Welcome to the Akron Railroad Club Blog

March 2, 2009
The photo line is ready to capture an eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight with BNSF motive power during the July 2012 Akron Railroad Club picnic.

The photo line is ready to capture an eastbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight with BNSF motive power during the July 2012 Akron Railroad Club picnic in Bedford.

The Akron Railroad Club has about 80 members who meet monthly in Akron, Ohio, to share their passion for railroad operations and history.  On this blog you will find information about our meetings, activities, how to join us, and news about railroads and railroad oriented organizations.

ARRC logoOn 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 information about railroad operations and radio frequencies.

Many 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 and joining us. Dues are $16 yearly and include a subscription to the monthly newsletter, the Bulletin. We meet on the fourth Friday of the month at New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road in Akron. Visitors are always welcome at our meetings.

Next Meeting: September 22. Program by Todd Dillon.

Next Activity:December 2. End of Year Dinner.

Advertisements

Ed’s Trip to Pennsylvania (Part 2)

September 22, 2017

Everett Railroad No. 11 crossing the Little Juniata after departing Hollidaysburg.

After spending some time catching Amtrak and Norfolk Southern trains in downtown Altoona, we motored out to the Everett Railroad where we rode and chased.

After the train arrived at Roaring Springs, I drove back to Duncansville to an antique mall to check out the Alto Model Railroad, which is open on Saturday and Sunday. It was worth it with all scales represented with fabulous operating layouts.

Afterwards it was back to the Everett where the train returned and we got No. 11 heading to the wye to be turned.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Passing through Roaring Spring.

At Roaring Spring.

Nearing Martinsburg in the first of a two photo sequence. I talked with Jerry Jordak at this spot. He was chasing, also, then working his way to the Penn Central Historical Society Convention in Harrisburg.

Turning the locomotive on the wye.

Just west of Martinsburg on the return.

Arriving at Roaring Spring for water and ice cream stop.

Heading to the wye on the old Pennsy main, which used to head toward old Muleshoe Curve.

Heading into the wye. This track goes north to Altoona to connect at Alto tower.

New Train Serving Pittsburgh Intermodal Terminal

September 22, 2017

A new daily intermodal train is now operating between Norfolk, Virginia, and the just-opened CSX intermodal terminal in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.

The train is carrying double-stacked containers between the Port of Virginia to Richmond, where it gets onto the former Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad.

The train passes through Washington, using the newly completed Virginia Avenue tunnel, before heading west on the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline.

ITM Pursues Legal Action against HHPA

September 22, 2017

In a an email message sent to members and supporters, the Indiana Transportation Museum said it continues to pursue legal against the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority and other entities in regards to their not allowing ITM to use a rail line northeast of Indianapolis.

ITM contends that its rights to due process were denied by the HHPA when it declared the former Nickel Plate Road branch line as unsafe and it would not allow the ITM to operate its Fair Train and Polar Bear Express excursions.

The museum said it also has filed an amended request for a temporary restraining order in federal court asking the court prohibit HHPA and government entities from removing the rails of the line, awarding a contract to another operator, evicting ITM from Forest Park in Noblesville, and allowing ITM to operate the line under the original policy of use based upon satisfactory Federal Railroad Administration audits without violation.

If that motion is successful, it trigger 15 days of testimony and investigation resulting in either a preliminary or permanent restraining order.

ITM also announced that it is seeking an agreement to operate its Polar Bear Express trains between Logansport and Kokomo, Indiana, this winter.

The museum had announced earlier that it will have a presence in Logansport this fall and winter.

CSX Named to DJ Sustainability Index

September 22, 2017

CSX has made the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for North America for a seventh consecutive year.

The list recognizes sustainable and responsible business practices and CSX was the only U.S.-based railroad and one of three transportation companies included on the North American index.

In a news release, CSX said it was recognized for its performance in corporate governance, supply chain management, corporate citizenship and philanthropy, as well in the environmental areas of policy, management systems, fuel efficiency and operational eco-efficiency.

CSX Says Metrics Continue to Improve

September 21, 2017

Hurricane Irma may have caused some local problems for CSX, but the railroad told the U.S. Surface Transportation Board this week that the storm did not set it back in recovering from the service issues that have plagued the carrier since summer.

CSX executives said that terminal dwell improved for the seventh straight week, and average train velocity improved for the fourth week. In both cases, the metrics were adjusted to take into account the effects of Irma in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.
“Hurricane Irma did not interfere with broad recovery momentum,” CSX said in its presentation to the STB.

In advance of the hurricane, CSX evacuated 1,500 freight cars from Florida.

It held thousands of cars and nearly 200 trains as the storm lashed the Southeast. Service began to be restored within 24 hours of the storm moving out.

Workers removed 8,000 fallen trees from tracks and used more than 700 generators to provide power to signals and grade-crossings.

In its presentation to the STB, CSX said the average train speed of 15 mph was the highest it’s been in nine weeks, while average terminal dwell of 11.2 hours was the lowest it’s been in 14 weeks.

The 66-percent on-time arrival rate was the highest in nine weeks and equal to last year’s figure.

CSX said that it expects to complete repairs of hurricane damaged infrastructure this week as well as work off hurricane-related traffic backlogs.

Ed’s Trip to Pennsylvania (Part 1)

September 21, 2017

Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian arrives in downtown Altoona.

I didn’t do any chasing of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 this past weekend since I already had planned a trip to Altoona, Pennsylvania, with my friend Larry Luther.

On Friday, we did Horseshoe Curve and on Saturday we were in downtown Altoona for some Norfolk Southern and Amtrak action.

Later that day we rode the Everett Railroad to Brooke Mills then did a chase of its long excursion of the year to Martinsburg with the locomotive facing forward in both directions. I’ll be posting my images from that outing in multiple segments. Today will focus on the curve and Altoona.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Here comes the Virginian heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern leading train 20Q around Horseshoe Curve just before 5 p.m. on Sept. 15.

Getting up close and personal with NS 1069.

Cameras are out as the Virginian H unit rounds the curve.

On the other leg of the horseshoe as seen from the park.

Some Norfolk Southern action in Altoona.

Amtrak arrives into the Altoona station.

Best of the Rest (From the Picnic)

September 21, 2017

To borrow a line used by Paul Woodring to title a couple of his programs at Akron Railroad Club meetings, here are the best of the rest of the photographs that I made during the ARRC picnic this past Sunday.

I ended up spending all day at the picnic site, which is located along Riverview Road south of Peninsula in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I didn’t do any chasing of the Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765. Sometimes, it’s nice to let the steam locomotive come to you. And it did, four times.

The regular National Park Scenic train of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also passed by three times. So I photographed it, too.

So here are the best of the rest of my images from last Sunday.

FPA-4 No. 6771 wears its snazzy livery and pulled the Scenic northward during the weekend.

The first of two southbound passages of the Scenic past the Valley Picnic Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The second of two southbound runs of the Scenic.

The Scenic heads north for the final time of the day. About 20 minutes later the steam train would come charging north behind it.

Passengers in the Saint Lucie Sound look us over as their train rolls northbound in the afternoon. NKP 765 was trailing at this point, not pulling the train.

 

STB Sets New Date for CSX Hearing

September 21, 2017

A U.S. Surface Transportation Board hearing into CSX service issues has been set for Oct. 11.

The hearing, which the STB has termed a listening session, had been scheduled for Sept. 12, but was canceled due to the approach of Hurricane Irma.

Those interested in participating in the hearing have until Sept. 29 to notify the board.

The hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the board’s hearing room in Washington.

During the hearing, CSX managers will provide updated information about the railroad’s service recovery efforts.

However, much of the hearing is expected to feature shippers airing their grievances and views about how CSX service issues have affected their operations.

Among other problems, CSX has had issues with average train speed, terminal dwell time and on-time performance.

CSX contends that these metrics have improved during the late summer weeks, but many shippers counter that service remains subpar.

A Railfan Photographer Was Here

September 20, 2017

Earlier this year I was out with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler on a Sunday photo outing.

He had not been to the New London area for several years so we headed down that way.

One of our stops was the Biglow Parkway bride over the CSX Greenwich Subdivision tracks.

Although I’ve been in New London a few times in recent years, it has been more than a two since I’ve been on Biglow Parkway bridge.

There are high fences on both sides of the bridge, each with small chain link fencing.

On the north side of the bridge, though, someone had cut three holes to create portholes.

I presume it was a railfan photographer who did this and I don’t know how long these holes have been there.

But I took advantage of them to photograph three CSX trains.

House OKs $1.4B for Amtrak

September 20, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives has appropriated money to Amtrak, but not to TIGER grant funding.

The House last week approved a $2.1-trillion budget federal budget for fiscal year 2018.

The bill now goes to the Senate, which can accept it as is or pass its own budget with the differences being worked out in a House-Senate conference committee.

Amtrak funding in the bill is $1.4 billion, of which $1.1 billion is for the national network and $328 million for Northeast Corridor grants.

Lawmakers also approved $500 million for federal-state partnership for state of good repair grants.

Another $25 million was earmarked for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grants, which is down from $68 million in 2017.

The Federal Transit Administration Capital Investment Grant program would receive $1.75 billion, including $1 billion for funding grant agreement projects, and $145 million for core capacity projects. FTA’s “Small Starts” program would receive $182 million.