Archive for the ‘Akron Railroad Club News’ Category

Colorful Day in Berea on ARRC McKay Day

April 9, 2018

At long last Akron Railroad Club members got a Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive leading a train through Berea during the annual Dave McKay Day outing there. The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leads a westbound ethanol train late Saturday morning.

The long defunct Pan American World Airways used to have the tagline in its advertisements, “Pan Am makes the going great.”

The word “great” is much overused, yet it could fairly describe the 14th annual Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day in Berea last Saturday.

Among the more than 40 trains that at least one ARRC member observed during the event was an ethanol train with the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive on the point, another NS train led by the GoRail unit, and a CSX stack train led by a Southern Belle SD70MAC of the Kansas City Southern.

Those who got there early enough to see NS train 309 also saw a rare sighting in Berea of a Pan Am Railways locomotive, Maine Central No. 3403.

The SD40-2 was the third of three units that included Union Pacific ES44AC-H No. 8151.

It was a colorful day with more than the usual allotment of UP, Canadian National and BNSF motive power, including two trains with all BNSF motive power consists.

The day wasn’t perfect. We got hosed big time when NS intermodal train 26E passed by with a former BNSF war bonnet that was blocked from view by NS train 16T. And the weather was sunny, but quite cool.

ARRC President Craig Sanders was the first to arrive. As he rolled in at about 8:10 a.m., westbound intermodal train 23K was heading west on the NS Chicago Line.

At the far west end of the CP 194 interlocking an inbound Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train was waiting on for the 23K to clear before it could proceed off CSX Shortline Subdivision Track No. 1 to get onto NS for the journey down to Campbell Road Yard.

It has been several years since we’ve seen a W&LE train come through Berea during an ARRC McKay Day.

On the heels of the Wheeling train came an eastbound CSX ethanol train led by the day’s lone sighting of CN motive power.

CSX would go into a slumber for the next hour and a half. In the meantime, NS was busy with an eastbound fleet, including two moments when three eastbounds were side-by-side at the west end of CP 194.

Word had filtered in that two westbound NS trains, the 65N and 17N were being led by the Pennsy heritage unit and the GoRail special promotions unit respectively. Ahead of the 65N was crude oil train 67R.

They were hung up, though, by the NS eastbound parade, which had Tracks 1 and 2 tied up.

By late morning the ARRC contingent had swelled to include Vice President Todd Dillon, Ed Ribinskas and Paul Woodring. Dennis Taksar made an appearance before going off to work.

In the meantime, CSX stack train 272 lumbered through with KCS Southern Belle 3915 on the point. It was slowed by the S388 waiting ahead for westbound L163 to clear the single track through the tunnels in Cleveland.

About the time that westbound traffic got going on NS, CSX began running trains and we feared that our view of the PRR unit would be blocked.

It could have happened. As the headlight of NS 8102 bore down on Berea we saw the headlight of a westbound CSX train, the L163. The 65N got to Berea two minutes before the L163 so we were able to get clear images of the Pennsy heritage locomotive.

It is not the first time that a heritage locomotive has come through on McKay day. We saw the Wabash H unit in 2014, but it was trailing.

By early afternoon we had been joined by Rick Houck and Marty Surdyk. Rick had debated whether to come because of the cold.

They arrived in time to see the 17N with the GoRail unit go west.

NS traffic dominated the day. Of the 16 CSX trains we spotted, nine of them came through after 2 p.m. and six of them were clustered in just over an hour’s time between 3:30 p.m. and 4:40 p.m. during which NS was silent. In fact, seven of the last nine trains we logged were on CSX.

Dennis returned to the scene in late afternoon during which time Paul Emch made a short appearance while en route to the annual banquet of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts that was being held at Tony K’s restaurant in Berea.

Former ARRC member and occasion meeting attendee Alex Buchac also made an appearance as did ex-ARRC member Richard Thompson.

Most ARRC members and former members had departed by the time NS westbound 19A came through just before 6 p.m. with two passenger cars in its consist.

Both were former Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus cars being ferried to new owners.

It was nice not just to see a Southern Belle locomotive of the Kansas City Southern, but a clean one at that. It is leading a very long CSX stack train 272.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie coke train made an early morning appearance.

Like race horses in the starting gate, three NS trains were briefly abreast at the west end of CP 194. Only the 294 in the middle was moving. Watching are the 16T at left and the M6G at right.

The GoRail special interest locomotive is on the point of the 17N.

Eastbound ethanol train K634 was the first CSX train of the day. Once it went by, CSX went into a lull lasting an hour and a half.

A Pan Am Railways SD40-2 made an appearance on NS train 309.

Another look at the colorful and varied motive power consist of NS train 309

Stack train 22K had a brace of BNSF locomotives running elephant style. This train will take the former Nickel Plate Road mainline east of Cleveland.

NS train 20R was one of four consecutive eastbounds that kept a fleet of westbound trains at bay east of CP Max on the Chicago Line.

A young railfan sits on what used to be a signal base to photograph westbound CSX train L135. BNSF motive power was plentiful during the McKay Day outing.

CSX No. 99 has the S388 rolling along through Berea, but not for long. The manifest freight would stop in a few miles to wait for the passage of the L163 through the single-track tunnels in Cleveland.

The Q391 used to be a manifest freight but now it hauls containers.

The rear of the Q166 passes the head end of Q561 by the former Big Four passenger station in Berea.

One of the locomotives pulling eastbound CSX intermodal train Q008 thinks it is an Alco or a steam locomotive as it pours out smoke. The railfan in the distance waving at the train is former ARRC member Richard Thompson.


McKay Day Train List

April 9, 2018

Marty Surdyk prepares to photograph CSX westbound manifest freight Q363 during the Dave McKay Day in Berea on Saturday.

Todd Dillon photographs CSX westbound stack train L163 as Norfolk Southern ethanol train 65N passes in the background. Watching at right are Ed Ribinskas and Paul Woodring.

The photo line is in place to capture an oncoming NS train. They are (left to right) Todd Dillon, Marty Surdyk and Ed Ribinskas.

 [Q 390 along I-480 en route to Berea]

8:10     NS 23K stack (na)

8:16     W&LE coke (7004, 6348, 6350)

8:20     CSX K634 ethanol (CN 5752)

8:34     NS 14K manifest (UP 4232 trailing)

8:35     NS 309 manifest (UP 8151, MEC 3403)

9:26     NS 20R stacks (9971)

9:40     NS 294 stacks (9777)

9:50     NS 16T manifest (2749)

9:53     NS 26E intermodal (na, War bonnet trailing)

10:06   CSX S388 manifest (99)

10:15   NS 205 stacks  (9167)

10:25   CSX 272 stacks (KCS 3915)

10:29   NS 67R crude oil (8028)

10:46   NS 65N ethanol (8102-Pennsylvania)

10:48   CSX L163 stacks (206)

10:55   NS 21G stacks (9884)

10:57   CSX V057 grain (BNSF 8351)

11:07   NS M6G light power (8140)

11:56   NS 21GZ intermodal (9967)

12:01   CSX Q391 stacks (5449)

12:04   NS M6G manifest (8140)

12:35   NS 22K stacks (BNSF 7190)

12:50   NS 206 intermodal (9338)

1:03     NS 24Z stacks (9923)

1:17     NS 24M intermodal (na)

1:30     NS 17N manifest (6963-GoRail)

1:42     NS 18N auto racks (9944)

1:56     CSX L135 crude oil (BNSF 4989)

2:35     CSX Q363 manifest (3242)

2:50     NS 420 coke (9682)

3:14     NS 21Q stacks (7504)

3:16     CSX Q364 manifest (5308)

3:17     NS 20E intermodal (na)

3:26     CSX Q008 intermodal (4509)

3:55     CSX Q166 stacks (UP 5544)

3:58     CSX Q561 manifest (7845)

4:27     CSX Q010 stacks (3049)

4:35     CSX Q389 manifest (145)

4:40     CSX G071 grain (na)

5:03     NS L13 manifest (na)

5:05     CSX K662 ethanol alcohol (UP na)

5:59     NS 19A manifest (na) passenger cars

The lead locomotive number is in parenthesis. Unless indicated otherwise, it is a unit of the railroad operating the train. If (na) that means the lead unit was not recorded.

McKay Day Set for Saturday in Berea

April 5, 2018

The 14th annual Dave McKay Day outing in Berea of the Akron Railroad Club is set for Saturday, April 7.

As always, it begins when the first club member arrives and the last one leaves. Given that the weather forecast for Saturday is for partly cloudy skies with a high of 33 degrees, that might mean the first arrival won’t be too early.

Nonetheless, we’ve had worse weather and, of course, we’ve had better weather, too.

Whatever the case, come out and enjoy a day or a few hours of quality train watching time in honor of our good friend and colleague Dave McKay, who died in late December 2004 after serving as ARRC president between 1993 and 2004.

Since then, the ARRC has set aside the first Saturday in April as a day to honor Dave’s memory at his favorite train watching spot.

Attendees should assemble in the parking lot at the west end of the Berea Depot Restaurant parking lot along Depot Street.

We may try to do a group photo if weather and time permit sometime during the day. Most likely that will be in the early afternoon.

As in past years we can expect to see a lot of trains on Norfolk Southern and CSX although with the latter having switched to the precision scheduled railroading model since our last McKay Day traffic on that railroad may not be what it has been in the past.

Still, we can expect to see on both railroads a several intermodal trains with a fair number of auto rack, manifest and bulk commodities thrown into the mix.

It is common to see foreign power, particularly on CSX, and if we’re lucky we’ll catch the Canadian Pacific run-through trains that use CSX between Chicago and Buffalo complete with CP motive power.

If we’re really lucky, we’ll catch an NS heritage unit leading a train.

Amtrak puts four trains through Berea daily, but they are scheduled between midnight and dawn. The Wheeling & Lake Erie also has a train through Berea, but it tends to operate at night.

In past years those still in Berea in late afternoon have had dinner at the restaurant in the former Big Four passenger station in Berea.

However, word is that the menu there has changed along with the name. Now known as the Berea Depot Bar and Restaurant, it advertises itself as offering upscale pub fare.

That means a more limited number of entrees ranging in price from $15 to $21. There are also a range of sandwiches on the menu, most of which are priced at $11. The menu also includes salads, appetizers and flatbreads.

Some ARRC members are members of the Forest City Division – Railroad Enthusiasts, which is holding its annual banquet in Berea that night at Tony K’s restaurant.

Tickets for that banquet are available at the door for $34 per person. The program that night is being given by Don Wetzel, who will discuss the development of the jet-powered rail diesel car that the New York Central tested in the 1960s west of Toledo.

34 Attend ARRC Member’s Night

April 2, 2018

Paul Woodring grabs a handful of pizza as Tom Goughnour checks out another pie during the Akron Railroad Club’s member’s night event held on March 31.

Thirty-four Akron Railroad Club members and guests munched on pizza and snacks, and watched 13 slide and digital programs last Saturday during the annual member’s night event.

They put away five pizzas from Marcos and two from Hungry Howie’s

The event was held in the social hall at the New Horizon’s Christian Church and attracted a few members who we have not seen in a long while.

ARRC President Craig Sanders led off the presentations with a digital program titled Off the Mainline. It was a tribute to regional and short-line railroads in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Among the roads featured were the Decatur Junction, Vandalia, Eastern Illinois, Indiana Northeastern, Great Lakes Central, Lake States, Adrian & Blissfield, Mid-Michigan Railroad, Elkhart & Western, Cleveland Commercial, Connotton Valley, Ohi-Rail, Ashland Railway, Buffalo Southern, Grand River Railroad, and the Western New York & Pennsylvania among others.

Edward Ribinskas highlighted 40 years of railfanning and photography with a presentation that was heavily focused on steam locomotives. Among the steamers he showed were Norfolk & Western 611 and 1218, Nickel Plate Road 765, Western Maryland 734, Milwaukee Road 261, Southern Pacific 4449, Pere Marquette 1225, Gettysburg 76, and locomotives at Steamtown, Cass, East Broad Top, and the Owosso train festival among others.

Interspersed in Ed’s program were images of Amtrak, the Bessemer & Lake Erie, Denver & Rio Grande Western, and VIA Rail Canada.

Todd Dillon’s program had a strong Norfolk Southern flavor, featuring trains that he has photographed in recent months at such places as Alliance, Leetonia, Altoona, Mingo Junction and various locations in Pennsylvania.

We saw the Meadville Line (former Erie Lackawanna), the GoRail unit, and the Penn Central and Reading heritage locomotives.

Todd also threw in some Amtrak and Bessemer & Lake Erie action.

Bob Rohal introduced his program by saying it was a little of everything. It included CSX, Norfolk Southern, the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway and Ohio Central, all of it in Northeast Ohio.

Bob took us inside LTEX at McDonald, gave us an anatomy of a derailment with photos, and showed images made when he worked at Shelly Materials in Kent.

Blaine Hays has authored books on traction and it was a focal point of his program with vintage and modern images of what today are the rail lines of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.

He also threw in some photographs of the Erie Lackawanna’s Cleveland-Youngstown commuter train, New York Central passenger trains in the 1960s, and the Conrail executive train.

But Blaine also had some steam locomotives, including former Grand Trunk Western 4070 when it was operating on the Cuyahoga Valley Line, now the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

He told a story of how in 1969 a touring steam locomotive visited Cleveland Union Terminal.

Blaine asked his supervisor at Higbee’s Department Store if he would use his lunch hour to photograph the locomotive.

The supervisor said no but Blaine got his photographs anyway. Two weeks later he received a letter saying he had been fired by Higbee’s.

Dennis Taksar made a trip to the mid South to photograph the Paducah & Louisville Railroad in Kentucky. During that trip, he also stopped by the former Illinois Central Railroad shops in Paducah, which are still in operation under different ownership.

Dennis also showed us some action on Canadian National in Kentucky and Memphis on the former IC mainline between Chicago and New Orleans.

Among the Memphis attractions that Dennis showed were the “Pink House” in Memphis, which was once the home of Piggly Wiggly grocery store chain founder Clarence Saunders; the Beale Street nightclub b district, and boats on the Mississippi River.

There also was some BNSF action around Memphis and a few short line railroads in Kentucky and Tennessee to. Dennis even worked in the Casey Jones motel in Mississippi.

Tom Fritsch wrapped up the digital presentations by showing a variety of special Amtrak trains that have passed through Northeast Ohio over the years.

This included the publicity special that stopped in Akron in 1990 to promote the reroute of the Broadway Limited via Akron and Youngstown, the X2000 train, a Talgo train, and a turboliner train that ran a charter trip to Cleveland in 1995 from Columbus to coincide with the first playoff game in several years for the for the Cleveland Indians.

Tom also showed a commuter train demonstration project that operated in Cleveland several years ago using an Amtrak F40PH locomotive and Caltrans bi-level commuter cars.

Paul Woodring opened the slide presenters programs by showing a program titled Over, Under, Around and Through.

It was a potpourri of images made over the years in various locations of trains going, as the title suggested, over, under around or through something. That meant a lot of bridges and tunnels.

Among the sites we saw were CSX in Baltimore; a tunnel in Bellows Falls, Vermont; Nickel Plate Road 765 and Pere Marquette 1225; street running Dresden, Ohio; the Greenbrier Limited; the Atlantic City line used by New Jersey Transit and, at one time, Amtrak; Amtrak’s Capitol Limited, and Amtrak trains on the Northeast Corridor.

Paul showed a few images from ARRC longest day outings in Marion and Deshler and one image of a steam locomotive in China.

Bill Kubas took us to Sand Patch where we saw Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and various CSX trains. We also saw fellow ARRC member Don Woods.

Marty Surdyk showed slides from a program he had intended to give last year titled Things I Haven’t Seen for a While. It was a selection of images made at least decade or two ago.

This included Conrail in the Cleveland area, a diesel excursion train from Toledo to Bellevue on the NS Toledo District, a CSX RoadRailer train out of Cincinnati pulled by F units, and the RTA Waterfront line in Cleveland.

Marty said he recently calculated that since he began photographing trains in 1981 he has exposed 925 rolls of slide film making 33,300 slides.

Jim Mastromatteo’s program also had a “what I’ve done lately” theme. He kicked if off with a visit to the Detroit streetcar system known as the QLine.

He then returned to Northeast Ohio to show action on CSX, Norfolk Southern and the Wheeling & Lake Erie, most of it in Akron or Alliance.

Jim’s program wrapped with some NKP 765 action on the CVSR.

Mark Demaline opened his program with slides of airlines that don’t exist anymore. This included Braniff, Wright, and Western Pacific among others.

Many of the planes we saw are no longer in scheduled commercial service in the United States, including the supersonic Concorde.

Mark then switched to railroads, showing us some old Maryland Rail Commuter trains around Point of Rocks, Maryland. Related to that, he showed Chessie System freights passing the landmark Point of Rocks station where the former Baltimore & Ohio split into line going to Washington and Baltimore.

Also in Mark’s program was some action on B&O branch lines in Ohio, including the now abandoned line to Fairport Harbor via Painesville.

David Mangold, as is his “style,” assembled his program during the event. The good news is that none of the images were upside down or sideways. But to Dave’s chagrin he managed to get a couple of images backwards.

The program highlighted places where Dave has worked over the years, including Chicago, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio.

Most of his Conrail images were made when he was working as a conductor for that carrier.

In the Latest ARRC eBulletin

April 2, 2018

The March 2018 issue of the Akron Railroad Club eBulletin features a story about ARRC President Craig Sanders’ quest to “find” the Erie Lackawanna.

It is a fallen flag railroad that he never saw in person during its 1960-1976 lifetime because he never lived in an areas served by the EL.

But fallen flag railroads live behind a lot of history and former right of way that Craig has been able to explore over the years, particularly after he joined the ARRC in 2003.

To receive a copy of the March 2018 eBulletin send an email message to It’s free.

The April eBulletin will feature a photo essay of the former Baltimore & Ohio in and around Akron.

There will also be coverage of the ARRC member’s night and the annual Dave McKay Day in Berea.

Its Pizza Party Time for the ARRC

March 28, 2018

The annual Akron Railroad Club member’s night event will be held this Saturday (March 31), which means we’re throwing a pizza party and inviting members to show us some of their railroad photographs.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. at the club meeting site at the New Horizons Christian Church in Akron.

Pizza will be delivered at about 6 p.m. and the slide shows will start at approximately 6:30 p.m.

It will be an open projector format with presenters signing up to show 36 to 50 images with any railroad-related content. In short, pick your own theme.

The club’s slide projector and digital projector will both be available. Digital presenters should bring their images on a USB device.

A slide stacker will be available for the convenience of those showing slides or you can bring them in your own carousel slide tray.

There will be a $6 cover charge to cover the costs of the pizza, snacks and beverages. The pizza this year will be ordered from two establishments, Marcos and Hungry Howie’s.

Members are encouraged to bring snacks and drinks to share.

There will not be a business meeting this month. Club matters will be addressed at the April ARRC meeting.

Sanders to Discuss CVSR Book at Lakewood Library

March 27, 2018

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders will be speaking about his book on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad at the Lakewood Public Library on March 29.

The presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Main Library Auditorium at the library, located at 15425 Detroit Road.

Sanders will show photographs of CVSR operations over the year and have copies of his book for sale.

The book was published last October by Fonthill Media and is distributed by Arcadia Publishing.

It features 169 photographs, nearly all of them in color, and 96 pages.

The book provides an historic overview of CVSR operations, which began in June 1975 when it was known as the Cuyahoga Valley Line and trains were pulled by former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070.

There is no admission charge at the event.

In the February ARRC eBulletin

February 21, 2018

The cover story in the February issue of the Akron Railroad Club eBulletin is a look at operations of Canadian National in Conneaut.

Many don’t think of CN as being a Northeast Ohio railroad, but it is, albeit with limited operations.

As was the case when the ancestor of the former Bessemer & Lake Erie was founded in the late 19th century, the CN’s Bessemer Subdivision makes its living hauling iron ore mined in Minnesota and used to make steel in the Pittsburgh area.

The Bessemer Sub is an orphan operation that does not connect directly with the rest of the CN network. Yet it is an interesting one for those willing to take the time to get to know it.

The March issue of the eBulletin will be distributed the week of March 25 and feature an article titled Searching for the Erie Lackawanna.

Surdyk to Present February ARRC Program

February 19, 2018

Marty Surdyk will present a slide program titled The Power of Four at the Feb. 23 Akron Railroad Club.

He said one impetus of the program was how often he hears railfans complain that railfanning in the 21st century is boring because the trains “all look alike with six axle wide cab locomotives on every train.”

It wasn’t too many years ago when four axle locomotives ruled the rails. Some four axle motive power plies the rails today, but their numbers are dwindling. Marty’s program will feature a collection of images that won’t leave you feeling “six.”

He dipped into his slide collection to find four-axle units working in locations from Colorado to Toronto and points in-between, including Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Bellevue and other familiar locations.

Most of the images to be shown were made in the 1980s and 1990s.

Marty will show units of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Norfolk Southern, early CSX, Conrail, Denver & Rio Grande Western, Grand Trunk Western, Amtrak, Tioga Central, Canadian National, Metra, Toronto GO Transit, VIA Rail Canada and the Santa Fe, among others.

The meeting begins at 8 p.m. with a half-hour business meeting followed by the program at 8:30 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

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.