Archive for November, 2016

Railroading as It Once Was: Getting a Roll by From Operator Laird at RU Tower in Sterling

November 30, 2016

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In August 1977 Conrail was still running a handful of trains on the former Erie Lackawanna west of Akron. Still wearing its Reading Lines colors but patched for “CR,” this eastbound freighter is passing RU tower in Sterling and getting a roll by from operator Charlie Laird. There is a slow order over the Chessie diamonds just ahead. The tower and the former EL were removed many years ago.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

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Ex-NYC Syracuse Platform Rehabilitated

November 30, 2016

The New York State Department of Transportation has completed a $1.5 million restoration of a former New York Central station platform in Syracuse, New York.

NYC 3The work was done after a 2015 inspection found that the platform had decayed to a point where a privately-owned space below was threatened.

The work was paid for from the state’s transportation budget and involved replacing the concrete deck of the 560-foot long platform.

Workers also removed rust from steel columns, installed a new lightweight roof and painted the columns and back wall.

The NYC passenger station and freight platform were in 2009 placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Autumn Day Out With the CVSR

November 29, 2016
The National Park Scenic depart Peninsula amid peak fall colors in early November.

The National Park Scenic departs from Peninsula station amid peak fall colors in early November.

Autumn is probably the favorite season of the year for the managers of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroads.

It’s trains are stuffed full of leaf peepers wanting to get a look at the autumn foliage along the 25-mile route between Akron and Independence.

And just as soon as the foliage season is done the Polar Express season begins. The trains featuring the children’s Christmas tale account for 20 percent of the CVSR’s annual ridership.

Is it any wonder that the railroad looks forward to the end of the year?

I, took, look forward to autumn on the CVSR, but for a different reason. Some of my best images of that railroad have been made in October and early November.

And between runs of the National Park Scenic, there is autumn glory to photograph in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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Peninsula as already been decked out to become the North Pole for the Polar Express trains.

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The first of three images of the southbound Scenic coming through an S curve north of Brecksville station.

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Horizon Rail No. 8420 leads the National Park Scenic at Brecksville.

Horizon Rail No. 8420 leads the National Park Scenic at Brecksville.

Passing the leaf-covered path to the Brecksville station.

Passing the leaf-covered path to the Brecksville station.

CVSR 1822 is framed by an arch of the Ohio Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley.

CVSR 1822 is framed by an arch of the Ohio Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley.

FPA No. 6771 leads the last Ales on Rails train of the year through Brecksville.

FPA-4 No. 6771 leads the last Ales on Rails train of the year through Brecksville.

The Baltimore & Ohio tribute FPA-4 No. 800 brings up the rear of the Ales on Rails train at Brecksville.

The Baltimore & Ohio tribute FPA-4 No. 800 brings up the rear of the Ales on Rails train at Brecksville.

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AC&Y Building Still Standing Tall

November 28, 2016
The burning bush plants are on South Main Street, but the AC&Y Building is on Exchange Street.

The burning bush plants are on South Main Street, but the AC&Y Building is on Exchange Street.

Looking up from the sidewalk.

Looking up from the sidewalk.

 

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During an early November outing in Akron, I made it a point to visit the former AC&Y building in downtown Akron.

Although I’ve driven past it several times over the years, I’d never made the time to photograph it.

The building at 12 E. Exchange St. in downtown Akron once housed the general officers of the Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railway.

Although the AC&Y was acquired by the Norfolk & Western Railway in 1964, there continued to be railroad offices here until 1982.

Built in 1919, the eight-story building that stands just west of South Main Street was initially known as the Herberich Bulding after Charles Herberich, an Akron businessman who built the structure in the Neo-Classic Revival style.

Herberich owned a real estate company and its officers were on the first floor.

It was the tallest building at the time in the south end of downtown Akron and had offices for doctors, construction companies, insurance companies and such non-profit organizations as the American Legion.

General Tire Company also had offices there with Charles Herberich being one of the firm’s founders.

The AC&Y moved its offices into the Herberich Building in 1923 and in 1926 it took on the identity of the railroad.

Today, the Crucible Development Corporation owns the structure, which it has named 12 E. Exchange St. The AC&Y Building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

A restaurant occupied the first floor and the other floors can be leased for office space.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

All Tickets Distributed for End of Year Dinner

November 28, 2016

We can’t call it a sellout because the tickets were free. But all of the 32 tickets available for the Akron Railroad Club’s end of year dinner have been distributed.

ARRC logoThe dinner will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant in Stow at 3732 Darrow Road.

Roger Durfee will present a slide program titled “One Man’s Journey With Big Blue.” Durfee will show with photographs and discuss how Conrail developed and evolved from its April 1, 1976, inception to its final years before being divided between Norfolk Southern and CSX on June 1, 1999.

Durfee, a conductor for NS, began his railroad career with Conrail.

The end of year dinner is limited to 32 attendees due to the small size of the meeting room in which it is held.

The event will begin with cocktails starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. We will order from the restaurant’s regular menu starting about 6 p.m. The program should get underway around 8 p.m.

The event is held on an individual settlement basis.

It will be the final ARRC activity for 2016. The club’s next event will be the January meeting.

Although the paper Bulletin is not published in December, the eBulletin will be distributed during the week of Dec. 4.

Getting Reacquainted With the Railroads of Akron on a Gorgeous Autumn Sunday Railfan Outing

November 27, 2016
A Wheeling & Lake Erie stone train takes head room on the trestle spanning the valley of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

A Wheeling & Lake Erie stone train takes head room on the trestle spanning the valley of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Good things happen when you go out on an autumn railfan outing with Roger Durfee.

I met up with my fellow Akron Railroad Club member in early November on a Sunday morning for some autumn railfanning around Akron.

We’ve done this in the past and I’ve come back with some very good autumn foliage images of trains images, some of the best I’ve made.

We had a plan of sorts that we didn’t quite wind up fully implementing because events kept interfering.

We didn’t know when we set out that morning that we’d have the opportunity to photograph three Wheeling & Lake Erie trains.

I’ve long said that I usually wind up getting the W&LE when I’m out looking for something else and that is what happened on this day.

Aside from capturing the W&LE, we also inspected the current state of affairs at Voris Street, found that the Amtrak station in Amtrak hasn’t changed much since the rail passenger carrier left Akron more than a decade ago, and took the time to visit the former AC&Y Building in downtown Akron.

We also stopped by Northside Station on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to photograph a departing National Park Scenic train and visited Wingfoot Lake State Park to catch the arrival of Wingfoot Two on a flight from Columbus where it had helped TV cover the Ohio State-Nebraska football game on a Saturday night.

As mentioned in another post, we also visited Akron Junction to check out how things have changed there with CSX removing most of the tracks on the Valley Line level.

En route to Akron Junction we stopped so I could photograph the former Erie bridge over North Forge Street. The names of the cities that the Erie served have faded away, but the Erie herald is still prominent.

Did I mention that we caught CSX intermodal train Q137 at Market Street?

All in all, it was, as Roger remarked as it was winding down, a well-rounded day.

Here is a selection of photographs showing what we landed.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The first stop on our Sunday outing was the Gorge Metropark to photograph the remains of the bridge that once carried the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company interurban cars across the Cuyahoga River.

The first stop on our Sunday outing was the Gorge Metropark to photograph the remains of the bridge that once carried the Northern Ohio Traction & Light Company interurban cars across the Cuyahoga River.

The CVSR National Park Scenic departs Akron station, which has been decorated for the Polar Express trains.

The CVSR National Park Scenic departs Akron station, which has been decorated for the Polar Express trains.

Here comes the Q137 past the site of the second Akron Union Depot. That is Perkins Street in the background.

Here comes the Q137 past the site of the second Akron Union Depot. That is Perkins Street in the background.

Shadows from a billboard creep over the lead unit of westbound Q137 as it approaches Market Street.

Shadows from a billboard creep over the lead unit of westbound Q137 as it approaches Market Street.

The last railroad to use this bridge was Conrail, but the Erie heritage is still quite visible.

The last railroad to use this bridge was Conrail, but the Erie heritage is still quite visible.

There are fewer tracks at Akron Junction now, but the coaling tower still stands.

There are fewer tracks at Akron Junction now, but the coaling tower still stands.

Moving out onto the trestle built decades ago by the Akron, Canton & Youngstown.

Moving out onto the trestle built decades ago by the Akron, Canton & Youngstown.

Contrary to appearances, this W&LE stone train is making a backup move on the CSX New Castle Sub.

Contrary to appearances, this W&LE stone train is making a backup move on the CSX New Castle Sub.

Catching this ABC transfer job approaching Voris Street was an unexpected bonus.

Catching this ABC transfer job approaching Voris Street was an unexpected bonus.

Crossing Voris Street, which is, tehnically, closed to vehicle traffic.

Crossing Voris Street, which is, tehnically, closed to vehicle traffic.

It took longer than we expected, but the ABC transfer job finally showed up in southeast Akron near Goodyear Boulevard.

It took longer than we expected, but the ABC transfer job finally showed up in southeast Akron near Goodyear Boulevard.

Another view of the ABC job as it returns to Brittain Yard.

Another view of the ABC job as it returns to Brittain Yard.

We waited until early afternoon to photograph at Rock Cut Siding the stone train we had seen earlier in the day.

We waited until early afternoon to photograph at Rock Cut Siding the stone train we had seen earlier in the day.

Here comes the third W&LE train of the day, but contrary to a post on Facebook it did not have a pair of "tiger stripes" for motive power.

Here comes the third W&LE train of the day, but contrary to a post on Facebook it did not have a pair of “tiger stripes” for motive power.

Cruising along the hedges along North Street near East High School.

Cruising along the hedges along North Street near East High School.

Wingfoot Two touches down at its base near Suffield across Wingfoot Lake as seen from Wingfoot Lake State Park.

Wingfoot Two touches down at its base near Suffield across Wingfoot Lake as seen from Wingfoot Lake State Park.

 

An International Adventure in November 1968

November 26, 2016

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Forty-eight years ago on the day after Thanksgiving, Mike Ondecker, John Woodworth and I headed to Toledo.

We met some railfans there who said there was a scrap yard in London, Ontario, that had some CN CLC (FM) C-liners still intact.

John and I convinced Mike to go to London and our all-Ohio trip turned into an international mini-adventure.

We drove home the next day never realizing this would be the beginning of many good trips together. Here are two images from that trip.

The top image was made on Nov. 29, 1968. It is the day after American Thanksgiving in Toledo, Ohio, and New York Central No. 4024 and Baltimore & Ohio No.1438 (on a Chesapeake & Ohio train) await their time to depart Central Union Terminal.

In the second image it is Nov. 30, 1968, in London, Ontario. CN’s London Reclamation Yard holds stripped hulks and almost complete CLC (FM) C-liners and other discarded equipment.

Michigan Officials Mull Options After Voters Spurned Commuter Rail Funding Proposal

November 26, 2016

The Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority it examining its options after voters earlier this month narrowly defeated a tax increase that would have funded an expansion of service, including a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail line.

SE Michigan RTAWhat is certain, though, is that the earliest that the SMRTA can return to the voters with the same proposal is 2018.

“Obviously we’re just trying to absorb what happened,” said Michael Ford, who leads SMRTA.

The proposal for a 20-year 1.2 mill tax increase passed in Wayne (Detroit) and Washtenaw (Ann Arbor) counties, divided voters fairly evenly in Oakland County but was rejected in Macomb County.

“We’re going to have to reassess, understand why,” Ford said of why people voted against the tax plan, adding he plans to convene with the RTA board, which includes representatives from the different communities, to discuss possible next steps, including whether to plan to put a proposal before voters again in two years.

Ford said he remains optimistic that something can be done to expand public transportation options and still thinks that the proposed plan of commuter rail and new regional bus services is a good one.

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor said that had the tax been approved it would have given the Detroit-Ann Arbor rail link a critical boost.

“Commuter rail is a necessity for Ann Arbor to improve our local economy and to improve our local quality of life,” he said.

Had the plan been funded by the tax measure, commuter rail was expected to begin in 2022.

When PC 4321 Did Not Look So Rusty

November 25, 2016

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I enjoyed seeing the recent posting of the photo of the former Penn Central E unit in Bellevue. I’ve attached a side-by-side I put together of the same unit from when I shot it in the late 1970s over in E-Port, New Jersey, to today’s look in Bellevue (Remember my Rust Never Sleeps ARRC blog entry from a while back?). As a note, this unit is NOT part of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum. It is privately owned. Hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

 

Hidden Gems at Akron Union Depot

November 25, 2016

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Here are some more hidden gems from the past in Akron.

While the two wider images show detail of the Akron Union Depot somewhere between 1967 and 1970, the two close-up crops show hidden gems in the original images. While the close crops are very grainy, consider the size they are in the original negative.

In the second image, which shows the background of the top image, is a lashup of two Erie Lackawanna Alco PAs and a GE.

Look closely at that image and you will see that there is even another treasure because the colors on the GE’s EL emblem are reversed. That error lasted only a small time before being corrected.

Image four is a closer view of the platform in image three. Image four shows an eastbound EL train with an EMD SD45, EMD SD45, EMD F3A lashup.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas