Archive for the ‘Railroading as it Once Was’ Category

N&W F Units in Brewster

February 23, 2018

Norfolk & Western Nos. 3697, 3717, and 3712 are at Brewster outside the N&W diesel shop in the late 1960s. Although the N&W had no F units of its own, these Fs are ex-Wabash.

Photograph by Robert Farkas


Old Enough to Be Nostalgia

February 22, 2018

Early in its history, the modern Wheeling & Lake Erie held a competition among its employees to design a locomotive livery.

The winner was a bright combination of red and gold that was applied to two GP35s, Nos. 2662 and 2679. W&LE CEO Larry Parsons often referred to them as the “painted ladies.”

Parsons believes that the best color for a locomotive is black so the red and gold look was not widely applied.

No. 2679 has since been rebuilt and repainted in the W&LE’s standard livery, but No. 2662 remains on the active roster in its red and gold appearance.

The two units are shown together in the above images in Akron on May 8, 1994.

They had led an excursion train from Bellevue into town and parked it near Summit Street.

Passengers were taken by bus to Quaker Square for dinner. I remember that it was Mother’s Day.

The two “painted ladies” are shown ready to return to Bellevue.┬áThe train was sponsored by the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum and operated under the name Bradley Memorial Limited in honor of a boy who had died far too early.

The fact that No. 2662 is still in service means the image is not yet lost history, even if it is historic.

The images also qualify as nostalgic because the W&LE no longer will agree to host excursion trains such as these.

This would be the only time that I saw the two “painted ladies” paired together on the same train.

Some EL Color in Kent

February 21, 2018

Thankfully, I have some Erie Lackawanna photographs that I made in color although many of them are roster photos. Here is one of my favorite EL slides. F7A EL 7124 leads three E8A locomotives eastbound through the EL yard in Kent in April 1973.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

When Jointed Rail Was Quite Common

February 19, 2018

Here is another memory for the blog. A Baltimore & Ohio trailer train heads east through Kent in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The Erie Lackawanna passenger station can be seen on the hill in the middle left. Notice all the jointed rail that was normal back then.

Leaving the Kent Yard

February 17, 2018

An Erie Lackawanna Alco FA and Alco RS-3 are eastbound leaving the EL Kent yard in the late 1960s. This photo is from the north side of the tracks and not the more commonly photographed south side. Notice, also, the light tower, bridges and semaphore signal.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Last Year of IC Varnish

February 13, 2018

I was going through some glassine envelopes of negatives and found this. Illinois Central No. 4035 is in Centralia, Illinois, in August 1970. The Train name/number are unknown to me.

John Woodworth, Mike Ondecker, and I were in Centralia to photograph IC passenger trains. I never guessed that in less than a year there would no longer be IC passenger trains.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Not a Duck and Not Conrail, Either

February 12, 2018

There’s an expression that if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck. Except when it isn’t.

The locomotive shown above looks for all the world like a Conrail unit except for the letters OHIC toward the top. Those show that it is actually owned by Minerva-based Ohi-Rail.

Class 1 Railroads hold garage sales every so often to get rid of “surplus” motive power that has either been replaced by newer units or been deemed to be no longer needed.

Short-line railroads shop these sales looking for bargains on good merchandise just as many people make it a way of life to shop yard sales on Saturday mornings in the summer.

More often than not these used locomotives continue to work with their former identities for a while before seeing a paint booth to get the livery of a new owner.

This image of a former Conrail B23-7R was made in Minerva in June 2004. The unit was built by GE as a U23B for Western Pacific, but later transformed into a Monongahela Railway Super 7. No. 4097 was on the Norfolk Southern roster for a while before Ohi-Rail got it.

I’m not sure what this locomotive was doing at the time I saw it, but it might have been coming back from interchanging cars with NS at Bayard and is headed for the yard.

Remember the Norfolk & Western?

February 9, 2018

Norfolk & Western No. 8201 is Brewster-bound in June 1982. Here she is traveling west approaching Harmon. (Photograph by Robert Farkas)

Some Penn Central Memories

February 6, 2018

At the beginning of the Penn Central era — around 1968/1969, former New York Central No. 8073 (a Baldwin road switcher) worked out of Canton Yard on the former Pennsylvania Railroad. Here she is with one of Canton’s steel mills for a background.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Another Early Conrail Memory

February 5, 2018

The early years of Conrail were most interesting and colorful as locomotives wearing predecessor railroads were mixed and matched in train consists.

For a time, some units wore continued to wear their former colors with Conrail markings.

Conrail 6074 leads a pair of eastbound helpers through the super-elevated curve in front of the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station in Massillon, Ohio on Aug. 17, 1981.

Photograph by Robert Farkas