Archive for 2012

VIA Rail Swapping F40s for P42s on Ocean Trains…

Monday, July 30th, 2012

MONTREAL, QC – July 30, 2012 – As part of VIA Rails’ overall strategic and financial viability planning, a shift in motive power assignment is also planned at several locations, one being the Atlantic Canada Ocean train.

During the next month, VIA Rail will begin pulling the regularly assigned pool of F40PH locomotives from the Ocean Service and begin substituting pairs of GE P42-9DCs in the 900-920 block.  The units will reportedly be leading the VIA Rail trains 14 and 15 exclusively this fall and winter, where VIA feels they are better suited for fuel and operational economy.

The units were allowed a top speed of 110 mph on the Montreal-Toronto corridor, while they will be topping out near 80 mph on the Ocean runs.

No solid date has been indicated in the changeover, but crews are undergoing training on the GEs and are expected to have the units fully implemented by September 1.

Conway Scenic Prepares for Pair of GP9s Arrival…

Monday, July 30th, 2012

NORTH CONWAY, NH – July 30, 2012 - Conway Scenic Railroad (CSR) will soon be taking delivery of a pair of GP9s, one to be used by the Conway Scenic and the other owned by the 470 Railroad Club.

CSR traded the Finger Lakes Railway of Geneva, New York, the CSRX B23-7 1943 and U23B 2820 for GP9 1751 late last year.  The unit was shipped to Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway’s Derby Shops, where it was evaluated and repairs undertaken to overhaul the unit and make it reliably operable.

The CSRX 1751, was built in September of 1956 as Chesapeake & Ohio 6128, before eventually being transferred to the B&O as 6677 and on to the Buffalo & Pittsburgh as their 207.  Finger Lakes Railway acquired the unit from the B&P and numbered it to 1751, which it will retain for the time being on the Conway Scenic.  The unit is planned to enter service when it arrives on the CSR.

It received a rebuilt generator, requalified traction motors, air components and other minor work by the MMA Derby Shops.  Conway Scenic has not decided on any paint scheme for the locomotive, with plans to have it delivered and operable in the New York Central-inspired livery it had applied by the Finger Lakes.  A decision on paint will be made by early next year and any painting undertaken then.

A second GP9, former New Hampshire Northcoast 1757, is owned by the 470 Railroad Club from Portland, Maine, and has had some mechanical work undertaken by the NHN shops in Ossipee, NH.

NHN 1757 was built as Pennsylvania Railroad GP9 7083 in November of 1956, later becoming Conrail 7083 and eventually being sold to the New Hampshire Northcoast.  The unit was acquired with the intent of donating the mechanical components and frame to the 470 Railroad Club-owned F7A 4268, which is being restored in Conway, NH.

It is expected that the GP9 will remain operational (if traction motors are installed) for a short period of time before the unit is sacrificed for the 4268 restoration and may be used as needed by the Conway Scenic.   The 4268 is an ex-Boston and Maine unit, exx-EMD Demonstration unit 930 and has been on display near the freight house in North Conway. The engine is currently undergoing a cosmetic restoration by the 470 Railroad Club, with the intent of returning it to full service.  The unit is essentially a shell that will receive the innards of the 1757 to complete that mission.

The 470 Railroad Club has advised that once the swap is complete, the GP9 body will be scrapped.  The transfer is expected to take place in the next 3-5 years.

Conway Scenic is arranging the delivery of both units to North Conway and it is possible that they will be delivered together in the coming weeks.  Units will be delivered to Hazens, NH.

Pan Am 2nd Bucksport, ME Derailment in Two Months…

Monday, July 30th, 2012

BUCKSPORT, ME - July 30, 2012 – For the second time in as many months, a Pan Am Railways derailment is disrupting service on the railroad’s Bucksport Branch.

Sunday shortly after noon, the Pan Am Railways train BKWA-29 was departing the Verson Paper Mill when it derailed as it crossed State Route 15 at grade.  The derailment dumped several boxcars loaded with paper from Verso, but no injuries or hazardous materials were spilled in the derailment.  The derailment has blocked SR 15 between the Verso Mill and Town Farm Road in Bucksport.

Pan Am crews are on scene repairing the tracks and the wreck train from Waterville was expected to arrive at the site early this morning.  It is unclear at this time when the railroad branch or the highway will be back open to traffic, but estimates place that as later today.

Amtrak Geometry Train Checking NECR, Knowledge Corridor…

Monday, July 30th, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, MA – July 30, 2012 – Amtrak will be conducting a baseline geometry car test of the Pan Am (potentially soon to become MassDOT/MBTA-owned) trackage between Springfield, MA and East Northfield, MA and on the nearly complete ARRA HSR Project rails of the New England Central Railroad (NECR).

The train is scheduled to operate with a single P40/42 locomotive, a single Amfleet coach and the #10002 Geometry Car (with pantograph end trailing).  Departure is planned for 07:10 ET from New Haven, CT as Amtrak special train 830-30.  The 830-30 will meet the Amtrak trains 141 and 495 enroute to Springfield while operating non-stop.  At Springfield, a Pan Am crew pilot will board the train for the trip north from Springfield, MA to East Northfield, MA.

At East Northfield, MA, the 830-30 will meet or arrive after the southbound Amtrak Vermonter train 55-30, and drop the Pan Am pilot, before continuing north with a NECR-qualified Amtrak crew for the remainder of the trip to St. Albans, VT.

Amtrak Track Geometry Train
Symbol: 830-30
New Haven, CT to St. Albans, VT
July 30, 2012

DP New Haven, CT 07:10 ET 7/30
AR Springfield, MA 08:33 ET 7/30
DP Springfield, MA 08:48 ET 7/30
AR E. Northfield, MA 14:18 ET 7/30
DP E. Northfield, MA 14:20 ET 7/30
AR St. Albans, VT 18:15 ET 7/30

On Tuesday, July 31, the train will depart St. Albans, VT at 09:00 ET, one-half-hour after the southbound Amtrak Vermonter train 55 departs.  Operating as train 833-31, the train will test south on the NECR to Essex Junction, VT, then take the NECR Burlington Subdivision to Burlington, for connection to the Vermont Railway.  Amtrak 833-31 will receive a Vermont Railway pilot at Burlington and operate via the Vermont Railway trackage from Burlington to Rutland, with the train terminating there on Tuesday afternoon.

Amtrak Track Geometry Train
Symbol: 833-31
St. Albans, VT to Rutland, VT
July 31, 2012

DP St. ALbans, VT 09:00 ET 7/31
PS Essex Jct., VT 09:30 ET 7/31
AR Burlington, VT  10:15 ET  7/31
 DP  Burlington, VT  10:40 ET  7/31
 AR  Rutland, VT  15:00 ET  7/31

The geometry train will be added to the 290-01 Ethan Allen consist on Wednesday, August 1, and taken to New York Penn Station, for forwarding on to Washington, D.C.

Original plans had called for the Beach Grove business car to accompany the train, as well as President and CEO, Joe Boardman and Chief Operating Officer Brian Gallagher.  As of Friday evening, the Beach Grove was no longer part of the consist and Mr. Boardman is no longer slated to be on board the train.

SNC Tahawus Line Could Host First Runs This Fall…

Friday, July 27th, 2012

NORTH CREEK, NY – July 27, 2012 – Another hurdle has been cleared in the restoration of freight service on the Saratoga & North Creek Railway’s north end reopening to the Tahawus Mine site. 

 A federal historic preservation agency has cleared the SNC’s proposal to haul freight between North Creek and Newcomb, NY.  Two environmental groups, the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Atlantic States Legal Foundation, last month challenged the federal Surface Transportation Board’s ruling approving the reopening of the Tahawus Line, arguing that the line runs through 13 miles of state Forest Preserve and the 3 million acres of protected woodlands in the Adirondacks are a federally recognized historic site.

The protest from the environmentalists caught the attention of the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which scrutinized the Transportation Board’s approval.

Advisory Council Assistant Director Charlene Vaughn, in a letter filed this month with the Transportation Board, agreed with the board’s contention that the railway’s proposal doesn’t fall under federally mandated preservation regulations.  “Your letter provided us with the information needed to understand the actions taken by the Surface Transportation Board,” Vaughn wrote. “… No further compliance is required.”

The pending reopening of the Tahawus Line has become contentious over the last year, as some environmental groups believe the tracks should be removed and the land returned to the Forest Preserve.

