Marion Railroading 001

Once every month, I am able to get up to the railroad diamond in Marion, Ohio. Due to the impact of Covid-19 for the first four month of 2020, traffic has been down by a significant percentage, according to sources.

But as I am writing this, the economy of the U.S. has begun to reopen, thus reopening small, and large corporations for business. And you know that, as long as businesses are up and running, they are going to need an inflow of supplies to satisfy the ever evolving demands of their patrons. Enter trucking, and Intermodal transportation.

Intermodal Transportation is simply a fancy term for using multiple methods of transportation (i.e. ship, train or truck) to move containers of freight from one place to another.

For example, let’s say you own a large business in Huntington, West Virginia, and you need a significant quantity of a product that comes from inland Japan. When you order the product, the manufacturers or suppliers of that product would send your order to the coast via rail or truck. Once it arrives at the coast, the freight would then be loaded onto a ship bound for North America. Upon arriving at a North American port, it would then be unloaded on to rail cars, which would then be transported across the continent to either an intermodal trucking facility to be shipped to you by way of truck, or directly by rail, should you have a receiving facility for trains.

As the title suggests, trains and railroads are our main focus in this article, so let us get right to the point.

We had originally intended to get up with the cows, but due to some of us being night owls, we didn’t roll into Marion Station until around noon. We hadn’t been there for ten minutes when 008 From St Louis came along.

When 008 had passed, I started playing around visually with some station compositions. I had just perceived an intriguing perspective of the Station Building when I heard a horn in the distance.

Quickly putting back on my telephoto lens (I had removed it to shoot photos of the station) I hurried to the other end of the observation area, just in time to catch this Southbound Intermodal rolling stock.

When I came back to my previous study of the station, I found that the previously overcast sky in my composition had now turned into harsher, broad daylight, so I gave it up.

By this time, my father wanted a coffee, so we jumped down the road a little ways to get one. It so happens that down across the street from the place where we usually stop for refreshment when we are in town sits a CSX yard. On this day, they had parked on the premises a lone locomotive, which is not unusual. Yet there was something interesting about this one that intrigued me so I went to investigate.

After my dad had grabbed his coffee, he pulled me into the yard parking lot for a better perspective.

We then returned to the station, waiting for more action. Nothing happened for about twenty-five to thirty minutes, so we sat in the car and read for a little while. At around one fifteen, I heard a horn in the distance. Judging by the sound and not the direction, I, in all my knowledge of train horns, thought it was a CSX Southbound. By the grace of God, direction overruled sound, and I changed direction quickly enough to snag this unsullied courier.

With the passing of this, it was nearly the space of an hour before our final prize of the day came along, so we resumed our pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. I had not done my morning devotions, so I was sufficiently able to take care of my spiritual needs during this interval.

In the end, our last catch was an oddity for us, but not unusual for railroading. When I heard it coming, and saw lights to the west, I had expected another long haul freight train to roll on by, but I was surprised when it turned out to be a duo of diesel locomotives only.

The events following this encounter were most curious. This arrangement pulled into the CSX yard mentioned above, stopped, then switched to the opposite locomotive, pulled out of the station, going in the opposite direction, on the opposite track (the set just left of the locomotive in the picture). Whether this locomotive was headed to pick up a brand new train, or just to do a simple switching job, I may never know. What I do know, is that it had to be moving on, and so did we.

To close the day out, we stopped on our way back home in a little place called Caledonia, where I was able to get a picture of the seemingly endless stretch of railroad ties. The neat thing about tracks, is that they always leave you with an imagination as to where they go. They almost can create a sense of adventure and excitement in the typical bystander. They ignite in ones soul, a yearning to discover the unknown, and that which is beyond what is already seen. Though this particular photo does not have a sunset to spruce it up, the message is the same. Veritably similar to the rainbow analogy, tracks imply that no matter what today or yesterday has brought, there is always the opportunity for a better tomorrow.

So my friends, that is all for this one. Press on, never giving up on your dreams. Thank you for sticking around, and until next time, God Bless.

Keenan Smith

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