Baseball, Hot Dogs and Trains

CVSR train No. 34 approaches the Big Bend station, but no one wanted to get on or off.

Back in late spring Ed Ribinskas proposed that Marty Surdyk and I join him in attending a baseball game in Akron featuring the Class AA Rubber Ducks.

The Ducks, who are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, were honoring former Cleveland Cavaliers star Mark Price that night and Price is Ed’s favorite former Cav.

As part of the festivities, the first 1,000 fans were to receive a bobble head doll of Price wearing a Rubber Ducks uniform with the same number he wore during his NBA career.

It would be my first trip to Canal Park in several years. The last time I was there the team was still named the Aeros.

We agreed to do some railfanning in the afternoon before the game.

The outing started at Marty’s house and from there we headed for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to chase a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train.

We were driving along Riverview Road when Marty asked, “where are we going?”

I suggested we go to the Big Bend station in Akron, which is located in the Sand Run Metropark.

Big Bend is the only CVSR station where I’ve never photographed a train.

We easily found the station, which isn’t much, just a gravel platform lacking any signs identifying it as a CVSR stop.

The northbound train from Akron to Rockside Road arrived not long after we did. We got our photographs of it alongside a trail and then headed north in pursuit.

I was hoping that C424 No. 365 would be on the north end of the train as it had been the previous weekend. But that was not the case.

Instead, FPA-4 No. 6771 was on the point. That’s not bad because it features the V stripe on the nose.

The next photo stop was at Indigo Lake and after that we caught the train at Boston Mill.

I wanted to get the train passing the under construction CVNP visitor’s center.

Earlier, the National Park Service purchased a private apartment building and is gutting it to create the visitor’s center, which is expected to open in May 2019.

We continued to follow the train northbound, figuring to maybe getting it at Brecksville.

But Riverview was closed north of Jaite so the chase came to an abrupt halt.

We still had more than an hour to kill before heading to Akron and I suggested we check out Maple Grove Park in Hudson next to the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern.

Marty has been there but I haven’t. He wrote about it in a past issue of the Bulletin.

We arrived in the park just ahead of westbound intermodal train 25T, which was slowing to go around a train ahead that was getting a new crew.

The 25T would cross over to Track No. 2 once the eastbound 20E cleared CP 102. The two stack trains met in front of us.

We didn’t have a much longer wait before the train that was stopped, the 24W, got on the move eastbound.

In the meantime someone walking on the trail asked if we were trainspotters. Well, yes, we are, but I associate that term with British railfanning.

After passage of the 24W, it was time to head for Canal Park. The gates opened at 6 p.m. and we had a good half hour or more wait in line to get in.

It turned out that only 200 people got a Mark Price bobble head doll. The vendor had not sent the allotted 1,000 bobble heads so those who were among the first 1,000 into Canal Park but not in the initial 200 received a voucher to receive their bobble head at the Aug. 26 game against Harrisburg. They also received a free ticket to that game.

I didn’t care about the bobble head and had I been offered it I would have given it to Ed or said give it to someone else.

I had eaten a tuna salad wrap from Sheetz during the ride to Akron, but Ed and Marty went to the concession stand to get hotdogs.

The weather was pleasant for a baseball game and it was announced late during the game that it was the eighth sellout of the season.

Price threw out a ceremonial first pitch and signed autographs for fans during the first hour of the game.

The Ducks got the better of the Richmond Flying Squirrels by a score of 4-1, scoring three times in the seventh and once in the eighth.

Following the game was a fireworks display set to music by the Counting Crows. It was nice, but not the best fireworks shows I’ve seen.

It had been an enjoyable day filled with a few firsts for me and visits to four parks.

That gravel to the right of the train is the boarding platform for Big Bend station.

Here comes the train at Indigo Lake.

Boarding at Indigo Lake after a visit to Hale Farm.

Leaving Indigo Lake behind.

That old red building at Boston Mill will several months from now be the new visitor’s center for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Here comes the 25T at Maple Grove Park.

Eastbound 20E meets the 25T at Maple Grove Park.

NS stacker 24W was our last train of the day.

Seems like I’ve seen these guys somewhere before. Maybe it was even in Akron.

Mark Price throws out a first pitch. The ball is at the top of the frame.

The finale of the post-game fireworks show.

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