Thursday, February 19, 2009

Night Apparition

I was in Coshocton the other day, working on my computer when I heard the OC blow as it roared through town. Figuring it was the local headed to Newark, I finished what I was doing, and headed out. I needed a lunch break.

The train was out of site when I crossed the tracks a few minutes later, and I feared I would have to chase halfway to Newark to catch up. I figured my only hope was the 10 mph slow order over the Muskingum River bridge just southwest of town.

Not quite. The train was stopped at the end of the siding near Papermill Road. It was halfway in the siding and halfway out, and I figured it would be leaving town any minute. It was pretty dark, but I took a shot anyway, and a long exposure brightened things up considerably.

But instead of roaring off, it backed into the siding and sat. After a few minutes, more than long enough to charge the air for a very short train, I figured that there was going to be a meet. Probably with an NS runthrough coal train.

After a while I heard an air horn, and the engineer flashed his headlights at me. I don't know if he was warning me to back up or just seeing if I was still standing around, or some other reason entirely, but I moved back a bit anyway. I like the shot closer to the rails better, but better safe than sorry.

Eventually I heard a rumble as the train crossed the Muskingum River, and then the sound of power notching up as it cleared the span. Then I could see the flashers down the road, and then the train was upon me.

Having great trust in my gear, I let it do it's thing. I should I just bulbed it, as the exposure is a little bit washed out. But still ok, I guess. Beat arriving early for a basketball game.

The real interesting part of the picture was after the power had passed, and the waiting train illuminated the exhaust and coal smoke. I know there were better ways to work it, but the resulting image is still interesting, in a completely abstract way.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Midnight Ice

I only had one opportunity to get trackside after the ice storm last week, and it was a lucky break after dark. The 7064 leads empty hoppers through a tunnel of trees rimmed by ice.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

First of the Year

I am kind of a lazy blogger, and a lazier railfan. But during Wednesday's snow storm I couldn't help but chase the northbound GLT to a spot north of town to get a snow shot. It is my first train of the year. You can't have too many show shots, after all.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Evening Apparition

I was out for a walk with the family when I heard a steam whistle. Thinking it was perhaps the steel mill, I at first ignored it, until I heard it again. And checked the time. 10 minutes before the 7 pm whistle, if there even is one. After getting permission, I headed down to the tracks to see the 1293 one last time.

It may not be the last time, but if feels like it. The OC was recently sold to the G&W. And while realistically, it is not really going to affect the local railfan populace one bit, I still felt a little melancholy watching the 1293 back past the NZT, which was pulling up beside it to make its evening pickup.

The Ohio Central I knew was one that would pull out a steam engine for the fun of it, where new power would show up with no notice, and Alcos ruled the ballast trains. I don't know much about the G&W, but I doubt it is as much fun, for railfans at least. Plus, it was kind of neat knowing that the local railroad was headquartered 30 miles up the road.

I have heard things about what it was like to work for the Ohio Central. And honestly, I don't really care. We all have jobs, and we all do them, for better or for worse, until something better comes along. If I worked for them, I would probably feel different, but to me, the OC will always be yellow and maroon engines creeping through the woods, and an evening steam surprise.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I shot the 1293's ferry move from Morgan Run to the Byesville Scenic on Thursday morning.

Check out the web gallery here.

Did a history blog post here.

Somewhere on the site is an audio recording of the 1293 trundling through the woods here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The End is Near

Had to go to Coshocton today, and as I was heading to my assignment, something caught my eye on the old Nickle Plate through town. It looked like a C30-7 in UP paint, which, upon inspection a few hours later after my work was done, it turned out to be. Or what is left of it. The pug-nosed brute is near the end now, parted out and slowly disappearing. Next to it was former Conrail slug 1002, a pair of steam generator cars and some rusty coaches. All are most likely going to be gone by the time the impending sale of the OC is completed in about 2 weeks. I guess the ownership is trying to squeeze a few more dimes out of the property.

Sadder to me was the demise of an ancient boxcar near by. There are fewer and fewer steam/transition era cars out there, and it would have looked nice restored running behind a steam engine.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

All the Way to the Bank

The Genesee and Wyoming is going to buy the Ohio Central system for $219.0 million in cash, barring the current managment screwing the pooch too badly. It was all over the local railfan world for a few days before an official release hit the web, late on a Sunday. The paper in New Philadelphia had it that Monday, the Coshocton and Zanesville papers followed suit on Tuesday. Front page news, too.

Apart from the obvious railfan interests, the real fun will be following a few story lines. The pending, on again, off again long term lease of the Panhandle line. The state owns it, and currently OC has a five year lease, give or take. Some political types in Licking County, through which part of the state owned line traverses, have this idea that the Panhandle should be open to all comers. Because clearly all the class ones are just itching to get hold of line that starts in Columbus and ends in east bumhump, doesn't have clearance for stacks (or racks, for that matter, most likely) and has long stretches of single track.

There is also a lot of coal out toward Cambridge, which some day may start leaving the area in unit trains. Not to mention the Buckingham Coal Co mine in Perry County. I don't know how long the OC contract is, but coal prices are up, so who knows where they could sell it.

People started talking about the steam program right off the bat. It will be interesting to see what happens to that. And sooner or later, the paint will change, and the orange will start to spread. Logic would say that it would spread to the ratty former UP and CR engines running around, if they stay on the roster. Most of OC's power was repainted in the last few years, and it would be throwing money away to repaint it when it doesn't need to be. But then again... logic.

All in all, does it matter? I don't ship, I am not employed by the railroad. Trains will still be running (usually in crappy light). It affects me not in the least. But in a way, it is kind of sad that the local railroad, headquarted about 30 miles away, will now just be another part of a larger, although disparate, system.

The photo: A northbound Glouster Turn leaves Zanesville along the Muskingum River. (A shot facing the other direction was in the Trains magazine article about the OC, labeled as being in "North Zanesville." I have never heard of North Zanesville. Northern Zanesville maybe. Anyway.) I shot it on February 21, 2002. I had been in town for a little less than a month. 3255 is gone, off the roster, sold to MBTA, I think. The 5855 has been renumbered into the 402x series, and even the coal gons are different. The Thrall rotary dumps aren't used as much more coal, some 4000cf Ortners taking their place. So in short, much has changed, but at the same time, nothing really has.