A Belle of a Good Time

Posted by George Hamlin
on Sunday, October 15, 2017

I know that I’m not the only one with this shot, or something very similar, since I was standing with a number of other railfans, in the ‘feared flatlands’ of north central Ohio, specifically at Marion Union Station, where the CSX’s former NYC/Erie east-west line crosses both the former C&O (now also CSX) Detroit-Columbus line, as well as Norfolk Southern’s former PRR north-south artery between Bellevue Yard, Columbus and points east on the former N&W “Pokey”.

While it may look like there are employees giving Q106 a “roll-by” inspection from the former Big Four AC tower, these individuals are other fans, rather than railroaders.  AC hasn’t had any role in train operations for many years, and in fact has been moved from the north side of the former NYC tracks to the south side of them, adjacent to the preserved Marion Union Station, to be visited by the public, and, as appropriate, to be used as a photo platform.

The fans who have gathered here on Sunday morning, August 13, 2017 are in town for the annual Summerail show, which was held the previous day. While many have started their journeys home, word that a pair of colorful Kansas City Southern “Retro-Belles” were leading Q106 in beautiful morning light has caused a number of those still in the vicinity to return to downtown Marion for yet another photo opportunity.

I arrived at the station about 10 AM, just in time to catch Q007 heading west.  Q106 by then was reported well east of Sidney, Ohio, about 60 miles west of Marion.  Since it would be occupying the single-track main west of Marion, Q007 would need to clear this portion of the railroad prior to Q106 being able to continue east and make its triumphal entry into Marion past the waiting admirers soon afterwards. 

That was the theory, anyway.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take into account the pair of NS westbounds; a southbound move on the CSX; and a pair of NS eastbound manifests, 179 and 18M, all of which kept the diamonds on the east-west line well-burnished, and blocked.  Finally, at almost 11:50, Q106 was able to make its grand appearance; shutters were pressed and pixels burned; success at last!

And this time, the beautiful weather held, and clouds didn’t appear following the wait to ruin the shot.  Furthermore, it was fun to have others of like mind to converse with to pass the time, in the form of both old friends and people whose names (and photo credit lines) you recognized, but hadn’t met previously. 

In any case, I was pleased to (finally) get the shot, and I’m assuming that I’m not the only one that obtained satisfactory photographic results.  Worth the wait?  Indeed.

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