McKay Day 2019

There was still some fog hanging in the air as CSX intermodal train Q020 passed through Berea during the 2019 Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day.

A variety of atmospheric conditions have greeted those participating in the annual Dave McKay Day outing to Berea since the first one began in a snowstorm in 2005.

Add rain and fog to the list.

Traditionally, the McKay Day outing was held on the first Saturday of April. But this year the officers decided to make it the first Saturday in May.

That’s wasn’t a bad idea, but this year it didn’t work. The first Saturday in April had much better weather.

Fog gripped Berea just after sunrise on May 4, 2019. I arrived around 7:20 a.m. and figured that maybe I could get some special effects images due to the fog.

However, there wasn’t enough fog to create any special effects and by the time the first train came through — CSX eastbound stack train Q020 — the fog had begun lifting.

For about two hours I was the only ARRC member on hand. Then I was joined by Bill Kubas, Rick Houck and Paul Woodring. Former members Alex Bruchac and Dennis Taksar joined just later in the day.

The train action was fairly stead with no hour-long lulls. There were a few trains with the usual suspects of foreign power, including BNSF, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National.

A fair number of Union Pacific units came through, but all were trailing.

No special interest locomotives made an appearance unless you count the Erie heritage unit that came through on the lead of 21M in the middle of the night when no one was around.

For the most part it was just the usual assortment of traffic you can expect to see in Berea during daylight hours on any given day.

CSX is making greater use of distributed power, which we saw on crude oil, intermodal and manifest freights.

The weather never improved much during the day. It was cloudy and cool, not ideal conditions for making photographs. For the most part, my camera stayed in its bag during the day.

It was a nice day, though, to have conversation. Socializing is, of course, one of the main purposes of these events.

Although the event is named after the late David McKay, we never talked about him during our conversations. Maybe that’s to be expected given that he’s been gone for 14 years.

I did think about Dave as I drifted westward on the grassy strip next to the CSX tracks.

I noticed that some shine on the lettering on the memorial plaque commemorating Dave is starting to wear off.

I also wondered what happened to that simple folding chair he used to sit on while awaiting the next train. He’d place that chair under a tree that still stands near his memorial.

Presumably, the McKay Day outing will continue in 2020. With attendance being very light in recent years it’s not what it used to be.

McKay Day was traditionally first ARRC outing of the year. Whatever happens to the McKay Day down the road, one thing will remain the same. There will still be lot of trains passing Dave’s memorial in Berea.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A few flats cars of vehicles was in the consist of Norfolk Southern train 14N. Are these military vehicles?

An eastbound CSX manifest freight with a cut of grain hoppers behind the motive power.

A pair of Canadian National locomotives headed a westbound CSX auto rack train.

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