Archive for November, 2016

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

November 30, 2016


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


NS Names 2 to Board, Chao to head DOT

November 30, 2016

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been named to the board of directors of Norfolk Southern Corporation.

He will be joined on the board by Marcela Donadio, a retired partner at Ernst & Young.

Daniels is the president of Purdue University and served as the governor of Indiana between 2005 and 2013.

In other news, Elaine Chao is expected to become the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in the Trump administration.

Chao is a former deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush between 1989 and 1991, and served as the Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush between 2001 and 2009.

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


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


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



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.


FRA Says PTC Progress is Uneven

November 29, 2016

Progress toward the implementation of positive train control has been uneven, the Federal Railroad Administration said in a report based on third quarter 2016 information submitted by railroads.

FRAThe FRA said PTC is active on 12 percent of freight railroad lines, an increase from 9 percent in the second quarter.

Passenger railroads increased their percentage to 23 percent this quarter compared to 22 percent last quarter.

In a news release, the FRA said the greatest progress has occurred on the West Coast. East Coast railroads, other than SEPTA and Amtrak, have remained relatively stagnant.

Support for Daily Cardinal Builds in W.Va.

November 29, 2016

Support for daily service by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal is building in West Virginia, but supporters know that it remains long way off.

Amtrak CardinalAmong those recently supporting increasing the frequency of service of the tri-weekly train is the mayor of Charleston, Danny Jones.

Jones describes himself as train travel enthusiast who travels via Amtrak several times a year.

“It would bring more people through or more visitors if it were seven days a week,” Jones said. “However, “It would still lose money.”

Shortly after a conference was held in Cincinnati this past September to discuss a daily Cardinal, the West Virginia Governor’s Conference on Tourism unanimously passed a motion in favor of daily Cardinal service.

The Cincinnati conference was sponsored by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.

In the meantime, Mayor Jones is fighting to retain the Amtrak agent at the Charleston depot, which is wedged between MacCorkle Avenue and the CSX railroad tracks.

Jones said some improvements have been made to the stop, including the installation of benches outside and some signs and landscaping around the station.

Buffalo Station Committee to hold 1st Meeting

November 29, 2016

A committee to study sites for a new Amtrak station in Buffalo, New York, expects to hold its first meeting in December.

Amtrak 4The 17-member committee will review such locations as the former Buffalo Central Terminal, Larkinville, Canalside and the current Exchange Street Amtrak station.

The State of New York has allocated $20 for construction of the station and the committee will look to see if it can obtain some federal funding.

“We’ll be able to fast track these initiatives that unfortunately have taken the back burner because of a lack of funding,” said committee member Tim Kennedy, a state senator from Buffalo. “Now we can drive forward with those. And I think it fits right into the timetable that we’re looking at with the new train station in Buffalo.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he will accept a challenge from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decide on a station location within the next six months.

Class 1 RR Employment Fell in October

November 29, 2016

Employment at U.S. Class I Railroads fell 8.28 percent in October 2016 when compared to what it was in the same month a year earlier.

STBA report by the Surface Transportation Board found that the railroads employed 151,900 in October 2016, which was down 0.38 percent compared with September employment numbers.

All reported employment categories reflected workforce decreases in October when compared to the same month a year earlier and when compared to September 2016 employment.

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.



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.