Posts Tagged ‘Akron’

Changing Faces at Cotter Merchandise Storage

July 21, 2017

Cotter Merchandise Storage was using LTEX 1231 (Ex-Canadian National GMD SW1200RS) at its facility in Akron on July 18. Its 95 ton GE No. 9 (Ex-PPG in Barberton) was nowhere to be seen. In the top image, CMS 9 was working on June 28, 2017. In the next image LTEX 1231 was working there on July 18, 2017.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

 

Getting Lucky on a W&LE Chase

May 24, 2017

On May 7, Rich Antibus and I heard on the scanner that the Wheeling & Lake Erie train 561 crew had engine No. 200, the Ohio Bicentennial unit.

The crew indicated to the dispatcher that they had seven loads and engine No. 101, the Pittsburgh & West Virginia tribute unit, on the other end of the train.

Both engines are GP35-3s. Armed with this new information, the dispatcher gave the 101 a track warrant on the Cleveland Subdivision from Mogadore to milepost 52 at Middlebranch.

The 561 was headed down to the Essroc Cement Facility in Middlebranch to switch them out.

Rich and I first caught up with the 561 at Skelton Road in Mogadore, which is a very tight shot.

The chase was easy from here as the train is limited to 10 mph on the Cleveland Sub.

We got it again at Waterloo Road., which is old U.S. Route 224, in Suffield. A large friendly yellow dog named Brutus always comes out to see us when we photograph here.

Our next spot was Wingfoot Lake with the Goodyear Blimp in the background. The blimp was unable to fly today due to the high winds.

Next we drove behind a storage facility north of Hartville, then it was on to the Hartville Fire Station, which is located south of town.

We did an across-the-field shot in Middlebranch before the 561 reached its destination.

This move of the 561 was a bit unusual in that the 261 road train from Brewster usually switches the plant on its way to Akron. The 561 crew only comes down here on days that the 261 doesn’t run.

While the 561 crew switched the plant, we contemplated our shots for the return trip. The 101 would lead going back to Akron.

Both of us agreed we were quite lucky to find the 561 going south this day. We’d never seen anything like this before.

Having swapped out the seven loads for seven empties, the 561 was now ready to head back to Akron.

We shot it on the siding into the plant, dodging clouds to do so. From here it was back to the Hartville Fire Station, then again to the storage units north of town.

We were going to go back to Waterloo Road but thought the light might be better at Mogadore Road, so we opted to downtown Mogadore.

We barely beat the train to our favorite spot at Die-Gem Way at the east end Brittain Yard.

By now both of us were low on film. Rich did expose a few pixels today, but he still shoots some film.

This would be the only train we would see on this day, but the effort was worth it. A move that was new to us and the chance to see the W&LE serving a customer was a good day. We hope for many more to come.

Article by Jim Mastromatteo

All Aboard the Akron Soul Train

April 21, 2017

Shipping containers and small houses are going to be used to create a residential artists’ village in Akron that will be known as The Akron Soul Train.

The complex will also have tiny houses and be built near the Northside Arts District.

Funding for the project came from a $150,000 Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grant that was matched by a $50,000 Burton D. Morgan Foundation grant.

Money also is being raised through train-themed memberships, allowing members to get special deals at the village and on Akron Soul Train-branded collectibles.

“A year ago we were just announcing that we got a grant,” said Akron artist Amy Mothersbaugh, who is leading the project with Nancy Brennan. “It’s not because we’re really good at what we do. It’s because everyone seems to be excited about the vision and the possibility of this being in Akron. People feel like it’s theirs too, and that’s so cool.”

The plan is to offer artistic fellowships that help develop, promote and teach visitors about the arts through educational outreach, workshops, classes and exhibitions.

The group hopes to be able to select three artists to live at the village under varying-length fellowships.

For the time being, the fellowships can only be offered in warmer months until heat can be installed.

Akron Soul Train is working to develop collaborative programming with the city, Summit Metro Parks and the CVSR, whose Akron station is near the site of the village.

When Pennsy Had a Yard in Akron

April 7, 2017

Perhaps you will have the same feeling of disbelief as I had when I looked at these two Mike Ondecker images.

Where was this heavily industrialized area? I didn’t know, but the sign on one of the factories matched a company in Cleveland, so I labeled this as Cleveland.

Much to my surprise, several railfans said this was Akron!

It was only upon close observation that I realized this was taken from a Firestone building.

On the left where a stone company now is located was once the Pennsylvania Railroad yard in Akron.

The building on the left is part of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Erie No. 517 is most likely bringing a cut of cars back to the Erie Lackawanna McCoy Street Yard.

This Akron of the early 1960s is totally unlike today’s railroad/industrial scene, but thanks to Mike these memories come alive again.

Article by Robert Farkas, Photographs by Mike Ondecker

 

Budget Proposal Just a Starting Point

March 21, 2017

More than likely it is a waste of time to discuss the Trump administration proposal to eliminate funding for Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

A president’s budget proposal is just that, a proposal, and no president of either party sees the budget he sent to Congress come out without any substantive changes.

For that matter the House and Senate will have their own ideas about how to spend public money, including how much to allot to the national rail passenger carrier.

Amtrak has been down this road before, many times in fact. Past administrations have proposed zeroing out Amtrak funding only to see Congress time and again appropriate just enough to keep Amtrak’s skeletal national network operating.

If anything is a surprise that the Trump budget would seek to keep any funding for Amtrak.

Amtrak may have survived past budget fights but there have been route casualties along the way. A major restructuring in 1979 killed the only Amtrak service in Columbus and Dayton with the discontinuance of the New York-Kansas City National Limited.

A 1995 restructuring killed the Broadway Limited, which wiped Akron, Youngstown and Fostoria off the Amtrak map.

They later regained service for a short time when a revived Broadway operating as the Three Rivers ran between Chicago and New York.

Another budget fight took Athens and Chillicothe out of the Amtrak network when the Cincinnati-Washington Shenandoah was discontinued in 1981.

For a short time, that 1981 budget fight kicked Cincinnati out of Amtrak, but thanks to the political clout of the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the Cardinal returned to its Chicago-New York flight path in early 1982, albeit as a tri-weekly rather than a daily train.

Given the history of Amtrak funding, it would seem likely that some, if not all, of Amtrak’s long-distance trains will survive due to political wrangling.

What could happen is that the fight becomes one of percentages as in what percentage of the Amtrak long-distance network will survive.

If that is the case, Ohio could be in the middle of the fight when some modifications of the long-distance route network are proposed to consolidate “duplicate” service, e.g., the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited between Chicago and Cleveland.

I could see someone proposing reducing the Capitol Limited to a Pittsburgh-Washington service that connects with a combined Lake Shore Limited and Pennsylvanian between Chicago and New York. That would leave Erie, Pennsylvania, off the Amtrak map.

Already, Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation have proposed rerouting the Lake Shore Limited through Michigan, presumably in lieu of an existing Wolverine Service train.

Someone in Washington in an Amtrak office, a Department of Transportation office and/or a congressional office has probably been studying the Amtrak map with an eye toward finding a way to end federal funding of the Lake Shore Limited by making it into a state train.

Michigan and Pennsylvania already fund the legs into Chicago and New York City respectively. Why not tell Ohio that if it wants service it needs to fund the leg between Detroit and Pittsburgh?

And if Pittsburgh-Washington service is to survive then Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia or a combination of those three states will have to fund what would be left of the Capitol Limited.

Some lawmakers like to talk about offering “options.”  They may or may not know or may or may not care that Ohio is unlikely to agree to fund the middle section of the Lake Shore Limited route.

But if Ohio says “no,” well it was given an option and it voted with its wallet.

Buried in the Trump budget proposal is the rational for sharply reducing funding for programs that benefit public transportation: “Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.”

Look for some in the coming months or years to begin seeking to apply this philosophy to funding for Amtrak long-distance trains.

It would be part of a larger effort to frame the narrative over passenger train funding as a local issue, not a national one even if the trains in question work to form a national transportation network.

Trump Budget Would Hit Ohio Public Transit

March 20, 2017

The proposed fiscal year 2018 budget submitted to Congress by the Trump administration would put funding-starved public transportation in Ohio in even more dire straits.

“We’re barely hanging on. It’s just going to make the existing problems even worse,” said Kirt Conrad, president of the Ohio Public Transit Association and CEO of the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority.

President Donald J. Trump wants to cut the U.S. Department of Transportation budget by $2.4 billion, which is 13 percent.

Much of the adverse effect on public transportation could come from cuts to grant programs that benefit public transit systems.

The New Starts program, which was authorized to fund $2.3 billion in new rail or bus-rapid transit lines or to expand existing lines through 2020, was used by Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s HealthLine on Euclid Avenue.

“It [budget cuts] really potentially cuts future transit expansions in the country in general. It’s not just Ohio; in the whole country, public transit is at risk,” Conrad said. “In Ohio, without the federal support, I do not see those expansions.”

Also slated to be cut is the TIGER grant proram, which has also been used to fund transit in Ohio.

TIGER grants have funded rehabilitation of RTA stations, including the Little Italy-University Circle station and the University-Cedar station.

Two TIGER grants awarded in 2016 funded bicycle infrastructure in Cleveland and Akron.

Ohio transportation officials say the state’s transit systems rely on federal funding because Ohio limits the use of gas tax revenue to road projects.

Further squeezing public transit systems is a coming loss of revenue from a Medicaid MCO sale tax, which had been used for transit funding.

Starting in 2019, public transit systems in Ohio will lose $34 annually from that revenue source.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has proposed increasing state funding for public transportation by $10 million to make up part of the slack being left by the loss of the Medicaid MCO sales tax.

“Access to public transit is just getting worse, not better, in Ohio,” Conrad said.

Although the impact of the proposed Trump budget on highway construction and maintenance funding has yet to come into clear focus, transportation officials say that the loss of TIGER grants will have an adverse effect by removing another source of federal funding.

A $125 million TIGER grant helped pay, for example, for the new eastbound span of the George V. Voinovich (Innerbelt Bridge).

The Trump budget would also shift responsibility for air traffic control from the Federal Aviation administration to an independent, non-governmental organization.

PUCO OKs Akron Grade Crossing Upgrade

January 25, 2017

Grade crossing projects involving the Wheeling & Lake Erie and R.J. Corman have been approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

PUCOIThe W&LE will install lights and gates at the Summit Street crossing in Akron, and at Scott Road/County Road 50 in Crawford County.

Corman will install lights and gates in Strasburg in Tuscarawas County at Zeltman Avenue NE and at 12th Street NE

All projects must be completed by Oct. 18 and are being funded with federal funds provided through the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

In The January 2017 ARRC eBulletin

January 22, 2017

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Akron Junction doesn’t look the same as it once did. Last year CSX removed most of the rails there, thus severing the connection between its New Castle Subdivision and the former Cleveland-Akron-Canton Valley Line. You can read all about it and view photographs of Akron Junction today in the cover article for the January 2017 Akron Railroad Club eBulletin.

To obtain a copy or to subscribe to the eBulletin, send an email request to csanders429@aol.com. A subscription and single copies are free.

What a Way to Open the CVSR 2017 Season!

January 21, 2017
At Peninsula with a bit of fog lingering in the trees.

At Peninsula with a bit of fog lingering in the trees.

Cruising at Bath Road.

Cruising at Bath Road.

At Akron Northside station.

At Akron Northside station.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad opened up the 2017 season on Saturday by using fresh out of the shop 6777 back to back with 6771. How cool is it to see and hear in 2017 an FPA4 set, with both of them in a clean and sharp paint scheme.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

CVSR Debuts Matching FPA4s on Scenic Train

January 21, 2017

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The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad started its 2017 season on Saturday with matched Montreal Locomotive Works FPA4 diesels on the southbound end of the train. CVSR 6777 just received this paint scheme. Here are CVSR 6777, 6771 at Akron Northside Station. Also shown is ex-Pennsylvania Railroad Paul Revere, which was part of Saturday’s train.

Photographs by Robert Farkas