Archive for the ‘Akron Railroad Club News’ Category

ARRC to View Eastern Coalfield Railroading

September 20, 2022

The September meeting of the Akron Railroad Club will take attendees to the coalfields of the eastern United States.

Akron resident Richard Thompson, a former ARRC junior member, will show digital images of coal railroads.

He will show Norfolk Southern operations on the former Virginian Railway and CSX trains on the former Clinchfield Railroad. The meeting will begin on Friday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. in the social hall of the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

After the business meeting the program will get underway at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Program Change Set for August ARRC Meeting

August 23, 2022

There has been a change of program for the August Akron Railroad Club meeting scheduled for this Friday (Aug. 26).

Retired railroader Rick Varga will present a slide show during the meeting featuring images of CSX, Conrail, and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie operations.

The digital images program by Richard Thompson on eastern coal railroad operations has been rescheduled for the September ARRC meeting.

This week’s meeting will begin at 8 p.m. in the social hall of the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

ARRC McKay Day Set for Aug. 6 in Berea

August 1, 2022

The annual Dave McKay Day of the Akron Railroad Club has been set for Aug. 6 in Berea.

Attendees will be treated to trains of Norfolk Southern and CSX and, maybe, the Wheeling & Lake Erie. Those who arrive early enough will be able to catch Amtrak, although it is likely to be dark when the passenger carrier comes through.

As always, the event begins when the first arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

Attendees are advised to bring a lawn chair and to park at the far west end of the parking lot for the Berea depot restaurant.

The event is named after the late Dave, McKay, who served as ARRC president for 12 years before stepping down in late 2004. He died in late December of that year.

Paying Tribute to Mike Costill

July 18, 2022

Jerry Jacobson and Mike Costill (Photographs courtesy of Pete Poremba)

We are all saddened by the loss of Jerry Jacobson’s longtime friend from childhood and dedicated volunteer here at Age of Steam, Mike Costill.

Mike was with Jerry at that first fateful steam locomotive cab ride in Cuyahoga Falls.  The two of them made many trips to see steam locomotive last trips and dead lines of retired steam locomotives.

Mike was honored as AOSRM Volunteer of the Year in 2019 putting in many hours helping in the back shop, with Roundhouse tours and maintaining the signal lamps that are kept continually lit on the two derails behind the connector building.

Mike had also taken on the task of separating, sorting and shelving the many archival paper items that continually stream into the collection.

This past Winter Mike made presentations at both the Akron Railroad Club and our Winter Speaker series involving his extensive work of converting and sorting Jerry’s slides.

Mike shared his stories of their experiences, adventures and escapades as seen through the lens of Jerry’s camera.  Jerry had invited me to many dinners with him and Mike before the Akron Railroad Club meetings.

Just a couple of months ago Mike, a friend and I revisited that pre-meeting tradition by dining at the Polish-American club in Akron as we had with Jerry. 

Mike contributed an interview for our Roundhouse promotional video last Fall.  Tim Sposato and I just received a preview of the video to evaluate.  It should be completed and made public soon.

We are so glad that Mike tells his story on this video for all to experience and remember about his relationship with Jerry and the Age of Steam.  Mike will be missed but, memories will be cherished and his work here commemorated.  Thanks Mike, for all of your work, dedication, memories and always a cheerful smile.

Commentary by Pete Poremba

ARRC Member Mike Costill Dies at 78

July 18, 2022

Long time Akron Railroad Club member Michael Jon Costill, 78, died on Tuesday in Akron City Hospital after a brief illness.

Born in Akron on Sept. 28, 1943, he was the son of James L and Magdelene (Mitchell) Costill.

He graduated from Cuyahoga Falls High School in 1961, briefly attended Kent State University and then began working at BF Goodrich. For most of his career Mr. Costill specialized in software and computer science.

His work took him to Columbus in 1989 where he worked for Nationwide Insurance Company, from which he retired. He also served in the Ohio Army National Guard.

After retirement Mr. Costill moved back to the Akron area in 2013.

He was a member of Sts. Philip and James Catholic Church in Canal Fulton and played softball for Akron Monument & Granite in the Silver League.

Mr. Costill had a lifelong passion for trains and liked to collect all things railroad. He joined the Akron Railroad Club on Feb. 28, 1975.

He spent many hours doing volunteer work at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum in Sugarcreek doing a range of duties from giving tours to helping with restoration work on the steam locomotives.

Mr. Costill is survived by his wife of 50 years, Darlene (Spinelli); a daughter Mary Beth (Dr. William) Costill-Fullam; a son Michael (Sunny) Costil; and eight grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Jane (David) Warner.

Services will be held at a later date with interment planned at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron.

Memorials made be made to Sts. Philip and James Parish, or the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation in memory of his sister.

Nostalgia in Store at July ARRC Meeting

July 18, 2022

It will be nostalgia time when the Akron Railroad Club holds its July meeting this Friday.

The July 22 meeting will feature a program by Blaine Hays of Cleveland showing slides of railroad operations in Northern Ohio in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The program will showcase steam excursions as well as diesels and cabooses that are seldom seen in revenue service today.

The meeting will begin at 8 p.m. in the social hall of the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

After the business meeting the program will get underway at approximately 8:30 p.m.

ARRC Picnic is Sunday in Cuyahoga Falls

July 12, 2022

The annual Akron Railroad Club picnic will be held this Sunday (July 17) at Waterworks Park in Cuyahoga Falls at the Little Stone Shelter.

The park is located at 2025 Monroe Falls Avenue and is adjacent to the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

ARRC has reserved the shelter between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. It is located on the west end of the park, close to the dog park, children’s playground, boat launch, and to restrooms with running water.

Hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided by the club and grilled by Marty Surdyk, a.k.a. Chef Marté. He will fire up the grill around noon.

Also being provided will be some beverages and condiments. Members are asked to bring desserts, snacks, beverages, and/or covered dishes. Although there is no refrigeration the pavilion has ample electrical outlets for crock pots or roasters. However, you may need an extension cord.

Trees block the view of the CSX tracks from the pavilion, which is located north of the rails, but two photo locations are within two to three minutes of the park.

They include the Ohio Route 91 crossing to the east, which is especially good for eastbound trains in the morning, and the Bailey Road crossing to the west. The latter offers good morning views of eastbound trains and exceptional images of westbound trains in the mid-afternoon.

The next ARRC meeting will be held July 22 at the New Horizons Christian Church in Akron.

The program will be presented by Blaine Hayes, who will be showing images made during fan trips from the 1970s and 1980s.

In Memory of Doug Pitman

July 12, 2022

Former Akron Railroad Club member Douglas Richard Rhein Pitman, 59, of Akron, died on July 5 in Akron City Hospital. His obituary said the cause of death was metastatic cancer.

Aside from being a train enthusiast, Mr. Pitman had served as an elder at Northminster Presbyterian Church, was a member of Cuyahoga Falls Meet up Group and enjoyed nature and hiking with the group.

Doug Pitman

He was born in Akron on March 13,1963, the son of the late John C. Pitman and Dorothy Bellingham Pitman.

He graduated from Woodridge High School and attended the University of Akron.

Mr. Pitman is survived by his wife, Kelly Ann Collier; a sister Dorothy Pitman of Sacramento California; a brother John J. (Ruth) Pitman of Columbus; and a sister Melinda Pitman of Roseville, California.

A celebration of life memorial service will be held on July 23 at 11 a.m. at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Cuyahoga Falls. A luncheon will be provided following the service.

John Beach Dies at 92

July 6, 2022

John Beach is shown in Kona, North Carolina, in 1968 during an outing to photograph the Black Mountain’s successor, the Yancey Railroad.
John Beach (right) and Alex Bruchac pose during the 2011 Akron Railroad Club banquet at the Martin Center of the University of Akron.

Longtime Akron Railroad Club member John Beach died at his home on Monday. He was 92. Reed Funeral Home in Canton is handling the arrangements.

His son Dave wrote in a note that John lived his entire life in Canton and Massillon.

After graduating from Massillon Washington High School, he went to work for the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, which later was acquired by the Nickel Plate Road.

He worked on the railroad for eight years before deciding to pursue a career as a science teacher.

John taught at Perry and Fairless high schools and the University of Akron. He taught for 54 years.

He held degrees from Kent State University and the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Dave Beach said his father was an active photographer and a frequent contributor to the Nickel Plate Historical Society magazine, was the secretary for the CC&S club for retired railroaders, wrote several articles for Trains magazine.

He also wrote a book on the Black Mountain railway in North Carolina. 

“As railroads modernized and the operations that he knew were disappearing his interest turned more to railroad history,” Dave Beach wrote about his father.  “Many of our conversations started with ‘Did I ever tell you about the time . . .’ And he would proceed to repeat a story I had most likely heard before.

“Maybe I’ll remember a few. I learned a lot about railroads and photography from him. I’ve been lucky to have him for so long but will miss him and realize that so much history has been lost.”

John Beach joined the ARRC on Feb. 26, 1970, which gave him the second longest tenure among ARRC members behind only Paul Woodring, who joined in 1969.

Dave assembled a tribute to his Dad’s photography titled An Evening With John and Dave Beach, that was shown on Dec. 1, 2012, at the ARRC’s annual banquet. It would turn out to be the last banquet the club held. The following year the banquet gave way to the annual end of year dinner.

Coal Trains Featured at June 24 ARRC Meeting

June 20, 2022

The Akron Railroad Club will see a program on western coal trains at its June 24 meeting.

Mark Demaline of Westlake will show photographs he made during a 1995 trip to the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.

It was a time, he said, when coal was still king and the railroads serving the region were still expanding lines and operations in anticipation of a bright future. “Just about everyone thought the boom would last for generations into the future,” Demaline said.

The program will show trains of Union Pacific, Burlington Northern, and Chicago & North Western. It also will show some of the mines that they served.

The meeting will begin at 8 p.m. in the social hall of the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

After the business meeting the program will get underway at approximately 8:30 p.m.