A Matter of Decades, a Matter of a Week

One of the last trackside remnants of Akron Union Depot fell last week. The last platform and section of an umbrella shed that stood between the main tracks of the CSX New Castle Subdivision were removed as part of a project to increase clearances through downtown Akron. CSX is undertaking a multi-million dollar project to increase clearances on the former Baltimore & Ohio route in Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland to enable double stack intermodal trains to travel the route.

In some instances, new bridges are being built. In downtown Akron, the tracks will be undercut to lower then. This is necessary to provide additional clearance beneath what was once the concourse of the Union Depot. The former concourse is now a walkway connecting the former Union Depot with another building that are both used by the University of Akron.

Roger Durfee went down to the Union Depot site on Saturday afternoon to record the progress — if that is the right word — of the platform and umbrella shed removal work. The shed was long gone and much of the platform had been ripped out.

Later that day, Roger dipped into his considerable slide collection and found a series of historic photos to complement his most recent images.

The top photo shows C&O SD35 No. 7428 westbound in December 1975. All tracks are still in, even the stub track for a setout sleeper. The bottom photo shows the same view today.
 

Here is a Penn Central Motor Yard (Macedonia) to Akron local in September 1975. It’s on the 103 track, which is the siding into the ex PRR South Akron yards. In the Same view today, the 103 track is long gone.
 

An eastbound Erie Lackawanna eastbound starts up after a pause at JO interlocking in January 1976. In the same view today, the EL tracks are all gone.

During Conrail’s first week in April 1976 a trio of Lehigh Valley U23Bs are on the point of OM-8 as it passes through downtown Akron. In the same view today, the old passenger platform is being removed so the track can be undercut to increase the clearances through downtown Akron.

Now for a difference of days. CSX westbound Q137 passes workers setting up to remove the platform and umbrella shed at the old Akron Union Depot on Feb. 24, 2012. Eight days  later the platform is mostly gone and the shed is history as CSX K311 passes by.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

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One Response to “A Matter of Decades, a Matter of a Week”

  1. John Suhayda Says:

    Roger, thank you so much for this posting. Although I am very sorry to see the platform and umbrella shed gone, seeing the old photos brings back many memories of growing up in Akron, and being on that platform when relatives arrived or departed from a visit. And the 1976 photo of the Lehigh Valley train instantly transported me back to that same era when I spent my college summers working at the University of Akron. In particular, I remember being on that parking deck of the EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall and listening to the sound of the trains slowly make their way over those tracks. There was something unique about that sound, as the trains slowly worked their way over those jointed rails, that I wish I could have recorded. Alas, I ramble, but thanks again!

    John

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