Posts Tagged ‘Stack trains’

Chasing Train 291 on NS in July 1997

November 4, 2020

In July 1997 Marty Surdyk, his brother Robert, and Ed Ribinskas chased train 291 on Norfolk Southern’s ex-Nickel Plate Road mainline.

This train was known for its New York, Susquehanna & Western motive power on most days.

The chase began in North East, Pennsylvania, and ended in Vermilion

Here is a sampling of images from that chase that included stops in North East, Swanville (Pennsylvania), Cleveland the Vermilion.

At Swanville, the tracks cross Walnut Creek, in Cleveland they cross the Cuyahoga River and in Vermilion they span the Vermilion River.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Across the Vineyards

January 3, 2018

I was driving along U.S. Route 20 east of North East, Pennsylvania, when it occurred to me that this area might make for a nice across-the-vineyards photograph of a CSX train.

I didn’t attempt that on this trip, but kept the idea in mind for the next time I got over to North East.

That turned out to be about two weeks later when the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts held an outing to the depot museums in Conneaut and North East.

As it got to be late afternoon, our small but dedicated band, which also included Akron Railroad Club members Marty Surdyk, Bill Kubas and Tom Kendra, decided to relocate to Bort Road.

We caught a few trains there on both CSX and Norfolk Southern. Bill and Tom had to get going toward home, but Marty and I stuck it out a while longer.

Marty had agreed that the across-the-vineyard shot had possibilities. The shot works best in the late evening light of mid summer.

We heard CSX stack train Q008 calling signals on the radio and knew this was our opportunity.

We had scouted for a location earlier in the day as we drove from North East to Bort Road. We sought an area that was open and slightly higher than the tracks.

The challenge was to find a place where the tracks could be seen rather than being blocked by the grape vines.

We had found it and made out way back there in plenty of time to catch the Q008, which had the usual consist of a CSX stack train of two wide-cab locomotives and a rainbow of colors in its containers.

I tried different angles and zoomed in and out for varying compositions. You can see the results in this galley of images.


Traces of the Central

October 19, 2017

The last New York Central passenger train to board passengers in Conneaut did so on October 25, 1962.

It was not, of course, the last passenger train to pass by the Conneaut depot. NYC and later Penn Central varnish rushed past until May 1, 1971.

Amtrak restored service a few weeks later but ended it in early January 1972. Until the coming of the Lake Shore Limited in October 1975, the former Water Level Route was freight only.

The Conneaut depot is now a museum and it has many artifacts related to the NYC and the other railroads in town, the Nickel Plate Road and the Bessemer & Lake Erie.

The NYC passenger platform is still visible next to the CSX Erie West Subdivision tracks.

Most people look at this image and see what it is, which is containers headed eastward on CSX train Q020.

But in my mind’s eye, I see an NYC passenger train arriving. The conductor is standing on the folding vestibule steps, his left hand on the railing of the silver Budd passenger car and his eyes scanning the platform for passengers.

People whose names I do not know are waiting, tickets in hand, to board for Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati Cleveland, St. Louis or who knows where else. All of those were cities you could travel to from this platform.

A check of the Official Guide of the Railways for June 1962 shows that the last NYC trains scheduled to stop in Conneaut were unnamed No. 222 eastbound from Chicago to Buffalo, New York; and No. 35, the Iroquois from New York to Chicago.

Everything else blew past without stopping just as Amtrak does today.

Beaver in Berea

September 6, 2017

Back in February Canadian Pacific announced that it was bringing back its beaver herald although it wasn’t until July that the modified logo began appearing on  locomotives.

CP used the beaver herald, which features a beaver, a maple leaf, a shield, the company name and the date of the railroad’s incorporation, previously, but dropped it for a more contemporary look.

The beaver has a long tradition at CP, having first been used on a company herald in 1886.

Here in the states we might think of the maple leaf as symbolic of Canada, but the beaver is our northern neighbor’s official symbol of sovereignty.

Between 1886 and 1929, the beaver appeared on four renditions of the CP herald, which featured a shield as its dominant element. In three of those iterations, the beaver appeared atop the shield.

The beaver went on hiatus between 1929 and 1946 when the CP herald was, again, shaped like a shield but featured the slogan “World’s Greatest Travel System.”

In 1946, CP brought the beaver back and it sat atop the shield through three generations of heralds. In 1968, CP decided to give itself a more “progressive look” and adopted a triangle C logo.

Other heralds would follow including one that featured the Canadian and U.S. flags. That was an effort to show that CP was a North American railroad and not just a Canadian one.

To celebrate its independent status, which included resuming use of the name Canadian Pacific Railways, CP resurrected the beaver and shield in 1997 in a bid to give itself a retro look.

Some corporations can only sit still with their image for a few years, so the beaver was put out to marsh in 2007.

CP adopted a minimalist approach with only its name “Canadian Pacific” appearing in its herald. Things got even more concise in 2012 when the herald became simply the letters CP.

Now the beaver, the maple leaf and the shield are back. Unlike the most recent beaver herald, the current logo does not feature solid gold shading in the shield. Instead, the shield has horizontal stripes.

The latest version of the beaver herald is expected to become widespread as CP ramps up a program to repaint its locomotive fleet. The herald will also adorn rebuilt locomotives.

AC400CW No. 9817 wore the previous beaver herald. It is shown leading CSX train Q166 through Berea this past Sunday sporting the new herald.

The Q166 and its counterpart, Q165, are CP run-through trains that use CSX between Chicago and Buffalo, New York.

Just over two hours after the Q166 passed by, the Q165 came rolling through Berea. It is always a good outing when you catch both CP run-through trains on the same day.

And the cherry on the top of this treat was the eastbound “salad shooter” with its usual Union Pacific motive power, shown in the bottom photo.

Crossing the Beaver River

February 23, 2017



The Fort Wayne Line of Norfolk Southern crosses the Beaver River in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

For those unfamiliar with the area, this is north of Conway Yard near Pittsburgh and even north of Rochester, Pennsylvania.

For those who may be wondering what motive power was pulling this westbound intermodal train, if you regularly follow this blog  you’ve seen it already.

It was the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit. Now here is the rest of the train crossing the river.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Fostoria ‘Drag Race’ on Norfolk Southern

June 22, 2015

S&A Meet 2

CSX track work had the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline through Fostoria reduced to one track between East Fostoria and North Baltimore for  much of Sunday. The crews were also working on and near the diamond with Norfolk Southern just west of Main Street.

Late Sunday morning a pair of NS stack trains halted short of the diamonds and waited. It would not be a short wait.

After running some CSX traffic, the IP dispatcher gave both NS trains verbal permission to cross the diamonds. Each NS train also contacted its own dispatcher to reiterate that permission.

In the process of doing that, the NS Fostoria dispatcher indicated that the 218 would go first at Ilers where the former Nickel Plate Road track goes from double to single track.

We took more than  passing interest in the 218. It had on the point NS 1065, the Savannah & Atlanta heritage locomotive. It would be on the near track to the Iron Triangle railfan park. That was more good news.

Finally, each train began moving. The 218 nosed ahead, but was soon overtaken by the other train, which I believe was the 234.

That train was leading when it leaned into the curve by the railfan park. But the 218 with the S&A unit leading soon caught and overtook it. The 218 was far shorter in length than the other train.

It made for a captivating experience as the engineers of both trains were sounding their horns as they approached the grade crossings. The different-sounding horns made for a nice symphony if you like to hear the sound of locomotive horns.

Fellow Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring commented that it was the first time he had seen an NS heritage locomotive that wasn’t attached to the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 steam engine.

“That’s one down and 19 more to go,” he said after his first sighting of an NS heritage locomotive leading a train.

It would turn out to be the highlight of the ARRC’s longest day outing in Fostoria, which attracted three members and a guest.

Aided by the CSX track work, the day featured steady rail traffic. More photographs from the outing will be posted later this week.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Those Moments You Live For

December 10, 2012

It’s getting to be mid aft\ernoon on a Saturday in mid November. I’m chasing a light power move of former Santa Fe geeps that are bound for LTEX at McDonald, Ohio.

Already I’ve photographed the locomotives near Attica Junction, west of Willard, leaving Willard and just west of Boughtonville. Now the locomotives are stopped just before the grade crossing of Greenwich Milan Town Road on the west edge of Greenwich.

The radio transmissions indicate that the dispatcher has westbound trains to run, three of them to be exact before the light power move will get a signal to proceed.

The first westbound is a a manifest freight. Then comes the middle train, a stacker off the former Big Four line from Cleveland. The stack train has made the right turn onto the former Baltimore & Ohio Chicago-Pittsburgh line.

Also is the mix is the Q137, an intermodal train that uses the New Castle Subdivision through Akron.

The stack train rumbles past and in the distance I can make out the headlight of the Q137. These are the moments that you live for when out railfanning. As soon as one train clears another will be coming.

Sometimes the wait between trains can be hours. Or so it seems. But not right now.

The stack train clears the switch, the dispatcher aligns it for the next train and soon the Q137 is calling the signal and moving ahead.

I’ve picked out my next photo location. Another image will soon be made.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders