Archive for September, 2012

Steamin’ the Northern End of the CVSR

September 29, 2012

Central Ohio Railroad No 1293 passes the Brecksville station on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on Saturday afternoon. It was the second of two trips between Rockside Road station and Boston Mill.

Central Ohio Railroad No. 1293 powered two roundtrips on Saturday between Rockside Road Station and Boston Mill on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Photo runbys were performed during both trips at Boston Mill.

The trips replaced a murder-mystery trip that was originally scheduled to run late Saturday afternoon but which was canceled due to, reportedly, poor ticket sales.

Mostly sunny skies greeted the 4-6-2, which was built as Canadian Pacific 1293. The locomotive was making its first public trips since pulling excursions between Akron and Indigo Lake two weeks ago.

The 1293 will have its finale on Sunday when it pulls two roundtrips out of Akron to Indigo Lake and back. The steamer will reportedly return to its home in Sugar Creek on Monday.

Sunday’s trips will cap a month of steam on the CVSR. The first of those was conducted on Sept. 8 as part of a CVSR 40th anniversary celebration.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Ohio Route 82 bridge looms in the background as the 1293 steams southward en route to Boston Mill.

Soaking up some mid-day sunlight between runs at Boston Mill.

An admiring crowd snaps photographs and looks over the 1293 at Boston Mill.

Clouds put a damper on the first photo runby at Boston Mill Saturday afternoon. But sunshine returned in time for the second as the 1293 builds up a head of steam as it approaches Boston Mill.

Putting on a smoke show while charging past the crowd.

It’s not October yet but some trees have already begin to show off their fall color. The 1293 is backing up toward Rockside as it passes an early turning maple tree at Jaite.

It Was Just One Messed Up Day

September 22, 2012

The 8025 on 11V at Hudson, Ohio, on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.

I read Alex Bruchac’s report on the Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive no shows. That day was one messed up day. I was on duty from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

That afternoon I did some fast figuring on that 11V with the Monongahela unit leading as we were heading to Hudson to spin some stone power.

It seemed like it would be a close meet with us due to all the backed up westbound traffic.

Sure enough, no sooner did we report in the clear on the east leg of the wye at Hudson that a headlight appeared in the east.

I stepped out onto my “office veranda” and grabbed a quick photo. I wasn’t concerned about the 552 since both the Illinois Terminal and Southern heritage locomotives were buried in the consist.

One plan that was considered had the helper power cutting off and attaching to the head end. That would have put the Southern unit in the lead, but that plan was canceled.

The OCS was not “rerouted.” It was scheduled to go via Mansfield and was running ahead of the 11V out of Conway. That 11V with the MGA unit was the first train I’ve shot since returning home from vacation.

As it turned out, the first train I shot as I made my way west on vacation two weeks ago was the NS 205, also with the MGA leading.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

The 8025 on No. 205 at MP 259 on the Chicago Line.

The 8025 at MP 311. Note the older New York Central milepost on the left.

The 8025 at Waterloo, Ind. We gave up the westward chase after taking this photo.

Iowa Railroad Relic Still Kicking

September 20, 2012

I’m finally back from my wanderings west of here. Shown is one little gem that we spotted near Hartly, Iowa. It is ex-Waterloo Railroad SW900 No. 1.

This locomotive was built by EMD in 1957 the year after Illinois Central and Rock Island railroads acquired the former Waterloo and Cedar Falls Rapid Transit Company and renamed it the Waterloo Railroad.

The routes dates to 1896 as the Waterloo Street Railway. By 1913, the then named Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern Railway Company had completed its route between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The company offered interurban railway service through the late 1950s.

The Rock Island sold its share of the Waterloo Railroad to the IC in 1968. The locomotive shown here is painted in the IC colors that were in use in the late 1960s and into the Illinois Central Gulf era. The Waterloo Railroad had at least four SW900 switchers, all built in June 1957.

Most of the original Waterloo Railroad was abandoned in the 1980s.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

The ‘Other’ Black Loco in the Valley

September 18, 2012

LTEX No. 1420 leads the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad scenic train past the south edge of Jaite siding on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012.

Like many Akron Railroad Club members, I’ve spent the past two weekends on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad chasing after and photographing Central Ohio steam locomotive 1293. It is rare to have the chance to photograph a steamer in action and I’ve felt compelled to take advantage of that chance because it is in my backyard.

I’ve also made it a point to photograph the CVSR scenic train when I was out chasing the 1293. Those hoping for a colorful locomotive on the south end of the scenic have been no doubt disappointed.