Area local, state and federal officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, have backed the proposal, citing job creation and reduced truck traffic.

The appeal on historic grounds is seen by many local officials as the last ditch effort to stall the rail line’s reopening.

Trains could be running freight this fall between North River and North Creek, company officials have said.

NKP 765 Making Altoona, Horseshoe Curve Stops…

Friday, July 27th, 2012

FORT WAYNE, IN – July 27, 2012 – While this weekend’s trips are operating out of Toledo on an updated schedule with departures from Homestead Yard to Maumee at 11:00 and 14:00 ET, some additional details about upcoming trips have emerged.  NKP #765 as has been reported by ERN since the announcement of the trips, has been outfitted with Pennsylvania Railroad-style cab signal equipment allowing it to lead on all portions of the trip between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

According to Kelly Lynch, PR spokesman for the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, on its Pennsylvania deadhead trip to Harrisburg, a stop is planned for water in Altoona, PA, on August 13, while a special photo stop and pass are planned for Horseshoe Curve on the return trip to Pittsburgh on August 20. 

The remainder of the NKP #765 schedule is as follows:

July 28 – Homestead Yard – Maumee (2 trips)
July 29 – Homestead Yard – Maumee (2 trips)

July 30 – Toledo – Portsmouth, Ohio (deadhead)
July 31 – Portsmouth, Ohio – Williamson, West Virginia (deadhead)

August 4th – Williamson, WV – Ought One (am) Naugatuck (pm) (3 trips)
August 5th – Williamson, WV – Ought One (am) Naugatuck (pm) (2 trips)

August 6th – Williamson – Columbus, Ohio (deadhead)
August 7th – Columbus, OH – Pittsburgh, PA (deadhead)

August 11th – Conway Yard – OC Bridge (2 trips)
August 12th – Conway Bridge – Homewood Junction (2 trips)

August 13th – Conway – Harrisburg (deadhead)

August 18th – Enola – CP Capitol (3 trips)
August 19th – Enola – CP Capitol (2 trips)

August 20th – Harrisburg, PA – Pittsburgh (deadhead)
August 21st – Pittsburgh, PA – Bellevue, OH (deadhead)
August 22nd – Bellevue – Fort Wayne, IN (deadhead)

September 6th – Fort Wayne, IN – Decatur, IL (deadhead)
September 7th – Decatur, IL – St. Louis (deadhead)

September 8th – Berkley, MO – St. Peters, MO (2 trips)
September 9th – Berkley, MO – St. Peters, MO (2 trips)

September 10th – St. Louis – Decatur, IL (deadhead)
September 11th – Decatur, Fort Wayne (deadhead)

September 29th, 30th – Open House, New Haven, IN

North Shore Acquires Former NS SW1500s…

Friday, July 27th, 2012

The NSHR 1944 is seen ready to be shipped to the North Shore Railroad sans lettering and road number. The unit was painted at Altoona, PA by NS and is enroute for assignment out of Northumberland on the NSHR. Photo by Andy Charlesworth

NORTHUMBERLAND, PA – July 27, 2012 – The North Shore Railroad has acquired another trio of locomotives that were formerly rostered by Norfolk Southern.

A trio of former NS SW1500s have been purchased for use on the North Shore Railroad line between Northumberland and Beach Haven, Pennsylvania.  The trio has been numbered NSHR 1942, 1944 and 1946.  The NSHR 1942 is the former NS 2209 (ex-Conrail 9523, nee-PC 9523); NSHR 1944 is the former NS 2211 (ex-Conrail 9527, nee-PC 9527); and the NSHR 1946 is the former NS 2336 (ex-Southern 2336).

The North Shore Railroad Company, established August 1, 1984, is a forty-three mile railroad line serving Northumberland, Danville, Bloomsburg, and Berwick, Pennsylvania. The North Shore parallels the North Branch of the Susquehanna River and the old North Branch Canal. The North Shore line was orignally built by Lackawanna & Bloomsburg RR, incorporated 1852 to serve the coal mines and iron industry between Scranton and Northumberland. The L&B became part of the Delaware Lackawanna & Western RR in 1873. DL&W became Erie became Erie Lackawanna in 1960 and then Conrail in 1976. Conrail abandoned the middle portion of the line between Hicks Ferry and Kinston, and then sold the western segment to the SEDA-CoG Joint Rail Authority in 1984. The Rail Authority then contractd with the North Shore Railroad Company to operate it.

NS Police Trespassing Blitz Taken to Springfield, IL…

Friday, July 27th, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, IL – July 27, 2012 – Norfolk Southern Police conducted a safety blitz and issued seven trespassing tickets on Thursday as part of a two-day education and enforcement campaign in Springfield, IL. 

Ten officers from the Norfolk Southern railroad police and the Springfield Police Department patrolled five miles of rail line between North Grand Avenue and Springfield’s far south side to call attention to the dangers of trespassing on railroad property, Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman said.

“It’s something that we do six times a year throughout our system,” Chapman said.

The railway chooses locations where trespassing has been a problem and resulted in injuries or deaths, he said.  There were 79 trespassing incidents reported in Springfield last year, resulting in one injury and one death, according to the railway. There already have been three deaths this year, Chapman said.

Trespassing on railroad property is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $150 to $500.

Officers visited 600 homes and businesses along the railroad Wednesday to spread the word about the campaign.

In addition to the citations, officers gave five warnings Wednesday and two on Thursday.

“Hopefully, more people will be aware of what trespassing on railroad property is,” Chapman said.

Pedestrians should not walk on or alongside railroad tracks and should cross only at designated locations, he said.

Springfield Deputy Police Chief Cliff Buscher said the department “absolutely” would like to work with the railroad police on a future enforcement event.

The department contributed two officers to the patrol, Buscher said.

The Illinois Department of Transportation has recommended consolidating freight- and passenger-train traffic along the corridor that was patrolled Thursday as part of a long-term plan for a high-speed passenger line from Chicago to St. Louis.

CN Ex-Oakway SD60 Paint/Service Update…

Friday, July 27th, 2012

CENTRALIA, IL – July 27, 2012 – The fleet of Canadian National Railway’s recently acquired ex-Oakway SD60s is getting paint at a steady pace, while some of the units are laid up out of service at various locations.  ERN Contributor Joe Ferguson compiled the following listing on the status of the CN SD60s as of last night:

Painted and in service:

5407  (arrived Fulton, KY 7/26 8:05 p.m.)
5420  (departed Memphis 7/26 8:38 p.m.)
5431  (departed Truro, NS 7/26 10:42 p.m.)
5432  (arrived Hattiesburg, MS 7/26 8:55 p.m.)
5433  (arrived Stonelake, WI 7/26 4:30 p.m.)
5440  (arrived Galatia, IL 7/26 12:01 p.m.)

Painted but still being shopped in Centralia roundhouse:


Patched and in service:

5403  (departed Cairo, IL 7/26 10:10 p.m.)
5409  (interchange to BNSF at Cicero on 7/21)
5417  (delivered to TRRA 7/26 12:10 a.m. – could be going to Quality Rail)
5427  (departed Hawthorne, WI 7/26 9:33 a.m.)
5436  (arrived Waterloo, IA 7/26 9:47 a.m.)

Patched and out of service:

5410 (Memphis)
5411 (Centralia, in roundhouse prep for paint)
5412 (Centralia)
5413 (Centralia)
5421 (Memphis)
5424 (Centralia)
5425 (Toronto)
5429 (Centralia)

CSXT Teams with GETS to Produce Juice Train Documentary…

Friday, July 27th, 2012

BRADENTON, FL – July 27, 2012 – General Electric Transportation Systems in cooperation with CSX Transportation, is filming its latest rail documentary using the northbound Tropicana Juice Train run on July 27 and 28.

The train will have cameras mounted on the locomotive filming the entire trip from Bradenton, Florida to Jersey City, New Jersey and GETS/CSXT are asking for fan participation in this event.  Two gathering locations have been set up by GETS/CSXT to ‘cheer on’ the GEVO locomotives as they head north on their normal route.

Gathering location number 1 is at 10:00 ET today, Friday, July 27, at Rossi Park in Bradenton, FL, located behind 502 3rd Ave West and the second location is at 10:15 ET on Saturday, July 28, at 101 Hammond Street, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  The times for both gathering locations are approximately 30 minutes early to allow for an appropriate safety briefing. 

Photos and Instagram pictures can be shared @ #Juicetrain or on the GE/CSXT social media sites.