Posts Tagged ‘B&O in Akron Ohio’

B&O F7A in Akron

October 29, 2020

Baltimore & Ohio F7A No. 4590 along with an F7B is shown in Akron in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The location appears to be the mainline above the B&O shops.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

What Was the First Thing You Noticed?

June 16, 2020

When you initially glanced over this image what was the first thing that you noticed?

Was it the Baltimore & Ohio F7A No. 4529 or was it the boxcar behind it?

Whatever it was both feature something you won’t see anymore at Voris Street in Akron.

You won’t see F units in motive power consists anymore and you also won’t see the words “cushion underframe” on boxcars.

Yet were common sights that many might have taken for granted when this image was made in the early 1970s.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Working B&O’s Diplomat in Akron

December 26, 2019

Baltimore & Ohio F7A No. 4550 is working at Akron Union Depot in the late 1960s. On the other track is B&O’s westbound Diplomat.

No. 4550 and F7B No. 5478 have cut off their train to add another car to the consist.

The Diplomat in this era typically had a coach, a food bar coach and two or more head end cars.

In early January 1970 the Diplomat and its eastbound counterpart, the Gateway, were discontinued west of Akron.

East of Akron they continued to operate to Washington using the name Shenandoah.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

What an Interesting History This Unit Has Had

October 29, 2019

EMD E units and F units were once commonly assigned to passenger and freight trains in Northeast Ohio.

Even in the early Conrail era of the late 1970s F units were standard motive power.

But today those units largely have been scrapped or relegated to museums or tourist railroads.

Shown is a Chessie System freight headed by Baltimore & Ohio F7A No. 4553 near Voris Street in Akron in mid-1973. It is passing beneath the Thornton Street Bridge.

B&O/Chesapeake & Ohio F units were becoming unusual by the time that this image was made.

This particular unit has had an interesting history. It was built in 1951 as No. 293A before being renumbered 4553 in 1957.

It continued to work for the B&O/C&O for more than another decade before being sold on May 5, 1975, to Morrison-Knudsen.

No. 4553 sat idle in Boise, Idaho, for a few years before being rebuilt into an all purpose control unit for push-pull service.

In the process its prime mover was removed and replaced by a 6 cylinder  Cummins Diesel engine connected to a generator to create 480 volts of electricity for head-end power to passenger cars.

The traction motors were removed and replaced with idler wheel sets. Most of the unit’ accessories, including the control stand, toilet, sand boxes and lights, were left intact.

The car body received repairs and was painted orange and silver in the livery of its next operator, Maryland Area Rail Commuter. MARC gave the unit roster No. 7100.

Now a passenger unit, No. 7100 was released from the M-K shops on April 10, 1981, and delivered to Washington for revenue service.

M-K also rebuilt four other F7A units for the Maryland Department of Transportation for MARC service, but those locomotives retained their original prime movers.

Those four MARC units were later traded back to M-K for credit on an order for five rebuilt GP39-W locomotives in the 1990s.

No. 7100 in the meantime was removed from service in late 1998 due to deterioration. By that time it had been relegated to backup service.

But it wasn’t done yet. MARC management decided to rebuild No. 7100 yet again so back to Boise it went. By then M-K had been renamed Boise Locomotive.

The rebuild took place over the next year and cost $900,000, a sum that raised a few eyebrows as to whether it was a worthwhile investment to make on a locomotive that had been built in the early 1950s.

The rebuilding involved replacing components with their modern counterparts, including a Cummins KTA19G4 6-cylinder diesel engine to drive the generator creating HEP.

No. 7100 received cab signals so it could operate on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor if needed.

Also installed was a PULSE III event recorder and idler wheels with “self adjusting single head brakes.”

A new Q-TRON computer controlled wheel slip\slide system managed the braking effectiveness with individual censors on each wheel.

The traditional control stand was replaced with a newer model EMD control stand.

The 7100 arrived in Baltimore in August 1999 ready for revenue service.

It was donated to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore in 2010 where it sits today.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

The Large and Small of It

October 25, 2019

Railroads were not always consistent in applying their liveries to diesel locomotives.

Perhaps a shop didn’t have the right specs, didn’t have the needed supplies or had received incomplete instructions.

A good example of this inconsistency can be seen in the above images that represent small and large sizes of the herald of the Baltimore & Ohio on the nose of two locomotives.

In the top image, B&O GP38 No. 3901 is shown in Akron on Sept. 9, 1979, with a large herald on its nose.

In the bottom image, GP35 No. 3511 sports a smaller emblem as it sits in Willard on September 2, 1978.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Far From ‘Wild Mary’ Territory

July 21, 2019

The Western Maryland was an 800-mile regional railroad that operated largely in its namesake state with lines extending into Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Toward the end of its life in 1969, the WM painted its locomotives in an eye-catching red and white look known as the “circus” livery.

Prior to that it sported a more subdued look of black with gold stripes with the railroad name in speed lettering.

The “Wild Mary” as some called it, was acquired by the Chessie System in 1973 but continued to operate independently until May 1975.

Absorption into the Chessie meant that WM motive power was sent throughout the Chessie network.

As was the Chessie practice, some units continued to have WM reporting marks even after being repainted into Chessie colors.

The images above show WM locomotives in various iterations of how it appeared during the Chessie era.

The top image was made of a westbound train near downtown Akron in October 1976.

The bottom image was made in Clinton (Warwick) on April 13, 1986.

Photographs by Robert Farkas


Akron Junction Getting that Empty Look

November 21, 2016


I mentioned at the November Akron Railroad Club meeting that most of the tracks at Akron Junction that once linked the Valley Line of the Baltimore & Ohio with the Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline of the B&O have been removed by CSX sometime within the past year.

The January issue of the ARRC eBulletin will have an article and photographs about the changes at Akron Junction, but here is a view of what it looks like these days.

In the photograph above, the gondola is marooned on the East Wye Track, the rails on each side of the car having been removed. Presumably, this car will some day be scrapped in place.

Also removed has been the other leg of the wye, which was called the Hole Track or PC&T connection. A small portion of the connection is still in at the Eastwood Avenue crossing.

Just beyond the far right end of the gondola is an empty space where the two legs of the wye from the Valley Line headed toward the connection with the Chicago main at BD Tower near Evans Avenue.

The coaling tower still stands, probably because of the expense of removing it.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

An Akron Factory Gone More than 30 Years

March 24, 2016


Baltimore & Ohio No. 4022 is heading westbound through Akron on a sunny March 1980 afternoon. It is passing the long-removed mattress factory that used to stand on the northeast corner of East Voris Street and Sweitzer Avenue. Not too many would recognize that this photograph was taken in Akron because the factory has been gone for 30+ years.

As for the different number boards and different “4” on the cab side, I believe the 4022 had just returned from being leased to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

Where Were You in October 1969?

January 9, 2014


Baltimore & Ohio F7A No. 7034 heads a westbound freight past the B&O’s passenger platform at  Akron Union Depot. When this image was made in October 1969, Akron was down to just six passenger trains, of which four used this platform. Another pair was on the Erie Lackawanna and those trains had less than three months to live. Within two years, Amtrak would arrive and Akron UD would close.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Akron Union Depot Still Looked Like a Station

January 7, 2014


Most of you know this view looking north from off the East Exchange Street bridge as it is today.

Sadly, it was very different in the late 1960s. To the left is the Erie Lackawanna passenger station access to the platform and the platform itself.

In the center is westbound Baltimore & Ohio No. 3822 and its train. To the right is an eastbound TOFC. Akron Union Depot still has a platform and access to it and there are so many other details to be seen. Thankfully, there is still this image to remind us of Akron’s past.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas