Posts Tagged ‘ARRC outings’

ARRC Gets Shout Out in Summer Classic Trains

June 19, 2020

The Akron Railroad Club was mentioned in a short piece published in the Summer 2020 issue of Classic Trains magazine.

The short article on Page 6 accompanied two photographs made during a June 26, 1960, ARRC outing on the former Shaker Heights Rapid Transit system.

Participants are shown riding in a pair of side dump cars on what today is the Green Line along Shaker Boulevard in Shaker Heights. Another photograph shows the special near Cleveland Union Terminal.

The photographs were made by Jim Kreuzberger and today are in the collection of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum.

The 1960s outing was one of several that the ARRC made in the 1950s and early 1960s.

ARRC to Hold Longest Day Outing in Alliance

May 16, 2020

The Akron Railroad Club has announced that it plans to hold its annual longest day outing on June 28 in Alliance.

The group will meet between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. by the Lincoln monument located just west of the former passenger station platform.

Attendees of the event will be encouraged to exchange cell phone numbers and then spread out to area locations, including Rootstown, Ravenna, Sebring, Salem or East Palestine and report train movements from their location by cell phone.

The plan is to get the same trains in different locations and share photographs of those trains during the member’s night and pizza party planned for Oct. 24.

Those attending the longest day outing will meet in Salem or Alliance that evening for dinner at a restaurant to be determined.

The longest day outing is a traditional ARRC event that is typically held at an Ohio railfan hotspot.

Past longest days have been held in Marion, Fostoria, Deshler and Bellevue.

There has been consideration given to holding the 2020 longest day in the Pittsburgh region in an effort to encourage greater participation, which has lagged in recent years.

Nine Years Ago Today, a Most Memorable Outing

June 6, 2019

The late Frank Kellogg boards car 4398 at the beginning of the tour of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum. The outing there was held June 6, 2010.

I ran across the other day a computer folder with scans labeled “Pennsylvania Trolley Museum” that contained images I made during an Akron Railroad Club outing there nine years ago today (June 6, 2010).

Seeing those images brought back a flood of memories about one of the ARRC’s most successful endeavors during my time as president.

The idea to make a trip to the museum came from Alex Bruchac in response to my call for ideas of activities the club could pursue that year.

That was during the winter and sometime that spring the members voted in favor of making the trip.

Alex, who is a long-time volunteer at the museum, made all of the arrangements, including chartering a Southeastern Trailways motor coach.

The outing got off to a less than promising start when thunderstorms rolled through Northeast Ohio that morning.

A few of us met for breakfast at the Bob Evans restaurant on Rockside Road in Independence, which was located adjacent to the hotel where the bus would stop and pick up those from the Cleveland area.

From there the bus proceeded to the club’s meeting site, the New Horizons Christian Church, to pick up the Akron area contingent.

All told there were 37 ARRC members and guests on the trip, which was a good turnout for an ARRC outing.

We stopped at a rest area on the Ohio Turnpike en route to enable those who wished to do to get breakfast at a McDonald’s.

From there we headed for Washington, Pennsylvania, the location of the museum, which was once known as the Arden Trolley Museum.

We were greeted by museum CEO Scott Becker, who would be our host and tour guide for the day.

Becker showed us a short video about the museum, talked about the collection and answered questions.

The classroom session out of the way, we walked out the door and boarded car 4398, an orange-colored former Pittsburgh Railways car that had been built in 1917 by St. Louis Car Company.

The 4398 had recently been restored and ferried us around the museum grounds. We were the first group to ride in the car since it had returned to revenue service.

It was one of three cars we rode that day. The others were the red and cream No. 1711, a PCC built in 1949 by St. Louis Car for Pittsburgh Railways; and the maroon-colored No. 78, built by Brill in 1931 for the Red Arrow Lines of Philadelphia.

Between trips aboard these three cars, which covered all of the museum’s trackage, we toured the car barns and heard about the history of the other cars in the museum’s collection.

Much of the time our motorman for the day was Dave Carpenter, the lead car operator instructor.

The storms that had struck earlier in the day stayed away and we remained dry.

As evening began approaching, we re-boarded our bus and stopped for dinner at a nearby Eat ‘n Park restaurant.

Then it was back to Akron and Independence. During the trip home four of the officers came up with the plan to name J. Gary Dillon as an ARRC life member at the July meeting.

My recollection is that we didn’t lose money on this outing and the high number of participants raised the prospect of doing another bus tour.

We discussed doing the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, but that idea never came close to coming about. There was some complication in doing it and I no longer recall those details.

There was also a concern that if a trip was poorly attended the club could lose a lot of money.

As enjoyable as the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum trip had been I wasn’t sure we could duplicate that success on another trip.

Some events just seem to have everything going for them and the same level of enthusiasm for an encore performance just isn’t there.

That trip to Pennsylvania would be the last time that the ARRC took a bus trip to a museum or event. In fact it was the only such outing the club has had since I joined the group in 2003.

When I look back on that trip today I can’t help but think about some of the ARRC members and friends who were there that day who have since passed away.

It was just one of those days when it seemed that everything just worked out very well and everyone who was there had a good, if not great, time.

I’m reminded of a couple of lines from the Bryan Adams song Summer of ’69: “And if I had the choice, yeah I always wanna be there.”

I haven’t been back to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum since that 2010 trip. It always seemed to be far away and I wasn’t familiar with how to get there.

Unless you are really passionate about streetcars and trolleys there is the element of seeing it once is enough.

Nonetheless, enough time has passed that it might be worthwhile to visit again.

ARRC Memorial Day Weekend Memories

May 27, 2019

Although The May meeting of the Akron Railroad Club meeting almost always is on the Friday leading into the Memorial Day weekend, the club has generally avoided having outings near or on holidays.

It made an exception in 2006. Even though I was in my second year as president then, I don’t recall why we chose the holiday weekend that year for an outing.

The plan was to go to Greenwich, but Marty Surdyk said he would spend the first part of the day at the above ground reservoir in nearby New London.

I’d never been there at the time so I and several others followed his lead and met there in the morning.

Most of the group spent a few hours atop the reservoir, which offers a nice panoramic view of CSX trains on what it today is known as the Greenwich Subdivision.

It can be fun and even instructive to look back at images you made during long-ago photo expeditions to see how much things have changed.

Consider the top photograph of an eastbound passing the reservoir. Note how new the BNSF “War Bonnet” looks. Yet, it had been in service for nine years when this image was made.

Your long ago photographs can also show what hasn’t changed in the intervening years, including the basic Norfolk Southern locomotive livery as seen in the trailing unit behind BNSF 757.

If you’ve seen a War Bonnet, you know that the paint has badly faded on many of them and BNSF has shown no inclination to give them a touch up or refreshing.

The middle image shows a surprise sighting of a caboose still wearing Chessie System colors but with CSX markings along with a liberal amount of graffiti. It was also on the rear of a westbound and we weren’t sure where it was going or why it was traveling there.

By mid afternoon the New London contingent had relocated to Greenwich to join the ARRC members who had spent all day there.

We were watching an oncoming westbound on the former Big Four, which had a signal for a straight move onto what is today the Mt. Victory Subdivision.

Marty was looking at the train through a telephoto lens and proclaimed, “that looks like an F40.”

I didn’t believe him at first. What would a passenger unit be doing pulling a train on a holiday weekend?

But he was correct. CSX F40PH 9992 was pulling three passenger cars from the railroad’s executive fleet.

We speculated that the train was bound for Indianapolis to pick up VIPs attending the Indianapolis 500, which was held that day.

The train had a theater car on the rear but the shades were pulled over the windows, suggesting the train did not have any passengers.

It would be the first and thus far only time that I’ve spotted the CSX executive train.

No. 9992 was built by EMD in August 1981 as Amtrak No. 390. A review of my trip logs shows I’ve ridden behind it twice on Amtrak.

It was on the point of the San Francisco Zephyr when I rode it from Chicago to Denver in October 1981, when it was about two months old. It also led the Cardinal in April 1990 on a trip I rode from Chicago to Indianapolis.

Not too long after the passage of the passenger train, the ARRC outing in Greenwich came to a close. I don’t recall us going anywhere to have dinner together as some guys typically have done at the conclusion of a longest day outing.

And that’s the way it was on May 28, 2006, which has turned out to be the last time the ARRC held an outing in New London or Greenwich.

Wabash H Unit, Citirail Locomotives Highlight 13th ARRC Dave McKay Day Outing in Berea

April 3, 2017

Late day sun illuminates the nose of a westbound CSX auto rack train during the waning hours of the annual Dave McKay Day in Berea.

It took nearly all day and six years but we finally got one. A Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive led a train through Berea during the annual Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day outing last Saturday.

NS No. 1070, the SD70ACe that pays tribute to the Wabash Railroad, was on the point of eastbound intermodal train No. 294 through Berea at 6:19 p.m.

We had known since mid-morning that it was coming and it would be a late afternoon train.

ARRC member Todd Dillon, who did not attend the event, sent some timely texts updating us on the progress of the Wabash unit.

So knew that THE WABASH IS COMING! THE WABASH IS COMING!

But when it finally got here it caught those of us still in Berea unprepared and no one got a photograph of it.

It was but one of the highlights of the 13th McKay Day, the all-day outing in Berea on the first Saturday in April to remember the late David McKay, who served as ARRC president between 1993 and 2004.

Twelve ARRC members and guests attended the event, which featured overcast skies and chilly temperatures for most of the day.

The sun finally broke through at 5:27 p.m. With the clouds having moved out, the temperatures at last reached the 50s. If only it had been that nice in the morning.

We recorded 49 movements between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., but that comes with a couple of asterisks.

The ARRC’s newest member, Jack Norris, watched Amtrak 48, the eastbound Lake Shore Limited, pass through Berea on the Berea webcam from his home in New Jersey.

Two of the trains in the tally were ones I spotted while en route to Berea, an eastbound NS loaded coal train at CP Max and an eastbound CSX train that I could see from Interstate 480 that was waiting for permission to go through the tunnels.

That train, Q260, would cause more than its share of headaches for the first trick IG dispatcher because it went into emergency twice before reaching Collinwood Yard.

That resulted in backed-up trains and a lot of discussion over the radio about the proper procedures for inspecting a train that goes into emergency that has a load of hazardous materials.

At one point the dispatcher read on the air word for word the applicable rule from the rule book. During another conversation he said he had checked with his boss who had checked with his boss.

Some of the discussion involved whether the Q123 could pass the Q260 and if so at what speed.

Also figuring into the situation was a maintainer in a track car who was following the Q260 and doing track inspections in its wake.

Early in the day that same dispatcher had told the maintainer in one of many radio conversations they had in which the latter received track warrant authority that he (dispatcher) was going to go to his favorite brewery in Indianapolis once he finished his shift to help it celebrate its first anniversary.

Given the day he had had that beer must have tasted pretty good once he got to the bar.

In another conversation the IG dispatcher revealed that many operational changes are occurring, including the abolition of some symbol freights.

Road freights are now going to handle switching in some places, e.g., 84 Lumber in the Cleveland suburbs, rather than a local.

The road freights are also going to start handling stone trains. If I understood the dispatcher correctly, the number of classification tracks at Avon Yard west of Indianapolis is being reduced.

Such is life these days in E. Hunter Harrison land where the employees must feel that they are the hunted.

At the same time that the first trick IG dispatcher had his hands full, the first trick NS Toledo East dispatcher had a train that left Cleveland with no re-crew available in Toledo.

He advised the crew of gondola train 60S to take it easy coming toward Toledo.

Later, he said he would be putting the 60S into a siding to kill time. The crew probably would have preferred to have gotten to Toledo in due time and then gone off duty. But it didn’t work out that way.

Among the other interesting occurrences throughout the day was an involved maneuver involving the 20R picking up a new locomotive at Rockport Yard to replace a unit that was experiencing mechanical troubles.

NS sent an eastbound Herzog ballast train through Berea in the afternoon that was the subject of a lot of radio traffic.

It was a moderately good day for foreign power with BNSF locomotives showing up on two trains, Canadian National power leading a westbound CSX ethanol train and a lone Union Pacific unit trailing in the motive power consist of an NS train.

But the sighting of the day was a pair of Citirail (CREX) ES44AC units leading CSX train Q384.

As for the Wabash H unit, the plan was for four of us – Craig Sanders, Marty Surdyk, Paul Woodring and Alan Nagy – who planned to have dinner at the Berea Union Depot Taverne to go there at 5 p.m. We figured that the NS 1070 would be coming along after 6, probably closer to 6:30 p.m.

After eating we could get into position to get photographs of the first H unit to lead a train through Berea on a McKay Day.

We’ve seen heritage units on McKay Day in the past, most notably the Wabash H unit in 2014. But it had been trailing.

The plan might have worked had we gotten to the restaurant at exactly 5. But we decided to wait for the westbound CSX Q009, which didn’t arrive until 5:11. Two other NS trains also passed by and we didn’t get to the depot and seated until about 5:20.

As the Wabash unit was leading No. 294 through Berea we had just gotten up to leave. Not everyone in the party saw it.

Had anyone been really ambitious and gotten to Berea in the early hours of McKay Day he would have seen three other heritage units.

The New York Central H unit led NS train 54K through town during the darkness hours. It was reported at Amherst at 9:38 p.m. on Friday night and at Macedonia at 2:13 a.m., so it is unclear when it was in Berea.

Amtrak No. 184, the Phase IV H unit, was trailing in the motive power consist of the westbound Lake Shore Limited at 4:05 a.m.

The Virginia heritage unit must have been a nocturnal visitor leading the 17N. It was reported at Wauseon at 9:48 a.m. on Saturday and the previous report for it had been in Conway late Friday morning.

CSX intermodal train Q009 passes the marker honoring Dave McKay in Berea.

A westbound ethanol train on CSX had a pair of Canadian National locomotives.

Looking like a giant candy cane, the Herzog ballast train slowly makes it way eastward through Berea on Norfolk Southern tracks.

Just an Average Longest Day in Marion

June 28, 2016
The highlight of the 2016 longest day in Marion was seeing the Monongahela heritage unit trailing in the motive power consist of train No. 376.

The highlight of the 2016 longest day in Marion was seeing the Monongahela heritage unit trailing in the motive power consist of train No. 376.

If I had to sum up the 2016 Akron Railroad Club longest day outing in Marion in one word, I would describe it as “average.”

It had its moments, but it also provided yet another lesson in how CSX operations these days can be erratic due to falling traffic and an operating plan that concentrates traffic on longer and fewer trains.

CSX traffic died in early afternoon and stayed comatose for four hours.

One contributing factor for that might have been that CSX was virtually shut down in parts of West Virginia due to flooding. Traffic that we might normally have seen on the Columbus Subdivision was being held elsewhere.

The highlight of the day was catching the Monongahela heritage unit of Norfolk Southern, which came through town westbound in late morning as the second of three units pulling train No. 376.

The appearance of No. 8025 was a surprise. The last sighting of it reported on HeritageUnits.com had been two days earlier in Kentucky.

We also spotted three other locomotives that are tracked on HeritageUnits. These included CSX No. 12 (the Spirit of Louisville), NS Operation Lifesaver No. 9252 and a former Chicago & North Western unit still in its original colors but with a Union Pacific patch.

Of the four “feature” locomotives that we spotted, only NS 9252 was leading its train. It was that type of day.

During the nine hours that I was in Marion, NS provided what you would expect. It put 16 trains through town with seven headed west and nine going east. NS traffic was fairly even throughout the day despite some lull periods.

After an NS track gang cleared up about 3 p.m., three eastbound trains rolled through Marion in succession, with two of them nearly running on the block of the train ahead.

It was a good thing because CSX had gone into a slumber. After the 1:30 p.m. passage of the L132 from the Mt. Victory Sub to the Columbus Sub, CSX went dormant.

I left at 6:20 p.m. and the CSX train count was 11 with three trains having gone west on the Columbus Sub and none going east. The Mt. Victory Sub had seen three westbounds and five eastbounds.

It was a hot, humid day with temperatures reaching into the upper 80s. Both railroads had heat patrols out. CSX also had a work zone on the Columbus Sub south of Marion.

Aside from two Union Pacific units on the L132, we did not see any other foreign power.

Nine ARRC members made the trip and our party swelled to 15 if you count former members and guests who were on hand.

The Marion Union Station Association opened the depot around noon and Pete gave tours of the signal collection and AC tower.

We spent much of our time in the station’s breezeway, which, thankfully, had shade and a southerly breeze for much of the day.

The day started out mostly sunny, but by late afternoon it had become mostly cloudy with dark clouds gathering to the northwest that never developed into a storm. We did briefly get some light rain.

We filled the lull periods with stories about past excursions and railfan outings. We also decided that next year’s longest day will be held in Bellevue.

For more photographs from the 2016 ARRC longest day outing, click on the link below:

https://akronrrclub.wordpress.com/about/activities/2016-longest-day-in-marion/

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

10 Years Ago Today Was a Most Memorable ARRC Photography Outing to New London, Greenwich

May 28, 2016
"That looks like an F40." And it was, leading the CSX executive train at Greenwich on May 28, 2006.

“That looks like an F40.” And it was, leading the CSX executive train at Greenwich on May 28, 2006.

Ten years ago today several members of the Akron Railroad Club gathered for what was one of my top five outings in the nearly 13 years I’ve been in the club.

It was a trip to New London and Greenwich that was ideal because of its good weather, diverse mixture of trains and a few pleasant surprises.

When the idea was mentioned during a club meeting about holding a Memorial Day Weekend outing, club members initially settled on going to Greenwich.

But Marty Surdyk said he planned to spend the morning in New London at the above-ground reservoir there and would go to Greenwich in the afternoon.

At the time, I had never railfanned in either location so I followed Marty’s lead and began the day at the reservoir.

CSX traffic was steady throughout the morning. Most members who participated in the outing began in New London, although a few spent all day in Greenwich.

At one point a flock of vulture was flying above us, which as you might expect led to some joking. We learned from Peter Bowler that a group of such birds is known as a “kettle.” I’ve yet to hear that term used since that day.

In putting together my program for the ARRC 80th anniversary event I had a chance to review my photos from that day and had forgotten that among other things we saw a caboose on the rear of an eastbound train.

Another train featured a BNSF warbonnet with its motive power running mates consisting of a Norfolk Southern unit and a TFM locomotive.

Most of our group at New London spent their time atop the reservoir or at its base.

Tim Krogg was one of those who spent the morning down below and about 1 p.m. he started getting impatient.

“When are we going to get some (expletive) lunch?” he bellowed up at us.

With that we descended to ground level and headed into town to McDonalds’s, where we could eat and keep an eye on the CSX mainline.

After lunch, we went back to the reservoir but shortly thereafter decided to head for Greenwich.

I didn’t know how to get there so Marty said, “follow me.” I did and the route he took was one dusty road after another.

In Greenwich we continued to have good luck and even caught an eastbound Wheeling & Lake Erie manifest freight with GP35 No. 2662 in the lead, one of the railroad’s two “Kodachrome” or “painted ladies” locomotives.

But the sighting of the day was a westbound train on CSX that went straight through toward Crestline and Galion.

We had seen a headlight and heard a symbol that no one recognized. As Marty eyed the train through his telephoto lens he said, “that looks like an F40.”

I didn’t believe it but as the train got closer it turned out to be a three-car passenger train that was, indeed, led by an F40PH.

It was my first and thus far only sighting of the CSX executive train.

We speculated it was en route to Indianapolis to pick up VIPs who had attended the Indy 500 earlier that day.

I never forgot how much I enjoyed that outing and I wanted to do it again, but it took a few years before I could get it onto the club’s schedule.

The date was set for May 26, 2013. Unlike the 2006 outing, this one was a total bust. I was the only person to show up.

As I wrote this, I thought about what made that 2006 outing so enjoyable. There were a number of reasons, most noticeably the fellowship of being with fellow rail fans. I would have enjoyed seeing and photographing those same trains had I been there by myself, but it is more enjoyable to do it in the company of other like-minded people.

It also was my first time to railfan in New London and Greenwich. Although I’ve been back to both places numerous times in the intervening years, like anything else in life once you do it several times it just doesn’t have the same excitement of discovery feel that it had the first time.

Beyond that, there are some events that seem destined to be special because of the set of circumstances that surround them and what happens during the day.

That decade ago outing in New London and Greenwich was one of those. It cannot be duplicated in quite the same way as it played out, but at least I’ll always have my memories.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A Helm Financial, a.k.a. HLCX SD40 trails on this westbound manifest freight. No. 9039 was built in April 1970 for the Louisville & Nashville.

A Helm Financial, a.k.a. HLCX, SD40 trails on this westbound manifest freight. No. 9039 was built in April 1970 for the Louisville & Nashville.

The typical motive power on a typical CSX stack train.

The typical motive power on a typical CSX stack train.

It was just like old times, but we were still surprised to see a caboose on the rear of this eastbound CSX train.

We were still surprised to see a caboose on the rear of this eastbound CSX train even if it was battered and vandalized.

What a motive power consist this train had.

What a motive power consist this train had. That is Peter Bowler making a photograph at the far left.

It is always a good outing when you can catch a warbonnet leading a train.

It is always a good outing when you can catch a warbonnet leading a train.

Even some of the clouds seemed special.

Even some of the clouds seemed special.

A special W&LE sighting in Greenwich.

A colorful  W&LE sighting in Greenwich.

Many of us spent most of the morning atop the reservoir.

Many of us spent most of the morning atop the reservoir.

Longest Day Outing in Fostoria is Next Sunday

June 17, 2015

This year’s Akron Railroad Club longest day outing on Sunday, June 21 will take us to the new railfan park in Fostoria.

The self-described iron triangle of Ohio sees around 100 trains every 24 hours, most of them on the two mainlines of CSX that intersect there.

But Norfolk Southern also sends through a fair number of trains on its Fostoria District, which intersections both CSX lines.

The railfan park is new addition, having opened in 2014 after being in the works for a few years. The park is located at 499 S. Poplar Street and features a pavilion and restrooms.

It is open 24/7 and has designated parking space for RVs and motor homes. However, there are no electrical of sanitation hookups for either.

However, electrical outlets are available on the viewing platforms for re-charging radios and laptop computers. The park is surrounded by rail lines.

The busiest route is the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline that cuts an east-west path through the city. How owned by CSX, this is the former Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of the B&O.

The other CSX route is the north-south former Chesapeake & Ohio route.

The NS route is a former Nickel Plate Road mainline between Chicago and Buffalo, New York.

It crosses the ex-C&O north of the railfan park and crosses the ex-B&O west of it. All of the crossing are at grade.

Some CSX trains take connecting tracks between the ex-C&O and ex-B&O routes.

Until March 31, the three sets of diamonds in Fostoria were controlled by operators in F Tower.

But control of rail traffic in Fostoria has since been shifted CSX IP Dispatcher in Indianapolis, who also controls the ex-B&O line.

IP dispatchers also control CSX traffic at the intermodal center in North Baltimore and the tracks leading in and out of Willard.

Radio frequencies in Fostoria are as follows: CSX road channel, 160.230; CSX Willard Sub dispatcher, 161.520; CSX Columbus Sub dispatcher, 160.320; CSX Pemberville Sub dispatcher, 160.635; CSX yard channel, 161.160; NS Fostoria District road and dispatcher, 161.250; NS yard channel, 160.590; NS mixing center channel, 161.490.

Talking defect detectors are located on NS at milepost 275.4 (Ilers) and 285.5 (Arcadia). CSX has a defect detector at milepost 31.1 (Bascom).

CSX traffic will be a mixture of intermodal, auto racks, manifest freight, coal, crude oil and ethanol.

Photo opportunities are good to great. The park is located next to the NS tracks by the diamonds with the former C&O.

The park designers took advantage of the best lighting for photos to locate the park’s pavilion.

There are also some interesting photo sites in the region around Fostoria.

If you journey north of town along the ex-C&O may find old style signal bridges that will soon be replaced by modern signals.

In mid to late afternoon, a northbound train on the former C&O looks good passing  under the signal bridge and the grain elevator at Rising Sun, the first town north of Fostoria, just off U.S. 23.

A south bound on the ex-C&O about the same time can be done with the elevator at Alvada just  off U.S. 23 south of town.

The longest day begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

Those still there in the evening will likely gather for dinner before heading home.

For more information the Fostoria railfan park, visit http://fostoriairontriangle.com/

11th Annual Dave McKay Day is Saturday in Berea

March 30, 2015

Akron Railroad Club members will gather this Saturday in Berea to take in the action on Norfolk Southern and CSX during the 11th annual Dave McKay Day.

The all-day outing is named after the longest-serving ARRC president. Berea, a suburb of Cleveland, was one of Dave’s favorite locations to watch and photograph trains.

About 80 trains a day pass through Berea on a given day with a mixture of intermodal, manifest, coal, tanker and auto rack trains.

With any luck at all, we might see the Wheeling & Lake Erie train that uses CSX trackage rights from Wellington and continues on Norfolk Southern to Campbell Road Yard.

If we are really lucky, we might get a Norfolk Southern heritage locomotive or two. Last year’s McKay netted the Wabash heritage unit, although it was trailing.

Early birds might even catch one of the four Amtrak trains that pass through. All are scheduled to reach Berea during the darkness hours, but if one is running late it might bet to BE around sunrise.

Given that this is late April, the weather can be unpredictable. We had everything from snow and cold to a warm sunny day.

A tradition of the McKay Day outing is the taking of a group portrait during the afternoon next to the plaque honoring Dave.

Some members plan to have dinner at the nearby Berea Union Depot Taverne, which is housed in the former Big Four passenger station. We expect to have dinner at about 6 p.m.

As always, the outing begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves in the evening. Come early and stay late while enjoying railroad action at Northeast Ohio’s No. 1 hotspot.