Monday, December 6, 2010

Railfanning 12-2-10

Hi, I went up to the Baltimore area with friend Dale Jacobson on Thursday, 12/2. We met at the MARC station along the Camden Line in St. Dennis. I arrived before dale to find Q411 sitting on the Old Main Line waiting for the dispatcher to route the train onto the Capital Subdivision and on to Curtis Bay Yard.

While Q411 waited Dale arrived and Q373 came south,

and a MARC train went north.

After this flurry of activity we relocated to Bush Street just south of downtown Baltimore. In quick succession we photographed Q409,


and Y139. This was a light engine move with 3 SD-60s. Note the unusual signal head in the center.

When the action at Bush Street quieted down we headed for the Canton Railroad's Penn Mary Yard. This is a former CSX facility. The switcher is a former CP unit.

Our next stop was the Sparrows Point Steel Mill now owned by Severstal, a Russian firm. I had heard it was shut down and wanted to see for myself. We found only one engine running, shown below, and it was just sitting and idling. There was no other activity. We talked to an employee a few minutes later and he confirmed the mill was shut down with a scheduled restart in April.

After lunch we stopped by Penn Mary Yard again where we photographed this CSX yard job bringing in a cut of intermodal cars.

Our final stop was at Bailey Wye. This forms connections to Riverside Yard, where MARC has a storage and maintenance facility, Camden Station and the Howard Street Tunnel and points north (RR east), and the lines south to Washington, DC and west to Cumberland, MD. Dale knew there would be a MARC train departing for Washington about 3:30 PM. While we waited we photographed some of the MTA light rail vehicles.

A few minutes after 3 the equipment for the 3:30 departure came out of Riverside Yard, around the east leg of the Wye, and headed for Camden Station. This was the same equipment we had seen that morning at St. Dennis.

Right on time the train pushed through the west leg of the Wye on its way to Washington, DC.

A few minutes later it was followed by an empty coal train.

At this point the clouds had rolled in and the light was failing, so we quit and headed back to St. Dennis. I very much enjoyed the day and hope you enjoy the photos.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Railfanning 11-2-2010

Hi, Friend Stan Short and I went out on Tuesday to take some photos along the former RF&P. While it was supposed to be a sunny day it did not clear up until the middle of the morning.

We headed for Fredericksburg, VA and after a little exploration, and missing a couple of trains in the clouds we arrived at the Rappahannock River bridge. The first train at this location was U747, a loaded coal train headed south. About 11:00 the nortbound Juice Train, Q740, came north in the sun.

Now it was time to look for a new location. Our first attempt was Dahlgren Junction. It is now inaccessible. There is a highway overpass on top of the junction and a completely fenced Highway Department facility just north of the overpass. From here we headed for Brooke. We checked out the bridge over the tracks about 1/2 mile north of the station and found a new overpass was being constructed just to the north of the old one. This ruins the southbound shot here until the new bridge is completed. The light for northbound shot is very rakish.

Therefore, we decided to go into the town itself. We heard a northbound on the radio so we checked out the grade crossing south of the station and found the tracks still in shadow for a northbound. Next we headed for the station but could not find a parking spot we thought would let us get into position for a photo in time for the train. So we settled for a spot just north of the station and got another loaded coal train, T104, this time northbound.

After lunch we checked out Acquia but the the sun was still on the downstream side of the bridge at about 1:30 PM so we left. Note that there has been a great deal of development here. A new house has been put up next to the old store and part of the parking lot has been taken up by a large boat house. It must be 3 stories high. Neither of these structures affects the photography but they indicate possible difficulty in gaining access.

Next up was Arkendale where we shot VRE #301,

followed almost immediately by Q741, the southbound Juice Train,

and then Amtrak #92, the northbound Silver Star.

It began to look like the clouds might be forming again so we quit for the day. I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Railfan Trip to New York State and Pennsylvania - 6

Hi, We planned to spend our final day photographing the Delaware Lackawanna Railroad. The day before Dale called the railroad in Scranton and we learned they would run a turn to Portland with the crew called at 11:00 AM. Sunny weather was forecast and we had the makings of a great day. It was not to be.

When we got down to the Steamtown site at about 8:30 the sun was out but there were puffy clouds. Steamtown's Reading RS-3 sat in their yard and a power set consisting of an Alco C-636, 2 C-425s, and a C-630 sat across from Tower 60, the operational hub of the Delaware Lackawanna. We assumed this would be the Portland turn's power. Following some roster shots Dale went to talk to the dispatcher, who he had met during the NRHS Convention in Scranton in June.

From the dispatcher we learned that the crew on duty at 11:00 AM would first taxi to Carbondale to switch a customer and that the work would be done within the customer's fence. The estimated departure time for Portland was now about 1:00 PM. However, there would be a Steamtown town excursion to Tobeyhanna, PA with the ex Reading FP7s pulling the return trip. The FP7s would depart at 10:00 PM and the excursion train at 11:00 PM. As we had some time to kill Dale went into the Electric City Trolley Museum to by some cards and I took a few shots of the equipment sitting outside.

We then headed for Moscow, PA to get the F units. By now the cloud cover had thickened.

We then went to Tobeyhanna for shots of the F units arriving. Roster shots were easy as we had plenty of time to wait for the clouds to clear the sun.

The steam train was photographed at Gouldsboro, PA and then

Arriving in Tobeyhanna. We had plenty of time as the steam train spent an hour at Gouldsboro.

After lunch we returned to Moscow to await the steam engine running light back to Scranton,

the Portland Turn, shown here taking the siding, and

the Fs and the excursion train.

By the time the trains converged on Moscow it was mostly cloudy. It was 3:30 PM before the excursion train arrived and the Portland turn could continue. By this time everything was socked in and we decided it was better to get an early start for home.

We really enjoyed the trip and hope you enjoyed the photos.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Railfan Trip to New York State and Pennsylvania - 5

Hi, Friday, 10/22 was allotted to a new shortline; the Lehigh Railway. This line operates over the former Lehigh Valley mainline from Mehoopany, PA to Sayre, PA. The main attraction was their fleet of 5 U23Bs. Like the Wellsboro and Corning they have experienced a huge surge in traffic due to drilling into the Marcellus Shale formation.

From a call to the railroad the Friday before we left I learned that they operated 2 to 3 crews per day Monday - Friday and one crew on the Saturday and Sunday.

We started our search in Sayre and followed the line south. When we reached Wysox, PA we started to hear talking on the radio as they switched cars. As we headed further south the signal got stronger. When we reached the south side of Wyalusing we found a U23B and an EMD switcher sorting out sand and lime hoppers while a contractor removed spilled lime from the track and dumped it into a front end loader bucket.

We learned the crew would be switching for awhile and then would head to Sayre with just the 2302 running long hood forward so we decided to check out the rest of the line see what we could find. At Mehoopany two more U23Bs were parked next to a no parking sign at the north end of the Proctor and Gamble paper mill. We shot some frames and then headed back north.

As 2302 had already left Wyalusing when we got back there we continued on to Sayre where we bought lunch and ate it while sitting by the tracks. After awhile the 2302 showed up running light and proceeded to block its train of some 40 cars.

After about an 1:15 of switching 2302 headed south, shown here leaving Sayre, and the chase was on.

Photos were obtained at Milan passing the old depot and a former LV caboose (it really was),

just south of Milan,

Ulster, and

just south of Ulster.

The crew ended their day at Towanda, PA at about 4:00 PM. A second crew which went on duty at 4:00 PM would work Mehoopany and then head for Towanda where they would pick up the 2302 and return south. We headed for Scranton and our motel.

Just south of Laceyville we encountered the 4:00 PM crew headed north. We turned back to Laceyville for one last shot.

We were happy with our day and I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Railfan Trip to New York State and Pennsylvania - 42

Hi, Our next stop was the Wellsboro and Corning. This once sleepy shortline has seen an explosion in traffic due to drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation in north central Pennsylvania. Sand is used to fracture the shale thereby freeing the natural gas, and the sand arrives by rail.

As a result of this new traffic the railroad needed more powerful locomotives and late last winter they obtained 4 SD40-2s from the Quebec North Shore & Labrador. They have been very carefully and tastefully re-lettered. The rail line usually runs a turn to Gang Mills, NY on Mondays and Thursday. Our first stop was Wellsboro, PA where we found 2 of the units making up their train of empties for the NS interchange in Gang Mills.

We then moved north setting up at a grade crossing at Niles Valley.

Our next stop was a grade crossing at Holliday, PA. It was here that we unexpectedly met up with two old friends of mine, John "Cass" King (who loves the Cass Scenic RR) and Bob Markle. It was definitely the high point of the day as I had not seen either of them in quite awhile.

A few miles north of Holiday the line runs along the shore of Hammond Lake.

We continued north and finally got some sun a few miles south of Lawrenceville, NY, still in Pennsylvania. The location is called Beemans on the railroad.

The sun held out as the train passed a farm along River Rd. (County Rd. 120) near Lindley, NY.

However, a few miles further a cloud blocked the sun.

From here to Gang Mills the track is inaccessible. While the crew was dropping its train and making its pickup we got some sandwiches to go and were back at the yard as it departed with loads of sand. By now the clouds had socked in again. We got our only elevated shot near Erwins, NY.

We continued south to get another angle at the farm along River Road.

Beemans, in Pennsylvania south of the border with New York offered another nice location.

By the time the train got south of Hammond Lake there were breaks in the clouds. Here the train is just north of Holliday.

We were able to beat it to Holliday for still another shot.

Our final shot came at a feed mill at Niles Valley.

We followed the train the mile or 2 south to its terminus at Wellsboro but the clouds returned and we did not see anything else worth photographing. We said good by to John and Bob, and headed for our motel in Elmira, NY.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.