Weekend Trip Nets Games, Trains and Rain

An eastbound CSX manifest freight passes the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania, late Sunday morning.

It was a 3-2 weekend in Erie, Pennsylvania, for three Akron Railroad Club members.

Marty Surdyk, Ed Ribinskas and Jeff Toutman ventured to Erie to see a pair of minor league baseball games pitting the Erie SeaWolves against the Akron Rubber Ducks that both ended with identical scores of 3-2.

Akron won on Saturday night but Erie returned the favor on Sunday afternoon.

Of course railfanning was on the agenda of the trio on their trip, which started late Saturday afternoon in Painesville.

After checking in at a Red Roof Inn by Interstate 90, they went to UPMC Park for a game that featured fireworks at the conclusion of the Rubber Ducks’ win.

Sunday morning found the trio getting an early start to catch trains at Bort Road near North East under overcast skies.

Shortly after they arrived at 7 a.m., a CSX westbound trash train rumbled past. Less than 10 minutes later came an eastbound on Norfolk Southern.

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited was right on the money shortly after 7:30 a.m. with its usual consist of two P42DC locomotives, three Viewliner sleepers, an Amfleet café car, six Amfleet II coaches, a Viewliner diner and a Viewliner sleeper.

After the passage of Amtrak, the group decided to get breakfast at the Freeport restaurant north of North East, but it wasn’t open yet.

They killed about 15 minutes at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East where they noted a clear signal for a CSX westbound.

But nothing showed and they went back to the Freeport for breakfast, getting there just ahead of a heavy thunderstorm that also swept through Cleveland.

In fact, Ed’s wife, Ursula, texted that the power at their house in Painesville had gone out.

With breakfast completed and the rain letting up, Marty, Ed and Jeff returned to the museum.

Jeff checked HeritageUnits.com on his phone and learned that CSX train K603 with the Chicago & North Western heritage unit of Union Pacific on the point had cleared Lake City, Pennsylvania, at 9:23 a.m.

It must have passed through North East while they were having breakfast up the road. Ed noted the clear signal they had seen earlier must have been for the K603.

However, even if they had stuck around and waited for it they would have been trying to photograph UP 1995 in a downpour.

UP 1995 was later reported by Berea at 2:20 p.m. and Greenwich at 3:14 p.m.

Clearing skies and sunlight were the order of the rest of the morning at the museum along with passing trains.

New in the museum is a CSX U36B that is the eighth GE Erie-built locomotive in the collection.

No. 7764 was built in 1970 as No. 1776 for the Seaboard Coast Line. Its most recent assignment had been serving as a training unit for the Massachusetts Call Volunteer Firefighters Association.

After the Sunday afternoon game concluded, Marty, Ed and Jeff made their way back to Lake County, noting that there was a lot of storm damage in Geneva and Madison.

As they made their way back they stopped in Swanville and Lake City in Pennsylvania, and in Conneaut in Ohio to reminisce about what those places looked like back in the day compared with their modern day appearances.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Amtrak No. 48 was running on time when it passed Bort Road near North East.

Some folks might think they would get a better breakfast at McDonald’s than what Amtrak serves these days to its sleeping car passengers under its contemporary dining program.

The latest member of the collection of GE diesels that were built in Erie is on display at the Lake Shore Railway Museum.

The former Chicago, South Bend & South Shore “Little Joe” is another Erie-built GE unit on display in North East.

The westbound CSX trash train has a full load as it passes Bort Road under overcast skies.

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