Archive for October, 2009

Jerry Jacobson Buys Museum’s Rolling Stock

October 17, 2009

Jerry Jacobson already owns a sizable fleet of steam locomotives and passenger cars, but his holding got larger this week when he bought much of the assets of the Steam Railroad Museum of Minerva.

During an auction held Thursday afternoon (October 14, 2009), Jacobson, a lifetime member of the Akron Railroad Club,  purchased two diesel locomotives, two passenger cars, a baggage car and a caboose.

“I will probably spend about $80,000 here,” Jacobson told the Canton Repository during the auction, which was conducted by Kiko Auctioneers & Realtors.

Jacobson plans to move the locomotives to a roundhouse that he is building near Sugrcreek. “They are still quite efficient even though they are old,” Jacobson said. “They will go south of Sugarcreek. We are building a roundhouse there and a museum. I bought those for $27,000 apiece. That is a great deal. They will be around for a long time to come.”

In addition to rolling stock, the museum also auctioned maintenance equipment and train memorabilia.

“I have never sold a locomotive in my lifetime,” the auctioneer for Kiko told the Repository. “I will probably never sell another one.”

The Steam Railroad Museum decided to sell its assets because the cost of operating the museum had become too prohibitive.

“You hate to see it go,” said Emerson Roth, who had been president of the Steam Railroad Museum. “I had 22 years invested in this. We have been down here 12 (years).” Roth declined to say how much money will be brought in by the sale. “That is between us and the (state) attorney general’s office,” he said.

What Was that FL9 Doing in Ohio?

October 12, 2009
FLNX 484 and Orrville Railroad Heritage Society No. 471 are shown backing onto the Media Loop excursion train on Saturday (October 10) at Spencer. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

FLNX 484 and Orrville Railroad Heritage Society No. 471 are shown backing onto the Medina Loop excursion train on Saturday (October 10) at Spencer. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

If you were out on Saturday chasing the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society Medina Loop passenger excursion, then you saw a critter that we don’t see much of around these parts. For much of the trip, FLNX 484 trailed ORHS’s No. 471.

But at Spencer, the power ran around the train and the FL9 was the lead unit from Spencer to Orrville.

FL9s are better known for their work on New York City commuter and intercity passenger trains running in and out of Grand Central Terminal, although some also served Penn Station.

The ORHS now has the use of FLNX 484, a former New Haven Railroad FL9 that also served Penn Central and Amtrak. The unit is owned by Ohio Railway Supply (R.P. Flynn, Inc.), hence the initials FLN with the X denoting that it is not owned by a railroad company.

FL9s were notable for being able to operate in diesel and electric mode. Small pickup shoes were located on the trucks so that the locomotive could operate from third rail electricity in and out of Grant Central in compliance with a New York City anti-smoke ordinance.

The FL9 were ordered by the New Haven to pull Boston-New York passenger trains. Their dual-mode capability eliminated the need to switch out diesels for electric locomotives for use in New York City.

The locomotives served a similar function for Amtrak, although by the late 1990s the last Amtrak FL9s had been replaced by P42AC-DM locomotives in the Genesis series.

The Heritage of FLNX 484 is a long one. It began life in 1957 as New Haven No. 2029. Along the way it became Penn Central 5029, a number it carried into the Conrail era.

Amtrak acquired it and renumbered it 484. It was rebuilt in 1979 by Morrison-Knudsen in Boise, Idaho. After retirement from Amtrak, the unit apparently spent some time at the Morristown and Erie Railroad in New Jersey before being purchased by R.P. Flynn.

He contracted with the Florida East Coast Railway to have No. 484 rebuilt. It arrived at the FEC shop in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, in fall 2007 in rather poor condition.

During the rebuilding, it was given its current cream and green livery, which is reminiscent of “Grinstein” livery once used by the Burlington Northern executive train.

FLNX 484 was sent north on Norfolk Southern in late June, arriving in Ohio on June 30. After testing on the Wheeling & Lake Erie at Brewster, it was declared fit for service.

The Medina Loop train of this past Saturday is thought to be No. 484’s first revenue service trip for ORHS. The Orrville group plans to use FLNX 484 in excursion service in 2010.

Although FL9 sightings in Ohio are unusual, they are not unheard of. FL9s occasionally worked on the Lake Shore Limited at times and some Metro North and Connecticut Department of Transportation-owned FL9s were ferried through northern Ohio by Conrail en route or returning from the M-K shops in Idaho.

Disney Train Visits Cleveland

October 8, 2009
Two Amtrak P42s led the Disney train promoting the movie "A Christmas Carol" into Cleveland in mid-September. (Photograph by Peter Bowler)

Two Amtrak P42s led the Disney train promoting the movie “A Christmas Carol” into Cleveland in mid-September. A Norfolk Southern estabound train passes the site in the background. (Photograph by Peter Bowler)

The Walt Disney Studios production of A Christmas Carol won’t open in theaters until November 6, but for the past several months a special train to promote the film has been touring the country.

The Disney train stopped in Cleveland for a two-day exhibit on September 16 and 17. The train was parked adjacent to Cleveland Browns Stadium and contained various exhibits related to the making of the movie, which will be shown in 3-D.

Disney executives came up with the idea of using a train to promote the film because with so many channels of communication today, including the Internet, it has become a challenge for marketing and public relations campaigns to be stand out and get widespread attention.

The tour began in Los Angeles in late May and is scheduled to end in late October in New York City.

Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler visited the train during its Cleveland stop.

Minerva RR Museum Equipment to be Auctioned

October 8, 2009
The Elderberry Line tourist railroad opreation served Minerva through 2003. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

The Elderberry Line tourist railroad opreation served Minerva through 2003. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

Want to buy and operate your own tourist railroad? The Steam Railroad Museum in Minerva, Ohio, is for sale. It’s equipment will be auctioned by Kiko Auctions on October 15, 2009.

The rolling stock to be sold includes two Alco 1,000-hp diesel switchers, a Wheeling & Lake Erie caboose, a Fairmount M4 motorcar and trailer, a baggage car, a railroad crane and numerous shop machines and some railroad signs and signals. The museum operated the Minerva Scenic Railway for three seasons beginning in 2004. It shut down when insurance costs exceeded its budget. It operated over a portion of Ohi-Rail out of Minerva, but that option is no longer allowed by the new owners of Ohi-Rail.

Before that the Carrollton, Oneida & Minerva Railroad operated passenger trains from Carrollton to Minerva and return on a 22-mile trip. Known as the Elderberry Line, it used a portion of Ohi-Rail to enter Minerva and a W&LE branch line between Carrrollton and Minerva Junction.

Barbara and I rode this train in September 1998. We rode in the cab of Alco No. 102 (now for sale) on the return to Carrollton. The Elderberry Line ceased operations after the 2003 season.

In these days of higher liability insurance costs and railroad mega-mergers, preservation of our nation’s railroad heritage has become more difficult.

Richard Jacobs

This Alco switcher pulled trains for the Minerva Scenic Railroad for three seasons beginning in 2004. Now it will be sold as the Steam Railroad Museum in Minerva sells its equipment at auction. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

This Alco switcher pulled trains for the Minerva Scenic Railroad for three seasons beginning in 2004. Now it will be sold as the Steam Railroad Museum in Minerva sells its equipment at auction. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)


CPLs to Fall at Newton Falls, Lordstown

October 1, 2009

Richard Jacobs reports that he has learned that CSX will remove from service starting Octoer 5 the remaining Baltimore & Ohio-style color position light signals between Newton Falls and Lordstown.

CPLs will be removed between MP BG 98.3 (West End Newton Falls) and MP BG 92.1 (Rock Cut) near Lordstown and replaced with new color light signals.

New interlockings will also be activated. This will include an interlocking at MP BG 98.3 to be called West End HN that will have absolutes for the westbound siding to come back to the main, as well as back-to-back absolute signals on No. 2 track.

The interlocking on No. 1 main will be East End HN at MP BG 96.2 (Newton Falls) for the westbound siding back into the main going eastbound. “Newton Falls” will be the name of the interlocking for the crossovers at FS Tower and the entrance to the Newton Falls Subdivision.

“Scotty” will be the interlocking on both mains east of Newton Falls, where the eastbound siding comes back into No. 2 main. There will be back-to-back absolute signals on No. 1 main.

When the work is completed, there will be no more CPL signals between BD Tower in Akron and Lordstown. There will continue to be CPLs in Akron at Arlington Street, Exchange Street and Lambert. This segment of track has centralized traffic control under the jurisdiction of the IO dispatcher in Indianapolis.

The Sun Finally Shined on Wellington

October 1, 2009
A CSX genset unit brings up the rear of a light engine move late in the day at Wellington. (Photograph by Richard Thompson)

A CSX GenSet unit brings up the rear of a light engine move late in the day at Wellington. (Photograph by Richard Thompson)

Nine Akron Railroad Club members and one guest trekked through inclement weather to Wellington on Sunday (September 27, 2009), but were rewarded with some 25 CSX trains and mostly sunny skies late in the day. Action on the Wheeling & Lake Erie proved elusive, however.

Rick Houck was the earlybird, showing up about 7:30 a.m. His “reward” was overcast skies and rain, including heavy showers around mid-morning. Given the conditions and the prospect that the grass on the sides of the town’s above-ground reservoir would be slippery, we decided to gather in a city parking lot downtown.

The dark skies precluded photography for most of the morning, so we did roll-by inspections of the CSX intermodal, ethanol and mixed freights that came our way. In the meantime, Craig Sanders, Marty Surdyk, Richard Thompson and Cody Zamostny had joined Rick trackside. Richard and Cody set off on foot for the reservoir.

About noon, the only Wheeling train we would see come through Wellington made an appearance. Marty, Rick and Craig intercepted it at a grade crossing on the edge of town and then chased it to Spencer. The train of coal hoppers with locomotives on each end, received a track warrant to go to Shorbs, located at the west end of  Brewster Yard.

That assured that nothing would be coming our way from the southeast for a while. We had hoped to catch the scrap metal/coke train that W&LE sends to Cleveland. But it apparently did not operate on this day.

We chased the W&LE train to the crossing of River Corners Road. The sun had been popping in and out of the clouds, but was mostly hiding when we got our shots. On the drive back to Wellington, the sun came back out again.

During the return trip, we talked about excursions past and Marty observed that he’d had days when the sun would come out in time for the train all day, but he’d had other days when it was hiding every time a train came past.

During our absence, the CSX action had picked up at bit. Two more ARRC members, Drew Deneher and Kurt Schuttenberg, had arrived at the reservoir. The sun had become more reliable and within another hour or two the skies had diminished to patchy clouds.

Marty, Craig, Rich and Cody went to Subway for lunch. We got a cell phone message from Richard Jacobs that he and Barbara were going out for lunch and planned to stop in Wellington afterwards. When we finally saw Jake, he was hanging around the diamonds, looking to get a particular photo angle.

It wouldn’t be Sunday on CSX in northeast Ohio without at least one major disruption and we learned of today’s edition shortly after returning from lunch. The IG dispatcher called the Q299, an auto rack train that we had just missed, to inform him that he would be held at CP 47 (formerly known as Hiles in New London) for an hour because of a broken rail at CP 54 (Greenwhich).

It didn’t take long for trains to begin stacking up, including the L110, a hot intermodal train with UPS trailers. Behind it was the Q108, another intermodal train.

We spent the lull talking and listening in vain for signs of life on the W&LE. But there were none. Craig and Kurt discussed how their respective mothers had attended the same high school at the same time in St. Louis. One of Craig’s uncles was in the same graduating class as Kurt’s mom.

The L110 finally got the go-ahead to come through Greenwich and over the next half-hour CSX had a mini-burst of activity, including the westbound L279, another auto rack train. Unfortunately, the Q108 blocked getting a good shot of the auto rack train for those of us on the reservoir.

The light was beginning to favor the other side of the CSX tracks and we relocated to the Lorain County Fairgrounds. Marty noted that he’d only been to that side of the tracks once. Usually, he explained, by late afternoon there is a Wheeling train out there somewhere and he would be chasing it. But the W&LE continued to be quiet.

Ordinarily, if there is a Wheeling train on the former AC&Y line, you hear it on the radio getting track warrants. But we came up empty today.

It took awhile, but CSX action finally picked up around 4:30. A pair of westbound intermodals came through along with an eastbound coal train pulled by a pair of Union Pacific locomotives.

The highlight of the afternoon was the Q090, a dedicated UP-CSX train with reefers that rush fresh produce from California to a terminal near Albany, New York. Aside from its distinct symbol on CSX, we knew it was the produce train when the engineer of Q109 announced on the radio, “you look good there salad shooter.”

Peter Bowler arrived as the “salad shooter” was passing through Wellington. He had come in hopes of getting a good sunset shot. One of his images, a westbound empty hopper train returning to the Powder River Basin and headed by a two UP units.

Most of the ARRC members who had been in Wellington for the day had to return home as the dinner hour approached. Those who stayed were rewarded with a few more trains and warm, late day sunlight. A prize shot was a light engine move featuring a GenSet switcher.

There was a W&LE train in Spencer, but no one wanted to run over there to check it out

Article by Craig Sanders