Posts Tagged ‘W&LE Carey Subdivision’

Good Catches While Trolling CSX, W&LE

March 3, 2021

I always remember Marty Surdyk using the fisherman’s term of “trolling” when hoping for a good catch.

On May 23, 2008, I had a good day of trolling during the afternoon before an Akron Railroad Club meeting. Craig Sanders and I caught a few unexpected prizes.

In Grafton as in photos one through three we caught CSX (ex Baltimore & Ohio) on the former Cleveland, Lorain & West Virginia) crossing the Big Four. Conrail units were still around but the surprise was the B&O caboose restored to excellent condition.

I also got a railfan (Craig) in the first photo. Often I did that on purpose to document who was on the scene.

Afterwards we were working our way to Spencer and we had a catch by surprise on the W&LE. Photos four and five show former Nickel Plate coaches 62 and 90 of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society being shipped to Wellington for short excursions on the Lorain & Wheeling.

Finally in photos six and seven on the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown we caught an empty Wheeling & Lake Erie stone hopper train headed back west to Carey.

Photo six was made west of Spencer while photo seven was at New London about to get on CSX (ex Big Four) on trackage rights to Greenwich.

Today I consider those heritage unit catches: Wisconsin Central, and Denver & Rio Grande Western.

I always wonder since we had good catches, did I have fish for dinner?

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Checking Out Trash and Stone Switchers

August 11, 2020

Here are some more photographs from RRE Fostoria day.  I went to Carey and got some interesting images.

Just south of Fostoria is a landfill that receives trash from CSX and has an SW1 and a couple of trackmobiles (top photograph).

There was another switcher on my last visit here but I did not see it this trip.  I don’t know what happened to it.

Carey is the current end of track of the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown line now operated by the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

Stone is the major business here as there are two quarries, including National Lime and Stone, which has several switchers, and Shelly Materials, which has one switcher, either an EMD SW1500 or SW1000.

Interestingly this engine doesn’t have ditch lights but the National Lime and Stone engines do..

Stone is hauled in a variety of open top hopper cars some dating back to the 1950’s while others are much newer and even have solar panels for electric power.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

I Had Forgotten How Good This Day Had Been

May 23, 2020

A three-way meet in Olmsted Falls with an eastbound Norfolk Stack train, a very Lake Shore Limited and a tied down grain train with Canadian Pacific power was one of the highlights of my outing of Aug. 30, 2014.

It can be a quite pleasing feeling when going through old photographs and discovering an image you forgot you had.

I recently discovered not only images I had forgotten having made but a day-long outing that in retrospect must have seemed like one of those days where everything was going right.

And it occurred less than six years ago. So how could I have forgotten it?

I’ll answer that question later but on Aug. 30, 2014, I photographed 18 trains and saw locomotives of every Class 1 railroad except Canadian National.

The day began in Olmsted Falls just after 8 a.m. where I found a grain train sitting in the Berea siding west of Mapleway Drive with a Canadian Pacific leader.

There was no crew on board and the train probably needed a Norfolk Southern unit equipped with a cab signal apparatus.

In case you’ve forgotten, summer 2014 was the year NS implemented a new computer program in its dispatching system that tied the Chicago Line into knots for several weeks.

Mainline tracks between Cleveland and Chicago were blocked with trains whose crews had outlawed.

It was so bad that Amtrak in daylight became a regular occurrence in Northeast Ohio.

Indeed, I twice in one week photographed the eastbound Capitol Limited in mid morning. No. 30 is scheduled to arrive in Cleveland at 1:45 a.m., well before daybreak.

I’ve long since forgotten what plans I had for railfanning on Aug. 30, but I began the day in Olmsted Falls because the eastbound Lake Shore Limited was running more than five hours behind schedule.

Amtrak No. 48 would not reach Olmsted Falls until shortly before 11 a.m. By then NS had sent eight trains through the Falls of which four were westbounds.

An interesting fact I discovered upon reviewing the photos of the 11 Chicago Line trains I photographed that morning is that all but two of them were running on Track 1.

