Monday, April 25, 2011

Today's Train of Thought- Favorite Trestles in Ohio State, April 25, 2011

And I'm not talking about the embattled Ohio State Buckeye football coach.

I get the feeling that Respondek Rail Corp is what we would wind up with if a railfan decided to own and operate a series of shortlines and a contract switching service. With a small fleet of 1st generation EMDs painted in colors reminiscent of fallen flag Illinois Terminal, owner Terry Respondek expanded operations in 2005 by leasing from CSX the 42 mile former Chesapeake & Ohio line between Richmond, IN and Fernald, OH.

In 2007, Norfolk Southern acquired the remaining 50% stake of the nearby shortline Algers, Winslow & Western. In a way, the AW&W's fleet of unmodified SD9s went full circle- with the southern Indiana shortline acquiring the six axle roadswitchers from Norfolk Southern predecessor Southern Railroad (nee Central of Georgia- old enough that they likely replaced steam locomotives on the C of G) before the coal-hauling shortline was acquired by the Norfolk Southern.

Since the NS has a much larger fleet of higher horsepower and much newer diesels at their disposal, the red white and black SD9s of the AW&W became surplus. Instead, Respondek purchased all 4 the former AW&W diesels for operation on their new Indiana Eastern (IERR), where two of them continue to work in the red white and black of the fallen flag (likely by design on Respondek's Part). Two of the other former AW&W SD9s are painted in the green with yellow trim paint scheme of sister railroad Squaw Creek Southern.

Here, contributor Michael Biehn caught IERR SD9s #205 and #206 trundling westbound across the former C&O trestle on September 17, 2008 in Okeana, OH- just east of the Indiana State Line and northwest of Cincinnati. The train has stalled while climbing the grade between Fernald, OH and Cottage Grove, IN and the two vintage SD9s are doubling the hill after splitting their train in half.

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