Rain Couldn’t Stop ARRC Saturday RTA Tour

Things didn’t get off to a great start on the Akron Railroad Club’s Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority tour on Saturday, Oct. 1. It was raining. It was windy. And we learned trackside that Car No. 109 that we had planned to ride wasn’t available because it was blocked in at Tower City due to construction.

But those were about the only things that went wrong during the five-hour excursion. We decided to stay on the Breda light rail car for the entire day, thus giving us a rare chance to photograph a light-rail car on the heavy rail Red Line.

We also learned that light rail is a misnomer because the Breda cars assigned to the Green, Blue and Waterfront lines — the so-called light rail routes — are heavier than the Tokyu cars assigned to the Red Line. The latter were built under license from Budd Company by a Japanese company.  Breda is an Italian company.

After leaving Green Road, we made photo stops in the rain at the Coventry and Woodhill stations. Our car, No. 829, did a roll by of sorts at Coventry. The car had stopped short of the grade crossing to left off passengers and we lined the platform to see it come into the station.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the tour of the RTA shops at 55th Street. Few of us had ever been inside that building and the more than 30 ARRC members and guests who turned out for the tour were impressed with what they saw.

We ended up staying at the shops longer than scheduled, but everyone seemed to be enjoying that part of the tour. ARRC member Alex Bruchac, who had arranged the charter and mapped out the tour, had to change the schedule on the fly because we spent more time at the shops than expected. As a result, a planned trip to Windermere on the Red Line was scrubbed.

RTA’s Tim O’Donnell, a supervisor at the shop, led the tour and explained how RTA rail cars are maintained.

After visiting the shops, we reboarded our chartered car for a trip over the Red Line to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport with a photo stop at West Boulevard. A few of our group got off at Brookpark station and remained there until we returned. They were rewarded with four Norfolk Southern trains passing on the nearby tracks at CP Max.

Those who stayed with the car were able to photograph inside the airport station, including capturing a rare nose-to-nose shot of a Breda car and a Tokyu car.

After a photo stop at West Park, we continued to Tower City, where we reversed direction and traveled the Waterfront Line. We made stops on the Waterfront Line at Settlers Landing, the Amtrak station and South Harbor. While at the latter, we saw two NS trains passing on the adjacent Cleveland Line. A fence obstructed the view, but Peter Bowler and Dennis Taksar climbed atop a concrete retaining wall to get unobstructed photographs.

After a second stop at Settlers Landing for a group photo, it was back to Green Road, although we did a photo stop at Shaker Square. By now the rain had stopped, but it was still overcast.

Alex deserves a big thank you for all of the legwork that he did to arrange the trip and to oversee it. It was the first charter on RTA in a few years.

The weather could have been better, but we couldn’t have enjoyed our outing any more.

Article by Craig Sanders

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One Response to “Rain Couldn’t Stop ARRC Saturday RTA Tour”

  1. Timothy O'Donnell Says:

    Appreciate the feedback, Craig. The overwhelmingly positive responses from your Charter guests means both Akron Railroad Club and the Cleveland RTA were successful. I would like to recognize three people who’s names didn’t make it into your timely posting.
    – Operator Will Lawson is a senior RTA Operator/Yardman, who bid on this charter. The non-standard charter car moves allowed by Central Control showed the trust and respect RTA Rail Supervision has for Mr. Lawson. Thank you, Will.
    – Rail Heavy Equipment Operator/Mechanic Bill Burns on 033. The ‘strong right arm’ of the Power Department, Bill is more irreplaceable than the antique and orphan machinery Bill brings back to life. Thanks for wearing your cleanest shirt for the occasion, Bill!
    – Alex Bruchac who cat-herded, midwifed, and persisted this Charter into existance and to a successful conclustion. When everyone else’s flame gutters low, Alex keeps the faith, & makes the impossible look easy.

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