Railpace Publishes Jacobs Article, Photographs

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.

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