Panama to Panama Limited at ARRC Member’s Night

Marty Surdyk (right) seems amused by something that Dave Mangold said following his presentation at the Akron Railroad Club member's night. Marty was setting up the slide projector at the time.

Marty Surdyk (right) seems amused by something that Dave Mangold said following his presentation at the Akron Railroad Club member’s night. Marty was setting up the slide projector at the time.

From Panama to the Panama Limited, the 12 photographers who presented at the 2015 Akron Railroad Club member’s night had a little bit of everything.

Thirty-two members and guests gathered on Saturday night (March 28) to watch the digital and slide programs while also munching on pizza and other snacks. The club purchased 18 pizzas during the event.

Guest Paul Berg of Akron led off the presentations with a multi-media dissolve show of slides of passenger trains taken mostly in the decade before the coming of Amtrak.

Set to the song City of New Orleans by Arlo Gutrie, Berg’s program took viewers back to the waning days of passenger trains when the railroads still ran their own trains.

We saw trains in union stations, trains on the road, interiors of trains and passing trains. We even saw the famed orange and chocolate brown of the Illinois Central, whose flagship train was the Panama Limited.

Todd Dillon kicked off the digital presentations with a program focusing on images taken at the Norfolk Southern shops in Altoona, Pa.

Todd along with ARRC member Jerry Krueger visited the shops last year to see the locomotive that NS painted with the logo for the 2014 National Model Railroad Association convention held in Cleveland. He also showed images of NS action in Altoona and Galitzin, Pa.

Pete Poremba had one of two programs that had an international focus. During his days with the Ohio Central, Pete was part of a group that traveled to Panama to visit the Panama Canal Railway in 2008

The 50-mile line has passenger and freight service and is known for its former Amtrak F40PH locomotives that are painted in a livery similar to that of the Kansas City Southern’s “Southern Belle scheme.”

Pete discussed the railroad’s computer dispatching system, took us aboard for a cab ride and introduced us to a bartender at a restaurant who was wearing an Ohio Central baseball cap. It was not a setup. The OC group was as surprised as anyone to see the guy wearing that cap.

Bob Rohal dug into his archives and presented a program of mostly black and white images that had been scanned into digital form and featured various railroads that he visited during the 1950s and 1960s.

The action included the Ann Arbor, Canadian National, Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central, Erie, Santa Fe and Nickel Plate Road, among others.

Although some images were taken close to home in Kent and Willard, Bob also got to Pittsburgh, Toronto and Chicago. There were plenty of first generation diesels and late steam era locomotives to enjoy.

Roger Durfee described his show as snow to sun to snow. But the bulk of it was a glimpse of the Florida East Coast in action with some views of Amtrak and CSX thrown in.

Roger’s parents live in the sunshine state and he makes an annual winter journey to visit them. He also took us into the Florida sugar cane fields and gave us a look at the railroading operating there.

As for the snow, Roger showed Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad No. 800, the B&O tribute FPA, as well as an NS train running beneath an a bride with ice along the rails.

Tom Fritsch had the other international show with a look at rail operations in Italy that he made during an escorted tour.

There were plenty of high speed passenger trains to look at along with some street rail operations.

Tom also visited the Potomac Eagle tourist railroad in West Virginia last October and took us along to see it.

As if ARRC members had not seen enough snow this winter, Craig Sanders presented highlights of his winter railfanning activities. On two of his outings, the temperatures were in the single digits, but Craig was not to be deterred.

We saw trains of Norfolk Southern, CSX, the Wheeling & Lake Erie, and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Craig noted that although he didn’t get as many photos as he has in past years of trains plowing through snow storms, he did have a lot of sunny days and good luck catching NS heritage units. This past winter, he finally photographed Nos. 18, 19 and 20.

Dennis Taksar gave an overview of his 2014 railfanning activities. During the year he traveled far and wide and we saw railroad action in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia and Michigan.

Dennis captured a number of steam locomotives in action, including NKP 765, Pere Marquette 1225 and Southern 630, among others.

There were also view of trains on the Western Maryland Scenic, the Strasburg Railroad of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, R.J. Corman, and the Rockville bridge near Harrisburg, Pa., that was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Ed Ribinskas highlighted some of his favorite photos that he’s made since acquiring a Nikon digital SLR camera two years ago.

He had three themes of trains in winter in Lake County where he lives, heritage locomotives and various steam locomotives that he has chased. The latter NKP 765, Central Ohio 1293, the replica of the Leviathan and the Southern 630.

The heritage units included Amtrak and Norfolk Southern and were all photographed in Northeast Ohio.

One of his winter images won a photo contest sponsored by Dodd Camera. Ed’s winning image showed NS train 145 heading westward in winter on  the Painesville trestle spanning the Grand River.

Dave Mangold showed a variety of images taken in Northeast Ohio, many of them in Berea. He also gave a presentation on the history of locomotive cabs that he presented to a railroad industry group last year.

Paul Woodring dipped into his collection of Kodachrome slides to give us an overview and of the history and operations of the East Broad Top Railroad in Pennsylvania. We saw many views of things that are no more as well as the steam trains of the EBT.

Marty Surdyk brought the evening to a close by highlighting images made on Eastern Sunday outings in 1989, 1987 and 1986.

Along with his brother Robert, Marty visited Deshler, the Southern Tier line of the former Erie Railroad in western New York and the CSX New Castle Subdivision west of Lodi.

We saw plenty of locomotives painted in Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line liveries in the early CSX era.

Easter weather and rail traffic can be unpredictable. During the trip to New York State, Marty and Robert bagged just one train all day. But what a train it was with all of its Guilford motive power.

During an outing to Deshler that began in the fog, Marty photographed a train on the former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton with Grand Trunk Western motive power.

Appropriately, Marty brought the 2015 member’s night to a close with an image of a caboose.

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