Posts Tagged ‘Railfanning in Bellevue Ohio’

Wheeling Bookends to Bellevue Day

July 10, 2022

What does he mean by Bookends? Has he gone mad?

Actually, I thought it summed up quite well the annual Bellevue day of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts.

The first train of the day as sighted by member Steve LaConte at 7:35 a.m. was led by Wheeling & Lake Erie No.  7001 heading eastbound out of town toward Norwalk.

The last train sighted by member Marty Surdyk at 8:39 p.m. was W&LE 7016 and 7008 on an empty stone train heading to Parkertown.

In between W&LE trains, attendees saw 25 NS trains that featured locomotives of six of the seven Class 1 railroads (No CSX).

Yes, there was a lot of black, but the horse did provide one heritage unit and one special paint job during the day.

The Central of Georgia H unit was seen twice, coming into town on Homestead (Toledo) to Bellevue turn B45 at 11:39 a.m. on the lead and leaving town on the same train at 3:42 p.m. trailing.

The 18M, which comes off the Toledo District and goes south on the Sandusky District, had NS 4003 trailing, which is one of the gray and black DC to AC conversion units. It went past after a crew change at Klines at 10:48 a.m.

Foreign power leaders included Union Pacific No. 3045 leading 194 south on the Sandusky District at 4:36 p.m. and a pair of BNSFs on 195 heading into the yard at 6:25 p.m.

We also had a CN leader on ethanol train 6W4, which headed into town from Sandusky and left heading south toward Marion.

Three trains had distributed power. A double coal train running as 746 had two NS units up front, three in the middle and two more on the rear. It’s strange to see coal going south at Bellevue, after seeing coal going exclusively north for so many years.

Train 178 off the Sandusky District had three up front and three more in the middle, while its counterpart 179 had two up front and one in the middle.

For fans of smaller trains, the NS local that serves a customer west of the yard on the Toledo District went past at 4:56 p.m. with NS 3320 and one covered hopper. They came back at 7:03 p.m. with one covered hopper in tow.

I counted 12 attendees who came and went during the day. Steve LaConte and Bruce Gage were

the early birds, while yours truly kept watch until about 8:45 p.m.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Is an Outing to Bellevue Worth $80?

June 14, 2022

What is a day of railfanning in Bellevue worth? As Marty Surdyk sees it could cost almost $80.

Using the current average price of a gallon of gasoline, Surdyk, calculated that driving from the Cleveland area to Bellevue and back would cost between $30 and $40, assuming your vehicle averages 20 miles per gallon.

If you buy lunch and/or dinner on the way or in Bellevue, that runs the cost up to about $80.

Bellevue is a nice place to railfan, but is it worth paying that much?

Writing in The Mainline, the newsletter of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts, Marty added this kicker: “Just for a day of railfanning NS in a familiar location.”

Those in the RRE who are active railfans probably have been to Bellevue numerous times.

If they make the trip there this Saturday for the RRE’s annual Bellevue outing they are unlikely to see much, if anything, they haven’t seen or photographed before.

Nor will they likely see anything they couldn’t see in Berea or Olmsted Falls, both popular Cleveland area railfan spots on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

After all, an NS locomotive looks the same in Bellevue as it does in Berea. Most of the NS trains that pass through Berea don’t pass through Bellevue but an NS train is an NS train.

From a strictly train watching perspective, it would be more economical to stay closer to home to railfan.

Sure, Belleveue is a change of scenery, but is it worth $80?

There are other factors that enter the cost-benefit analysis other than raw economics.

An intangible benefit to making the trip to Bellevue is the socializing that will occur among club members. Sure, RRE meets every month so there are ample opportunities to socialize with people you know.

Yet most of RRE’s monthly meetings don’t involve standing trackside to watch live trains. Maybe that’s worth something. But $80?

Still, keep in mind that if you don’t buy meals during the outing but instead bring your lunch and wait to eat dinner when you get home, the Bellevue outing will cost less than half of $80.

This summer some Northeast Ohio railfans will make much longer drives to see, photograph and, perhaps ride behind, the former Reading 2102 on the Reading & Northern in eastern Pennsylvania, or the former Chesapeake & Ohio No. 1309 on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Maryland.

It will cost far more than $80 to make those trips. Yet the cost of gasoline won’t stop those railfans from making those trips or enjoying them.

They may grumble every time they stop to refuel but they’ll make the trip anyway because the allure of seeing a newly-restored steam locomotive in action is an experience they want to have.

Had Union Pacific not paused its plans to run its Big Boy steam locomotive this summer in the West some Northeast Ohio railfans would have paid whatever it costs to go catch it.

Seeing the Big Boy in action is an experience that make the cost worth paying even as those travelers gripe about higher air fares, higher rental car costs and higher prices of gasoline.

It is like any endeavor in life. How much does it mean to you and can you afford the cost?

More than likely, many, if not most, of the RRE members interested in this week’s Bellevue outing will make the trip despite the cost because they can afford it and they want to enjoy the experience.

Marty went on to write in his column, “It’s a tough pill to swallow. If you’re like me and love to explore the countryside for new and different photo locations, you need to tow a Brink’s truck behind you to have enough cash available for food and fuel.”

The Brinks truck reference is an exaggeration, but it makes a point.

The price of railfanning can’t be ignored – not that it ever could be – and with gasoline prices at elevated levels and likely to stay that way for the rest of the summer it means many railfans won’t be getting out as often or roaming as far as they might have if the price of gasoline was still what it was early this year.

Marty didn’t say he wouldn’t be making the Bellevue trip because of its cost. But he and others will think about that more than they might have otherwise.

Commentary by Craig Sanders

RRE to Railfan in Bellevue on Saturday

June 13, 2022

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will be holding an outing in Bellevue this month in place of its regular meeting.

The outing will be held at the Kemper Railfan Pavilion on Saturday and has no set time to begin or end.

As in the past, the event is considered to have begun when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

The pavilion is located between the NS Toledo and Sandusky district tracks and sees most of the Norfolk Southern and Wheeling & Lake Erie trains that operate in Bellevue.

The next meeting of the FCD-RRE will be July 15 with a program by Bram Bailey.

The club is undecided as to whether to hold a regular meeting in August or to instead conduct a picnic.

RRE To Meet Friday, Sets Bellevue Outing

June 8, 2021

The Cleveland-based Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will meet this Friday in Westlake.

The meeting begins at approximately 8:15 p.m. at the Western Cuyahoga FOP Lodge at 26145 Center Ridge Road. The program will be a slide show given by RRE member Dennis Nehrenz.

The group also announced that the July 9 meeting will feature a program by Bob Todten, the Aug. 11 meeting program will be given by Jim Semon, the Oct. 8 program will be given by Marty Surdyk, and the Nov. 12 program will be presented by Jerry Jordak.

The annual August picnic will return at a site to be determined. The club is considering hold it at Colony Park in Hudson or the Willis Picnic Area of the Bedford Metropark.

Both locations are adjacent to the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern.

On Saturday, June 12, RRE members and their friends will travel to Bellevue for a day of train watching at the Kemper Railfan Pavilion.

The group also has resumed publishing its newsletter. The publication, the annual picnic, the annual banquet and monthly meetings had been suspended for most of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The banquet is expected to return in April 2022 and the club hopes to have as its presenter Terry Kolenc, who had been scheduled to give a program in April 2020 on the return of the Union Pacific “Big Boy” steam locomotive.

Going Left, Right or Straight?

October 25, 2018

You’re looking down Slaughterhouse Road in Bellevue toward the Fostoria District of Norfolk Southern.

The train approaching in the distance is the L83, which is headed for Moorman Yard in Bellevue.

However, there is a switch there that could route trains onto the Sandusky District toward Columbus.

With a little imagination you can see the train continuing straight.

That railroad crossing sign, by the way, is for the connection to the Sandusky District. The road makes a sharp left turn by those signals.

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.

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.