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/

It Survived Into the CSX Era

May 26, 2022

Baltimore & Ohio GP9 No. 6548 waits for its next call to duty in Willard on Sept. 2, 1978. Built in July 1967, the unit would survive into the CSX era.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

South Shore Project to Begin June 1

May 26, 2022

Work is expected to get underway soon on construction of the West Lake Corridor commuter rail corridor in Northwest Indiana.

The eight-mile corridor will expand South Shore Line service from Hammond, Indiana, to Dyer, Indiana.

Michael Noland, president of the Northern Indiana Transportation Commuter District, told the agency’s board of directors that construction of the West Lake Corridor will begin June 1.

The $6.6 million project is expected to be completed within three years after construction begins.

As part of the project, workers will need to build bridges over the Grand Calumet River and various freight railroad lines in the region.

The corridor will have an intermediate station in Munster. The route uses right of way of the former Monon Railroad.

When completed, the South Shore trains will operate between Dyer and Chicago.

During the board meeting, Nolan also provided an update on the double tracking project of the main South Shore line between Michigan City and Gary.

He said work is on scheduled to be completed between Michigan City and Dune Park in Porter by the end of the year. The project will eliminate street running in Michigan City.

In the meantime, the South Shore is using buses to transport riders between the Michigan City Carroll Avenue station and Dune Park. Nolan said the bus bridge operation has carried 23,000 passengers since late February.

The next phase of the double-tracking project will involve the Dune Park-Gary segment where passengers there will rides buses as construction progresses.

The double track project is expected to be finished in 2024.

Going Back to Early Conrail in Canton

May 24, 2022

We’ve dialed the wayback machine to the early Conrail era for the Fort Wayne Line. Here we see Conrail helpers 7034 and 2420 awaiting their next assignment. They are in the Conrail yard in Canton on June 29, 1978.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Warwick Tower Two for Tuesday

May 23, 2022

If you can’t get enough Western Maryland motive power we have a treat for you on two for Tuesday. In the top image WM No. 7549 leads a westbound train past Warwick Tower in September 1982. Trailing is Baltimore & Ohio No. 4233.

In the bottom image Chesapeake & Ohio No. 4825 leads another westbound. This image was made from inside the open space between the tower and the tracks that today is off limits to railfans. That area can easily be seen in the top photo.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Stone Train in Kent Two for Tuesday

May 23, 2022

The wayback machine has taken us back to a time when mainline Class 1 freight trains still often had standard cab locomotives, when there were still pole lines in place even if not in use, and when traffic on the CSX New Castle Subdivision was more frequent than it is today.

We’re standing on the bridge carrying Middlebury Road over the tracks on the southwest side of Kent. A westbound stone train is headed back to the quarry in western Ohio to pick up another load of limestone. I believe this train delivered stone that was unloaded at the nearby Shelly Materials facility.

Both images above were made on Sept. 16, 2007, and scanned from slide film.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

ARRC May Program Features Michigan Railroads

May 23, 2022

The Akron Railroad Club will kick off the Memorial Day weekend with a program on Michigan railroads at its May meeting on Friday.

Brian Szemon will present digital images of Michigan railroads spanning an area south of Interstate 96 from Grand Rapids to Detroit.

This will include trains traveling lines formerly operated by the Chesapeake & Ohio (former Pere Marquette), and Canadian National (former Grand Trunk Western’s Flint Subdivision. Also shown will be operations on the Great Lakes Central.

Brian is an Andover resident who has been railfanning since childhood and recalls trips to Conneaut during his younger years.

The meeting will begin at 8 p.m. in the social hall of the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

After the business meeting the program will get underway at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Ohio Rail Experience Sets 3 Trips in 2022

May 23, 2022

The Ohio Rail Experience has announced that it will offer three all-day trips this year, all of then running on two weekends in September.

The Spirit of Urbana is set for Sept. 10, operating from Washington Court House to Urbana and return. The next day the Lima Limited will run from Springfield to Lima and return.

On Sept. 17 the Return to the Big Four will operate from Cincinnati to Greensburg, Indiana, and return.

Tickets are expected to go on sale within the next 14 days.

The Ohio Rail Experience is a project of Cincinnati Scenic Railway, which operatives the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad in Lebanon.

More information is available at https://www.ohiorailexperience.com/2022-schedule

Class 1s Tell STB Service Recovery Plans

May 23, 2022

Four Class 1 railroads have filed with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board their plans to improve their freight service.

All of them said they have hired and are training new conductors as the carriers seek to return their service to more normal levels.

The carriers have been saying for months that crew shortages have hindered their ability to meet the expectations of their shippers.

The recovery plans were recently ordered by the STB following hearings in late April focusing on service issues the railroads have been having.

Regulators also directed the railroads to provide more information regarding their performance metrics, including local spot and pull performance as well as on-time performance within 24 hours of the original estimated time of arrival for carloads and intermodal trains.

In its six-page plan, CSX said it expects to return to 2019 service levels by the end of the year and has set a goal of 80 percent on-time performance for merchandise traffic.

Currently, CSX merchandise traffic has a 69 percent on-time rate while intermodal has been above 95 percent.

CSX said its local spot and pull performance was 83 percent for the week ending May 13.

It also said another goal is to increase average train speed by 7 percent and reduce terminal dwell by 10 percent over the next six months.

 “CSX’s service recovery focus is primarily on conductor hiring and resolving crew shortage issues in certain locations on the network,” the carrier wrote. “Adding more [motive] power to through trains would not improve service performance for CSX.”

Norfolk Southern submitted a seven-page plan that expressed uncertainty about being able to return to 2019 service levels within the next six months.

Currently, NS said, its on-time rate for merchandise traffic is 48 percent. The plan said that such things as average train speed, terminal dwell time, local service performance, and on-time performance are affected by a multitude of factors. Therefore, setting any targets or making any forecasts would be “speculative at best.”

“Where trains are not meeting expected schedules, Norfolk Southern has relaxed certain energy management tools and Norfolk Southern will continue to do so where appropriate and where it would have a positive impact on network fluidity,” NS wrote.

Bruder Elected Chairman of CN Board

May 23, 2022

Shauneen Bruder has been elected as chairman of the board of directors of Canadian National.

She previously served as  executive vice president of operations at the Royal Bank of Canada until retiring in October 2019.

Bruder has been a CN director since 2017. As CN chairman, Bruuder succeeds Robert Pace.

The board also elected as new directors David Freeman, Robert Knight and Susan Jones. Re-elected to the board were Jo-ann dePass Olsovsky, Denise Gray, Justin Howell, Kevin Lynch, Margaret McKenzie, Robert Phillips, and CN President and CEO Tracy Robinson.

The board is seeking a francophone — or someone who speaks French — who would be a Quebec-based director. CN has hired a Montreal search firm to help recruit that candidate.

EL Monday: UBoat in Akron

May 23, 2022

Erie Lackawanna U25B No. 2509 is eastbound in Akron in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The train is passing the EL passenger station.

Photograph by Robert Farkas