Posts Tagged ‘Railfanning in Berea Ohio’

There’s a Rain Coming Down

June 29, 2018

I could see the storm coming. The clouds to the northwest kept getting darker. A story was brewing in Berea.

Sure enough the storm struck, dumping a heavy rain. It came about the time that a westbound Norfolk Southern stack train passed through.

I made the photo above by rolling down a window and then getting the image.

I’ve photographed many a train in snowy conditions, but rarely when it was raining.

The rain didn’t last long and soon enough it was merely cloudy.

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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?

Whole Lotta Locomotives Rolling Along

April 13, 2018

Last Saturday during the annual Dave McKay Day of the Akron Railroad Club in Berea, all cameras were out as manifest freight 17N approached on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

On the point was the GoRail locomotive. But the rest of the motive power consist held some interest, too.

Immediately behind the GoRail unit was a former CSX locomotive with a line drawn through its markings. It is now a lease unit owned by a locomotive leasing company.

The motive power consist itself was out of the ordinary long, comprised of seven units. Perhaps 17N was ferrying locomotives as well as cargo.

Bare for Now

April 12, 2018

Thus far it has felt like the winter that refuses to go away. Although March didn’t feature much deep snow, it did have endless days of high temperatures in the 30s and below freezing air at night.

April hasn’t fared much better with occasional snow and a continuation of 30-degree weather.

But spring is here already. The calendar says so. It just doesn’t feel like it.

Or at least it hasn’t felt much like it to date. But that is going to change today as warmer air pushes daytime highs into the low 70s.

With that might come an explosion of spring with trees budding and leafing out.

That will render a thing of the past such sights as this one of a lone Norfolk Southern locomotive in Berea on the Dave McKay Day of the Akron Railroad Club backing onto the consist of the M6G in the Berea siding.

Spring can’t come too soon.

Ed’s McKay Day Favorites

April 10, 2018

ARRC member Ed Ribinskas attended the recent Dave McKay Day outing for the first time in several years.

Ed used to not be able to come because he was working on Saturdays, but he retired last November and mow has weekends free.

He said he was very happy with his results and in particular was pleased to get a clean Kansas City Southern ‘Belle” as compared to the dirty one he got on a Super Bowl Sunday outing with Marty Surdyk and Craig Sanders.

Ed had seen the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive No. 8102 pass by as he drove over the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern on Rockside Road in Maple Heights at 9 a.m.

“On my way in I thought I was doomed. However, luck was with me and I was very happy at 10:43 a.m. at Berea” when the NS 8102 led train 65N westbound past Berea Tower.

He sends along a few of his favorites from the McKay Day, one of which he said he made because he wanted to get a nice lash-up with Dave’s memorial in the foreground.

Photographs by Edward Ribinkas

Colorful Day in Berea on ARRC McKay Day

April 9, 2018

At long last Akron Railroad Club members got a Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive leading a train through Berea during the annual Dave McKay Day outing there. The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leads a westbound ethanol train late Saturday morning.

The long defunct Pan American World Airways used to have the tagline in its advertisements, “Pan Am makes the going great.”

The word “great” is much overused, yet it could fairly describe the 14th annual Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day in Berea last Saturday.

Among the more than 40 trains that at least one ARRC member observed during the event was an ethanol train with the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive on the point, another NS train led by the GoRail unit, and a CSX stack train led by a Southern Belle SD70MAC of the Kansas City Southern.

Those who got there early enough to see NS train 309 also saw a rare sighting in Berea of a Pan Am Railways locomotive, Maine Central No. 3403.

The SD40-2 was the third of three units that included Union Pacific ES44AC-H No. 8151.

It was a colorful day with more than the usual allotment of UP, Canadian National and BNSF motive power, including two trains with all BNSF motive power consists.

The day wasn’t perfect. We got hosed big time when NS intermodal train 26E passed by with a former BNSF war bonnet that was blocked from view by NS train 16T. And the weather was sunny, but quite cool.

ARRC President Craig Sanders was the first to arrive. As he rolled in at about 8:10 a.m., westbound intermodal train 23K was heading west on the NS Chicago Line.

At the far west end of the CP 194 interlocking an inbound Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train was waiting on for the 23K to clear before it could proceed off CSX Shortline Subdivision Track No. 1 to get onto NS for the journey down to Campbell Road Yard.

It has been several years since we’ve seen a W&LE train come through Berea during an ARRC McKay Day.

On the heels of the Wheeling train came an eastbound CSX ethanol train led by the day’s lone sighting of CN motive power.

CSX would go into a slumber for the next hour and a half. In the meantime, NS was busy with an eastbound fleet, including two moments when three eastbounds were side-by-side at the west end of CP 194.

Word had filtered in that two westbound NS trains, the 65N and 17N were being led by the Pennsy heritage unit and the GoRail special promotions unit respectively. Ahead of the 65N was crude oil train 67R.

They were hung up, though, by the NS eastbound parade, which had Tracks 1 and 2 tied up.

By late morning the ARRC contingent had swelled to include Vice President Todd Dillon, Ed Ribinskas and Paul Woodring. Dennis Taksar made an appearance before going off to work.

