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 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 few 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: April 24, 2015. Program by Roger Durfee

Next Activity: June 22, 2015. Longest Day Outing in Fostoria.

Still Some Orange Tunnel Motors on the B&LE

April 15, 2015
The classic image at Conneaut of a train coming out of the yard along Conneaut Creek now features Illinois Central SD70 locomotives.

The classic image at Conneaut of a train coming out of the yard along Conneaut Creek now features Illinois Central SD70 locomotives.

My “orange” streak on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie remains intact. By that I mean that I’ve yet to see a train on the Bessemer Subdivision of Canadian National that did not have at least one orange B&LE locomotive.

It also means that the days of all orange B&LE locomotive consists are probably past.

In late March, CN began assigning Illinois Central SD70 locomotives to its Bessemer Sub. Since then, the IC units have been the lead unit on many of the trains on the B&LE.

Online reports indicate that two of the 900 series SD40Ts still on the Bessemer Sub have been removed from service and are slated to be sent west for rehabilitation. Speculation is rampant that all of the tunnels motors will soon be gone.

But during a visit to the Bessemer last Saturday, I found a southbound train with two tunnel motors, Nos. 907 and 905, albeit in the trailing position.

I followed the train of empty coal hoppers from Conneaut to KO road near Osgood, Pa. Here is a sample of what I was able to get.

When the train departed Conneaut at 11 a.m., there were a dozen or so railfans lining the banks of Conneaut Creek or standing on the Old Main Street bridge.

There may a lot of discontent with the disappearance of the orange B&LE locomotives in favor of black IC units, but fans have been turning out in large numbers to document this transition period on the Bessemer.

At each photo stop I made, there were five or more other fans also on hand with license plates from Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Obstruction on the rails.

Obstruction on the rails.

Slowing to pick up a crew member at Old Main Street in Conneaut as well as to do a roll by inspection.

Slowing to pick up a crew member at Old Main Street in Conneaut as well as to do a roll by inspection.

Picking up speed at Pond Road just inside of Pennsylvania.

Picking up speed at Pond Road just inside of Pennsylvania.

Passing RX in Albion, Pa. By now it had become quite cloudy.

Passing RX in Albion, Pa. By now it had become quite cloudy.

On the north side of Conneautville, Pa. This was a new photo location for me.

On the north side of Conneautville, Pa. This was a new photo location for me.

Rolling past the wetlands and into Hartstown, Pa. The view is from the U.S. 322/Pennsylvania Route 18 bridge.

Rolling past the wetlands and into Hartstown, Pa. The view is from the U.S. 322/Pennsylvania Route 18 bridge.

Passing over the detector at Hartstown, Pa.

Passing over the detector at Hartstown, Pa.

Through the signal bridge at KO. It sure could use a new coat of paint.

Through the signal bridge at KO. It sure could use a new coat of paint.

About to cross KO Road near Osgood, Pa. With this image I headed back north, my chasing of the B&LE being done for the day.

About to cross KO Road near Osgood, Pa. With this image I headed back north, my chasing of the B&LE being done for the day.

PennDOT Seeking Transportation Project Ideas

April 15, 2015

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s  Office of Public-Private Partnerships (P3) is accepting proposals for transportation projects from the private sector until April 30.

Pennsylvania’s P3 law mandates that PennDOT and other transportation authorities and commissions may form partnerships with private companies to deliver, maintain and finance transportation projects.

PennDOT said it is seeking proposals for new ways to deliver transportation projects across a variety of modes, including rail, ports, roads, bridges and aviation. This might include facilities that the agency owns.

Proposals may include ideas for efficient management of transportation services and programs.

CSX Columbus Trains Detouring Through Marion

April 15, 2015

Bridge issues have CSX detouring some traffic via Marion to get to Columbus.

The detour was imposed after CSX inspectors found that one of the piers on the former Chesapeake & Ohio bridge south of Scioto Tower in Columbus had severely settled.

Track No. 2 was taken out of service and traffic on Track 1 is restricted to 10 m.p.h.

The line has no crossovers Scioto and River (located just south of the Scioto River bridge) to cross over traffic from Scottslawn Secondary (former Toledo & Ohio Central)

or the Midland Subdivision that would use Track 2 to get into Parsons Yard.

Eastbound trains on the Indianapolis Line that used to go south at Ridgeway on the T&OC are now being rerouted to Marion then around the connection to the ex-C&O.

The power than runs around the train and it then goes south to Columbus.

Some trains have been taken through Marion to Galion or Crestline where the power runs around the train before it proceeds southward on the Columbus Line.

 

 

Va. Museum Seeks Control of N&W 611 Trademarks

April 15, 2015

The trademarks of Norfolk & Western No. 611 may soon be the property of the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

The museum recently filed an initial application with the United States Trademark and Patent Office for trademark registration.

If approved, there will be a legal presumption of the Museum’s ownership of the 611 trademarks, including “Class J No. 611.”

The ownership would give the Virginia museum exclusive right to use these trademarks on or in connection with all the registered products, services, and media produced by the museum.

The J Class 4-6-4 steam locomotive is currently being restored to operating condition and is expected to run on Norfolk Southern rails this year.

A Few Images From Dave McKay Day in Berea

April 12, 2015
I had enough advance warning about the approach of the Q384 that I was able to get to the Front Street bridge in plenty of time to get the train. But that wind blowing had quite a bite to it.

I had enough advance warning about the approach of the Q384 that I was able to get to the Front Street bridge in plenty of time to get the train. But that wind blowing had quite a bite to it.

Last week we posted some photos taken by Richard Thompson during the 11th annual Dave McKay Day outing in Berea last Saturday. Here are a few of my favorite images from the outing. I arrived in Berea at about 7:30 a.m. and left nearly 12 hours later.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

The blue had faded, but I still managed to snag a piece of the rock, even if the Rock Island Railroad has been gone for several years.

The blue had faded, but I still managed to snag a piece of the rock, even if the Rock Island Railroad has been gone for several years.

On multiple occasions during the morning three trains were in the interlocking plant at the same time. Here, two trains meet on Norfolk Southern as an eastbound CSX stack train rounds the curve. On another occasion, NS had side-by-side westbounds while CSX also put a westbound through the plant.

On multiple occasions during the morning three trains were in the interlocking plant at the same time. Here, two trains meet on Norfolk Southern as an eastbound CSX stack train rounds the curve. On another occasion, NS had side-by-side westbounds while CSX also put a westbound through the plant.

I love that bright orange of a clean BNSF locomotive in the morning sun. This was the first of two eastbound crude oil trains that we saw in less an hour on CSX in around mid morning.

I love that bright orange of a clean BNSF locomotive in the morning sun. This was the first of two eastbound crude oil trains that we saw in less an hour on CSX in around mid morning.

The second crude oil train on CSX with BNSF motive power in less an hour in the morning.

The second crude oil train on CSX with BNSF motive power in less an hour in the morning.

This set of BNSF power was pulling tankers used to haul ethanol.

This set of BNSF power was pulling tankers used to haul ethanol.

The Loram rail grinder wasn't doing any grinding here. The operator showed off the strange sounding horn that I thought was an emergency vehicle on the street behind me.

The Loram rail grinder wasn’t doing any grinding here. The operator showed off the strange sounding horn that I thought was an emergency vehicle on the street behind me.

A friendly wave from he conductor of westbound Q149.

A friendly wave from he conductor of westbound Q149.

Competitors Case and New Holland share a flat car.

Competitors Case and New Holland share a flat car.

Nothing runs like a Deere, or so say their advertisements. A pair of Deeres with spare tires pass through on a NS manifest freight.

Nothing runs like a Deere, or so say their advertisements. A pair of Deeres with spare tires pass through on a NS manifest freight.

CSX Shuffles Duties of 3 vice presidents

April 12, 2015

CSX has shuffled the assignments among three of its vice presidents. David Baggs will assume the titles of vice president and treasurer in addition to his current title of vice president-capital markets and investor relations.

Baggs’ will assume his additional duties upon the retirement of David Boor, vice president-tax and treasurer.

Baggs will continue to report to Fredrik Eliasson, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

CSX also announced that it has appointed William “Rusty” Russell as vice president-tax and Bryan Rhode as Russell’s successor as vice president-internal audit.

Russell will report to Eliasson, and Rhode will report to Ellen Fitzsimmons, executive vice president-law and public affairs. All of the appointments become effective on July 1. Baggs joined CSX in 1985 and has served in leadership positions in economic analysis, business planning and corporate strategy.

He was among those who designed the company’s financial strategy that incorporates balanced capital investments in critical transportation infrastructure with competitive shareholder returns.

Boor has served CSX for the past 28 years, the last 10 in his current post. Rhode, who will lead the internal audit team, joined CSX in 2014 after serving as secretary of public safety for the Commonwealth of Virginia and as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.

He currently serves as CSX’s regional vice president-state government and community affairs, with responsibility for the Mid-Atlantic region. Russell joined CSX in 1996 and has served in senior leadership positions within the finance and internal audit organizations. Previously, Russell was assistant vice president-tax compliance.

Steamer Making Way by Highway to Cass Scenic

April 12, 2015

A truck has delivered the tender for Buffalo Creek & Gauley 2-8-0 No. 4 to the Cass Scenic Railroad as part of a plan to return the 1926 Baldwin-built steam locomotive to its home state for restoration.

The tender made a 275-mile journey by highway from Pocahontas County to the Cass Scenic.

During the next 30 days the locomotive’s cab, boiler, wheels and other components will also travel by highway to Cass from Spencer, N.C.

The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, which operates the Cass Scenic, expects to have No. 4 operating in 2016.

“Durbin & Greenbrier Valley is privileged to bring BC&G No. 4 back ‘home’ to West Virginia with the goal of finishing the project begun by the North Carolina Museum of Transportation,” said owner John Smith.

Restored in 1986, No. 4 was lettered and numbered as a replica for Southern Railway 2-8-0 No. 604.

It was used to pull 3-mile passenger excursions at the North Carolina museum through November 2001.

After the current restoration project is completed, No. 4 will appear as it did when it operated on the Buffalo Creek & Gauley Railroad.

Amtrak Establishing Grand Rapids Crew Base

April 12, 2015

The May 4 schedule change that will have the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marqutte operating on a new schedule is being done to give passengers more time in Chicago.

Amtrak also plans to open a crew base in Grand Rapids, Mich., which it expects will help to resolve the problem of the train departing late for Chicago due to the crew that brought in the train the night before needing more rest because of a late arrival.

At the present time, the Pere Marquette is assigned operating employees who are based in Chicago.

The new schedule of No. 371 will have it departing Grand Rapids more than an hour and a half earlier at 6 a.m. The departure time of No. 370 from Chicago has been moved back to 6:30 p.m. from 4:55 p.m.

Michigan residents will be able to spend more than nine hours in Chicago on business or pleasure. Current schedules allot about six hours of layover time.

Amtrak said the new schedule will also improve the reliability of eastbound connections from late long-distance trains.

The new schedule will place the Pere Marquette in close proximity to the schedule of Amtrak’s Chicago-Washington, D.C., Capitol Limited in both directions.

Officials with Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation, which helps to fund the Pere Marquette, hope that this will enable NS dispatcher to have an easier time creating routes for both trains on a freight-heavy line in and out of Chicago.

Al Johnson, MDOT’s Office of Rail passenger and operations manager, told Trains magazine that the state is studying additional frequencies for the Pere Marquette, Blue Water (Chicago-Port Huron, Mich.) and Wolverine Service (Chicago-Detroit) routes, but new trains cannot be implemented until NS completes the $71 million Indiana Gateway project between Chicago and Porter, Ind.

Amtrak issued its Spring-Fall 2015 system timetable on April 6 and most schedules have received only minor changes. The new timetable replaced the Summer-Fall 2014 schedule issued on June 9, 2014.

Restoration Work Begins on L&N 4-6-2 No. 152

April 12, 2015

Restoration of Louisville & Nashville 4-6-2 No. 152 got underway recently as volunteers began disassembling it in preparation for a 1,472-day inspection.

The inspection, mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration, was to have been done in 2012, but instead the 152 was retired.

The Kentucky Railway Museum, owner of the locomotive, plans to conduct an engineering study this year to determine what work needs to be done to the boiler and running gear.

If the museum can secure funding, it hopes to have the 152 restored by the middle of 2017.

Although the museum’s board of directors, members and friends have donated money to the project, the museum said that participation of a broad group of investors and supporters is needed to get the 152 running again.

No. 152 is one of three remaining L&N steam locomotives, two of which are housed at the Kentucky Railway Museum.

Built in 1905 by Rogers Locomotive Works, No. 152 pulled L&N passenger trains until its retirement in 1953. L&N donated the 152 to the Kentucky Railway Museum in 1957.

It took 13 years, but volunteers restored the 4-6-2 locomotive to operating condition in 1985.

The 152 was used in mainline excursions from 1986 through 1988, but after 1990 it operated on the museum’s 17-mile remnant of the former L&N Lebanon Branch. The last excursion with the 152 was conducted in fall 2011.

Reading 2100 May Be Restored in Cleveland

April 11, 2015

Reading Company 4-8-4 No. 2100 was a fixture on excursions in the East during the 1960s. But lately it has been stored on the West Coast.

Now plans have been announced to remove the locomotive from storage in Richland, Wash., and transport it by flat car to Cleveland for restoration.

Leading the effort is the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association. Members of the group recently inspected the 2100 and determined that it is in reasonable mechanical condition and suitable for return to service.

The group also plans to transport to Cleveland on a flatcar the 2100’s tender and an auxiliary tender.

No date has been announced for the move. The group was founded in 2005 and is also seeking to raise money to move Frisco steam locomotive to Cleveland from its current home in Taylorville, Ill., to be restored.

Built in 1945 in Reading, Pa., No. 2100 was known for pulling the Reading’s Iron Horse Rambles from 1959 to 1964. Further information is available at www.fireup2100.org


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