Posts Tagged ‘Akron Barberton Cluster Railway’

Fire Strike Landmark Kent Mill

December 3, 2022

The Star of the West grain mill burning in Kent on Friday. The tracks below are the CSX New Castle Subdivision. (Photograph by Roger Smith and provided via Facebook by David Mangold)

Firefighters said it may be as late as Sunday before they will be able to extinguish a fire that struck the former Star of the West Milling Company grain elevator in Kent on Friday morning.

No injuries were reported in the blaze that began just before 9 a.m.

Kent Fire Chief Bill Myers told reporters that an explosion occurred at the scene about three minutes after firefighters arrived.

A cause of the fire has yet to be determined. Located at 162 N Water Street, the mill is located next to the former Erie Railroad mainline, which is now used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. Fire hoses were stretched across the tracks.

Myers said at one point that firefighters were hindered by water supply issues, which forced firefighters to reduce the use of water.

The City of Kent issued a water conversation notice in an effort to conserve water.

The mill was built in 1879 and has been a fixture in countless photographs made in Kent of railroad operations.

At one time, the mill produced hundreds of millions of pounds of flour.

Firefighters from several Northeast Ohio departments were at the scene battling the fire, including units from Hudson, Stow, Munroe falls, Ravenna, and Tallmadge.

Scott Budzar, owner of Scribbles Coffee, located near the mill, said his businesses and others in the vicinity were forced to close due to the fire. “It’s such a massive structure, too, and iconic,” he said.

The mill was reported to be oldest building still standing in Kent.

“It used European technology, and so it took over and it became very, very successful,” said Sandy Halem, president of the Kent Historical Society. “1879 until 1999, it’s a long time for a continuous business.”

Building owner Manouchehr Salehi told the Record-Courier the building was locked up and no one should have been inside.

Salehi said the fire could change his plans to convert the structure into a multi-use complex that would include businesses and apartments.

“Let’s find out what the damages are,” he said. “The structural integrity completely changes everything.” The mill complex includes nine buildings. It was purchased in 1992 by Star of the West Milling Company of Emmett, Michigan. Mill operations ceased in 2016.

CPL Two for Tuesday

November 29, 2022

Here are two photos including long-gone ex-Baltimore & Ohio color position light block signals.

In the top image R.J. Corman RP20BD No. 5400 and its train are on Corman trackage in Clinton after interchanging with CSX on June 25, 2012.

The CPL on the right is for westbounds. I believe the CPL to its left is for RJ Corman trains to enter CSX tracks.

In the bottom image, after passing the eastbound signal at CP Lambert on the CSX New Castle Subdivision, Akron Barberton Cluster SW1500 No. 1502 is heading east on June 26, 2012. Notice 1502’s old number from Conrail on the number boards on the front.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

ABC Two for Tuesday

November 22, 2022

Wheeling & Lake Erie SD40-2 No. 6347 is by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway engine house in Barberton on June 13, 2012, in the top image.

In the bottom image, two Wheeling GP35s, No. 100 and WE 101, the latter being the Pittsburgh & West Virginia tribute unit, are waiting to leave ABC tracks and enter CSX tracks near Lambert on the CSX New Castle Subdivision in Akron on April 25, 2012.

Having interchanged cars with the ABC, the train will head east on CSX using trackage rights until the W&LE interchange track where they will go east to the W&LE Akron Subdivision to get to Brittain Yard in Akron.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Chasing the ABC Local to Ravenna

November 3, 2022

On Tuesday I caught the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway local to Ravenna. Wheeling & Lake Erie No. 302, a former Denver & Rio Grande Western GP40 still lettered for that railroad powered the train.

In the photos above the train is shown switching at Kent, heading to Ravenna and on the turn trip at Ravenna

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Barberton Sunday Afternoon Triple Play

November 3, 2022

Here are three images made in Barberton on a Sunday afternoon of May 29, 2020. In the top image, Akron Barberton Cluster GP40-3 No. 4005 sits by the engine house.  In the middle BNSF 3268 is eastbound on the CSX New Castle Subdivision. The bottom image features another angle of the  3268.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Switching the ABC in Barberton

September 18, 2022

Akron Barberton Cluster SW1500 No. 1502 is working in Barberton on June 2, 2015.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

W&LE Receives ORDC Grant for Spencer Project

July 23, 2022

The Wheeling & Lake Erie will receive a $490,626 grant from the Ohio Rail Development Commission for track work on four subdvisions.

In a news release,  ORDC said the grant will fund a reconfiguration of connecting tracks among the Hartland, Akron, Brewster and Carey subdivisions in Spencer.

The ORDC grant matches a $6.8 million federal Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Improvement awarded to the project last month.

The project is designed to alleviate traffic congestion while increasing operational fluidity, ORDC officials said in a press release.

In a related development, ORDC approved a $50,000 grant to Renewable Lubricants to help develop a transload facility in Kent that will be served by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

The facility will be located in southwest Kent and involves various input oils that will be shipped by rail and transferred to truck for final movement to Hartville. 

The facility project’s total cost will be $600,000. The facility will have two spurs and a total capacity of 20 to 30 rail cars. ABC is a W&LE subsidiary.

ABC 4005 Two for Tuesday

July 19, 2022

I’ve rarely caught Akron Barberton Cluster GP40-3 No. 4005 on the road. Here are two photos of it from Akron.

The ABC uses CSX to interchange with the Wheeling & Lake Erie and to work a small yard in Akron. Both photos were taken from a location that is no longer safe. A friend was held up there. The top image was made going westbound on CSX on Jan. 15, 2020. The bottom image was made eastbound on CSX on May 5, 2021.

The 4005 was acquired by the W&LE in July 2019 and rebuilt at the Brewster shops. When released, it had been lettered for the ABC. The heritage of the locomotive is Dakota, Minnesota  & Eastern.

Photograhs by Robert Farkas

The ABC Working in Akron

July 3, 2022

Here is a series of images made on June 17, 2022 in Akron where Akron Barberton Cluster Railway EMD SW1500 No. 1501 is working a shipper. The series shows the train about to back up into the company, working the company and making up a train to head back to Barberton. The crew will back up the two boxcars, run around them, and head back to Barberton.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

An ABC 1501 Kind of Day

April 7, 2022

Akron Barberton Cluster SW1500 No. 1501 is eastbound heading for the yard in Barberton on Nov. 12, 2021. The unit was once on the Conrail motive power roster. It was built in June 1966 by EMD.

Photograph by Robert Farkas