Above: The Norfolk Southern Reading Hertiage unit passes through the Altoona Train Station heading east on a general freight train. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Back to the Fostoria...2015
MPRR Club Trip Archive

Back to the Fostoria...2015 Photo Gallery

Above: Stepping back in time, not one - but two cabooses were seen switching with the local in Fostoria, OH. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Below: The Southern Hertiage unit was spotted heading east over Rockville Bridge in Marysville, PA. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Above: A NS freight heads south through Marion, OH. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Below: Group photo at the new railfan platform in Fostoria, OH. Photo Credit: Jim Spavins

Article By: Jim Spavins

Great scott! After a year off to take our HO layout to the National Train Show in Cleveland, OH, the club was back on track for its annual railfan trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania. Once again, the trip featured plenty of rail traffic as well as several blasts from the past.

Day 1 of the trip included our typical day long trek from Connecticut out to Fostoria, OH. We made a slight deviation off the route for dinner in Berea, OH, at the Berea Union Station to celebrate our one year anniversary of winning first place modular group at the 2014 National Train Show. Naturally, while we were having dinner, all the trains went by and when we went outside to the rail park, nothing was moving. However, this would not be a sign of things to come. We packed up, braved a downpour, and made it to Fostoria at a reasonable hour.

The second day of the trip brought us over to the new railfan park in Fostoria, OH. For a number of us, it was our first trip since its construction and we were pleasantly surprised. The location was a bit of a change from our usual spot over by the train station but we had a better vantage point for all three lines through the Iron Triangle. Traffic was moving well – especially on the Norfolk Southern line. Around mid-day, we took a ride out to Deshler for lunch and to see what was new. The timing was great as all of the trains on the CSX line which hadn’t rolled through Fostoria, were waiting for us to arrive in Deshler. The group didn’t seem to mind that our lunch was constantly interrupted. By late afternoon, the crew decided to head back to Fostoria where we watched trains roll for the rest of the day.

Day 3 began at the rail park in Fostoria where immediately upon arrival we saw the local switching with not one – but two cabooses! After a quick check to see if someone had installed a flux capacitor and plugged in a different year, a stack train whizzed by on the same line to ensure us yes – it was still 2015. Traffic was a bit slow for the rest of the morning but picked up just before we headed south to Marion, OH, for lunch. Once again, the railroads seemed to oblige by stopping traffic as we had lunch at The Shovel – a local bar which sits adjacent to Marion Union Station. Just as we finished and exited to the parking lot, a distant horn could be heard. We rushed for our cameras and took position. Over the next hour, the traffic didn’t stop. For those of us on the trip, we agreed that it was the busiest we had ever seen this location. As it was getting later in the day, we decided to leave as we still had a six hour drive to Altoona, PA, ahead of us.

The heart of the Pennsylvania Railroad territory served as our host for the fourth day of our trip. We started at the Altoona train station where we were greeted by Norfolk Southern’s Reading Heritage Unit. After a few more trains at the station and a quick run through the Altoona Railroaders Museum, we spent the rest of the day hitting the local spots like Horseshoe Curve, Cresson, and Cassandra. Traffic was busy all day long with the only a brief slowdown in the mid-afternoon as the railroad waited for Amtrak to clear.

A bit of rain started our morning on day five, but we still went down to the Altoona station again to see what was moving on the line. We had word that the Pennsylvania Railroad Heritage Unit was going to pass through but we found out that we had just missed it. However, we discovered that the Southern unit was headed east towards us. Looking at the weather, we decided the best bet would be to head east to Lewistown to see it go by. As we rode to Lewistown, the temperature gauge on the car began to rise and when we got out of the nice air conditioned vehicles, the heat and humidity almost knocked us over. However, we all wanted to see the Southern unit so we did our best to stay out of the sun until the train arrived. After about an hour and half of waiting, we were greeted to the sight of the green and white Southern locomotive gliding through town. The group quickly packed up and decided to chase the train to see it once again at Rockville Bridge. Fortunately, we made it to the bridge just in time to see the locomotive as it crossed the Susquehanna. At this point, we were all a bit tired and the bugs were out in force, so we called it an early day.

The final day of the trip was a scorcher. We took a drive around to our favorite spots like Rockville Bridge, Enola Yard, the Reading Bridge, and Cove, PA. However, the heat was too much. We decided to grab some lunch then hit the road. All in all, it was great trip again. Rumor has it that we might be making plans to go again next year…

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