Archive for August, 2019

Lesser Seen Locomotives

August 31, 2019

Here are some roster photographs of three less-seen locomotives.

Baltimore & Ohio No. 9185, an Alco RS1, is shown in Akron in early 1973. It is one of the two RS1’s the B&O got from Chesapeake & Ohio.

Note that sometimes there is a shadow when you’re photographing.

Akron, Canton & Youngstown No. 505 is a rare Fairbanks Morse H20-44. It is shown  leaving the Norfolk & Western (ex-AC&Y) turntable in Akron in 1968 or 1969.

Finally N&W 2152, an FM H12-44, is in Gambrinus, Ohio, in May 1974.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Clinchfield F7 to Pull Ohio Excursion Trains

August 31, 2019

A restored former Clinchfield F7 locomotive will be featured on excursions being operated in Ohio later this year by the Ohio Rail Experience.

No. 800, a gray and yellow locomotive restored to its original appearance in 2018 for CSX’s Santa Train, is owned by the Southern Appalachian Railway Museum.

Excursions will depart during October from Lima, Springfield, Urbana, Leipsic, and South Charleston.

The excursions are operated by the Cincinnati Scenic Railway, a 501c3 Non Profit based in Cincinnati.

Money raised by the trips is used to preserve historic rail equipment. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit

No. 800 most recently spent time pulling tourist trains in Florida and helped move Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 No. 2716 to a new home in Kentucky for restoration.

Rowland to Speak at Reading 2100 Fundraiser

August 31, 2019

Ross Rowland has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at a fund-raising event to raise money to help pay for the restoration of Reading 4-8-4 T1 No. 2100.

The event will be held on Sept. 21 at the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland that is now operated by the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

Rowland will present a video and photo presentation about his experiences in restoring and operating steam locomotives, including the Golden Spike Centennial Limited in 1969, the American Freedom Train from 1975-76, and the Chessie System Steam Special in 1977 and 1978.

Among the locomotives that he helped operate were Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 759, Reading 4-8-4 No. 2101 and Chesapeake & Ohio 4-8-4 No. 614.

The restoration of Reading 2100 is being undertaken at the B&O roundhouse by American Steam Railroad.

A catered dinner from Ohio City BBQ. Tickets are $99 per person and can be purchased on the internet at

Not All Traction at NORM

August 30, 2019











The Northern Ohio Railway Museum has a fine collection of streetcars and interurban railway cars, many of which once operated in Northeast Ohio.

On select Saturdays, visitors to the museum can ride Shaker Heights Rapid Transit Car No. 12, which is shown on Aug. 10.

The car is operating on 12 dates this year with the last of them in October.

But it is not all traction. The museum uses a Plymouth switcher to shuffle cars around the museum grounds.

It is shown on the same day that Car 12 was photographed.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

All Board Ohio Sets Meetings in Columbus, Cleveland

August 30, 2019

All Board Ohio will hold its fall meeting on Sept. 28 in Columbus and hear seven presentations related to public transportation and rail history.

The rail passenger advocacy group will meet between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission office at 111 Liberty Street.

Presentation include: Thea Walsh/Dina Lopez, MORPC planning team, providing an update on Pittsburgh-Columbus-Chicago Rapid Speed Transportation Initiative; Matt Dietrich, executive director, Ohio Rail Development Commission, providing an update on State of Ohio rail plans and projects; Laura Kliewer, executive director, Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, providing an update on Midwest passenger rail projects and regional rail plan; Joanna Pinkerton, CEO, Central Ohio Transit Authority, discussing long-range plans and projects;  Josh Lapp, president, Transit Columbus, discussing the local transit levy initiative; and Stu Nicholson and  Larry Robertson, All Aboard Ohio, giving a brief history of passenger rail service in Columbus.

The event is open to the public, but registration is required and must be completed by Sept. 24.

Tickets are $25 for AAO members and $35 for non-members, which includes a 2020 AAO membership.

The ticket price also includes refreshments and a box lunch. Doors will open at 9:15 a.m. and the programs begin at 10 a.m.

Tickets can be ordered from All Aboard Ohio, 230 W. Huron Road, #85.53, Cleveland, OH 44113.

Information is available at or by calling 844-464-7245.

AAO will host a Cleveland area meeting on Sept. 14 between 10 a.m. and noon at the  Sustainable Cleveland Center, located on the third level above the food court at Tower City Center.

Topics to be discussed include projects/plans for Federal Railroad Administration grant applications, Amtrak service issues, and Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority projects/issues.

Contact Ken Prendergast at 216-288-4883 for more information.

ODOT Sets Transit Funding Levels in FY2020

August 30, 2019

Details have been announced by the Ohio Department of Transportation regarding how the agency plans to distribute $70 million in general revenue funds being made available by the Urban Transit Program in the state’s 2020 fiscal year.

The funding plan covers 27 of Ohio’s public transit agencies that fall under the urban transit system category.

The information announced this week is the first outline of how ODOT plans to distribute funding to the state’s public transit systems.

ODOT is allowing funding for projects that support public transportation in Ohio except for those that are project administration and force account work.

General revenue funding may be used to provide 100 percent of the total project cost or 100 percent of the non-federal share to match a federal operating assistance grant.

The ODOT plan includes formula allocations for funding for the 27 Urban Transit Programs, which is expected to be $16.6 million .

Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority will receive the greatest share at $3,670,747.

Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority will receive $1,007,281, Stark Area Regional Transit will receive $591,770, Medina Public County Transit will receive $133,352, Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority will receive $234,773, Lorain County Transit will receive $411,047, Laketran will receive $405,946, Western Reserve Transit Authority (Youngstown) will receive $478,648, and Trumbull County Transit will receive $81,254.

Will the Lansing Ever Play in Lansing?

August 29, 2019

The Viewliner diners that Amtrak has taken delivery of in recent years and continues to receive from CAF USA are named after state capital cities.

In many instances those cities are not on the Amtrak map. Some haven’t been for years, i.e., Columbus; and some have never been served by Amtrak, i.e., Dover, Delaware.

Lansing is an interesting case. Amtrak passes through the capital of Michigan but the station is located in East Lansing.

The city is served by the Blue Water, which has either an Amfleet or Horizon food service car.

Given that, it seems unlikely that diner Lansing will ever see its namesake city unless . . .

The Lansing could pass through Lansing if it ever gets assigned to the Blue Water to help meet a Canadian National-mandated minimum axle count.

For now, though, the Lansing is assigned to eastern long-distance trains. It is shown in Cleveland on the eastbound Lake Shore Limited where it was serving as the lounge for sleeping car passengers.

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

Attendance Up 8.5% This Year at Steamtown

August 29, 2019

Steamtown National Historic Site has seen an 8.5 percent boost in attendance this year the National Park Service said recently.

Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the park between January and July hosted more than 61,400 visitors.

That compares with 56,567 for the same period in 2018.

Visitation at Steamtown was 104,000 in 2017, the first time it exceeded the 100,000 visitation mark in five years, and 97,950 in 2018.

The attendance high water mark came in 1995 when more than 200,000 people came. That year also coincided with the park’s grand opening.

William Fischer, chief of visitor services and resource management at Steamtown, said a number of factors are driving the increase in visitors, including interest in the restoration of Union Pacific’s Big Boy steam locomotive and the 50th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike.

Fischer said some visitors want to see Steamtown’s own Big Boy No. 4012, a stable mate of the recently restored 4-8-8-4 No. 4014.

“I have noted an increase in requests for information about our ‘Big Boy,’” Fischer said.

In related news, the Park Service said more than 38,000 people visited Golden Spike National Historic Park in Utah during the three days in May when the golden spike anniversary was observed.

Officials said that was nearly four times larger than the number of people who come to during the course of a normal month.

Visitation at the Utah site has since returned to closer to normal with more than 11,000 visitors in July.

Nonetheless, the Park Service said visitation to the Golden Spike site has increased 12 percent this year compared with 2018.

Leslie Crossland, superintendent of Golden Spike, said it can be difficult to determine exactly what causes spikes in visitation because visitation can vary wildly from year to year.

NS Names New Vice President

August 29, 2019

Norfolk Southern has named Mark George as executive vice president and chief financial officer effective Nov. 1.

He will replace Cynthia “Cindy” Earhart, who is retiring after 34 years at the railroad

George is currently at United Technologies Corporation and has more than 30 years of experience in financial management, strategy, and business development across multiple commercial business segments.

He also worked for 11 years at Otis Elevator Company.

George earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from Connecticut State University and a Master of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Amtrak Restores Discounts for Veterans

August 29, 2019

Amtrak has restored fare discounts for military veterans, a 10 percent off discount that is available systemwide.

The discontinuance of the veteran’s fare discount in March 2018 had been widely criticized.

In a news release, Amtrak said the discount will apply to active duty military personnel as well as veterans of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

The discount applies to standard fares in coach and Acela Business Class but is not valid on weekday Acela service.

It cannot be used with Saver fares, non-Acela business class, first class, or sleeping-car accommodations.

Other terms and restrictions may apply and are spelled out on the Amtrak website.