Posts Tagged ‘Conrail’

Railroading as it Once Was: Delaware & Hudson Also Was a Colorful Railroad in the 1970s

February 9, 2017

dh-in-early-conrail-era

While most know of the colorful early years of Conrail, the Delaware & Hudson wasn’t to be ignored either in the years after April 1, 1976.

The government allowed the D&H to expand as “competition” to the new Conrail and some of the newest power the Reading and the Lehigh Valley had was transferred to the D&H to help with their newly expanded territory.

In September 1976 a meet occurred on the Penn Division under the former Erie Starrucca viaduct in Lanesboro, Pennsylvania.

While this beautiful stone viaduct still stands and sees the occasional New York, Susquehanna & Western train, the D&H tracks below are all gone.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Railroading as it Once Was: Freshly Painted

January 18, 2017

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Two fresh-painted helpers have assisted what looks like CAPI up the mountain from Altoona to Cresson, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 2, 1998. Somehow I managed a quick spot of sun on them in Cresson. In less than a year Conrail would be gone with this section becoming property of NS.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

Penn Central Memories Bleeding Through

January 16, 2017
A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away in the collection of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

Penn Central disappeared as a railroad on April 1, 1976, when many of its railroad assets were absorbed by the newly-formed Consolidated Rail Corporation.

But Penn Central as a corporate entity continued to exist because it had extensive real estate holdings.

The railroad of the name Penn Central is far better known than the Penn Central Corporation, which continue to hold and manage the non-rail assets owned by the railroad that Conrail didn’t want.

A decade after Penn Central, the railroad, ceased to operate, Penn Central, the corporation, continued to sell and manage those assets. It even reorganized itself on Oct. 24, 1978, when it adopted the Penn Central Corporation moniker, and on March 28, 1994, when it was renamed American Premium Underwriters.

That suggests an insurance company, which is exactly what it was. It had its headquarters in Cincinnati and later was acquired by American Financial Group.

But enough history of Penn Central the financial company. Penn Central the railroad best known for seeking bankruptcy protection in June 1970 still lives if you look for it.

You can find vestiges of PC in the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum as well as on the sides of covered hopper cars.

I present here a gallery of Penn Central memories that were still living that I found in the past year and a half at various locations in Ohio.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Look closely and you'll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

Look closely and you’ll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.

Railroading as it Once Was: CR Rarity

January 11, 2017
lv-to-cr
Certainly one of the rarer units on Conrail, this former Lehigh Valley Alco RS-3 with a high short hood rests at the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, engine service facility in October 1977. Built for the Pennsylvania Railroad with a steam generator in that tall hood, it went to the LV as its 211. It would be the only unit of its kind on both the LV and CR roster, and would even retain this car body after it’s conversion in the RS-3 mod program. I believe this unit survives today, although with an EMD prime mover.
Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Railroading as It Once Was: Legit Tagging

December 28, 2016

legit-tagging

Here is some legit tagging from May 1978. In 1975 Clipper Express let the West Town Community Youth Art Center of Chicago paint one of its TOFC trailers. There were several other Clipper Express trailers painted with various themes, too. This unit was on Conrail TV 98 eastbound on the former Erie Lackawanna in Akron.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

It Must Have Been Serendipity

December 24, 2016

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conrail-caboose-2-x

conrail-caboose-3-x

On the day of the Akron Railroad Club’s end of the year dinner, I spent the morning in Pittsburgh with my friend Adam.

We were driving down the main drag of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, when I spotted something on the Fort Wayne Line of Norfolk Southern that I wanted to check out.

I had seen a Conrail caboose sitting on a siding attached to a work train. There was no locomotive with the train so it probably was sitting there for the weekend.

What a coincidence that on the day that I would be attending a program that evening about Conrail I would see a piece of Conrail.

It has been 17 years since Big Blue became a fallen flag, but traces of it still abound.

Railroading as it Once Was: Yes, It’s Conrail

December 22, 2016

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Conrail 5985, a former Erie Lackawanna GP-7, prepares to head west on the ex-EL in Akron in March 1978 with local PE-1. The Erie searchlight signal was still in use at this time as were the ex-EL mains. Nothing of the EL remains at this location today and all the buildings behind the train have been torn down.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Railroading as It Once Was: Crossing Over at South Street in Akron in Early Conrail Days

December 8, 2016

el-south-street

Taken 40 years ago in late November 1976, Conrail train TV 77 heads west through Akron. The lead truck on the 3601 has just entered the South Street TBS crossovers that were used to route trains off the former Erie Lackawanna and onto the former Penn Central for a run to Orrville and a connection with the Fort Wayne Line. The low afternoon sun glints off the nose of the EL SD, perhaps fitting as the sun would set for good on these former Erie rails in a few short years.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

30 Enjoy ARRC End of Year Dinner

December 5, 2016
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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.

Railroading as It Once Was: Getting a Roll by From Operator Laird at RU Tower in Sterling

November 30, 2016

sterling

In August 1977 Conrail was still running a handful of trains on the former Erie Lackawanna west of Akron. Still wearing its Reading Lines colors but patched for “CR,” this eastbound freighter is passing RU tower in Sterling and getting a roll by from operator Charlie Laird. There is a slow order over the Chessie diamonds just ahead. The tower and the former EL were removed many years ago.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee