Posts Tagged ‘ABC Railway’

1-2-3 on the ABC in Akron

June 16, 2021

This trio of images was in Akron on May 20, 2021. Akron Barberton Cluster SW1500 No. 1502 was backing up in all three photos. Photos one and two were from the first time I saw the switcher and photo three was from the second time. ABC 1502 is backing up a second time.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

At Work with an ABC Crew

December 1, 2019

Here are four from Nov. 26 in Akron on the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. Wheeling & Lake Erie GP9R No. 4602 is the motive power for an ABC train working the ABC yard and a paper company.

In the top photo, the 4602 is pulling a string of cars in the ABC yard.

That is followed by a roster shot and the job backing into the paper company.

The bottom image shows the train outside the paper company.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

The Whistle Was Too Close to be NS

January 4, 2017

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These were taken on the spur to the Rock Tenn plant a Ravenna with an iPhone. We were out on the bike trail when I heard a whistle too close by to be Norfolk Southern. They were pulling two boxcars up the line switching to pull in the siding by Oakwood Street. I got these two photographs of the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway on the return journey.

Photographs by Jeffrey Smith

As Easy as A-B-C

July 1, 2016

The Akron Barberton Cluster job that works customers on the former Erie Lackawanna line through Kent is all about industrial railroading. There is no mainline action here. The crew backs a cut of tank cars onto the siding leading to the Crowley Tar Products plant in Kent.

The Akron Barberton Cluster job that works customers on the former Erie Lackawanna line through Kent is all about industrial railroading. There is no mainline action here. The crew backs a cut of tank cars onto the siding leading to the Crowley Tar Products plant in Kent.

Catching the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway in operation on the former Erie Lackawanna east of Kent requires persistence, luck and a knowledge of its operations.

If your railfanning opportunities are limited to weekends,  you’re out of luck. I’ve never seen an ABC train on a weekend in Kent aside from the passenger excursions that used to operate in conjunction with an annual festival held around July 4.

The ABC on the ex-EL is a weekday operation and you need to stake out the tracks during the morning hours.

On a recent Friday morning, I went down to Brady Lake to hike on the Portage Hike and Bike trail. It runs parallel to the ex-EL (nee Erie Railroad) for much of its length between Ravenna Road and Kent.

As is my usual practice, I parked in the lot just off Lake Rockwell Road by the grade crossing with the ex-EL tracks, which are now owned by Portage County.

I got out of my car, looked to the west and saw a headlight and spot of orange. The ABC job probably was switching the Crowley Tar Products plant in Kent.

But the train was a good half mile away and the question was whether I could walk fast enough to get there before the crew finished its work and headed back to Brittain Yard in Akron or went to Ravenna.

I tried to set a blistering pace and wished a dozen times I had a bike. Every so often I would stop and take a photo in case the train had left for Akron before I could get to it.

Of course, if it was going to Ravenna it would be coming toward me. At one point I could tell the headlight was getting smaller and I feared the worst.

But a glimpse through the longest focal length on my zoom lens revealed that there were tank cars parked on the main and the locomotive was to the left of that.

That was good news because it meant the crew was spotting cars on the Crowley siding.

It turned out I had plenty of time and then some to get down to the ABC job and to get photographs. I didn’t see any boxcars, which suggested the crew would not be going to Ravenna.

After getting my photographs, I hung around a bit, but then decided to go back to my vehicle.

The ABC job had two Wheeling & Lake Erie GP35 locomotives. As I left, the locomotives, a tank car and a covered hopper were sitting on what used to be the eastbound EL mainline.

I kept looking behind me as I walked away from the train, which appeared to be sitting still. The headlight was still visible when I got back to the parking lot at Lake Rockwell Road, so I decided to stay put, just in case.

Slowly, but surely, I noticed the headlight getting larger. The train was coming toward me and going to Ravenna today.

I photographed it at the Lake Rockwell crossing. I had to get back home so there wasn’t enough time to wait for the train to come back. Next time.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The ABC switcher was not being used today. Instead, the motive power was a pair of W&LE GP35s.

The ABC switcher was not being used today. Instead, the motive power was a pair of W&LE GP35s, Nos. 100 and 104.

A crew member has set the hand brake on the tank car on the main. It will be left there while the crew spots more tank cars at Crowley Tar.

A crew member has set the hand brake on the tank car on the main. It will be left there while the crew spots more tank cars at Crowley Tar.

Throwing the switch that leads to Crowley Tar. It is the only switch left in what used to be a large yard for the Erie Railroad.

Throwing the switch that leads to Crowley Tar. It is the only mainline switch left in what used to be a large yard for the Erie Railroad.

The Portage Hike and Bike trail is on the right. The wood rail in the foreground is part of the bridge over Breakneck Creek.

The Portage Hike and Bike trail is on the right. The wood rail in the foreground is part of the bridge over Breakneck Creek.

My intent was to frame the train with that utility pole, which is now stripped of its wires. I've photographed this pole before but never with a train in the scene.

My intent was to frame the train with that utility pole, which is now stripped of its wires. I’ve photographed this pole before but never with a train in the scene.

Crossing Lake Rockwell Road. In the EL and Erie days there used to be a bridge here over the tracks.

Crossing Lake Rockwell Road. In the EL and Erie days there used to be a bridge here over the tracks.

Just Another Day on the ABC at Kent

August 5, 2014

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I caught the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway Kent job last week as it pulled into Kent and made a pickup at the Star of the West mill. W&LE No. 102 with its Operation Lifesaver logo was the motive power.

A couple other goodies from last week included a nicely lettered (for a scrap car) hopper and the MetLife blimp in for the Bridgestone Invitational PGA golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron. They are walking the airship away from the mast. Note the man still up the pole for its takeoff.

The top photo is the ABC train pulling by some of the original Atlantic & Great Western shop buildings in Kent. With the large Star of the West mill looming tall in the background the crew backs up to get three cars. (next two photos) The lift made, the 102 pulls back out onto the former Erie mainline and a return to Akron.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

President’s Day Morning Sojourn

February 21, 2013

A westbound manifest freight passes through Kent with the stoned arch bridge carrying Main Street over the Cuyahoga River and the CSX New Castle Subdivision in the background.

A westbound manifest freight passes through Kent with the stoned arch bridge carrying Main Street over the Cuyahoga River and the CSX New Castle Subdivision in the background.

The President’s Day holiday gave me a rare Monday off and I headed toward Kent with the objective of photographing the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway job that goes to Ravenna and back out of Akron’s Brittain Yard. The ABC does not operate on the former Erie Railroad line to Kent and Ravenna on weekends.

Before leaving home, I received an email report that the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern was a trailing unit on a 64N that had stopped at Motor Yard in Macedonia to pick up a buffer car for the rear of the train at around 7:45 a.m.

I’ve photographed the NKP unit before, but always accompanied by the NKP 765 steam locomotive.

I didn’t get away from the house until close to 8:30 so it was a long shot to catch that train. But maybe if it got delayed and I could photograph it at Brady Lake.

I saw the north end of Motor Yard from Interstate 480 but there was no sign of the 64N. I would later learn that I had missed the 64N by, maybe, 10 to 15 minutes.

My inspection of the rails of the ABC at the Ravenna Road crossing led me to conclude that the job to Ravenna had already passed here because there were fresh flange marks in the snow.

I snapped some photos of the ex-Erie bridge over the NS Cleveland Line and then got a westbound RoadRailer train. With the recent discussion that NS may phase out its RoadRailer trains I have been making photographing them a priority.

I couldn’t be certain that the ABC job was in Ravenna, so I went into Kent where I figured I had a better chance of catching it if it only worked in Kent before returning to Brittain Yard.

CSX seems to be busier through Kent in the mornings than the afternoons and I was able to catch a pair of westbounds.

I spotted the ABC job at about 10:45. In an earlier post I described how it stopped for the crew to “repair’ a crossing gate at Main Street.

I caught two more CSX trains, one in each direction, before heading home. I should have stayed out longer, particularly since it was mostly sunny. But it had still been a nice morning and was pleased with what I was able to find.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A peaceful, serene setting at Brady Lake where the former Erie Railroad tracks cross over the NS Cleveland Line. The footprints in the snow belong to ARRC member Todd D Dillon who was here Sunday to photograph NS trains.

A peaceful, serene setting at Brady Lake where the former Erie Railroad tracks cross over the NS Cleveland Line. The footprints in the snow belong to ARRC member Todd D Dillon who was here Sunday to photograph NS trains.

A RoadRailer at Brady Lake is headed toward Cleveland.

A RoadRailer at Brady Lake is headed toward Cleveland.

A westbound CSX coke train passes the Star of the West grain elevator in Kent.

A westbound CSX coke train passes the Star of the West grain elevator in Kent.

A westbound manifest freight is about to duck under Main Street. Note the reflection of the fence on the bridge in the window on the fireman's side of the cab.

A westbound manifest freight is about to duck under Main Street. Note the reflection of the fence on the bridge in the window on the fireman’s side of the cab.

An arch in the Main Street bridge frames an eastbound train of coal hoppers.

An arch in the Main Street bridge frames an eastbound train of coal hoppers.

The ABC job pauses next to the ex-Erie passenger station in Kent.

The ABC job pauses next to the ex-Erie passenger station in Kent.

On the move to Akron the ABC job passes one of the few remaining poles from the Erie days.

On the move to Akron the ABC job passes one of the few remaining poles from the Erie days.

Just about back onto the single track, the ABC job crosses Summit Street.

Just about back onto the single track, the ABC job crosses Summit Street.

Just Another Task on the Railroad

February 20, 2013

The ABC train from Ravenna has stopped at Main Street in Kent and the conductor is getting off with a red flag in hand.

The ABC train from Ravenna has stopped at Main Street in Kent and the conductor is getting off with a red flag in hand.

The flashers come on and the gates go down. Traffic on Main Street in downtown Kent comes to a halt. The Akron Barberton Cluster Railway job from Ravenna is returning to Brittain Yard in Akron.

It is quarter till 11 on a Monday morning, a holiday for some but just another work day for others.

The train of SW1500 No. 1502, two box cars and three covered hoppers grinds to a halt shortly after it enters the crossing.

The conductor comes through the door of the cab carrying a red flag. This doesn’t make sense at first glance. The gates are down and traffic is stopped. Why flag the crossing?

He walks over to the crossing signal on the west side of the tracks, which once carried Erie Railroad trains between Chicago and New York.

Soon, the engineer comes down to the ground to join him. They are trying to push the gate away from the tracks. Apparently it is out of alignment and in danger of sideswiping a passing train.

A passerby who has been waiting for the train to pass joins the crew members as they push and pull on the gate mechanism.

The engineer climbs back aboard the locomotive and pulls down far enough to clear the crossing.

The conductor walks back to the head end and the passerby and the train continue on their respective journeys.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The conductor and engineer are trying to move the gate back into alignment as the passerby watches.

The conductor and engineer are trying to move the gate back into alignment as the passerby watches.

The passerby has decided he can be of help and joins the crew.

The passerby has decided he can be of help and joins the crew.

The engineer climbs back up into the cab.

The engineer climbs back up into the cab.

The train is pulling down to clear the crossing. Note that the wayward gate has now risen into the air. I am not sure if this was by design or was due to a malfunction.

The train is pulling down to clear the crossing. Note that the wayward gate has now risen into the air. I am not sure if this was by design or was due to a malfunction.

No. 1502 pauses as the conductor finishes his business and walked to the head end, which is not situated just west of the former Erie passenger station, which is now a restaurant.

No. 1502 pauses as the conductor finishes his business and walked to the head end, which is not situated just west of the former Erie passenger station, which is now a restaurant.