Posts Tagged ‘Todd Dillon photography’

Finds on the Wheeling & Lake Erie

September 12, 2022

Last Saturday was a nice day weather wise but I didn’t have a specific plan for railfanning.

I went to Berea and then saw on social media that an eastbound Wheeling & Lake Erie train was powered by the Rio Grande tunnel motor pair.

I drove to Wellington in hopes of catching it. I then saw it was still waiting for a crew so I drove to Bellevue following the line just in case.

I got there about 11 a.m. and found them sitting outside of town where I took these photos.  I stayed at the railfan platform hoping they would get a crew and then chase them east.

Another Wheeling train from Norwalk showed up about 3:30 p.m. and went into the Norfolk Southern yard.

I took photos of that, also.  I waited until dark but, sadly, no crew ever showed up so I drove home.

Later I found out that the other Wheeling train combined the trains together on the return to Norwalk.

W&LE 5412 was formerly Rio Grande 5391 but was renumbered last winter.  Sister unit 5413 retains its original Rio Grande unit number.

I also can confirm that NS is indeed using the hump at Bellevue yard again.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Chasing the AARPCO Specials in Chicago

September 6, 2022

METX 90 backing the train onto the Metra Electric in Blue Island, Illinois.
South Shore 2009 leads across the Canadian National diamond at Stillwell, Indiana.
The AARPCO special navigates the remaining 10th street running at Michigan City, Indiana.
Caritas brings up the rear. This remnant of the street trackage has lost its wires and is only used by freight and diesel-powered equipment moves.  All the houses and businesses on the south side of the street have been torn down and construction of a new double track line has begun. Eleventh Street is already been torn up and a new track is being laid.  When complete the former single track street trackage will be completely double tracked and on private right of way. It’s sad to see but it will certainly improve speeds and schedules by eliminating this bottleneck.

I was in the Chicago area for Labor Day weekend. The plan was to do some railfanning and visit the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois, on Saturday and the Heston Steam Museum in LaPorte County, Indiana, on Sunday.

While I did visit IRM, Sunday’s plans were radically changed.

After railfanning Metra near downtown Chicago, I  proceeded to Grayslake station on the Northwest side.

This is on the former Milwaukee Road North line and sees Metra, Canadian Pacific, and Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service as well as the Empire Builder. Across the street is a hobby shop which I also visited.

Some customers informed me that a passenger car special would go by northbound around 1 p.m. It was just after that so I assumed It had not been by yet (I had not seen it downtown either).

A few other trains went by and then the northbound track which was green changed to a red signal.

A few minutes later a train led by METX No. 90, Metra’s Chicago & North Western heritage paint, came with what turned out to be the American Association of Private Passenger Car Owners special.

As it turned out their convention was in Chicago that weekend and it was running over most of Metra’s routes.

It had left Chicago earlier in the morning and run out to Elgin on the Milwaukee Road West mainline and had returned but taking the wye to turn north. This is how I had missed it.  It was now returning south to Chicago and I got a special catch.

I then continued on my journey to IRM which was open late (9:30 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. closing time). 

I discovered that AARPCO was running a whole series of trips which would continue the rest of Saturday and into the next week.

After I had caught it, the special continued through Union Station and went to Joliet via the former Gulf, Mobile & Ohio line. It then reversed and took the Rock Island district to LaSalle Street Station.

This brings me to Sunday morning. Sunday’s trip would go west to Blue Island then east on the Metra Electric to Kensington.

There it would be handed off to the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend to Michigan City, Indiana, through the remaining street running and then head south to Kingsbury on a former Nickel Plate line that the South Shore now operates as freight only.

This is very rare mileage as the Metra Electric has never hosted a diesel powered passenger train and the Kingsbury line has not seen a passenger movement in 75 years.

Needless to say the Heston museum plans were thrown out and the AARPCO special would be the day’s focus.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Chasing NKP 765 Through 3 States

August 28, 2022

Leaving Edon, Ohio
Passing the depot in Pleasant Lake, Indiana
Passing the old depot in Montgomery, Indiana
Coming into Hillsdale, Michigan
Little River Railroad No. 110 in Hillsdale.

This past weekend Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 ran a series of trips on the Indiana Northeastern railroad between Edon Ohio, and Hillsdale, Michigan.

Light was challenging because it first runs due west from Edon (shooting into the sun) before tuning north at Steubenville, Indiana. Going north the light was good and turning east again at Hillsdale for a short distance was also good.

A bonus was the Little River railroad was running short trips (very short of 12 minutes each direction) with their No. 1 a 0-4-0, and No. 110, a small Pacific type.

Fun fact: The 110, which was built by Baldwin locomotive works in 1911, is one serial number off from Southern Railway No. 4501 (also a Pacific) meaning they shared the shop floor together during construction.  Lighting was especially challenging here.

Around 3:30 p.m. the 765 returned south and lighting was good until it turned back east again (shooting into the sun).  I managed to get some good pictures all the same and here are a few.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Back in Service on CSX

August 17, 2022

On Monday afternoon I got word that a B183 empty coke train (formerly K183) was coming east on CSX.  Leading it were two engines still in YN2 paint.

Even better the lead engine was a GE C40-8W, which are extremely rare in Class 1 service. In fact all other Class 1s have retired this class, including CSX. But CSX has pulled some of these units out of the dead lines in the past year.  

My first catch was not that train but a Wheeling & Lake Erie train that was about to head west from Akron. 

I waited at a crossing west of the yard but when it finally came what had been a brightly lit scene was covered in clouds.

Fortunately, he was merely doubling up the train and not leaving just yet and the sun returned for his backup move. The motive power of two SD40-3s including the 7001 – a 50th anniversary Operation Lifesaver tribute unit – and an ex-FURX unit still in silver and green paint made a nice lash-up.

Next we waited at Howard Street but the clouds and then rain came but not the train.

By now the CSX train was nearing Akron so I went to the Tallmadge Road overpass.  It was still raining when the train arrived climbing the grade to Cuyahoga Falls.

Of course, it quit raining and the sun returned a few minutes after the train had gone by. But that’s Ohio weather for you.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

What a Motive Power Lash-up

July 15, 2022

Last Saturday I caught the Wheeling & Lake Erie Train 262 at Akron. The 262 is a daily train between Akron and Brewster.

On Saturdays it ferries locomotives to Brewster that need maintenance and it can have a large lash-up. Saturday’s train did not disappoint with 12 engines total.

They included Nos. 7012, SD40-3, ex Milwaukee Road; 7011, SD40-3; 7024, SD40-3, 30th Anniversary unit; 7015, SD40-3, unrecorded, SD40-3; unrecorded, SD40-3; 6997, SD40-3, ex Union Pacific still in UP paint; Akron Barberton Cluster 4005, GP40, ex-Rock Island; 4602, GP9R, ex-Grand Trunk Western; 303, GP40, ex-Rio Grande still in D&RGW paint; 108, GP5,  high hood ex-Southern; and 301, GP40, ex-Rio Grande.

I chased this train south but due to shadows I really didn’t get any better photographs than I did at Akron. Still, it was an interesting train.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Misny Made Then Pay

July 14, 2022

On Wednesday NS train 14N had the Katy, and Savannah & Atlanta heritage units, and the Union Pacific Pink Ribbon unit. It came through Cleveland in late evening and we had storms in the afternoon as well. I went west to Vermillion in order to catch it in daylight which I did but the photos were okay but not great.

I chased it to Brook Park across from Cleveland Hopkins Airport and caught it a second time just before sunset.  A Tim Misney “makes them pay” billboard was there and I framed it into the photo.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

NKP 765 Arrives in Cleveland for its CVSR Run

May 12, 2022

On Monday I got a couple of photos of the Nickel Plate Road 2-8-3 No. 765 ferry move to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. I was hoping to chase it down to Campbell Road yard but that didn’t happen.

After making good time all day on Norfolk Southern the ferry move sat at Berea for almost three three hours waiting to get into Rockport yard.  About 7:30 p.m. it finally came so I managed a couple golden hour photos.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

C&O 1309 Running in the Rail

May 9, 2022

Last weekend I went to catch the inaugural runs for 2022 of former Chesapeake & Ohio 2-6-6-2 No. 1309 on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. The Mallet-type locomotive had done a couple of runs in February but those were charters. The 1309 is a Baldwin built for the C&O in 1949.

The weather was to put it mildly terrible with rain sometimes heavy the entire weekend. I had even considered cancelling because of this but I went anyhow and got some great photos regardless.

Here are a few. The top image shows the 1309 climbing Helmstetter’s curve. That is followed by the train coming into the Cumberland [Maryland] station, climbing the grade to Frostburg [Maryland] and then at the Frostburg station.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Winter Day in Alliance

February 12, 2022

The 14N (left), 170 and an eastbound intermodal in Alliance.
Train 170 heading west.
Train 64N on the Alliance runner.
Train 6K4 taking the Cleveland single.  It would get a new crew about 7 p.m. then reverse back onto the mainline to continue east.

Last Saturday (Feb. 5) I spent the day in Alliance.

Upon arriving I found an eastbound intermodal sitting on Track No. 1 and another eastbound moving slowly on Track No. 2.

The reason for this soon became apparent as train 14N was sitting on Track 1 blocking every railroad crossing in town. It had broken several air hoses and had gone into emergency. 

Also sitting on Track 2 east of town was the 170 waiting to go west.  The slowly moving EB train was taking the runner track, a long siding for parking trains, to get around the 170.

After about an hour, the 14N was able to get moving and continue east; However it would need a new crew before reaching Conway.

Once the 14N cleared, the 170 was able to continue west. The 170 takes the Fort Wayne line to Canton and 14N was blocking his move.

The 170 crew was also on short time and ended up tying down at Freshley Road west of town.

Other trains had backed up behind the 14N including 64N an oil or ethanol train.

This train then took the Alliance runner previously used by the intermodal and tied down to wait for a  new crew. 

A little later train 6K4, another oil or ethanol, took the Cleveland single and tied down on the Mahoning siding south of town. 

An empty coal train came an hour or so later, which picked up this crew.  The 6K4 had a GP38-3 leading some Canadian National engines, which was interesting.

Another train that I had hoped to get was the 171 which had the Virginian heritage unit.  Alas it sat in Canton all afternoon before getting a new crew and going through Alliance about 5 p.m.  I had left by then. 

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

National Park Scenic in the Snow

February 10, 2022

Last Sunday I did a quick chase of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

After a major snowstorm Thursday and Friday things were pretty much cleared out by Sunday.

CVSR ran a plow train on Friday and with the regular runs of the National Park Scenic on Saturday I did not expect to have any snow buildup at crossings.

Imagine my surprise when the train hit a snow bank at Boston Mills.  It was not a very large one but it still made for a nice photo.

The train itself was covered in ice and snow reminding me of Snowpiercer, a dystopian novel in which the earth has been covered in a global freeze and the last survivors ride a train that circles the planet once a year. 

This has been adopted into a movie and most recently a TV show. As with most sci-fi works you must suspend disbelief (like who maintains the track for instance?) but otherwise are enjoyable programs.

Anyhow I thought you might enjoy these.

Article and Photographs byTodd Dillon