Archive for the ‘Akron Railroad Club News’ Category

Todd Dillon Named New ARRC Vice President

August 7, 2017

Todd Dillon has been named vice president of the Akron Railroad Club. The appointment was announced at the July ARRC meeting by club’s board of directors, which is made up of all of the elected officers.

As vice president, Dillon will preside at ARRC meetings in the absence of the president and will be in charge of arranging programming for the monthly meetings.

He is also the custodian of the ARRC’s digital presentation equipment.

A Stow resident, Dillon is an active and accomplished photographer. His ARRC programs often are comprised of images set to music.

Todd Dillon replaced J. Gary Dillon, who stepped down as vice president in January and was named to the honorary position of vice president emeritus.

J. Gary had served as ARRC vice president since 1975. He is no relation to Todd Dillon.

34 Enjoy ARRC Picnic at Warwick Park

August 1, 2017

Chef Martè places the first burgers on the grill.

Thirty-four Akron Railroad Club members and guests munched on picnic food Sunday at Warwick Park in Clinton while watching CSX trains on the adjacent New Castle Subdivision.

A few brave souls risked getting a food-borne illness by eating the unrefrigerated potato salad that someone brought.

In the approximately 12 hours that at least one club member was at the park, CSX sent 12 trains through town.

That was more than the record low of nine but far short of the record high of 21. But it’s the CSX New Castle Sub and long lulls are synonymous with that route.

The train count included two sightings of local D750 which left the yard for Akron at 2:40 p.m. and returned at 6:45 p.m. The crew had gone to work in late morning switching cars in the Warwick yard.

The train count also included two eastbound empty coal trains, two westbound auto rack trains, two westbound intermodal trains, a westbound coke train, an eastbound steel train and one manifest freight in each direction.

Aside from a Norfolk Southern unit trailing in the motive power consist of the Q352, we didn’t see any foreign power.

The highlight or lowlight of the day, depending on your perspective was the Q299 going into emergency a short distance east of Warwick.

That tied up the mainline for a good hour. The culprit was a broken air hose six cars from the rear of a very long empty auto rack train.

A trainmaster came out to check on the stalled train and the IO dispatcher informed the crew that three departments, mechanical, engineering and transportation, were interested in the incident.

At one point the trainmaster asked the conductor over the radio if the engineer had done any damage to “my train.”

No, the conductor said in response. It was just a separated air hose. Still, there was something threatening in the tone of voice of the trainmaster.

As the conductor was walking back to the head end, he encountered a skunk and asked his engineer for advice. The response was that if riled up a skunk will spray you.

Back at the park, master grill chef Martè fired up the grill around noon. Don Woods received the first burger. As in the past there were a variety of chips, salads and desserts.

The weather was as good as it’s ever been for an ARRC picnic and quite a contrast with last year when a thunderstorm rolled through as we were getting ready to eat.

The picnic wrapped up with a game of H-O-R-S-E on the basketball court involving Marty, Richard Antibus and Paul Havasi.

Marty won the game, but none of the three contestants will ever be confused with a more famous Akron basketball player, a guy by the name of James.

By the time the game mercifully ended the players had put up enough bricks to earn a union card and start a second career and enough air balls to leave a crowd horse from chanting “air ball, air ball, air ball” had this been an actual game.

But it was great fun, which is what the annual picnic is all about.

James Leasure (left) scoops up, gasp, potato salad as Dave Shepherd dresses his burger at the condiments table. In the background Bill Kubas ponders the offerings.

Rich Antibus (center) explains to chef Martè and Jim Mastromatteo how many CSX trains we can expect to see once the late afternoon flurry gets underway on the New Castle Sub.

The photo line is in place in the shade of a large tree to photograph D750 as it heads to Akron.

Ron McElrath (left) and Tom Kendra made video of CSX manifest freight Q352.

ARRC Picnic Will be July 30 at Warwick Park

July 26, 2017

The Akron Railroad Club will again visit Warwick Park in Clinton for its annual picnic, which this year is Sunday July 30.

The club will provide hamburgers and hot dogs and the popular condiments. Members are asked to bring their own beverages, snacks, beans, and desserts.

Just remember, we will be outdoors without any refrigeration, so plan your dishes accordingly.

Manning the grill as always will be Master Grill Chef Martè.

In addition to the food and fellowship, we will be right next to the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

They may cooperate and run some trains. Our record for rail traffic at a picnic in Warwick is 21 moves. Our lowest total is nine.

The picnic will be held rain or shine. We do have cover, although in a heavy downpour with a lot of wind, there may not be enough cover.

Come for an hour, come for the day; just make sure you come to Warwick Park for the ARRC picnic.

In the July ARRC eBulletin

July 26, 2017

The July 2017 eBulletin visits the Northern Ohio Railway Museum. Last month NORM sold tickets to ride one of its trolley cars for the first time. It culminated a multi-year effort to create a demonstration track, which now extends 1,000 feet with plans to eventually extend it three miles.

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders visited NORM earlier this month to check out the new operation.

Also in this month’s eBulletin is the latest railroad news and details about the upcoming ARRC picnic to be held July 30 at Warwick Park in Clinton.

To receive a copy or subscribe to the eBulletin, sent an email message to csanders429@aol.com. Individual copies or a subscription are free.

A reminder that this month’s ARRC meeting is Friday, July 28. The program will be presented by Ron McElrath and provide video of railroad operations in Cuba.

Sanders Article Appears in September Issue of Trains

July 25, 2017

An article written by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders will appear in the September 2017 issue of Trains magazine.

The article tells the story of how the late Steve Goodman came to write the song City of New Orleans.

Although Goodman recorded the song in 1971, it didn’t become popular until it was recorded by Arlo Guthrie and released in spring 1972. The song reached the top 20 on the music charts in summer 1972 by which time it had begun receiving widespread play on AM and FM stations nationwide.

Goodman, who died of leukemia in September 1984, often said in interviews that the song describes a trip that he and his wife, Nancy, took aboard Illinois Central’s City of New Orleans in April 1970 from Chicago to Mattoon, Illinois.

However, Goodman began working on the song in 1967 following a trip from Chicago to New Orleans aboard No. 1. It was an experience that he had on the return trip aboard No. 2 that got him interested in writing a song about the train.

At the time, Goodman was a college student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He often rode the train between his home in Chicago and the UI campus.

That 1967 experience led to Goodman crafting with the help of a friend some initial lyrics, including the chorus.

The April 1970 trip, though, provided many of the observations that appears in the first two verses of the song.

Sanders told the story about how Goodman came to write the song and how Guthrie came to record it during a program that he presented at the September 2012 ARRC meeting.

He later took his research and created an article that he sent to Trains with the idea that it would be published in April 2015, the 45th anniversary of Goodman’s trip that inspired him to finish the song.

The magazine, though held the article for nearly two years. In the September 2017 issue it is paired with a piece written by Kevin P. Keefe that examines how America’s roots music grew up along railroads lines, particularly in Mississippi, and an article by Ed Ellis about how former City of New Orleans observation car Mardi Gras has been restored and is now operated by Iowa Pacific Holdings.

Those articles along with Sanders’ story about the writing of City of New Orleans appear under the theme “railroads and music.”

Plenty of Action on NS Sandusky District on Longest Day

July 25, 2017

While Marty was out on Sunday morning chasing trains on the Sandusky District, Norfolk Southern ran a steady stream of trains through the mini plant back in Bellevue. Shown is a manifest freight going to the Sandusky District with helpers on the rear. Reportedly, this train will separate into two sections further down the road.

The 2017 ARRC longest day outing took us to the Norfolk Southern capital of Ohio, Bellevue.

My day began about 10 minutes late at 7:10 a.m. I had hoped to be on the road by 7, but not to worry, Bellevue is less than an hour if I use the Ohio Turnpike.

I got to Bellevue just minutes before 8 a.m. I made a pit stop at McDonald’s on the way into town, passing the Kemper Railfan Pavilion at 8:05 a.m. No one else had arrived yet.

Train 12V was heading south on the Sandusky District, so I gave chase.

The first spot I got it was at Frank, which is the second wide spot in the road south of Bellevue. Flat Rock is the first.

It was easy to get ahead this morning as there was no traffic to speak of and the 12V was not going at any breakneck speed.

I was heading for the northerly road crossing at Caroline. This is south of Attica. I saw a shot on Railpictures.net of a morning southbound from this crossing.

It features the train in the dip crossing Honey Creek with the Attica water tower and grain elevator in the distance.

The 12V got hung up waiting to cross CSX at Attica Junction for a few minutes, so I had plenty of time to set up my shot. Alas, 300 mm of telephoto doesn’t quite make the shot; I needed more. I shot the 12V here anyway, just to record the scene.

NS had plenty more action in the works for this morning. The 188 was on the heels of 12V, a 51V grain train and the two hot eastbound van trains, 234 and 218, were coming south.

And if that’s not enough, I got 217 and a 604 coal train going north. A seven train morning in great light on a line with multiple good photo opportunities, what more could you want? I know, eight trains.

By 11:15 a.m. the last of the seven trains was heading off to it destination and I hadn’t been back to Bellevue to see if anyone else had shown up.

I rolled into town about 11:30 to find about a dozen ARRC people gathered in the parking lot across from Wheeling Tower.

The light was still on this side of the tracks for photography. Craig’s car was there but he wasn’t. I found out a few minutes later that he and Todd Vander Sluis had walked down the street looking for the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

As noon approached, lunch sounded like a good idea. So we were off to Subway for its foot-long sub of the day, a meatball sub. As I told the gal making my sandwich, “We are what we eat.”

Alas, I was only able to eat half of the sandwich. I had placed part of it on my Jeep Patriot, but the wind blew it off and onto the ground.

Traffic past the ARRC assembled faithful in Bellevue had been steady all day so far. The longest lull was just 15 minutes, plus they got the W&LE going into the yard.

The afternoon began much like the morning ended, busy.

Another coal train came north off the Sandusky District. Two trains came in off the Toledo District. A nauto rack train came off the Toledo District and headed out on the Fostoria District. Its destination was the Mixing Center just outside Fostoria.

The L11 bound for Blair Yard in Fostoria went past behind two SD 40s.

Craig and Todd wanted to spend some time south on the Sandusky District in the afternoon. I told them to be patient and we’d pick out the right train at the right time.

About 1:30 p.m. a 194 went south. It was a little too early for this one; the sun was still too high. We’ll wait for 175 in about another 45 minutes to an hour.

Besides we might see the 194 again. CSX was doing track work on its No. 2 main around Attica Junction and the 194 might get delayed there.

The 175 left about 2:30 p.m. and Craig, Todd and I were in hot pursuit. Our first shot was at Schriver, although the corn was getting a little high. In another week this shot won’t be doable.

We went Omar for the 175, shooting it framed between two barn-like structures on the farm near the Ohio Route 162 crossing.

We continued south to find the 194 cooling its heels at West Attica. CSX had the diamonds and wasn’t giving them back. The 194 was delayed an hour and 25 minutes waiting to get across Attica Junction.

The 194 finally was let loose and  we headed toward the old reservoir at Attica. Normally the calm water makes for a nice reflection, but it was so windy today that there were white caps on the water.

We heard a northbound train as we were going to shoot the 194. It was train 25G, a one-unit wonder and a very short stack train.

The CSX dispatcher let the 25G across, because it was short, but the 175 with its almost 9,000 feet of train would have to wait.

We went north of Omar for the 25G, shooting the train while watching one of the locals cutting his grass on a riding mower.

Paul Woodring OSed to me another southbound, a potash train with symbol 60U. We shot the 175 again at the old reservoir and waited there for the 60U.

It was time to head back to Bellevue, where we arrived about 6 p.m. In our absence the rest of the gang that had stayed there had seen one of the NS green “echo” units come by, albeit trailing, off the Fostoria District.

We decided that 7 p.m. would be our curfew. Dinner would be at the Bob Evans on the north side of Norwalk.

NS had two trains for us in the 6 o’clock hour, the last being the 12Q. It passed just minutes before 7 p.m.

When it passed, we wrapped things up and headed for dinner. It had been a fantastic day in one the busiest places for NS action around. We did not see any heritage units, but if we had stayed until after dark, we would have seen the Interstate H unit pass through.

That is the only H Unit I have not SEEN. Hopefully that changes sometime soon.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Railroads of Cuba To Be Featured at July ARRC Meeting

July 24, 2017

Ron McElrath has traveled the globe in search of railroad operations. He will present a program at the July 28 Akron Railroad Club meeting that focuses on railroads in Cuba.

His program will open with a 10 minute lecture about railroad operations on the island in the Caribbean.

Then he will show about 40 minutes of video that he made during a visit there recently.

The meeting will begin with a short business meeting at 8 p.m. followed by the program at approximately 8:30 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Members are reminded that the Roundhouse Rubble silent auction will also be held at the July meeting. Bidding will begin before the meeting and resume after the program ends.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

Sanders Photograph Published in NRHS News

July 5, 2017

A photograph made by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders and posted earlier on the ARRC blog has been published on Page 1 of the July issue of the National Railroad Historical Society newsletter.

The photograph was made in May in Peninsula and showed a long line of bicyclists waiting to board a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train.

The NRHS publishes a handful of paper newsletters during the year in black and white that it mails to its members. During most months, the newsletter is created in color and posted online and sent by email to NRHS members.

The July issue of the NRHS News also has a short article written by Sanders about the CVSR Bike Aboard! program.

Services Saturday for Dennis Taksar Sr.

June 29, 2017

Services for Dennis Taksar Sr., 65, of Fairview Park, will be Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Hopko Funeral Home, 6020 Broadview Road, in Parma.

Dennis Taksar Sr.

Mr. Taksar was the father of Akron Railroad Club member Dennis Taksar Jr. He died unexpectedly on June 23.

Visitation will be at the funeral home on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. and continuing until the time of services.

Mr. Taksar is survived by his wife, Patricia (nee Peterson) Taksar; another son, Kevin Taksar; and two step children.

He was preceded in death by his parents Margaret H. (nee Skladany) and John M. Taksar; and a sister, Jean Tisza.

ARRC Longest Day is Sunday in Bellevue

June 21, 2017

The Akron Railroad Club will use the Kemper Railfan Park in Bellevue for its base of operations for the 2017 longest day outing.

Although it has been less than two years since the Akron Railroad Club held an outing in Bellevue, the club’s last longest day outing there occurred on June 27, 2010.

The outing was memorable for being cut short in late afternoon by a major thunderstorm.

We retreated to the Bob Evans restaurant in Norwalk for dinner and were greeted with a rainbow upon leaving. By then the storm had moved on.

Much has changed since the last ARRC longest day in Bellevue. The NS motive power fleet has grown more colorful with the addition of 20 heritage locomotives paying tribute to NS predecessor railroad.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has added a railfan park on Monroe Street inside the NS mini plant, and the yard has been enlarged and named after former NS President and CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman.

With any luck we will be able to bag an NS heritage locomotive and maybe a train or two on the Wheeling & Lake Erie, which also comes into Bellevue.

Foreign power from Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian National makes regular appearances in Bellevue.

It’s a given that there will be a lot of trains throughout the day. But we won’t be seeing the RoadRailer trains that we saw in 2010 and high-hood diesels, once a common sight in Bellevue, are pretty much gone.

Also gone are the Nickel Plate Road-style block signals on the Fostoria District, the Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals on the Sandusky District and the searchlight signals on the Toledo District. They’ve all been replaced by Safetrans signals.

The traffic mix will be mostly merchandise freight and auto rack trains. Some intermodal trains run on the Sandusky District, many of which take a connection between the Sandusky and Fostoria districts near Slaughterhouse Road on the south side of town.

As with other ARRC longest day events, it begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum will be open between noon and 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (age 60 and older) and $5 for children (ages 5 to 12).

A portion of the museum’s collection, though, can be seen for free. This includes some locomotives and rolling stock.

Those still around at the end of the day will likely gather somewhere for dinner before heading home.

Maybe it will be the Bob Evans in Norwalk or somewhere else. It remains to be seen.

The focal point of the day will be the Kemper Railfan Park. It features a pavilion with tables and is strategically located to see most rail traffic in and out of Bellevue.

Parking along Monroe Street at the park is limited, so you might have to park across the tracks in a large gravel lot.

Also be advised that there are no restroom facilities at the railfan park.

As for food, there is a pizza shop (Pizza House West) within walking distance that is said by some railfans to be good. Subway has a shop at 301 East Main Street and there are a variety of restaurants in town including the standard fast food joints of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, East of Chicago Pizza, Marco’s Pizza, Burger King and Taco Bell.

Local establishments include Bone Boy’s BBQ The Smokehouse, Pizza Wheel, Twin Lakes Restaurant, Jenny’s Amsden House Restaurant, Happy Garden, Fontana’s Italian Eatery, Casa Mexicana, Little Italy Pizza, and Long Way Home Family Restaurant.