In the meantime, CSX stack train 272 lumbered through with KCS Southern Belle 3915 on the point. It was slowed by the S388 waiting ahead for westbound L163 to clear the single track through the tunnels in Cleveland.

About the time that westbound traffic got going on NS, CSX began running trains and we feared that our view of the PRR unit would be blocked.

It could have happened. As the headlight of NS 8102 bore down on Berea we saw the headlight of a westbound CSX train, the L163. The 65N got to Berea two minutes before the L163 so we were able to get clear images of the Pennsy heritage locomotive.

It is not the first time that a heritage locomotive has come through on McKay day. We saw the Wabash H unit in 2014, but it was trailing.

By early afternoon we had been joined by Rick Houck and Marty Surdyk. Rick had debated whether to come because of the cold.

They arrived in time to see the 17N with the GoRail unit go west.

NS traffic dominated the day. Of the 16 CSX trains we spotted, nine of them came through after 2 p.m. and six of them were clustered in just over an hour’s time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. during which NS was silent. In fact, seven of the last nine trains we logged were on CSX.

Dennis returned to the scene in late afternoon during which time Paul Emch made a short appearance while en route to the annual banquet of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts that was being held at Tony K’s restaurant in Berea.

Former ARRC member and occasion meeting attendee Alex Buchac also made an appearance as did ex-ARRC member Richard Thompson.

Most ARRC members and former members had departed by the time NS westbound 19A came through just before 6 p.m. with two passenger cars in its consist.

Both were former Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus cars being ferried to new owners.

It was nice not just to see a Southern Belle locomotive of the Kansas City Southern, but a clean one at that. It is leading a very long CSX stack train 272.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train made an early morning appearance.

Like race horses in the starting gate, three NS trains were briefly abreast at the west end of CP 194. Only the 294 in the middle was moving. Watching are the 16T at left and the M6G at right.

The GoRail special interest locomotive is on the point of the 17N.

Eastbound ethanol train K634 was the first CSX train of the day. Once it went by, CSX went into a lull lasting an hour and a half.

A Pan Am Railways SD40-2 made an appearance on NS train 309.

Another look at the colorful and varied motive power consist of NS train 309

Stack train 22K had a brace of BNSF locomotives running elephant style. This train will take the former Nickel Plate Road mainline east of Cleveland.

NS train 20R was one of four consecutive eastbounds that kept a fleet of westbound trains at bay east of CP Max on the Chicago Line.

A young railfan sits on what used to be a signal base to photograph westbound CSX train L135. BNSF motive power was plentiful during the McKay Day outing.

CSX No. 99 has the S388 rolling along through Berea, but not for long. The manifest freight would stop in a few miles to wait for the passage of the L163 through the single-track tunnels in Cleveland.

The Q391 used to be a manifest freight but now it hauls containers.

The rear of the Q166 passes the head end of Q561 by the former Big Four passenger station in Berea.

One of the locomotives pulling eastbound CSX intermodal train Q008 thinks it is an Alco or a steam locomotive as it pours out smoke. The railfan in the distance waving at the train is former ARRC member Richard Thompson.

McKay Day Train List

April 9, 2018

Marty Surdyk prepares to photograph CSX westbound manifest freight Q363 during the Dave McKay Day in Berea on Saturday.

Todd Dillon photographs CSX westbound stack train L163 as Norfolk Southern ethanol train 65N passes in the background. Watching at right are Ed Ribinskas and Paul Woodring.

The photo line is in place to capture an oncoming NS train. They are (left to right) Todd Dillon, Marty Surdyk and Ed Ribinskas.

 [Q 390 along I-480 en route to Berea]

8:10     NS 23K stack (na)

8:16     W&LE coke (7004, 6348, 6350)

8:20     CSX K634 ethanol (CN 5752)

8:34     NS 14K manifest (UP 4232 trailing)

8:35     NS 309 manifest (UP 8151, MEC 3403)

9:26     NS 20R stacks (9971)

9:40     NS 294 stacks (9777)

9:50     NS 16T manifest (2749)

9:53     NS 26E intermodal (na, War bonnet trailing)

10:06   CSX S388 manifest (99)

10:15   NS 205 stacks  (9167)

10:25   CSX 272 stacks (KCS 3915)

10:29   NS 67R crude oil (8028)

10:46   NS 65N ethanol (8102-Pennsylvania)

10:48   CSX L163 stacks (206)

10:55   NS 21G stacks (9884)

10:57   CSX V057 grain (BNSF 8351)

11:07   NS M6G light power (8140)

11:56   NS 21GZ intermodal (9967)

12:01   CSX Q391 stacks (5449)

12:04   NS M6G manifest (8140)

12:35   NS 22K stacks (BNSF 7190)

12:50   NS 206 intermodal (9338)

1:03     NS 24Z stacks (9923)

1:17     NS 24M intermodal (na)

1:30     NS 17N manifest (6963-GoRail)

1:42     NS 18N auto racks (9944)

1:56     CSX L135 crude oil (BNSF 4989)

2:35     CSX Q363 manifest (3242)

2:50     NS 420 coke (9682)

3:14     NS 21Q stacks (7504)

3:16     CSX Q364 manifest (5308)

3:17     NS 20E intermodal (na)

3:26     CSX Q008 intermodal (4509)

3:55     CSX Q166 stacks (UP 5544)

3:58     CSX Q561 manifest (7845)

4:27     CSX Q010 stacks (3049)

4:35     CSX Q389 manifest (145)

4:40     CSX G071 grain (na)

5:03     NS L13 manifest (na)

5:05     CSX K662 ethanol alcohol (UP na)

5:59     NS 19A manifest (na) passenger cars

The lead locomotive number is in parenthesis. Unless indicated otherwise, it is a unit of the railroad operating the train. If (na) that means the lead unit was not recorded.

Trying Something Different in Berea

February 27, 2018

I’ve been going to Berea to watch trains for more than 20 years. I’ve pretty much exhausted about every photo angle I can think of short of trespassing on railroad property.

About the only thing new to get in Berea is to catch a particular locomotive or rail car that I haven’t photographed there before. Or so I thought.

While in Berea not long ago on a rare sunny winter day, I had the idea of photographing trains splitting the signals that have been installed within the past couple of years.

In the top image, eastbound Norfolk Southern intermodal train 206 has a Canadian National unit leading. Although not visible, the trailing unit belongs to Union Pacific.

In the middle image, westbound NS manifest freight 309 is framed by the signals on the Toledo connection between NS and CSX. Behind the lead unit is the Wabash heritage unit.

The bottom images shows a westbound NS stack train framed by several signals, including the westbound home signals for CP 194 on the Chicago Line.

My Shortest Day Outing

December 22, 2017

CSX crude oil train K048 has a pair of BNSF units and a badly faded Union Pacific motor as it passes westbound NS manifest freight 309 in Berea.

NS local B14 heads west to do some work in Olmsted Falls. It is shown passing through Berea.

It’s the westbound manifest freight 35N with a standard NS motive power consist as it slices through Olmsted Falls en route from Conway Yard near Pittsburgh to Decatur, Illinois.

For several years the Akron Railroad Club has had a tradition of holding a “longest day” outing in June, usually on a Sunday after the summer solstice.

I’ve often thought if we have a longest day outing why not have a shortest day outing.

However, the winter solstice falls in December just before Christmas when winter weather is a good possibility. The ARRC is in slumber mode for most of December.

Undeterred by that, I held a “shortest day” outing of my own on Wednesday in Berea and Olmsted Falls.

The actual winter solstice was on Thursday, but I had a doctor’s appointment that day and other plans for the afternoon.

Besides, the weather was better on Wednesday with mostly sunny skies and mild temperatures. Maybe I should have put the word “mild” in quotation marks because some might question whether temperatures in the 30s qualify as mild.

But coming on the heels of a week with temperatures in the teens and wind chills in the low single digits, it felt downright balmy outside.

I didn’t spend as much time trackside as I would on a longest day outing. I got to Berea about 10:30 a.m. just as a westbound intermodal train was passing through on Norfolk Southern.

A few minutes later an eastbound stack train came roaring through on CSX.

By the time the 11 o’clock hour arrived, I had seen five trains. Four more came past before noon.

Then things died on both railroad lines. I wouldn’t see another train until 1 p.m. By then I had shifted to Olmsted Falls, primarily because with the wind out of the north that meant aircraft landing at Cleveland Hopkins Airport would landing to the northeast.

On the rails, nothing out of the ordinary came by. It was the usual mix of intermodal trains with a couple of crude oil trains thrown in and a pair of manifest freights on NS.

Aside from a pair of BNSF units leading a CSX eastbound crude oil train, the motive power was the same old, same old. No NS heritage units were anywhere in the picture.

In all, I spotted 16 trains, although that number rises to 17 if I double count NS local B14, which I saw twice. Both times it had one locomotive and three boxcars.

I had to leave just after 3 p.m. because of an obligation at home. On the whole, it was a nice day.

Changing of the Motive Power Liveries

October 20, 2017

It is August 2001 and Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvanian is rolling through Berea just after 1 p.m.

It is an era when there was a daytime passenger train through Berea that wasn’t running several hours off schedule.

The Pennsylvanian carried a lot of head-end cars, which carried mail and express shipments that were supposed to enable it to pay for itself.

But on this day my attention is on the motive power consist. The Phase V look of power blue and gray with a red stripe was introduced in 1999 on AEM-7 electric motors.

But in time it migrated to the P42DC fleet that began showing up fall 1996.

Powering the Pennsylvanian is P42DC No. 180 wearing the then new to me Phase V look. Trailing it is P42DC No. 54 modeling the modified Phase III appearance.

The P42 fleet featured a deeper shade of red than that applied to previous locomotive wearing the Phase III scheme. It also has a deeper shade of blue with both seeking to more closely mimic the colors of the American flag.

Soon all of the P42 fleet would be wearing Phase V colors. You have to wonder when Amtrak will again gives its motive power fleet a new look.