Above: Bill Badgett takes photos of freight passing by the Fostoria train station on the NS line. Photo Credit: Stu Dom

Fostoria and Beyond - Club Trip 2005
MPRR Club Trip Archive

Fostoria and Beyond - Club Trip 2005 Photo Gallery

Above: A set of BNSF loco's leads a freight on the CSX line eastbound through Fostoria. Photo Credit: Stu Dom

Below: A NS freight drifts downgrade around Horseshoe Curve. Photo Credit: Stu Dom

Above: A stack train heads east over Rockville Bridge. Photo Credit: Stu Dom

Below: Group Photo at the Fostoira Train Station at the Iron Triangle. Photo Credit: Stu Dom

Article By: Dan Delany

Fostoria, OH-Our annual M&P railfan pilgrimage began on schedule Wednesday morning with a 7:30 departure from Bob MacGregor’s house. The plan for day one was to drive clear out to Fostoria Ohio. The only traffic encountered on the first day of the trip was on I-84 in good old CT (Go Figure). As the caravan neared the Ohio border, our restless railfans could no longer stand to be confined to our vans, and a quick night time detour was taken to the Norfolk Southern hump yard at Bellevue, Ohio. After checking the scene at Bellevue, it was only another hour or so to our destination, the railfan mecca of Fostoria.

Once at our hotel, we were greeted by Fostoria’s finest, who had apparently gotten wind of our impending arrival, and wanted to be there to personally welcome us to their fine city. After a friendly exchange of pleasantries, our hearty crew bid farewell to our newfound friends, and headed to the Amtrak station for a little nighttime railfanning. As Day 1 wound to a close, we all headed to our respective rooms to rest up for Day 2, our first full day of railfanning.

Day 2 began early, and we were at the Amtrak station in Fostoria before most of usually wake to go to work. After spending the morning exploring the entire “Iron Triangle” area, and seeing what seemed to be a constant parade of trains, we decided to head further west after lunch. We spent the afternoon at the Deshler, Ohio railfan park, which is located right next to the CSX diamond. The weather was nothing short of perfect, and we all spent a few hours at the park, lounging in the shade, and watching the action. The action included a brand new BNSF GEVO unit, and a westbound BNSF coal train, mixed in with the usual CSX freights. The evening took us back to the Iron Triangle in Fostoria, with a constant stream of trains on all lines. After a late dinner, a number of us headed back to the Amtrak station for some more night railfanning. That night, we were treated to one of CSX’s UPS intermodal trains, which thundered past our nocturnal crew at well over 60 MPH. Talk about a humbling experience!

Day 3 once again began with a morning of railfanning at the diamonds of Fostoria. Once again, a flood of trains greeted us, and the cameras we clicking like crazy. Around lunch time, we regrettably saddled up and began our trip east. Our first stop was back at Bellevue Yard, which was a buzz of activity. The hump was in use, and there was action everywhere. Notable finds included a MRL SD-45, and a couple venerable NS SD-9’s. From there, we continued east to Berea, Ohio. This turned out to be a great stop, with tons of action on both the CSX and NS lines. Ironically, all the action was eastbound, but it still made for a fun hour. From Berea, we headed east to Altoona. We reached Altoona in the early evening, and decided it was time to grab some grub and check out the scene at the hotel bar. As you might imagine, good times were had by all, evidenced by a few groggy railfans the next morning.

Day 4 began with a quick breakfast at the hotel, and a trip to the railfan park in downtown Altoona. This park is across from the Altoona train station, and adjacent to the Railroaders Memorial Museum. A pedestrian bridge crosses the mainline, and it’s a great place to watch the action. After catching a few trains there, we headed a few miles east to the 8th Street Bridge, which crosses the east end of the Altoona yards. From the bridge we watched a number of trains on the main and in the yard. The far end of the bridge also crosses the part of the yard use for deadlines and car storage. From here we all searched for that unrepainted PRR boxcar, and took plenty of notes on weathering. At this point, the troops were anxious to get up to the Curve.

After a 15 minute ride, and a run up about 200 steps (OK, Al and I ran up, everyone else took the funicular up to conserve energy), we were at the park located in the apex of the famous Horseshoe Curve. With a lull in traffic, which normally happens when we’re at the curve, the crew enjoyed the absolutely perfect weather and relaxed while waiting for the parade of trains to start. After an hour or so, we were greeted with a rapid fire group of both east and westbounds. Cresson was our next stop, about 6 miles further up, at the top of the mountain. Once again we spent some time at the railfan park located adjacent to the mainline, directly across from the Cresson Engine terminal. After one last westbound, we made the decision to climb back aboard our vans and head east to our final railfan location, the greater Harrisburg area.

A couple hours later, we arrived at our favorite Harrisburg area railfan spot, the famous Rockville Bridge, the longest stone arch bridge in the world. With the late afternoon sun illuminating the bridge perfectly, we relaxed along the shore of Susquehanna, and watched the parade of trains east and west. As the sun was setting, we headed a few miles west to Duncannon, PA and witnessed a westbound duck under what used to be one of the last old Pennsy position light signals. Unfortunately, (for us railfans), NS replaced the signal bridge a few months prior to our trip. From there we retired to the hotel, and rested up for the final day of our trip.

Day 5 began with a trip to the “Iron Bridge” over the west end of the huge Enola Yard. There was plenty of activity, both switching moves and road freights arriving and leaving the yard. After watching the action there for a while, we headed down the road a mile or so to the Rockville Bridge, where we got some great shots of the bridge, with excellent lighting on the south side of the bridge. With the crew getting a little hungry, we headed to lunch, and began to accept the fact our trip was almost over. As we began our trip home, we made a quick detour to the east side of Rockville Bridge, to the old location of Rockville Tower. Here we caught a few westbounds, and decided to call it a successful trip. Back to Connecticut, and back to reality, definitely a bummer after such a great trip.

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