Posts Tagged ‘Berea Ohio’

Getting Lucky (Twice) in Berea

August 23, 2021

I was able to witness Marty Surdyk’s completion of his Norfolk heritage units photo collection when he caught No. 20, the Central of Georgia No. 8101, in Berea on Sunday.

It was leading train 11N, which operates from Doremus, New Jersey, to Sterling Heights, Michigan, in the Detroit area.

The 11N came through shortly after 11 a.m.

We also were able to get DC to AC conversion unit 4000, one of the NS “Blues Brothers.”

It was the second unit of the motive power consist of the 13Q, a Conway to Elkhart manifest freight that operates via Bellevue and Fort Wayne.

The 13Q preceeded the 11N by about 20 minutes.

As Marty indicated in his article, we were in Berea on late Sunday morning before watching a Frontier League baseball game in Avon Lake.

The Crushers center fielder was Shawon Dunston Jr. You may remember his father played shortstop with the Chicago Cubs from 1985-1995. 

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trio From Berea

August 18, 2021

Here are three trains passing through Berea on April 16, 2005. Although that was a Saturday, it was not an Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day, which was traditionally held on the first Saturday in April. In fact the first McKay Day was held two weeks before these images were made and it was snowing heavily that day. Note that in 2005 former Conrail locomotives in their original livery were still roaming Norfolk Southern.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Another Chilly But Sunny Dave McKay Day

May 31, 2021
The first train of the day was an eastbound NS stack train.
The second train was an eastbound CSX train.
The Herbert C. Jackson with some familiar Cleveland landmarks behind it makes it way upriver on the Cuyahoga River.
The Reading heritage unit leads the 21E at Hudson.

The annual Akron Railroad Club Dave Mckay Day at Berea was chilly but had sunny skies all day. 

Four members attended including Bill Kubas, Paul Woodring, Dave Kachinko and myelf.

I counted 21 trains during the time I was there which was 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  It was a fair mix of NS and CSX traffic although NS had a few more trains.

No heritage units went by although NS 4001, one of the Blues Brothers, trailed on the 12Q.

The Reading heritage unit did lead westbound 21E but that didn’t show up until after 8 p.m.

After leaving at 3 p.m., I went downtown to do some boat chasing. The Herbert C Jackson was heading upriver and I caught it several times. 

I also ran into Roger Durfee during this chase so that made five ARRC members out today.

After that I went to Hudson and caught three more trains including the aforementioned 21E with the Reading heritage.  That brought the day’s total to 24 trains and one lake boat.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

One Day at Berea in June 1971

April 25, 2021

The wayback machine has transported us back to June 1971 in Berea. An eastbound Penn Central mail train is passing BE Tower.

There is much to see here that is of historical significance and much you can’t see anymore. Let’s start with E7A No. 4034. Built for the New York Central in March 1939, it wasn’t all that long ago that it was pulling passenger trains. Now it is in mail train service, which wasn’t a bad place to be given how mail trains operated.

Look closer at the 4034. It may have a PC herald on its nose but its NYC “cigar band” stripe is still easily visible.

If you look back in the consist of the train you’ll find a rider coach and a string of Flexi-Vans, which were a NYC specialty.

You’ve probably also noticed the type G signal heads that lasted into the Norfolk Southern era on the Chicago Line.

Now look in the door of BE Tower. Yes, that is a child waving along with the operator. We don’t know the identity of the kid but it might be the photographer’s son.

Back then not only did towers have operators but some of them could also be quite friendly and accommodating.

Photograph by Richard Jacobs

RRE to Meet Trackside in Berea on April 10

April 5, 2021

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts plans to resume in-person meetings this month.

The club has announced it will meet on April 10 in the west end of the parking lot for the Berea Union Depot Restaurant.

The outdoor meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. Among the topics to be discussed during the meeting are the future of the club’s newsletter and future activities for this year.

Publication of the newsletter was suspended last year and the printing shop where it had been printed has since closed.

The club has been offered the opportunity to attend the picnic scheduled for July in Cuyahoga Falls at Waterworks Park to be held by the Akron Railroad Club.

The RRE expects to resume meeting next month at its regular meeting site at the Fraternal Order of Police hall in Westlake.

Busy Morning at Berea During RRE Turkey Shoot

December 8, 2020

As I pulled into the parking lot at Berea on Thanksgiving morning across from BE Tower the clock in my Jeep read 6:33 a.m.

