Posts Tagged ‘Steel mill railroad’

One Day Down in Mingo Junction

December 23, 2020

Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel SW1200 No. 1255 is in Mingo Junction, Ohio on March 26, 1977. Other than some gold stripes there are no heralds or markings on this work-a-day unit.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

State of the Union

July 3, 2013

Sometimes going away shots are the best you can do. Here is the power on a coke train headed for the Duquesne Yard.

Sometimes going away shots are the best you can do. Here is the power on a coke train headed for the Duquesne Yard.

On a recent Saturday I was in Pittsburgh with my friend Adam seeking to photograph the Union Railroad.

We hung out on a trail in Duquesne that runs next to Norfolk Southern’s Mon Line and over which the Union passes near its Duquesne yard and the Edgar Thompson Works in Braddock.

We could hear Union trains talking on the radio, but didn’t see anything. After waiting for awhile and getting a few NS trains, it was time to move on.

We thought we would check out the Duquesne yard, where we had seen nothing but freight cars when passing over it earlier.

I saw a puff of white diesel smoke coming from what appeared to be the southern end of the yard, although we couldn’t see anything other than the tops of the trees.

We headed for the Grant Avenue crossing, where there is an S curve. The smoke I had seen was a train and was the job we had heard talking the most on the radio.

We got ahead of it, but were puzzled to see diesel smoke ahead of us. That smoke ahead of us belonged to a coke train that had originated at the USS Clairton Works.

The best I could do was jump out of the van, dash toward an opening in the vegetation and get this grab shot of the motive power going away.

The first train whose smoke I had seen was a hot slab train bound for the USS Irvin Works in West Mifflin. It met the coke train by the crossing where we were waiting.

Unfortunately, the coke train blocked any possibility of getting a head-on shot of the power of the slab train.

I settled for getting the caboose of the coke train passing the slab cars. Those slab cars were labeled “hot” and they were quite warm from several feet away on an already hot day. There was a grittiness to the images I made that said “steel mill railroad.”

We chased the slab train, catching up to it along Bettis Road. Here, the highway crosses over the tracks, which enter a tunnel at Dravosburg.

The power about to enter the tunnel was the best I could do at Bettis Road because the head end was past us.

We were finally able to get ahead of the entire train and parked next to the bridge carrying Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard over the Union tracks. At last I was able to get some head-on photos of the lead locomotive.

We then motored over to McKeesport to check out the CSX mainline there and find the URR switcher assigned to the former McKeesport Connecting Railroad. It was parked next to the CSX tracks that themselves parallel a hiking and biking trail. 

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A meet at the Grant Avenue crossing.

A meet at the Grant Avenue crossing.

The slab train's caboose and train lean into a curve.

The slab train’s caboose and train lean into a curve.

The slab train is passing beneath Bettis Road and about to enter Dravosburg Tunnel.

The slab train is passing beneath Bettis Road and about to enter Dravosburg Tunnel.

Cabooses used to be common. But not anymore except in a handful of placed. The Union Railroad is one of them.

Cabooses used to be common. But not anymore except in a handful of placed. The Union Railroad is one of them.

Another one of the train in Dravosburg Tunnel.

Another one of the train in Dravosburg Tunnel.

At last I was able to get a shot of the train coming toward me.

At last I was able to get a shot of the train coming toward me.

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