Welcome to Akron Railroads

March 2, 2009

Welcome to Akron Railroads, formerly known as the Akron Railroad Club Blog, a site once connected with the Akron Railroad Club. The ARRC meets every month but December in Akron, Ohio, at the New Horizons Christian Church.

This site is not formally connected with the ARRC but instead serves as an archive of past postings about ARRC meetings and activities as well as railfanning adventures and photographs posted by some members.

Also included in the site are historical overviews of the railroads of Akron and Northeast Ohio as well as some news and information about current railroad operations in that region.

For more up to date information about the ARRC, visit the club’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AkronRailroadClub/

EL Monday: One Day at Brier Hill Yard

May 29, 2023

George Cheatwood caught Conrail No. 2489 still in Erie Lackawanna colors in the ex-EL Brier Hill Yard in Girard on April 22, 1978. The unit once wore EL roster number 2415. 

NTSB Sets Hearings in East Palestine

May 29, 2023

A two-day hearing has been set for June 22-23 in East Palestine to take testimony as part of the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board of a Feb. 3 Norfolk Southern derailment in the town located near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.

The hearings, to be held at East Palestine High School, will begin at 9 a.m.

In a news release, NTSB officials said the hearings will focus on hazard communications and emergency responder preparedness for the initial emergency response; the circumstances that led to the decision to vent and burn five rail tank cars carrying vinyl chloride; freight car bearing failure modes and wayside detection systems; and tank car derailment damage, crashworthiness, and hazardous materials package information.

The hearings are open to the public but only NTSB board members, investigators, scheduled witnesses and parties to the hearing will be allowed to participate.

Steamtown to Host Rail Festival on June 17

May 29, 2023

A rail festival has been set for June 17 at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Admission to the museum that day will be free and there will be no charge to ride short excursions being operated that day.

The event hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A complimentary shuttle service will operate between Steamtown and Scranton Iron Furnaces.

In conjunction with the rail festival the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum will hold its Arts on Fire event

Activities planned for the rail festival include short train rides, the Scranton Limited yard shuttle and the Caboose Hop experience, cab tours of Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4012 and Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 2317, tours of Mattes Street Tower, and demonstrations in the locomotive shop, and “Ring of Fire” demonstrations.

Fine Day Railfanning in Wine Country

May 28, 2023

An eastbound CSX strack train passes a sitting westbound manifest freight outside North East, Ohio.

Ed Ribinskas and I got together last Thursday to do some railfanning in the wine country around North East, Pennsylvania, and in Conneaut, Ohio.

Our primary objective was to spend time at Bort Road just outside of North East.

The one lane wood deck bridge remains in place despite efforts by highway department officials over the years to remove it and replace it with a new bridge closer to North East.

I don’t know where those plans stand or even if they are active.

Bort Road long has been a favorite railfan hangout location where you can photograph trains on the CSX Erie West Subdivision from the bridge and on the Lake Erie District of Norfolk Southern. The lines are of New York Central and Nickel Plate Road vintage respectively.

We arrived around 9:45 a.m. to find the rear of a westbound CSX manifest freight sitting to the west of the bridge.

Although we never learned the details, it appeared that CSX was single tracking west of North East.

Shortly thereafter a relatively short eastbound CSX strack train came rushing through. The westbound manifest then moved on and to our displeasure CSX then went into a siesta that lasted for more than two hours.

CSX is by far the busier of the two railroads here so that was not good news.

However, NS came to life around 10:30 a.m. when a four-car eastbound local came by.

The crew of the local talked with the dispatcher about working in Ripley, New York. That conversation yielded the news that two westbounds were coming on NS.

The first of those showed up in relatively short order and appeared to be calling the symbol 18N, which we believed to be the Buffalo, New York, to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh train.

However, in looking at online listings of NS train symbols the 18N is shown as originating in Conway and operating to New Jersey. The Buffalo to Conway train is 15M so maybe we misheard the symbol. It sure sounded like 18 and not 15.

Behind that train was the 309 but the train that operates from East Binghamton, New York, to Elkhart, Indiana, was held while the local did its work in and near Ripley.

Whatever the case, we endured a lull that lasted until about 12:30 p.m. when the 309 came past led by a lone BNSF unit.

The CSX lull finally began to break at 12:45 p.m. the same time I had been planning to leave to go to the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East to check out what was new before heading to Conneaut.

But CSX came back to life right around the time I planned to leave, sending the I002 eastward.

Shortly thereafter came a third NS westbound that caught us by surprise. We never got the symbol of that train.

Then came a long westbound CSX stack train that stopped west of the bridge. As I suspected, it was waiting for an eastbound which turned out to be the empty trash train for the East Coast.

As we arrived at the museum in North East, a westbound CSX manifest freight was passing by.

New to the collection since was my last visit was GEAC60CW No. 6002 in a GE livery.

We were dismayed to see how badly faded the paint was on the former Chesapeake & Ohio B30-7 No. 8272, which arrived at the museum in 2017 freshly repainted in a Chessie System livery.

Also looking the worse for wear was New York Central U25b No. 2800.

I suppose that locomotive that sit out in the elements all year long are going to lose some of their luster in time.

From the museum we made our way to Conneaut to check out the progress of the new bridge NS is building over Conneaut Creek.

During our time there we saw one eastbound leave town on NS. CSX sent an eastbound and westbound past us as we sat next to the Conneaut Historical Society across the tracks from the Conneaut railroad museum.

It was time for us to call it a day and head to Geneva where we met up with our respective spouses for dinner at the Old Mill Winery. While there we saw though the windows of the restaurant one of those NS westbound that we had photographed earlier in the day at Bort Road.

It’s always nice to get “one more” to conclude the day.

Article by Craig Sanders, Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Steam Sunday: Photo Charter at Cass

May 28, 2023

Western Maryland No. 6 is shown in two views on May 11, 1985, on the Cass Scenic Railroad in West Virginia. No. 6 was ;leading a photo charter from Cass to Durbin on the former Chesapeake & Ohio Greenbrier Subdivision, which washed out in November 1985 and is just now being reopened after years of being rebuilt. This actually is the same image with one view showing the full scene and the other being a cropped version of that scene.

Photograph by Paul Woodring

First Outing of 2023

May 24, 2023

My first railfan photography outing of 2023 occurred on Jan. 19 in Clinton. In a rare occurrence, there were three trains in about 20 minutes. Here are four images from the outing.

In sequence they are CSX 861 leading a westbound. CSX 521 in on the point of an  eastbound passing the westbound home signal.

CSX 521 is shown in a roster shot and CSX 6415 with train L20 is pushing two cars east perhaps on their way to Jones Chemical near Barberton.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Conrail Two for Tuesday

May 23, 2023

In the top image Conrail No. 3218 is using the wrong main as it goes through Louisville near Alliance in January 1985. In the bottom image, Conrail 2016 is part of a helper pair in Limaville on Aug. 19, 1986.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

CSX Reaches 10th Pact on Sick Leave

May 23, 2023

CSX said this week it has reached a tentative agreement with another labor union on paid sick leave benefits.

The latest pact is with the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers-Transportation Division CSRA, which represents trainmen, conductors and yardmen on territories of the former A&WP, WSSP, L&N, NC&STL and SCL railroads, to provide paid sick leave benefits.

The Class 1 railroad said the agreement is the 10th sick leave agreement it has reached with its labor unions.

The SMART-TD CSRA pact is subject to ratification by members of that union.

In a statement, CSX said most of its unionized workers now have paid sick leave benefits.

N&W 611 Excursions to run Memorial Day Weekend

May 23, 2023

Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 No. 611 recently pulled a series of excursions on the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.

These included 45-minutes trips and an in-cab experience in which participants could ride in the cab of the J-class locomotive and either help fire or operate it as a member of the crew.

Additional in-cab experiences and excursions are planned for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Those will be the final evens involving the 611 at the Strasburg Rail Road before it departs for its home base in Virginia.

The 611 has been in Pennsylvania since 2021. A posting on Facebook said additional announcements about upcoming events involving the locomotive are pending. The 611 is owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke.

UP Big Boy to Operate to Omaha Next Month

May 23, 2023

The Union Pacific Big Boy steam locomotive will return to operation on June 7 during a trip to Omaha, Nebraska.

The famed 4-8-8-4 locomotive is making the trip, which has been billed as the Home Run Express Tour, in conjunction with the NCAA baseball College World Series, which will be held in Omaha for 11 days between June 15-25.

During the baseball tournament the 4014 will be on display near the ball park hosting the games. UP said the locomotive will make several whistle stops en route from Cheyenne, Wyoming, where the Big Boy is based, to Omaha.

The locomotive will return to Cheyenne on July 3. The planned en route stops include: June 7: Albin and LaGrange, Wyoming, overnight in Gering, Nebraska; June 8: Broadwater and Lemoyne, overnight in North Platte; June 10: Cozad, Kearney and Grand Island; and June 1: Columbus and Fremont.

During the return trip stops are planned as follows: June 29: Fremont, Columbus and Grand Island; June 30: Overton and Gothenburg, overnight in North Platte; July 2: Ogallala and Chappell, overnight in Sidney; July 3: Kimball, Nebraska, and Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.