Then it was back to Bellevue where I lucked into a 2-for-1 photo op as a westbound 941 work train, led by the NS 3535, departed toward Toledo, while an eastbound set of light power, with NS 7596 on the point, was coming by on the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad’s Columbus main.

Article and Photographs by Mark Demaline

The 18M rounds the curve as it cruises into Attica.

The UP-NS combination of this train did not block the 18M

A light power move headed for the Sandusky District passes a work extra on the Toledo main in Bellevue at the mini plant in Bellevue.

A Contrast of Generations and Purposes

November 22, 2016


One in a periodic series of images that I made last summer

Contrast always makes for an interesting image. It could be contrast of any number of things such as light and dark, large and small, short and tall.

The contrast between Norfolk Southern ES44AC No. 8055 and this former Penn Central E8A No. 4321 could not be much wider.

New versus old, still working versus retired, still wanted versus neglected, good condition versus derelict . . . the list goes on.

Let’s not forget that one engine was built to haul freight and the other was built to haul passengers.

One wound up in a museum and the other probably will one day find itself in a scrap yard.

The Penn Central Historical Society reports that No. 4321 was built for the New York Central as No. 4070, a number that should be familiar to those living in Northeast Ohio.

It worked for Penn Central and, for a time, New Jersey Transit. Since being retired from active service, the 4321 has sat in Logansport, Indiana, and now sits at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

Because of its position next to the Toledo District of Norfolk Southern the 4321 has appeared in countless photographs and may be as photographed as much as about anything else in the museum’s collection.

How much longer the 4321 can continue to sit rusting away without receiving even a minor cosmetic restoration is anyone’s guess.

As for the NS 8055, it was built in January 2011 so it has many years of service ahead of it. Who knows when and where I’ll see it again, but for now I know where I can find the 4321.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Going, Going But Not Yet Gone

August 11, 2016

NS and truck 03-x

In recent years, I’ve made it a point to photograph Norfolk Southern high-hood locomotives when I see them.

Show above is my most recent sighting of a high-hood. It was the third of three units on a train departing Bellevue.

Because it was placed behind two massive Union Pacific units, the GP38-2 looked a little out of place.

NS plans to auction off 50 GP38-2 locomotives this month although that doesn’t mean that we’ve seen the last of them in revenue service.

In a recent column posted on the Trains magazine website, Jim Wrinn, the magazine’s editor in chief, noted that he grew up seeing the high hoods in North Carolina as an everyday occurrence.

Of course, that was when they worked for the Southern Railway. Jim ended his column saying he didn’t think he would see another GP38-2 in NS paint.

But a poster said in response that this is not the beginning of the end for the GP38-2 on NS. That poster noted that NS has 68 GP38-2 units in storage, which includes the 50 it plans to sell.

That leaves about 150 of them in revenue service. Some might be rebuilt, but receive a short hood in the process.

I don’t know if No. 5114 is slated to be auctioned off, placed in storage or to continue in revenue service.

But high hood locomotives on Class 1 railroads aren’t what they use to be. So when I see one, I’ll do more than watch it pass by.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

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.

Getting Lucky on the Wheeling & Lake Erie

June 22, 2016
The head end of the eastbound stone train was stopped just short of Section Line Road near Bellevue.

The head end of the eastbound stone train was stopped just short of Section Line Road near Bellevue.

I’ve long said that the Wheeling & Lake Erie is most often something I catch when I’m looking for something else.

That was particularly the case on a recent Saturday when I spotted four W&LE trains while just driving around and not chasing a Wheeling train.

The saga started at mid morning as I was cruising toward Bellevue on U.S. Route 20/Ohio Route 18. I spotted a very slow moving westbound W&LE manifest freight on the nearby tracks.

I figured to have plenty of time to get into Bellevue and into position to get it.

After passing the head end of the westbound, I noticed a short distance later that an eastbound Wheeling stone train had stopped and been cut so as not to block the Ohio Route 4 crossing.

I turned down Section Line Road to get into position to get the two trains meeting on the double track southeast of Bellevue. One of those tracks is the Yeoman’s siding.

Neither train had a locomotive wearing the W&LE’s black with orange speed lettering and stripes livery.

The westbound stopped just short of the Section Line crossing and a crew member got off to flag the crossing. For some reason the gates were not working.

