ABC Railway SW1500 No. 1501 is westbound passing the former Erie depot at Fourth Street in Barberton on Oct. 12, 2012.
The Erie Lackawanna Railroad’s former Erie mainline traversed north central Ohio across portions of Wayne, Medina and Summit counties.
The double tracked mainline was home to several manifests and trailer trains daily. During the 1970’s, I avidly photographed the EL as its trains passed from Burbank and Creston through Sterling and Rittman, over the large hill at Wadsworth, and on to Barberton and Akron.
The maroon and gray diesels with their yellow nose were an attractive subject for my camera. From October 1970 to 1976, I pursued the EL with a passion.
The Erie Railroad had been merged with the Delaware Lackawanna and Western in October 1960 to form the EL.
The DL&W paint scheme replaced the Erie black and gold on the freight locomotives. Passenger service on the line ended in early January 1970.
Today much of the railroad west of Meadville, Pa., is gone. It was abandoned as a through route by Conrail. A few short portions remain, operated by various short lines railroads.
The tracks from Creston to Rittman, Ohio, are now the County Line Trail for bikers and hikers. From Rittman to Barberton and toward Akron, the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway still plies the former EL mainline.
The ABC is a switching railroad, part of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. The former Erie 1890 depot still sits alongside the track in Barberton, but was moved from the southwest corner of the Fourth Street crossing to the northeast corner in 2007.
Currently, the Barberton Historical Society is trying to get the depot ready for restoration as a visitor center.
Craig Sanders and I photographed the ABC on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. We missed a photo opportunity of a train passing the former Erie depot in Barberton, however.
I chased and photographed an ABC train to Rittman on Wednesday, Aug. 29, but also missed the train at the former Erie depot in Barberton.
On Friday, October 12, I was more successful. ABC’s SW1500 No. 1501 came by the depot westbound at about 11 a.m.
The short train was headed for PPG trackage north of Hudson Run Road. The former Akron & Barberton Belt used to cross Hudson Run Road, but the bridge has since been removed.
The ABC switches off the former EL mainline west of Fifth Street and runs south, crossing Wooster Road to PPG.
After the PPG switching was done, the train backed onto the former EL mainline and continued west to Rittman.
About 2 p.m., the train returned from Rittman, picked up cars from PPG and headed eastbound for the home terminal on Second Avenue in Barberton.
The route took it by the former Erie depot once again. I reflected for a moment what EL’s NY100 trailer train would have been like at that location. I wish I had seen that.
After photographing the ABC a second time at Fourth Street, I headed for Huston Street where ABC has a small yard.
No. 1501 was just leaving for the home terminal so I followed it. I pulled into the parking lot to see a crewman connecting an electrical cable to No. 1500 for battery charging overnight.
The other SW1500, No. 1501, was parked nearby. I took a few photos of the two switchers.
A bit later, I photographed a CSX westbound empty hopper train at Huston Street, and then headed for home. It was a nostalgic day being along the Erie once more.
Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs
ABC Railway 1501 is eastbound at Fourth Street in Barberton.
Returning from PPG and Rittman, ABC Railway 1501 is passing the former Erie depot at Fourth Street in Barberton.
Heading for home on the former Erie/EL mainline in Barberton.
An ABC Railway crewman plugs in the battery charging cable for No. 1500 at the home terminal on Second Avenue in Barberton.
A CSX empty hopper train is westbound at the end of Huston Street. in Barberton at 3:18 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2012. ABC Railway tracks are in the foreground.