Posts Tagged ‘Conrail Fort Wayne Line’

A Conrail RoadRailer Memory

September 21, 2021

It’s a cloudless afternoon that is perfect for railroad photography. Conrail B36-7 No. 5010 leads a RoadRailer train out of Massillon on July 20, 1996.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Passing Beneath the Wheeling in Orrville

September 14, 2021

Our Conrail wayback machine has taken us to Orrville just in time to witness the passage of an eastbound on the Fort Wayne Line as it passes beneath the Wheeling & Lake Erie bridge. On the point is SD60M No. 5507. The image was made on May 25, 1996.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

It Still Makes Me Smile

September 2, 2021

Sometimes a photo brings a smile. Here is R.J. Corman GP9 No. 9003 heading south on Conrail at CP Mace in Massillon in mid-1997. The 9003 and its train are stretched out in such a way that most if not all of the train is visible which adds to the photo’s interest. The train will be on Conrail for a short time before switching back to its own rails. The 9003 is a former Baltimore & Ohio locomotive.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Conrail Monday: Another One in Massilon

December 7, 2020

Because it was not far from his home Bob Farkas spent a lot of time photographing Conrail trains on the Fort Wayne Line in Massilon.

Here we see SD60I on the point of an eastbound in July 1998. The unit was three years old at the time having been built by EMD in May 1995.

By then new motive power on Conrail featured the Conrail Quality slogan.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Conrail Monday: Westbound Out of Massilon

November 30, 2020

Conrail SD40 No. 6297 leads a westbound out of Massillon on May 8, 1981. Today this stretch of the Fort Wayne Line is single track with no pole line and most of the background industry is missing.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Autumn Steam in 1988

July 15, 2020

Autumn 1988 featured mainline and tourist line steam in Northeast Ohio. On the Cuyahoga Vally Line, former Grand Trunk Western No. 4070 pulled trains between Independence and Akron.

On Conrail’s Fort Wayne Line, Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 pulled excursions sponsored by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society.

This gallery includes the photographer’s favorite from September and October.

In the photograph above, the 765 passes the former Pennsylvania Railroad interlocking tower in Leetonia, Ohio, on Sept. 24

In the top and next image of the series below, NKP 765 is arriving at Conway Yard near Pittsburgh on Sept. 24.

The excursion was bound for Pittsburgh from Orrville.

In the next image the 4070 is at Hillside Road in Independence on Sept. 11 while the series rounds out with the locomotive being turned on the wye at Wi;llow in Independence on Oct. 8.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Conrail RoadRailer at Mace

July 15, 2020

It’s an April day in 1996 and an eastbound Conrail RoadRailer train has the lineup at Mace interlocking in Massillon.

Of to the right you can see an Ohio Central locomotive and its train waiting its turn to cross here.

The OC train is on tracks operated by R.J. Corman and has come down from Warwick where it interchanged cars with CSX.

There used to be a tower here and a set of diamonds. But now the Corman line “crosses” the Fort Wayne Line through a series of switches.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Here’s to Conrail

May 7, 2020

It was 44 years ago last April 1 that the Consolidated Rail Corporation began operating the remains of several bankrupt Northeast railroads including Penn Central and the Erie Lackawanna.

The coming of Conrail would ultimately lead to the abandonment of scores of branch lines and a few mains lines as well, including the former EL in Akron proper and in large swaths of western Ohio and northern Indiana.

For many railfan photographs, Big Blue was a major part of their life with some photographers having come of age as Conrail came into being.

Here is a look back at Conrail as many remember it once things had become settled.

In the top image GP40-2 No. 3364 leads a westbound Roadrailer in Massillon on May 22, 1997.

It is coming off the fabled curved bride over the Tuscarawas River.

In the middle photograph, SD35 No. 6019 is on the point of a westbound manifest freight leaving Alliance on the Fort Wayne Line in early 1988.

In the bottom photograph, SW7 8865 and SW9 9095 are working in Alliance on Aug. 19, 1986.

No. 8865 was built for the Erie Railroad in November 1950 while No. 9095 was built for the Pennsylvania in March 1951.

Photographs by Robert Farkas


Fort Wayne Line Memories

April 9, 2020

An eastbound Conrail RoadRailer train approaches the diamonds with the Indianapolis Line in Crestline on Sept. 12, 1998.

The news that Norfolk Southern plans to reduce the infrastructure of its Fort Wayne Line between Alliance and Crestline brought back a lot of memories of the trains I over the years on that route.

That sent me into my photo collection where I discovered I had a surprisingly wide variety of trains and types of motive power.

I say surprising because the Fort Wayne Line has not often been a place where I’ve spent a lot of time, particularly west of Alliance.

East of Alliance the Fort Wayne Line is a busy railroad hosting a extensive assortment of NS traffic operating between the Midwest and East Coast.

But west of Alliance is another story. It was a moderately busy place in the Conrail era because traffic coming east from Columbus, Indianapolis and St. Louis joined the Fort Wayne Line at Crestline.

But after NS and CSX split Conrail, traffic on the Fort Wayne line plummeted.

It wasn’t always that way. The Fort Wayne Line was a principal freight and passenger artery to Chicago for the Pennsylvania Railroad, hosting many of the railroad’s Blue Ribbon fleet passenger trains.

Conrail downgraded the Fort Wayne Line west of Crestline in the late 1980s, a move that sent Amtrak’s Broadway Limited and Capitol Limited onto other routes in November 1990.

I first experienced the Fort Wayne Line on June 12, 1995, during the Orrville Railroad Days festival.

Conrail would send a locomotive to display and you could visit the cab.

