Posts Tagged ‘Railfanning in Bellevue Ohio’

That Western Look

May 12, 2018

I caught Norfolk Southern intermodal train 234 three times this spring in Bellevue or on the Sandusky District and all three times it had western railroad motive power.

Two of those times it had Union Pacific locomotives in the lead. The third time the train had BNSF motive power upfront.

Train 234 is an easy one to catch. It originates at Landers Yard in Chicago and follows the former Nickel Plate Road mainline to Bellevue where it turns south onto the Sandusky District.

It’s ultimate destination is Norfolk, Virginia. It tends to reach the Bellevue area in late morning to early afternoon.

In the top photograph, the 234 is on the move off the Fostoria District after getting a new crew. It is making its way through a set of crossovers to get to the connection to the Sandusky District, which can be seen in the lower left-hand corner.

In the middle image, the head end is about to cross Slaughterhouse Road. In the bottom image it is skirting a farm as it rounds the connection to head toward Bucyrus, Marion and Columbus.

Advertisements

A Solo CN Act on NS

May 10, 2018

Norfolk Southern train 28N saunters into Bellevue off the Fostoria District with a load of auto rack cars earlier this year.

Leading the way is Canadian National 2342, an ES44DC which carries on its flanks the expected amount of road dirt and grime.

The train is making its way past Wheeling Tower, through the mini plant and into Moorman Yard.

No Diamonds, But Still a Tower

May 3, 2018

I sometimes wonder what Wheeling Tower in Bellevue looked like as late as the 1960s and 1970s.

At one time, it controlled diamonds over which a Wheeling & Lake Erie line to Toledo and a New York Central line to Milbury Junction crossed the Nickel Plate Road and Pennsylvania railroads here.

I’m not sure when these diamonds were removed. The ex-NYC was not conveyed the Conrail and was abandoned after the latter began operations on April 1, 1976.

The Norfolk & Western acquired the Nickel Plate in 1964 but in 1949 the NKP had acquired the W&LE. Yet the diamonds was removed sometime after the N&W arrived on the scene.

In the photo above, Norfolk Southern train 14Q is coming into Bellevue on the Toledo District, formerly the W&LE route to Toledo and making the turn to head into Moorman Yard.

The original W&LE tracks would have crossed to the right of the tower as you look at it and the NYC to the left.

What was THAT Doing There?

April 6, 2018

I had photographed a Norfolk Southern intermodal train taking the connection in Bellevue from the Fostoria District to go east on the Sandusky District toward Columbus.

As soon as it cleared I started to walk across a grade crossing when I noticed a train waiting for a signal on the New Haven connection.

The lone locomotive on the point of the L11 was a GP38-2, a high-hood GP38-2.

It caught me by surprise because although high-hood locomotives used to be commonplace in Bellevue, I had not seen one there in more than a year.

I also though NS had sold off all or nearly all of those units during a garage sale that it held last year.

But there it was with its remote control apparatus on top of the short hood.

With the intermodal train out of the way the L11 got a signal to proceed west and rolled out of town carrying a trace of the past with it.

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 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

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

ns-bellevue-june-11-x

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