Welcome to the Akron Railroad Club Blog

March 2, 2009

The Akron Railroad Club business meeting of May 28, 2010. The club meets monthly except in December on the fourth Friday of the month. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

The Akron Railroad Club has more than 100 members who meet monthly in Akron, Ohio, to share their passion for railroad operations and history.  On our blog you will find information about our arrc-logo1meetings, activities, how to join us, and news about railroads and railroad oriented organizations.  On the feature pages you will find information about popular Ohio railfan hotspots within a couple of hours drive from Akron, stories about railfan outings, trip reports and special reports about railroad operations and railfan events. Most features are amply illustrated with photographs.  Take a look around and enjoy yourself. There is always something new to read so come back often. Better yet, come to one of our monthly meetings or join us at one of our many events. We look forward to meeting you.

Next Meeting: September 26. Program by Paul Woodring.

Next Activity: November 22. Members Night.

Alliance, Sebring Outing Report Posted

August 29, 2014

Eleven Akron Railroad Club  members and guests turned out for the late summer outing, which this year was to Alliance and Sebring. To read an account of the day, view some photographs and see the list of trains seen, click on the following link:

http://akronrrclub.wordpress.com/about/activities/2014-outing-to-alliance-sebring/

Black and Slow vs. Blue and Fast

August 29, 2014

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I managed to catch the New York Central H unit negotiating the new bypass track at Battery Park near West 73rd Street in Cleveland on Thursday. It was leading a 553 empty hopper train. Main No. 1 is still in its original location and being used, but it, too, will get connected to the other bypass main. You can see both original mains off to the right. The lunchtime show was the Navy’s Blue Angels flying team, which is in town in for the Cleveland Air Show this weekend at Burke Lakefront Airport. I know this is a railroad blog, but I thought some might enjoy the jets.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

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A BNSF Sampler of Old and New

August 29, 2014

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BNSF motive power is not a rare sight in Northeast Ohio, but it is still a treat to see when it shows up on the point of a CSX or Norfolk Southern train.

One particular nice BNSF treat was leading the L138 on the east side of Ravenna recently on the CSX New Castle Subdivision. This is pure BNSF power and not some rent a wreck.

No. 1592 was ordered for the Colorado & Southern and spent many years working in Burlington Northern green before receiving its current “pumpkin” treatment.

Don’t remember if the BNSF 7119 was whistling as it passed this graveyard, but it is shown here on CSX in Middleburgh Heights. Another modern BNSF unit with the “Swoosh” logo leads the Q375 through Akron.

Finally, a westbound K train had empty tankers has a “Grinstein” unit trailing as it comes through Cuyahoga Falls. That’s the remnant of the former CA&C/PRR/CR line to Hudson off to the left.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

 

RTA Opens New Cedar-University Station

August 29, 2014

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority on Thursday opened its new $18.5 million Cedar-University station on the Red Line.

The new facility replaces a nearby station that was more than 50 years old and had become outdated. One Red Line patron described that station as always dirty and wet.

RTA officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony late Thursday morning to open the new station.

The new station complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act standards for public access and concentrates bus and rail service on the north side of Cedar Road.

Funding of the new station was largely provided by the federal government with support from a partnership of University Circle-area institutions, including Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, and the Cleveland Foundation.

They pooled money to develop plans for the station and to address other transportation issues in the University Circle area.

The new Cedar-University rail station will improve the link between downtown Cleveland and University Circle, said Bob Eckardt, executive vice president at the Cleveland Foundation.

“Making it a significant front door to the whole neighborhood is critical,” he said.

RTA is also overhauling the nearby Red Line station in Little Italy, a project expected to cost $17.5 million.

At Case Western Reserve, administrator John Wheeler said many of the school’s 10,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff ride RTA to campus.

“A more attractive, welcoming station not only encourages members of the university community to use public transportation, but to really explore the city,” said Wheeler, senior vice president for administration.

The Red Line extends for 19 miles between the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The airport extension, which opened in 1968, was the first rail/air linkup in the United States.

 

Mothballed Ethanol Plant Reopens in Indiana

August 29, 2014

An Indiana ethanol plant that had been idle for two years has reopened.