LTEX wears a utilitarian black livery. It’s only CVSR marking is a small logo below the cab window on the engineer’s side.

This GP 15-1 was built by EMD in November 1979 for Conrail, where it wore number 1643. It is now owned by LTEX and online photographs of it indicate that it has seen quite a few locales during its service over the past few years.

It has reportedly been on the CVSR for the past 10 months and before that was working for the Cleveland Commercial Railroad.

The 1420 is not likely to be something that will show up much in railfan photography programs or be printed, framed and hung on den or office walls. There are thousands of locomotives like the 1420 that get some notice but not a lot of love.

The 1293 may be the glamor locomotive on the Valley these days, but the 1420 has simply gone about its business. Perhaps some day it will wear CVSR colors or maybe it will be sent back after its lease expires. Then again, maybe the lease will be renewed and the 1420 will soldier on in its basic black dress.

Whatever the case may be, here is a tribute to the 1420 even if this month it is the “other” black locomotive running around on the CVSR.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Motoring past the Jaite depot on Saturday ahead of the steam train to Canton. At this point, I was the only railfan here.

Coming into Everett on the point of Train No. 53 on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. A few trees here are showing early signs of fall color.

A northbound scenic train is making its station stop at Botzum. The image was recorded at a private crossing south of the depot.

A 1293 Sunday in the Valley

September 17, 2012

Central Ohio Railroad steam locomotive No. 1293 rumbles in reverse past the northernmost Hickory Street grade crossing in Akron on Sunday during the first passenger run of the day.

Steam locomotive No. 1293 spent another day basking in brilliant late summer sunlight and hauling passengers while strutting its stuff for fascinated onlookers on Sunday on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The 4-6-2 Pacific-type locomotive, lettered for Central Ohio Railroad but originally built for the Canadian Pacific hauled two roundtrip passenger excursions between Akron and Indigo Lake. Each train did a photo runby at Indigo Lake. Passengers enjoyed a two-hour excursion.

The 1293 will be idle the weekend of Sept. 22-23, but will return to action the following weekend (Sept. 29-30).

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Running alongside the towpath trail just north of Bath Road on the first northbound excursion.

Passing by Botzum station during the first southbound passenger excursion.

The 1293 is almost back to Akron Northside Station as it passes over the Ohio & Erie Canal just west of the depot.

FPA4 No. 800 wearing Baltimore & Ohio markings leads the second excursion train of the day over Bath Road.

The 1293 passes milepost 43, which is measured from Mineral City, Ohio, as it chugs into Akron on the point of the second excursion train of the day.

It’s hard to know who had more fun, those who watched the 1293 pass by or the crew operating the locomotive and smiling and waving at the trackside admirers. The train is shown here just beyond milepost 43 in Akron.

1293 Back in Action on CVSR

September 16, 2012

Central Ohio Railroad No. 1293 puts on a show during the second of two photo runbys at Brecksville on Saturday.

Central Ohio Railroad 1293, formerly the Canadian Pacific 1293, returned to service on Saturday by pulling an almost total track tour excursion train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The 4-6-2 Pacific-type locomotive hauled a special from Brecksville to Canton.

The trip began with a pair of photo runbys at the Brecksville station. After the passengers boarded, the excursion left about 2:45 p.m.

The 1293 had been sidelined after experiencing mechanical problems on Saturday, Sept. 8. Those issues, which involved the throttle mechanism, were fixed during the week and after a test run on Friday the 1293 was cleared to return to service.

Numerous Akron Railroad Club members were trackside to witness the 1293’s performance. Among those who I saw were Dennis Bydash, Edward Ribinskas, Jeff Troutman, Marty Surdyk, John Puda, Dennis Taksar, Don Woods, Dave Shepherd, Paul  Woodring, Bob Farkas, Todd Dillon, Ken Roby and Max Promersberger. Club members Alex Bruchac and Frank Kellogg were paying passengers.

The 1293 will be back in action Sunday pulling trips from Akron at 11:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. The locomotive will have the weekend of Sept. 22-23 off but will be back in action the following weekend (Sept. 29-30).

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Putting on a smoke show as the train is about to cross Riverview Road.

Approaching Ira Road.

Passing through the Goodyear Complex on the east side of Akron.

Cruising along the west edge of Akron Fulton International Airport.

No chase of a steam train to Canton on the CVSR would be complete without photographing the train passing the air dock at Akron Fulton International Airport.

