McKay Day Set for Saturday in Berea

The 14th annual Dave McKay Day outing in Berea of the Akron Railroad Club is set for Saturday, April 7.

As always, it begins when the first club member arrives and the last one leaves. Given that the weather forecast for Saturday is for partly cloudy skies with a high of 33 degrees, that might mean the first arrival won’t be too early.

Nonetheless, we’ve had worse weather and, of course, we’ve had better weather, too.

Whatever the case, come out and enjoy a day or a few hours of quality train watching time in honor of our good friend and colleague Dave McKay, who died in late December 2004 after serving as ARRC president between 1993 and 2004.

Since then, the ARRC has set aside the first Saturday in April as a day to honor Dave’s memory at his favorite train watching spot.

Attendees should assemble in the parking lot at the west end of the Berea Depot Restaurant parking lot along Depot Street.

We may try to do a group photo if weather and time permit sometime during the day. Most likely that will be in the early afternoon.

As in past years we can expect to see a lot of trains on Norfolk Southern and CSX although with the latter having switched to the precision scheduled railroading model since our last McKay Day traffic on that railroad may not be what it has been in the past.

Still, we can expect to see on both railroads a several intermodal trains with a fair number of auto rack, manifest and bulk commodities thrown into the mix.

It is common to see foreign power, particularly on CSX, and if we’re lucky we’ll catch the Canadian Pacific run-through trains that use CSX between Chicago and Buffalo complete with CP motive power.

If we’re really lucky, we’ll catch an NS heritage unit leading a train.

Amtrak puts four trains through Berea daily, but they are scheduled between midnight and dawn. The Wheeling & Lake Erie also has a train through Berea, but it tends to operate at night.

In past years those still in Berea in late afternoon have had dinner at the restaurant in the former Big Four passenger station in Berea.

However, word is that the menu there has changed along with the name. Now known as the Berea Depot Bar and Restaurant, it advertises itself as offering upscale pub fare.

That means a more limited number of entrees ranging in price from $15 to $21. There are also a range of sandwiches on the menu, most of which are priced at $11. The menu also includes salads, appetizers and flatbreads.

Some ARRC members are members of the Forest City Division – Railroad Enthusiasts, which is holding its annual banquet in Berea that night at Tony K’s restaurant.

Tickets for that banquet are available at the door for $34 per person. The program that night is being given by Don Wetzel, who will discuss the development of the jet-powered rail diesel car that the New York Central tested in the 1960s west of Toledo.

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