The NS dispatcher sent four trains west on Track 1 between 8:15 a.m. and 9:22 a.m. Three trains went east on the same track through Olmsted Falls between 9:38 a.m. and 10:05 a.m.

It must have been a challenge getting those trains out of each other’s way west of Cleveland.

An eastbound stack train at 10:50 a.m. was the first train to use Track 2 during the time I was there.

Two minutes after it arrived came the eastbound Lake Shore Limited on Track 1.

Running right behind the stacker on Track 2 was an eastbound coal train, which turned out to be the last NS train I saw.

The 10 NS trains I photographed included six stack trains, two tank car trains, a coal train and the grain train that never turned a wheel during my time in the Falls.

After the coal train cleared I headed for Wellington where CSX was equally as busy.

Between 12:15 p.m. and 12:47 p.m. I photographed five trains, two eastbounds and three westbounds.

It was an interesting mix of traffic that included an eastbound manifest freight, an eastbound auto rack train, the westbound trash containers train, the westbound Union Pacific-CSX “salad shooter” reefer train and a westbound grain train.

The reefer train had its customary three UP units, but of particular interest was the Southern Belle of Kansas City Southern leading the trash train.

Sometime after 1:30 p.m. I decided to head for New London. On the drive there, I spotted a Wheeling & Lake Erie train tied down just west of the grade crossing on Ohio Route 162 east of New London on the Carey Subdivision.

The lead unit of the eastbound W&LE train was a former KCS SD40 still wearing its KCS colors but with small W&LE markings.

The trailing unit was painted in Wheeling colors but lettered for the Denver & Rio Grande Western.

I don’t remember hanging out in New London but I presume that I did. Yet I didn’t photograph any trains there, which suggests that CSX might have died for the afternoon.

Whatever the case, I decided at some point to head east and wound up on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad where I photographed the last southbound train of the day arriving in Peninsula.

On the south end of the train was that LTEX leased unit that everyone loved to hate, GP15 No. 1420 in its solid black livery. On the north end was CVSR 1822, an Alco RS18u.

I photographed the train leaving and then headed home, having had quite a day with my camera.

OK, why did this become a “lost” memory given the diversity of what I captured with megapixels.

A number of reasons come to mind. Notice that I saw virtually no trains for most of the afternoon. I tend to evaluate the success of an outing by how it ends more than how it begins.

If the day ends with a flourish I tend to remember it as being successful. It is ends with little I tend to think that it could have been better.

Another factor was that August 2014 was a busy and eventful month for me and that might explain why this outing got lost in a lot of other memories.

Finally, days like the one I had on Aug. 30 used to be fairly common in Northeast Ohio when rail traffic was heavier.

A Kansas City Southern Belle might not have been a common sight in NEO back then — and still isn’t — but UP, BNSF and CP units were.

When you live in a place that has a high level of freight traffic it is easy to get somewhat jaded about it. It will always be there, right?

Yet five years later changes in railroad operating patterns have made outings like this less common.

There are fewer trains even though NS and CSX mainlines through Cleveland still host a lot of trains and can have busy spells. The “salad shooter” is now gone and the nature of and the overall level of rail traffic is not what it was five years ago.

Given my current circumstances how I long for a day today like the one I had on Aug. 30.

If there is a lesson to be drawn from this story it would be to appreciate what you have when you have it and learn to make the best of the opportunities that do present themselves in the here and now. They won’t always be there.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Many of the photographs that I made in Olmsted Falls on this day revolved around the grain train and its CP leader. In the distance a stack train heads west.

BNSF and NS units combined to wheel a westbound container train through Olmsted Falls.

NS units created a BNSF sandwich in the motive power consist of this eastbound tank car train.

A pretty lady leads an ugly train at Wellington. Southern Belles were a prized catch whenever I was trackside anywhere in Northeast Ohio.

The “salad shooter” makes an appearance in Wellington with its customary Union Pacific motive power consist.

