Posts Tagged ‘Alliance’

F Units in Alliance

July 29, 2021

PC F7A No. 1703 leads a train bound for Conway Yard near Pittsburgh down the Bayard Branch in Alliance in July 1972. The 1703 was built for the New York Central in May 1951. Although the scene depicts former Pennsylvania Railroad territory, the NYC had a line that passed through Alliance.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Hanging Out With NS in Alliance

February 26, 2021

Under normal circumstances the Akron Railroad Club would be holding its February meeting tonight. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic the club won’t be meeting. In fact it last met in February 2020 and who knows when the next meeting will be.

In past years I sometimes would drive to Alliance on the afternoon of ARRC meetings and spend a couple hours watching NS trains there.

In late afternoon I’d put the camera and scanner away and head north out of town and eventually west on Interstate 76, stopping for dinner at the Cracker Barrel in Ravenna or the Bob Evans on Gilchrist Road in Akron right around the corner from the club’s meeting site.

Shown above is an eastbound headed by SD70 No. 2563. The train is about to take the connection from the Cleveland Line to the Fort Wayne Line as it continues its trip toward Pittsburgh.

This locomotive was built for Conrail and Chris Toth’s NS locomotive website reports it has since been retired.

Eastbound in Alliance

June 24, 2020

The photographer is standing to the east of the Amtrak station in Alliance at the far end of the interlocking.

NS 9255 leads an eastbound on the morning of Oct. 14, 2016, onto the Fort Wayne Line.

The interlocking controls moves between the Fort Wayne Line and Cleveland Line, which accounts for the majority of movements in Alliance.

The signal heads with the letter “C” on them are for trains whose lead unit is not equipped with working cab signals.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Feeling Out of Place?

May 25, 2020

The New York Central had a line through Alliance but the big player in town was the Pennsylvania Railroad with two major routes, including one that carried the premier PRR passenger trains between Chicago and New York.

The NYC line through Alliance was just a branch line operation.

So I wonder if this former NYC caboose still in its original colors and markings felt a little out of place in this former Pennsy stronghold.

Notice it still bears the NYC slogan “road to the future.” That future turned out to be a merger with the Central’s chief rival, a marriage that turned out to be rather rocky and had little future of its own.

To be accurate, this is Penn Central caboose 21538. It was photographed on Feb. 24, 1973.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Whole Lotta Heritage Going By

May 23, 2020

This was one of those days when a cloudy sky was a benefit to photography.

Had it been sunny much of the detail of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 would have been lost in the shadows.

The Berkshire-type locomotives is steaming through Alliance on May 30, 2013.

Note that trailing it are the Pennsylvania Railroad and Conrail heritage locomotives of Norfolk Southern.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

A Penn Central Alco in Alliance

May 16, 2020

We’re back in Alliance in the early 1970s courtesy of the wayback machine.

In front of us is Penn Central Alco C628 leading a westbound in September 1972. This unit was built for the Pennsylvania Railroad so it must feel at home on these rails

The trailing unit is GE U33B No. 2859, which was among the first production units of this model built for the New York Central.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Some Wheeling & Lake Erie in Alliance

March 9, 2018

Alliance is a Norfolk Southern town. But on a Friday afternoon before an Akron Railroad Club meeting I found a bit of the Wheeling & Lake Erie there.

Shown is one of the many W&LE hopper cars on NS train 424, which is headed toward Bayard on the original Cleveland Line.

It would not go very far. The Cleveland Line dispatcher instructed the crew to pull into the Mahoning siding and wait for a westbound.

I never saw the westbound as I had left to go have dinner and then attend the ARRC meeting.

The Incredible Shrinking Fort Wayne Line

June 8, 2009

Mergers and acquisitions can be tough on a railroad line. Many a line has been wiped off the map after being deemed surplus as a result of a merger. While that fate has not befallen the Fort Wayne line that passes through Alliance, Canton, Massillon, Orrville, Wooster and Mansfield, the former Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of the Pennsylvania Railroad isn’t what it used to be.

After the Conrail breakup, which resulted in the Fort Wayne line east of Crestline becoming Norfolk Southern property, traffic diminished preciptiously. Now the Fort Wayne line has just one pair of daily manifest freights that travel the route daily through northeast Ohio.

Until early May, 12V and 15V operated between Columbus (Buckeye Yard) and Pittsburgh (Conway Yard), using the Sandusky District between Columbus and Bucyrus and the Fort Wayne line east of there.

But NS temporarily closed Buckeye Yard on May 4, citing the downturn in traffic resulting from the current recession. Columbus area traffic will be marshaled at Watkins Yard, a former Norfolk & Western facility on the southeast side of Columbus. NS expects to reopen Buckeye Yard once the economy and its business picks up.

The 12V and 15V now operate between Pittsburgh and Bellevue. The trains continue to use the Sandusky District and to make the turn onto and off of the Fort Wayne line at Bucyrus.

The trains also have a new schedule. The 12V is now slated for a middle of the night departure from Bellevue and should reach the Canton-Alliance area by 8 a.m. The 15V is set to leave Conway at approximately midnight with a mid-morning arrival in Bellevue. The new schedule means that the trains are less likely to operate over the Fort Wayne line west of Canton in daylight hours.

Another change in recent weeks on the Fort Wayne line was the abolition of a pair of locals that operated between Mansfield and Bellevue. Local C37 had originated at Mansfield and hauled auto parts that were made at a General Motors stamping plant near Mansfield and taken to Belleveue for forwarding to GM plants via other trains. For now, this traffic will be handled by the 12V and 15V. However, the future of the GM plant in Mansfield does not look good as the company restructures and downsizes in bankruptcy proceedings.

