Archive for November, 2012

Luck of the Lackawanna

November 26, 2012

With the less than ideal sun I went for the “in your face” look.

Be it good timing or just plain lucky – I’m going with lucky – I was able to catch Norfolk Southern 1074, the Lackawanna heritage unit, on the point of a parked empty hopper train.

As luck would have it I had to be in the Pittsburgh area on Saturday for a yearly railroad slide/digital show.

Since some Internet reports had the 1074 still sitting at Wilmerding, Pa., I took a short detour to check it out. Sure enough, there it sat.

The problem was the weather, which was everything from some snow flurries to cloudy bright. It didn’t matter. I was just happy to see and photograph this elusive to Ohio unit.

Here are a few samples of what I shot. I will say I liked the “in your face” photo best, but others said the one with the stack train passing in a light snow was their favorite. You decide 🙂

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

The reds and greens of Christmas roll by the 1074 in a light snow.

That DL&W scheme fits the nose of an ACe pretty good.

The new nose of the 1074 with the old Westinghouse building in the background.

An eastbound stack train passes the 1074.



New Life for the Akron Branch?

November 23, 2012

Looking north on the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Akron branch on October 21, 2012, from Hudson Drive. The bridge in the background carried the Lake Erie & Pittsburgh line of the New York Central. It is now a hiking and biking trail.

I’ve never seen a train on the Akron Branch. By the time that I arrived in Northeast Ohio in August 1993, Conrail had pretty much shut down operations on this former Pennsylvania Railroad line. In November 1994 the branch was abandoned between Hudson and Cuyahoga Falls and a year later it was sold to the Summit County Port Authority.

Since then, it has been railbanked to preserve it for possible commuter train service between Akron and Cleveland. That proposal has been dormant for years and shows no sign of coming to life anytime soon.

A few years back Akron Metro and Silver Lake duked it out in court over the town’s efforts to stop a proposed dinner train service on the line. The court ruled against the town, but the dinner train never turned a wheel.

In the meantime, the right of way became overgrown with trees and other vegetation and CSX removed the switch in Cuyahoga Falls that connected the Akron Branch with the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline that runs through Akron.

In recent months, though, there have been reports that the branch might be reactivated to serve an industrial park. Akron Metro in early 2011 began studying the freight potential of the Akron Branch and the ex-B&O route between Akron and Canton. The latter is now used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and in some places the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway.

In late October, I was out with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee on a local outing to photograph trains.

We were driving to a location that Roger didn’t identify other than I would find it interesting. That turned out to be the grade crossing of the Akron Branch with Hudson Drive.

We got out and walked the tracks southward. There was plenty of evidence that a crew had been through earlier to clear the trees that has grown between the ties and rails.

More work needs to be done to get the track ready for service. But the rails, although rusted, appeared to be in reasonably good condition. They could support a slow speed operation to serve local industries.

The Akron Branch was Akron’s first railroad, reaching the city on July 4, 1852. The first train ran between Akron and Hudson the next day.

Akron’s first railroad was also the first to be dismembered.  It has been removed between Cuyahoga Falls and Arlington Street in Akron. In theory, the Akron Branch lives on between Arlington Street and Clinton (Warwick) because CSX uses what for decades was a joint trackage operation between those points.

Much still needs to happen before the Akron Branch comes back to life. But perhaps I will get the chance to see and photograph a train on the line after all.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Looking southward after walking a short distance along the tracks south of Hudson Drive.

The area to the left used to be the location of a siding or short branch. That it has been maintained and mowed could indicate that a track might be put back in here.

One of the smaller trees that the crews cut down that had sprouted between the rails.

The distant signal for Hudson has been dark for years. At one time this signal mast probably held a PRR-style position signal head.

Hearing Only the Wind at Arlington Street

November 23, 2012

I had to check out the recent removal of the former Erie Railroad grade crossing at Arlington Street in Akron that Steve McMullen reported on earlier.

I use to spend a good bit of time there before work or between classes at the University of Akron. There was a parking lot located between the Erie Lackawanna and the Baltimore & Ohio/Penn Central near this crossing, a natural place to spend some time and see trains of all three railroads.

My photography was in its early stages with an average camera and print film, but I thought I’d dig out a couple of oldies and do a little “then and now” of the EL Arlington Street crossing.
In the first photo above an EL westbound is laying sand for the short but steep climb to JO interlocking. Note the crossing signal. In today’s photo above little remains now other than the base for that crossing signal.

Looking west now in the photo below, this EL eastbound is only a few feet away from the crossing. Note the cement phone booth in the distance and the PC local working off to the right. In the today photo below about all that remains is that cement phone booth and one truncated EL main that hasn’t seen a train since the early 1980s.

In one final photo looking east on the EL I’m straining to hear the horns of CX99 but hearing only the wind.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

When These Locomotives Were Still Working

November 20, 2012

Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon dipped into his archives to pull out some image of Buffalo & Pittsburgh SD45 locomotives. He reports that these units have since been cut up at LTEX. They are shown here in service in happier times.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

The Great Locomotive Chase

November 20, 2012

My first photo of the 21G was of it crossing our Bridge 1 in downtown Cleveland.

It seemed on Sunday like dozens of railfans were out following Norfolk Southern train 21G, which featured SD60E No. 6920 painted in a scheme to honor our veterans. My chase started at Bridge 1 in Cleveland and ended in Toledo. It was there that I found a surprise.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

The next spot would be at Coen Road near Vermilion. That’s CP 222 in the background.

At the Route 163 crossing outside of Sandusky.

A roster grab shot.

From the Miami Street bridge in Toledo.

A looking down roster view from the Miami Street bridge in Toledo.

Meeting train 861 at Toledo with the “original” Norfolk Southern painted heritage unit leading.

Ex-Erie Grade Crossing in Akron Removed

November 20, 2012

Akron Railroad Club member Steve McMullen reported that another grade crossing on the former Erie Railroad mainline through Akron is now gone.

The tracks at Brittain Road were removed and blacktopped over this past weekend. The two remaining gate mechanisms and most of the weeds/trees nearest the road were also removed.

This is the beginning of the trail extension from Tallmadge Circle.

They are leaving the wayside signage up with the trail. Let’s  hope that it does not disappear.

Good Old Fashioned Train Chase

November 18, 2012

The chase begins as we intercept the light power move west of Attica Junction, a.k.a. Siam, Ohio.We barely were able to get into position to get this shot.

I caught up with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee on Saturday morning in Macedonia for what turned out to be a good old fashioned train chase on CSX. The railroad was hosting a light power move of 11 former Santa Fe locomotives, most of them GP30s.

The retired locomotives were part of a group of 22 purchased by LTEX and being moved over CSX into two batches. Saturday’s move operated as symbol X791.

It seemed liked dozens of railfan photographers turned out to record the move. Here are nine images from among the many that I shot during our chase.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Coming into Willard Yard along a still to be harvested corn field along Town Line Road 12 west of the town.

After about an hour in Willard, during which time the train changed crews, the X791 was on the move east again. The train is about to duck under Cornwell Avenue (Ohio Route 99).

No chase of a train on the former Baltimore & Ohio east of Willard is complete without an across-the-field shot after the crops have been harvested. This image was taken along Boughtonville Road west of the road’s namesake village.

Approaching the grade crossing east of Boughtonville with Boughtonville Road.

The X791 got delayed for about an hour west of Greenwich waiting on three westbounds. Track work on the New Castle Subdivision apparently had that line down to single track. Finally, X791 got a signal and proceeded east. Fortunately for the photographers, the last locomotive was facing the “right” direction.

Nova Tower still stands. Who knows how many Santa Fe and ex-Santa Fe locomotives have passed by it all these years.

Catching up with the X791 before it reached Akron seemed out of the question so we made a beeline for there. Our final images of the X791 would be from the Thronton Street overpass.

The Akron skyline looms in the background as the X791 takes the signal at Exchange Street and continues its trek to LTEX at Lordstown.

NS Veterans Locomotive Rolls Through NE Ohio

November 18, 2012

Norfolk Southern No. 6920 rolle through Northeast Ohio early Sunday afternoon at the head of the 21G, a container train. The SD60E wears a livery designed to honor the veterans of the United States armed forces.

The unit is a rebuilt SD60 with a comfort cab. It was released by the Altoona shops in early November and participated in a Veterans Day ceremony in Virginia before entering freight service.

An NS news release said the locomotive will ” . . . honor people who have served in the military and reserves, especially those employed by the railroad.”

NS said the red, white, and blue paint scheme, and yellow ribbon with the message “Honoring our Veterans,” was selected by a group of 18 NS employees representing all branches of the armed forces.

Railfan photographers lined the NS Cleveland Line and Chicago Line as the train made its way from Conway Yard near Pittsburgh to Toledo where it changed crews. It then continued westward toward Chicago.

The locomotive is shown in the two photographs above at Olmsted Falls at 12:23 p.m.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

EMD Invasion of CVSR Continues

November 15, 2012

EMD-built locomotives continue to “invade” the motive power roster of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The latest EMD product on CVSR rails is LTEX 2436. a former BNSF GP-30u wearing a Santa Fe livery.

Last weekend the 2436 was on the north end of the Scenic train operating between Akron and Rockside Road.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Trackside Happenings and ‘Office’ Views

November 15, 2012

I stopped along Westinghouse hill after a meeting last week. Norfolk Southern No. 9914 is westbound past a little remaining color with downtown Cleveland in the background. NS 2743 is about to block my view of a boat out in Lake Erie.

In a view “from my office”, the circus train heads west through CP 102 as we wait on Main 1 and another job waits in the Twin storage.

Also shown is damage at Drawbridge Tower from super storm Sandy. Winds clocked at 85mph blew out several windows and bent some of the trim.

Finally, here is what remains of three Buffalo & Pittsburg SD45s at LTEX. These came in and went straight to the back lot to be cut up.

Photographs by Roger Durfee