Archive for the ‘Railfanning News and Features’ Category

Getting Off in Cleveland

September 24, 2021

That’s my suitcase on the platform at the Cleveland Amtrak station. I have just disembarked from the eastbound Lake Shore Limited after a trip to Illinois to visit my Dad.

When this image was made on May 24, 2013, the cost of booking a sleeper room on either the Lake Shore or Capitol Limited was more reasonable than it has been in recent years. It was not something I did often, but I did it on occasion to have the sleeping car experience even if only for a few hours.

It also was the era when passengers boarding sleepers in Chicago on No. 48 received a welcome aboard reception in the dining car of wine and cheese.

However, I was in the Boston sleeper on this trip and thus several cars away from the diner, so the car attendant brought the wine and cheese to our rooms. It wasn’t quite the same as consuming it in the dining car with other passengers.

The welcome aboard reception for sleeper class passengers fell by the wayside years ago, presumably a cost-cutting move.

I have not been aboard a Viewliner sleeper as a traveling passenger since the day I disembarked in Cleveland when this photograph was made.

Sitting at Milepost 1

September 23, 2021

It’s a Saturday morning and I’ve found this R.J. Corman grain train sitting south of Ansonia, Ohio, awaiting a crew.

Rebuilt GP16 No. 1832 has yet to couple onto the cars, which were delivered to the Corman by CSX. All of the covered hoppers have CSX reporting marks and lettering.

The grain is bound for an ethanol plant located near Greenville. The track on which the train is sitting is the longest segment of the former Cincinnati Northern that is still in existence.

Once part of the Big Four system, the CN ran from Franklin, Ohio, north of Cincinnati, to Jackson, Michigan.

A few short segments of the CN are still used to serve shippers in various locations in Ohio and Michigan.

Note that on the Corman this is milepost 1. During the Big Four days Ansonia was milepost 151 on the CN.

The grain in this train will take a short surviving segment of the former Pan Handle (Pennsylvania Railroad) Columbus-Logasnport, Indiana, line to reach the ethanol plant. Most of that ex-PRR route has been abandoned, too.

No. 1832 began life as a GP7 built in March 1951 for the Seaboard Air Line. It served for a time on the CSX motive power roster before being acquired by the Corman and assigned to the Western Ohio Line.

The corn in the adjacent field will soon be ready for harvest. Perhaps someday it will these rails to Greenville to be processed into ethanol.

Candy Apple Red on the Corman

September 23, 2021

A northbound R.J. Corman train is about to crossing the Wheeling & Lake Erie Brewster Subdivision at Justus, about a mile east of Brewster.

Leading the train is a Railpower RP20BD with its bright red livery. The image was made on April 3, 2012.

The Baltimore & Ohio style position light signal gives a clue as to the heritage of this line.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

It Took 4 Tries to Get This Image

September 22, 2021

The third time is supposed to be the charm or so the sayings goes. In the case of the above image it was the fourth time that proved to be charming.

Three times I sought to photograph a westbound CSX train passing the Union City, Ohio, water tower on the Indianapolis Line. Three times I got cloud skunked.

The resulting images were not terrible yet the lighting was subdued. My luck finally turned late last Saturday afternoon when sunny skies prevailed as CSX train Q631 rumbled into town.

The lighting was mostly right down the nose but slightly favored the north side of the tracks. That gravel path to the left is Railroad Street and it doesn’t see much traffic.

Steam Saturday: 10 Years Ago This Week

September 17, 2021

It was 10 years ago Friday (Sept. 17, 2011) that Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 made its first and only foray to Canton pulling a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train.

Photographer Robert Farkas decided to try a technique that day that had been suggested to him by a friend who said that photographers of automobiles seek to use a dark background in an effort to get better images.

Bob tried that technique several times while chasing the 765 as it pulled what was billed as a total track tour that originated at Rockside Road station in Independence and covered all of the track used by the CVSR at that time.

The top and subsequent images were made in Peninsula. In the third image the 765 and its train are slowing for a stop near North Canton.

The fourth image shows the train leaving North Canton while the bottom image was made as the train ran southward in Canton.

The following year Ohio Central 4-5-2 No. 1293 made a trip that proved to be the last steam excursion to Canton via the CVSR.

CVSR suspended service to Canton in August 2013 and it has yet to return.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

A Fascination With Steam in the Valley

September 16, 2021

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 will conclude its visit to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad this weekend with a series of excursions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It arrived on the CVSR during the first week of the month and has already pulled several trips that drew hundreds of passengers and spectators.

For many, the attraction of watching the big Berkshire-type locomotive in action is scenes like the one above of the 765 putting on a show for a photo runby.

This image was made on Sept. 14, 2014, at Boston Mill. That used to be where the photo runbys were staged.

Boston Mill has changed in the past two years with the CVSR station having been moved further south and a new visitors center having opened in a former apartment building.

If you’ve been following the story line this week of Ed Ribinskas’ series about steam at Boston Mill you’ve seen and read about those changes.

The 765 will be moving on soon although not before spending some time in Bellevue at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum later this month.

We probably can expect to see the 765 back in the Valley next year but those things are never guaranteed. Every time the 765 comes back you need to approach its visit as though it might be the last.

But, oh, the memories and photographs you’ll make that will always stay with you.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

A Renewed Fascination With Boston Mill: 4

September 16, 2021

Last Saturday the weather was ideal as I made my way to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to make the final series of images that would conclude my series on steam motive power at Boston Mill.

I talked with several people who had no idea what was coming and they did wait around for the Nickel Plate Road 765 to arrive.

There were no white chains, no “keep out” or “no parking signs,”; it was just the normal signs that are always up.

Cars were parked at spots on Riverview Road like the old days and they were not bothered.

The top image shows the 765 passing through Boston Mill at 10:30 a.m. The middle image shows the afternoon trip at 2:37 p.m.

Both of these excursions had originated at Rockside Road station in Independence.

The third image shows FPA-4 No. 6777, which provided motive power when the train was operating northbound.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

A Renewed Fascination With Boston Mill: 3

September 15, 2021

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 has been a September visitor to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad since from 2010 except for 2012 and 2020.

What will become the Cuyahoga Valley Visitor Center in late 2019, was still apartments when these photographs were made in September 2013.

Note the Boston Mill station/shelter on the northwest corner of the road crossing, the former site of Cleveland-Akron Bag Company.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

A Renewed Fascination With Boston Mill: 2

September 14, 2021

Following the 1990 operating season, steam motive power was absent from the Cuyahoga Valley Line until 2007. 

In the interim the CVL renamed itself the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and acquired a fleet of diesel locomotives.

It also opened a station at Boston Mill on the site of a former factory.

September 2007 saw the return of steam operations when former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1293, owned by Jerry Jacobson, pulled some excursions.

The 1293 returned returned the next year and again in September 2012.

The top image shows the 1293 passing through Boston Mill on Sept. 18, 2007. The middle image shows the former general store that at the time this image was made on Sept. 29, 2012, had been converted into apartments.

The final image was made by the CVSR station on Sept. 30, 2012.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

A Renewed Fascination With Boston Mill: 1

September 13, 2021

Earlier this summer I visited the recently opened Cuyahoga Valley Visitor Center in Boston Mill with Marty Surdyk and more recently with my wife, Ursula.

The history of the area is fascinating and to this day still changing. 

The photos in this post are all on the site of the former Cleveland-Akron Bag Company factory.

Workers made flour sacks and roofing paper from 1905-1923. The factory closed and was torn down.

The Visitor Center is housed in what once was the company general store.

Long after those events this location is still changing. Between 1975 and 1990 when I was riding and volunteering on the Cuyahoga Valley Line I’ve been able to see changes still.

These photos are from that time period, all at the location of that factory.

As you know this was the location of the Boston Mill station stop for the CVSR for many years until recently.

Aside from former Grand Trunk Western 4070 made in 1984, 1989 and 1990, we also see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus train when it was here for shows at the former Richfield Coliseum in November 1985.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas