10 ARRC Members Make Trek to Vermilion, Amherst

Don Woods places the first burgers on the grill at the Amherst depot Saturday afternoon as Marty Surdyk watches. (Photograph by Todd Dillon)

Ten Akron Railroad Club members participated in the outing on Saturday to Vermilion and Amherst.

The day began in Vermilion at the South Street boat launch where various birds, boats and even some Norfolk Southern trains occupied our attention.

We had plenty of opportunities to photograph NS trains crossing the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line.

Although the day was sunny throughout, the wind off Lake Erie had a chill to it that was particularly noticeable when you were in the shade.

During our time at the boat launch, NS sent one eastbound through town on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, a manifest freight on what is now called the Cleveland District.

Around mid afternoon, our host Todd Vander Sluis took a couple ARRC members in his Dodge Ram pickup truck to inspect the new connection being built from the Chicago Line to the Cleveland  District west of Vermilion near the Vermilion Country Club.

The connection will enable eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to eastward on the Cleveland District.

Progress on the project has been slow and the site looked much as it did a year ago.

The path of the connection has been graded and some panel track has been placed along it, but otherwise work seems to have stalled.

The ARRC NS heritage units curse continued. Our hopes had been raised by an online report that the Leigh Valley H unit was leading train 18A eastbound and its progression would have put it through Vermilion in early to mid afternoon.

But it turned out the 18A was headed for Bellevue. Another H unit, the Central of New Jersey, was also reported heading east on the Chicago Line in Indiana, but it was bound for Detroit.

Wouldn’t you know it that if we had been in Vermilion the next day we would have seen the Wabash H unit leading the 21G in mid to late afternoon.

Just one train had foreign power leading. An eastbound grain train was led by a pair of BNSF units.

We did spot two Kansas City Southern “Belles” trailing in the motive power consist of an eastbound manifest freight.

As the afternoon wore on, ARRC members began migrating to the restored former New York Central freight station in Amherst where Chef Martè was manning the grill for the annual summer picnic of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts.

The RRE had invited the ARRC to attend its picnic and partake of some burgers and hot dogs.

Alas, NS pretty much died during the picnic. By the time things picked up again, it was nearly 9 p.m. and just about everyone had gone home, was about to head home, or was on his way home.

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