Posts Tagged ‘Spencer Ohio’

Shuffling in Spencer

July 1, 2021

It’s a Friday afternoon in May 2008 and I’m out doing some railfanning before tonight’s Akron Railroad Club meeting. Ed Ribinskas is along with me.

This is one of two Wheeling & Lake Erie trains we caught on this day. The train shown above has come into town on the Hartland Subdivision and its motive power has cut off and gone around the connection to the Akron Subdivision to work the yard.

For some reason the power has been separated. Perhaps one unit is being dropped here to be picked up by another train.

Later in we would catch a westbound empty stone train that we would chase as far as New London. We photographed it at Firestone Road and from the overpass on the north side of New London that goes over the CSX Greenwich Subdivision.

That train was worth chasing because it had a former Wisconsin Central unit on the point and a former Denver & Rio Grande unit tailing. But that train is for another post on another day.

What I liked about the image above is that it conveys the feel a railroad at work. As one crew member rides the lead locomotive another walks on the ground nearby wearing a hard hat and safety vest.

Cars sit in the yard tracks on both sides of the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown mainline waiting to be picked up.

There is even one of the old searchlight signals that guarded this diamond. Those signals are gone now, replaced with modern devices.

The hardware in Spencer may have changed but one thing remains constant. It’s still a place to find the railroad at work.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Before the Meeting: W&LE Iron Ore Train

June 25, 2021

The chase begins in Wellington with the Wheeling & Lake Erie iron ore train getting a clear signal to cross the CSX Greenwich Subdivision.
Somewhere between Wellington and Spencer we got the ore train again. Note the old style milepost.
You won’t find these searchlight signals in Spencer anymore.
Our last look at the iron ore train in Spencer. SD40 No. 4001 was on the rear.

Back in the day I usually would get in some railfanning before attending Akron Railroad Club meetings.

The tradition began when the late Dave McKay would suggest we hang out for a while at Voris Street in Akron before getting dinner at Steak ‘n Shake and then heading to the club meeting at the Summit County Historical Society’s carriage house.

I continued those before the meeting railfan outings after Dave’s death in December 2004 although I now had more time on meeting day and could extend my range.

On many of those outings the club’s then treasurer Ed Ribinskas was with me.

Our destinations depended on how much time we had and my interests at the moment. I shared images from some of those outings during an ARRC member’s night program in March 2019 titled Before the Meeting.

The photographs above were not part of that program, which to date is the last one I’ve given at an ARRC event.

I just scanned these slides recently as part of a project to scan my collection of slides and color negative film photographs of Wheeling & Lake Erie operations.

The date of these images is March 29, 2008. This would be the first of three before the meeting outings Ed and I made that year to catch W&LE trains.

The March outing began in Wellington where we caught a few CSX trains before an eastbound W&LE iron ore train showed up.

After getting the ore train in Wellington, we chased it out of town, photographing it once along the way and in Spencer.

The train had an all Wheeling look with an SD40 on each end and W&LE lettered hopper cars in between.

Those locomotives, Nos. 4025 and 4001, are still on the W&LE locomotive roster although they have been rebuilt to SD40-3 specifications.

Both units were built for the Missouri Pacific and operated for other railroads before the Wheeling acquired them.

A few elements in the above scenes have changed in the 13 years since these images were made. Chief among those changes is the removal of the search-light type signals in Wellington and Spencer.

You might also notice the lettering on No. 4025 is smaller than what the Wheeling uses now. The current lettering scheme is visible on trailing unit No. 4001.

Otherwise, these images are timeless and some could have been made this year.

Before driving to Akron on this day we wrapped up our outing in Sullivan where we caught a westbound train on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

I don’t recall where we had dinner that night but a check of the ARRC Bulletin shows that the late Richard Jacobs gave the program, presenting slides of Colorado narrow gauge railroads that he made in 1992 and then various images made in 2007 in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Variety on the Wheeling & Lake Erie

December 7, 2017

 

As anyone who has ever photographed the Wheeling & Lake Erie for any length of time knows, you never know what motive power will be on the next W&LE train that you see.

W&LE has a standard livery of black and orange with its name in speed lettering, but it also stables a fleet of locomotives it has acquired from various places and those units tend to spend a lot of time in service with whatever look they came with before being painted into the standard W&LE locomotive livery.

Such was the case with this train coming into Spencer on the Hartland Subdivision. It will drop off a few cars in the yard that are headed for Medina and then get back on its train and continue the journey to Brewster.

Making Tough Photo Selections

May 12, 2017

One of the toughest choices for me when putting together a presentation is sometimes choosing between two similar images.

Such was the case with the two images shown above of the same Wheeling & Lake Erie train made in the same location just seconds apart. I was standing by the Old Mill Road grade crossing southeast of Spencer.

The images are shown in sequence top to bottom. Both images have much in common even if their compositions are slightly different.

In the top image, what attracts me are the three poles to the right of the lead locomotive. Pole lines are rapidly vanishing from American railroads and these three poles are all that is left of a pole line along the Brewster Subdivision of the Wheeling.

So the poles add a nostalgic touch missing from the bottom image, which shows just one pole. One pole does not a pole line make.

I also like how the top image is more reflective of the rule of thirds than the bottom image. That because the focal point of the image — the nose of the lead locomotive — is near one of the intersecting points rather than in the center as is the case with the lower image.

One advantage of the top image is also one of its weaknesses. There is an unofficial “rule” in railroad photography about showing some of the track head of a train in order to give a sense of movement and direction.

Yet you don’t want to show too much track, which may be a downside of the top image. However, this is where the three poles help salvage this image by filling what otherwise would be dead space that provides no useful purpose.

The advantage that the bottom image has over the top photo is that the train is more prominent. For many railfans, the photograph is all about the train and the surrounding environment is extraneous clutter.

The bottom image also makes better use of the trees on both sides of the tracks as a framing device, enhancing the effect of the train coming out of “hole” in the forest.

The W&LE speed lettering is more visible in the bottom image although not readable.

However, the budding trees to the right of the train that proclaims “spring” is more prominent in the top image than in the bottom.

I like both of these images, but if I had to choose just one of them to put in a presentation I would probably go with the bottom image if the audience is mostly railfans.

In my experience, railfans tend to favor trains even if many of them like a good image showing the train in an environment.