Posts Tagged ‘Akron Railroad Club activities’

ARRC Picnic Set for July 18

July 12, 2021

The Akron Railroad Club will hold its annual picnic next Sunday (July 18) at Waterworks Park in Cuyahoga Falls.

The club has reserved the Little Stone Shelter at the park, located at 2025 Munroe Falls Avenue.

The shelter is at the west end of the park near the dog park, a children’s playground, a boat launch and restrooms with running water. 

The club will provide hot dogs and hamburgers with Marty Surdyk, (a.k.a. Chef Marté) manning the grill.

Condiments and some beverages will be provided but attendees are asked to bring desserts, snacks, beverages, and covered dishes. There is no refrigeration available so plan accordingly.

 The pavilion has electrical outlets for crockpots or roasters but remember to bring an extension cord.

ARRC has the shelter from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.  The grill will be fired up about noon.

Although the park is adjacent to the CSX New Castle Subdivision, the view of the trains is obscured by trees.

Open views are available nearby at grade crossings for Ohio Route 91 and at Bailey Road.

The Route 91 crossing is especially good for eastbound trains in the morning. Bailey Road is good for eastbound trains in the morning and exceptional for westbound trains in late afternoon. 

Trains (and Rain) at ARRC Longest Day Outing in Fostoria

June 30, 2021

A CSX train passes F Tower as it rounds the connection to go north in Fostoria on June 21, 2015. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

June 27, 2021, was a much anticipated day.

It was the Akron Railroad Club’s longest Day outing to Fostoria to visit the “iron rriangle.”

My day began at 6 a.m. with loading my Jeep being out the door at 6:20 a.m. I was five minutes behind schedule, no big deal.

Traffic on Interstate 480 and the Ohio Turnpike was light as usual on a Sunday morning. With one pit stop at a rest area and a trip through the drive thru at McDonald’s in Fremont, I was in Fostoria at 8:15 a.m.

I was surprised to find myself as the only one there. I picked out a picnic table with a view of all three mains and made quick work of breakfast.

The radio began to scratch, a train was nearing. It turned out to be Norfolk Southern intermodel 234.

NS 7600 was in charge of a trio of horses. As 234 cleared, a CSX train was lined from the south on the former Chesapeake & Ohio to east on the former Baltimore  & Ohio. This was auto rack train Q214 behind a pair of locos lead by CSX 7793.

A few minutes later NS intermodel 218 was heard entering town. I lined up my shot only to say “that’s not 218, those are coil steel cars.” NS 7691 with two trailing units passed with coil steel cars extended as far as you could see.

Sixty-one cars deep the intermodal freight that 218 would normally carry was finally coming by.

“Strange” I thought to myself.

What was even stranger was the fact that 218 stopped east of town and set out the 61 coil steel cars in the “new yard.”

Those coil cars are heading to Pro-Tec Steel in Leipsic via NS local L70 as we’ll see later.

About a half hour passed with no action. The next train at 9:29 a.m. was a CSX northbound loaded coal train. The symbol sounded like U506.

It was making track speed through the interlockings and coal dust was flying off the cars as each set of wheels pounded the diamonds. The U506 was heading to the Toledo Docks where the coal will be loaded into a lake freighter.

Next up was NS local L70. They were heading to the steel plant in Leipsic with a cut of 46 coil steel cars. For power they had NS 3067 and NS 6338.

The cars that 218 set out will most likely go to Leipsic on Monday’s L70. There must have been a shortage of cars for the plant if they used a hot intermodel train to get them to Fostoria.         

Just after 10:30 a.m. a CSX eastbound turned north on the C&O. It had CSX 771 up front with three other units trailing.

This was a mixed freight. I have no idea what the symbol was; couldn’t understand a word they were saying on the radio.

Twenty minutes later, we had the first sighting of a DPU. CSX Q203 had CSX 3286 up front and CSX763 about a third of the way back on a long train of auto racks. They went from south to west.

At 11:24 a.m. NS got back into the act with the passing of westbound intermodel 217.  He had a bit of a saga trying to get through town. The detector east of town at MP 275.4 reported hot wheel, axle 26 on the fireman’s side.

The CSX dispatcher had them lined across the diamonds, but they stopped before accepting the signal at the C&O diamond to check the hot wheel.

The CSX dispatcher wanted his railroad back to run a couple of his own trains. He gave the NS train the diamonds because they were short and moving right along. After some three-way radio conversations among the CSX dispatcher, the NS trainmaster and the 217’s crew, it was decided the 217 would proceed through town and then stop and inspect the hot wheel.

CSX indeed had trains to run. For the next hour, six CSX trains passed. Leading the way was Q166, the CP run-through. CP 8724 was leading with CP 7044 in the middle. They go straight east on the former B&O.

Right on the heels of Q166 was CSX double stack Q158. It was lead by CSX 63 and one additional unit.

Southbound empty hopper train U501 went south a few minutes after Q158 cleared.

Next up was CSX westbound doubles tack Q157. It had CSX 3011 up front with CSX 3067 splitting the double stacks from a cut of auto racks.

One of the hottest trains on the railroad, CSX Q010 was next, heading east on the B&O at 12:16 p.m. He had CSX 817 and one additional unit up front with CSX 3223 in the middle.

CSX Q150 ended the flurry as it went from east to north. Its destination is Detroit.  It was lead by CSX 423 and one additional unit.

While the CSX flurry was going on NS had a train that had worked in the yard for a while and was ready to head west. The 13Q had called their dispatcher and wanted an update as to when they were going to be moving west.

“CSX says he’ll take you as soon as a window opens up for you.”

When 13Q finally got the signal to proceed, we found out why CSX was reluctant to take the train across their diamonds. The 13Q was HUGE. Coming out the yard onto the main at restricted speed it went by for 25 minutes!

It only held up one CSX train. The Q151 was coming south and looking to go west toward North Baltimore.

As Q151 cleared the skies were darkening and rain looked imminent. I went into the restroom and then was hoping to make it back to the Jeep before the rains hit. No luck.

The skies opened up and a huge downpour was underway. Inside the restroom it sounded like someone pounding on the door. I stayed put until the rain let up a bit and I made a dash out the door to the other side of the building out of the wind and rain.

Interestingly, both CSX and NS at this time had gone quiet. It was radio silence for now.

When the rain finally let up enough that I could head to the Jeep, I decided now might be a good time for lunch. It was about 1:45 p.m. and my snacks that I brought with me can only hold you so long.

It was off to Arby’s, the closest fast food to the park. I was back in no time; no line at the drive thru at this time of the afternoon.

I ate in the car. It was still radio silence. They couldn’t be done running trains for the day, could they?

It was an hour and a half between trains. CSX Q358 finally broke the dry spell (trains not rain) at 2:44 p.m. as it passed behind CSX 5467 and one additional.

NS was next with the return of local L70 about ten minutes behind the Q358. It was only a few more minutes when a northbound CSX grain train came past on the C&O. It carried symbol G326 and was lead by CSX 384.

About 45 minutes passed before our next move. This was an ethanol train that came into town eastbound and turned south on the C&O. It was lead by a pair of CP GE’s. The leader was CP 8957.

CSX was next, as they took out the trash, sort of. Earlier in the day CSX 5329 running as local H792 tied on to some garbage cars and headed south to the garbage dump. They set out the cut that they took down and came back with 75 empties. They took the empties around the southeast wye and left them in the B&O east siding.

While they did this CSX Q169 double stacker came by westbound. CSX 9010 was today’s leader of a short train.

Q635 was approaching on Main 2 with more garbage cars to set out for the dump south of town. The H792 returned light to the yard on the C&O side to wait for Q635’s set out. They would take them south before calling it a day.

Q635 had CSX 3266 up front. It had garbage cars up front, some mixed freight in the middle and more garbage on the rear.

While they tied up the southeast connection to make their set out, CSX Q201 came around the northwest connection traveling from south to west. It had CSX 47 doing a solo.

It was now after 6 p.m. Several more cars of fans were arriving. The big news of the day was CSX Q016 had CSX 3194 on the lead.

CSX 3194 is painted up in a blue and black scheme to “Honor Our Law Enforcement.”

I wondered if it would make it before dark. It had left Chicago in late morning and they had to change crews at North Baltimore. All we could do was wait and see.

CSX Q555 was next. This is a Collinwood to Cincinnati train. It had CSX 409 and 888 up front pulling a cut of steel slabs followed by some mixed freight.

On the heels of the Q555 was coke train K182. It had CSX 354 and 562 up front.

With the diamonds clear of CSX action, the CSX dispatcher let NS have the rails for one each way. The 15Q behind NS 3618 passed at 7:06 p.m. As his last cars were disappearing around the curve on their way out of town, NS 12Q came into view with four ponies up from with NS 1142 as the leader.

My last train of the day was CSX Q370 at 7:26 p.m. This mixed freight was lead by CSX 988 and CSX 110.

I didn’t leave at this point. I stayed at the park until 8:45 p.m. hoping to catch the CSX 3194 before dark. I also was concerned about the prospects of finding something to eat this late in the day. Some restaurants have been closing earlier than usual due to the shortage of workers.

I missed the CSX 3194 by about a half hour. It went by about 9:15. I watched the play back of the action from Sunday on the Fostoria Rail Cam Monday morning before leaving for work. I also missed one westbound intermodel on CSX that passed just before the CSX 3194 came by.

Oh, well, maybe next time, when things get more back to normal.

For those keeping score with me, I totaled 30 movements in 12 and a half hours. The only foreign power leading were the CPs on Q166 and the ethanol train.

I was surprised to see as much action on the C&O south of Fostoria as I did. The last time I spent a day at Marion, my train count on the C&O was zero.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Longest Day. Where are we headed?

Article by Marty Surdyk

ARRC Sets June Meeting, Longest Day Outing in Fostoria

June 21, 2021

The Akron Railroad Club will meet this Friday at 8 p.m. at the New Horizons Christian Church in Akron.

It will be the club’s first monthly meeting since February 2020.

Club President Todd Dillion will present a digital program titled Off the Beaten Path: Railfanning in the Era of COVID.

It will feature images of U.S. Sugar railroad operations in Florida, Tampa Bay trolleys and CSX tribute locomotives 911 (Spirit of our First Responders), 1776 (Spirit of the Armed Forces) and 3194 (Spirit of Law Enforcement).

The program will focus on Todd’s travels between Ohio and Florida.

The club will be having its annual longest day event on June 27 at the Iron Triangle RailPark in Fostoria.

Club members and their guests will spend the day watching and photographing trains on CSX and Norfolk Southern mainlines that pass through Fostoria.

The park is located within the “iron triangle” of the three rail lines.

As always, the event begins when the first member arrives and ends when the last one leaves.

Another Chilly But Sunny Dave McKay Day

May 31, 2021
The first train of the day was an eastbound NS stack train.
The second train was an eastbound CSX train.
The Herbert C. Jackson with some familiar Cleveland landmarks behind it makes it way upriver on the Cuyahoga River.
The Reading heritage unit leads the 21E at Hudson.

The annual Akron Railroad Club Dave Mckay Day at Berea was chilly but had sunny skies all day. 

Four members attended including Bill Kubas, Paul Woodring, Dave Kachinko and myelf.

I counted 21 trains during the time I was there which was 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  It was a fair mix of NS and CSX traffic although NS had a few more trains.

No heritage units went by although NS 4001, one of the Blues Brothers, trailed on the 12Q.

The Reading heritage unit did lead westbound 21E but that didn’t show up until after 8 p.m.

After leaving at 3 p.m., I went downtown to do some boat chasing. The Herbert C Jackson was heading upriver and I caught it several times. 

I also ran into Roger Durfee during this chase so that made five ARRC members out today.

After that I went to Hudson and caught three more trains including the aforementioned 21E with the Reading heritage.  That brought the day’s total to 24 trains and one lake boat.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

ARRC Shifts McKay Day Event to Sunday

May 28, 2021

With rain likely on Saturday, the Akron Railroad Club has chosen to move its annual Dave McKay Day outing in Berea to Sunday.

ARRC President Todd Dillion noted that the forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

Attendees are asked to park at the far west end of the Berea Depot Bar and Restaurant parking lot at 30 Depot Street just west of Front Street.

As always the event begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last one leaves. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

McKay Day is held in memory of the late David McKay, who served as ARRC president 1993-2004.

ARRC Plans to Resume Meeting in June

May 21, 2021

The Akron Railroad Club plans to resume meeting in June with a program by club president Todd Dillon.

However, the announcement noted that plans to meet on June 25 are tentative because the New Horizons Christian Church, where the club meets, has not yet officially said the club could resume meeting there.

If the meeting is cancelled, an email notice will be sent to members.

Dillon’s digital program is titled Off the Beaten Path: Railfanning in the Era of COVID and will feature images of sugar plant railroad operations in Florida, Tampa Bay trolleys and CSX tribute locomotives 911 (Spirit of our First Responders), 1776 (Spirit of the Armed Forces) and 3194 (Spirit of Law Enforcement).

The program will focus on Todd’s travels between Ohio and Florida.

The ARRC last met in February 2020. Meetings were suspended the following month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The May meeting has been cancelled but the ARRC will hold the annual Dave McKay Day in Berea on May 29. The club also plans to travel to Fostoria on June 27 for the annual longest day outing at the Iron Triangle Rail Park.

ARRC Taking Wait and See Approach to McKay Day

April 23, 2020

The Akron Railroad Club is taking a wait and see approach on its first outing of the year, the annual Dave McKay Day in Berea.

The event is scheduled for May 2, but club officers announced this week that they will wait to see what modifications of social distancing orders are made before making a decision on holding the event as scheduled or postponing it.

The event is named after the late Dave McKay, who served as president of the ARRC for 12 years before his death in late December 2004.

The club has canceled its April meeting due to social distancing guidelines and the closure of the New Horizons Christian Church during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting had been set for April 24. The club also canceled its March meeting due to the pandemic.

Remembering J. Gary

December 27, 2019

It’s been more than a year since J. Gary Dillon passed away at age 89. He was dubbed “Mr. Akron Railroad” because no one else belong to the club as long as he did and no one else probably ever will.

He was a fixture at club meetings every month and served as vice president until his final year in the group.

J. Gary, as he liked to call himself, was the ARRC’s oldest member who regularly continued to attend meetings. He always had a welcoming greeting and a treasure trove of stories from his past.

He is shown standing next to the target signal at Morgan Run east of Coshocton, Ohio, at the junction of the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline (left) between Pittsburgh and Columbus and the original Wheeling & Lake Erie line to Zanesville, Ohio.

The occasion was an ARRC excursion that had originated in Sugarcreek on the Ohio Central and traveled to Morgan Run on Oct. 22, 2005.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Trying to Stay Dry on Vermilion Day

August 29, 2018

An eastbound coal train crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line at about 4:30 p.m. during the Akron Railroad Club outing in Vermilion. Where was a boat on the river when we needed it?

It started with rain and ended with rain. In between we managed to see some Norfolk Southern action interspersed with long periods of waiting.

And that in a nutshell summarizes the 2018 Akron Railroad Club day in Vermilion that was attended by eight members.

As we expected, most of the action was on the Chicago Line, which boasted its usual assortment of manifests, intermodals and single commodity trains.

But the iffy weather meant that few boats were plying the Vermilion River by the boat launch that was our base of operations for much of the day.

No NS heritage units came through but the 9-1-1 unit made an appearance late in the afternoon trailing in the motive power consist of a coal train.

Two ARRC members saw it from the rail platform in downtown Vermilion, but three of us missed it because we were in Huron seeking photographs of trains passing beneath the old signal bridge with its Type G signal heads that NS is about to replace.

It took a long wait before an eastbound and westbound came through Huron.

In the meantime, we heard the Toledo East dispatcher talking to trains east of us and multiple trains coming onto the Chicago Line and turning west in Sandusky from the Sandusky District.

Those of us in Huron missed the 9-1-1 unit because its train diverged from the Chicago Line west of Vermilion and went to the Cleveland District en route to Bellevue.

The Cleveland District, which is the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, was largely quiet during the day.

As I arrived in the Vermilion area I spotted an eastbound stack train east of town on the Cleveland District.

Presumably it was either the 206 or the 22K and had taken the new connection west of Vermilion that allows eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to move onto the Cleveland District.

Otherwise, the only other train on the Cleveland District was eastbound manifest freight 210, which had one locomotive on each end, something we’d never seen on this train.

One eastbound coal train came past with BNSF motive power and a few trains had former CSX units still wearing their CSX colors.

The rain stopped around mid day and gradually the clouds moved out to afford us alternating sunny skies and conditions of sun and clouds.

But as the five of us who had dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube came out of the restaurant about 9:45 p.m. light rain was falling and continued to fall throughout my drive home. Maybe that was a fitting way to end our day.

ARRC member Todd Vander Sluis (blue shirt) watches the L13 as it passes the former passenger station in Vermilion.

ARRC member Alan Nagy gets video of westbound NS stack train 25V as it races through Vermilion. It was the last train we saw before going to dinner and then calling it a day.

ARRC Vermilion Day Outing is Saturday

August 22, 2018

The early hours of the Akron Railroad Club outing to Vermilion this week will find us getting images such as this one from the 2017 outing. An eastbound Norfolk Southern train crosses the Vermilion River by the boat launch.

The Akron Railroad Club will return to Vermilion on Saturday, Aug. 25 for a day of railfanning Norfolk Southern.

Vermilion features two NS lines, the busiest of which is the Chicago Line, an ex-New York Central route. Also passing through is the former Nickel Plate Road line that is now the Cleveland District.

The Cleveland District through Vermilion traditionally has host far less railroad traffic than the Chicago Line, but traffic has risen with the completion of a new connection from the eastbound Chicago Line to the Cleveland District a couple of miles west of Vermilion.

Intermodal trains 205, 206, 22K and 23K are expected to be regular users of the connection.

The Chicago Line hosts 40 to 50 trains daily with a traffic mix of intermodal, mixed freights, tanker trains, coal trains and Amtrak.

We will begin our day at the boat launch located on West River Road between the two railroad bridges over the Vermilion River.

Being summer there should be ample boat traffic on the river to watch between trains.

An eastbound on the bridge is the prized shot for this location. Shooting a westbound these days is tough. You will need a wide-angle lens.

But don’t let that deter you from enjoying some time at the boat launch. It is an enjoyable experience.

After lunch, when the light shifts to a more westerly direction, we will move to the railfan pavilion downtown.

This spot sets up well for westbounds with the city’s water tank as a backdrop.

Eastbounds can be shot with the Vermilion station that sits just to the east of the pavilion. This is also a wide-angle shot due to some pine trees along the tracks.

Still, it is a nice place to hang out and watch trains. The crossings in town are quiet zones, so there is no horn blowing.

Train crews know that the crossing protection is working if the “X” at the top of the poles at each crossing is flashing.

Once evening arrives, those of us still there will head to Quaker Steak and Lube for dinner.

As with most ARRC activities, the event begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last one leaves. Spens a few hours or the entire day, just plan to spend Saturday in Vermilion.

To get to the boat launch go into Vermilion on Ohio Route 60. As you enter town and after crossing the single-tracked former NKP tracks, Route 60 will make a right turn at a flashing light.

About a block to the east, Route 60 will turn left but continue straight ahead on South Street to the stop sign at West River Road.

The entrance to the boat launch is a little left of straight across from that intersection. Park at the far end of the lot near the picnic table. You will have both railroad bridges over the Vermilion River in sight.

The Railfan pavilion, known as Vermilion Mainline Rail, is on Route 60 where it crosses the NS Chicago Line at the north end of Victory Park.

From the boat launch, go back west on South Street to Route 60 north at Main Street and make a right. The pavilion is on the right just before crossing the tracks.