A Pennsylvania Railroad J1 2-10-4 Texan with empty coal cars from the docks of Sandusky waits as a Chicago bound Baltimore and Ohio timesaver freight led by a T3 4-8-2 is about to slam across the diamond.
Its mid 1950 and Attica Junction is one of the last known places where the last steam engines are still being heavily used. A half hour earlier, all was quiet except the mid-Ohio wind. Soon, a whistle to the north is heard, the southward freight would be heard three times before slowing to a stop. Meanwhile, a whistle is heard to the east. A freight for Chicago has departed the Willard yards. The exhaust of a laboring locomotive at speed calms as the engineer cuts back on the throttle. All too soon, the T3 hits the diamonds at 50MPH. Like perfection, a second after the locomotive coasts over the diamond, the engineer gives her all she has and speeds off westward all while blowing for the Route 4 crossing. The caboose clears, and waves are exchanged between the tower operator and caboose. No more than a minute later, two hoots come from the massive J1 as the empty coal train slowly pulls southward towards Columbus and eventually, the coal fields of the Norfolk and Western. A few minutes later, the caboose of the PRR frieght slips pass and calm comes this small Ohio town.
Today, Attica still draws many railfans as it is one of the busiest crossings in Ohio. But long gone are the steam engines and the tower that once gaurded the crossing.
Click the pic for a current view.