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society would operate track cars and a passenger train on a siding that was the original Wheeling & Erie mainline before the Orrville bypass was constructed.

You could count on seeing a few Conrail freights pass during the late morning hours.

I got lucky during the June 1998 festival and caught the rear head end of an eastbound W&LE train passing over the top of the rear of an eastbound Conrail manifest freight on the west side of Orrville.

I got even luckier by scoring cab rides twice in the battered F unit the ORHS used to pull the excursion train during that era.

During the final years of Conrail I got out with Dan Davidson to railfan the Fort Wayne Line and we nabbed some good photographs of Big Blue in Crestline and Orrville.

The railroad days festival later moved to August and one year the Akron Railroad Club had a table at a train show held in a pole barn owned by a lumber company.

By then NS owned the Fort Wayne Line and trains were far fewer in number so my forays there were limited to outings when I knew something out of the ordinary was coming.

The Fort Wayne Line was among the favorites of the late ARRC member Richard Jacobs, who lived not far from in Apple Creek.

Jake was active in the ORHS and spent a lot of time in Orrville. He therefore knew when the locals could be expected to arrive.

Jake and I twice photographed the NS locals in Orrville and caught an R.J. Corman train on the Fort Wayne Line once.

Corman uses the Fort Wayne Line to reach its isolated operation in Wooster, a remnant of a former Baltimore & Ohio secondary line, where it serves a Frito Lay plant.

Fellow ARRC member Paul Woodring and I also caught the NS local in Orrville in June 2008 when it had a caboose. Or should I say it had a shoving platform?

Paul and I would railfan the Fort Wayne Line four years later when we chased a ferry move of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

We picked up the chase in Massillon where I recreated a scene that the late ARRC member Robert Redmond had made decades earlier of a westbound PRR steam train coming off the fabled curved bridge over the Tuscarawas River.

Getting the NKP 765 in the same location was tough because by the time it arrived I was photographing right into the sun. But I got the shot.

We later captured the 765 east of Mansfield and at North Robinson passing a pair of classic Pennsy position light signals.

I photographed a number of noteworthy visitors to the Fort Wayne Line over the years.

There was the NS executive train on April 30, 2011, as it made its way to the Kentucky Derby with the F units that have since been sold.

I chased it with Roger Durfee, getting it at Maximo and Orrville.

Then there was Bennett Levin’s Pennsylvania Railroad E8A Nos. 5711 and 5809, which were headed back to Philadelphia after pulling a private car special during the Dennison railroad festival on the Ohio Central in August 2004.

And there was the time during the 2016 ARRC picnic in Warwick Park in Clinton when we learned that the NS Pennsylvania Railroad heritage locomotive was leading eastbound manifest freight 12V.

We followed its progress on social media throughout the day and several of us headed for Massillon in late afternoon to get it.

I chose to catch NS 8102 splitting the PRR position light signals at CP Mace. It just might be my favorite Fort Wayne Line photograph made west of Alliance.

NS increased its use of the Fort Wayne Line around 2014 by diverting some crude oil and ethanol trains that had been using the Chicago Line.

Thinking there might be enough increased traffic to make a day outing worthwhile I drove to Orrville one Saturday morning on a photo safari.

The day got off to a promising start when an eastbound crude oil train with helpers on the rear came through shortly after I arrived.

I heard the crew of that train talking on the radio to another train, which I presumed was in Massillon meeting the tanker train at CP Mace, where the Fort Wayne Line becomes single track to Orrville.

However, it would be an hour before that westbound, a coal train, showed up.

Once it passed through it would be four hours before another train came along, an eastbound crude oil train.

It was a good thing I brought plenty of magazines to read.

None of the four regular manifest freights that use the Fort Wayne Line through Orrville showed up during my time there on this day.

My last photo outing to the Fort Wayne Line was more productive. On Sept. 3, 2016, Adam Barr and I had gone to Alliance to railfan but got word that the Southern heritage unit was leading a westbound coal train over the Fort Wayne Line and would meet the 64T at Mace.

The 64T was being led by a Union Pacific unit and had the Erie heritage unit trailing.

We drove over there and caught both trains as planned. A bonus was a northbound R.J. Corman train waiting to cross at Mace.

It couldn’t get much better than that.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

You could always count on seeing some Conrail action in late morning in June during the Orrville Railroad Days festival. In a view made from Orr Tower a westbound RoadRailer comes through town.

The late Richard Jacobs and I caught the NS local working in Orrville on a couple of occasions including November 2010 when it was backing off the Fort Wayne Line and onto a remnant of the former Cleveland, Akron & Columbus line.

En route to see the thoroughbreds run in the Kentucky Derby, another thoroughbred strikes a classic pose in Maximo on April 30, 2011.

A touch of the Pennsy passes a former PRR passenger station in Orrville as Bennett Levin’s E8A locomotives return to Philadelphia.

It may be trailing but at least I caught the Erie Railroad heritage locomotive at CP Mace.

This just might be my favorite photograph that I’ve made on the Fort Wayne Line. The Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leads the 12V at CP Mace in Massillon.

The lighting was tough but I managed to recreate with Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 an image similar to one made of a Pennsy steam locomotive by Bob Redmond leading a train west from the curved bridge in Massillon.

Side by Side

April 9, 2020

Seeing this photograph brought to mind the popular 1927 song written by Harry Woods titled Side by Side.

But we’ll travel along, singing a song, side by side.

In the photo above, though, just one train is actually moving.

That would be the eastbound Roadrailer that is passing a set of Conrail light power in Massillon on May 4, 1997.

The light power set was waiting to go west at CP Mace.

Photograph by Robert Farkas