Posts Tagged ‘Alco FA locomotives’

EL Monday: Finding Something Special

March 14, 2022

Even in the winter of 1967/1968, Mike Ondecker and I knew this was special. As far as we knew at this time, Erie Lackawanna No. 7254 was the EL’s last operating Alco FA. It is shown here on the point of an amazing lash-up that includes an Alco FA, Alco RS3, EMD F3B and an EMD F3A. This train is heading eastbound in Kent. I’m thankful to have this memory.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Chasing the NY&LE (Part 2)

June 16, 2021

Second of two parts

After the New York & Lake Erie excursion train arrived at South Dayton, passengers disembarked for a 30-minute layover.

We watched and photographed as the locomotive ran around to the other end of the train for the return to Gowanda.

We then toured the station, which was open during the layover. We enjoyed the displays and photo albums from local residents of Robert Redford, Steve Martin, John Candy, and the former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-4 No. 4070 during the visits in the 1980s.

Many of the locals were very lucky to have photos of and with the celebrities.

At about 3:15 p.m. the train departed for the return trip. We chased it and got a few more photographs.

In the images above we see changing ends at South Dayton, approaching Markhams Road after passing Dole Street, the train at East Hill Street dropping down into Gowanda.

Back in Gowanda, we see the train passing a derelict Contrack coach that Marty, myself and Craig Sanders had seen in 2017 during a trip to Arcade & Attica.

Finally, here is No. 1013 as it appears today and No. 1013 as it appeared during an Akron Railroad Club/Railroad Enthusiasts charter trip on April 26, 1987

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Disappointment Quickly Turned to Joy

June 15, 2021

On Sunday Marty Surdyk picked me up just after 9 a.m. at my house. Our quest for the day was to photograph the excursion on the New York & Lake Erie (ex-Erie trackage) out of Gowanda, New York.

In the 1980s we rode and chased trips often during our younger days. This was to be a reprise of that era.

The NY&LE always had a special connection to us. In 1983, former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 traveled from Cleveland to the NY&LE for an important role in scenes for The Natural starring Robert Redford.

In 1987 the railroad had a special role in the filming of the comedy Planes, Trains & Automobiles starring John Candy and Steve Martin.

Also in 1987 and 1988, we participated in photo charters on the railroad when the locomotive and passenger cars were still wearing the fictitious Contrack livery for Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

We arrived on the NY&LE before noon and scouted the line to plot our potential photo locations. After having lunch in Gowanda, we ventured to the station there. Passengers were beginning to arrive.

However, our excitement changed to disappointment. An Alco FA was attached to the train but with its back end forward. The other FA was in the engine house.

We were thinking of riding the train because we weren’t too excited about photographing what appeared to be a boxcar leading the train.

We decided to still chase since the lone FA would being facing the proper direction on the return even though the sun angles would not be ideal.

We set up at East Hill Street just around a curve from the station area. At 2 p.m. a horn blow for departure sounded. Oh well maybe another time we’ll come back to get the back-to- back FAs.

Shortly the train appeared and disappoitment turned to “Wow!” There was the other FA. We never heard it coming out of the engine house.

We have no idea how we did not hear anything since Alcos definitely are not quiet. We were extremely delighted.

And with that the chase was on from Gowanda to South Dayton.

In the top image is the excursion train at East Hill Street in Gowanda followed by images made at Church street in Dayton, Markhams Road and at the South Dayton station.

Also shown is what we thought would be the motive power for the trip and a depiction in the Gowanda station of John Candy and Steven Martin.

The South Dayton station was used in the filming of The Natural and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

A group photograph of Akron Railroad Club and Railroad Enthusiasts members was made at the South Dayton depot in 1987.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Whole Lotta Alcos Back There

October 28, 2020

It’s late 1967 or maybe early 1968 on the Water Level Route east of Cleveland, which was still under the control of the New York Central although not for long.

On the point of this train is GP7 5761, built by EMD in May 1953.

But what caught the interest of the photograph was the barely noticeable puffs of Alco smoke from the six trailing units.

They were all Alcos and all of them running. Two of them are FA units thjat could not run nose to nose because of the way they were built.

NYC FAs did have nose MU capability, but were not set up for nose-to-nose operation.

That was because the main reservoir air hoses, engine brake air hoses and sand pipe air hoses were on the engineers side of the nose below the anti-climber.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday From Marion

July 6, 2020

The late Mike Ondecker used an Instamatic camera to photograph Erie Lackawanna Alco FA2 No. 7391 and Alco S1 switcher 307 in Marion in 1967 or 1968.

No. 307 still wears its Erie Railroad livery and it should feel at home with No. 7391 because it, too, is of Erie heritage.

A website that tracks the whereabouts of former EL locomotives reports that No. 307 is still around and was last owned by the New York Cross Harbor Railroad.

Although No. 7391 did not survive, you can buy an HO scale model of it from Walters.

Photograph by Mike Ondecker

Ex-NYC Alcos in Painesville

April 22, 2020

I was in Painesville in early 1968 after Penn Central came into being. Here is the all-Alco power consist for one of the freights. Shown are former New York Central Alco RS3 No. 5223 and ex-NYC FA-2 No. 1052.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Trade in Power at the GE Erie Locomotive Plant

March 16, 2020

Although public access is limited, railfan photographers have long sought to make images at the General Electric locomotive assembly plant in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Aside from the shiny new locomotives ready to head to their owners you might also see units that has been traded in.

Such was the case with two Great Northern Alco RS3s, a Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Alco FA, and two Rock Island Alco RS3s that were all out in the open on Oct. 2, 1969.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Catching a New York Central Alco Cab Unit

March 12, 2020

It is late February1968 along the ex-New York Central mainline between Cleveland and Painesville, and Penn Central 1052, an Alco FA-2 that is a former NYC unit is is the last locomotive in its lash up.

Penn Central is less than a month old and largely looking like its predecessor railroads.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Leaving the Kent Yard

February 17, 2018

An Erie Lackawanna Alco FA and Alco RS-3 are eastbound leaving the EL Kent yard in the late 1960s. This photo is from the north side of the tracks and not the more commonly photographed south side. Notice, also, the light tower, bridges and semaphore signal.

Photograph by Robert Farkas