Posts Tagged ‘Akron railroad stations’

Its Nearly All Gone Now

April 28, 2020

Most of what you see in this image of an eastbound Penn Central train ambling through downtown Akron in 1968 is gone.

The Pennsylvania Railroad had just vanished into Penn Central which itself is now 44 years gone for having given way to Conrail.

Conrail ceased operations in Akron long before it was divided by Norfolk Southern and CSX.

The Erie Lackawanna passenger station, which was still in use when this image was made, is gone and a bank now sits on that site.

In the background you can see the former Erie Railroad freight house, which lasted the longest of most things in this scene.

The freight house was razed a few years ago to make way for new apartments catering to University of Akron students.

The three railroads that used these tracks in 1968 are all gone as well, including the Baltimore & Ohio.

Also gone is the B&O style color position signal just to the right of the nose of the Pennsy Alco diesel.

A portion of the boarding platform for Akron Union Depot is visible and it was removed in early 2012. If anything, it is remarkable that it lasted as long as it did given that this section of the platform never served passengers again after May 1, 1971.

There are fewer tracks at this location now. The two that exist are part of the CSX New Castle Subdivision and also used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

You can still stand in this general location and photograph trains even though the nature of this scene has changed quite a bit in the past 52 years.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

A Forgotten, But Once Common, Akron Scene

February 13, 2015

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It wasn’t until I took the negative from its glassine envelope and scanned it that I realized this was a slice of Akron’s railroad history.

Thankfully, this was taken of the whole scene and not just one train. It is most likely 1968 or 1969 and Akron still had two westbound morning passenger trains. Erie Lackawanna No. 822 with the Lake Cities is approaching the EL passenger station while Baltimore & Ohio No. 1442 sits at Akron Union Station with the Diplomat.

At the far right is a B&O switcher. Soon the EL and B&O trains would begin their westward race to Chicago. At Sterling, the EL crossed the B&O.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

Akron Union Depot Still Looked Like a Station

January 7, 2014

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Most of you know this view looking north from off the East Exchange Street bridge as it is today.

Sadly, it was very different in the late 1960s. To the left is the Erie Lackawanna passenger station access to the platform and the platform itself.

In the center is westbound Baltimore & Ohio No. 3822 and its train. To the right is an eastbound TOFC. Akron Union Depot still has a platform and access to it and there are so many other details to be seen. Thankfully, there is still this image to remind us of Akron’s past.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

University Plans to Raze Akron Union Depot

December 24, 2009

This is what the remnants of Akron Union Depot looked like in late 2009. But the days of the platform canopy and the former station building are numbered. (Photograph by Steve McMullen)

The University of Akron is planning to raze the former Akron Union Depot to make way for a new law school building. The university trustees agreed on December 16 to begin design work on the new law school facility, which is expected to cost $23.6 million.

Now known as the Buckingham Building, the former station houses the university’s Pan-African Center for Community Studies, Office of Multicultural Development, the Strive Toward Excellence Program and classrooms.

Demolition of the depot, which was dedicated on April 28, 1950, would begin in 18 to 24 months. The university must still raise the funds needed for the new building and the city of Akron must pay for a realignment of Wolf Ledges Parkway, which is also part of the law school building proposal.

The former depot has 120,000 square feet and university officials told the trustees that the building is inefficient and outdated. The station concourse used to connect to a bus station as well as contain stairways leading down to track level. The concourse now connects to UA’s West Hall and the bus station is gone.

The Buckingham Building is the last steam and streamliner era railroad station left in Akron. Two predecessor union stations were torn down shortly after the railroads ceased using them. Also gone is are two stations used by the Valley Line Railway (later the Baltimore & Ohio), two stations built by the Erie Railroad and the former Northern Ohio Railway station (later Akron, Canton & Youngstown).

Still standing is the terminal used by the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Company and the modular station used by Amtrak until it ceased serving Akron in 2005. The former is now owned by Summit County while the latter remains vacant. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad station in Akron was built on the site of the former B&O Valley Line station at Howard Street.

In a related development, Akron Railroad Club member Steve McMullen reported that CSX crews have been dismantling the remnants of signals bridges and signal stands in downtown Akron. As of Monday (December 21, 2009), only the eastbound home signal bridge for the former JO interlocking was still standing.

McMullen reported that crews are poised to remove the last platform canopy of Akron Union Depot. One platform still remains from the station and it is unclear if it, too, will be removed.

The B&O was the primary user of the third Akron Union Depot. Although the Erie used the second Union Depot, it elected to build its own station rather than use the third union depot. The Pennsylvania Railroad used the Union Depot until removing its last passenger train to Akron, the Akronite, on April 26, 1958.

B&O passenger trains continued to call at Akron Union Depot until the coming of Amtrak on May 1, 1971, when the service was discontinued. Amtrak began serving Akron on November 12, 1990. Amtrak never used the Union Depot per se, but its trains did stop at the east end of the station’s sole remaining platform, which was renovated for Amtrak use.

The former signal bridge lies on the ground on December 15, 2009. (Photograph by Steve McMullen)

It had been years since this signal bridge had working signal heads. (Photograph by Steve McMullen)

An eastbound CSX freight passes through the Exchange Street signals in 2006. The unused signal stands seen here were removed by CSX work crews in December 2009. (Photograph by Steve McMullen)