The willow trees inspect the train near East Turkeyfoot Lake Road in Myersville.

Skirting a pond at an industry on Mayfair Road in Green.

The journey is almost complete. As the train approaches the Canton station it passes Waterworks Park.

The 1293 and Saint Lucie Sound pose side by side in Canton. It was a rare opportunity to catch the former Florida East Coast observation-lounge uncovered by a locomotive on its observation end.

New App Helps Land NS Heritage Unit

September 10, 2012

I bagged Norfolk Southern’s  Norfolk & Western heritage locomotive this weekend and here are some pictures and a story.

Using a new app that will tell you what NS heritage units are within a certain radius from where you are at (say 100 miles), we were able to chase down and get the N&W 8103 on Saturday.

The app said that it had been spotted at Sandusky about two hours earlier, the time being 1 p.m.). So we loaded up and went to find it.

We checked to no avail several logical places, including the north end of the yard, the docks and the former New York Central local yard.

We then checked the south end of the former Pennsylvania Railroad yards and found the 8103 sitting out in the open. It was a successful trip using Internet reports.

However, not all Internet reports can be trusted. The same app also said that the Lackawanna heritage locomotive was on the former Nickel Plate Road in Pennsylvania heading to Buffalo.

If true it would have traversed Cleveland about 9 a.m., yet there were no sightings or reports here.

Well that was because the Lackawanna unit was sitting at Roanoke. Va., Somone had misposted its location, which they corrected later, but such is the problem with Intenet posts.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Steam Returns to the CVSR

September 9, 2012

Central Ohio Railroad steam locomotive No. 1293 steams and smokes its way south as it approaches the overpass on Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Central Ohio Railroad No. 1293, formerly the Ohio Central 1293 and before that Canadian Pacific 1293, made a return appearance to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on Saturday (Sept. 8, 2012).

The 4-6-2 Pacific-type steam locomotive led a 40th anniversary excursion special on the CVSR from Rockside Road station in Independence to Indigo Lake.

However, the 1293 developed mechanical problems while doing an apparent runby at Indigo Lake. The locomotive’s throttle stuck open and the drivers began spinning wildly. Engineer Tim Sposato had to open the cylinder cocks, center the reverse gear and dump the fire.

For safety reasons, CVSR crew members cleared onlookers from the vicinity of the locomotive as the engine crew was working on it.

The 1293 and its train — which had a CVSR diesel locomotive on the north end — then departed for Fitzwater Yard. The passengers had already disembarked and begun making their way to a gala celebration at Hale Farm that was scheduled to last well into the evening.

A second special train also operated from Akron to Indigo Lake with passengers bound for the anniversary event. The CVSR website on Saturday morning listed the event as sold out. The least expensive ticket was $95.

It was an unexpected development in what to that point had been an apparent flawless run of the 1293 on the first of what is scheduled to be several excursions during September on the CVSR.

A brunch train will still operate on Sunday (Sept. 9) but without the 1293. That train, scheduled to leave from Brecksville, will be all diesel.

The 1293 is not expected to cool down completely until Sunday at which time crew members can inspect it to determine what happened and what needs to be done to fix it.

The 1293 and its train, which included the dome car Emerson and the observation-lounge Saint Lucie Sound, had departed Rockside Road at 5:15 p.m.

It moved along at a deliberate pace and a number of fans were trackside with cameras to record the journey. Lighting conditions presented some challenges due to the partly cloudy conditions. Although there was good late day sunlight at Pleasant Valley Road, we got skunked by clouds just south of Jaite and again at Everett.

We were rewarded, though, with good sun light most of the time at Indigo Lake. What we expected to be a few static shots there turned into quite something else.

Among the other Akron Railroad Club members who turned out to photograph the 1293 were Dennis Taksar, Alex Bruchac, Don Woods, Dave Shepherd and David Mangold.

The 1293 is scheduled to operate again on the CVSR next Saturday (Sept. 15) on an almost total track tour trip from Brecksville to Canton and return.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The 1293 and its train steams along southbound just south of Jaite.

The 1293 backs up at the Indigo Lake station as passengers and crews watch.


The 1293 and its train began a runby of sorts. Shortly after this image was made, the locomotive experienced mechanical problems that would sideline it the next day.


The cylinder cocks of the 1293 are open as the crew tries to determine why the engine began to experience mechanical problems. The scene is reflected in the still water of Indigo Lake.

