Posts Tagged ‘Conrail in Berea’

Division Change Point

September 29, 2022

Until the latter years of Conrail, the west edge of the Berea interlocking plant was the boundary of three divisions. The Dearborn Division had the Chicago Line west of CP 194 while the Indianapolis Line west of Berea was in the Indianapolis Division. The interlocking plant itself and everything east of it was in the Pittsburgh Division.

Shown in the top image is the division sign on the Chicago Line reminding crews that they have crossed into the Dearborn Division. As seen in the bottom image, the other side of that sign read “Pittsburgh Div.”

The Dearborn Division would later take over all of Conrail’s tracks in Cleveland and the Pittsburgh Division didn’t begin until near Ravenna. However, until the end of Conrail operations here in 1999, the Indianapolis Division continued to end at the west edge of the Berea interlocking plant.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

Off to a New Life

September 7, 2022

Former Conrail SW1500 No. 9566 is off to a new assignment. Its Conrail markings have been painted over and a line drawn through its roster number indicates it has been retired by Conrail. Next to it is SD40-2 No. 6456. The train is passing through Berea on the Chicago Line in May 1997.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

When BE Tower Was Still Staffed

August 24, 2022

Berea Tower operator Dick Lacy uses binoculars to check for traffic on the Chicago Line east of the tower on Oct. 8, 1994. I was on the property with permission as part of information gathering for an article published later in Trains magazine. It would be my first byline in the magazine. The Tower would close in February 1997.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

What They Won’t See in Berea Today

August 6, 2022

Today is the annual Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day outing in Berea and those who attend will, no doubt, see some interesting sights on CSX and Norfolk Southern.

But here are two things they won’t see. In the top image, a westbound Conrail train led by an SD60M No. 5514 passes Berea Tower in May 1997. Conrail, of course, was split between NS and CSX in 1999. Some former Conrail locomotives on still on the motive power rosters of both companies, but all have been repainted into the liveries of their current owners.

NS ES44AC No. 8098 has been repainted into the Conrail livery as part of the Class 1 railroad’s heritage unit fleet, but whether it will pass through Berea today is uncertain. It was last spotted and reported to the website on Aug. 1 at Hudson, Pennsylvania, leading train 10Z in the Northeast quadrant of the Keystone state.

But at least there is a possibility of seeing a locomotive wearing Conrail paint in Berea. There is no chance of seeing an open auto rack car unless it is being moved to a museum. Yet in 1999 it was possible to see such a car in revenue service even by then it was uncommon.

Shown is a CN car on May 15, 1999, passing through Berea. Note the different between that car and the adjoining enclosed auto rack car.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Last Day of Conrail in Berea

April 21, 2022

It is May 31, 1999, the last day of Conrail operation. Come Monday Norfolk Southern and CSX will take over operating their respective segments of Conrail.

The last day of Conrail fell on a Sunday and I spent much of the day in Berea watching Conrail trains for the final time.

My recollection is traffic on that day was less than normal. Much of what what ran were intermodal and auto rack trains.

Show above is a three-image sequence of a westbound auto rack train. In the top image the train is about to cross Front Street. In the bottom image the rear of the train is passing the former Big Four passenger depot.

You may notice in the middle image that the motive power consist includes units of CSX and NS. The Conrail lead unit has already been patched for the railroad that will take it over.

The next time I would visit Berea the tracks shown here would be CSX property.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Things I Had Forgotten

June 23, 2020

I was scanning some color negatives of Conrail trains that I photographed in Berea in the late 1990s when I ran across this May 1997 image of a Conrail RoadRailer going from the Chicago Line to the Indianapolis Line at the west end of the Berea interlocking.

I had forgotten that Conrail once ran RoadRailers to and from the Indianapolis Line in Berea. I also found another image that is not shown above of a Conrail RoadRailer coming off the Indy Line.

The photo reminded me of some other forgotten things. For starters there is the original home signal for westbounds on Short Line to control movements through the interlocking where the connection from the Chicago Line comes into the Indianapolis Line.

This signal was taken down when Conrail added a second track here in the late 1990s in advance of CSX buying this property.

Notice how the signal has room for two sets of signal heads, a relic of when the former Big Four line here had two tracks.

The other forgotten item is just to the right of the base of the aforementioned signal.

It is the disconnected end of a siding that probably at one time went into the mainline track.

This might be the far west end of the Kunkle siding, but I’m not sure.

In days of yore the New York Central would interchange freight here with a short line railroad that served the sandstone quarries of Berea.

I was told that back in the steam era locomotives would be swapped out in Berea.

Whatever was the purpose of that siding, there was no need for it by the 1990s yet part of it had remained in place for whatever reason.