Heavy clouds ruled the skies as I made my way southward on Interstate 271 toward the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Would the overcast conditions keep some photographers away from the second day of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 operating as No. 767?
When the news broke that the 765 would be operating on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad as No. 767 I figured the number of trackside photographers would increase because of the novelty factor.
In recent years many guys seem to have had a “been there, done that” attitude toward NKP 765 on the CVSR. Hard core steam aficionados turned out, but casual photographers stayed home.
There were photographers track side on Sunday, Sept. 18, but not as many as I had expected.
My first stop was Indigo Lake where I sought to duplicate an image I made in 2010 during the first visit of NKP 765 to the Cuyahoga River Valley. It was the first time I had seen the 765 in action other than the time in 1993 when it ran as Chesapeake & Ohio No. 2765.
As I arrived, the clouds were breaking up. It would be sun and clouds the remainder of the day.
From Indigo Lake I went to Boston Mill where it’s tough to get a good image due to the fences and other security designed to keep those without tickets confined to Boston Park south of the CVSR station or on the west side of Riverview Road.
I tried to be creative, getting a view that no one else apparently considered.
I was able to create my top human-interest photo of the day, showing a boy with a bottle of soda sitting next to his grandmother as the train backed up to return to Boston Mill station.
I posted those images on the ARRC blog earlier. The images that accompany this post are my “best of the rest” photos from Sept. 18.
My general strategy was to duplicate my favorite images of past years of NKP 765.
That was an impossible objective given how places I’ve photographed the 765 during its visits in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
After the runbys, I went to Jaite to photograph the train going in both directions. I saw former Akron Railroad Club member John Puda, who I had not seen in a few years.
Every visit of the NKP 765/767 is a little different. A signature trait of the 2016 excursions was how each trip involved meeting the CVSR Scenic in Peninsula twice.
That enabled me to get ahead of the train to Deep Lock Quarry on its return to Akron. If I had to choose one photo location to capture a steam train on the CVSR, this would be it.
The steamer is coming upgrade and working. The sound show is magnificent. It’s also a steep uphill climb from track level to the parking lot
I spent the break between excursions in Peninsula where I would get the steam train meeting the Scenic at 1:45 p.m.
It would be tough – if not impractical – to get the photograph I really wanted, which was a straight-down-the tracks shot of the locomotives nose by nose.
A steam locomotive in Peninsula always attracts a crowd and some daisy picker will jump out in front of you. What I accomplished was reasonably close to what I wanted.
The downside of photographing in Peninsula is that it takes time to get out of town.
The Scenic has you blocked, the route out of town is circuitous, and there is heavy traffic to navigate.
I was able to get one of the photo runbys at Boston Mill. I was even able to sit just inside the guardrail on the east side of Riverview beyond the fenced off area.
That perspective would not be available the following weekend due to a heavy police presence, so it was good that I took advantage of it on this day.
I chatted with fellow ARRC member Todd Dillon who would be the only current club member I would see all day. A few other ARRC members were trackside, but I didn’t see them.
After the runby, I motored to Brecksville, getting the coming and going of the train at the Chippewa Creek bridge.
I had enough time to get to Indigo Lake, but had to park in the trailer park because the Indigo Lake lot was filled.
The conditions on this day were among the best I’d seen with the water calm enough to produce a nearly perfect mirror image.
I guessed the steam train would deadhead to the CVSR’s Fitzwater maintenance facility after unloading passengers at Akron.
I was correct and my last photo op of the day was the meet with the Scenic in Peninsula, the fifth time during the day that that occurred.
I stuck around to photograph the Scenic leaving and spotted former ARRC member Gary Spencer in the vestibule of a car on the Scenic.
A day that began with unfavorable weather ended with nearly ideal conditions. Somehow the rain in the region stayed away during the afternoon.
Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders
Tags: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, CVSR 1822, CVSR steam excursions, CVSR steam trips, Nickel Plate 765, Nickel Plate 767, Nickel Plate Road 765, Nickel Plate Road 767, Nickel Plate Road No. 765, NKP 765 on CVSR, NKP 767, Peninsula Ohio, steam excursions, steam in the valley, steam locomotives, Steam trains