Posts Tagged ‘railroad diamonds’

Loose Bolt in Marion

July 20, 2018

Earlier this year I was in Marion when I noticed a loose bolt in one of the diamonds at the intersection of the Sandusky District of Norfolk Southern with the Mt. Victory Subdivision of CSX.

The top photo shows the loose bolt. The second image shows an eastbound CSX auto rack train passing over the diamonds and making enough vibration to rattle the bolt out of its position.

Later that afternoon, an NS maintenance of way crews stopped by to put in a new bolt and do other repairs to the diamond (third image)

The bottom image shows the new bolt in place and the old bolt discarded along the tracks.

The Nitty Gritty of Railroading

June 28, 2018

Railfan photographers tend to pay scant attention to the details of railroading.

The typical photograph shows the lead locomotive of a train with, perhaps, at least some of the freight or passenger cars following it.

But less often does the photographer zoom in on the intricate details of the equipment.

There is much to see and study in images that zero in on the elements of railroads.

Such is the case with this image of the wheels of a Canadian Pacific AC44CW banging the diamonds of the crossing of the CSX Pemberville Subdivision with the Fostoria District of Norfolk Southern.

Everything in the image is a uniform shade of brown, but there is much detail to examine in the track and locomotive trucks.

Such detail might be lost on trackside observers, but a breakdown of one of those components could disrupt a railroad’s operations.

A Study in O.W.L.S.

January 4, 2017


I love the acronym O.W.L.S., which stands for one way low speed diamond frogs. It is not some type of bird.

These are the O.W.L.S. in Durand, Michigan, at the crossing of two Canadian National lines. The double track belongs to the Flint Subdivision while the single track is the Holly Sub.

With an O.W.L.S. diamond the trains on the high-traffic line cross at a level crossing in a tread bearing mode.

But trains on the lightly-used line must slow to or below 10 mph because its wheels must cross over the flangeway gap for the high-traffic line in flange-bearing mode. There is no flangeway gap for the low-traffic line.

Although these tracks are owned by CN, another user of the Holly Sub at this diamond is the Great Lakes Central.

The advantage of an O.W.L.S. is that trains on the high-traffic line can cross another rail line without a speed restriction. There is less chance of a wheel jumping the flangeway gaps as there is with a conventional crossing.

But from a railroad management standpoint a primary advantage of an O.W.L.S. is less maintenance costs. Now that is something that would make an accountant smile.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Meet Me at the Crossing in Warwick

January 11, 2016


It is January 1967 and this is from my second roll of slide film. I am standing at Warwick at the crossing of the single track Pennsylvania Railroad line that heads to Orrville and on to Columbus. An eastbound PRR freight is under the Route 21 bridge. The double track that is being crossed by the ex-PRR line is the two track line south to Massillon and beyond. The Baltimore & Ohio and PRR shared this line. With all the changes, it seems strange to see the house (now entirely surrounded by trees) pictured here being used after standing empty for many years.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas