Posts Tagged ‘Alco motive power’

AC&J Alco Two for Tuesday

December 27, 2022

On Oct. 28, 2007, seven Akron Railroad Club members ventured to Jefferson, Ohio, to ride the weekend excursion train of the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson.

The AC&J used an Alco S1 that had been built in April 1941 for the U.S. Army. It would pull the excursion train for 5.4 miles to the Norfolk Southern yard at Carson along the Youngstown Line.

No. 7371 would then run around its train as shown above and pull it back to Jefferson. It was the final excursion of 2007 for the AC&J.

For three ARRC members, the day had started early with catching Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited in Lake City, Pennsylvania. Alas, we got cloud skunked as No. 48 rushed past.

After having breakfast at the All Aboard Dinor in the former New York Central passenger station in Lake City, we spent the morning and early afternoon catching CSX, Norfolk Southern and Bessemer & Lake Erie action. We arrived in Jefferson to catch the 3 p.m. AC&J train. As you can see from these images it was one of those days of playing dodge ball with the clouds.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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

Vintage Alco Locomotive Saved

April 7, 2017

The Tri-State Railway Historical Society has acquired Morristown & Erie Alco C424 No. 19.
Built in 1964 for the Toledo, Peoria, & Western, it and sister locomotive No. 18 went to the M&E in 1983.

Working primarily in New Jersey, both Alcos wore a red livery and have pulled railfan excursions in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

“M&E No. 19 checks off so many boxes for us,” said Tri-State Vice President Kevin Phalon. “It is historically relevant to New Jersey, it is familiar to most railroaders and railfans in New Jersey, and it will come to us running.”

No. 19 was removed from active service in 2016 due to a flat spot on one of its wheel sets. The M&E subsequently retired the engine.

When I See a Grain Elevator, I Think of Marty

November 13, 2016


One in a periodic series of images I made last summer

If I never saw Marty Surdyk again, I’ll always have something to remember him. Many times when I see a grain elevator I think of him because he has a fondness for such facilities that he has spoken about many times.

That is quite an accomplishment for a guy who grew up in a suburb of Cleveland and can be said to be a city boy.

But somewhere along the way Marty became fascinated with grain elevators and likes to photograph them with trains at every opportunity.

I was in Bellevue when I had a “Marty moment.” There are a couple of silos next to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum that were part of a grain elevator complex that is no longer in service and some of it has been razed.

The silos appear to be on museum property for a couple of pieces of the museum’s rolling stock were parked on what used to be a track that served the facility.

The locomotive is an Alco S-5 that used to be owned by Cargill, a company that describes itself as a provider of food, agricultural, financial and industrial supplies.

Cargill owns a lot of grain complexes and has its own fleet of switchers. This unit was last assigned to Cargill’s Michigan Division although I do not know where it once worked.

But a little online research found that it was built in June 1964 for the Boston & Maine.

It might have had another owner other than B&M and Cargill judging by some markings bleeding through the black paint.

I don’t know where in Michigan or anywhere else this unit worked while active for Cargill’s Michigan Division.

But in Bellevue on this June day, it was attached to a passenger car painted in what appears to be the last passenger livery of the Great Northern Railway.

I couldn’t help but think of Marty as I made this series of images.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders




A Busy Akron Engine House in June 1973

July 11, 2016


Sometimes we forget how busy the Chessie System (Ex-B&O) engine facility in Akron was in the early 1970s.

It is June 1973 and this image looks down from the embankment that has the Chessie System mainline tracks.

This is not a railfan photo as much as a piece of Akron history. Not one locomotive is unobstructed, yet the image captures this busy facility in an original way.

There are ALCO switchers, B&O geeps, etc. without a trace of Chessie System yellow.

The yellow would come soon, but for one moment in 1973, this still looks like the B&O of the 1960s.

Without images such as this, Akron’s railroad history would be lost.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

Railroading as it Once Was: Youngstown Was the Place if You Wanted to See Alco Power in Action

March 2, 2016

LV in Youngstown

There was some magic about the early years of Conrail, a blending of old and new. OK, so there was more old than new, but Conrail combined both by taking veterans locomotives and giving them some minor changes to show who operated the locomotive now even if the previous operator was still obvious.

And if you wanted to watch old Alco locomotives in action, Youngstown was the place to be. Motive power assignments saw large number of Alcos roaming the rails in the Mahoning Valley.

The former Erie Lackawanna Brier Hill locomotive shop was a mandatory stop to check out what was laying about, particularly in the early years of Conrail.

In the photograph above, former Lehigh Valley, Penn Central and Erie Lackawanna units gather at the EL Brier Hill locomotive shop in Youngstown in 1977.

The old and new is apparent with this former Lehigh Valley C-628. The LV name has been painted over and the initials “CR” applied to the nose. But the heritage of the unit remains unmistakable.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

We Didn’t Know Them as Heritage Units Then

September 8, 2015

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It is the summer of 1967 or 1968 in Brewster and Nickel Plate Road ALCOs sit on the dead line several years after the Norfolk & Western had taken over the NKP. It is hard to imagine that these switchers were heritage units at that early date. We just didn’t know it then.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Michigan Society Acquires Historic Locomotive

January 8, 2015


Shown with former Port Huron & Detroit Alco S2 No. 52 are (from left) Sandy Duffy, T.J. Gaffney, Aaron Farmer, and Bruce Sawdon.

Shown with former Port Huron & Detroit Alco S2 No. 52 are (from left) Sandy Duffy, T.J. Gaffney, Aaron Farmer, and Bruce Sawdon.

The Michigan-based Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Historical Society has acquired Alco S2 No. 52 from Knoxville Locomotive Works.

One of two Alco units delivered new to the Port Huron & Detroit in August 1945, No. 52 will join restored PH&D caboose No. 62. An anonymous donor made the acquisition possible.

Knoxville Locomotive Works will store No. 52 for two years or until a suitable facility is ready in Michigan.

The PH&D plans to restore the locomotive cosmetically to its pre-1984 condition and place it on static display.

For more information on the Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Historical Society, go to



Crew Change Time on a Cold Winter Day in Kent

February 7, 2014


It is a cold day, most likely in 1967. Mike Ondecker and I are watching the crew change of an eastbound Erie Lackawanna freight at EL’s Kent Yard.

Led by EL 7254 (EL’s last operating ALCO FA) and followed by an ALCO RS-3, EMD F-3B, and EMD F-3A, all too soon this train, the EL, and EL’s Kent Yard will all be memories.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Chasing Alcos on the A&M: Part 2

October 7, 2013


The second batch of photographs taken by Roger Durfee during his recent journey to the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad in search of the road’s vanishing Alco fleet.

Photographs by Roger Durfee