Posts Tagged ‘Switch engines’

Two for Tuesday: Outside Cotter Merchandise

June 1, 2021

Here are two photos of Cotter Merchandise Storage switcher No. 1231 outside the company’s fence in Akron on May 12, 2021.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Another One From Cincinnati

September 3, 2020

It is either 1969 or 1970 in Cincinnati where Cincinnati Union Terminal No. 24, a Lima 750 horsepower switcher, is in storage along with some sister units. You can tell what part of Ohio someone is from if you ask them to describe the initials CUT. It could be Cincinnati Union Terminal or it could be Cleveland Union Terminal.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Getting A Closer Look

June 17, 2020

The top image was made in the late 1970s in the yard on Conrail in Canton.

NW2R No. 9174 is working the east end of the yard with a transfer caboose.

The photographer decided to crop the original image to zoom in on the locomotive and the caboose.

Although he said the cropped images are of lesser quality there is nothing “lesser” about getting a look at something we can’t easily see anymore except in a museum or maybe on a backwater short line railroad.

Photographs by Robert Farkas


Switchers for a Saturday

March 28, 2020

Railroad photographers are fond of coining terms that mesh well with days of the week. So you might have signal Saturday or tower Tuesday.

We’re going to carry out that theme today with a pair of switch engines to highlight our Saturday.

In the top image is Cotter Merchandise Storage’s prior switcher (unnumbered GE) is working in Akron on Nov. 13, 2009.

In the bottom image, we’ve traveled to Titusville Pennsylvania to the Oil Creek & Titusville short line railroad to view it Alco S2 No. 75.

The tourist railroad operates on former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

South Akron PRR Memory

March 4, 2020

Pennsylvania Railroad switch No. 8020 sits in the PRR engine facility by the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company plant in 1966/1967.

The locomotive is a Baldwin DS44-1000 that was built in April 1949.

Notice the corner of Akron, Canton & Youngstown boxcar and an Illinois Central boxcar on the left while a small portion of industrial Akron is on the right.

No, I was not given permission to close 8020’s doors.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Catching Up With the Union Railroad

March 21, 2018

I also caught last weekend during my trip to Pennsylvania a Union Railroad train climbing Dravosburg grade on Sunday morning. Notice it’s a mainline but both tracks are jointed rail. Also the tracks are weathered from heavy sand use. Finally, a caboose brings up the rear. All Union trains still use cabooses. It’s a throwback to old school railroading in this modern era.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

When I See a Grain Elevator, I Think of Marty

November 13, 2016


One in a periodic series of images I made last summer

If I never saw Marty Surdyk again, I’ll always have something to remember him. Many times when I see a grain elevator I think of him because he has a fondness for such facilities that he has spoken about many times.

That is quite an accomplishment for a guy who grew up in a suburb of Cleveland and can be said to be a city boy.

But somewhere along the way Marty became fascinated with grain elevators and likes to photograph them with trains at every opportunity.

I was in Bellevue when I had a “Marty moment.” There are a couple of silos next to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum that were part of a grain elevator complex that is no longer in service and some of it has been razed.

The silos appear to be on museum property for a couple of pieces of the museum’s rolling stock were parked on what used to be a track that served the facility.

The locomotive is an Alco S-5 that used to be owned by Cargill, a company that describes itself as a provider of food, agricultural, financial and industrial supplies.

Cargill owns a lot of grain complexes and has its own fleet of switchers. This unit was last assigned to Cargill’s Michigan Division although I do not know where it once worked.

But a little online research found that it was built in June 1964 for the Boston & Maine.

It might have had another owner other than B&M and Cargill judging by some markings bleeding through the black paint.

I don’t know where in Michigan or anywhere else this unit worked while active for Cargill’s Michigan Division.

But in Bellevue on this June day, it was attached to a passenger car painted in what appears to be the last passenger livery of the Great Northern Railway.

I couldn’t help but think of Marty as I made this series of images.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders




Grand River No. 1202 is on the Property

October 14, 2015


Grand River Railway No. 1202 arrived in Painesville on Monday afternoon and has already been moved to Morton Salt.

The SW1200 has had a long and tortuous journey since leaving the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, where it was repainted into its Baltimore & Ohioesque livery.

It was built in 1954 and served the Aliquippa & Southern before winding up in the AOS diesel fleet. AOS has leased it to the Grand River along with a sister SW1200, No. 1205.

Before repainting, it wore a yellow and olive green livery.

Somewhere in transit, the 1202 developed flat spots on its wheels. Those were discovered during an inspection after the locomotive arrived in Willard Yard on CSX on Aug. 31.

The unit had some of its wheels replaced in Willard and then was sent to Avon Yard near Indianapolis on Sept. 23 to have its traction motors reinstalled and to turn one of the wheels on a lathe.

The switcher arrived back in Willard on Oct. 9 and was sent on its way to the Grand River.

During the trip back from Indianapolis, the 1202 spent the night in Marion where some railfans made night photos of it.

Photographs by Jeff Troutman




Finally Finding the CB&Q Lookalike Switcher

September 28, 2015

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I went to the Fostoria trainfest on Saturday and finally got a switcher that I knew of but had not found.  It is a former Illinois Central EMD switcher painted in a Burlington Route inspired paint scheme.

It works the Sunny Farms Landfill a couple miles south of town.  I also discovered that the landfill is expanding with new trackage being built just south of the facility.

The new trackage has yet to be connected to the rest of the facility.  A grade crossing and culvert need to be built.

Many, if not all, of the garbage trains through Cleveland on CSX are destined for this facility. These are a few of the photos I took.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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The current end of track. The one on the left will be extended.

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The unloading facility.

The site is expanding.

The site is expanding.

No H Units, But a Rare EMD Switcher in Alliance

April 22, 2015

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I was working in Ravenna on Tuesday and saw that the Central of Georgia heritage unit of Norfolk Southern was leading a train west.

I headed to Rootstown but heard a horn as I was driving.  It turned out to be that train so I just missed seeing that engine.

I then headed to Rob’s Trains in Alliance to pick up some magazines, including the new issue of the Penn Central Historical and Technical Society magazine that has the third of a series about railroad operations in Cleveland.

Also, the new issue of TRP has an article focusing on the Reading T1 4-8-4 steamers, including some nice photos of the 2100 that is currently on its way to Cleveland for restoration.

I then went to the railfan parking area and settled in. Several NS freights went by and then I heard the unmistakable sound of a diesel locomotive throttling up.

Since there was no NS train at that moment it could only be the plant switcher at PTC Alliance.  I went to investigate.

My hearing was correct and I found PTC No. 90, an EMD SW-1 converted for remote control.

PTC Alliance is a mini steel mill and has an in-plant railroad that uses the SW-1 to switch modified flatcars around the plant.  It currently does not connect with the national rail network.

Unfortunately, the switcher was behind the employee parking lot, which makes photography difficult, if not impossible.

I relocated to a street on the south side of the plant.  One of the switch leads stops at the fence (it used to continue across the street to the NS mainline).

If the train came here I could get some good photos. That didn’t happen and I assumed it had gone to the north side of the plant.

There is access but it is from a gravel/dirt driveway next to the old New York Central track on the west side of the mill. The driveway was not in the best condition but I drove on it anyway hoping that I wouldn’t get stuck.

My insurance company won’t pay for a tow if I get stuck off road. Don’t ask how I know that fact.

I found the engine switching at the far north end of the mill.  It has been equipped for remote control operation run by an operator with a beltpack.

Part of the switching lead extends out beyond the fence of the mill so I was able to get a few photos without the fence in the way.

It was a disappointment to not catch a heritage unit but an almost 80-year-old EMD locomotive in operation made it worthwhile.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon