Archive for March, 2009

ARRC to sell “Canton Area Railroads”

March 9, 2009

The Akron Railroad Club will be selling copies of Canton Area Railroads, which was written by club president Craig Sanders and recently released by Arcadia Publishing.

The book will be sold to club members for $15 and to non-members for $17. The book will be available at the ARRC table at Railfest 2009 this weekend (March 14 and 15) at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. The college is located on Ohio Route 306, just south of Interstate 90 (exit 193). Railfest 2009 is sponsored by Division 5 of the National Model Railroad Association.

Author Sanders will be available at the ARRC table on Saturday to autograph copies of the book.

Copies of Canton Area Railroads will also be available for sale at the next ARRC meeting, on March 27.

Canton Area Railroads has 128 pages and more than 200 black and white photographs, most of which were taken by or furnished by Akron Railroad Club members.  The book covers railroad operations in Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Orrville, Navarre, Minerva, Dover, Brewster, Dennison and other communities in Stark, Carroll, Holmes, Wayne and Tuscarawas counties. Among the railroads covered by the book are the Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio, Wheeling & Lake Erie, New York Central, Penn Central, Conrail, Norfolk & Western, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Ohio Central, R.J. Corman, Ohi-Rail, Amtrak and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Railpace Publishes Jacobs Article, Photographs

March 6, 2009

An article by Akron Railroad Club member Richard Jacobs about the demise of the vintage Baltimore & Ohio Railroad color position light signals at Sterling was published in the February 2009 issue of Railpace magazine. Four photographs accompanied Jacobs’ page-length article.

Jacobs, of Apple Creek, Ohio, wrote about the activation of modern Safe-Tran  signals by CSX on November 16, 2008. The new signals

had been turned on by 5 p.m. that day. The former B&O signals subsequently were dismantled and taken away. The changeover was part of a program that began in fall 2007 to install new signals over much of the CSX New Castle Subdivision. For the past two years, CSX signal crews had been replacing the CPL signals moving east to west.

A handful of CPL signals remain in service on CSX within Akron on a stretch of track that has centralized traffic control, which is under the jurisdiction of the IO dispatcher in Indianapolis. The New Castle Subdivision is part of the former B&O’s Chicago-Pittsburgh line. Most of the subdivision is double track, but signaled for operation in one direction on each track. The line is single track between Warwick (Clinton) and Lambert (Akron).

Sterling is the junction point between the New Castle Subdivision and a branch to Cleveland (former B&O). At one time, the Erie Railroad’s Chicago-New York mainline crossed the B&O at Sterling. The tower that guarded the junction was named RU for Russell, which was the original name of the village of Sterling.

Jacobs is a frequent visitor to Sterling, being a member of the Sterling Loopers, a group of railfans who meet here weekly. He is one of the most prolific photographers in the ARRC and travels widely to photograph and ride trains.

Railfans have long gathered at Sterling, usually watching the action from the inside a wye that is part of the connection between the New Castle Subdivision and the Cleveland branch. Approximately 20 to 30 trains a day pass through Sterling.

Beach Letter Published by Trains Magazine

March 4, 2009

A letter to the editor written by Akron Railroad Club member John Beach appears in the April issue of Trains magazine.

Beach, of Massillon, Ohio, wrote in response to a story published in the February issue about President Abraham Lincoln and his connections with the railroads. Beach said he always wondered what route Lincoln took through eastern Ohio in early 1861 en route to Washington to be inaugurated as the nation’s 16th president. A map with the article provided the answer.

Accompanying Beach’s letter is a photograph that he submitted of an eastbound Conrail train passing a monument at Alliance, Ohio, commemorating Lincoln’s stop in the Stark County community during his trip to Washington. The monument is adjacent to the Alliance Amtrak station.

Akron Railroad Club members have been frequent visitors to Alliance, located at the junction of the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Cleveland-Pittsburgh and Chicago-Pittsburgh routes.
Norfolk Southern now owns the tracks that pass through Alliance.

Canton Railroad Book Now Available

March 4, 2009

Akron Railroad Club president Craig Sanders’ latest book, Canton Area Railroads, has been released by Arcadia Publishing. The book was written in cooperation with the Akron Railroad Club and features photographs from club members Richard Antibus, John Beach, Michael Boss, Peter Bowler, Richard Jacobs, Chris Lantz, James McMullen, Bob Redmond, Edward Ribinskas, Marty Surdyk and Paul Vernier.

The book chronicles the history and development of the railroads that served Stark, Wayne, Holmes, Carroll and Tuscarawas counties. Among the cities coverd are Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Orrville, Wooster, Dover, New Philadelphia, Dennison, Brewster, Navarre, Minerva and Sugar Creek.

Canton Area Railroads documents how railroad operations changed as the steel industry declined and railroad consolidations led to traffic shifts and route abandonments. Among the railroads that served this region were the Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central and Wheeling & Lake Erie. The book has images of these roads plus their sucessors Penn Central, Norfolk & Western, Conrail, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Ohio Central, R.J. Corman and OhiRail.

Also discussed are modern passenger operations Amtrak, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. The book is 128 pages and has more than 200 photographs.

Canton Area Railroads is the fifth railroad history book published by Sanders. His other works include Akron Railroads, Amtrak in the Heartland, Limiteds, Locals and Expresses in Indiana, 1838-1971, and Mattoon and Charleston Area Railroads.

The ARRC will be selling copies of Canton Area Railroads at train shows and at its monthly meetings. The book is also available from  booksellers and the publisher (

NRHS Honors Dillon With 60-Year Membership Pin

March 3, 2009

Akron Railroad Club vice president J. Gary Dillon was recently presented with a silver 60-year membership pin by the National Railway Historical Society. Dillon joined the Midwest Chapter of NRHS in 1949. He was just the second chapter member to receive a 50-year membership pin.  Dillon also served for several years as an NRHS national director.

“Your fellow members of the Society salute you for your impressive record of long and faithful support, which has contributed to making our organization the outstanding one in the world of rail history preservation,” wrote NRHS director of membership awards Joseph C. Maloney, Jr. in a letter to Dillon congratulating him on joining the 60 year club within NRHS.

The Midwest Chapter plans to honor Dillon at its November banquet.

Dillion, who joined the ARRC on June 26, 1947, has been the organization’s vice president since 1975. He has held every office in the Akron Railroad Club except bulletin editor.

The Akron native has an interest in railroads of every type, but his particular passion is traction. In the 1940s and 1950s Dillon traveled extensively to ride the last interurban and trolley systems left in the country before many of them shut down.

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