34 Enjoy ARRC Picnic at Warwick Park

Chef Martè places the first burgers on the grill.

Thirty-four Akron Railroad Club members and guests munched on picnic food Sunday at Warwick Park in Clinton while watching CSX trains on the adjacent New Castle Subdivision.

A few brave souls risked getting a food-borne illness by eating the unrefrigerated potato salad that someone brought.

In the approximately 12 hours that at least one club member was at the park, CSX sent 12 trains through town.

That was more than the record low of nine but far short of the record high of 21. But it’s the CSX New Castle Sub and long lulls are synonymous with that route.

The train count included two sightings of local D750 which left the yard for Akron at 2:40 p.m. and returned at 6:45 p.m. The crew had gone to work in late morning switching cars in the Warwick yard.

The train count also included two eastbound empty coal trains, two westbound auto rack trains, two westbound intermodal trains, a westbound coke train, an eastbound steel train and one manifest freight in each direction.

Aside from a Norfolk Southern unit trailing in the motive power consist of the Q352, we didn’t see any foreign power.

The highlight or lowlight of the day, depending on your perspective was the Q299 going into emergency a short distance east of Warwick.

That tied up the mainline for a good hour. The culprit was a broken air hose six cars from the rear of a very long empty auto rack train.

A trainmaster came out to check on the stalled train and the IO dispatcher informed the crew that three departments, mechanical, engineering and transportation, were interested in the incident.

At one point the trainmaster asked the conductor over the radio if the engineer had done any damage to “my train.”

No, the conductor said in response. It was just a separated air hose. Still, there was something threatening in the tone of voice of the trainmaster.

As the conductor was walking back to the head end, he encountered a skunk and asked his engineer for advice. The response was that if riled up a skunk will spray you.

Back at the park, master grill chef Martè fired up the grill around noon. Don Woods received the first burger. As in the past there were a variety of chips, salads and desserts.

The weather was as good as it’s ever been for an ARRC picnic and quite a contrast with last year when a thunderstorm rolled through as we were getting ready to eat.

The picnic wrapped up with a game of H-O-R-S-E on the basketball court involving Marty, Richard Antibus and Paul Havasi.

Marty won the game, but none of the three contestants will ever be confused with a more famous Akron basketball player, a guy by the name of James.

By the time the game mercifully ended the players had put up enough bricks to earn a union card and start a second career and enough air balls to leave a crowd horse from chanting “air ball, air ball, air ball” had this been an actual game.

But it was great fun, which is what the annual picnic is all about.

James Leasure (left) scoops up, gasp, potato salad as Dave Shepherd dresses his burger at the condiments table. In the background Bill Kubas ponders the offerings.

Rich Antibus (center) explains to chef Martè and Jim Mastromatteo how many CSX trains we can expect to see once the late afternoon flurry gets underway on the New Castle Sub.

The photo line is in place in the shade of a large tree to photograph D750 as it heads to Akron.

Ron McElrath (left) and Tom Kendra made video of CSX manifest freight Q352.

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