Railroading as it Once Was: Conrail Wreck Train in Akron. These Trains Were Always Interesting

Conrail wreck train in Akron

A common sight during those first few years on Conrail was the relief train or wreck train as it was often called.

I’m not sure what had happened or where, but the entire train with crane and some cripples was eastbound at Akron in August 1978.

This train is on the former Erie and the blue GP9 is a former Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive. The trains were always interesting with gondolas full of track panels and wheel sets, and old converted passenger equipment.

The hook is in Conrail blue and I’m guessing it was the former Erie Lackawanna Brier Hill (Youngstown) hook.

To those who know Akron, this was before they turned those old Quaker Oats silos into a hotel . . . and before the EL was ripped out at this location.

The train has entered JO interlocking. Note the signal bridge.

The tracks to the left of the train were the joint Penn Central/Baltimore & Ohio mains, which was CR/Chessie System by this date.

Also note the elevated side track up in the weeds along that white building on the right, which at one time provided access to the oats yard up above.

It branched off the EL in the distance and reconnected with the B&O on the other side of JO.

I remember watching an eastbound detour train come off the EL main and up this siding to get to the B&O, but the grade and probably some slippery weeds stalled the train.

All that remains here today is the two former B&O/PC mains, which are now the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

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