Posts Tagged ‘railroads and winter’

Weather Congestion Had Trains Tied Down in Sidings

March 1, 2021

Online reports indicate that one ripple effect of the severe winter weather that occurred last month is that CSX parked freight trains in various locations in Indiana and Michigan because of congestion on the Belt Railway of Chicago.

This included parking trains without locomotives on siding on the Monon and Garrett subdivisions in Indiana, and in the lightly used Transfer Yard in Indianapolis.

Cars were also parked in Michigan at Plymouth, Grand Rapids and Holland.

However, one poster said the congestion was not as bad as it might seem, noting that in past years even more trains might have been parked waiting to get into Chicago.

This poster said railroads feeding traffic to the BRC were able to keep their mainlines clean, which enabled intermodal and bulk trains to operate on time.

In some instances, railroads were able to bypass the BRC by building solid trains for destinations beyond Chicago.

For example, Union Pacific built a solid train of cars bound for CSX at Selkirk Yard near Albany, New York, that merely passed through Chicago without having to be reclassified.

Canadian National was reported to have built solid trains for Cincinnati and CSX built solid trains for CN.

The Indiana Harbor Belt was reported to have taken a hump train a day that would normality go to the BRC while other traffic was diverted to other gateways.

CSX Intermodal Terminals Remain Open

February 20, 2021

CSX told its customers late this week that all of its intermodal terminals remain open despite recent harsh winter weather.

However, it said shipments are subject to weather-related regional delays.

Four of its Transflo transloading sites were temporarily closed, including facilities in Nashville, Tennessee; Richmond, Virginia; Wilmington, Delaware; and Baltimore.

The facility in Raleigh, North Carolina, was experiencing delays while those in Elizabeth, New Jersey and Philadelphia were closing early.

Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific had announced this week temporary suspensions of inbound loads for shipments at some terminals due to winter conditions.

NS Temporarily Suspends Accepting Some Intermodal Shipments

February 19, 2021

Norfolk Southern stopped accepting inbound international intermodal shipments on Thursday at its Landers intermodal terminal in Chicago.

Inbound loads were also temporarily no longer being accepted in Detroit and six East Coast terminals.

The railroad cited the effect of severe winter weather in the Midwest.

It was the second time this week that inbound loads at NS were temporarily suspended.

On Wednesday NS stopped accepting domestic shipments to Chicago-area terminals from several locations.

NS Chief Marketing Officer Alan Shaw said the affected terminals continue to operate but street operations had halted due to buildups of snow and ice.

NS also stopped accepting intermodal shipments interchanging to Kansas City Southern through Meridian, Mississippi, and to Union Pacific at Memphis.

CSX indicated that its Chicago intermodal terminals were struggling with the effects of winter weather but remained open.

In the meantime, Union Pacific said it will reopen all intermodal terminals by Friday after closing them earlier this week.

Severe Weather Disrupts Intermodal Shipments

February 17, 2021

Extreme winter conditions across the country prompted Union Pacific to nearly halt its intermodal network.

UP told shippers it would no longer accept loads at most intermodal terminals starting at 8 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning. The suspension is expected to last for 72 hours.

An exception was made for international shipments to and from on-dock facilities at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, and westbound domestic interline shipments from Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, CSX and Norfolk Southern.

The service suspension, UP said, was necessary to maintain fluidity at its intermodal terminals.

 “Several areas of our operating territory have experienced widespread interstate and road closures as a result of this weekend’s winter storms,” UP said in the advisory sent to shippers.

The advisory said shippers should expect delays of a minimum of 72 hours.

BNSF also said it is experiencing delays due to the weather conditions but stopped short of suspending acceptance of new loads at its terminals.

In an advisory sent to its shippers, BNSF warned of “extended delays” although it didn’t say for how long.

Still Standing

January 15, 2021

Over the years I photographed CSX trains passing beneath this signal bridge at the far west end of the yard in Ashtabula.

But with the conversion to positive train control, CSX like many Class 1 railroads, decided to replace many older signals on busy main lines with newer signals.

In some instances, the new signals were in a different location than the signals they replaced.

Such was the case in Ashtabula. As you can see, the new signals are closer to the yard itself.

This image was made near sunset on a very cold January day in 2018. I was hoping to get a westbound coming into that late day light but had no such luck.

But it made for a nice image anyway. I haven’t been back to this location since making this image so I don’t know if this old signal bridge that dates to the New York Central years is still standing or has been removed.

