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Edition #153, July 1, 2011

Just In Time

Photographer: Rob Richardson

                                                                            Photo by Rob Richardson

Just In Time

I am a software developer working in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of the time if a customer needs support, I can just connect to their system over the Internet and do what needs to be done.  There is one exception, Hussey Copper in Leetsdale, PA. The computer they run our software on has no connection anywhere outside their plant. Therefore, if they need anything I have to go there in person. Considering that they are located on the main Norfolk Southern line through Conway Yard outside of Pittsburgh, PA, I don't mind.

On May 5th, 2007 I was called out to Hussey to do something easy. I knew I'd be in and out of their plant in under an hour and then I could take the rest of the day to come home. I left home before 6 AM to get to their plant by 8. Sure enough, I was out by 9. My first stop on the way home was Rochester, PA where the Beaver River flows down from the north into the Ohio River. The NS main line follows the east bank of the Beaver, curving at Rochester to run east along the north bank of the Ohio into Conway Yard.

I parked in downtown Rochester, grabbed my camera and a good book and walked across the bridge over the tracks. I found a good spot on the grassy bank approaching the bridge with a view of the main line coming down from the north and curving east and the bridge carrying the Fort Wayne Line across the Beaver River. The spring-green leaves of the trees were still in the process of waking up after winter.

As soon as I sat down I heard the growl of a train working its way south along the main line. After a moment a blue nose poked around the trees at the far end of the curve. And then another one. And then a third! A coal drag led by three four-axle locomotives all still in Conrail blue paint! I stood there clicking away and marveling at my timing.

After the train passed I left to see what I could find elsewhere. Nothing at Rochester could be better than what the railroad gave me not five minutes after I arrived.

Rob Richardson

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