Friday, October 27, 2017

A western surprise in Ohio

This is a guest post from my brother Marc who spent some time in Bellevue, Ohio with his family this summer. He was lucky enough to catch a cool meeting of freight trains on one of the Norfolk Southern lines through town. 

Summer family vacation brought us to Cedar Point, in Sandsuky, Ohio. It’s one of the largest amusement parks in the USA, and highly recommended for those that seek thrills. It also allowed my son and I to check out some trains, old and new.

Cedar Point is directly South of Point Pelee, Ontario, on Lake Erie. The park is quite large, and in has a historic railroad to ferry guests around the park. There are five steam powered locomotives that pull open carriages on a two-mile loop. I was surprised to see the fireman shoveling coal in the tender. I would have guessed the locomotives would have been converted to another fuel.

No 22 was our power, saved from work in a coal mine. Built in 1922 by Vulcan Iron Works, this narrow gauge engine made fantastic sounds.

In 50+ years, the line has moved more than 2 million guests, meandering through ponds and under roller coasters.

This wooden caboose is a static display, adding a backdrop for the “Cedar Point and Lake Erie RR” The old caboose with roller coaster as a backdrop makes for a neat contrast.

A standard practice for our family vacations is to check the route home, for anything train-related that may interest my son. Bellevue, Ohio is a small town South of Sandusky, and is home to a massive Norfolk Southern yard. It is billed as the second biggest rail yard in North America and is the railway's largest. I couldn’t catch a good shot of it, hustling down the busy highway. 

Bellevue houses the largest rail museum in Ohio, the Mad River Rail Museum. That visit deserves its own post. While visiting there, we wanted take a break for a picnic lunch. Our friendly museum host recommended a viewing platform a few streets over, along the main Norfolk Southern line. What a treat, I wish more towns had these convenient areas for sitting trackside. We didn’t have to wait long to see some action.

This NS train stopped short of us, waiting for clearance. In the distance, we could hear another train approaching. My son was delighted, as he had never seen a NS engine before. But there were more surprises.

A UP-led freight and a NS freight meeting up may be common for some, but it was all new for my son and me. A neat sight to cap off our trip home.

The UP-led train was a mixed freight with auto racks, hoppers, and many small tank cars that I don’t normally see in SW Ontario.

Belleview is worth a stop if you are in the area. It’s a picturesque small town, reminding me of a historic movie set. The Mad River museum is outstanding, and I look forward to giving a quick tour here in the future.

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