Why was I up so early on a holiday morning? Some traditions must go on no matter what is trying to impede them. 

Since the 1970s members of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts group in Cleveland have been meeting in Berea on Thanksgiving morning for the annual turkey shoot.

In past years they would meet for breakfast at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant and spend the morning photographing trains in Berea.

I came directly to Berea from home due to some scratching on the CSX radio channel. They might have a train to run.

Turns out they didn’t. It must have been the train working at Parma Yard that I heard as I headed out to the car from my apartment.

Today was one of those days; it was heavily overcast with a light mist coming down.

There would be no daybreak, no dawning of a new day. Days like this just happen.

The scanner was quiet, almost too quiet. Hunger drove me over to a nearby Dunkin Donuts for a trip through the drive through.

A bacon, egg and cheese bagel, and two frosted donuts would have to suffice until our turkey day feast at 1 p.m.

The quiet was briefly broken by the passing of a hi-rail truck on NS Track No. 1.

Then the NS Toledo East channel began to scratch. This could be a train coming.

As the radio signal got stronger, it sounded like “2014, clear, 200, two east.”

Something was coming, but I just was not sure what.

After the eastbound called “clear, 195, two east,” the Cleveland East Dispatcher cleared up things.

The train was 24Z and was going to be held for a couple of minutes at CP Max for the hi-railer to clear up at CP Drawbridge in downtown Cleveland.

The 24Z would go over to No. 1 track at CP Max. The dispatcher also mentioned that 11N and 414 were at the drawbridge patiently waiting for 24Z to pass.

Also about now 15N radioed in for permission into Rockport Yard. The yardmaster gave them yarding instructions. There would be action today.

The 24Z behind NS 4352 plus four other units glided past at 7:39 a.m.

The 11N, a solid auto rack train was next at 8:13 a.m. behind NS 2766 doing it solo.

A few minutes behind 11N was loaded coke train 414 behind NS 1207 plus one. They were OSed at 8:37 a.m.

CSX finally came to life with the passing of a K Train. This solid train of tankers carrying 1267 placards, which is crude oil if I’m not mistaken, passed by westbound at 8:58 a.m. behind CSX 35 plus one.

The 9 o’clock hour was led off by a CSX eastbound at 9:14 a.m. Q158 with double stacks was led by CSX 3185 plus one.

Fifteen minutes behind the stacker was CSX auto rack train Q204, which was lead by CSX 5359 plus one.

The latter minutes of the 9 o’clock hour saw a flurry of action on both lines.

 It began with Q634, a manifest freight eastbound. As it lumbered by, seemingly forever, CSX ran Q517 west on the other track.

While this was happening NS 15N was heading west with a huge consist.

On the other side of the 15N a westbound NS intermodel train went by. It was not quite four at a time, but close.

For those keeping score, Q634 had CSX 3224 plus one. Q517 had what sounded like CSX 809 as its leader. I didn’t catch the engine number as it went by or catch the engine numbers for 15N or the intermodal.

All this happened in a seven-minute stretch from 9:43 to 9:50 a.m. It would take until 10:13 a.m for the next train to go by, another CSX K train with 1267 on the tanks.

This one was lead by BNSF 5846 solo on the lead and Canadian Pacifuc 8145 solo on the rear.

Ten minutes later NS 21Z passed behind 4263 plus one. The 15N was being held at CP 197 for 21Z and the earlier intermodal that passed it as it came past BE Tower.

The 15N crew radioed in for a “how long we going to be here? We’ve got Olmsted Falls completely blocked.”

I’m not sure where their head end was, but the last few cars were still in the interlocking at BE.

“”You’ll go west after 21Z. Recrew at Fairlane.”

A very short and inefficient 26E was next at 10:31 a.m. with 8085 plus one. Ten minutes behind them was I2K, a second section of 22K, which rolled by behind NS 4111 plus one.

I had 11 a.m. pegged as my departure time, but scratching on the CSX radio channel as the bells at St. Adelbert’s Church sounded the hour kept me there for a few more minutes.

CSX has another K Train, tankers with 1267 placards, the third one of the day. This one was led by CSX 5378 plus one. It was OSed at 11:08 a.m.

There was more action in the pipeline with NS 309 working Rockport. Akron Railroad Club president Todd Dillon texted me that NS had an oil train coming west at Hudson where he was hanging out.

But it was now time for me to leave. Attendance at this year’s turkey shoot was down from previous years, which is not surprising due to the virus concerns.

Yet it was still an enjoyable morning of train watching at a busy location. Let’s hope for better times next year.

Article by Marty Surdyk

When Big Blue Used Cabooses

August 29, 2020

The way back machine has transported us to a time when railroads still used cabooses. We’ve landed in Berea on April 20, 1985, in time to see a passing train with a caboose.

It may not be obvious but Conrail No. 21237 is special. It was one of 113 N-21 cabooses that the railroad ordered.

It would be the only order of cabooses that Conrail would place.

The N-21 class were built by Fruit Growers Express and had additional seating to accommodate deadheading crews.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Berea Train Watching to be Featured on WVIZ

August 6, 2020

Train watching in Berea will be the subject of a program set to air on Friday night on WVIZ-TV in Cleveland during the program Applause.

It will be the second time this year that Berea has been featured. An earlier story was broadcast in May by National Public Radio affiliate WCPN-FM and rebroadcast on Wednesday.

The earlier story featured the views of railfan  Joe Kurilec and indicated that Berea is one of the most popular railfanning site in the country because mainlines of CSX and Norfolk Southern pass each other there.

Kirlec said in the story that he grew up along the former Nickel Plate Road tracks along West 27th Street in Cleveland and his grandmother would taken him down to the tracks when he was a child to watch trains.

The story noted that most railfans park at the far west end of the parking lot for a restaurant now housed in the former Big Four depot in Berea.

The story said as many as 100 trains a day pass through Berea, a figure that is dated given that the number of trains operated by Class 1 railroads has fallen during following the onset of the precision scheduled railroading operating model combined with the COVID-19 pandemic that has depressed rail freight traffic.

The ‘Unofficial’ McKay Day

May 4, 2020

Q166 appears with its customary Canadian Pacific motive power.

Jason Worcester (standing), Dennis Taksar and Alex Bruchac watch the reduced rail action in Berea.

Alex Bruchac takes it easy as a westbound CSX train approaches in Berea.

This year’s Dave McKay Day event in Berea was officially cancelled, but unofficially it was a success. Six current and former members attended.

At least that’s who I saw; it’s possible there were others.

In attendance were Todd Dillon, Brian Szemon Alex Bruchec, Dennis Taksar, Jason Worcester and Richard Thompson.

There were many others there as well whether they knew it was Dave McKay day or not.

The parking lots were full as it turned out to be a pretty nice day although a bit windy with a high of 73 degrees.

We ended up with about 24 trains that we either saw or knew about.

Two Norfolk Southern heritage paint units and an Operation Lifesaver went by but in true club tradition we missed them all.

The Erie on the 15N arrived at 8:15 a.m. and the Central of Georgia was on 14N, which went by during lunch break.

An Operation Lifesaver unit was on 24Z which also went by before anyone arrived.

That left the most interesting power on CSX trains Q166 and Q165 which are the Canadian Pacific run-through trains.

The Q166 had CP power while Q165 had CP and Union Pacific power.

Two oil or ethanol trains 66Z and 66J, which would have run on the Fort Wayne Line a couple weeks ago but now run through Bellevue and Cleveland, added to the train count.

Missing from the train count was 22K which now takes the connection at Vermillion and bypasses Berea.

We left around 5 p.m. as there was only one westbound train on both NS and CSX which were still east of Cleveland.

On Sunday morning I returned for a few hours and got six NS and one CSX train.

In summary traffic levels are way down from previous years.

Part of this is due to the precision scheduled railroading operating model that favors longer and fewer trains, but part is the downturn in the economy with rail freight traffic levels dropping 30 percent or more in the first quarter.

A couple trains were huge. NS Train 310, for example, had two mid train DPUs and was basically two full-length trains combined.

The lone CSX train on Sunday morning was an empty tank and grain train combined.

Had these trains run separately, which they easily could have been, the train count would have increased.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

RRE to Hold Annual Turkey Shoot in Berea

November 25, 2019

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will hold its annual Turkey Shoot outing in Berea on Nov. 28.

The long standing event is open to everyone and anyone.

It begins when the first person shows up in Berea and ends when the last one heads for home.

Typically, an RRE member is there from sunrise to about noon.

There will be an optional breakfast that morning between 7 and 8 a.m. at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant at the corner of West 130th Street and Brookpark Road.