Helpful Graffiti?… Using Urban Art To Track Trains

TGIF-4-Train-Friday-Scranton-Pa-6-18-2015 (230)

TGIF-4-Train-Friday-Scranton-Pa-6-18-2015 (235)

AEX #11823 is shown above on Canadian Pacific Train 259 on June 18, 2015 in Scranton, Pa. heading empty back to Binghamton, NY where it will be reclassified and put on another train heading westbound to the salt mines near Dansville, NY. These salt cars mostly ping-pong back & forth between Reading and upstate New York.

First off, yes, graffiti IS vandalism however, like for the writers it was intended for, it can also be helpful to the railfan for tracking the movement of trains.

Graffiti or “tagging” is used by many writers to communicate with other writers around North America. These types of taggers target specific cars based on type and reporting mark to make sure that their message gets where they intend for it to get to.

Railfans can also use graffiti for tracking the movemment of trains. Take for example ex-Illinois Terminal now AEX (Andersons) covered hopper #11823. With it I was able to track the movement of hopper car loads of salt from the mines near Dansville, NY on trains like 36T to the salt deposit at Spring Street Yard in Reading, Pa..

The same AEX #11823 is now seen on December 6, 2015 at the large salt deposit located inside Norfolk Southern’s Spring Street Yard in Reading, Pa..

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Although it can’t be seen from this angle, the graffiti on these intermodal cars (below) was enough for me to track their movement from the Taylor Yard in Scranton, Pa. to here in Binghamton, NY where they’ll be picked up in a few hours by westbound intermodal Train 205 and the containers will return to 47th Street Yard in Chicago.

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Canadian-Pacific-930-Norfolk Southern-30T-Scranton-Pa-5-22-2015 (43)

I caught this Canadian National boxcar (ABOVE) over Memorial Day weekend in 2015 on southbound Train 30T…. It turned up again (BELOW) heading back to Canada and home rails on sister Train 31T two months later on July 12.

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Sunday-Railfanning-Northeast-Pa-7-12-2015 (79)

I caught Finger Lakes Railroad (FGLK) boxcar #26095 rolling south on Train CP 933/NS 13T on July 12, 2015. Eight days later on July 20 it returned (presumably empty) northbound on CP 932/NS 12T.

Parade-of-Color-Scranton-Pa-7-20-2015 (26)

Helpful Graffiti

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Author:Railfan AC

AC is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, a long haul trucker, a transportation enthusiast and a lifelong lover of trains. AC's mission is to travel America documenting American railroading in the 21st century while educating those who want to know about the importance the railroads play in our daily lives including, but not limited to, the movement of goods, services and more.

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