All of the equipment used by the 1293, which is owned by ARRC life member Jerry Joe Jacobson, has been relettered as the Central Ohio Railroad. Shown is tool car “Conneaut.” at Indigo Lake.

Engineer Tim Sposato strikes a pose for the photographers shortly after the 1293 arrived at Indigo Lake.

A crew member dumps some more of the fire during a brief stop at Boston Mill after the train had departed Indigo Lake en route to the Fitzwater shops.

Having dumped some more of the 1293’s fire, the train is now proceeding northward as the 1293 is shrouded a bit in steam at Boston Mill.

Remains of the fire from the 1293 cool on the CVSR tracks at Boston Mill. The train can be seen in the distance heading north.

When the Monogahela Met the Cuyahoga and Other Tales of Norfolk Southern Heritage Units

September 5, 2012

I landed photographs of two Norfolk Southern heritage locomotives over the weekend, both in Cleveland.

The top photograph of Bridge 2 is my photo of NS train 205 with the Monongalela heritage unit leading that I like to call “Where the Monongahela meets the Cuyahoga.”
The clouds had thickened by the time the train had refueled and recrewed at Rockport Yard, so there was no sun on the shot at Sheldon Road just east of Berea.
On Monday, in one of the more interesting consists I’ve seen in a while, the Central of Georgia heritage locomotive was paired with EMDX 2012 on the 11V.

Again, other commitments that morning found me heading for Lewis Road just west of Berea to intercept it.

The sun would be the best there and there was a signal bridge and milepost to add some interest to the photo, e.g., not just “engine shots.”

A cloud and NS 14N almost skunked me there, but luck was with me and both cleared just in time. Note the dark trees in the distance and the EOT of the 14N.

After a quick run on the Ohio Turnpike to Route 250, I headed for the Strecker Road crossing in hopes of one more photo of this interesting duo. The wait was short with the clouds clearing just in time once again.
After getting the above MGA photographs, I was off to the Cleveland Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport.

A Canadian fighter jet put on a great show, seen here just shy of the sound barrier.

Later, I caught the nose of a westbound NS train passing in the distance behind a V22 Osprey (I think).

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Labor Day Weekend Heritage Hunt Yields 2 Units

September 4, 2012

I went down to southern West Virginia on Labor Day weekend because a large concentration of Norfolk Southern 30th anniversary heritage locomotives were reported to be in that area.

On Friday night, we drove to Ashland, Ky., and spent the night there. Saturday morning found us traveling to Kenova, W.Va., because a heitage unit had been spotted there. But we didn’t find anything.

We continued following the former Norfolk & Western main eastward. We found a giant mainline coal dock about 20 miles east and set up for a photo. Surely a train would pass, but after two hours of waiting nothing did.

The website had a report of the Savannah & Atlanta engine going through Columbus, Ohio, about 7 a.m. with an empty coal train bound for Williamson W.Va. But we didn’t know exactly where it was.

Following the line further east we found a nice sun-lighted tunnel, No. 7 I believe. This would make a nice photo if we had a train, but the signals were solid red.

As we were about to leave the signal turned green. After a short wait, a train appeared with the S&A unit leading.

We chased it into Williamson, catching it several times.

We then moved on to Bluefield. However, we got completely lost – there was no cell phone or GPS reception in the mountains – and the Delorme atlas wasn’t much help either. We arrived  after dark.

In the meantime, we found out that had we stayed home we could have gotten the Monongahela heritage locomotive that was going through Cleveland on Saturday morning.

On Sunday morning, we talked to a couple of railfans who said that NS heritage unit 8114 (original Norfolk Southern) was working helper service on the other side of the yard.

Alas, we didn’t find it either. They also told us that the Lehigh Valley heritage locomotive had gone west during the night heading for Ohio.

Striking out again, we headed for Roanoke, Va., where some other heritage units had been reported to be.

Again, we found no heritage units; they were in the shops for repairs.

We did visit the Virginia Transportation Museum where the N&W 1776 Bicentennial and an Alco C630 high hood had been recently repainted. So the trip here was not a complete loss.

On the drive home, we heard more reports of 8114 at Bluefield, but we still missed it.

On Monday back in Cleveland, the Central of Georgia (NS 8101) came west on the 11V, which we did get at Olmsted Falls.

So I ended up with two heritage locomotives for the weekend although I had hoped for more. Nonetheless, while we were lost on Saturday, we did find some scenic coal branches that were not being used over the weekend. It was like being adrift in the ocean surrounded by water but with nothing to drink.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon