Archive for August, 2018

Got There at the Right Time

August 31, 2018

I didn’t journey to North East, Ohio, last spring for the express purpose of photographing the signal bridge at CP 73, which is located east of the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

But since I was there and I noticed that the CSX signal department was out in force putting in new signals, I decided I better get an image of the old signals.

The top and middle images were made on May 23. Note the new signals at the far left of both images are ready to be placed into service.

The bottom image was made eight days later and features Q020 charging eastbound on Track No. 2 of the Erie West Subdivision.

It was a good thing I made this photo because the following week these signals fell. There are only a handful of the old-style Type G signal heads mounted on their original masts or signal bridges left on CSX between Cleveland and Buffalo, New York.

Volunteers Restore Michigan Narrow Gauge Steamer

August 31, 2018

Volunteers in Michigan have cosmetically restored a 2-8-0 Baldwin narrow gauge steam locomotive.

No. 6 of the Quincy & Torch Lake Railroad ran on a six-mile line hauling copper from the underground mine to a processing mill.

The railroad closed in 1945 and its locomotives were locked inside a roundhouse where they sat for several years until the formation of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association to preserve and interpret the history of copper mining in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

No. 6, which was built in 1912, was only new locomotive purchased by the railroad and was the largest and heaviest in the fleet.

The restoration began after No. 6 returned to Michigan in 2009 following a stint in New Jersey where an expected restoration failed to occur.

Chuck Pomazal, a model builder from Illinois, led a group of volunteers who restored No. 6, largely with hand tools.

The locomotive was placed on public display on Aug. 25. The volunteers are now turning their efforts to restoring  Q&TL No. 5, a smaller 2-6-0.

Parked Rail Car Became Talk of Indiana Town

August 31, 2018

It seemed like a good idea at the time. An Indiana tourist railroad placed a vintage passenger car on an unused track in downtown Noblesville, Indiana, in part to publicize the launch of an excursion service.

But the city refused to allow them to place a banner on the car, so it sat on the rails for three weeks without anyone knowing why it was there.

“Everybody who comes in here asks about it, and I don’t know what to tell them except ‘It’s there, and it hasn’t moved,” said Rhonda Epp, 43, a bartender for 15 years at Syd’s Fine Foods and Spirits. “Last time I had so many questions about something was when some murderers were on trial across the street.”

The 1929 open window car will be used by the Nickel Plate Express, but the railroad didn’t have a place to put it so it wound up on the courthouse square  in Noblesville where the Nickel Plate Road’s Indianapolis-Michigan City branch ran in the street.

The car is not blocking vehicular traffic, said Dagny Zupin of the NKP Express.

“It’s a very high visibility area, so we are pretty confident nothing will happen to it there,” Zupin said.

The car was used by NKP executives as a business car at one time. It seats 16 passengers and has a kitchen, dining room and lounge room for business meetings, as well as private quarters for a porter and a cook.

Nickel Plate Express expects to start operating on Sept. 15 and the business car will eventually operate on its trains. It will be used for private parties, dinners and corporate meetings as the train shuttles between Atlanta and Cicero.

The car is owned by Indiana Boxcar Corporation.

ABC in Kent Passing Treno

August 30, 2018

Last Friday Akron Railroad Club Vice President Todd Dillon was in Kent when the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway local to and from Ravenna came through town headed back to Brittain Yard in Akron. It is shown passing the former Erie passenger station, which is now an Italian restaurant named Treno.

Photograph by Todd Dillon

FRA Cuts Paperwork for Small Railroads

August 30, 2018

The Federal Railroad Administration will allow some smaller railroads and their contractors to use automated systems instead of paper records to comply with federal employee hours-of-service record-keeping requirements.

The rule change was published in the Federal Register and does not require eligible short lines and other railroads to use automated systems.

“This rule allows a railroad with less than 400,000 employee-hours annually (an eligible smaller railroad), and contractors and subcontractors that provide covered service employees to that railroad, to have employees electronically sign the automated records of their hours of duty to store the records in the railroad’s computer system,” the rule states. “Thus, this rule eliminates the requirement to print and sign the record.”

DHS Issues Grants for Transit Security

August 30, 2018

More than $88 million in transit security grants have been awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in an effort to protecting transit agencies from acts of terrorism and boosting the resilience of transit infrastructure.

The agency also issued a separate $10 million grant to increase the resilience of Amtrak’s system.

The DHS had announced last May the availability of $1.6 billion in grant funding to help prevent acts of terrorism.


Trying to Stay Dry on Vermilion Day

August 29, 2018

An eastbound coal train crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line at about 4:30 p.m. during the Akron Railroad Club outing in Vermilion. Where was a boat on the river when we needed it?

It started with rain and ended with rain. In between we managed to see some Norfolk Southern action interspersed with long periods of waiting.

And that in a nutshell summarizes the 2018 Akron Railroad Club day in Vermilion that was attended by eight members.

As we expected, most of the action was on the Chicago Line, which boasted its usual assortment of manifests, intermodals and single commodity trains.

But the iffy weather meant that few boats were plying the Vermilion River by the boat launch that was our base of operations for much of the day.

No NS heritage units came through but the 9-1-1 unit made an appearance late in the afternoon trailing in the motive power consist of a coal train.

Two ARRC members saw it from the rail platform in downtown Vermilion, but three of us missed it because we were in Huron seeking photographs of trains passing beneath the old signal bridge with its Type G signal heads that NS is about to replace.

It took a long wait before an eastbound and westbound came through Huron.

In the meantime, we heard the Toledo East dispatcher talking to trains east of us and multiple trains coming onto the Chicago Line and turning west in Sandusky from the Sandusky District.

Those of us in Huron missed the 9-1-1 unit because its train diverged from the Chicago Line west of Vermilion and went to the Cleveland District en route to Bellevue.

The Cleveland District, which is the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, was largely quiet during the day.

As I arrived in the Vermilion area I spotted an eastbound stack train east of town on the Cleveland District.

Presumably it was either the 206 or the 22K and had taken the new connection west of Vermilion that allows eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to move onto the Cleveland District.

Otherwise, the only other train on the Cleveland District was eastbound manifest freight 210, which had one locomotive on each end, something we’d never seen on this train.

One eastbound coal train came past with BNSF motive power and a few trains had former CSX units still wearing their CSX colors.

The rain stopped around mid day and gradually the clouds moved out to afford us alternating sunny skies and conditions of sun and clouds.

But as the five of us who had dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube came out of the restaurant about 9:45 p.m. light rain was falling and continued to fall throughout my drive home. Maybe that was a fitting way to end our day.

ARRC member Todd Vander Sluis (blue shirt) watches the L13 as it passes the former passenger station in Vermilion.

ARRC member Alan Nagy gets video of westbound NS stack train 25V as it races through Vermilion. It was the last train we saw before going to dinner and then calling it a day.

Pittsburgh Light Rail Line Back to Normal

August 29, 2018

A Pittsburgh light rail line has returned to full service after the completion of repairs to rebuild track and a station that were damaged by a Norfolk Southern derailment on Aug. 5

The Station Square Station was damaged along with the overhead wires and tracks.

The inbound tracks were returned to service last Thursday and full service was restored last weekend.

The derailment of a Chicago-bound container train on the NS Mon Line sent containers and cars down a hillside and onto the light rail line operated by the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

1 Slide, 3 Ways of Viewing It

August 28, 2018

Here are three images from a single Ed Treesh East Broad Top slide taken in Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania in August 1962.

At top we see the original of EBT No. 12 with a light defect. In the middle is a black and white of the original which shows less of the defect.

The bottom image shows a closer crop of the second train.

Photographs Courtesy of Robert Farkas

CVSR Fall Flyer to Feature Domes, Sleeping Car Rooms

August 28, 2018

When the Fall Flyer of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad hits the rails this year it will be a facsimile of the famed California Zephyr.

The Fall Flyer will feature at least two of the CVSR’s three dome cars, all three of which once operated on the CZ. Passengers will also have the option of booking rooms in a sleeping car the railroad is in the process of acquiring.

The Fall Flyer will operate on Saturdays and Sundays in October, departing Rockside Road at 9:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and from Akron on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Passengers will get a two-hour train ride.

Tickets will cost $25 per person for seating in a table car with seats sold individually from sections of four-top dining tables and chairs.

Tickets on the lower level of dome cars Silver Lariat and Silver Bronco are priced at $25 per passenger. The dome section of both cars is available for $30 per person.

In the Silver Rapids sleeping car, seating is available for $30 per person in a private suite that consists of two rooms together. The suite capacity is four passengers.

Seats in one of the eight roomettes of the Silver Rapids will cost $25 per person. Each roomette features a window and seating for two. Tickets must be purchased in sets of two.

Snacks, drinks and merchandise will be available for purchase in the concession car. All children age 3 or older must have a ticket. Children age 2 or younger do not require a ticket if they are to sit on a parent or guardian’s lap.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the station 30 minutes prior to departure time. For more information, contact CVSR customer service at 800-468-4070, extension 1.