Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Railfanning Syracuse, NY October 5-6, 2014

As the title suggests, myself and my girlfriend made a trip to Syracuse, New York on October 5th and 6th to do a bit of shopping, as well as some train watching on the CSX mainline. On this trip, I got very lucky with the variety of power that was around.

We began with a trip to the mall for a number of hours, which conveniently is located directly beside the tracks. If you park on the top level of the parking garage at the Destiny USA mall, it offers a good view for watching trains roll by. The only downside is the number of trees blocking good vantage points for photography. Still though, it offers a break from shopping for us train fanatics.

After we had finished up shopping, it was time to go catch some trains on camera!

Shortly after arriving at Pump Road near Jordan, NY, Amtrak 707 came rolling slowly towards us out of Syracuse.

They weren't moving very fast, which lead me to believe that they had a slow order over the bumpy crossover in the video. 707 is a GE P32AC-DM built in 1995

Shortly after 707 had passed, a light came around the corner in the distance. It was CSX 7587 following 707 west.

An interesting note about 7587 is that it was the last GE C40-8 to wear CSX's Stealth paint scheme.

That spelled the end of trains for the day as it started to rain.

The next day, after we had checked out of the hotel, we drove over to DeWitt Yard in East Syracuse. This is the main yard for CSX in Syracuse. The yard is fairly large, so there are a few spots that we stopped to catch some trains.

The first spot is at East First Street. This street parallels the tracks, and often trains stop here for crew changes. As we pulled up, we got a treat. CSX 7548, and HLCX 6334 were parked, and the crew were preparing their train to depart. I grabbed a few quick shots of both units before they began to head west.

As they rolled out, we moved to the east end of the yard. Don't worry though, we'll be back to this spot later.

The second location for watching trains at DeWitt is the pedestrian bridge at the eastern edge of the yard.

We arrived here, and less than two minutes after, UP 8496 came racing under us hauling a unit ethanol train.

We were not expecting this train so soon, and it shows in the quality, but this was my first ever picture of a UP unit (with the exception of the units CN purchased and patched of course).

As the tail end of 8496's train passed, the yard switcher began to roll towards the bridge.

Note the power lines at the top of the picture. These, and the fact that the pedestrian bridge is fenced in can make shooting here difficult. The same can be said for the other direction, but instead of power lines, there is road bridge blocking the view as seen above.

The switchers power consisted of CSX 6055, and 2772. They continued rolling towards the bridge, and eventually passed under our feet.

I added the photo below to show the fencing used on the pedestrian bridge.

That was all for this location, for now.

Next up was a quick stop at Bolivar Road near Sullivan. Here, we caught Amtrak 703 heading east.

We were heading towards Rome when I spotted a potential spot to shoot some trains. This spot is just off Highway 31 in Verona where an old roadway comes down to the tracks. As luck would have it, when I got out to checkout the sight line, a train was rolling west very slowly. They crept closer, and it turned out to be a BNSF 8108 leading a grain train and three other BNSF units! A shout out to my girlfriend Lauren for snapping these pics of the BNSF units as I manned the video camera.

About twenty minutes later, I heard an eastbound talking to a work train over the scanner. Another five minutes passed, and then CSX 4533 came around the bend to the west with a nice treat. SOO 6037 was trailing. This was my first time seeing an old SOO locomotive.

SOO 6037 is an EMD SD60 that thankfully is (back) in service. Many of these CP owned units are in storage, but in the last while, they have begun to show up. I was lucky enough to get this one.

We then began our journey back making the same stops, but in reverse. There was also a bit of a detour to Chittenango Falls State Park. If anyone reading this ever gets the chance to go the area, I'd recommend a trip to the park.

Back at Bolivar Road, another Amtrak, this time 716 west came rolling by heading into Syracuse.

Continuing the drive back, brings us to the pedestrian bridge where my luck continued. Shortly after arriving, CSX 5731, 8350, and CITX 3070 came rolling into the yard leading train Q227. The shadows from the trees and the bridge created a tricky shot at this time of day. You can see the shadows of myself, and my girlfriend standing on the bridge.

I wanted to get a few good pictures of the CITX unit so we adventured back over to E First Street. CITX 3070 is an EMD SD40-2, originally built as SOO 753.

One last surprise came rolling up as I was taking pictures of 3070. CSX train Q627 lead by CSX 4029 (EMD SD40-3), CEFX 1046 (GE AC44CW), CP 9501 (GE AC44CW), CSX 1239 (EMD MP15T), 6125 (EMD GP40-2), 4407 (EMD GP40-2), and 1191 (EMD MP15AC) slowly came up beside Q227.

That was the end of the railfanning in Syracuse for this trip. I certainly was not disappointed.

I'll leave you with this panorama shot of Q627, with Q227 hiding in the background.

The majority of these trains that I caught have videos, which can be viewed on my YouTube Channel. More Pictures can also be seen on my Flickr account.