Snowy Siding in Boughtonville

January 8, 2021

It is afternoon in Boughtonville on a sunny January winter day in 2011. We’ve heard there is a westbound CSX manifest freight coming and have set up to capture it.

The train is stopped just beyond a grade crossing to wait for a signal at the crossovers in Boughtonville.

I decided to try something different in my composition by getting low and featuring the derail on a siding leading to a grain elevator.

I have a hunch this siding is seldom used but it was still in service at the time.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Dashing Through the Snow in Ravenna

December 24, 2020

There is still some snow left on the tracks of the CSX New Castle Subdivision a day or two after a winter storm passed through the area in March 2008.

Shown is an eastbound auto rack train approaching the Diamond Street crossing in Ravenna.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

After the Storm

December 2, 2020

Winter storms that dump six to 12 inches of snow are not unusual in Northeast Ohio. If you can get out of your driveway today the sunshine that will grace the region will lead to opportunities for some dramatic winter railroad images.

This photograph was made Jan. 16, 2012, following a storm that buried Lake County in more than a foot of snow.

Ed Ribinskas and I ventured out to Perry to photograph trains on CSX and Norfolk Southern. Shown is an eastbound CSX intemodal train kicking up the snow as it charges along.

Within about a day or so the passage of trains at track speed will likely blow most of the snow off the rails and diminish the blowing show effect.

Until then some memorable photographs are waiting to be created.

 

Railfanning and Minor League Hockey

November 29, 2020

Few people in Northeast Ohio have probably heard of the Mentor Ice Breakers, a minor league hockey franchise in Mentor that shut down recently after playing just two seasons.

The Ice Breakers were in the Federal Prospects Hockey League and played their games in the small, but intimate Mentor Civic Center.

Ed Ribinskas, Marty Surdyk and I attended a pair of Ice Breaker games in March 2019.

Both games faced off on a Sunday afternoon and afterwards we went out to dinner at a local restaurant before heading home.

I’ll always associate watching the Ice Breakers play with railfanning before the games.

Ed and I went out before the first game, getting as far east as Albion, Pennsylvania, after chasing a train there from Conneaut on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie.

Marty joined us for some railfanning before the second game on a day that featured dramatic winter weather even though it was officially spring.

It had rained and then snowed overnight, leaving a coating of white on nearly everything.

We caught quite a few trains that day on the CSX Erie West Subdivision and the NS Lake Erie District, including a work train with a caboose.

Ice Breakers owner Dan Moon told the News-Herald that he and business partner Chris Brynarski lost more than $500,000 operating the team during its two-year existence.

Although they thought about suspending operations for the 2020-2021 season as two other teams in the league have done, after looking into it they decided it wasn’t financially feasible.

Ed and his wife, Ursula, attended several Ice Breakers games including what turned out to be the final one played before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March and shut down the league.

“I’m glad we had the chance to see a few games while they existed,” he wrote in an email. “I know Ursula and myself enjoyed it very much.

“[I] never would have realized the game I saw with Marty back in March would be the last game the team would play.”

In the top image, CSX westbound intermodal train Q009 kicks up some snow as it passes through a winter wonderland near Unionville on March 31, 2019.

In the middle image, an eastbound CSX train led by a pair of Union Pacific units passes the Nickel Plate Road Berkshire-type steam locomotive on static display in Conneaut on March 10, 2019.

In the bottom image, the Ice Breakers celebrate after scoring the winning goal in a game that featured an improbable ending.

With a minute left in the game and the Danville (Illinois) Dashers holding a 7-5 lead, it looked like the home team would lose yet again.

But the Dashers committed two minor penalties and the Ice Breakers scored twice, including the game-tying goal with 4.5 seconds left to play.

In overtime, Mentor scored on a breakaway at the 1:04 mark to win in sudden death.

I don’t know if any of the Ice Breakers made or will ever make a National Hockey League roster, but they provided inexpensive entertainment on the two Sunday afternoons that I saw them play.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Snowy Day in Akron on the B&O

September 11, 2020

It’s snowing in downtown Akron as Baltimore & Ohio GP30 No. 6915 leads an eastbound past the Erie Lackawanna station in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Trailing is another GP30 along with an F7B, F7B, and F7B.

As this image was posted in mid July a snow storm might be a welcome relief from temperatures in the 90s and a heat index in triple digits.

Photograph by Robert Farkas