CVSR Extends Service Suspension to Oct. 1

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on Wednesday said it is canceling all trains operations until Oct. 1.

The tourist railroad that operates between suburb Cleveland and downtown Akron through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, had earlier suspended trains operations in mid March due to the COVID-19 pandemic

“As we look to an uncertain future with respect to this situation, CVSR must make decisions now,” said CVSR President and CEO Joe Mazur in a statement.

Mazur said it was a difficult decision to forgo operations during the busy summer months but said large gatherings are unlikely to be safe for some time.

“We look forward to welcoming our passengers and volunteers when the time is right,” he said.

In a news release, the CVSR said it will continue to monitor the pandemic throughout the summer and determine if it is safe to operate trains in the fall.

The release also contained a statement from park superintendent Craig Kenkel agreeing with the decision to suspend train operations through September.

CVSR said it will issue refunds to passengers who purchased advance tickets and plans to automatically extend all active memberships and appropriate benefits by the number of months the railroad will be closed.

Although the release did not address the fate of the annual steam in the valley program, it seems likely it will not operate this year.

In past years the CVSR has operated steam in the valley in September so that it did not encroach upon the busy fall foliage season.

In most years steam in the valley has featured former Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

This will not be the first time that rail service through the Cuyahoga Valley has not operated during the summer since the then-named Cuyahoga Valley Line emerged in 1975.

Service was cancelled or all of 1986 and 1987 after CSX abandoned the valley line and negotiations played out for the Park Service to buy the tracks.

The 1990 season didn’t get started until July 21 due to mechanical problems that sidelined former Grand Trunks Western 2-8-2 No. 4070.

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