Fresh lumber was among the many commodities being toted by this eastbound CSX manifest freight past the reservoir in Wellington.

Although it’s a Wheeling & Lake Erie unit, this SD40 still wore its KCS colors and thus made it a KCS two-fer type of day. It is sitting at the distant signal for Hiles near New London.

CVSR 1822 will be leading when this train comes back through Peninsula more than an hour from now.

Sitting Duck at Edwards Road on the Carey Sub

March 18, 2015

WE Edward Road 1a

The barn at left and the tractor tire tracks in the foreground made this image compelling.


A simple cross buck and snow covered fields are hallmarks of rural Ohio in winter.

A simple cross buck and snow covered fields are hallmarks of rural Ohio in winter.

Looking down the tracks. Was the crew looking back?

Looking down the tracks. Was the crew looking back?

A few low hanging branches of a big old tree help frame the motive power consist, which itself shows some variety.

A few low hanging branches of a big old tree help frame the motive power consist, which itself shows some variety.

Had I not glanced to my right I might have missed it. But I look around a lot while I’m driving and as a result I spotted the covered hopper cars on the nearby Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Carey Subdivision west of Greenwich.

I started looking for the motive power, which was stopped a little west of Edwards Road. So I made a right turn off U.S. Route 224 and drove toward the tracks.

It was a grain train that I presumed was stopped to wait for CSX to give it permission to enter its line at GN Tower in Greenwich.

Because the train was sitting still, I was able to photograph it from multiple angles, including the usual angles of looking down the tracks and shooting from the side at about a 45-degree angle.

Photographing this train was a challenge. Although a cloud cover had moved in, there was just enough sunlight coming from the southwest to create some back lighting.

It was late in the day so the ambient light was diminishing. Add to that a snow cover on the surrounding fields and you don’t have ideal lighting conditions.

Yet in other ways the scene could not have been more ideal. There was more going on here than a stopped train on a single track line that doesn’t see much rail traffic on any given day. There was a story to tell with images.

There was personal interest in the lead unit, No. 6989, an SD40-2 that still wears a BNSF livery even if the lettering of the former owner has been painted over.

I had photographed this locomotive back in January on a very cold morning in Akron. It had been sitting by itself in Brittain Yard in the engine service area. Now, it was sitting in front of me just like it had been on that frigid January day.

That January portrait also had been the result of a fortuitous glance at the right time. Do you think that the 6989 wants me to find it?

I noticed some tracks in the snow heading toward the tracks before making a sharp right turn and running parallel to the railroad tracks. The tire tracks appeared to have been made by a tractor.

Those tire tracks intrigued me. They show winter and give the image some movement. The viewer’s eyes naturally follow the tractor tire tracks toward the railroad tracks and then toward the train.

The tractor tire tracks also lead the viewer toward a weathered barn on the other side of the railroad tracks.

This might have been a nice image even without the barn, but it makes for a left framing object and reinforces the sense of place. The fields, the barn, the stubble of last year’s crops poking through the snow, and the open space work together to show that this is farm country.

It is slumbering now, but soon the snow will gone and it will be time to get back into the fields to plant this year’s crops.

Some of the original images were dark so I had to work them in Photoshop. I’m still not sure that I’m happy with the results, but I got what I wanted, which was to draw out the tractor tire tracks and the clouds of an approaching front.

There is just enough light showing through the clouds to give the sense that it is late day and sunset would come in another hour or less.

I didn’t notice until I began to work with the image that there is another set of tracks in the top image, too. There are footprints that cross the tractor tire tracks and lead somewhat toward the train.

Those footprints add a sense of mystery. Why would someone have been out walking in this field?

It is the type of image that I may never be able to replicate here again because I might not have the same combination of factors that came together to make this image what it is, namely the snow cover, the tire tracks and a sitting train.

I didn’t want to spend much time here. I faced a long drive and I wanted to get home. Had I been willing to spend more time working the scene I might have come up with something even better.

Still, I was quite pleased with what I was able to make. a winter day series that started with a simple glance to my right.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders