Posts Tagged ‘Akron Railroad Club picnic’

Wonderful Day for a Picnic and Steam

September 18, 2017

The photo line is out as Nickel Plate Road No. 765 passes the Valley Picnic Area en route back to Akron with the first excursion of the day.

It was a perfect day for a picnic. Under sunny skies with temperatures in the upper 70s, 17 Akron Railroad Club members and guests descended on the Valley Picnic Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to watch Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 pass by four times as it carried excursionists out of Akron on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The Berkshire locomotive built in Lima, Ohio, performed flawlessly and cameras were out to record its passage.

At least one ARRC member, Vice President Emeritus J. Gary Dillon, was aboard the train, riding in car 165 on the afternoon trip with his niece Lisa.

As always, Chef Martè fired up the grill and served up hamburgers and hot dogs.

It was the second time the ARRC has held a September picnic in the CVNP in conjunction with a visit by the 765.

Last year we also held a picnic at the same location when the 765 was operating as the 767. Attendance at that picnic was 27 and may have been boosted by the novelty factor of NKP 765 operating with a different number.

We observed that there didn’t seem to be quite as many photographers out chasing the 765 as there had been last year or in some previous years.

To be sure, there were still a lot of people in the park with cameras. But the posse chasing 765 along Riverview Road as the steam train passed by wasn’t as long as in previous years and we didn’t recognize anyone we knew.

However, the steam trains appeared to be well patronized and as in past years the premium seats in the open window and dome cars were sold out.

Between runs of the steam train we also observed the passage of the regular CVSR train, the National Park Scenic, three times.

It had FPA-4 No. 6771 on the north end and Alco C424 No. 4241 on the south end. Most of the CVSR’s feature cars were on the steam train so the Scenic had an abbreviated consist that included a caboose.

For the record the steam train had RS18u No. 1822 on its north end.

If you missed the 765 this past weekend, it will be pulling another slate of trips on Sept. 23 out of Rockside Road station and on Sept. 24 out of Akron.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society is paying tribute to the late Jerry Joe Jacobson, a lifetime ARRC member, by placing his name beneath the cab widows on both sides of the 765 above the number.

Jacobson, who died on Sept. 13, was the developer of the Age of Steam Roundhouse as well as a friend of the steam locomotive preservation community.

The chef has another round of burgers on the grill while hungry members go through the serving table.

When two old railroaders get together they are going to talk a little shop. Paul Woodring (left) and Bob Rohal try to solve the problems of the industry while agreeing it’s not what it used to be.

The engineer of NKP 765 gives us some whistle as the train passes the ARRC picnic. The locomotive paid tribute to Jerry Jacobson on the cab.

A few ARRC members can be seen at right photographing the northbound excursion in mid afternoon.

The sunlight was still barely over the tree line as the last excursion of the day headed for Akron along Riverview Road.


34 Enjoy ARRC Picnic at Warwick Park

August 1, 2017

Chef Martè places the first burgers on the grill.

Thirty-four Akron Railroad Club members and guests munched on picnic food Sunday at Warwick Park in Clinton while watching CSX trains on the adjacent New Castle Subdivision.

A few brave souls risked getting a food-borne illness by eating the unrefrigerated potato salad that someone brought.

In the approximately 12 hours that at least one club member was at the park, CSX sent 12 trains through town.

That was more than the record low of nine but far short of the record high of 21. But it’s the CSX New Castle Sub and long lulls are synonymous with that route.

The train count included two sightings of local D750 which left the yard for Akron at 2:40 p.m. and returned at 6:45 p.m. The crew had gone to work in late morning switching cars in the Warwick yard.

The train count also included two eastbound empty coal trains, two westbound auto rack trains, two westbound intermodal trains, a westbound coke train, an eastbound steel train and one manifest freight in each direction.

Aside from a Norfolk Southern unit trailing in the motive power consist of the Q352, we didn’t see any foreign power.

The highlight or lowlight of the day, depending on your perspective was the Q299 going into emergency a short distance east of Warwick.

That tied up the mainline for a good hour. The culprit was a broken air hose six cars from the rear of a very long empty auto rack train.

A trainmaster came out to check on the stalled train and the IO dispatcher informed the crew that three departments, mechanical, engineering and transportation, were interested in the incident.

At one point the trainmaster asked the conductor over the radio if the engineer had done any damage to “my train.”

No, the conductor said in response. It was just a separated air hose. Still, there was something threatening in the tone of voice of the trainmaster.

As the conductor was walking back to the head end, he encountered a skunk and asked his engineer for advice. The response was that if riled up a skunk will spray you.

Back at the park, master grill chef Martè fired up the grill around noon. Don Woods received the first burger. As in the past there were a variety of chips, salads and desserts.

The weather was as good as it’s ever been for an ARRC picnic and quite a contrast with last year when a thunderstorm rolled through as we were getting ready to eat.

The picnic wrapped up with a game of H-O-R-S-E on the basketball court involving Marty, Richard Antibus and Paul Havasi.

Marty won the game, but none of the three contestants will ever be confused with a more famous Akron basketball player, a guy by the name of James.

By the time the game mercifully ended the players had put up enough bricks to earn a union card and start a second career and enough air balls to leave a crowd horse from chanting “air ball, air ball, air ball” had this been an actual game.

But it was great fun, which is what the annual picnic is all about.

James Leasure (left) scoops up, gasp, potato salad as Dave Shepherd dresses his burger at the condiments table. In the background Bill Kubas ponders the offerings.

Rich Antibus (center) explains to chef Martè and Jim Mastromatteo how many CSX trains we can expect to see once the late afternoon flurry gets underway on the New Castle Sub.

The photo line is in place in the shade of a large tree to photograph D750 as it heads to Akron.

Ron McElrath (left) and Tom Kendra made video of CSX manifest freight Q352.

ARRC Picnic Will be July 30 at Warwick Park

July 26, 2017

The Akron Railroad Club will again visit Warwick Park in Clinton for its annual picnic, which this year is Sunday July 30.

The club will provide hamburgers and hot dogs and the popular condiments. Members are asked to bring their own beverages, snacks, beans, and desserts.

Just remember, we will be outdoors without any refrigeration, so plan your dishes accordingly.

Manning the grill as always will be Master Grill Chef Martè.

In addition to the food and fellowship, we will be right next to the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

They may cooperate and run some trains. Our record for rail traffic at a picnic in Warwick is 21 moves. Our lowest total is nine.

The picnic will be held rain or shine. We do have cover, although in a heavy downpour with a lot of wind, there may not be enough cover.

Come for an hour, come for the day; just make sure you come to Warwick Park for the ARRC picnic.

Burgers, Dogs and Steam in the Valley

September 26, 2016
The photo line is in place as Nickel Plate Road No. 767 tails on the afternoon trip from Akron.

The photo line is in place as Nickel Plate Road No. 767 trails on the afternoon trip from Akron.

Twenty-seven Akron Railroad Club members and guests ate hamburgers and hot dogs on Sunday afternoon while watching the passage of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 767.

The Ohio-built Berkshire-type locomotive pulled its final schedule of trips to wrap up a two-week stay on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The ARRC held a picnic at the Valley Picnic Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park south of Peninsula and those who were there for the full four to five hours of the picnic got to see the 767 pass by three times. They also saw the CVSR Scenic train roll past an equal number of times.

It was the club’s first autumn picnic and the weather could not have been any better. There were sunny skies with temperatures in the 70s and low humidity.

We were prompted in part to hold the picnic as a way to eat down leftover inventory from the July picnic and as a way to celebrate the visit of the steam locomotive.

No. 767 is actually NKP 765, which has visited the CVSR in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The 767 number was attached to the locomotive earlier this summer when it was the feature attraction at an event at its New Haven, Indiana, home to publicize the proposed Headwaters Junction rail-themed park that will be built in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

In the 1950s, NKP 767 participated in a ceremony to mark the completion of the elevation of the Nickel Plate tracks through downtown Fort Wayne.

The city asked the railroad to donate the 767 for display in Lawton Park, but the railroad sent No. 765 instead, albeit with its numbers changed to 767.

When the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society restored the locomotive to operating condition in the late 1970s, it reinstated the 765 number.

The CVSR excursions if this month were the first to feature NKP 765 running as NKP 767.

The weekend excursions were reported to have been sold out and fans came from far and wide to see the 765 operate as 767.

ARRC member Paul Woodring reported that he spoke with two railfans from Denmark who were making their fifth railfanning trip to the United States.

Such was the attraction of seeing a mainline steam locomotive show what it could do.

If Nickel Plate Road 765 comes back to the CVSR in 2017 will we have another picnic? We just might no matter what roster number the 2-8-4 operates with.

Lining up at the serving table to dress the burgers and pick up a few other food items.

Lining up at the serving table to dress the burgers and pick up a few other food items.

Larry Luther (left) and Jeff Troutman (right) check out the images that Ed Ribinskas made of the Nickel Plate Road 767 earlier in the day.

Larry Luther (left) and Jeff Troutman (right) check out the images that Ed Ribinskas made of the Nickel Plate Road 767 earlier in the day.

Chef Marte, a.k.a. Marty Surdyk works his magic with the grill.

Chef Marte, a.k.a. Marty Surdyk works his magic with the grill.

Don Woods also made a photograph or two of the picnic bunch.

Don Woods also made a photograph or two of the picnic bunch.

Paul Wooding (left) and Steve Heister compare notes about railroads.

Paul Wooding (left) and Steve Heister compare notes about railroads.

Some of those at the picnic posed for a group photograph. They are (from left) Denny Tharp, Paul Tait, Tom Goughnour, Todd Dillon, Todd Vander Sluis, Ed Ribinskas (kneeling), Jeff Troutman, Marty Surdyk, Craig Sanders, Rick Houck Roger Durfee, Paul Woodring and Steve Heister. (Photograph by Larry Luther)

Where Did You Say the ARRC Picnic on Sunday is Going to be Held? We’re Glad That You Asked

September 20, 2016

OK, this is going to be embarrassing, but we’ve been giving out inaccurate information about the site of the Sunday, Sept. 25 Akron Railroad Club picnic in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

ARRC logoWe’re having the event to watch Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, which is operating this month as NKP 767 on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The problem is that although we’ve describing the correct location of the picnic site, we’ve been giving out the wrong name.

The name was incorrect on the ARRC blog when the picnic was announced and it is incorrect in the September 2016 issue of the Bulletin that club members will receive in the mail this week.

The Bulletin and the blog have incorrectly identified the site as the Columbia Run picnic area. There is such a place, but it is located north of Boston Mill.

The site where the picnic is actually going to be held is the Valley Picnic Area, which is located along Riverview Road south of Peninsula but north of the diagonal crossing of the CVSR tracks with Riverview.

The name has been corrected in all references to the picnic now on the ARRC blog.

The Valley Picnic area is located on the west side of Riverview Road. There is a sign marking the location.

Picnic hours are still noon to 3 p.m. If you get there around 11:30 a.m., you will be able to see the NKP 767 and its train passing by southbound on the return to Akron Northside station with the morning excursion trip.

The next passage of the NKP 767 will be around 1:40 p.m. when it heads northbound with the afternoon trip that is due out of Akron at 1 p.m. That trip will return southbound shortly after 3:35 p.m.

This picnic will be a shorter and less involved version of the traditional July picnic. We had a surplus of hot dogs and hamburgers left over from that picnic and Marty intends to clear out his freezer by firing up the grill.

The club will furnish buns and condiments, but members are asked to bring snacks, side dishes and desert items.

Be forewarned that parking at the picnic site is limited. If a horde of people show up at once, you might have a tough time finding a place to park your vehicle.

ARRC to Have Picnic to Fete NKP 767

September 12, 2016

Nickel Plate Road No. 767, a.k.a. NKP 765, is coming to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad this week for a two week stay and the ARRC will have a picnic as part of the activities.

ARRC logoWeather permitting, the picnic will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Valley picnic area along Riverview Road south of Peninsula in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This site is on the west side of the road and north of the diagonal crossing of the CVSR tracks with Riverview Road.

You’ll be able to munch on hot dogs and hamburgers expertly prepared by Chef Marte and watch and photograph the 767 and its train as it passes by on the nearby CVSR tracks.

We had a large inventory of burgers and hot dogs left over from our summer picnic so this a way to do a two-for-one.

The club will furnish buns for the hot dogs and hamburgers, but will not have any other side dishes or snacks. Attendees are encouraged to bring those.

Keep in mind that the hours for this picnic are limited. It is primarily intended to provide lunch or a snack.

This message has been corrected to provide the correct name of the picnic site.

Steamy Sunday at ARRC Summer Picnic

July 27, 2015
It wasn't the Nickel Plate Road 765, which was also running in Northeast Ohio, but a working steam locomotive made the rounds during the Akron Railroad Club picnic on Sunday at the Northeast Ohio Live Steamers club near Lester. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

It wasn’t the Nickel Plate Road 765, which was also running in Northeast Ohio on Sunday, but a working steam locomotive made the rounds during the Akron Railroad Club picnic held at the Northeast Ohio Live Steamers club near Lester, Ohio. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

On a steamy day that felt like real summer, approximately 25 Akron Railroad Club members, their families and guests enjoyed the club’s annual summer picnic, held on Sunday (July 26) at the Northeast Ohio Live Steamers park near Lester.

One member of the NEOLS group had a working steam locomotive that pulled picnic attendees around the various loops of track that offer a little over a mile of a ride through forests and prairies.

Between rides, picnic goers munched on hamburgers and hot dogs expertly prepared by grillmaster Chef Marte, a.k.a. as ARRC Bulletin editor Marty Surdyk. There was plenty of food to go around and then some.

It was a hot, humid day and a brief rainshower fell early in the afternoon. That sent everyone seeking cover in the main station of the NEOLS facility.

It was the ARRC’s first picnic at the NEOLS facility, which is on land owned by the Medina County parks system.

ARRC member Greg Warren is also a member of NEOLS and acted as the liaison between the two groups in arranging the event.

ARRC member Paul Woodring had suggested holding the picnic at NEOLS because he thought it would be a similar experience to an ARRC picnic held years ago at the now defunct Trolleyville.

Aside from steam power, trains on Sunday were pulled by replica diesel locomotives. Some members went on multiple rides around the NEOLS network, which included diamonds, passing sidings, staging yards and intermediate stations.

The CL&W Subdivision of  CSX abuts the NEOLS facility on the western edge, but CSX did not send a train past during the picnic.

There were at least two derailments during the day. One occurred when the engineer forgot to remove a chock block from in front of the locomotive. The other involved the steam train and was caused by a faulty switch.

In both cases, crews members lifted the derailed equipment off the ground and set it back on the rails. No need to call in Hulcher.

It was an enjoyable afternoon at a venue that the club had not visited in some time.

ARRC Annual Picnic is This Sunday at NEOLS

July 22, 2015

It’s getting to be late July and that means it is time for another Akron Railroad Club picnic. This year’s event will be held on Sunday, July 26 at the Northeast Ohio Live Steamers facility in Lester.

It will be the first time that the club has had an event there.

The picnic begins at noon and runs through 5 p.m. However, the grill will only be in operation between noon and 3:30 p.m.

As always, Chef Marte will be serving up hamburger and hot dogs provided by the club. The club will also provide buns and condiments. Members should bring non-alcoholic beverages, snacks and desserts.

The NEOLS facility features a 7.5-inch gauge layout with trains that can be ridden. Train rides will be available throughout the day.

The facility is located at 3654 Lester Road just north of Ohio Route 18. It is adjacent to the CL&W Subdivision of CSX, although traffic on that branch tends to be sparse.

If the weather is dry, picnic participants can park in the grass near the picnic tables in an area known as the grove. If the weather has been wet, then members should park in the lot on the left upon entering the grounds.

ARRC Picnic Attendees Dodged Severe Weather

July 28, 2014
Chef Marte places the first burger on the grill at the Akron Railroad Club picnic on Sunday at Warwick Park. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

Chef Marte places the first burger on the grill at the Akron Railroad Club picnic on Sunday at Warwick Park. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

Thirty-three Akron Railroad Club members and guests managed to dodge the worst of the severe thunderstorms that rolled through Ohio on Sunday. Some light rain fell on Warwick Park in Clinton and we heard thunder in the distance.

But it never stormed at the picnic site and even as weather radar showed heavy rain and storms passing north of us in the Cleveland area and to the south through the Columbus region.

Of course there was plenty of conversation about railroad activities past and present. A popular topic of conversation was the fate of the former Baltimore & Ohio branch between Warwick and Massillon.

The branch is owned by R.J. Corman and is also used by the Ohio Central. Both railroads interchange traffic with CSX in Warwick.

But news has filtered out that the OC has shifted its interchange with CSX to Columbus and that the Corman plans to convey freight to CSX via the Wheeling & Lake Erie. That suggests that the branch’s days are numbered.

At past picnics, we could count on seeing an OC train come to Warwick and work the yard before returning to Coshocton. But that train no longer operates and if the OC comes to Warwick it does so at night. Corman rarely operates to Warwick on Sunday and they didn’t on this day, either.

There was also talk about what Warwick looked like “back in the day” when the Pennsylvania and B&O operated through here and there were far  more tracks.

A guest from Barberton swung by hoping that someone in the club could show him how to program his brand new Uniden scanner. But none of us could figure it out. ARRC member Dave Mangold had the same model of scanner, but he paid someone to program it for him.

Dave also announced his grand plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary in 2018 of the formation of the Penn Central. Dave wants to create a music and images program worthy of being shown at Summerail. He even hinted that he would spend some time assembling this program and it won’t be slapped together at the last minute.

But Dave’s most ambitious plan is to write a screenplay for a full-length feature film about the Penn Central. He’s also already decided that Stuart Saunders will be the villain and Alfred Pearlman will be the good guy. Both men were PC executives with Saunders having come from the Pennsylvania Railroad and Pearlman from the New York Central.

Dave took his first step toward getting this movie off the ground by buying three books describing how to write a screenplay. It was only appropriate that he acquired those books from Borders just before the national bookstore chain went out of business after going bankrupt. The Penn Central, after all, also went bankrupt.

CSX put 15 trains past the park during the time when at least one ARRC member was present. The traffic was a good mix of manifest, intermodal, auto racks and bulk commodities. Six of the trains boasted foreign power on the lead with BNSF motive power heading four trains.

Members Bob Rohal and Craig Sanders were the first to arrive at 8:22 a.m. They were joined shortly thereafter by Rick Houck. The early birds were rewarded with three trains in short succession in a 22-minute span.

Chef Marte fired up the grill the placed the first burger on it at 12:42 p.m. Aside from burgers, he also served up tube steaks (a.k.a. hotdogs) throughout the afternoon. There was also other standard picnic food, including cole slaw, a vegetable tray, potato salad, chips, a bag of grapes, brownies and pies. If anyone went away hungry, it wasn’t for lack of food.

CSX had been quite busy during the morning, but went into a slumber about the time that club members devoured the first round of burgers and dogs.

The ARRC returned to Warwick Park after a two-year hiatus. The 2012 and 2013 picnics were held at the Willis Picnic area of the Bedford Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. That site is next to the busy Norfolk Southern Cleveland Line.

But a bit of NS came past during on Sunday. The eastbound Q330 had a FURX locomotive on the point that still had some of its NS markings minus the horseheads. The last train that we saw on Sunday, a westbound of auto racks, had NS 9222 in the lead.

By 6 p.m. the crowd had dwindled and those present had had their fill of picnic food. After cleaning up, the last attendees left for home at about 7:15 p.m.

Paul Woodring (right) and Bob Rohal (left) garnish their burgers with condiments.

Paul Woodring (right) and Bob Rohal (left) garnish their burgers with condiments.

Rick Houck (left) digs in as Chef Marte (right) and Dave Shepherd take a break.

Rick Houck (left) digs in as Chef Marte (right) and Dave Shepherd take a break.

Tim Krogg (left), Dennis Taksar (yellow shirt) and Alex Bruchac started eating before the first burgers rolled off the grill.

Tim Krogg (left), Dennis Taksar (yellow shirt) and Alex Bruchac started eating before the first burgers rolled off the grill.

Sometimes ya gotta catch a few winks wherever you can.

Sometimes ya gotta catch a few winks wherever you can.


The pavilion at Warwick Park where ARRC members gathered for the summer picnic (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

The pavilion at Warwick Park where ARRC members gathered for the summer picnic (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

Three picnic attendees gather at the Chippewa Street grade crossing to photograph the westbound K065. (Photograph by Todd Dillon)

Three picnic attendees gather at the Chippewa Street grade crossing to photograph the westbound K065. (Photograph by Todd Dillon)

Its Time for the ARRC Summer Picnic

July 23, 2014

The Akron Railroad Club picnic in 2014 will return to its roots as we journey to Warwick Park after a two-year hiatus. Warwick Park has hosted many ARRC picnics and this year we can hope to have the best picnic ever. This year’s picnic is Sunday, July 27.

Warwick Park is located in Clinton in the extreme southwest corner of Summit County. Warwick was the name of the community that sat adjacent to the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore & Ohio as they made their way southwest out of Akron.

One PRR route headed to Columbus via Orrville while another connected Warwick and Massillon, where it connected with the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline at the latter city.

The B&O’s mainline to Chicago intersected with the Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling at Warwick. The CL&W south of Warwick shared a track with the PRR to Massillon. From there it went its own way to Holloway along the Ohio River via Uhrichsville.

Today, the only tracks that remain are the B&O’s Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline and the CL&W track south to Massillon. This latter is owned by RJ Corman and is used as far south as Uhrichsville.

The Ohio Central Division of the Gennessee & Wyoming has trackage rights over the Corman from Beach City to Warwick. At one time the OC train to Warwick was a popular railfan chase due to its daylight schedule.

Alas, times have changed and the G&W and CSX are in the process of moving their interchange to Parsons Yard in Columbus. RJ Corman and CSX are working to make their interchange via the W&LE through Brewster.

This puts the tracks south of Warwick on the endangered species list. With no interchange being done in Warwick, there is no reason for either short line to maintain a track to there.

Even though we probably won’t see any short line action at Warwick, picnic goers can expect to see CSX action on the moderately busy New Castle Subdivision. We have seen as many as 21 CSX trains at a picnic or as few as nine. Our usual number falls somewhere in between.

Between trains, attendees can feast on the delicacies masterfully prepared by Master Grill Chef Marte`. The Club will provide the hamburgers, hot dogs, condiments and tableware.

Attendees are asked to bring a favorite snack, dessert or covered dish to share. Remember there is no refrigeration available, so plan accordingly. You should also bring along your favorite beverage, non alcoholic of course. The picnic starts at noon and goes until dusk.

There are some activities for the kids, including swings and a gym set. There also is a ball diamond and a basketball court. Some may want to take a hike on the Canal Towpath trail that skirts the south end of the park.

There is plenty to see and do at Warwick Park, so make plans to be with us. All are welcome.

To reach Warwick Park from the Akron area, take Ohio Route 21 South and watch for Clinton Road. It is a cross road and not an exit. Make a left on Clinton Road and take it until you reach the bottom of a long hill. Make right at the bottom of the hill.

Then make another right just before the road crosses the CSX tracks at the hardware store in the former grain elevator. This is Hickory Street.

Take Hickory to the first Left, Chippewa St., make a left at Chippewa and go across the CSX tracks. The Warwick Park parking lot is straight ahead. We will be under the large pavilion closest to the tracks and across the road from basketball court.