Posts Tagged ‘Akron Railroad Club’

Sanders to Present January ARRC Program

January 22, 2018

The program at the Jan. 26 meeting of the Akron Railroad Club will be a digital presentation by club President Craig Sanders titled Leave Some Things Behind.

Craig will be moving out of Northeast Ohio late this year or in early 2019 and this is likely to be his final feature-length program at an ARRC meeting.

He will show some of his favorite images of the qualities that define railroads and their operations in Northeast Ohio that he’ll miss after he moves to central Indiana. It will be part walk down memory lane, part interpretation of a place he’s called home for 25 years, and part opportunity to show some of his best and favorite images.

Many things define Northeast Ohio but chief among them is Lake Erie. It was an obstacle that railroad builders had to circumvent in the 19th century and continues to be a defining factor of railroad operations and life in this region.

Ohio’s Great Lake is fed by a number of rivers that railroads had to bridge when they weren’t following their banks.

Lake Erie also is a machine for snow and clouds and those will figure prominently in Craig’s program.

The program will be similar in focus to one that Craig gave at the October 2010 ARRC meeting titled Rummaging Around My Backyard: A Photographer’s Journey.

In that program Craig described Northeast Ohio as a transition territory between the mountains of Pennsylvania to the east and the Midwest prairies to the west. He’ll focus on that this month, too.

Some of what Craig is leaving behind is phenomenon that we’ve all had to leave behind, including Conrail, Ohio Central steam trains, excursion trains on the Wheeling & Lake Erie, and memories of events and moments that can no longer be duplicated in quite the same way.

The meeting will begin with a short business session at 8 p.m. followed by the program at approximately 8:30 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.


ARRC’s Signal Changes to Advance Approach

January 8, 2018

Last year I gave a state of the club address at the March meeting of the Akron Railroad Club in which I laid out a number of challenges facing the organization.

Nearly a year later, the club is in much the same position than it was a year ago, although a few details have changed, some in a positive way.

I titled my presentation last year “ARRC Faces an Approach Signal” A few changes since then have meant an upgrade to an advance approach. It is a more favorable indication, but uncertainty and potential adversity still lie further down the rails.

As was the case in 2017, there will be a full slate of activities in 2018 including railfan outings, picnics, monthly programs and maybe a surprise or two.

We started 2018 with a full complement of officers, which was not always the case in 2017.

As I indicated a year ago, 2018 will be my last year as president of the Akron Railroad Club. Mary Ann and I plan to move to Indianapolis late this year or in early 2019.

Last year at this time I wasn’t sure I’d be able to serve as president for all of 2018 if re-elected, but as things stand now I expect to remain in Northeast Ohio through at least October.

Marty Surdyk said last spring that when I stepped down as president he would retire as Bulletin editor, a position he has held since 1993.

It remains to be seen if Marty will carry through with that. At times he has signaled he might change his mind and delay his retirement.

He has his own life challenges to deal with and at some point those are likely to affect the contributions he makes to the ARRC, most notably his overseeing the merchandise the club sells at train shows. It is not a sure thing that anyone else will agree to take on that task.

I talked last March about the potential for a chaotic transition if numerous officers stepped down at the same time and few, if any, members volunteered to step up to replace the departing officers.

The potential for that still exists, although I can now foresee the path forward being less rocky than what I feared it might be a year ago.

If Marty retires it remains to be seen if anyone will agree to take over publishing the paper Bulletin.

Once I’m no longer president, the Akron Railroad Club blog will be taken down at I am thinking about retiring the eBulletin well in advance of the end of the year.

However, even if there is no paper Bulletin or a blog, the club will continue to have a communications mechanism that it didn’t have last year.

Vice President Todd Dillon has taken over a Facebook page operating under the Akron Railroad Club name.

Some members still prefer learning of club activities on a piece of paper they received in the mail, but the Facebook page could be used as a communications channel absent a paper Bulletin.

If Todd is agreeable to continue serving as vice president in 2019, if not as president, the club will continue to have leadership during any transition period.

Things might change under a new administration, but change is inevitable in the life of any organization. It will be a matter of degree.

I continue to believe that long term the ARRC will fade away. I can’t predict when the tipping point will come, but it is going to happen.

Our membership is almost exclusively north of 40 with much of it beyond 50. We are relatively stable at around 80 members, but that number can be expected to erode over the next few years.

Nevertheless, the club could continue to putter along with a much reduced membership provided that it has competent leadership.

We’ve taken in one new member in the past two years and the trend in interest group organizations is of falling not rising membership.

I haven’t closely reviewed our finances of late, but we seem to be holding our own for the most part. We’re going to be able to pay out bills for a good while.

Dues income still doesn’t cover basic club expenses and I don’t see that changing anytime soon absent imposing a dramatic increase in dues or making major changes to the paper Bulletin.

We’re fine so long as we supplement dues income with train show and silent auction revenue.

But we can’t count on those sources of revenue being there long term. As early as 2019, that revenue may begin going away.

Our largest expense, the Bulletin, could be addressed by ending it or charging extra for it, but that could lead to a decline in membership and some disgruntled members.

I’m looking forward to a fun slate of activities in 2018. You should be, too.

Joan Surdyk Passes Away

December 6, 2017

Joan Surdyk (nee Novakowski), the mother of Akron Railroad Club officer Marty Surdyk, died on Monday. She was 83.

Joan Surdyk

A funeral mass will be held on Thursday (Dec. 7) at St. Bridget of Kildare Parish on Hauserman Road at 10 a.m. A light lunch will be served after the mass.

Visitation will be held between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. at Zabor Funeral Home 5680 Pearl Road in Parma (between Ridge and Snow) on Thursday.

Mrs. Surdyk is survived by two other sons, Robert (Lisa), and John (Maida); three grand children, Henry (Nicole), Hilary Clark Street (Ronnie), Kelly, and Holly; and one great grandchild, Griffin.

To offer condolences visit

December ARRC eBulletin Examines Last Decade of Baltimore & Ohio Passenger Service in Akron

December 5, 2017

One Friday morning in January 1964, Baltimore & Ohio President Jervis Langdon called a young up-and-coming executive and directed him to jot down his ideas as to how to “straighten out our passenger problem.”

Paul Reistrup would create over the weekend a blueprint that would form the basis for a bootstrap campaign to bring B&O passenger operations to the point of covering its direct costs.

Reistrup’s plan got a lot of attention, but ultimately fell short. That led the B&O to engage in an orderly retreat from the intercity rail passenger business that culminated with the coming of Amtrak on May 1, 1971.

The cover story of the December 2017 issue of the Akron Railroad Club eBulletin will examine the last decade of B&O passenger service through Akron with a focus on the campaign that Reistrup designed.

To receive a copy of the electronic magazine or to subscribe (it’s free!), send an email message to

ARRC Members Go South at End of Year Dinner

December 4, 2017

Mark Demaline (left) and Marty Surdyk adjust the projector before Mark began his program at the Akron Railroad Club’s annual end of year dinner held last Saturday.

On with the show, we’re ready.

Twenty-five Akron Railroad Club members and guests took a trip down South at the annual end of year dinner held Saturday in Stow at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant.

ARRC member Mark Demaline gave a slide show titled Southern Served the South that showcased Southern Railway operations from Virginia to Florida, and Atlanta to New Orleans.

Mark’s hour-long program had something for everyone, including passenger trains, steam-powered excursion trains and workaday freight trains that ranged from hot shots to locals.

Most of the images were made in the 1970s and early 1980s when Mark worked in management positions for the Chessie System in Richmond, Virginia, and Jacksonville, Florida.

He would spend weekends traveling the territory in search of photographs. On occasion he was able to make images traveling to or from work.

Among the stars of Mark’s program was the Southern Crescent, which the Southern operated through Jan. 31, 1979, between Washington and New Orleans. The Southern did not join Amtrak when it began operations on May 1, 1971.

Amtrak took over the Crescent on Feb. 1, 1979. Amtrak had operated the Southern Crescent between Washington and New York, just as Penn Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad had done before the coming of Amtrak.

The Southern was a pioneer in mainline steam excursions and Mark caught a few of those in his program. But most of the presentation was an overview of Southern freight operations.

The end of year dinner is the final activity of 2017 for the ARRC.

ARRC End of Year Dinner is Saturday

November 27, 2017

The annual Akron Railroad Club end of the year dinner will be this Saturday (Dec. 2) at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant in Stow, 3732 Darrow Road.

Due to the small size of the banquet room, attendance is limited to 32. There are still four tickets left for the dinner.

The tickets are free and available from ARRC officer Marty Surdyk.

The restaurant is located in a shopping center at the southwest corner of Graham and Darrow Roads about a mile and a half east of Ohio Route 8.

The cocktail hour will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. We’ll order dinner off the menu between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Terms are individual settlement.

The program will be a slide show by Mark Demaline titled Southern Served the South.

The program will feature Southern Railway freight, passenger and steam excursion action between the late 1970s and late 1980s from the Washington D.C., area, through Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and Northern Florida.


ARRC Officers Re-Elected for 2018

November 20, 2017

The current slate of Akron Railroad Club officers was re-elected to another term for calendar year 2018. They were elected by unanimous consent at the November meeting held last Friday.

Marty Surdyk is the senior member of the officer corps, having served as an ARRC officer since 1985. Surdyk, the editor of the Bulletin, was president between 1985 and 1992. He has been Bulletin editor since then. He joined the ARRC in April 1984.

Craig Sanders will be serving his 14th year as president. He joined the ARRC in August 2003.

Jim Mastromatteo will begin his third year as secretary and Paul Havasi will begin his second year as treasurer. Todd Dillon will begin his first full year as vice president.

Sanders to Appear at B&N Author Event

November 15, 2017

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders will be participating in a local author exhibition on Saturday at the Barnes & Noble book store in Akron.

Sanders, whose book Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, was recently released by Fonthill Media, will be among 11 authors who will sign their books and discuss their work with B&N customers.

The authors will appear at tables on the upper level of the store located at 4015 Medina Road in the Fairlawn-Montrose area.

The B&N store has set up a Facebook page about the event:

Other authors and their books scheduled to be at the event are: Louise Richards, A Christmas Story a Day; Wes Locher, Unit 44; Anita Fox, Bobby’s Journeys…; Kristen Lepionka, The Last Place You Look; Mike & Janice Olszewski, Cleveland Radio Tales; Dave Bair, The Lasso; Carmen Williams, FitOverIt and That Too; Robert J. Roman, Ohio State Football: The Forgotten Dawn; Brendan Bowers, LeBron James vs The NBA; and Irv Korman, Antuan was Hear.

November ARRC eBulletin Examines 8-Year Life of the Last Amtrak Train to Serve Central Ohio

November 15, 2017

It has been 38 years since an Amtrak train last made a scheduled stop in Columbus or Dayton.

On paper that train, the New York/Washington-Kansas City National Limited should have been a success. It served 10 urban centers, the capitals of five states and crossed four Amtrak routes.

But trains don’t run on paper and the National Limited often led a tortured existence that it was unable to overcome when political pressures arose in the late 1980s to scale back the Amtrak network.

The cover story of the November 2017 eBulletin examines the life of Amtrak Nos. 30 and 31.

If you would like to receive a copy of this online magazine, send an email to

Due to a technical glitch, some regular subscribers to the eBulletin failed to get their October issue. If you have missed an issue in the past two months, please let ARRC President Craig Sanders know via email and your email address will be reinstated to the subscriber list.

Woods Has November ARRC Program

November 13, 2017

Don Woods will present a slide program at the Nov. 17 Akron Railroad Club meeting this Friday.

The meeting will also serve as the club’s annual meeting and officers will be elected for calendar year 2018.

Tickets will be available at the meeting for the ARRC end of year dinner to be held Dec. 2 at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant in Stow. The program at the dinner will be given by Mark Demaline and is titled Southern Served the South.

The meeting will begin with a short business session at 8 p.m. followed by the program at approximately 8:30 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.