A caboose meet in downtown Kent in January 1979. Note the old Home Savings sign.
I thought with all the interest in the railroad photos taken around Kent and posted on the Akron Railroad Club blog lately that I’d toss in a few from my early days of rail photography in that area.
The Erie Lackawanna/Conrail and the Chessie were busy of course, but the ex-Norfolk & Western line that the Wheeling & Lake Erie and the Akron Barberton Cluster run on today was dormant for years through Kent.
Conrail soon eliminated the inter-divisional runs that the EL had, which had all trains change crews in Kent. It was sad to watch the remains of the former EL slowly get quieter and weed infested as the 1970s ended.
Once the through trains were removed in late 1980 it was just that local out of Leavittsburg that served Ravenna and Kent from the Youngstown area.
Back then the Star of the West Milling facility was Williams Brothers and there was a tank car lining facility located beside Mogadore Road. Both businesses were switched often.
There was a short time when Kent was served by a local out of Alliance off the Cleveland & Pittsburgh (now the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern).
A connection was built about a mile east of the Towner’s Woods area where the EL and the C&P were side by side. The connection had hand-throw switches. Although I photographed the tracks, I never caught a train using them.
For me, Kent has always been one of those places that is nice just to hang out and wait for trains, and remains so today. I guess as long as trains still roll along the Cuyahoga and pass in front of the old Kent station you’ll find me there, camera in hand.
Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee
An EL local passes in front of a boarded up ex Erie passenger station in downtown Kent in December 1975.
A Conrail westbound waits for a new crew at Crain Avenue on a really nice winter day in February 1979. We were really dig’n that blue Alco C636.
A Conrail eastbound passes Williams Brothers Grain Co in downtown Kent in February 1978.
An EL local crosses Ravenna Road and blows past Brady Tower before this area had become Towner’s Woods Park.
In one of the more interesting trains to pass through Kent, 12 dead GG1 electrics sit at the Summit Street crossing on the former EL in April 1979. They were bound for a scrapper in Hubbard, Ohio. That’s the tank car lining building in the background.
It was hard to beat this November 1977 early Conrail power set. Four matched ex-EL Alco C-424s depart Kent eastbound on their home road. The B&O is below that girder bridge under the third unit.
One of only two ex-Reading Lines Alco C-430s and the only one of the two to get full blue waits for a new crew at the east end of the former Erie yards in Kent. It’s a typical “dog’s breakfast” of an early Conrail power consist.
B&O 4230 leads the Philly Jet eastbound past the old B&O freight station. This station was removed a couple of years ago.
A colorful westbound grain train passes the former B&O station in Kent. You can see the former Erie station up on the hill in the background.
A detouring Chessie westbound passes the former Erie Kent depot on a hazy July 1977 day.
A classy looking black and gold Western Maryland unit leads a westbound through Kent. You can see the dam/waterfall stonework since the falls is dry on this day in May 1977.