Railroading as it Once Was: Weeds and Grass Between the Rails Were Common in the 1970s

C&O unit in Akron

Railroads didn’t invest much in weed killer during the 1970s. It was not unusual to see grass and weed sprouting between the rails.

It wasn’t that railroads weren’t spending anything on track maintenance, but it was a period of austerity. Two of the railroads that used these tracks by Akron Union Depot, Penn Central and the Erie Lackawanna, were bankrupt.

By the time this image was made, the station no longer hosted passenger trains, but much of its infrastructure still remained in place.

Shown is a Chesapeake & Ohio SD35 leading a westbound Chessie System manifest freight past the platform of the depot.

Today, there are just two tracks here and the platform and its umbrella shed have been removed. But you won’t see weeds like you did way back when.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

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