Archive for September, 2010

Last Steam Locomotives Leave Morgan Run

September 22, 2010

The steam ferry train bound for the Age of Steam Roundhouse rolls over the Ohio Route 93 grade crossing near West Lafayette about a half-hour after its departure from the Ohio Central's Morgan Run shops. (Photographs courtesy of John B. Corns)

At 8:46 this morning (Wednesday, September 22, 2010) the last steam-powered train departed Morgan Run Shop and headed north.

The destination was Jerry Jacobson’s Age of Steam Roundhouse, currently under construction near Sugarcreek, Ohio.

 In the final consist were ex-Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1293 (which ran in reverse), Alco RS18 No. 1800, 0-4-0T No. 3 and caboose No. 1880.

The train moved slowly because of the small driving wheels underneath the 0-4-0T. All of the equipment arrived safely at the Age of Steam Roundhouse at noon. It was the first steam-powered train to arrive at the new facility.

For additional photos and information, click on the link below.

The steam ferry train is ready leave Morgan Run. This shop has been the home of the 1293 since Jerry Joe Jacobson purchased the locomotive. Now it will have a new home in Sugarcreek.

All Aboard for a Day in Northern Ohio

September 22, 2010

The Akron Railroad Club is trying a new event in 2010. On Sunday, September 26, 2010, we will have a Day in Northern Ohio (DINO) set up to record railroad operations in our backyard. The idea is borrowed from a similar annual day in America event sponsored by a railfan magazine.

For DINO, we invite ARRC members to go out and photograph trains at their favorite northern Ohio railfan locations. The results of our efforts will be the feature of the 2011 member’s night program.

The other sidebar to this event is that we would like you to keep a log of the trains that you see during the day. We will add up these numbers to get an idea of exactly how many trains visit the area on this typical Sunday.

You don’t have to travel around to participate in the event. You can just park at your favorite railfanning spot and railfan for the day.

What boundaries do we set for northern Ohio? We don’t mean literally the northern half of the state from the Pennsylvania border to the Indiana and Michigan borders.

The western boundary is the Vermilion River, which Norfolk Southern crosses in Vermilion on the Chicago-Buffalo routes of the former New York Central and Nickel Plate Road.

Another western boundary is Greenwich, a CSX hot spot featuring the crossing of the CSX New Castle Subdivision (former Baltimore & Ohio Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline) and the Greenwich Sub (former Cleveland-St. Louis route of the Big Four).

Within this western territory lies Wellington, the crossroads of the CSX Greenwich Sub and the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Hartland Sub between Bellevue and Spencer. Nearby Spencer features the crossing of two W&LE routes, the Bellevue-Brewster line and the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown line between Akron and New London.

Berea, of course, is a major northern Ohio hotspot and there are always train watchers there. This is a good mid-point location to check the progress of trains traveling through the area.

To the east, good spots to hang out include Willoughby, Perry, Ashtabula or Conneaut. These places feature action on the Cleveland-Buffalo routes of CSX and NS. Ashtabula is the northern terminus of the NS Youngstown Line while Conneaut is the northern end of the Bessemer & Lake Erie.

To the southeast in Ravenna, the NS Cleveland Line to Pittsburgh passes over the CSX New Castle Sub. Farther west, Bedford in the Cleveland southeast suburbs features some interesting photo spots as well as heavy action on the NS Cleveland line. Although it is doubtful that it will be operating on Sunday, Bedford also hosts the Cleveland Commercial Railroad.

The Akron-Warwick area is important to this event. This is the mid-point of the CSX New Castle Sub. Akron is an important hub of the W&LE, not to mention the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The Ohio Central and R.J. Corman interchange with CSX at Clinton (Warwick), although in the past year and a half neither railroad has routinely operated on Sundays. Maybe we will get luck this year.

This Sunday will feature a pair of trips on the CVSR pulled by NKP steam locomotive No. 765 that will run out of Akron between the regular CVSR scenic excursions. We will include these CVSR operations in our count.

Train counts and symbols, and other information can be sent by e-mail or regular mail to Bulletin editor Marty Surdyk ( or to ARRC President Craig Sanders (, who is webmaster of the ARRC blog.

Ghosts of Railroaders Past

September 14, 2010

While all eyes are on the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and Viscose Company No. 6 over the next couple of weeks, let’s not forget those who make it all happen so that we can enjoy the glory days of railroading.

As I figured, there will be ample photographs—an understatement if there ever was one—of both steamers.

I took the time to photograph one of the 765’s crew cleaning the engine using a steam cleaner and some good old fashioned elbow grease.

Having a bit of time to kill before some family commitments later in the day this past Sunday (September 12, 2010), I paid the man at Brecksville and took the short ride to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Fitzwater shops to have a look around. Along with the “usual” type of photos I took these.

The steam from the cleaning gun would surround the worker giving him a ghostly appearance at times, a scene that could have been seen back when steam was king of the rails along the former Nickel Plate. The last photo is really what it’s all about today, a family outing to both marvel at and celebrate railroading’s past.

Photographs and story by Roger Durfee

New Siding on W&LE at Creston

September 13, 2010

The Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway has installed a 6,900-foot passing siding in Creston, Ohio. The west switch is at MP B108.76, just east of Brooklyn Street. The east switch is at MP B110.2 north of Sterling Road. The new siding will allow meets between eastbound and westbound trains on the Brewster subdivision (Spencer–Brewster).

Trains had been passing at Orrville, using the former W&LE mainline, now the Orrville secondary. Use of that line requires heading in on lesser-weight rail and then backing out to the mainline after the meet. The new siding at Creston will eliminate that tedious move.

In the 1970s, under Norfolk & Western ownership, there were passing sidings every 10 miles. Those sidings had remotely-controlled switches and signals. They were removed shortly after the current Wheeling came in to being in May 1990. Current operations are controlled with track warrants issued from the system dispatcher in Brewster at the company headquarters building.

The attached photos document the phases of construction and initial use of the new siding. After the switches were installed, the adjacent right-of-way was cleared, and then ties, rails and ballast were installed. After the track machines left, the siding was placed in operation. It was used by trains traveling at restrictive speed to settle the new track. The track is 136-pound welded rail, although the switches are not yet motored.

According to the September 2010 issue of the W&LE newsletter, The Headlight, the signal department is currently engaged in putting power switches at both ends of the new Creston siding. Once the powered switches are installed the siding will be completed.

I photographed the construction progress whenever I visited Creston. The photo gallery shows that progress. Thanks to Jim Hill, W&LE division superintendant, for his help with this article.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

W&LE’s new siding at Creston is progressing on August 4, 2010. The track machines are active providing the finishing touches.

The west switch for the new siding at Creston, OH is installed at MP B108.76. The photograph was taken on June 30, 2010.

W&LE No. 5391 leads a westbound freight at restricted speed through the new siding at Creston, OH on August 9, 2010.

In Memory of Dr. Mark H. Koltnow

September 1, 2010

Former long-time Akron Railroad Club member Dr. Mark H. Koltnow, 63, of Silver Lake, Ohio, died on August 13, 2010, in Akron of cancer. He had practiced podiatry in the Akron area for more than 36 years. He enjoyed railfanning with friends throughout Ohio and had a particular fondness for the Ohio Central steam operations.

Born on May 15, 1947 in Akron, Dr. Koltnow was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Helen Koltnow. He is survived by his wife, Shelley; a son, Adam of Delaware, Ohio; a daughter, Sara Barnhart of Columbus, three stepchildren, Heather Royston, Michael Kunz and Dan Kunz; two grandchildren; and a sister, Judy Kunsmin.

In additon to trains, Dr. Koltnow loved animals and provided a home to numerous rescued animals over the years. He was a fans of the Cleveland Indians and the Ohio State University football team.

Memorial donations may be made to Paws and Prayers or the Humane Society of Greater Akron.