Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland’

One Day at the Cleveland Steel Mills

September 22, 2021

At the time this photo was made, there was a public road that ran in front of this scene. Republic Steel 345, River Terminal 92, and Republic Steel 200 are in Cleveland on Oct. 10, 1983.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Early in the PC Era at Collinwood

September 19, 2021

You can’t tell from this angle but that is a former Pennsylvania Railroad FP7 sitting at the locomotive service rack at Collinwood Yard in Cleveland in either 1968 or 1969. That would make it a Penn Central locomotive although not but too long.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Retired N&W Manager Once Assigned to Cleveland Has Died

August 18, 2021

A retired Norfolk Southern executive who once worked as a manger for the Norfolk & Western in Cleveland has died.

Louis M. Newton, 94, died Aug. 13 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He was an authority on N&W steam locomotives and wrote frequently on that and other topics.

Mr. Newton joined the N&W in 1949 after he graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Aside from Cleveland, he also held N&W management positions in Portsmouth, Ohio; Bluefield, West Virginia; and Crewe and Roanoke, Virginia.

He retired from Norfolk Southern as an assistant vice president-transportation planning in 1987.

During his time at the N&W, Mr. Newton persuaded the railroad to purchase a former Pennsylvania Railroad line between Cincinnati and New Castle, Indiana.

Trains then used a former Lake Erie & Western line that N&W inherited when it acquired the Nickel Plate Road to Muncie, Indiana.

This created a shorter route between Roanoke and Decatur, Illinois, rather than operating via Bellevue, Ohio.

The former PRR and NKP track between Cincinnati and Muncie because the New Castle District.

N&W later upgraded the track between Muncie and Fort Wayne, Indiana, to create a Chicago-Atlanta route that remains a crucial traffic lane for NS today.

Mr. Newton wrote a four-volume Rails Remembered series that was a somewhat autobiographical review of his life experiences and views of rail transportation.

Something Different in Cleveland

July 16, 2021

These are Conrail locomotives although they don’t look like them. No. 6724 is an ex-Lehigh Valley Alco 628), No. 6754 is a former Reading Alco 630 while the 6731 is an ex-LV Alco C-628. The units were photographed in Cleveland on May 14, 1977.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Amtrak Says 3C+D Could Start in 2 Years

May 20, 2021

Amtrak service between Cleveland and Cincinnati via Columbus and Dayton could be up and running in as little as two years, company executives said this week.

Amtrak Chairman William Flynn and President Steven Gardner joined several Ohio elected and civic officials in an online roundtable designed to build support for the proposed service.

However, getting the service out of the station hinges on Congress appropriating the billions the passenger carrier is seeking to develop a series of new corridors across the country.

Gardner also noted that Amtrak needs to negotiate agreements with the host railroads whose tracks it will use on the 250-mile route.

“We believe we could start initial service, maybe one round-trip or a few, without much initial investment, using current track speeds,” Gardner said. “We believe we could get started here in hopefully what would be a relatively short period of a couple of years.”

In the meantime, what was once called the 3C corridor is now being branded as the 3C+D route to include Dayton in the nomenclature.

Garnder said the length of the route is is the sweet spot for successful intercity passenger rail service.

“This service is the type of service we should have for major cities, and for an important state like Ohio,” he said. “Frankly, it should have happened a long time ago.”

The 3C+D corridor is part of an ambitious plan by Amtrak to expand intercity service.

Aside from the Cleveland-Cincinnati route, Amtrak has proposed creating additional service on existing routes through Cleveland to Detroit and Buffalo.

The passenger carrier would front the money to be used for capital costs to develop the routes and initially pay the operating costs of the trains.

But state and local governments would be expected to assume operating costs on a sliding scale with Amtrak’s share declining until states would pay all of the operating costs.

Although the proposed 3C+D service received endorsements from various mayors who joined the call, Ohio Gov. Michael DeWine has been noncommittal about it.

Last month DeWine said he was reserving judgment on the plan until he could learn more about it, including its potential cost to the state.

Although neither DeWine nor a representative of the Ohio Department of Transportation participated in this week’s online roundtable, Gardner said Amtrak is “anxious to work with the state to look at what that partnership could be and put together a model that makes sense for Ohio.”

During the roundtable, Amtrak said the3C+D route would have stations in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati as well as at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Crestline, Delaware, Springfield and Sharonville.

Service is expected to be three round-trips per day with additional trips being added as ridership grows.

The route is expected to draw as many as 500,000 passengers annually and provide an economic impact of $130 million.

The Cleveland-Cincinnati travel time would be about 5.5 hours, but track improvements could cut that to 4 hours and 55 minutes.

Gardner said that a train does not need to be faster than car travel, but does need to be competitive. “The time on the train is productive time, which is not the same as driving time,” he said. “You can work, you can have access to wi-fi, you can socialize, you can walk around. It’s a much more comfortable and productive method,” he said.

Cleveland has the most current Amtrak service of the cities in the 3C+D corridor being served by the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited and the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited.

Trains on both of those routes, though are scheduled to pass through Cleveland between midnight and 6 a.m.

Cincinnati has a similar situation with the Chicago-New York Cardinal. Dayton and Columbus have lacked Amtrak service since the Oct. 1, 1979, discontinuance of the New York-Kansas City National Limited.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson was one of the participants in the roundtable and gave the 3C+D a hearty endorsement.

“We simply don’t have the luxury of choosing not to do this,” he said. “It is about positioning Ohio for the future. It’s not a question of rural or urban or suburban or Democrat or Republican. It’s about do we as Ohioans want to be competitive in the world, in this nation?”

Also participating in the roundtable were Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley; Crestline Mayor Linda Horning-Pitt, and William Murdock, the executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

Columbus is the second-largest metro area in the country without Amtrak service. Phoenix is the largest. 

“Not being in that network puts us at a disadvantage,” Murdock said. 

“Businesses and residents are clamoring for this,” he said. “We know the community is behind it. Investing in Ohio, it makes a lot of sense. It’s grounded not just in major cities, it’s really important to rural areas and smaller metros.”

Murdock said when young people arrive in Columbus one of the first questions they ask is, “Where’s the train stop?”

MORPC released 30 letters of support from community leaders who want expanded Amtrak service in Ohio.

Some of the funding Amtrak hopes to land to develop the 3C+D route would come from the $80 billion earmarked for Amtrak by President Joseph Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.

However, other funding would be contained in a surface transportation bill Congress is expected to take up later this year.

That bill, though, would merely authorize spending. Other legislation would need to be adopted to appropriate federal funding for Amtrak expansion.

The 3C corridor has been the subject of numerous studies and failed attempts to launch service.

The most recent occurred 11 years ago when the state received a $400 million grant to start the route.

However, John Kasich campaigned for governor on a pledge to refuse the funding, which he made good on after being elected in 2010.

Before that ODOT proposed a Cleveland-Columbus service during a rebuilding of Interstate 71. That also failed to launch.

During the roundtable, Amtrak CEO Flynn said the carrier has spent the past three years developing a strategy to expand service.

Known as Connect US, the expansion would touch up to 160 communities in 25 states on more than 30 routes It would be developed over the next 15 years.

Also included in the proposal is additional service between Cincinnati and Chicago via Indianapolis. That route would have an extension from Indianapolis to Louisville, Kentucky.

Although not part of the Amtrak Connect US network, studies are underway of a route between Chicago and Pittsburgh via Columbus.

Although no ODOT officials joined this week’s roundtable, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the passenger carrier has spoken with ODOT and Ohio Rail Development Commission members.

Gardner acknowledged said that much work needs to be done to bring the 3C+D service to fruition.

“These are not insurmountable challenges,” he said.

Early in the Penn Central Era

March 31, 2021

It is in the fourth week of the Penn Central era (Feb. 24/25, 1968) at the Collinwood engine facility in Cleveland. Former New York Central 1111, an Alco FA-2 is framed near the center of the frame. Two other NYC units can also be seen in part.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Working in Cleveland

December 18, 2020

A Republic Steel switcher is seen working in Cleveland on Sept. 6, 1980. The unit appears to be an EMD model.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Penn Central F Units

December 3, 2020

A gaggle of Penn Central F7A units sit in Cleveland on Oct. 8, 1972. The photographer said in a note that the units are Nos. 1878, 1656, and 1648. The latter would be painted years later in Conrail blue.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

How You Go Downtown Now

November 27, 2020

By the time I moved to Cleveland in August 1993 the yellow PCC cars used on the Shaker Rapid Transit lines were long gone, having been replaced by Breda cars built by an Italian manufacturer.

Also long gone by then was Higbee’s and the Silver Grille, and Hallee’s and Mr. Jingeling, all of them venerable Cleveland traditions referenced in the post above of a Shaker Heights PCC car photographed by Robert Farkas.

Seeing Bob’s photo reminded me of how I used to think it was a thrill to ride the Rapid.

Riding the Rapid and passing the high-rise apartment buildings near Shaker Square that can be seen behind the PCC car in Bob’s photograph both made me feel like I lived in a “big city.”

Sure I had lived in Indianapolis for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s but it didn’t and still doesn’t have a light rail line. All of the other places I’ve lived were too small to have such a mode of transportation.

None of them had a row of high-rise apartment buildings either.

The town where I grew up didn’t even have public transportation. You either walked or drove everywhere.

Bob’s photo also reminded me of how much I didn’t photograph the Cleveland RTA rail lines during my time living there.

The closest I came to photographing a Rapid car passing those high-rise apartment buildings was getting a car chartered by the Akron Railroad Club passing the Coventry Station during a photo runby.

Coventry station is located at the far east end of that line of apartment buildings that has an “urban” feeling.

Even if there wasn’t a pandemic doing on, I doubt that many people would be riding the Rapid to downtown Cleveland for Black Friday.

If they are going to get out on Black Friday they will drive to their favorite big box store that is more than likely located somewhere in a suburb.

If they have lunch that day it will probably be from a fast food chain outlet.

People continue to ride the Rapid to downtown Cleveland although they are far less likely to do it on Black Friday to go shopping.

Downtown department stores are a thing of the past and the retail that is left is a shadow of what it used to be.

I even wondered if the day after Thanksgiving was known as Black Friday back in the era when Bob made his photograph.

The day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the start of the U.S. Christmas shopping season since 1952 with the “Black Friday” term dating to at least 1961.

However, one of the earliest known uses of the term in advertising didn’t occur until 1975. Even a decade later the term wasn’ that commonly used by merchants.

But the term has gained widespread currency in more recent decades and has been expanded to refer to marketing efforts that transcend the day after Thanksgiving. There are even “Black Friday” sales in October.

In writing the article that accompanies Bob’s photograph I was trying to capture a holiday tradition even if might be a greatly diminished one.

Some day there will no longer be people around who remember riding the Rapid to downtown to visit Higbee’s or Hallee’s.

There will be others, though, who can associate riding the Rapid to go downtown for other traditions.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

 

Chasing Train 291 on NS in July 1997

November 4, 2020

In July 1997 Marty Surdyk, his brother Robert, and Ed Ribinskas chased train 291 on Norfolk Southern’s ex-Nickel Plate Road mainline.

This train was known for its New York, Susquehanna & Western motive power on most days.

The chase began in North East, Pennsylvania, and ended in Vermilion

Here is a sampling of images from that chase that included stops in North East, Swanville (Pennsylvania), Cleveland the Vermilion.

At Swanville, the tracks cross Walnut Creek, in Cleveland they cross the Cuyahoga River and in Vermilion they span the Vermilion River.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas