Posts Tagged ‘Akron Railroads’

Sanders to be at Buckeye Book Fair on Saturday

November 1, 2017

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders will be appearing at the 30th Buckeye Book Fair to be held this Saturday (Nov. 4) at Fisher Auditorium in Wooster, Ohio.

Sanders will be among the 100 authors who will be signing their books and speaking about their work. He will have copies of his most recent book, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, as well as Akron Railroads (2016), Cleveland Mainline Railroads, Canton Area Railroads, and Akron Railroads (2007)

The event opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. Admission is $2.

Four author presentations have been planned for the auditorium. Between 11 a.m. and noon, Jeffrey Ebbeler will conduct a draw-along.

Between noon and 1 p.m., author Mary Kay Carson will discuss her book Mission to Pluto. James Willis will talk about Central Ohio Legends & Lore between 1 and 2 p.m., while Ian Adams will discuss his book Ohio in Photographs between 2 and 3 p.m.

More information is available from

Sanders to Discuss Book on WAKR

November 15, 2016

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders will discuss his new book on WAKR-AM in Akron on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Sanders, who is the author of Akron Railroads, will appear on  the Ray Horner Morning Show at 8:15 a.m. The station can be found at AM 1590.

Akron Railroads was released on Oct. 31 by Arcadia Publishing and focuses on the history of railroads that served Akron between 1960 to the present.

Akron Railroads is Released Today

October 31, 2016

Today is one of those landmark days in my life that I probably won’t remember, but it is important. My seventh published book, Akron Railroads, is being released today by Arcadia Publishing.

It is the second book of the same title that I’ve published with Arcadia and the identical names aside, they do not have quite the same focus.

book-coverMy first Akron Railroads, published in 2007, focused more on the overall history of railroads serving Akron, Ohio, thus having a broader focus in time. It was part of Arcadia’s Images of Rail series and featured black and white photographs.

The second Akron Railroads has a narrower focus of 1960 to present. Nearly all of the images in that book are in color.

I was able to receive an advance copy of the book about a month ago and was pleased with how it turned out. The quality of the printing is good and it has a glossy cover.

All of the photographs in this edition of Akron Railroads, were contributed by members of the Akron Railroad Club. Some of those members had contributed photographs that appeared in the first edition of Akron Railroads.

Here is the summary of the content of the second edition of Akron Railroads that I wrote that appears on the back cover:

“In the six decades preceding 1960, Akron’s network of railroads had been relatively stable. Then a series of mergers began that year, changing the face of the city’s railroad network. By the early 1970s, the industrial base-particularly the rubber industry-that had sustained the region’s economy was in decline, and the fortunes of the railroad industry fell with it.

“The self-described “rubber capital of the world” was hit hard, and the production of tires for the automotive industry all but disappeared. The 1960s also saw a precipitous decline in rail passenger service, with the last passenger trains discontinued in 1971. A restructuring of the railroad industry that began in the mid-1970s left the Akron region with three railroad companies. Some railroad lines were abandoned, while others saw the scope of their operations changed or reduced. Today’s rail network in Akron may be slimmer, but the railroads are financially healthy and continue to play a major role in meeting the region’s transportation needs.

The book retails for $22.95 and is available from

‘Akron Railroads’ to be Released on Oct. 31

September 22, 2016


A Halloween release date (Oct. 31, 2016) has been set for Akron Railroad, the book written by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders that describes the history of the railroads of Akron between 1960 and the present.

The book is being published by Arcadia Publishing as part of its Images of Modern America series.

Nearly all of the images in the book are in color and were contributed by ARRC members.

The cover image shows a meet in Peninsula between Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotive No. 765 and a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train with CVSR No. 800, the Baltimore & Ohio tribute locomotive.

The book has 96 pages and 171 photographs, including the cover image and four smaller photographs on the back cover.

The book is organized by historical eras. One chapter is devoted to the CVSR.

Among the railroads portrayed in Akron Railroads are the B&O; Pennsylvania; Erie; Erie Lackawanna; Akron, Canton & Youngstown; Akron Barberton Belt; Norfolk & Western; Penn Central; Conrail; Wheeling & Lake Erie; Norfolk Southern; CSX; Amtrak; Akron Barberton Cluster Railway; and a few industrial operations in Akron.

ARRC members who contributed photographs to the book include Roger Durfee, Paul Woording, Marty Surdyk, Jim Mastromatteo, Richard Antibus, Peter Bowler, Edward Ribinskas, Robert Farkas and John Beach. Some photographs are included that were made by the late William Surdyk.

The retail price of the book is $22.95. Ordering information is available at the Arcadia website at

The book is intended to complement the book Akron Railroads that was published by Arcadia in 2007 and also written by Sanders.

The first Akron Railroads was focused on the history of the development of the railroads of Akron and the immediate surrounding areas.

All of the images in that 197-page book, which was part of Arcadia’s Images of Rail series, were printed in black and white.

There is some overlap between the two books in terms of coverage of modern railroad operations.

In choosing photographs for the second Akron Railroads title, Sanders said that he sought to portray the diversity of motive power liveries and models used by railroads between 1960 and the present. He also strove to provide a diversity of locations to show railroad operations.

The book opens with a few images from the 1950s to establish the transition between steam and diesel motive power. These include images of B&O steam locomotives made by William Surdyk.

A preview of Akron Railroads is available at the website of Google books and can be reached through the link provided below. id=O4XiDAAAQBAJ&dq=akron+railroads&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Sanders Gives Presentation to Akron Group

June 25, 2014

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders on Tuesday gave a presentation on the history of railroads in Akron to the Akron Woman’s City Club. The presentation included a selection of photographs, many of which appeared in Sanders’ book Akron Railroads.

It was the second time that he has spoken to the group. Sanders also addressed the group in September 2007 shortly after Akron Railroads was published.

Akron Union Depot Still Looked Like a Station

January 7, 2014


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

Remembering the PRR’s Akron Yard

August 22, 2013


Do you remember when Akron had a PRR yard beside Firestone Tire and Rubber Company? Do you remember when the Pennsylvania Railroad leased Bangor and Aroostoock geeps to work in Akron Yard? It is December 1966, and here is BAR 68 at the PRR engine facility beside Firestone. A PRR Baldwin switcher is located in the background clutter. Today there is a stone company on this location.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

A Matter of Decades, a Matter of a Week

March 4, 2012

One of the last trackside remnants of Akron Union Depot fell last week. The last platform and section of an umbrella shed that stood between the main tracks of the CSX New Castle Subdivision were removed as part of a project to increase clearances through downtown Akron. CSX is undertaking a multi-million dollar project to increase clearances on the former Baltimore & Ohio route in Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland to enable double stack intermodal trains to travel the route.

In some instances, new bridges are being built. In downtown Akron, the tracks will be undercut to lower then. This is necessary to provide additional clearance beneath what was once the concourse of the Union Depot. The former concourse is now a walkway connecting the former Union Depot with another building that are both used by the University of Akron.

Roger Durfee went down to the Union Depot site on Saturday afternoon to record the progress — if that is the right word — of the platform and umbrella shed removal work. The shed was long gone and much of the platform had been ripped out.

Later that day, Roger dipped into his considerable slide collection and found a series of historic photos to complement his most recent images.

The top photo shows C&O SD35 No. 7428 westbound in December 1975. All tracks are still in, even the stub track for a setout sleeper. The bottom photo shows the same view today.

Here is a Penn Central Motor Yard (Macedonia) to Akron local in September 1975. It’s on the 103 track, which is the siding into the ex PRR South Akron yards. In the Same view today, the 103 track is long gone.

An eastbound Erie Lackawanna eastbound starts up after a pause at JO interlocking in January 1976. In the same view today, the EL tracks are all gone.

During Conrail’s first week in April 1976 a trio of Lehigh Valley U23Bs are on the point of OM-8 as it passes through downtown Akron. In the same view today, the old passenger platform is being removed so the track can be undercut to increase the clearances through downtown Akron.

Now for a difference of days. CSX westbound Q137 passes workers setting up to remove the platform and umbrella shed at the old Akron Union Depot on Feb. 24, 2012. Eight days  later the platform is mostly gone and the shed is history as CSX K311 passes by.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

Bob Farkas Featured in Beacon Journal Article

June 5, 2009
Bob Farkas has long documented the railroad scene in the Akron area. Shown is a photograph he took in April 1971 of Reading Company 4-8-4 Northern Type No. 2102 pulling an excursion train across the trestle in downtown Akron on the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown. Farkas is retiring as a middle school teacher at the end of the current school year.

Bob Farkas has long documented the railroad scene in the Akron area. Shown is a photograph he took in April 1971 of Reading Company 4-8-4 Northern Type No. 2102 pulling an excursion train across the trestle in downtown Akron on the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown. Farkas is retiring as a middle school teacher at the end of the current school year.

Long time Akron Railroad Club member Bob Farkas is putting away his chalk and eraser and ending a teaching career that spanned 41 years. Farkas, 62, will retire at the end of the current school year. His thoughts about teaching and his career were featured in an article published in the Akron Beacon Journal.

The article also recounted some of his adventures in teaching including the time in the 1970s when his students tried to telephone the moon during the last Apollo lunar mission in order to wish the astronauts a safe journey home.

Farkas is currently teaching language arts at Manchester Middle School and described his teaching style as “old school.” His principal, Jim Miller, told the Beacon Journal that Farkas “. . . has a quiet, unique approach to teaching. ‘He is not a yeller. He’s a very caring, compassionate individual.”

Bob Eckert, another teacher at the middle school, had Farkas as a teacher 40 years ago. “I remember him always being positive and having kind words to say about students, no matter who they were, and that’s not always easy to do,” Eckert told the Beacon Journal. “It’s so easy to be negative.”

Farkas told the newspaper that he knows not everyone is an “A” student, but he tries to find ways to inspire all of his students. He gets excited when students light up — that’s when he knows they get it.

“Teaching doesn’t have to be dull,” he said. “The students just have to learn. It’s my job to find ways to reach them.”

Farkas attended Manchester schools from the third grade through 12th grade, graduating in 1964 as part of the first class to go through all four years at the community’s then new high school.

To ARRC members, Farkas is known for his railroad photography. Since the 1960s, Farkas has been out capturing railroad scenes, including many that has long since vanished from the landscape. He has periodically displayed his work during programs at ARRC meetings and on members’ nights.

When presenting his photographs of railroads that have disappeared, Farkas is known for saying, “but it will always be there, right?” It is his way of reminding photographers to never take for granted whatever the railroads are operating at moment because railroading is always changing and what might seem mundane today won’t always be here.

To the Beacon Journal article on Farkas, click on this link:

Club Needs to do More to Record its Members, Outings

May 27, 2009

The Akron Railroad Club will mark its 75th anniversary in 2011. ARRC President Craig Sanders thinks it would be nice to do a program featuring images of club members and outings. Goodness knows there have been many. Like any organization, the ARRC has had its share of characters and stories about guys whose reputations have grown to legendary proportions.

Aside from stories passed down from generation to generation, the only other record that these guys ever existed and what they did for the ARRC are in photographs. Yet there seem to be few of these in existence.

Just recently, a few members were talking about how no one seems to have a good photograph of the late David McKay, who served as ARRC president for 12 years before stepping down in December 2004. Dave died that same month so we can’t photograph him now.

In his latest column in “President’s Corner,” Sanders writes that club members could and must do a better job of recording each other during our meetings, outings and banquets. It is too late to go back and make images of past members who aren’t here anymore. Nor can we recreate past events.

We can and must do a better job of documenting through photographs our present members and activities. It is going to take a presence of mind to do this that we don’t now seem to have.

We also can scour our collections for photographs taken of members during club outings. I ran across some of these images while doing Akron Railroads, yet I sense that there is more out there then I was able to turn up. It is going to take some work, but surely members must have taken a photograph here and there of club members during an event.

As these photographs begin to turn up, we can start putting them into a collection to be used to present a history of the members of the ARRC over the past seven decades when we light 75 candles in another two years. It should be a fun night as we tell stories about each other and the good times we’ve had along the way.