NS continues to opeate a local between Canton and Massillon that runs during daylight hours, and a local that originates in Mansfield and runs to Wooster before returning. This train does work in Orrville, dropping off tank cars for the J.M. Smucker plant that is located on the former Cleveland, Akron & Columbus branch on the north side of Orrville.

Otherwise the only traffic on the Fort Wayne line is the occasional coal train or load of empty cars.

Two ARRC members inspected the Fort Wayne line between Bucyrus and Upper Sandusky last Saturday.  While in Bucyrus we were told that the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern, which operates over the line west of Crestline, hopes to build traffic over the next few years and even land some bridge traffic coming out of Chicago. A connection from the Fort Wayne line to the Sandusky District in the southwest quandrant of Colsan might be built.

The CF&E was fairly quiet last weekend. The only “train” we saw was a pair of CSX locomotives that CF&E reportedly uses to haul grain trains. Those ran light from Crestline to Lima in late morning.

The Fort Wayne line is mostly a single track railroad west of Crestline and looks more like a branch line than a mainline that once hosted such fabled trains as the Broadway Limited, Pennsylvania Limited, Admiral, General, Trail Blazer and Manhattan Limited.

The line still has Pennsy style position light signals and the defect detector is  still in operation at Robinson (“Robbins”) east of Bucyrus. The train called signals over the radio as it made its way westward.

The Fort Wayne Line remains an intriguing line to photograph even if traffic is slight. The position light signals are still intact on the NS portion of the line west of Alliance. There is the famous Tuscarawas bridge at Massillon that is built on a curve. Just west of the bridge, there is nice photo vantage point of the former Mace interlocking from the bridge carrying Cherry Road NW over the tracks. Although the tower is long gone, this junction sees trains of NS, R.J. Corman and Ohio Central (using trackages rights over the Corman).

There is a nice restored depot and block tower at Orrville. At Bucyrus, work is well underway to restore the former Toledo & Ohio Central station, which is located just south of the junction of the Fort Wayne line with the NS Sandusky District. The group restoring the station has opened a souvenir shop adjacent to the T&OC depot. There is ample parking there.

Given the paucity of traffic on the Fort Wayne line, its future in the NS system would seem to be uncertain. NS probably only kept the route because of its on-line traffic at Mansfield, Wooster, Orrville, Massillon and Canton. The line certainly has little other reason to exist in NS’s eyes other than perhaps serving as a safety value or backup route for traffic moving between Bellevue and Pittsburgh that now goes via Cleveland.  At some point NS might decide that it has more to gain by turning the route over to a short line or regional railroad.

Indeed NS is doing just that this summer with a lightly used branch in Cleveland.  The former Erie line that once ran between Cleveland and Leavittsburg, Ohio, is being leased to the Cleveland Commercial Railroad on or about June 15.

The Cleveland Commercial, which currently leases a Wheeling & Lake Erie branch between Falls Junction and Cleveland, will operate the NS Randall Secondary between Broadway Avenue in Cleveland and milepost 27.5 in Aurora Township — a distance of 25 miles. Currently, the line is out of service east of Harper Road in Solon.

The agreement calls for the Cleveland Commercial to use the former Erie Van Willer Yard in Cleveland. Interchange with NS will occur on a connecting track between East 65th Street in Cleveland and Erie crossing, where the NS Cleveland line (former Pennsyslvania Railroad) crosses the former Erie route.

The Cleveland Commercial can access the Randall Secondary directly without having to use NS trackage by using a connection that passes through the Ferrous Metals scrapyard. This will enable the Cleveland Commercial to offer its customers on the Randall Secondary an interchange with the W&LE

ARRC to sell “Canton Area Railroads”

March 9, 2009

The Akron Railroad Club will be selling copies of Canton Area Railroads, which was written by club president Craig Sanders and recently released by Arcadia Publishing.

The book will be sold to club members for $15 and to non-members for $17. The book will be available at the ARRC table at Railfest 2009 this weekend (March 14 and 15) at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. The college is located on Ohio Route 306, just south of Interstate 90 (exit 193). Railfest 2009 is sponsored by Division 5 of the National Model Railroad Association.

Author Sanders will be available at the ARRC table on Saturday to autograph copies of the book.

Copies of Canton Area Railroads will also be available for sale at the next ARRC meeting, on March 27.

Canton Area Railroads has 128 pages and more than 200 black and white photographs, most of which were taken by or furnished by Akron Railroad Club members.  The book covers railroad operations in Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Orrville, Navarre, Minerva, Dover, Brewster, Dennison and other communities in Stark, Carroll, Holmes, Wayne and Tuscarawas counties. Among the railroads covered by the book are the Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio, Wheeling & Lake Erie, New York Central, Penn Central, Conrail, Norfolk & Western, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Ohio Central, R.J. Corman, Ohi-Rail, Amtrak and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Beach Letter Published by Trains Magazine

March 4, 2009

A letter to the editor written by Akron Railroad Club member John Beach appears in the April issue of Trains magazine.

Beach, of Massillon, Ohio, wrote in response to a story published in the February issue about President Abraham Lincoln and his connections with the railroads. Beach said he always wondered what route Lincoln took through eastern Ohio in early 1861 en route to Washington to be inaugurated as the nation’s 16th president. A map with the article provided the answer.

Accompanying Beach’s letter is a photograph that he submitted of an eastbound Conrail train passing a monument at Alliance, Ohio, commemorating Lincoln’s stop in the Stark County community during his trip to Washington. The monument is adjacent to the Alliance Amtrak station.

Akron Railroad Club members have been frequent visitors to Alliance, located at the junction of the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Cleveland-Pittsburgh and Chicago-Pittsburgh routes.
Norfolk Southern now owns the tracks that pass through Alliance.