Steam meets diesel at the Peninsula depot. Both of these locomotive are actually vintage, having been built for another generation.
It began with a sense of deja vu. As had been the case last year, I started my day-long chase of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on top of the Ohio Route 82 bridge in Brecksville.
Conditions were strikingly similar to what they had been the year before. A slight fog hung over the valley that would dissipate before the 765 arrived after the first CVSR Scenic train of the day.
A couple of other photographers were also atop the bridge, one of whom knew me by name even though I didn’t know him.
He said he had been to a few Akron Railroad Club meetings and was going to try to duplicate an image I had made in 2014 and posted on the ARRC blog. How is that for getting your day started? I have a fan.
In the cool morning air the 765 was putting on quite the smoke and steam show. After getting my photographs, I walked back through dew on the grass that was so heavy that my shoes were soaked by the time I reached my car.
The next stop was Jaite, where I decided to try a new perspective by standing a ways south of the crossing with Vaughn Road.
I spent several minutes talking with a woman after the passage of the train, filling her in on other places to photograph. She seemed appreciative of the tips, but I didn’t see her the rest of the day.
My next stop was Deep Lock Quarry, which might be my favorite place to watch the 765 as well as photograph it. The train is working up a grade out of Peninsula and putting on quite a sound show.
This year I wanted to get closer to the bridge over the Cuyahoga River. I chatted briefly with another fan, but he then went out south and out of sight. Another guy came jogging down the tracks, asked me where the 765 was, and kept going. He crossed the bridge and vanished.
I had this spot all to myself and it felt like the 765 was putting on a show just for me. Hearing the chug-chug-chug of the locomotive in the still air of early morning was the sensory experience of the day.
I waited for the steam train to return from Howe Meadow and snapped a few more photos. I also waited for the Scenic train to come back north. Even then I still had plenty of time to kill before the next trip.
I sat in the parking lot at Jaite and read the Sunday paper to pass the time. There would be another passage of the CVSR Scenic before the 765 and its train showed up.
Not long before the Scenic arrived, I got out and went to scout for photo locations. I saw a familiar face walking in my direction as I stood near the tracks.
It was fellow Akron Railroad Club member Ed Ribinskas, who was the first person I’d seen on this day who I recognized.
We photographed the Scenic and I went back to my car to change lenses. I wanted to walk a little north from Jaite “station.” By now photographers and onlookers were gathering, some of the latter setting up lawn chairs on the grass as though at an outdoor concert.
The location I picked out was all right, but I wasn’t overly thrilled with the shots that I got. I actually liked Ed’s shots better. He had used more wide angle than I did.
Then it was on to a new location, the bridge over Furnace Run that is opposite of Szalay’s Farm on Riverside Road south of Peninsula.
Ed also planned to shoot there and then call it a day. We made our way down to creek level and soon were joined by another ARRC member, Jeff Troutman.
We got cloud skunked as the 765 came south. So we waited for it go back north, by which time the sun was back out. I bade farewell to Jeff and Ed and went over to Szalay’s to buy a couple of ears of sweet corn.
Then it was off to Peninsula to wait for the third run of the day of the 765. I hadn’t been there long when I heard a locomotive horn that signaled the approach of the northbound Scenic.
I got out to get some photos and spotted ARRC member Bob Farkas. He pointed at FPA-4 No. 6771 and talked about how he had seen this locomotive in Canada many years earlier where it had served Canadian National and, later, VIA Rail Canada.
The last trip of the 765 would be the only one of the three to run ahead of the Scenic. That meant that the two trains would meet in Peninsula.
I shot the 765 and its train moving southbound along Riverview Road north of Boston Mill. I then went to Peninsula to await the meet.
The engineer of the southbound Scenic spotted FPA-4 No. 800 — the Baltimore & Ohio tribute locomotive — in an ideal location. It was parked in sunlight right next to the Peninsula depot. As a result, I made what turned out to be my favorite image of the day. The 765, the 800 and the depot are all lined in a row.
I had been avoiding the photo runbys at Boston Mill all day, but decided to see what I could do for the last go-around.
The first runby was already underway when I arrived. I saw Don Woods and Dave Shepherd photographing the scene and talked with them for a few minutes.
They had seen me earlier on the Route 82 bridge and Don wanted to know what kind of images I was able to get. I showed him a few along with my image of the trains meeting in Peninsula. They had hoped to get that shot, too, but had been standing too far away.
I was better able to plan for the second runby and got some fair to good images. Then it was back up Riverside for one last shot of the 765 across an open field, the same location where I had shot earlier.
By now the late day sunlight was quite brilliant and the clouds had moved out. I had been dodging clouds all day and aside from one spot of bad luck at Furnace Run I had been lucky to have sunlight. You can’t feel bad about that kind of day.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
Passing the dam on the Cuyahoga River at Brecksville that sits nearly directly beneath the Route 82 bridge. If only there weren’t as many trees along the water’s edge.
Zooming in on the 765 as it nears Brecksville station on the CVSR. How much longer will this area remain open and devoid of trees along the river’s bank?
Upon further review this might be my second favorite image of the day. Gotta love that smoke and steam plume, which always seems to accompany the train as it approaches Brecksville during the first run of the day.
The bridge over the Cuyahoga River reflects in the relatively still waters as the train awaits its passengers in Brecksville.
I got back a little further at Jaite and used a telephoto. The train is about to cross Vaughn Road.
Hearing the 765 work here was even more impressive than seeing it. The train is about to cross the Cuyahoga River south of Peninsula near Deep Lock Quarry. Note the leaves being kicked to the right of the train.
I liked the symmetry of the leaves at upper left and the shape of the locomotive nose. It just happened.
Another shot of the 765 crossing the bridge over the Cuyahoga River south of Peninsula. This one was made as the train returned to Brecksville.
Crossing Furnace Run on the way back to Brecksville. The red roof in the distance is Szalay’s Farm.
The last trip out of Brecksville is underway. The view is from along Riverview Road north of Boston Mill.
I’ve seen the 765 put out more smoke and steam while just running between locations. Shown is the second runby at Boston Mill, which was not overly impressive.
Surveying the crowd from the cab at the end of the second runby at Boston Mill.
Cameras are out as the 765 gets back into position to load passengers after the second runby at Boston Mill station. The orange cones mark the edge of the photo line during the runbys.
One last view across the goldenrod field, except there wasn’t much goldenrod to see. At least there was great afternoon light as the 765 rolled backwards.