Posts Tagged ‘Trains and fall foliage’

KCS on CSX Two for Tuesday

August 9, 2022

It was a sunny October Sunday in 2010. I was out with Roger Durfee and we had in mind catching some action on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Roger learned somehow that a westbound CSX coal train had a Kansas City Southern leader. Then, as now, KCS motive power was not unheard of in Northeast Ohio, but it wasn’t that common, either.

Roger turned his Jeep eastward and we intercepted the train at Newton Falls, seen in the top image. From there we photographed the coal train in at least three other places. Akron wasn’t one of them, probably because urban traffic would result in our not being able to keep pace with the train.

On the point was KCS AC44CW No. 4594 in the gray livery with yellow nose stripes that had been built by GE in November 1999. The trailing unit was a BNSF “pumpkin”

We chased that train to east of Greenwich, where it stopped to wait for traffic ahead to clear.

Among our other photo locations were Nova and River Corners Road west of Lodi, with the latter being seen in the bottom image above.

It was one of the longest chases of a single train that I’ve been involved with on the New Castle Sub. It also was kinda fun and made more exhilarating by bagging something that I seldom had been able to catch during my various railfan outings in Northeast Ohio.

The fall foliage we found along the tracks wasn’t too bad, either.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Fall Foliage Spectacular Two for Tuesday

November 23, 2021

I was looking in my slide collection earlier this week with an emphasis on images made on the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern in the vicinity of Brady Lake and Ravenna when I ran across the image shown above.

Seeing it brought back a lot of memories of a late October day, Oct. 28, 2005, to be exact.

I was in my first year as president of the Akron Railroad Club. It was a Friday and the October meeting was that night in the Carriage House of the Summit County Historical Society.

Before the meeting Ed Ribinskas and I got in some late day railfanning around Ravenna.

As you can see in this image the fall foliage along the Cleveland Line east of Lake Street was at peak color although some of the trees had already lost most or all of their leaves.

We were there in late afternoon and fortunate to get two westbounds before the shadows completely covered the rails.

As it was, the shadows were rapidly moving in, which turned out to be a good thing by creating some dramatic contrast. Contrast helps to give an image visual tension, which increases its drama and interest.

It is noteworthy that as dramatic as these images are they are not the photographs I remember the most from this outing.

Those images were made several minutes later on the CSX New Castle Subdivision at Chestnut Street.

In the last direct sunlight of the day we caught a westbound with a BNSF leader. I framed it with a Baltimore & Ohio color position light signal and the block sign denoting the end and beginning of the Kent and Rave blocks.

The warm light on a BNSF “pumpkin” was, I thought at the time, the catch of the day.

CSX has long since dropped the use of blocks on the New Castle Sub and the CPLs have been gone for years. So those photos now make nice period pieces.

Curious as to who had the program that night I dug out the October 2005 Bulletin. The program was titled Now and Then with the “now” being presented by Marty Surdyk and the “then” being shown by his father, the late William Surdyk.

The photographs shown were made roughly 40 years apart and used different types of slide film.

Marty’s images were 35 mm slides shown in a Kodak Carousel projector.

He featured the Bessemer & Lake Erie, CSX in the Akron area, Marion, Berea and the Wheeling & Lake Erie around Spencer.

Bill’s images were 2.25-inch format slides shown in a 1950s era Goldie projector that could be fed one slide at a time. In Bill’s show were images from Berea, Marion and Akron among other locations.

The meeting minutes for October reported that a record 18 members went to the Eat ‘n Park in Cuyahoga Falls after the meeting for dessert, a late dinner or an early breakfast.

The next day ARRC members gathered again, this time in Berea to dedicate the Dave McKay memorial.

A week before the meeting, ARRC members had enjoyed an excursion on the Ohio Central between Dennison and Morgan Run. It was supposed to have been pulled by 2-8-0 Baldwin-built No. 33.

But the steamer was sidelined with mechanical issues. Instead, a Montreal Locomotive Works RS18 pulled the trip to Morgan Run while an OC FP7 powered the return trip.

What a month October 2005 was for the ARRC.

A UP Kind of Morning on CN

November 14, 2021

It was just coincidence that the first two Canadian National trains I saw while railfanning the Champaign Subdivision on Nov. 7 were led by Union Pacific motive power. UP units are, in my experience, not unusual on this stretch of CN although I don’t see them during every visit to the former Illinois Central mainline.

In train in the top image was following Amtrak’s southbound Saluki. The train in the bottom image was the first train I photographed on this outing. In both instance a tree next to the tracks made a handy way to work some fall color into the images.

The top image was made on the west side of the tracks and the bottom photograph on the east side in Pesotum, Illinois.

The Saluki and a Colorful Tree

November 11, 2021

My quest for fall foliage continued last Sunday with a trip to the Champaign Subdivision of Canadian National, the former Illinois Central mainline between Chicago and New Orleans.

I found some colorful trees next to the tracks in Pesotum, Illinois, and worked with them.

Shown here is Amtrak’s northbound and southbound Saluki, which operates daily between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois, and is funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

For more than a year the Saluki has operated with Superliner equipment and due to a CN-required minimum axle count carries more cars than does the Capitol Limited.

Although the southbound train is shown in the top image, it was the second of the two trains to pass my position.

Fall Foliage and Street Running

November 10, 2021

Hickory Street in Warsaw, Indiana, is famous for two blocks of street running on the Marion District of Norfolk Southern, which many railfans still like to call the Marion Branch.

A street project that wrapped up earlier this year changed the traffic patterns on Hickory for vehicles but not for trains. The street is now one lane northbound only with the other lane devoted to on-street parking.

Last Friday I chased the 13Q from Goshen to Warsaw with the objective of getting some fall foliage and street running. There were no colorful trees on Hickory itself, but a pair of tees with gold leaves were visible on Fort Wayne Avenue. The latter comes into Hickory at an angle on the north end of the street running at the crossing of East Main Street.

The 13Q, which was led by a Canadian National unit and had a CN unit on the rear as a DPU, is shown in the top image. However, the first train I saw run down the street was the 14J, whose rear is shown about to clear the street running in the bottom image.

Note that in theory through vehicles are prohibited on the tracks and in the easternmost lane. But during my time waiting for trains I saw a number of vehicles straddle the rails while waiting at the stop light to make a left turn onto Fort Wayne Avenue.

Striking Autumn Gold in Goshen

November 6, 2021

The Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern skirts the southern boundary of Oak Ridge Cemetery in Goshen, Indiana. In autumn, some of the trees near the tracks put on a colorful display.

On Friday I sent some time there in late afternoon. River Avenue runs parallel to the tracks for a short distance and offers marked parking spaces. You can see the westbound home signals of CP 412.

In the top image, a pair of BNSF pumpkins wheel intermodal train 206 past the cemetery on Track 1. About 10 minutes earlier manifest freight 174 came off the Marion Branch as seen in the second image.

Image three shows the rear of train 14J, which also came off the Marion Branch. I had seen this train earlier in the day in Warsaw.

Finally, there is a cut of stacked containers on the rear of the 174.

There Was Still Some Fall Color

November 30, 2020

I wasn’t expecting to find any colorful fall foliage when I set out in mid November to chase trains on the Champaign Subdivision of Canadian National in east central Illinois.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find some maple trees still showing off their October best.

Better yet they formed a line of fall foliage along the former Illinois Central mainline.

Shown above is a southbound grain train passing through Pesotum, Illinois.

It Just Looks Like Fall

November 11, 2020

My day of railfanning in east central Illinois was winding down as I drove north on Interstate 57.

As I crossed the Canadian National tracks at Pesotum I looked to the north and saw a headlight of a southbound in the distance on the former Illinois Central mainline.

There was time for one more train. I got off the interstate and drove into town, parking next to a former IC passenger station in a park that is bisected by the CN Champaign Subdivision.

There was still some fall color left, although much of it was muted. Still, that color combined with the fallen leaves gave the appearance of autumn.

Being late afternoon, the some sunlight was being blocked by a line of trees on the west side of the track that resulted in shadows being cast over the rails.

Yet the resulting shadows in their own way showed that it was late day and created visual tension in the scene.

The image above showed the most sunlight on the nose of the lead CN locomotive.

The muted colors, the light and shadows, the leaves on the ground all combine to say “it looks like fall.”

Had this been my last image of the day I would have been quite pleased with it.

But it would turn out that I still had one more train to catch and it would yield what might have been my favorite photograph of a day that had been, overall, quite productive and enjoyable.

You’ll see that image tomorrow.

Still Some Fall Foliage Out There

November 10, 2020

With another 70-degree weather and sunny day I railfanned eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, there was still some fall color to be found. In the top image a Youngstown & Southeastern train climbs south from Youngstown.

In the middle image, a CSX coal train is at Wampum, Pennsylvania, while in the bottom photograph a Buffalo & Pittsburgh coal train is also at Wampum.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Autumn in the Trench

October 30, 2020

It’s an early November day in Pittsburgh. An eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight is passing beneath a dramatic canopy of green and gold gingko tree leaves in West Park.

This section of the Fort Wayne Line is also known as the trench and is a favorite of railroad photographers, particularly when those gingko trees turn colors in the fall.

As nice as this image is, it could have been better. In another week or less all the remaining leaves will have turned gold and the falling leaves will leave a golden carpet on the four-track mainline.

But my window of opportunity to photograph here was limited to the weekend. Still, I was pleased with my results.