Vickers Crossing: 1958 to 1988
Vickers signal bridge by: Chase Gunnoe.
|In 2018, Trains Magazine published a special "Hot Spots" edition,
outlining 75 of "America's Top-Train Watching Locations." The one-time publication was extremely
well written, with fine photography and supporting maps. Northwest Ohio was nicely represented
with Deshler, Fostoria and Marion all acknowledged as maximum action locations. There could
have potentially been a fourth NW Ohio location: Vickers Crossing.
Located in Northwood, Ohio, a mere twelve minutes southeast of downtown Toledo, Vickers peak traffic numbers could occasionally hover around 100-110 trains a day during the 1990s. Conrail's Chicago to New York main provided the lion's share of traffic, with CSX contributing large numbers of North-South trains. Grand Trunk Western and Norfolk & Western, along with Wheeling & Lake Erie, contributed to the parade of hot inter-modals, general manifests, and long coal drags.
Since the 1950s, Vickers Crossing has consistently been the scene of contemporary railroading at its fullest and a popular railfan gathering spot.
New: 1 January 2019
XXXXXXXXXXXXXX A Photo Essay
Baltimore & Ohio 2-10-2 #6114 crosses NYC's 4-track Chicago-Buffalo main in 1957, while s/b on Toledo Terminal. The train is coming from the coal docks at Presque Isle. (Kirk Hise photo; Jim Sankiewicz collection)
New York Central's NY2 passes Vickers with Alco-built FA2 #1051 in charge on a late Spring 1962 day. The e/b meat train ran daily from the Chicago Stockyards to New York City. (Harry Juday photo)
A motive power shortage in 1968 has caused NYC to "beg, borrow and steal" units. Three aging F-units have left train BC-3 (Buffalo to Elkhart) at Vickers and headed to Stanley Yard on Aug. 28.
A pair EMD-built geeps creep slowly toward the interlocking at Vickers. The crew on GP30 #3030 hope the frequently red board turns quickly to green, thus avoiding a along delay.
NYC/PC U25B #2516 and nine friends leads a long westbound coal drag towards Toledo on 2 Dec. 1968. During the newly merged railroad's first year, unusual power consists were the norm.
Detroit Edison U30C #007 waits at Vickers on 2 Oct. 1973, with a DEEX unit coal train. The UDM trains (Detroit Edison Monroe) delivered southwest Pennsylvania coal several days a week.
GM's 50 millionth locomotive leaves the diamonds at Vickers behind and rolls towards Walbridge Yard. The GP40-2 was built in 1972 and delivered to B&O in commemorative gold paint. (photo 1973/11/10)
America'sBicentennial celebration is still weeks off, but the Detroit & Toledo Shoreline is ready. GP7 #76 and a companion use trackage rights on the Toledo Terminal to deliver cars to C&O's Walbridge Yard. (Jim Sinclair photo May 1976)
Chessie System's Walbridge Yard was approximately one mile from Vickers Crossing. On an early December day, there appears to be an ample number of EMDs and GEs, waiting for the call. (photo 1977/12/3)
In the early days of Conrail, there was little time for new paint and very few dollars for improved track work, as this 7 February 1978 photo can attest.
By October of 1986, "Big Blue" is running trains, winning new business and showing it can make money. Good light afternoon helps catch a hot w/b intermodal with GP40-2 #3345 at the helm. (photo 1986/08/2)
Grand Trunk Western train #394 navigates south Toledo residential areas en-route to Vickers in November 1988. Ex-UP SD40-2 #4134 (nee MP 3134) in the guise of GTW 5934 heads for the CSX interchange at Willard, Ohio.
All photos by R. Craig unless noted otherwise.