Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Thread: About a mile

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Zanesville, Ohio
    Posts
    271

    Default About a mile

    The line wraps around southern Zanesville, Ohio, like a tendril from the past. Starting from a spot that was once a connection with former PRR and NYC secondary lines, the track is a remnant of the Zanesville Belt, a terminal operation long since extinct. The line itself is an anachronism, lightly ballasted and weed-grown, with jointed rail, serving a single customer. The branch is a forgotten corner of the vast CSX system now, reached only on trackage rights on the shortline Ohio Central.

    Following a train on the line is a trip into the past. Older, four-axle locomotives power the trains, a caboose bring up the rear, and is pressed into use as the train backs down the track to it's destination, a glass plant.

    1. The brakeman and conductor ride the caboose as the train leaves Ohio Central trackage, crosses busy Maysville Pike, and heads down the mile-long branch. When I presented the brakie a print of this photograph a few years later, he enjoyed his former moustache.

    2. Weeds are encroaching the tracks as road slug 2249 disappears down the track.
    Last edited by crook; 10-25-2005 at 04:14 AM.
    Chris Crook
    photojournalist

    pictures and yap

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Zanesville, Ohio
    Posts
    271

    Default

    For a mile-long spur, the track passes through an amazing array of landscape. Over the heavily trafficed Maysville Pike, a four lane commercial strip that is one of the fasted growing areas in town, through quiet residential areas shrouded in forest. Indeed, the track is barely noticable apart from a few railroad crossings on quiet neighborhood streets.

    3. The conductor rides the caboose as it dodges traffic on Maysville Pike, a busy, 4-lane road...

    4. ...and trailing along behind is the train's locomotive for the day, a GP38. Power for the branch would be the same for weeks at a time, and then suddenly change 3 times in a month.

    5. Conductor and brakeman ride the gently swaying caboose as it trundles through woods.

    6. The engineer has his arm on the armrest as he jostles the cars across a street and into the glass plant.
    Last edited by crook; 10-25-2005 at 04:15 AM.
    Chris Crook
    photojournalist

    pictures and yap

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Zanesville, Ohio
    Posts
    271

    Default

    History. A link to a glorious past 4 feet 8 and a half inches wide. The tracks pass the remants of Zanesville's industrial history, a huge vacant tile factory, and through the trees is visible is what remains of a bathroom fixtures plant, itself now a superfund site. As the train crosses a low trestle, tree branches brush the roofs of the cars and leaves twirl away in the locomotive's exhaust.
    Chris Crook
    photojournalist

    pictures and yap

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Zanesville, Ohio
    Posts
    271

    Default

    The caboose, the small locomotives, the three man crew, all rarities in the age of point-to-point intermodal and unit trains. As the train backs the last quarter mile to the plant, it passes a reborn pottery factory. Production has been moved to a more modern facility near by, and rail shipment has is but a distant memory, but the original factory still stands near the tracks, now an outlet store for kitchenware and kitch.

    8. The brakie and conductor ride the last quarter mile to the glass factory on a cloudy summer day. They pass the Hartstone Pottery factory, but pick-ups are long gone.

    9.The train disappears into the woods after passing the Hartstone factory. Just a few hundred yards to it's destination.

    10. The brakeman walks back to the warmth of the locomotive cab after closing the factory gate on a frigid January day. The caboose is vacant for the ride back to the yard.

    11. Near daily, the crew would unlock the gate of the Owens-Illinois glass factory and trade empty hopper cars for loaded ones. The finished product goes by truck.
    Chris Crook
    photojournalist

    pictures and yap

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Zanesville, Ohio
    Posts
    271

    Default

    For all it's charm, the track was a constant source of rumor and speculation, along with the rest of CSX's track in southeast Ohio. Finally, in spring of 2004 a lease deal with Ohio Central was announced. CSX retrenched to Columbus, leaving the weedgrown spur and it's connections to the shortline.

    And it's just isn't the same. Ohio Central has cleaner and more interesting motive power. But everyone expects a shortline to operate in the weeds on jointed rail. To see the colors of a class one, one of the largest railroads in the country moseying along in the weeds was a wonderful site, harkening back to a time of branchlines and cabooses, when the railroads had a connection to the towns and cities they served. Ohio Central still has the same back-up move, but now the crew member rides the side of a car, in rain or sunshine. They chopped down trees too close to the tracks, and cleaned up the weeds. It is still nice to see a train on that tiny little line, but something has been lost.
    Chris Crook
    photojournalist

    pictures and yap

  6. #6

    Default

    Chris,

    Ok if I show you a trick with the new software? It can insert your images into the text, making it easy to relate captions to photos.

    http://www.railroadphotoessays.com/f...hread.php?t=87
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Zanesville, Ohio
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Would the essay benefit from said trickery? I like a sort of 'chapter' approach.
    Chris Crook
    photojournalist

    pictures and yap

  8. #8

    Default

    You would retain the chapters, but it would just align the photos with the captions. If you'd like, I can show you with one of the posts. If you don't like it, it's easily revised back to the old format...
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  9. #9
    misko Guest

    Default

    I find this photo-essay very interesting, informative, and well done. Photography is excellent (no need to mention seeing it in B&W makes my heart sing) and it portrays the (ex) rundown character of the branchline splendidly. Perhaps the narrative is somewhat essential - a personal opinion which might not be shared by others - and few of the captions describe obvious, but the basic information is certainly provided.

    If published on the pages of some magazine, with the text formatted accordingly, and with the photos sized and assembled regarding their importance and the visual draw, and if some history of the line, some background of the place it serves, and some map of the area would be provided, it would be an excellent story, but even so it was joy for me to read it and watch the photos. High green from me...

  10. #10
    ahockley Guest

    Default

    I'm struggling with this review to come up with something to say of any significance. I first gave this essay a quick read this morning, and I've now read through it and looked at the photos two additional times tonight in more depth.

    The text does a good job of both providing information on the photos and the operations of the rail line. I can't really pinpoint why, but the text didn't "grab" me or really get me involved until the very final comments that discussed the handover to the Ohio Central and differences in the atmosphere of the Class I vs. shortline.

    The photography is well done, with good composition and lighting. Photo #2 of the caboose down the weed-covered tracks sets a great scene and works well with the centered alignment of the locomotive in the frame. The only complaint I could have about the photos (and this is a minor one) is that I would have loved for the mailbox in photo #8 to appear somewhere other than right at the caboose.

    Overall it's a good essay and I recommend approval. As I said I can't pinpoint exactly the specifics, but if any improvements to add more emotion to the text (before the last paragraph) could be made, that would make it even better.

Similar Threads

  1. When the Snow Falls
    By Martin Burwash in forum Human Interest
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 01-28-2008, 05:54 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •