One Day at Akron Union Depot

It is the late 1960s and the wayback machine has landed us on the Akron Union Depot passenger platform looking railroad west.

In the far center is Erie Lackawanna’s McCoy Street Yard and on the right is EL’s passenger station. The siding in front of us was often used for mail cars.

The tracks are from left to right: Penn Central siding to switch industries, PC branch from Hudson, Baltimore & Ohio eastbound main, B&O mail car siding, B&O westbound main, and the EL eastbound main.

On the other side of the EL platform are the EL westbound main and a siding reaching a few places including Quaker Oats.

This image provides a rich amount of detail. Take, for example, the B&O mail siding. Notice the steam line coming out of the ground, a throwback to its former role as a set out track for passenger cars.

At one time this track was used for set off or pick up sleepers to and from trains arriving in Akron in the middle of the night.

Passengers could board the car at a decent hour and go to sleep well-ahead of train time, or remain on one that had arrived and been set out in the middle of the night until daylight. 

In later years it came to be where mail cars were left for pick-up.  There was a similar siding on the other end of the platform for eastbound trains.

At one time these set off sleepers were a common passenger railroading practice.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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