Archive for June, 2016

Railroading as it Once Was: Outlawed in Hudson

June 30, 2016


A trio of Alco C-628s on an ore empty have “outlawed” at Hudson in November 1976. While the leader has had the “CR” (Conrail) treatment applied, the two Lehigh Valley units are unpatched. Along with the Alcos the Hudson station and platform are gone, too.

Photograph  by Roger Durfee

CVSR Sets Annual Christmas in July Train

June 30, 2016

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will raise money for its annual Polar Express charity run by running its annual Christmas in July train on July 30. The special will depart Rockside Road Station at 7 p.m.

CVSRPassengers will be able to choose from a variety of beers and wines, including Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale. A boxed dinner catered by Moe’s Restaurant will be served.

Other events include a silent auction and raffle plus a visit by Santa Claus.

Tickets are $65 in coach and $100 for dining car seating. To purchase tickets call 800-468-4070 or visit the CVSR website at:

CVSR will host 800 to 1,000 children on its Polar Express charity train on Dec. 7. The children and their family invited to ride to the North Pole are experiencing health issues or economic challenges.

Buses Replace LSL Boston Section in July, August

June 30, 2016

The Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited will not operate on certain days in July and August due to CSX track work.

Amtrak Lake Shore LimitedIn a service advisory, Amtrak said Nos. 448 and 449 will not run between Albany-Rensselaer, New York, and Boston (South Station) on the following dates:

  • July 10
  • July 17-20
  • July 31-Aug. 3
  • Aug. 7-10
  • Aug. 14-17

Passengers will ride a bus between Albany-Rensselaer and Boston that will stop at the intermediate Amtrak stations of Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester and Framingham.

Bus service will not be provided to Boston’s Back Bay station. Amtrak said passengers should contact MBTA for travel information to Back Bay.

Passengers at South Station should go to the Amtrak Information Desk for instructions on boarding the buses.

At Framingham, passengers will board buses at the drop-off/pick-up area track 2 platform (at Waverly Street).

In Worcester, passengers should go downstairs to the intercity bus area and board the bus marked Premier Bus.

Taking the Farkas Challenge: An Historic Month in the Twilight of Passenger Trains Era in Akron

June 29, 2016

Farkas Beach

Being invited to visit the home of John Beach to view his slides is akin to attending a private dinner party at the home of Iron Chef Michael Symon. You are in a treat you will long remember.

John has dutifully and skillfully chronicled the Northeast Ohio railroad scene in color slides since the 1950s. When he dips into his collection you are going to feel that you’ve gone back in time.

Much of his work has been done around his hometown of Massillon, but he got up to Akron at times.

In January 1970, the Erie Lackawanna was about to discontinue its last intercity passenger train, the Chicago-Hoboken, New Jersey, Lake Cities.

John and his son Dave, an outstanding photographer in his own right, got out on a cold day to shoot the Lake Cities a few days before it made its last runs.

But John also photographed a Baltimore & Ohio train that also was days away from making its last trip west of Akron.

Shown is the westbound Diplomat at Akron Union Depot in what is my nomination on John’s behalf for the Farkas challenge.

This image has made at a historic time with the EL about to exit the intercity passenger business and the B&O curtailing its service to what would prove to be its final pre-Amtrak offering.

By the end of the month, Akron would have just one passenger train to Chicago, the B&O’s famed Capitol Limited. But on this day it had three.

In 16 months Akron won’t have any intercity passenger service at all, a situation that would not be remedied for another 20 years.

Train stations have historically been the front door to places large and small in America.

Akron fought a decades-long campaign to get a new station, which opened in April 1950. It was a fine facility, but would be used for just over 20 years.

The consist of B&O train No. 7 reflects the twilight era of railroad-operated intercity passenger service.

Just one E8A is needed to pull a train that has three head-end cars and three passenger cars. Chances are the on-off count today was not very high.

Before the end of the month No. 7 and its counterpart No. 8, the Gateway, will be operating between Akron and Washington as the Shenandoah.

Also in the image is another Akron landmark that has appeared in countless photographs of Akron railroads.

The twin spires of St. Bernard Catholic Church soar over Akron from its home at Broadway Street and University Avenue.

St Bernard has been the one constant in all of those railroad photographs made in downtown Akron. Railroad companies have come and gone, but the church has always been there as though acting as a silent witness to the changes going on around it over time .

Photograph by John Beach, Article by Craig Sanders

CSX Moving Again in West Virginia

June 29, 2016

CSX has slowly begun restoring traffic to its lines in West Virginia that were closed after flooding washed out tracks and dumped debris on the right of way.

On Monday trains began using the Alleghany and New River subdivisions between Clifton Forge, Virginia, and Handley, West Virginia.

CSX logo 3Some traffic had been held in Clifton Forge since last week when a storm dumped up to 7 inches of rain on parts of the Mountain State.

The mix of traffic included intermodal, manifest freight, grain and unit coal trains.

The Sewell Valley Subdivision near Rainelle, West Virginia, was still closed.

Although Amtrak’s Cardinal is expected to return to service on Wednesday, it will operate only between Chicago and Huntington, West Virginia.

The equipment will turn back on Wednesday night and return to Chicago. No arrangements have been made for passengers traveling to points between Huntington and Washington.

Work trains have been busy the past few days trying to repair the damage and get the tracks back into operation.

The aftermath of the flooding came as the Florence Division took over responsibility for the routes most damaged by the flooding.

CSX last week closed its Huntington Division and transferred control of its rail lines to other divisions.

CN Names 2 to Top Executive Posts

June 29, 2016

Canadian National has appointed Mike Cory as executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Ghislain Houle as executive vice president and chief financial officer. The appointments are effective July 1.

Canadian NationalCory, 54, joined CN in 1981, working in the Symington Yard diesel shop in Winnipeg and going on to hold various positions in operations. He was most recently senior vice president, western region.

Houle, 52, joined CN in 1997 as chief of internal audit and was most recently vice-president and corporate comptroller.

Both men will be based at CN headquarters in Montreal.

Just an Average Longest Day in Marion

June 28, 2016
The highlight of the 2016 longest day in Marion was seeing the Monongahela heritage unit trailing in the motive power consist of train No. 376.

The highlight of the 2016 longest day in Marion was seeing the Monongahela heritage unit trailing in the motive power consist of train No. 376.

If I had to sum up the 2016 Akron Railroad Club longest day outing in Marion in one word, I would describe it as “average.”

It had its moments, but it also provided yet another lesson in how CSX operations these days can be erratic due to falling traffic and an operating plan that concentrates traffic on longer and fewer trains.

CSX traffic died in early afternoon and stayed comatose for four hours.

One contributing factor for that might have been that CSX was virtually shut down in parts of West Virginia due to flooding. Traffic that we might normally have seen on the Columbus Subdivision was being held elsewhere.

The highlight of the day was catching the Monongahela heritage unit of Norfolk Southern, which came through town westbound in late morning as the second of three units pulling train No. 376.

The appearance of No. 8025 was a surprise. The last sighting of it reported on had been two days earlier in Kentucky.

We also spotted three other locomotives that are tracked on HeritageUnits. These included CSX No. 12 (the Spirit of Louisville), NS Operation Lifesaver No. 9252 and a former Chicago & North Western unit still in its original colors but with a Union Pacific patch.

Of the four “feature” locomotives that we spotted, only NS 9252 was leading its train. It was that type of day.

During the nine hours that I was in Marion, NS provided what you would expect. It put 16 trains through town with seven headed west and nine going east. NS traffic was fairly even throughout the day despite some lull periods.

After an NS track gang cleared up about 3 p.m., three eastbound trains rolled through Marion in succession, with two of them nearly running on the block of the train ahead.

It was a good thing because CSX had gone into a slumber. After the 1:30 p.m. passage of the L132 from the Mt. Victory Sub to the Columbus Sub, CSX went dormant.

I left at 6:20 p.m. and the CSX train count was 11 with three trains having gone west on the Columbus Sub and none going east. The Mt. Victory Sub had seen three westbounds and five eastbounds.

It was a hot, humid day with temperatures reaching into the upper 80s. Both railroads had heat patrols out. CSX also had a work zone on the Columbus Sub south of Marion.

Aside from two Union Pacific units on the L132, we did not see any other foreign power.

Nine ARRC members made the trip and our party swelled to 15 if you count former members and guests who were on hand.

The Marion Union Station Association opened the depot around noon and Pete gave tours of the signal collection and AC tower.

We spent much of our time in the station’s breezeway, which, thankfully, had shade and a southerly breeze for much of the day.

The day started out mostly sunny, but by late afternoon it had become mostly cloudy with dark clouds gathering to the northwest that never developed into a storm. We did briefly get some light rain.

We filled the lull periods with stories about past excursions and railfan outings. We also decided that next year’s longest day will be held in Bellevue.

For more photographs from the 2016 ARRC longest day outing, click on the link below:

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Storm Damage has CSX Still Recovering in W.Va.

June 28, 2016

The flooding from a severe storm that struck CSX hard in West Virginia late last week still had rail operations stymied on Monday.

CSX was particularly hit hard on its former Chesapeake & Ohio mainline between Hinton, West Virginia, and Clifton Forge, Virginia.

CSX logo 1Washouts and debris on the tracks of the Alleghany Subdivision have halted rail traffic in the wake of the storm, which dumped up to 7 inches of rain in some areas.

Trains magazine reported on Monday that much of the track infrastructure near Caldwell, West Virginia, had been washed out.

Similar, although less severe, damage was reported on the New River Subdivision.

A railroad spokesperson said CSX continues to assess the damage and make repairs. Where feasible, traffic has been re-routed around the hard-hit areas.

CSX expected to resume limited operations on Monday. Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal, which uses the affected tracks, will not resume running over its regular route until Wednesday.

The Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad operated its weekend tourist trains and other all attractions.

It had canceled last Friday its Cheat Mountain Salamander train.

CSX YN2 Livery Gets Fresh Outlook on Life

June 27, 2016



CSX No. 156 a GE C40-9W led train Q015 through Akron on Sunday and I caught it passing the old Schwebel’s bakery at Cuyahoga Falls.

What makes this 20-something –year-old engine interesting is its paint. It wears what CSX calls the YN2, scheme which was the standard paint during the 1990s.

This engine is freshly painted in 2016, however. Why is that?

Well, apparently, it was involved in a wreck while offline in Mexico. It was rebuilt and received its new paint while there.

Ferromex used another CSX locomotive also painted in YN2 as the basis for this repaint.

And so the YN2 scheme has been resurrected at least for this one engine.

Article and Photographs byTodd Dillon

Training First Responders Train Passes By

June 27, 2016


On late Friday afternoon the Training First Responders train of Norfolk Southern came through the Cleveland area en route to Chicago from Buffalo, New York.  I managed to catch it going through Willoughby.

The train’s schedule for the next month shows that it will be in Toledo from July 12-14; Ft Wayne, Indiana from July 19-21; and in Cincinnati from Aug 2-4.

Photographs by Todd Dillon