Roger Durfee (right) adjusts the slide projector prior to his program as Marty Surdyk looks on during the Akron Railroad Club end of year dinner on Saturday.
Thirty Akron Railroad Club members and guests enjoyed dinner and a program about the evolution of Conrail motive power on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the club’s annual end of year dinner.
Held at Beef ‘O’Brady’s restaurant in Stow, the highlight of the event was a slide show presented by ARRC member Roger Durfee that summarized the locomotives used by Conrail during its existence between April 1, 1976, when it was formed from by consolidating many of the assets of multiple bankrupt railroads, to its being divided on June 1, 1999, by Norfolk Southern and CSX.
Roger had just begun his photography career when Conrail came along and he was able to photograph the railroad’s operations from the beginning to the end.
By the time Conrail was carved up in 1999, Roger had been a employee of the railroad since 1998, working out of the Altoona, Pennsylvania, terminal.
The program was not intended to be a comprehensive review of Conrail motive power or the railroad’s sprawling network.
Over its lifetime, Conrail had several dozen makes, models and types of locomotives, many of which it inherited from its predecessor railroads.
In his program, Roger gave viewers a sense of what how Conrail motive power evolved to become the fleet that it had when it ended, although Conrail still exists in the sense that some of its properties operate under the Conrail shared assets banner or NS and CSX.
Roger focused his program on some of the older models that were frequent sights in Northeast Ohio, which was the location where most of the images he presented were made.
Conrail based in Cleveland many of the F units it operated in its early years. Most, although not all, of them came from Penn Central and served Conrail in a utilitarian black livery with a “CR” stenciled on the nose and flanks.
However, Conrail found itself short of working power so it brought out of retirement for a time a number of former Erie Lackawanna F units wearing the EL’s colorful livery.
Aside from Conrail in the Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown regions, Roger also took us to eastern Pennsylvania, including the Northeast Corridor to view Conrail locomotives that seldom if ever ventured westward.
The end of year dinner was the last ARRC activity o f 2016. An issue of eBulletin will be issued this week, but the paper Bulletin will not be published this month.