After the westbound cleared Section Line Road, I headed for Monroeville, planning to get the stone train crossing the West Branch of the Huron River.

But nothing happened and the radio was silent. Apparently, the stone train did not have a crew on board. As I was driving back to Bellevue, the stone train was still sitting where I had last seen it and still in two sections.

I was almost into town when I spotted a third Wheeling train. This one was sitting on the Lake Shore Connection.

After getting photographs of that train I drove into town but didn’t see the train I had seen earlier. It was already in Moorman Yard of Norfolk Southern, but I’ve seen W&LE trains sit for hours waiting to get into that yard.

The train on the Lake Shore Connection had two locomotives on the other end so it must have been a Toledo train. I didn’t know, though, if it was coming or going to Toledo, where it interchanges with Canadian National.

I spend the next few hours chasing Norfolk Southern and CSX, returning to Bellevue just after 3 p.m. A bridge was out on Ohio Route 269, which caused me to alter my route.

I took Ohio Route 4 with plans to go into town on U.S. Route 20. But as I approached the W&LE crossing of Route 4, I noticed a headlight to the west.

Instead of going into Bellevue, I made a right turn and drove to Monroeville. The eastbound manifest train was getting a new track warrant as it reached Monroeville.

I got into position and photographed my fourth Wheeling train of the day as it crossed the Huron River. This train had the same motive power set that the first W&LE train of the day had.

The same unit that led that train into Bellevue was leading it out of town so the power must have been spun in the yard.

With that train in the bag, it was time to move on back to Bellevue. The stone train and Toledo train were now gone.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A wider perspective of the array of liveries on the motive power consist of the W&LE stone train sitting near Bellevue.

A wider perspective of the array of liveries on the motive power consist of the W&LE stone train sitting near Bellevue.

A crew member is on the ground to flag traffic as the westbound train crawls over the crossing of Section Line Road.

A crew member is on the ground to flag traffic as the westbound train crawls over the crossing of Section Line Road.

It's the first time I've seen two W&LE trains meet on this stretch of track southeast of Bellevue.

It’s the first time I’ve seen two W&LE trains meet on this stretch of track southeast of Bellevue.

One end of the W&LE Toledo train on the Lake Shore Connection parked just west of Prairie Road in Bellevue.

One end of the W&LE Toledo train on the Lake Shore Connection parked just west of Prairie Road in Bellevue.

The other end of the W&LE Toledo train.

The other end of the W&LE Toledo train.

The last W&LE train of the day had the motive power that had graced the consist of the first Wheeling train of the day I had seen.

The last W&LE train of the day had the motive power that had graced the consist of the first Wheeling train of the day I had seen.

WE June 11 10-x


Tied Down on Easter Eve

April 20, 2016

WE in Bellevue

It was late in the afternoon on the Saturday before Easter. I had spent the day in Bellevue and Bucyrus, starting in the former, moving to the latter around noon and then finishing in Bellevue.

I heard the Wheeling & Lake Erie detector go off and shortly thereafter someone keyed up the remote control switches at Yeomans.

The Wheeling crew called the Bellevue dispatcher on the yard channel and asked for permission to come into town on the Lake Shore connection where they planned to tie down their train. Sure, come on in, the dispatcher said.

Getting into town wasn’t the issue for the crew, it was leaving that posed a minor problem.

The company the W&LE uses to ferry crew members had a driver who was unfamiliar with Bellevue and she couldn’t find the train.

Apparently she had either called or found a Norfolk Southern office. I learned that when the W&LE dispatcher called the Wheeling train to ask if they had been picked up yet.

No, they had not. The dispatcher asked if they had contacted the NS about getting a ride. The crew assured the dispatcher they had not.

In time, the cab driver for the Wheeling came onto the W&LE road channel and asked the crew where they were.

They had to give her directions, but she eventually found them in the usual spot where Wheeling crews stop their trains on the Lake Shore connection.

I left Bellevue not long after the Wheeling crew did, stopping on the way out to get this photo. I don’t know if a crew came on duty later to take this train to Toledo or whether it spent Easter Sunday sitting here.

Railroads operate 24/7/365, but on some holidays some moves aren’t that important. Perhaps this was one of them.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders