Posts Tagged ‘Wellington Ohio’

Circle Trip of Reservoirs and Railroads

June 5, 2018


My original plan for railfanning on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend was to drive down to New London and “recreate” a memorable Akron Railroad Club outing of 2006.

I remember that outing for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that it was billed as a trip to Greenwich but started out in New London because that is where Marty Surdyk wanted it to begin.

We did get to Greenwich, eventually, but not until mid to late afternoon.

I had never been to either location so I had to rely on Marty for directions on getting there.

My memories from that day include seeing the CSX executive train headed westbound through Greenwich, seeing a caboose on an eastbound manifest freight at New London and catching a BNSF warbonnet leading a train at New London.

There was also the emphatic manner in which the late Tim Krogg suggested that it was time to get some bleeping lunch and how Peter Bowler schooled us in how a flock of buzzards is known as a kettle.

I enjoyed that outing so much that I suggested in 2013 that we do it again. It was scheduled, but I was the only person who showed up.

As I was heading west on Interstate 480 I decided to modify my plans.

I would make this a reservoir circle trip with stops in Wellington, New London and Attica. By day’s end I wanted to have photographs of trains and water at four reservoirs, three of them located above ground.

This would hinge, of course, on the cooperation of CSX, which since the onset of scheduled precision railroading has reduced the number of trains it operates. Those that do run tend to be much longer.

Sure enough, CSX was dead when I arrived in Wellington. I would wait 45 minutes before finally hearing an eastbound stack train calling signals on the radio.

Making images of an above-ground reservoir and trains is a challenge because of the distance between the shoreline and the tracks.

If you feature the shoreline that is closet to the rails, you have to use a wide-angle lens, which guarantees you’ll only get a portion of the water. In proportion to the scene the train will be small.

The latter doesn’t bother me but it does some railfan photographers.

You can also try to shoot across the water with a telephoto lens but you might not get the train. Remember, these are above ground reservoirs.

My first catch of the day in Wellington was an eastbound stack train with a pair of BNSF locomotives running elephant style. Not bad.

It was late morning so I decided to move on to New London. But as I was walking toward my car I heard the westbound Q163 stack train calling signals and decided to wait for it.

I tried a different angle, going for the north shoreline that is perpendicular to the tracks. The downside of this view is that I could get very little of the train into the image. Interestingly, the Q163 also had BNSF motive power.

I arrived in New London during another CSX lull that also lasted about 45 minutes.

I could hear other CSX trains on the radio, but nothing that would be coming through New London.

I also heard a Wheeling & Lake Erie train get track authority from Hartland to Spencer, meaning I would have seen it had I stayed in Wellington.

I finally got a train just before noon, an eastbound crude oil train with three BNSF units.

Hmmmm. I’m starting to see a pattern here. Did BNSF buy CSX and I didn’t know about it? Fat chance of that.

My idea was to shoot this train in the same manner that I did the Q163 at Wellington. It would have worked had I been paying more attention to the water and less to the locomotives.

I managed to create an image that didn’t show any of the water.

That would not be the case with the next train, a W&LE train off the Carey
Subdivision carrying stone in gondola cars and a few covered hoppers.

I heard this train get permission from the IP dispatcher in Jacksonville to enter CSX track at Greenwich at GN Tower.

At the time time, I thought this was fantastic news. I would be getting a Wheeling train after all.

Yet when the train showed up, it’s locomotives were both running long hood forward.

At least I got some water in this image and the lead unit is a former BNSF locomotive still in its BNSF colors. That sort of kept my BNSF motive power streak alive.

That streak was snapped when the Q348 showed up with CSX motive power. It stopped at CP 47 to allow the Q008 to pass.

I got the Q008 passing the manifest freight and some water.

The chatter on the radio indicated that more trains were coming, including the Q010 so I stayed a little longer at New London.

That paid off when a westbound auto rack train came past with a CREX (Citirail) ES44AC in the lead.

I’ve always like the color scheme of these Citirail units, but I’ve seldom been able to catch them leading a train.

The trailing unit of the auto rack train, by the way, was, you guessed it, a BNSF unit, which would be the final binsiff I would see on this day.

After the passage of the Q010, I set out for Attica but distractions along the way kept me from getting to the Attica reservoirs until late afternoon.

First, I stopped in Greenwich to photograph an eastbound CSX auto rack train whose headlight I saw in the distance as I crossed the Mt. Victory Subdivision tracks on U.S. Route 224.

Upon crossing the Sandusky District tracks of Norfolk Southern in Attica, I saw the rear of an eastbound and decided to check it out.

It turned out to be a grain train with three Canadian National units for motive power that I wound up chasing to Bucyrus where I got it going around the connection to the Fort Wayne Line.

I made further stops near Chatfield to photograph across a field a stopped eastbound NS manifest freight and to make some non-rail photographs in Chatfield of a hardware store that is going out of business.

By the time I got to the lower Attica reservoir, the Sandusky District had been turned into a parking lot because of a malfunctioning switch at Colsan in Bucyrus.

I waited a while before catching the eastbound 188 passing the reservoir, which had surprisingly smooth water for a windy day. That yielded a nice reflection image.

I had heard the 20E calling signals and thought I’d get it at the upper Attica reservoir a short distance away.

The dispatcher had told the 188 to stop at County Line Road and maybe the 20E would stop behind it.

I drove up to the top of the upper Attica reservoir, but there was no 20E. It was getting late and I didn’t want to get home too late, so I decided to forgo getting an image from my fourth reservoir of the day.

Although I looked, I never did see the 20E. Either the train I photographed at the lower Attica reservoir had been the 20E or it slipped past me as I was driving through Attica.

 

 

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Reminder of a Past ARRC Outing

May 30, 2017

Westbound CSX manifest freight lumbers beneath the eastbound home signals for CP 37 and the water tower in Wellington.

Wellington is one of those places that is not that far away yet far enough that I don’t get there that often.

It is closer than Bellevue, Fostoria or Marion, but not as close to my home as Berea and Olmsted Falls.

Sometimes you just don’t have a good reason for neglecting to spend more time at a place that you really like.

I recently spent a few hours in Wellington and as I sat at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on the west side of the CSX Greenwich Subdivision I was reminded of the one and only Akron Railroad Club outing to Wellington during my time in the club.

That day was not necessarily the best or most exciting ARRC outing I’ve attended over the years, but I still remember it fondly.

It occurred on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009. I no longer remember why we chose to go to Wellington. Maybe at the time we were making an effort to visit what the Bulletin termed secondary hotspots in Northeast Ohio.

The report in the Bulletin indicated that 10 members showed up during the day and 22 CSX trains passed through. The W&LE sent just one train through town.

While sitting in Wellington recently I thought about some of the things that have changed since that 2009 outing.

I was using slide film exclusively then but have since switched to digital photography. Five of the 10 who attended no longer belong to the ARRC with Richard Jacobs among them having passed away.

Marty Surdyk was driving a Dodge Nitro then, but has since downsized to a smaller Jeep Patriot, I think it is.

Despite logging 22 CSX trains, I only made and/or saved eight 10 slides of CSX trains from that day, one of which is strikingly similar to the image that accompanies this article.

I had forgotten until I looked up the report of the outing published in the October 2009 Bulletin that Marty, myself and Rick Houck piled into the Nitro and chased the W&LE hopper train, getting it three times.

We speculated that it was a coke train that the Wheeling had picked up in Toledo from Canadian National. At the time, the W&LE was hauling coke that CN forwarded to Detroit.

I also had forgotten that when the outing began that morning a heavy rain was falling and that kept us in town rather than climbing the reservoir on the east side of the CSX tracks.

That also might explain why I have so few images from that day of CSX action.

The Bulletin report said we had lunch at Subway — where else? — and that by afternoon the skies had turned mostly sunny.

The report ended with the proclamation, “Let’s do it again, soon!” But that hasn’t happened and it probably won’t occur again as an ARRC activity.

Yet that won’t stop me from paying a return visit sooner rather than later. There are more memories there waiting to be made.

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.

Atop the Wellington Reservoir on a Winter Day

March 22, 2015
The Lorain Country fairgrounds and the tail of the grain train on the connection track looms behind the motive power of that train in Wellington.

The Lorain Country fairgrounds and the tail of the grain train on the connection track looms behind the motive power of that train in Wellington.

It wasn’t an easy climb to get to the top of the reservoir at Wellington. That’s because I approached it from the north side where there was still plenty of snow.

On the west side much of the snow had melted. Want to guess which side I used to get down?

I’ve always enjoyed the view from the top of the reservoir that if affords of the CSX Greenwich Subdivision tracks. Trains almost look like HO models as they trundle past.

I spent around a hour atop the reservoir on a recent Sunday. It was midday and but the light favored westbound trains. I did get one westbound, but I also saw three eastbounds.

A grain train with CSX motive power was sitting on the connection between CSX and the Wheeling & Lake Erie that loops around the Lorain Country Fairgrounds. There was no crew aboard and who knows when that train would be moved.

On this day, the reservoir was still frozen and I saw at least one guy ice fishing. A couple of men and a boy walked across the ice in the distance, appearing to look for a place to go ice fishing.

I had other locations in mind to visit, so my visit was not long. I’ll be back, I’m sure, in the spring.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

An eastbound manifest freight catches up to the grain train parked on the W&LE connection track.

An eastbound manifest freight catches up to the grain train parked on the W&LE connection track.

There is no harness racing today at the racetrack at the Lorain Country Fairgrounds. August and the fair are still a ways off.

There is no harness racing today at the racetrack at the Lorain Country Fairgrounds. August and the fair are still a ways off.

The only westbound to come past during my visit was this ethanol train with a Norfolk Southern leader. It is the first NS locomotive I've seen on a CSX train at Wellington.

The only westbound to come past during my visit was this ethanol train with a Norfolk Southern leader. It is the first NS locomotive I’ve seen on a CSX train at Wellington.

A closer view of the westbound ethanol train showed that it  had a Canadian National unit lettered for Illinois Central beneath the cab window. But this was never an IC locomotive.

A closer view of the westbound ethanol train showed that it had a Canadian National unit lettered for Illinois Central beneath the cab window. But this was never an IC locomotive.

Winding Line of Covered Hopper Cars in Ohio

March 10, 2015

Winding hopper cars

It is common to see photographs of trains winding around in mountainous areas, particularly in the Western United States.

But such views in Ohio are unusual because most railroad lines here are pretty much straight due to the flat terrain. So I was struck by the sight that I saw atop the reservoir in Wellington on Sunday.

A grain train with CSX motive power was parked on the connecting track between CSX and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. This track loops around the Lorain County Fairgrounds.

The grain train, which did not have a crew on board, was waiting to get onto CSX. In the image above, the view is looking northwestward.

The motive power is just out of sight to the right and the tail end of the train is visible in the distance.

This is the first time I’ve seen a grain train on this connecting track. I wonder if interchanging grain trains with CSX is a recent development for the W&LE.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders