Archive for December, 2019

Last Photograph in Berea of 2019

December 31, 2019

For nearly 26 years, Berea was my go-to place to watch trains, particularly when I felt more like watching than photographing.

With around 100 trains every 24 hours that includes a diverse mix of Norfolk Southern, CSX, Amtrak and the Wheeling & Lake Erie, there is much to see there.

Over the course of a quarter century I made countless photographs in Berea.

You soon reach a point, though, when you think you’ve photographed from every angle there to photograph. Now what?

Well, there are still trains to watch, still people to socialize with and still the chance that the next train might have something a little out of the ordinary.

But most of the trains are pretty routine, including this westbound CSX intermodal.

I’ve photographed from this angle many times and recorded numerous westbound CSX intermodal trains.

There is nothing different about this image from a dozen or more other images I’ve made here.

But this one is different in one not so obvious way. It is the last photograph I made in Berea of 2019.

This photograph was made on a late Friday afternoon in late August. It was the only train I photographed during my two or so hours trackside.

I’ll be back to Berea some day in 2020, I just don’t know when. When I do get back I’ll probably make yet another image from this angle.

Railroad Photography Contest Theme Announced

December 31, 2019

The Center for Railroad Photography and Art has announced that “connections” is the theme of its 2020 John E. Gruber Creative Photography Awards Program.

Entries are due by May 1, 2020, with winners to be notified on Aug. 1.

Submitted photographs must have been made within the past five years. There is a limit of three images per photographer.

All submissions must be in a digital format.

The contest theme is subject to each photographer’s interpretation, which must be related in some manner to railroading.

The first place entry will win $750 while second place will receive $500 and third place $250. Entries that are placed in the “judges also liked category will receive a one-year subscription to Railroad Heritage magazine.

For more information go to

G&W Acquisition Completed

December 31, 2019

Brookfield Infrastructure and GIC announced this week that they have completed their acquisition of railroad short line holding company Genesee & Wyoming.

The transaction will take G&W private, with each share of stock receiving $112 in cash.

G&W operates 113 short lines in 42 states and four Canadian provinces. Among its holdings are the Ohio Central System and the Indiana & Ohio.

DOT Seeks Opinions on Rural Transportation Program

December 31, 2019

Public opinion is being sought by the U.S. Department of Transportation to help share the agency’s Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success program.

In a news release, DOT said it wants to know how it can can better support the transportation infrastructure in rural areas.

The ROUTES Council will use the responses to guide the evaluation of rural projects and improve funding options,

The program seeks to assist public officials in rural areas better understand how to apply for and land DOT grants and to develop data-driven approaches to assess needs and benefits of rural transportation projects.

In its news release, DOT said rural transportation is particularly important for agriculture, mining and energy commodities.

Two-thirds of freight rail originates in rural areas and nearly half of all truck vehicle-miles-traveled occur on rural roads.

The program will be coordinated with the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration.

FAA Proposes That Drones Have ID System

December 31, 2019

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed that unmanned aircraft, including drones, have a remote identification system so that law enforcement and federal security agencies can identify them while they are flying in their jurisdiction.

Drones would be required to have the ability to transmit identification and location information to other airspace users and people on the ground.

The rule would apply to all drones that are required to be registered with the FAA, which includes those used by railroads to inspect their infrastructure.

In a news release, the FAA said it proposed the rule due to an increase in the number of drone operations.

This has given rise to the need to provide additional situational awareness to manned and unmanned aircraft, FAA officials said.

The FAA expects the remote identification network to form the foundation for the development of other technologies that can enable expanded operations, like those over people or beyond visual line of sight.

The network will also allow the FAA and drone industry to move toward a traffic management ecosystem.

The proposed rule is expected to be published on Dec. 31 in the Federal Register which will trigger a 60-day public comment period.

Chessie Steam Memory

December 30, 2019

The Chessie System launched a series of steam excursions in the late 1970s to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Baltimore & Ohio.

Later Chessie used its Chessie Steam Special to promote grade crossing safety.

Being located on the primary route of the B&O between Chicago and the East, Northeast Ohiuo hosted visits from the Chessie Steam Special.

Bob Farkas caught one of those at Lodi on what is now the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

The image was made in either 1977 or 1978 and features former Reading Company 4-8-4 No. 2101.

Wrecked cars from a derailment were still on the site on the day the steam special passed by.

In reviewing a schedule for the Chessie Steam Special posted at it might be that this image was made on June 26, 1977, during a public round trip between Cleveland and Willard or on July 2, 1977, during a ferry move of the train from Cleveland to Detroit.

The 2101 was back in Northeast Ohio on Aug. 12-13, and 19th on trips that would have put it through Lodi.

That included a ferry move from Columbus to Cleveland on Aug. 12, and round trips between Cleveland and Willard on Aug. 13 and 19.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

J&LNG Seeking Volunteers to Help With Signal Work

December 30, 2019

The J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad in Youngstown is seeking volunteers who are interested in railway signaling to assist in the installation of a working signal system.

The work includes plans to install switch circuit controllers on the house track and eastern extension switches to operate signals directing movements over these tracks.

Thus far the railroad has completed installation of a searchlight dwarf signal for the house track.

It is now acquiring components for the main track signals and plans to install crossing gates at one of its road crossings.

The railroad said if there is sufficient interest it will schedule a J&LNG signaling weekend in the spring.

The J&LNG  is a part of the Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum and is a 24-inch gauge demonstration railroad that shows the type of narrow gauge railroad operations used by the steel industry.

It features a 93,000 pound 0-4-0T built by HK Porter for the Pittsburgh Works.

Recently the museum has received from CSX three more pieces of rolling stock to add to its collection.

The boxcars will be used for storage while a ballast hopper will become a coal dock for the J&L 58.

Previously, CSX has now donated to the museum a caboose, a tank car for water storage, a hopper for coal storage and boxcars for general storage.

NRHS Taking Heritage Grant Applications

December 30, 2019

The National Railway Historical Society is taking applications for its Railway Heritage Grants Program which provides financial support to projects that contribute to preservation of, and education about, railway history.

A description of the program on the NRHS website said the program is designed to help fund stabilization and restoration of railroad equipment such as steam locomotives and steam trains and diesel locomotives, railway buildings and for the preservation and archiving of historical records and train pictures.

Although most grants have funded preservation activities, NRHS also encourages applications from those doing research, education, and publications.

An application form is available on the NRHS website at

The deadline for submitting applications is January 31, 2020. Grant winners will be announced at the Annual NRHS Convention.

The maximum amount that may be requested for a rail preservation project is $5,000 and although an organization may receive rail preservation grants in two consecutive years it must then wait a year before submitting an application.

At the Akron B&O Engine Facility

December 29, 2019





It may be a Chessie System locomotive but GP9 No. 6500 still sports its Baltimore & Ohio identity as it sits at the engine service facility in Akron in July 1973.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

One Day in October 2005 at Morgan Run

December 28, 2019

The late Jerry Jacobson, owner of the Ohio Central System, was an Akron Railroad Club member and for many years ran a special October trip for the club members and their families, and until the final years, for the public.

Shown are images made during an Oct. 22, 2005, trip from Dennison to the Morgan Run shops near Coshocton, Ohio.

In the top image image Ohio Central F40PH No. 280 (ex-Amtrak) and Baldwin 2-8-0 No. 33 (ex Lake Superior & Ishpeming) are inside the shop.

Next up club members and others converse outside the shop while some make photographs.

The next two images show F9A No. 6313 is on the south end of passenger train at Morgan Run.

In the final two images SD40-2 No. 4022 leads an eastbound unit coal train on what was once the PRR’s Panhandle Division. SD45 7499 is on the west end of the unit train.

Photographs By Robert Farkas