Lake Perch and the Grand River Railway


We had been out Christmas shopping and decided to go to Brennan’s Fish House in Grand River for a late lunch/early dinner.

Mary Ann and I love the lake perch they serve along with greasy fries. Add a cup of New England style clam chowder and a 22-ounce draft beer — Great Lakes Christmas ale of course — and you have a great meal.

Just outside the windows of Brennan’s are the tracks of the Grand River Railway. This former New York Central branch runs down River Street for a short distance and was out of service for about 13 years until the GRR came along to revive it.

The GRR hauls covered hopper cars between an interchange with CSX in Painesville and a Morton Salt facility near Headlands Beach State Park.

The GRR uses an EMD 1200 switcher painted in a Baltimore & Ohio inspired livery. The railroad began operations in July 2015 and although I’ve seen the motive power of the GRR sitting near Morton Salt, I’ve never seen one of its trains in action.

That changed just before our server brought out our perch dinners. I saw a covered hopper car pass by with a crew member riding it.

I grabbed Mary Ann’s iPhone to get a grab shot. But the phone said there was no room left for additional photographs to be stored on the memory card.

She frantically deleted a few images and then had trouble getting the camera function to work properly. I had visions of missing an opportunity to photograph the switcher because of an inoperative device.

Fortunately, for me, the train had a long string of covered hoppers. With the phone working properly again I was able to get the image I wanted.

It would have been better had I gone outside and made an image of the street running. But I didn’t know how long the train would be so I went with the sure thing.

That’s why there’s that stop sign on the right edge of the frame. But, hey, I got it, right?

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders



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