Posts Tagged ‘Conrail’

Lots of Good Railfan Memories on Crown Branch

July 29, 2014
Conrail 7902 was my first railfan picture.

Conrail 7902 was my first railfan picture.

My chase of the Nickel Plate heritage locomotive up the Crown Secondary of Norfolk Southern on Sunday morning reminded me of past chases and trips on this branch.

My first railfan picture was taken at Twinsburg back in 1985.  It was Conrail 7902, a GP38 taken on a 110-mm film camera.

Back then the yard was much busier with crews running several shifts if not around the clock.  The now dismantled Chrysler stamping plant (the reason the branch was built) was running full production.

I have visited the yard many times throughout the years and found it to be a microcosm of the Northeast rail industry in general.

Built in the late 1950′ as part of the postwar economic boom, it has fallen victim to economic decline and a resurgence of sorts.

The Crown branch primarily served the aforementioned Chrysler plant and an adjacent industrial park. This plant’s closing severely hurt traffic levels on the branch.

Shelly Materials is another customer located on the line, which keeps it from being abandoned.

Here are a few of my photos from the Conrail era (including my first one) into the early years of the NS takeover when the branch was in full swing.  I even got a three-way meet one day.

Article and Photograph by Todd Dillon

The early 2000s after the NS takeover.

The early 2000s after the NS takeover.

CR 7635 a rarity, a former GP35 rebuilt as a GP38-2.  This was to be the pilot for a capital rebuild program but ended up being the only example.

CR 7635 a rarity, a former GP35 rebuilt as a GP38-2. This was to be the pilot for a capital rebuild program but ended up being the only example.

Just a typical Conrail era photo from the early 1990s.

Just a typical Conrail era photo from the early 1990s.

A former PRR auto parts boxcar like this one populated the yard when Chrysler was operating.

A former PRR auto parts boxcar like this one populated the yard when Chrysler was operating.

A recent photo after the Chrysler plant shut down.

A recent photo after the Chrysler plant shut down.

 

NS 8100 (NKP) Passes a Backward Conrail Logo

July 14, 2014

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I managed to catch NS train 20R on Friday close to work at the Egbert Road bridge in Bedford. I elected for the overhead photo to minimize the high sun harsh shadows that occur in the afternoons in the summer. It appeared that a “rogue railfan” of some sort had found a can of spray paint and applied a backwards wheels on rails, Conrail logo and “quality” on a cut section box. I guess if there is going to be graffiti, might as well be railroad related, even if it’s done wrong.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

 

Conrail Historical Group Restoring Caboose

June 20, 2014

A former Erie Lackawanna C-368 caboose is getting a coat of Conrail blue courtesy of the Conrail Historical Society.

The car was originally Conrail N7E caboose No. 21165, which Conrail inherited when it began operations on April 1, 1976.

One of 20 cabooses built for the EL in November 1970 by the International Car Co. of Kenton, Ohio, Conrail reconditioned the car in September 1976.

By the end of 1984 No. 21165 was stored in Reading, Pa., awaiting sale. A private owner purchased the caboose and moved it to Sands Point, N.Y., on Long Island where it sat until 2007 when it was donated to the Conrail group. The car was then moved to Pennsylvania where the it is being repainted.

The caboose, among the last new cabooses acquired by the EL, is being restored to its early 1980s appearance, including trust information painted on the upper portion of the car in small lettering.

Time Just Marches on Near Brady Lake

December 1, 2013

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Here are a pair of “then and now” photos taken near Brady Lake. The Conrail train is westbound and has a non-dynamic Chicago & North Western GP35 leader from the early Conrail “beg, borrow or steal” motive power philosophy

I’m sure that junker was a real treat for the engineer as he made his way west up and down the not so flat KM Division.

Check out that load behind the power. That was October 1978.

Fast forward to November 2013. It is hard to tell that a railroad even ran there. The bridge that I took the Conrail train photo from became a fill once the line was removed. The track is now a meandering walking path. Time (and nature) marches on. 

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Conrail Would Have been 37 Today

April 1, 2013

Today would have been Conrail’s 37th birthday had it continued to exist as an independent company. Conrail came into existence on April 1, April 1976.  Here’s a photo of some things that no longer exist.

Conrail locomotive No. 5040 was the locomotive used on the header of Conrail stock certificates. The old PRR signal bridge is at milepost 83 in Alliance, Ohio, and is no longer in existence.

Photograph by Dan Davidson

More Kent Conrail (and EL and B&O) Nostalgia

March 21, 2013
A caboose meet in downtown Kent in January 1979. Note the old Home Savings sign.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

One Spring Day in Kent in 1986

March 20, 2013

It was a spring day in May 1986. Conrail local WYAL is switching the Star of the West Mill in Kent. The tracks once belong to the Erie Lackawanna, nee Erie Railroad.

Conrail No. 7520 is a GP10 that was formerly Penn Central/Pennsylvania Railroad No. 7030. This unit came from a series of rebuilt geeps that Conrail had that were very common yard and local power at that time.

Next there is a siding that is now a driveway and I managed to include my car in the photos. It was a 1971 AMC Ambassador and it brings back memories.

Then there are the people. The conductor is Clyde Flint and the railfan in the top photo (wearing  shorts) is Steve Locher.

I did not know either one of them when I took this photo. However, when I posted these photos on Flickr a few years ago, I got a response from Steve. He related how he used to watch and sometimes ride with the crew as they switched in Kent.

He was a 16-year-old high school student then. At 18 I wasn’t much older. Steve now lives in Columbus.

As it turns out, this was the only time that I caught a local in Kent during the Conrail days. I have shot many Akron Barberton Cluster Railway trains here in recent years and have included a modern photo from the same location for comparison.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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New Rail Line to Begin in SE Ohio

January 25, 2013

A new short line railroad is set to begin operations on April 1 in southeastern Ohio. Trains magazine reported on Thursday that the 12.2-mile Ohio Terminal Railway will connect with Norfolk Southern and provide rail access to the Hannibal Industrial Park in Monroe County.

Ohio Terminal, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carload Express, Inc., will also serve an Ormet aluminum plant. The rail line, which has been dormant for a decade, extends between Powhattan and Omal along the Ohio River and connects with NS at Powhattan.

Plans for reviving the railroad were announced in late 2012. The railroad expects to carry sand, concrete, and other materials used in Monroe County’s Marcellus and Utica Shale formations.   Carload Express operates three other short line railroads in Ohio, northern West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania: the Allegheny Valley Railroad, Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad, and Camp Chase Railroad.

Ohio Terminal will be the only rail service in the county, which is located in a highly productive “wet” gas and oil producing portion of the Utica and Marcellus shale fields.

The railroad line was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad to serve an aluminum plant at Hannibal, Ohio, and later became part of Conrail, which sold it to the Ormet Corp. In 2007, Hannibal Real Estate acquired the former Ormet rolling mills at Hannibal. The transaction included the operating rights of the rail line.

Penn Central and Conrail Heritage ‘Unit”

January 6, 2013

While at Berea on Saturday afternoon I spotted this covered hopper that sported a dual heritage of Penn Central and Conrail. The PC heritage is obvious given the green paint and the Penn Central logo and name.

But look in the upper left hand corner of this car and you will see that someone has painted out a Conrail logo and markings.

I also noticed that someone painted out what appeared to be lettering above the Penn Central identification and my first thought was that had been the Conrail name. But there are just five letters painted out and Conrail has six letters. So I don’t know what it was that painted out there. Something else was painted out in the upper right hand corner of the car as well.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Cleveland Line Flashbacks

December 10, 2012
Conrail Nos. 7029 and 7322 pull empty stone hoppers off the Hugo Stone lead in Brady Lake. Note the caboose left on the mainline back near the former Lake Erie & Pittsburg bridge in this October 1977 scene shot from the Lake Rockwell Street bridge.

Conrail Nos. 7029 and 7322 pull empty stone hoppers off the Hugo Stone lead in Brady Lake. Note the caboose left on the mainline back near the former Lake Erie & Pittsburg bridge in this October 1977 scene shot from the Lake Rockwell Street bridge.

Over the years I’ve spent my fair share of time along the former Pennsylvania Railroad Cleveland Line in the Macedonia/Hudson/Brady Lake and beyond areas. In the 1970s this line had yet to be upgraded to the fast intermodal route that it is today. Mineral trains and locals were the bulk of the traffic you could expect to see. In these four photos we’ll see a sample of both both.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

In February 1979 we are again looking west from the Lake Rockwell Street bridge as a CEI empty hopper train returns east for another load.

In February 1979 we are again looking west from the Lake Rockwell Street bridge as a CEI empty hopper train returns east for another load.

In the 1960s and 1970s big Alcos could often be seen hauling trains along the Cleveland Line. Former Penn Central C630 No. 6775 teams up with C636 No. 6785 on a train of ore in February 1979.

In the 1960s and 1970s big Alcos could often be seen hauling trains along the Cleveland Line. Former Penn Central C630 No. 6775 teams up with C636 No. 6785 on a train of ore in February 1979.

It's Aug. 6, 1982, and Conrail local WYAL-1 works past Bayard Tower with some hoppers. Although I hesitated taking the shot due to it being a bit against the sun, I wanted to include the tower. I am glad that I did as it was leveled a few years later.

It’s Aug. 6, 1982, and Conrail local WYAL-1 works past Bayard Tower with some hoppers. Although I hesitated taking the shot due to it being a bit against the sun, I wanted to include the tower. I am glad that I did as it was leveled a few years later.


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