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: June 24. Program by Robert Farkas.

Next Activity: May 28. Member’s Night and Pizza Party.

Another Akron Landmark is Falling

April 28, 2016



Work continues on the demolition of the former Akron Brewing building near Voris Street in Akron. I’m sad to see this one go as it’s been in thousands of my photos over the years. I was happy to catch a trio of “tigers” passing it last week as the demolition started.

Photographs by Roger Durfee




Railroading as it Once Was: Running On the Erie Lackawanna High Iron to Chicago West of Marion

April 28, 2016

EL E units on freight

Is there such as thing as having too many photographs of Erie Lackawanna E units? In theory, yes, but in practice we don’t think so.

In the 1970s and the EL is using former passenger covered wagons to haul freights between Marion and Chicago. The last EL intrercity passenger train completed its runs in January 1970 and the units were needed in freight service.

The EL was a financially struggling railroad that in 1976 would be folded into Conrail. But its still had a lot of pride left and it kept units such as E8A No. 831 looking spiffy.

Conrail didn’t want the EL route west of Marion and it ceased to serve as a through route on the first day of Conrail.

Today, much of the former Erie Railroad mainline west of Marion is abandoned.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

LSL Operating With 1 Locomotive

April 28, 2016

Reports on a railfan chat list indicate that the Lake Shore Limited is now operating with one locomotive between Chicago and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The change was reported to have begun on Tuesday and field reports indicated that that Nos. 48 and 49 each has one locomotive rather than two on that date.

Amtrak Lake Shore LimitedA dual-mode locomotive will pull the Lake Shore Limited between New York and Albany-Rensselaer where one unit has been the practice.

In past years, the motive power between Chicago and Albany-Rensselaer operated through to Boston on Nos. 448 and 449. But the latter trains have operated only between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer for the past year with through passengers having to switch trains in Albany-Rensselaer.

Amtrak has said that construction at the Albany-Rensselaer station has been the reason for operating No. 448/449 as a shuttle train rather than as a through operation to and from Chicago.

Another online report indicated that the Chicago-Boston through cars will not return until early October.

Operating with one locomotive is not an unusual practice at Amtrak, particularly on routes that are relatively flat. Among the trains that have routinely operated with one unit are the City of New Orleans and Texas Eagle.

However, the Chicago-New York Cardinal operates through mountainous West Virginia and it regularly has one locomotive. The Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited also operates with one locomotive during the winter when its consist is reduced.

Recent photographs posted on line show that single-unit running is also taking place on the Silver Star and Silver Meteor between Washington and Miami.

CN Reports ‘Strong’ 1st Quarter Results

April 28, 2016

Canadian National said this week that its first quarter 2016 income rose 13 percent while its operating ratio fell to 58.9 percent.

The Montreal-based carrier said it earned net income of C$792 million, while diluted earnings per share rose 16 percent to C$1 when compared with the first quarter of 2015.

OperatingCanadian National income increased 14 percent to C$1.22 billion while operating expenses declined 14 percent to C$1.75 billion.

The operating ratio represented an an improvement of 6.8 points over the first quarter of 2015.

Revenues decreased by 4 percent to C$2.96 billion, car loadings fell by 7 percent and revenue ton-miles declined 9 percent.

In a news release, CN said the declines in freight business reflected overall industry trends.

“The decrease in revenues was mainly attributable to decreased shipments of energy-related commodities including crude oil, frac sand, drilling pipe and semi-finished steel products as a result of declining energy markets,” said CN President and CEO Claude Mongeau.

CN said it suffered specific declines in petroleum and chemicals, metals and minerals, and coal. Business was up, for automotive, forest products and intermodal.

Pets to be Welcome on 5 Midwest Routes

April 28, 2016

Fido and Fluffy will have more trains to ride when Amtrak expands on May 2 its pets on board program to state-supported routes in Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin,

Amtrak logoSmall dogs and cats may be taken aboard in carriers with passengers riding the Blue Water, Wolverine Service, Pere Marquette, Missouri River Runners and Hiawatha Service trains.

Owners must pay a $25 fee to reserve space for their pet on the train and the animals must meet the following requirements:

  • The maximum weight of a pet including the carrier is limited to 20 pounds.
  • Owners can reserve a space for their pet for a $25 fee with a limit of one pet per passenger.
  • For the safety and comfort of all passengers, pets must remain in a carrier at all times and carriers must remain under the seat of that passenger.
  • All five pet reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Amtrak began a pilot program in Illinois in 2014 of carrying pets with their owners. The passenger carrier said that more than 6,300 pets have traveled aboard Amtrak since then.

The pets aboard trains program was expanded to Northeast Corridor routes last October and to many long-distance trains earlier this year.

After the Sun Came Out on a Saturday Afternoon

April 27, 2016


Although last Saturday started off cloudy, by afternoon the skies had cleared and the sun came out.

I heard that Norfolk Southern train 12V had the Southern heritage unit leading. I went to Canton to catch it. I caught it twice, once at Wandle and again at Fairhope, where it was switching the yard.

Unfortunately, I had to shoot directly into the sun so the results weren’t very good. I ran into fellow railfan Matt Arnold and he told me of a Wheeling & Lake Erie train returning on the branch from Fairhope.

We didn’t have long to wait and this train, the 271, with a blue engine leading was perfectly lit.

I then ran by Gambrinus Yard and got a former Denver & Rio Grande Western GP40 out front. If you didn’t know better this looked like a Rio Grande yard instead of the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

By this time the 12V was finished switching and I got it a third time at Maximo just west of Alliance. The track turns north here and I had excellent side light. This ended my day.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon


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VRE Cars in Cleveland

April 27, 2016


Most of the time the consist of a manifest freight is the same old, same old, but not always. A pair of new Virginia Railway Express cars showed up in Cleveland en route to Virginia where they will be used in Washington, D.C., commuter service. The cars arrived in Cleveland on Norfolk Southern and are shown about two weeks ago.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

Wolverine Schedules Changed For Track Work

April 27, 2016

Amtrak’s Wolverine Service schedules have been modified to accommodate summer track and signal work as part of the Michigan Accelerated Rail Program.

Amtrak logoThe program, which seeks to create a smoother ride as well as prepare for an expansion of 110-mph service, is being overseen by the Michigan Department of Transportation, which owns much of the route used by the Wolverines between Detroit and Battle Creek.

The temporary schedules will be in effect between April 25 and Sept. 23.

The most significant change will affect train 352 which will operate only from Chicago to Battle Creek, Michigan, on Monday through Saturday.

The train, which is scheduled to depart Chicago at 7:10 a.m., will resume its Chicago-Pontiac, Michigan, route on Sundays.

To pick up the slack, Amtrak has scheduled an extra train from Chicago to Pontiac that will operate Monday through Saturday.

No. 358 will depart Chicago at 4:30 p.m. and arrive in Pontiac at 12:11 a.m.

The equipment making up train 352 will turn at Battle Creek Monday through Saturday to become train 357, departing at 12:25 p.m. and arriving in Chicago at 2:30 p.m.

Other Wolverine Service trains will operate on slightly different schedules.

The schedules of the Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water and Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette will not be affected.

Circus Trains to be Shorter Without Elephants

April 27, 2016

The elephant walk occurred for the final time last Sunday in the streets of Charleston, West Virginia. It is set to occur just two more times in the streets of any city in America.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has elected to no longer use elephants in circus performances.

The Red Unit train departed Charleston early Monday morning for Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, where the last Red Unit circus will feature elephants. The last show featuring elephants for the Blue Unit train was expected to be in Providence, Rhode Island.

Stock cars used to transport the elephants will be removed and sent to the company’s Florida home base.

“A total of four stock cars will leave the train at this time, said Sabrina Cullen, public relations manager for Feld Entertainment. “The Red Unit will have 56 cars and the Blue Unit 57.”

Each train will have continue to have four stock cars for transporting elephants and horses.

Cullen noted that Ringling Bros has the longest privately owned trains in the United States.

Wabtec Transit Sales Rise in 1st Quarter

April 27, 2016

Pittsburgh-based Wabtec Corporation said it recorded higher sales in its Transit Group, which offset lower sales in the Freight Group, leading to $772 million in sales for the quarter.

Changes in foreWabtecign exchange rates reduced sales by about $18 million compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Income from operations was $142 million, or 18.4 percent of sales, compared to 18.1 percent in the year-ago quarter, reflecting benefits from cost-reduction initiatives, Wabtec said.

Earnings per diluted share were $1.02. Excluding expenses of about 3 cents per diluted share related to the pending acquisition of Faiveley Transport, earnings per diluted share were $1.05.

Wabtec generated cash from operations of $76 million.


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