Posts Tagged ‘Chessie System’

One Day at Valley Yard in Akron

September 21, 2022

It is April 19, 1980, and former Western Maryland 6418 is switching its train in the former Baltimore & Ohio Valley Yard in Akron, which could be seen west of Arlington Road. The yard was small, but offers much to see. Today this yard is gone and trains rarely operate past here on the ex-B&O Valley Line.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Barberton Two for Tuesday

September 6, 2022

Here are two similar views taken in Barberton by different cameras and lenses, so the scene is somewhat different.

In the top image, Conrail 3651 is westbound on Chessie System trackage on July 20, 1980. The train is going to Warwick and from there either to Massillon or Orrville and west. This was taken with a 50mm lens, thus giving a wider scene.  

In the bottom image BNSF 7810 leads the Q016 eastbound on the CSX New Castle Subdivision on June 2, 2018. This image was taken with a telephoto zoom lens.

Here are some of the differences. In the newer photo CSX has one set of tracks, there is a different relocated bridge, the Akron & Barberton Belt water tower is gone, and an Akron Barberton Cluster switcher is visible.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

‘Wild Mary’ Two for Tuesday

August 23, 2022

Let’s crank up the wayback machine again and look for locomotives wearing the livery of the Western Maryland. In the top image, WM No. 3797 is westbound in Akron on Oct. 16, 1976, during the Chessie System era. In the bottom image, WM 7548 might be wearing WM paint, but it’s a Chessie System locomotive working in Akron on Dec. 24, 1976.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

C&O Motive Power Two for Tuesday

August 16, 2022

Still wearing its Chesapeake & Ohio livery, Chessie System GP35 No. 3524 is working in Akron on June 22, 1980, in the top image. In the bottom image, C&O SD40 No. 7515 is in Warwick on Oct. 18, 1984.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Executives, Author William Howes Dies

August 2, 2022

Former railroad executive and railroad historian William F. Howes, Jr., has died. He was 83.

Howes worked for the Baltimore & Ohio, Chessie System and CSX, and was known for his work in the passenger department of B&O/C&O.

An obituary posted on the Trains magazine website credited Howes with being instrumental in the development of the Chessie System Chess-C cat logo in 1972, and in overseeing the planning and operation of nearly 100 Chessie Steam Special excursions in 1977-78. He had a hand in designing the yellow, blue, and vermilion locomotive livery introduced in 1972.

He also served as president of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society from 1994 to 2003.

Howes great up in Yonkers, New York, and graduated from Carnegie Tech with a civil engineering degree in 1961.

He began his railroad career as a structural draftsman for the New Haven Railroad in 1960. He later studied for a master’s degree in civil engineering at Purdue University.

Howes joined the B&O in 1963. During his career he worked in the operating, industrial engineering, passenger services, casualty prevention, and executive departments.

In 1965, Howes was appointed assistant to the trainmaster for B&O’s Akron-Chicago Division. He would join the passenger department of B&O/C&O in May 1967 and become its director in 1969.

For the final trips of the Capitol Limited, which departed Chicago and Washington on April 30, 1971, Howes arranged to bring back for one night the famed B&O salad bowl in the dining car and found a few Deer Park spring water jugs, another B&O tradition.

The last runs of Nos. 5 and 6 fielded additional sleeping cars. The trains also carried dome cars.

Howes told the Baltimore Sun in an interview more than three decades later that the railroad was unsure if the trips that began April 30 would be the last ones because of a court challenge to the inauguration of Amtrak on May 1.

Riding No. 6, Howes said he learned at Martinsburg, West Virginia, that the court challenge had failed. “Then we knew it was the end. It was really quite emotional,” he told the Sun.

Howes noted that at the time Amtrak did not plan to operate any B&O passenger trains or use its rails for trains it did plan to operate.

Therefore, some B&O passenger employees with 30 to 40 years seniority were seeing their careers as they had known them come to an end.

Howes retired in 1988 from CSX as vice-president research and analysis. However, he continued to work as a consultant for the railroad industry and government agencies.

Aside from his work for R&LHS, Howes served as president of the Chesapeake Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts in the Baltimore-Washington area.

In 2015, R&LHS awarded Howes its Gerald M. Best Senior Achievement Award.

Howes was a co-author of The American Railroad (with Joe Welsh and Jim Boyd; Travel by Pullman (with Joe Welsh); and The Cars of Pullman (with Joe Welsh and Kevin Holland).

To read the full Trains obituary on Howes, visit

Ex-CSX CEO Hays Watkins Dies

July 31, 2022

Former Chessie System and CSX CEO Hays T. Watkins Jr. has died. He was 96.

Watkins was a Kentucky native who oversaw the merger of the Chessie and Seaboard Coast Line into CSX.

Hays T. Watkins

While serving as chairman of the Chessie, Watkins in 1978 approached Seaboard CEO Prime F. Osborn about a merger.

The two agreed on a deal in which each man would serve as co-CEO of the newly formed company. The board of directors and top management team was split 50-50 between former Chessie and Seaboard members.

“That,” Watkins would say later, “is why we had our 50/50 merger; Prime and I agreed on everything, and if the two of us didn’t agree, we didn’t do it.”

Osborn retired two years after the merger, leaving Watkins as the sole CSX CEO.

Watkins retired in 1991, bringing to an end a 40-year railroad career that also included serving as an executive of the Chesapeake & Ohio where he was vice president-finance and later, president and CEO.

During his time at C&O, Watkins diversified the railroad by buying a gas company as a hedge against rising fuel costs, a pipeline company and a barge line.

He oversaw the formation of Sea-Land Service, a trucking company that also transported shipping containers.

Born in Fern Creek, Kentucky, near Louisville, Watkins earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green Business University (now Western Kentucky University) in 1947 and a master’s degree from Northwestern University in 1948.

Still in ‘Wild Mary’ Colors’

July 14, 2022

It may appear to be a Western Maryland unit, but at the time this image was made in 1978, this F7A was carrying a Chessie System number. It was built for the WM in December 1952 as No. 242. It shown here in Willard on July 30, 1978.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Still Wearing its Chessie Roster Number

June 29, 2022

Western Maryland No. 7165 has its Chessie System roster number as it sits in the sun in Willard on Sept. 2, 1978.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Chessie Geep in Akron

June 24, 2022

Baltimore & Ohio GP40-2 No. 4114 is in Akron on May 18, 1977. The unit was built in September 1972. It would later become CSX 6014.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Between Assignments in Massillon

June 16, 2022

Western Maryland 5956 is in Massillon on June 11, 1978. Note that by now it is wearing Chessie system colors. It is parked in front of the long-ago removed ex-Baltimore & Ohio freight house along with a caboose.

Photograph by Robert Farkas