Archive for the ‘Site Announcements’ Category

Coming Saturday: 15 Years of McKay Day Memories

May 1, 2020

This year’s annual Akron Railroad Club David McKay Day in Berea has been wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re got 15 years of memories to enjoy.

On Saturday the feature post will highlight one photograph from each of the 15 McKay Days along with summaries of what attendees saw that year and other highlights.

The event got its start in April 2005 as a way to celebrate the release of the book Trackside Around Cleveland 1965-1979 with Dave McKay.

The next year the event became an all-day railfan outing.

The weather wasn’t always pleasant but we could also count on a mixture of freight traffic passing through on the busy parallel lines of Norfolk Southern and CSX.

Traditions associated with McKay Day came and went, including the group portrait made in the afternoon by the McKay memorial in Berea.

Had it not been for the pandemic, the 2020 McKay Day would have been Saturday, May 2.

Shown on April 6, 2013, above are (left to right) are Eli Akerib, Dennis Taksar, (unidentifiable), Marty Surdyk, Rick Houk, Craig Sanders, Alex Bruchac, Paul Woodring, Ron McElrath, J. Gary Dillon (seated), Jim Mastromatteo and Richard Thompson.

Back by Popular Demand NOT!

April 5, 2019

Back in late November 2018 I wrote what I expected to be the last post for this blog.

I had conducted my last meeting as president of the Akron Railroad Club and a new president has been elected to replace me.

The blog I had created in 2009 to promote the ARRC would remain live but I wouldn’t create any new content. Besides, I would be moving out of state within a few months and would no longer be active in the ARRC.

I expected that traffic would quickly dry up. But that hasn’t quite been the case.

Because the site continues to get a fair amount of spam comments, I visit it every few days to clean out the spam.

In doing that I’ve been amazed that the site continue to have a fairly high level of visits despite there no being any new material posted here four months.

My thinking was to allow the site to remain live as an archive of ARRC activities and other historic information about the railroads of Northeast Ohio.

But no news would be posted about the ARRC or the region’s railroads.

I’ve since rethought that somewhat. I am not going to resume posting news about railroads or the ARRC.

The current leadership of the ARRC has a Facebook page and I see communicating with members as the responsibility of leadership, not former leaders and rank and file members.

But if people are still going to come to the site then I will on occasion give them something new to read.

That will be a mix of memories of ARRC events and activities and a few of my own memories of railfanning in Northeast Ohio whether connected to the ARRC or not.

I won’t necessarily post every week. There may be some long gaps between postings.

But I look forward to walking down memory lane with you and remembering what used to be.

End of the Line for This ARRC Blog

November 26, 2018

Back in early 2009 I recognized that the Akron Railroad Club needed a better presence online.

A member had put up a website devoted to the ARRC, but technical difficulties and other issues prevented that site from being effective or up to date.

I learned from a former colleague of my wife about That ex-colleague helped me set up what became

That ex-colleague also offered me a useful piece of advice as we set up the blog. Treat it a publication that comes out on a regular schedule.

That meant providing content on a regular basis just as newspapers, magazines, newsletters and broadcasters do.

At the time I saw this site as doing nothing more than providing news about the Akron Railroad Club and its members.

I quickly learned that the ARRC doesn’t make much news or make it very often.

What news is did make was supplemented by some members providing photographs and stories about their railfanning adventures.

But those contributions could be hit and miss and I sensed that more content was needed if the site was to fulfill my vision for it.

That led me to begin posting news about the railroad industry, most often about railroads serving Ohio and the immediate surrounding states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan.

At times I also ventured into other transportation news. I have a particular interest in airline service so I often wrote about that, too.

It became part of my daily routine to check my usual sources of news about the railroad industry and write the posts. It was a good way to stay current on what was happening in the industry.

But now that has come to an end. No, the railroad industry is not going anywhere but I am.

As those who know me already know, I’ll be moving away from Northeast Ohio sometime next year and I have chosen to retire as president of the Akron Railroad Club.

I’ve said for some time that when I retired, this blog would also be retired.

A new crop of ARRC officers was elected on Nov. 16. The ARRC constitution and bylaws are silent on exactly when their terms of office begin.

As a practical matter, that date is Jan. 1 because they are elected to serve during a specified calendar year.

As I see it, though, my last duties as ARRC president came to a close when the November meeting adjourned. There remain some administrative matters to address as part of the transition to new leadership but otherwise the ARRC will be dormant until January, the upcoming end of year dinner this Saturday notwithstanding.

I am no longer posting railroad industry news to this blog. I maintain another blog titled Amtrak in the Heartland that is devoted to intercity rail passenger service in the United States.

Some of the news that I once posted at can now be found at

I once said that I would eventually be removing this site and that may happen in time. For now I’m going to let it remain live as an archive of the years that I was an officer of the ARRC.

There is also some historical information on this site about the ARRC and the railroads that serve or once served Akron.

But no longer will this site be used to support the Akron Railroad Club. I believe that communication with members and the public is the responsibility of an organization’s leadership.

It will be up to the next class of officers to decide how best to communicate about club affairs.

I’ve had a blast overseeing this site. Some ARRC members were regular contributors and I appreciate the photographs and stories that Roger Durfee, Ed Ribinskas, Jeff Troutman, Todd Dillon, Bob Farkas, Richard Thompson, the late Richard Jacobs and others contributed over the years.

Although WordPress provides blog administrators with certain statistics about how many visitors and views a site receives each day those don’t show the identity of those readers.

It has long been my impression that many, if not most, of those who were regular visitors to this site are not ARRC members. Many are simply railfans who found the information presented interesting enough to view.

Others probably found the blog while doing a search on Google. On occasion, others have linked to this blog specific content that caught their eye.

I’ve heard from some of the regulars at times and it always felt good to know that they appreciated what I was doing. has always been and always was destined to be a tiny goldfish in the railfan world pond.

The number of hits that content on this site received is minuscule compared to such sites as, and

And then there is Facebook, which is the 100 pound gorilla overshadowing everyone who posts content online at sites such as this one.

The higher visibility of those sites probably goes a long way in explaining why contributions from ARRC members and others have been relatively few and far between, particularly in recent years.

Aside from, I maintain another blog known as Seeing Things, Saying Things at

That blog was created as a way to promote my railroad history books, but has received virtually no attention. Of late I’ve used it to post photographs of things other than railroads.

I hope to spend more time in the coming year developing that website as well as my site Amtrak in the Heartland. Hence that is another reason for my moving away from maintaining

Of course I’ll miss my routine of maintaining this site, but it is time to move on. Likewise, I’m going to miss interacting with the members of the ARRC and attending its meetings and events.

I’ll always have my memories of what great times those were. I might even visit this site down the road when I’m feeling nostalgic.

McKay Day Train Listed Posted

April 8, 2017

The train list for the 13th annual Akron Railroad club Dave McKay Day outing in Berea on April 1, 2017, has been posted. To view the list, click on the link below.

Listing of 2016 Train Shows Posted

December 31, 2015

The newest addition to the Akron Railroad Club blog is a listing of train shows scheduled in Ohio and nearby states during 2016. You can find that page at the top of the listing of Pages on the right side of the your screen or by going to

The listings are as accurate as we can make them. If you have a listing to contribute, send it to

Additional listings will be added as they become available.

Photos Posted of ARRC 2015 Picnic

August 24, 2015
Chef Marte revives the fire during the afternoon to get ready to serve up another round of burger and dogs.

Chef Marte revives the fire during the afternoon to get ready to serve up another round of burger and dogs.

A page of photographs has been posted on this site of the 2015 Akron Railroad Club summer picnic. To see the images, click on the link below. The picnic was held on July 26 at the Northeast Ohio Live Steamers club grounds near Lester, Ohio.

Vermilion Outing Photos, Article Posted

August 12, 2013
After a lot of driving around, we finally caught up with CNJ unit again, this time at Lake Breeze Road in Sheffield. It was the star of the Akron Railroad Club's outing in Vermilion on Sunday

After a lot of driving around, we finally caught up with CNJ unit again, this time at Lake Breeze Road in Sheffield. It was the star of the Akron Railroad Club’s outing in Vermilion on Sunday. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

The Akron Railroad Club ventured to Vermilion on Sunday for a day of train watching and photography. The star attraction as the New Jersey Central heritage locomotive, which lead the 287 west from Buffalo, N.Y. We had to go to Avon Lake and Sheffield to get it, but we did. To read an article about the Vermilion outing and view a full gallery of photographs, click on the link below.

The Drama of Winter Photography

January 8, 2013




Take a close look at the two photographs posted above. Each features the same train and was taken at the same location. Both are good photographs. Yet what does one have that the other does not?

And while you are thinking about this, would a photograph taken at any other time of the year other than winter show as much as these photos?

Veteran photographer and Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee discusses these questions and more in an essay about why he loves winter photography. In fact it is his favorite season of the year. To read Roger’s essay, click on the link below.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Indiana Weekends Two Decades Apart

October 4, 2012

An eastbound empty hopper train passes the North Findlay mast. The signals were installed many years ago by the Nickel Plate Road.

When I opened my email box early Thursday morning I was greeted with back-to-back messages from Akron Railroad Club members Roger Durfee and Todd Dillon with photographs from their respective trips to Indiana.

Roger had spent last weekend at an open house of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society. The group is better known as the owners of Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765.

He had planned his trip to make it a NKP sojourn by following the former NKP mainline from Bellevue to New Haven, Ind., where the 765 is based.

Todd, on the other hand, dipped into his archives to recall a 1999 fall weekend that he spent in Indiana — a state in which he once lived — and came upon an obscure shortline then known as the Fulton County Railroad. It operated between Rochester and Argos, where it connected with the former NKP mainline now owned by Norfolk Southern.

This is a former Lake Erie & Western line that extended between Indianapolis and Michigan City, Ind. The LE&W later was absorbed by the Nickel Plate. Portions of this Michigan City-Indianapolis route have been abandoned, but much of it still exists. Indeed, the southern end of the route is used by another Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive, the 587, which is based at the Indiana Transportation Museuum in Noblesville.

To view a gallery of photographs from Roger’s trip, click on the link below.

To read Todd’s article and view a galley of photographs of his chase of the Fulton County Railroad’s Alco locomotive, click on the link below.

In the meantime, here is a sample of the photographs taken by Roger and Todd.

Article by Craig Sanders

Three volunteers hold their coal shovels high after a hard day of work.

The view out of the 765 fireman’s window looking down the boiler as a full moon rises in the east.

Miss the Erie Lackawanna? You Gotta See this Program

April 2, 2012

Who and what was conductor George Rush waving goodbye to in this 1976 scene in Akron? Watch Roger's Durfee's tribute to the memory of Erie Lackawanna and decide for yourself.

If you have a passion for the late Erie Lackawanna, then you’ve got to see Roger’s Durfee’s music and images tribute to the EL. A link to the 3-minute program is provided at the bottom of this paragraph.

Roger has written a commentary that explains how and why he put the program together. You can read that by clicking on the link below.

Blogmaster Craig Sanders provides his own interpretation of the program and what he saw in it. To read his comments, click on the link below.