Archive for August, 2013

Ex-PRR Depot in Hudson Razed on Friday

August 31, 2013

The former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station in Hudson was razed on Friday after efforts to save the century-old prairie-style depot fell short.

Norfolk Southern had given those hoping to save the station a year to do so but when no viable plan emerged the railroad hired a contractor to take down the structure.

The depot was located north of a railroad bridge that crosses Ohio Route 303 near Library Street.

Akron Railroad Club member David Mangold expressed sadness over the demolition of the station.

“We’re losing our history in Northeast Ohio,” he told the Akron Beacon Journal.

Mangold made arrangements to pick up some corner posts and bricks from the demolished building.

“It’s just one of those morbid things I do to remember the old structures,” he said. “It’s a shame that’s all that’s left.”

From an NS perspective, the station was a safety hazard that no longer served an operating function.

“We got to a point where we said, OK, the preservation or movement of this station isn’t going to take place, so we’ve got to act,” railroad spokesman David Pidgeon told the Beacon Journal.

For many years the PRR and later Penn Central and Conrail stationed an operator at the station who controlled the interlocking plant.

Hudson was where the Akron Branch of the PRR joined the Cleveland Line. There is still a wye located here, but control of it has long since passed to a dispatcher located near Pittsburgh.

NS uses the wye to turn locomotives, but otherwise the Akron Branch is unused although the tracks are still in place and Akron Metro has studied using part of it for freight service.

Efforts to save the Hudson station began in 2005.

A group known as All Aboard Hudson collected $5,000 toward the cost of preserving the 60-foot-by-30-foot building, which had been built about the time that the PRR relocated its tracks between Hudson and Ravenna to eliminate grade crossings.

However, the group estimated that it would cost nearly a half million dollars to move the station to a new location and restore it.

All Aboard Hudson disbanded in 2009 and donated what it had collected, which included a switching light, model of the depot and newspaper clippings, to the Hudson Library & Historical Society.

The society’s Gwen Mayer told the Beacon Journal that she expects to use the material in a future display.

Mayer said the depot that was demolished on Friday was the third to have been built in Hudson.

“Certainly, we’re sad to see the building demolished, but we understand without a purpose, or money, or a place, you can’t possibly preserve everything,” she said.

Through the early 1950s, Hudson was the eastern terminus of shuttle trains from Akron that were timed to connect with Cleveland Line passenger trains.

The last shuttle, which operated with a gasoline-electric car, ran on July 31, 1951. The last PRR passenger train between Akron and Hudson was the Akronite, which connected with the Clevelander at Hudson and carried a New York-Akron sleeper.

The Akronite ended on April 26, 1958. The last PRR passenger train to call at Hudson was Cleveland-Youngstown Nos. 38/39, the former Clevelander. These trains last ran on Jan. 29, 1965.

Since November 1990, Amtrak’s Capitol Limited has used the Cleveland Line, but never stopped in Hudson.

The Beacon Journal reported that a city of Hudson building department inspector looked over the demolition site on Friday after the crews had left.

The department placed a zoning code violation notice on a piece of equipment left behind.

“Demolition of structure requires approval and demo permit,” the notice said, suggesting the contractor and/or NS had failed to obtain the proper permit.

To view photographs of the demolished depot, click on the link below:


I Finally had Some NS H Unit Good Luck

August 31, 2013





I was watching the status of Norfolk Southern No. 1065 over the last week in New York hoping I would get lucky on its return west.

With the NS heritage units I’m either working or else they pass through out my way in darkness.

On Friday, it was different. Once I knew that the Savannah & Atlanta unit was in Conneaut, I waited at the Giant Eagle in Painesville where the former Nickel Plate Road crosses Route 20.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas


Recreating a 1976 Moment

August 30, 2013


Here is a photographs my meeting with my sons David and Dennis in Roanoke, Va., recently for a recreation from 1976 with engine No. 1776. In 1976, Norfolk & Western Railway painted an engine for the nation’s bicentennial. The unit came to Akron so I took the boys over to see it and we took some pictures.

As it turned out, the boys had a picture of myself and the engine enlarged and framed. They gave it to me for my birthday.

I’ve had that picture hanging in my train room for years and said for the past five years that I would like to recreate another picture with the same locomotive as it is in the museum in Roanoke.

It was another of the miracles of this year that we were all available and able to get together as we all lived over 400 miles away and had the weekend off.    We met at the Hilton on a Friday as it was just across the street from the museum and it would be fun to just sit on the deck overlooking the city and talk and drink. Or is it drink and talk?

On Saturday morning, I dressed about the same as I did in 1976 and we went to the museum to recreate the picture.

It was 90 degrees but the humidity felt like 95 and my shirt and jeans were really too hot and I was totally awash for the day.

We had a great time and took a day trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains, following the railroad and stopping to have a picnic at an old abandoned station.

The pictures that accompany this post are from Dave’s girl friend, Julie, who graciously went along with us.

Article by Bob Rohal

Blue Water to Begin Carrying Bicycles

August 30, 2013

The Blue Water will begin accepting bicycles beginning on Sept. 6, Amtrak announced.

The train, which operates between Chicago and Port Huron, Mich., serves two cities with large state universities and, hence, a lot of students who wish to transport bikes.

The schools are Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Amtrak modified cafe cars used on Nos. 364 and 365 to create an area to securely carry up to four bikes per train. There is a $10 charge for transporting a bike, in addition to the rail fare.

Cyclists will be encouraged to lock their bikes onto the brackets mounted in the cars when they walk their bicycles onto the trains.

“We’ve worked with the cycling community to modify these railcars so bikes can be secured without disassembly,” said Derrick James, Amtrak Director of Government Affairs-Central. “We look forward to measuring the success of this service with an eye to expansion to additional routes across our national network.”

“Bicycle travel and tourism is important in the state of Michigan,” said Tim Hoeffner, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Rail. “Amtrak inclusion of bike service on Blue Water trains is beneficial for Michigan travelers.”

MDOT helps to fund the Blue Water service, which also serves the Michigan cities of Lapeer, Flint, Durand, Battle Creek, Dowagiac, Niles and New Buffalo.

Michigan Amtrak Service to Get Wi-Fi in 2014

August 30, 2013

Amtrak’s Michigan corridor trains will soon be the first in the Midwest to offer Wi-Fi service. The Michigan Transportation Commission signed a contract this week with a provider.

“The installation of Wi-Fi service on Amtrak trains in Michigan makes passenger rail travel more attractive, efficient and productive throughout the state,” said Tim Hoeffner, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Rail, in a news release. “We are proud Michigan is the first Midwestern state to offer Wi-Fi service on all its Amtrak lines.”

Amtrak’s Michigan service includes the Wolverine Service between Chicago and Pontiac via Detroit, the Blue Water between Chicago and Port Huron and the Pere Marquette between Chicago and Grand Rapids.

The Wi-Fi service, known as AmtrakConnect, will be provided at no cost to passengers and is expected to support between 30 and 50 percent of those onboard any given train. The service is expected to be launched in early 2014.

Data-heavy activities that can slow everyone down, such as streaming video and music, and file downloads larger than 10MB, will be restricted in order to ensure high-volume data users onboard the train are not able to degrade the experience for others.

Hudson Depot Reportedly to be Razed Today

August 28, 2013

We have received word that the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in Hudson will be demolished today (Wednesday, Aug. 28).

Earlier this week Akron Railroad Club member Dave Mangold reported that a backhoe had been parked next to Hudson depot.

Dave now says that demolition of the depot, which is located within the wye that connects the Cleveland Line with the former Akron branch, will begin Wednesday morning.

Dave also reported that the Madison, Ohio, depot is slated for demolition.  He thinks that the contractor who will raze the Hudson depot may have a contract to demolish other railroad structures. Dave is trying to determine if the demolition of Berea (BE) Tower is on the schedule.

News From Norfolk Southern

August 28, 2013

The expansion of Bellevue Yard is well under way. The contractors have laid a considerable amount of bowl tracks, new loop track, new EE track and done hump work. The plan is to send the first car over the hump early next year if not sooner.

The Columbus-Toledo pool is on the back burner, waiting on carrier implementation. They want to update the outside runner in Sandusky so they can go faster to the Chicago line. However, they reportedly didn’t get it included in the budget. 

Amtrak’s July Ridership Sets Record

August 28, 2013

Amtrak has set yet another rideship record by recording in July its best single-month ridership figures in its 42-year history. Amtrak’s 2013 July ridership of 2.9 million passengers increased by 4.8 percent over the July 2012 patronage.  It was a record for most passengers carried in one month.

Showing ridership gains for the month were Northeast Corridor services, state-supported and other short-distance routes, and long-distance trains.

State-supported routes led the ridership growth. To date, Amtrak’s fiscal year 2013 ridership is up 1.1 percent over FY 2012 ridership for the same period of October through July.

The passenger carrier expects strong ticket sales during the final two months of the 2013 fiscal year.

Amtrak is on pace to meet or exceed last year’s annual ridership record of 31.2 million passengers, having already set individual monthly records in October, December, January, March, May, June, and July.

In Northeast Ohio, Amtrak serves Cleveland, Elyria and Sandusky with the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited. The Capital Limited also stops at Alliance.

Quiet Car Designated on Amtrak ‘Wolverines’

August 28, 2013

The quiet car movement has reached the Midwest with one car on weekday Wolverine Service being designated as a quiet car. Amtrak operates three Wolverine Service roundtrips between Chicago and Pontiac, Mich., via Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Although travel on the Wolverines requires a reservation, seats in the quiet cars are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The quiet car will be identified with signs at stations along the route. For now, the quiet car will only operate Monday through Friday.

“In today’s business world, being connected and able to work from an Amtrak train is an advantage. Amtrak understands this, and so we welcome cell phone and computer use on-board our trains,” Amtrak Central Division General Superintendent Tom Connolly said in a news release. “But it is clear there is also a market for peace and quiet, so it is also an advantage for us to provide a railcar each weekday on Wolverine trains where travelers can unplug.”

Wolverine Service ridership grew 6 percent in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2013 when compared to the same period FY 2012.

Getting Lucky After Work

August 27, 2013


I caught wind of Norfolk Southern No. 1065, the Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit, leading a westbound mixed freight on Aug. 19.

With lots of track work around, the train got delayed coming into the Cleveland area, but eventually headed west.

I had a doctor’s appointment after work and didn’t think I would see this unit, but those delays gave me enough time to get trackside afterwards.

The first three photos are in Macedonia near the Ohio Route 82 overpass. Even though this is an unremarked location, I knew the light would be sweet there plus it’s a short section that doesn’t have new crossties along the main.

The last photo is across from my yard office. This train was following traffic so I was able to get ahead of it there and get a photo with ties in it.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee