Archive for September, 2022

One Day in Downtown Akron

September 30, 2022

It is a summer morning in the late 1960s in Akron. Baltimore & Ohio’s Diplomat has stopped at the Akron Union Depot, which is out of sight to the right.

The train stretches under the station’s concourse, which also connected to the Greyhound Bus depot.

The Erie Lackawanna passenger station is to the left of the B&O E9A locomotive.

The EL’s westbound Lake Cities is barely visible at the station. Soon the Diplomat will be headed west to Chicago.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

No Injuries in CN, SEPTA Derailments

September 30, 2022

No injuries were reported in derailments of Canadian National and SEPTA commuter trains.

The CN derailment occurred at 7:30 a.m. in Warren, Michigan, a suburban of Detroit and involved 12 cars leaving the rails.

The derailment snarled traffic during the morning rush hour.

News reports indicated that three of the derailed cars were tank cars carrying liquid chlorine and unrefined alcohol but they remained upright.

One of the cars was reporting to be leaking slightly but emergency officials said this did not pose a public hazard.

The train had 151 cars. Officials said the cleanup could last several days and traffic will continue to be disrupted.

Bus service on two routes was disrupted after a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train derailed late Wednesday morning as the train left the Trenton (New Jersey) Transportation Center.

The second and third cars of the four-car train bound for Philadelphia left the rails.

The train had 25 passengers aboard. New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor trains to Trenton were also affected by the derailment and were experiencing delays of up to an hour.

SEPTA suspended service between Philadelphia and Trenton while the train was re-railed and removed.

Five trains were cancelled and service issues continued into Thursday morning with trains cancelled in each direction. Other trains were delayed up to 10 minutes.

Public Transit Ridership Continues Rebound

September 30, 2022

Ridership of public transit has rebounded to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels, the American Public Transportation Association said this week.

APTA said heavy- and light-rail are both at 61 percent of 2019 ridership, while commuter rail is at 54 percent. Bus ridership is 66 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

The figures reflect data reported by 130 transit agencies.

The trade group attributed the increase in ridership to higher levels of workers returning to the office rather than working from home as became widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the pandemic took root in March 2020, some transit agencies suffered immediate declines of up to 40 percent. By April 2020 transit ridership has fallen to a national average of 20 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Rail transit sustained higher ridership levels than bus transit, APTA officials said.

NS Reorganizes Management Function

September 30, 2022

Norfolk Southern is reorganizing it executive and management structure by combining transportation and network operations.

As part of the changes, NS has named Paul B. Duncan to head the consolidated department.

He has been given the title senior vice president transportation and network operations and will lead the team that designs network operations, executes network plans, and coordinates the movement of trains across the company’s rail network.

NS said Duncan previously was the head of network planning and optimization and the network operations center.

Other executives named to the combined transportation and network operations organization include Jacob Elium, Rodney Moore and Floyd Hudson.

NS said as vice president network operations, Moore will oversee the team that executes the TOP|SPG operating plan through locomotive distribution, crew management and dispatch.

As vice president NPO, Elium will lead the team that develops network operating plans.

SEPTA Launches Station Renovation Project

September 30, 2022

A ceremony was held on Wednesday to mark the debut of a $19 million project by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to make the Tasker-Morris Station on the South Philadelphia Broad Street Line fully accessible.

The project will involve installation of an elevator from street level to the mezzanine level and a second elevator to the platform below.

Other work will include new lighting and other electrical improvements; ADA-compliant communications system upgrades with emergency call boxes and HD security cameras.; new safety and wayfinding signage; ADA-compliant guard rails and handrails; and modified fare lines for improved traffic flow.

The work is expected to be completed in early 2024 and will make 13 of the 22 Broad Street Line stations fully ADA accessible, SEPTA said.

The Tasker-Morris station serves approximately 3,000 riders on weekdays and will remain open during construction.

NS to Donate to Food Banks

September 30, 2022

Norfolk Southern said it will contribute $400,000 to 31 food banks in 14 states.

The grants are going to food banks in Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Heading For the ABC Interchange

September 29, 2022

Wheeling & Lake Erie GP35-3 No. 112 is heading west on CSX in Akron toward Barberton to interchange cars on Feb. 28, 2012.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Division Change Point

September 29, 2022

Until the latter years of Conrail, the west edge of the Berea interlocking plant was the boundary of three divisions. The Dearborn Division had the Chicago Line west of CP 194 while the Indianapolis Line west of Berea was in the Indianapolis Division. The interlocking plant itself and everything east of it was in the Pittsburgh Division.

Shown in the top image is the division sign on the Chicago Line reminding crews that they have crossed into the Dearborn Division. As seen in the bottom image, the other side of that sign read “Pittsburgh Div.”

The Dearborn Division would later take over all of Conrail’s tracks in Cleveland and the Pittsburgh Division didn’t begin until near Ravenna. However, until the end of Conrail operations here in 1999, the Indianapolis Division continued to end at the west edge of the Berea interlocking plant.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Riverbank Stabilization Work to Starts in CVNP

September 29, 2022

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA-4 No. 14 is shown in Peninsula on Aug. 24, 1996. (Photograph by Robert Farkas)

An Akron company has been awarded a contract to do work to stabilize the railroad right of way used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Park.

The National Park Service said the work is being funded by a $14 million grant through the Great American Outdoors Act,.

Work will include stabilizing the bank of the Cuyahoga River close to the former Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks and the adjacent Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.

Work on those eight areas will get underway and continue through early 2025.

Earlier this year heavy rain created riverbank erosion north of Boston Mill that led to the suspension of CVSR service south of there.

Trains continue to operate from Rockside Road to a point north of the erosion section.

The closure of the south end of the CVSR extended from early March into July.

Third Rail Union Ratifies New Contract

September 29, 2022

Members of a third railroad labor union have ratified a tentative labor contract.

The National Carriers’ Conference Committee, which represents railroad management, said on Wednesday that the union was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Ratification voting remains in progress at nine other unions. Based on statements issued by those unions that process is expected to last through mid November.

The IBEW represents nearly 6,000 rail workers and had announced on Sept. 1 that it had reached a tentative agreement with the NCCC.