Posts Tagged ‘Tank car trains’

The Red Grain Elevator of Wellington

May 19, 2017

A certain member of the Akron Railroad Club is known for his passion for photographing trains and grain elevators.

I know that in particular he likes the red grain facility in Wellington alongside the Greenwich Subdivision of CSX.

It makes for a dramatic  image in late afternoon sunlight. From what I can see, the facility is no longer served by rail.

I didn’t go there on a recent outing just to capture the red grain elevator. As much as anything I went there because Wellington wasn’t being covered  by clouds.

CSX cooperated beautifully by sending a pair of westbounds through town, a stack train and an ethanol train.

The ethanol train shown at top was the second of the pair and I tend to like that image the best of the two.

NS Bridges of Oak Harbor

February 7, 2017

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One in a periodic series of images that I made last summer

The Toledo District of Norfolk Southern in Oak Harbor has two bridges that make for good photo props.

One bridge carries the tracks over the NS Chicago Line on the west side of town while the other carries the Toledo District over the Portage River.

In the top and middle photograph above, a westbound NS tanker train cruises westbound on the Chicago Line and ducks beneath the Toledo District.

I don’t know the age of that plate girder bridge but it might have been installed by the original Wheeling & Lake Erie. The modern day NS Toledo District was back in the day the W&LE’s mainline to Toledo.

A lot of trains of the New York Central, Penn Central, Conrail and now NS have passed beneath that bridge.

The modern W&LE has trackage rights on the NS Toledo District so you can still see Wheeling trains on the bridge.

The bottom photograph shows an NS train crossing the bridge over the Portage River in a view that was made from the Oak Harbor cemetery.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Colorful NS Motive Power Duo

September 15, 2016

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It wasn’t an all heritage locomotives consist, but Norfolk Southern train 64T had an unusual motive power consist when it passed through Northeast Ohio during the morning hours of Monday, Sept. 12.

Leading the train was the Erie Railroad heritage locomotive while the tailing unit was the DC to AC conversion No. 4000.

The same duo had led the train or tank cars westbound through the region last Saturday, but that was during early morning hours and NS 4000 had been leading.

Reports on HeritageUnits.com indicated that on Monday the 64T was reported at Alliance at 11:06 a.m.

No reports were made for the time that train passed through Cleveland.

Rich Thompson was able to get to Hines Hill Road near Macedonia to capture the 64T as it made its way east on the NS Cleveland Line.

Photographs by Richard Thompson

Saturday Sunset at Olmsted Falls

October 2, 2014

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Every picture tells a story or so they say. I’ve always been interested, though, in the stories that lie behind the pictures.

At face value, the story that these two images tell is that of a westbound ethanol train on Norfolk Southern lumbering through Olmsted Falls on a Saturday night. For the record, this was train 65V.

The sun is about to sink beneath the tree line and in many ways these are the kind of “sweet light” photos that photographers crave.

You might think that after making these images that I went home satisfied. I can feel that way now. But that was far from how I felt at the time.

The story began that morning when I received an email that the Monongahela heritage unit was leading intermodal train 25V and likely would reach Cleveland between 4 and 6 p.m.

Hmmm. That would put the train through Olmsted Falls in late day light.

I followed the train’s progress online and when it was reported past Leetonia, Ohio, at 3:21 p.m., I grabbed my camera bag and out the door I went.

By the time I arrived in the Falls, the 25V was on the southeast side of Cleveland. But the radio chatter between the Toledo East dispatcher and various trains and NS supervisors revealed that the Chicago Line east of Cleveland was, again, more parking lot than speedway.

Nothing was moving west out of Cleveland and it remained that way for the next two plus hours.

I was able to ascertain from the conversations between the Cleveland Terminal dispatcher and various trains that the 25V was fourth in line to go west once traffic got moving.

The 65V came through Berea at about 6:45. The sun was slightly south of the tracks so I set up there at the Brookside Road crossing. Then I saw a headlight to the west and quickly crossed over, lest that eastbound block my shot.

It would be 15 minutes before the next westbound, a 21Q, came by. The 65V was getting an approach signal somewhere to the west and everything was moving slower than normal.

It was a given that I wouldn’t get the 25V and the Monongahela H unit in sunlight or even in daylight.

It was downright dark when the NS 25V with the NS 8025 on point came past the Olmsted Falls depot where the railroad club that owns the building was having a picnic.

Even with a digital camera that has a high ISO capability, getting even a fair shot was mission all but impossible.

I tried, but the image was too dark and blurry. Many photographers wouldn’t have bothered and others would have deleted their images.

I went home deeply disappointed. The heritage unit photography gods had turned their backs on me yet again.

A few days later I’m still disappointed about how that sortie turned out, yet as I studied the images I made of the 65V I’ve come to a new appreciation of what I was able to do with what I had.

Sometimes studying a photograph days reveals things that escaped your attention as you peered through the viewfinder. So it was with the 65V.

In the top shot, I ended up liking a few qualities that I missed when making the photo. Although I would have preferred to have been on the south side of the tracks, there was just enough light down the sides of the tank cars to create a nice streak that contrasts with the shadows of the rest of those cars.

The angle from the north side of the tracks enabled me to capture several utility poles in full lighting. Ordinarily, photographers don’t like having poles in their images, but in this case the poles and even the multitude of wires that cross above the tracks convey the aura of “urban setting.”

In its own way, this image is a good snapshot of railroading in 2014. Tank car trains have increased in numbers in the past few years due to the crude oil boom in North Dakota. Hence, tanker trains represent the au courant in this image.

Look in the background. See that signal bridge erected by the New York Central goodness knows how many decades ago? It provides some historical contrast. A lot of petroleum products used to move by rail back in the era when those signals went up, but then that business went away only to come back.

Late day light also enables you to see inside the locomotive cab. Notice that the conductor is giving some kind of sign – a peace sign? – as the 65V approaches. That might have been for the benefit of the crew of that rapidly closing in eastbound train.

These image will always remind me of the train I really wanted to get in this warm, sweet light and how circumstances intervened to foil those plans.

I made the most of the situation and came away with some pretty fair images. But don’t forget heritage unit photography gods that you still owe me one.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

We’re Not in North Dakota Anymore Toto

February 8, 2014
The first of the three tank car trains on CSX that featured BNSF motive power kicks up a swirl of snow as it approaches Park Road.

The first of the three tank car trains on CSX that featured BNSF motive power kicks up a swirl of snow as it approaches Park Road.

Last Sunday I spent the day railfanning with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Marty Surdyk and Edward Ribinskas in Lake County along the Cleveland-Buffalo lines of CSX (ex-New York Central) and Norfolk Southern (ex-Nickel Plate Road). It had rained on Saturday but a fresh snowfall overnight created a nice winter scene as though everything had been sprayed with snow.
During our day out, we spotted three tanker trains on CSX, all of which were led by BNSF motive power.

In the interests of accuracy, I was too busy thinking about the photographs I wanted to make to pay attention to the placards on the cars. Therefore, not all of these trains were necessarily crude oil trains from North Dakota. There could have been ethanol trains from Iowa mixed in.
Anyhow, the orange of those BNSF locomotives sure looked good against all of that white.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The second of the tanker trains nears Park Road. This motive power consist featured all BNSF power.

The second of the tanker trains. This motive power consist featured all BNSF power.

There was no buffer car on the end of the second of the three tanker trains.

There was no buffer car on the end of the second of the three tanker trains.

A cut of tank cars brought up the rear of this eastbound CSX manifest freight at Park Road.

A cut of tank cars brought up the rear of this eastbound CSX manifest freight at Park Road.

Tanker train No. 3 on the day featured yet another all BNSF motive power consist. This eastbound train is coming in Perry.

Tanker train No. 3 on the day featured yet another all BNSF motive power consist. This eastbound train is coming in Perry.

The cold oil inside the tank cars hitting the humid and slightly warmer air resulted in a sheen of white frost on the outside of the black tank cars.

The cold oil inside the tank cars hitting the humid and slightly warmer air resulted in a sheen of white frost on the outside of the black tank cars.

Snow is building up on the rear of the buffer car on tanker train No. 3 at Perry.

Snow is building up on the rear of the buffer car on tanker train No. 3 at Perry.

NS eastbound train 14T featured a BNSF locomotive on the head end. It was nice to see BNSF power leading four trains on this Sunday.

NS eastbound train 14T featured a BNSF locomotive on the head end. It was nice to see BNSF power leading four trains on this Sunday.

NS 14T splits the signals at Davis Road, which is the east end of the Perry siding.

NS 14T splits the signals at Davis Road, which is the east end of the Perry siding.