I recently went to Greenwich because I hadn’t been there for quite some time but also to check out how busy CSX is or isn’t these days.
During my recent outings in Berea, it has seemed as though the number of trains on CSX is down.
Greenwich is as busy a CSX hotspot as you’ll find in Northeast Ohio. You’ll see all of the traffic that passes through Berea as well as all of the traffic that passes through Akron.
I arrived in Greenwich in late morning on a Sunday and was surprised to find that I was the only railfan there.
The first hour was pretty quiet with the only trains being a pair of intermodals, one in each direction, on the Greenwich Subdivision.
Although there seemed to be fairly steady radio transmissions, Greenwich didn’t have the feel of activity as it has in the past.
The Willard Subdivision west of Greenwich is known for having trains stacked up waiting to get into the yard.
Nothing I heard on the radio indicated that that was the case on this day.
The IP dispatcher didn’t seem to be facing any “crisis” situations as has often been the case in the past.
Listening to the radio in Greenwich can be deceptive. If you have a good antenna you’ll hear discussions involving trains in the yard and operating west of Willard.
Many of those trains have either already passed through Greenwich or won’t be arriving for a good hour or more.
I had brought along the most recent issue of Trains and had plenty of time to read it.
The news section had stories about the changing nature of railroad freight traffic, including assertions that the future lies with intermodal.
So perhaps it was noteworthy that of the 17 trains that I saw, eight of them were intermodal trains.
Traffic began picking up about mid afternoon and at times the Greenwich of today resembled the Greenwich of yore.
A few railfans drifted in and out of town, stopping for a while to watch trains.
Things seemed to return to “normal” when two westbounds became stacked up east of town on the New Castle Subdivision.
A Q263 sat for a while at the home signals for CP54, a.k.a. Boyd, waiting for a pair of trains to come up the single-track Mt. Victory Subdivision from Crestline.
And it wouldn’t be a day in Greenwich without at least one problem bothering the dispatcher.
A Q163 arrived on the Willard Sub with an hour left to work and a bad order car to set out. There was quite a bit of chatter about that, primarily involving how far west the train would go before getting a new crew.
Aside from the eight intermodal trains, the day’s count included a crude oil train, two auto rack trains, one coke train, three manifest freights and two Wheeling & Lake Erie trains.
It has been quite a while since I’ve seen a coal train on CSX in Northeast Ohio. Maybe that traffic has dried up. Do any more Power River Basin coal trains still run on CSX through Northeast Ohio?
All in all, it had been a good outing from a railfanning perspective with most of the traffic coming in the final two hours of my five-and-a-half-hour day.
I haven’t kept records of how many trains I’ve seen in Greenwich during past outings so I can’t draw any definitive conclusions about CSX traffic being significantly down.
Still, I came away with the feeling that things are not quite what they used to be. What I observed on Sunday seems to be the new normal for CSX in our region.
There remain many trains to watch and photograph, but not quite as many of them as there used to be.