Morning light catches the Nickel Plate Road 765 as it smokes and steams it up while crossing the Cuyahoga River.
When I left home last Sunday to chase the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 as it finished its two-week visit to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad I had modest plans.
I wanted to be near Deep Lock Quarry to get the southbound morning trip out of Boston Mill. I had wanted to photograph the 765 there on Sunday, Sept. 7, but that didn’t work out. I then set my sights on last Saturday, but that didn’t work out either as I found Indigo Lake more appealing.
So an image near Deep Lock was my top priority when I arrived in the valley. My other plan was to get the 765 from Riverview Road across a field north of Boston Mill. It is goldenrod season and I haven’t shot that many broad perspectives of the 2-8-4 visitor from Indiana.
I like the Deep Lock Quarry location because trains coming out of Peninsula are climbing a grade. The 765 sounds great coming past here.
I had staked out this position last year and been pleased with the results. The first trip out of Boston Mill was at 10:15 a.m. and by then the sun was high up enough to get over the trees and provide illumination through the gaps, one of which is the Cuyahoga River.
I was more than pleased with the results. I would get what turned out to be my favorite image of the day of the 765 in action.
After moving a little closer to the Cuyahoga River bridge, I waited for the 765 to return and ended up getting what might be my second favorite image of the day of the 765 just after it crossed the river.
With the 765 gone, I was left with the question of “now what?” The next trip would be at 12:30 p.m. but it seemed too early to get into position along Riverview Road north of Boston Mill.
The operating plan was to go south, then go north and then go south again out of Boston Mill for the one-hour excursions.
I drove in the direction of Boston Mill not sure where to hang out to kill time. The regular CVSR Scenic train was coming up from Akron and the 765 and its train would need to get out of the way.
I figured the 765 would pull down to Peninsula and the trains would meet there. I could get photos of the meet. But by the time I hatched this plan I had already driven past Peninsula and Boston Mill was just ahead.
On a whim I pulled into the parking area at Boston Mill station and thought I’d get some crowd shots. It was then that I learned that the 765 was about to do a photo runby.
“OK,” I thought. “After the runby they would continue to Peninsula to get out of the way of the Scenic train,” which I could hear on the radio was just about into Peninsula.
But the 765 and its train stopped just after clearing the Boston Mill station. They weren’t going to go to Peninsula, at least not now. But what were they going to do?
I started walking briskly toward my car, still unsure of my next move. I heard a crew member say on the radio, “let’s go to Fitz.” That was where they would get out of the way of the Scenic train.
That was good news for me because it would result in an extra run at steam past Brecksville and the concrete arched Ohio Route 82 bridge. I had yet to photograph the 765 there this year at ground level. Good thing that I had not gone to Peninsula.
Problem was, though, that I had forgotten where I had parked. I was so fixated on the train leaving that I walked past my car.
When the train rolled by I thought I had blown it. Although the 765 had a head start, I managed to get to Brecksville just ahead of it and had just enough time to get out and fire away as the 765 trekked northward. The northbound Scenic wasn’t far behind.
There were a handful of railfan photographers on the scene, including Dave Hanna and Akron Railroad Club member Dave Kachinko.
We talked about where we thought the 12:30 p.m. train would meet the southbound Scenic. It could be Peninsula or it could be Fitzwater. I was hoping it would be the latter.
I predicted that the southbound 765 ferry move would reach Brecksville at 12:15. My prediction was almost dead on, about two minutes before my predicted time.
The photos at Brecksville were bonus coverage.
I had plenty of time to get into position along Riverview for my second planned photo location. I got it, too, although the sun had gone behind a cloud.
Rather than wait for the 765 to come by again I headed back to Brecksville with the intent of photographing the train coming across Chippewa Creek.
I just barely got to Brecksville as the train was approaching the station. I pulled off onto the grassy shoulder alongside the entrance road. I had time to get into place to make an image of the station and the Route 82 bridge along with the 765.
On the other side of the creek, I found fellow ARRC officer Edward Ribinskas, ARRC member Dennis Taksar and Dennis’s dad. I had met the elder Taksar at Deep Lock Quarry that morning.
The southbound CVSR Scenic gave us a chance to try some angles and check how they looked.
The sun was out as the 765 crossed the creek and I was pleased with the results. Maybe one of these was my second favorite image of the day.
I had to be home by late afternoon, but there was time for one more photo location to get the 2:30 p.m. trip passing southward through Peninsula.
On the spur of the moment, I decided to pull off Riverview Road beneath the Interstate 271 bridge. Some other fans had the same idea and I walked down to the area beneath the bridge to join them.
The 765 crew had cut the smoke plume shortly after passing Boston Mill station but right before the locomotive reached our small group it began smoking nicely again. Was that because the crew couldn’t resist putting on a small show for the photographers?
I wanted to get the 765 coming out of the notch in the trees on the north side of Peninsula. The lighting favored the west side of the tracks, but I wanted to be on the east side. So I broke a rule or two to get my last images of the day.
It had turned into a much busier day with more photo locations than I had expected to get. I never opened the Trains magazine that I brought along to read to kill time between runs. And that was fine with me.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
Headed back north near Deep Lock Quarry. It is one of my favorite places to photograph on the CVSR.
There’s just enough smoke and steam, along with a bright headlight, to suggest that the 765 is coming toward me rather than going away. The train has just crossed the Cuyahoga River south of Peninsula.
I considered this a “bonus” photo runby at Brecksville. The 765 and its empty train are ferrying from Fitzwater to Boston Mill to be ready for the 12:30 p.m. excursion, which would retract the train’s route back to Fitzwater.
It’s nearly fall and the goldenrod is growing. The location is along Riverview Road north of Boston Mill. The 765 is backup toward Fitzwater.
At the last minute I “saw” this shot and was able to get it. I had photographed the 765 at this pond last year, although I was much closer to the water then.
I was surprised that just one lone on-looker was standing on the platform at Brecksville when the middle excursion made the northward trek to Fitzwater shops.
A lot of steam locomotives have cast smoke upon the Route 82 bridge over the decades.. When built in the 1930s, the Baltimore & Ohio below was all steam.
The inscription in the concrete at the north end of the bridge below the tender reads “1948,” but much of this bridge was rebuilt earlier this year.
Putting on show for the customers during the photo runby at Boston Mill following the conclusion of the middle trip of the day.
Note the smoke rings as the 765 comes through the smoke-filled notch in the trees on the north side of Peninsula.
I broke a rule or two about lighting to get this image, but it had the angle and location that I wanted. I also like how the steam and smoke blend in with the puffy white clouds in the sky.