CSX Moves Fuel.

Tank Trains Rolling at Guilderland, New York.

 

 

 

On Saturday, May 18, 2013, CSX had four eastward unit oil trains working the Water Level route between Buffalo and Selkirk, New York. Mike Gardner and I were in place to catch two of these monsters. Mile-plus long strings of black heavily-laden tank cars hauled by colorful variety of locomotives.

These were only part of the show and mixed in with CSX’s seemingly endless parade of intermodal trains and mixed freight. While waiting for first of the oil train to reach us, we experience the highlight of the day. To the east I heard the classic roar of EMD 16-645 engines.

What could be making such a racket? This is a railroad dominated by the muffled sound of modern GE four-stroke diesels and the occasion EMD 710. By contrast this sound sent me back 20 years . . .

CP Rail SD40-2 leads an empty ethanol train.
SD40-2s lead CSX symbol freight K4091 (a westward empty ethanol train) on the old West Shore. The line on the right is the traditional eastward track built to fly over the westward main near French’s Hollow. Three SD40-2s on the Water Level Route, not bad! Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens.

Working west in run-8 were three SD40-2s (one Canadian Pacific and two painted for Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern/Iowa, Chicago & Eastern) with empty ethanol train in tow. The crew was enthusiastic and passed us with a friendly blast of the horn and bells ringing. It was just about the coolest train I’ve seen on CSX in several years!

Empty ethanol train.
Trailing view of CSX K4091, the receding sounds of 16-645E3 engines brightening my day. Canon EOS 7D with f2.0 100mm lens.

After it passed we caught the first two unit oil trains, one right after the other, followed more ordinary traffic. This oil business is a new phenomenon and seems to be growing. I expect I’ll see more liquid energy on the move.

CSX_oil_train_K040
First of four eastward unit oil trains; CSX K040 with a mix of CSX, KCS, and BNSF locomotives.
CSX GE number 860 leading K048, the second of four oil trains on May 18, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f4.0 200mm lens.
CSX GE number 860 leading K048, the second of four oil trains on May 18, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f4.0 200mm lens.
Oil train
Rolling pipeline; trailing view of CSX K048—the second of four oil trains on May 18, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with f4.0 200mm lens.
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