Valero Renewable Fuels resumed ethanol production at a plant that it recently bought. The plant is located at Mount Vernon, Ind., and is expected to produce 110 million gallons annually.

It is Valero’s 11th corn ethanol plant and its second in Indiana. The Mount Vernon facility is served by the Evansville Western Railway, which interchanges with BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

Late Amtrak and the NS Parking Lot

August 28, 2014
The eastbound Capitol Limited is more than seven hours late as it cruises through Brady Lake on Wednesday morning at 10:13 a.m. Although No. 30 has been routinely running late this summer, it usually isn't this late.

The eastbound Capitol Limited is more than seven hours late as it cruises through Brady Lake on Wednesday morning at 10:13 a.m. Although No. 30 has been routinely running late this summer, it usually isn’t this late.

I drove down to Towner’s Woods Park on Wednesday morning to take a hike on the Portage County Hike and Bike Trail. As I passed through Twin Lakes, I noticed a westbound Norfolk Southern stack train parked on Track No. 2. This is not common at this location.

Upon turning on my scanner I heard crews talking about how the railroad was having a meltdown in Cleveland and trains were backed up.

In fact, there was an M5M parked near MP 84 behind the stack train I had seen and a 21T parked in Rootstown near MP 81. Then I heard Amtrak No. 30 call the signal at CP 94 in Hudson. I made the images shown while standing on the Ravenna Road bridge.

No. 30 had been a “mere” two hours late before becoming ensnared in the Cleveland morass. By the time that it departed Cleveland at 8:47 a.m., it was 6 hours, 53 minutes down.

It would lose nearly an hour between Cleveland and Alliance and depart Pittsburgh 9 hours and 53 minutes late.

No. 30 would finally reach Washington, D.C., Thursday morning at 1:32 a.m., 12 hours and 22 minutes late.

The headlight of Amtrak No. 30 was in sight when I heard the rumbling of what sounded like a diesel locomotive. My first thought was that NS was sending another westbound up to wait just behind the stack train that was still sitting west of Lake Rockwell Road. It turned out to be, though, the ABC job coming back from Ravenna. What to do? I wanted to photograph Amtrak, but I seldom get a chance to photograph the ABC job on the former Erie mainline east of Kent.

As a practical matter there was little I could do. There wasn’t time to run over to the crossing of Ravenna Road to get a coming shot. So I made a sideways shot and let it go.

After my hike, I hung around for another 45 minutes to see if the NS parking lot had moved any. The stack train was still sitting west of Lake Rockwell Road and the M5M and 21T were in their respective places.

At one point the Cleveland Line dispatcher asked the M5M if it could move up some. The response was that it could move up a car length but if it moved further it would be blocking a private crossing “that we’re not supposed to block.” The dispatcher also asked the 21T to move up — it was just short of the detector in Rootstown — because the rear of that train was blocking a crossing. But the crew replied that a signal maintainer had inspected the rear of the train and determined that it was not blocking anything.

As I was returning home, the M5M had been given a signal at CP 86 in Ravenna and would cross over to Track 1 and go around the stack train parked at Twin Lakes. Some guy on the radio said that M5M would be zig sagging around seven trains.

Don’t know if that was true, but the comments made by the frustrated railroaders on the radio were quite entertaining as they sarcastically talked about how today was railroading at its finest.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The dining car (left) and Sightseer lounge probably had run out of food by the time No. 30 finally reached Washington.

The dining car (left) and Sightseer lounge probably had run out of food by the time No. 30 finally reached Washington.

The ABC job is returning from Ravenna as it crosses Ravenna Road in Brady Lake. This grab shot was the best I could do under the circumstances.

The ABC job is returning from Ravenna as it crosses Ravenna Road in Brady Lake. This grab shot was the best I could do under the circumstances.

An eastbound stack train is doing track speed on Track 1, having managed to finally navigate its way through Cleveland.

An eastbound stack train is doing track speed on Track 1, having managed to finally navigate its way through Cleveland.

Recent Norfolk Southern H Unit Sightings

August 28, 2014

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Of late, it has been a good time to see Norfolk Southern heritage units in Northeast Ohio. Here are a few miscellaneous heritage unit grabs from the past couple of weeks. Nos. 1071 and 1067 haul North Carolina-bound coal past the former Amtrak station in Canton. The train is the NS 746. Although this motive power consist was still together this week, it did not return via Ohio. The 8114 is shown leading the 20R by Motor Yard in Macedonia. It ia slso shown meeting the 15K.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Adding Some Color to the Steel Mills

August 27, 2014

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The Virginian heritage unit of Norfolk Southern has made a few appearances in Northeast Ohio in the past week. This past Sunday it led an auto rack train bound for Detroit through the Cleveland area during the mid morning hours.

Earlier, it had led the I8V, an extra section of the 28V, out of Rockport Yard in Cleveland to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

But before all of that happened, the NS saw spot duty on the BX01 in Cleveland. A gritty old school steel mill looms in the distance as BX01 does it’s air test in the cool shade of a few trees.

Campbell Road yard in the distance was originally a Wheeling and Lake Erie yard. Did any original Virginian units make it to this Campbell Road back in the day?

Photograph by Roger Durfee

 

Corn and Cows on the Bayard Line at Moultrie

August 27, 2014
The noise of the train sent the cows back up the hillside at Moultrie on Sunday on the Norfolk Southern Bayard line.

The noise of the train sent the cows back up the hillside at Moultrie on Sunday on the Norfolk Southern Bayard line.

Fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Marty Surdyk and I were about to head for Beloit and the Garfield sag on Sunday during the ARRC outing to Alliance and Sebring when we heard a 14N get a track warrant to go east on the Bayard line.

Traffic on the Bayard line is sparse, which is unfortunate because there is some nice scenery to be had on it.

We immediately changed our plans and headed out to intercept the 14N. I’ve been on the Bayard line once and that was back in 2011. Marty last photographed a train on the Bayard line during the Conrail era.

Marty’s first thought was to get the train from one of the bridges over the tracks south of Alliance. But he changed his mind, deciding instead to head for Moulrie where there is a grain facility and a dairy farm on a hillside east of the tracks.

With the help of a DeLorme atlas, we found our way to the site, turned around, parked, and got out to wait.

A herd of cows made their way down the hillside toward the tracks as the sun played hide and seek. It was a peaceful, serene setting.

We didn’t have to wait long before hearing a distant air horn signaled the approach of the 14N. This was the 14N from the day before and not to be confused with another 14N that had left Elkhart, Ind., on Sunday morning with the Central of Georgia heritage locomotive in the lead.

This 14N has a long, heavy train powered by a brace of five locomotives, two of which were Union Pacific units.

Alas, the sun went behind the clouds as the motive power passed in front of our lenses. But I was satisfied with what I got. It would be nice to have had more traffic on this line because it seems to have many good photo possibilities.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Bayard line is often used to route slow heavy trains away from the Fort Wayne Line.

The Bayard line is often used to route slow heavy trains away from the Fort Wayne Line.

The Union Pacific locomotives added color to the motive power consist.

The Union Pacific locomotives added color to the motive power consist.

Presumably, the owner of the daily farm lives in that nice house up the hill.

Presumably, the owner of the daily farm lives in that nice house up the hill. Or maybe it’s just another farm.

Gondolas brought up the rear amid rolling hillsides.

Gondolas brought up the rear amid rolling hillsides.

Amtrak Summer Skeds to Stay Until October

August 27, 2014

The modified schedule for Amtrak’s Michigan trains that was imposed for summer track will continue through late September.

The track work is being conducted in western Michigan and affects the Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service and the Chicago-Port Huron, Mich., Blue Water.

Primarily affected is westbound No. 365, the Blue Water. Wolverine passengers traveling from western Michigan points to Chicago will continue to have an additional eastbound trip on Sundays and an additional westbound trip on Mondays through Sept. 30. Regular Wolverine Service and Blue Water schedules will resume on Oct. 1. The schedule of the Chicago-Grand Rapids, Mich., Pere Marquette is not affected.


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