Posts Tagged ‘CSX in Berea’

Not Much to Look at But I Appreciate it Now

November 21, 2022

This CSX SD40-2 leading an auto rack train through Berea won’t win any beauty contests but in its own way it has a certain visual appeal. And that is despite the rust, mismatched number boards, faded paint, and generally battered appearance.

The 8068 was built for the Louisville & Nashville in October 1979 and later served the Seaboard System motive power fleet. It appears to have an earlier CSX livery iteration that is well worn and weathered.

Today such sights would be rare on CSX for the carrier doesn’t have that many standard cab locomotives left in road train service.

The image was made on April 29, 2000, and was scanned from color negative film.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Distinctive Visitors in Berea

May 14, 2022

Catching and photographing the CSX executive train in its distinctive and attractive Baltimore & Ohio inspired livery has been on my “to do” list ever since the scheme debuted.

But the executive train doesn’t operate all that often and when it does you have to be in the right place at the right time.

That right place and right time for me occurred on May 11. I happened to be in Cleveland on business and had the opportunity to spend time in Berea that morning.

I saw on Heritage Units.com that the three CSX F40PH-2 units were on the road, having left Buffalo, New York, around 6:15 a.m. en route to Chicago.

I figured that would put them through Berea around mid to late morning depending on traffic and dispatching preference.

Sure enough, there were some railfans on hand waiting for train P001, including Akron Railroad Club President Todd Dillon. He had information that P001 blew through Collinwood Yard on Cleveland’s east side and would soon be bearing down on us. That would put it through Berea not long after 9 a.m.

I stood near the tree by the Dave McKay memorial with a cluster of other railfans and waited. It wasn’t long before I could hear P001 calling signal indications over the radio.

Then a headlight came into view. I looked through my camera lens and waited. At that point it seemed as though the train had stopped.

In fact, it had. Just east of Berea a broken air hose sent the train into emergency.

Although CSX dispatched a maintenance truck to the scene, it wasn’t needed. The crew resolved the problem and P001 was on the move, albeit at restricted speed.

Among the onlookers watching the train come through were Rita and Rich Volosyn of Brunswick. Their son Paul was the locomotive engineer assigned to P001 and was working from Buffalo to Willard.

Also on hand was a CSX special agent to ensure that no one got too close to the tracks.

The 12-car train was led by CSX1, CSX2 and CSX3. The trio of F40s are former Amtrak units. They were lined up elephant style and made for an impressive sight.

CSX1 was built in April 1978 and given Amtrak roster number 280. After being retired by Amtrak, it was picked up by the Ohio Central System, where it continued to carry roster number 280.

After CSX acquired the unit, it renumbered it 9998. Upon being repainted into the B&O scheme, it was renumbered CSX1.

On the rear of the train was theater car W. Thomas Rice. But its shades were drawn, which suggested no one was aboard. The train also featured dome car Moonlight Dome. Built in 1947 for the Chesapeake & Ohio for its planned but never launched Chessie streamliner.

The B&O acquired the car in December 1950 where it operated on the Shenandoah and, after October 1963, the Capitol Limited. It later ran on the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Coast Line before ending up on the Amtrak roster. After being sold by Amtrak Moonlight Dome had a series of owners, including The Cincinnati Railway Company, which sold it to CSX in 2020.

Early CSX Era in Berea Two for Tuesday

April 26, 2022

CSX took over Conrail’s Short Line and Indianapolis Line on June 1, 1999. During the early months of CSX operation it was common to see motive power from various railroads pulling CSX trains.

In the top image, made in Berea on Feb. 26, 2000, we see a pair of standard cab locomotives pulling a CSX manifest freight. Such motive power largely has disappeared from the CSX motive power roster.

Also different about this scene is the tracks crossing Front Street at grade. It would be a few more years before the bridge carrying Front Street over the CSX and Norfolk Southern tracks was built.

In the bottom image an eastbound CSX train passes the former Big Four depot in Berea. On the lead is a former Burlington Northern “green machine” followed by a Santa Fe warbonnet.

The Santa Fe unit shows some wear and tear plus road dirt and grime, but otherwise its livery looks to be in better condition than warbonnets still out there a decade later appear to be. The image was made on Nov. 6, 1999.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

McKay Day Memories

April 2, 2022

For more than a decade the Akron Railroad Club had a tradition of gathering on the first Saturday in April for a day of train watching in Berea. Known as Dave McKay Day, the event paid tribute to the second longest-serving ARRC president, David A. McKay, who died in December 2004 shortly after stepping down from his 12-year tenure as ARRC president.

The downside to holding a railfanning event in early April in Northeast Ohio is that the weather could be anything from snow and cold to sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s. During the 14 years McKay Day was held on the first Saturday in April, we saw it all.

In 2019 the McKay Day date was shifted to May in hopes of having better weather and better attendance.

The two images shown above were made on April 2, 2016. The day began partly cloudy and there was nice sunlight for the first few trains that I photographed after arriving around 8 a.m.

But those conditions wouldn’t last. The weather went from partly cloudy to cloudy to back to partly cloudy and then to winter when light snow fell in mid afternoon.

Those conditions prompted the handful of us who were still there to call it a day and head to the Berea Union Depot Taverne for dinner. The snow was really coming down by the time I got home that night.

I chose these two images because they are among the few I made that day with nice light. In the top image an eastbound is passing a westbound between the depot and the Front Street overpass.

The bottom image shows that westbound a couple minutes earlier. It has yet to reach Front Street. This is a view that few photographs seem to seek out while photographing trains in Berea.

When McKay Day fell early in April, which was often the case, the national semifinals of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament were played the same day.

In 2016, the Final Four was Villanova, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Syracuse. Games were played in Houston and the tournament was won by Villavnova. This year the Final Four features two of those 2016 teams, Villanova and North Carolina. Others are Duke and Kansas. The semifinal games will be played Saturday night in New Orleans.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

One Long Ago Day in Berea

April 1, 2022

It was a typical Sunday day of railfanning in Berea. An eastbound CSX manifest freight stopped to wait for traffic ahead to clear. The date was Feb. 27, 2000, more than two decades ago. Could it have been that long ago? Well, it was.

The lead unit, former Conrail C40-8W No. 7395 still wearing its Conrail livery, halted a short distance past the former Big Four depot in Berea, which at the time was a restaurant named the Pufferbelly.

The engineer saw me trackside with my camera and invited me to come up to the cab. That was not something that happened often.

So I did and made a few images, including this one looking eastward from the engineer’s side.

Much has changed since this image was made. The bar next to the tracks on Front Street, once known as Fat Pat’s, has been razed. Front Street itself now crosses over the tracks on a bridge. The Pufferbelly would undergo at least one ownership change and is now known as the Berea Depot Bar and Restaurant, one of many names it has had over the years

But the concrete structures plant is still there along with the brown industrial building along Front Street. CSX still owns these tracks and railfans still gather here on Sundays to watch trains while hoping to see something just a little out of the ordinary.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Bright Orange for a Dreary Day

January 26, 2022

It was a typical dreary Northeast Ohio winter day in Berea. In looking back, I’m not sure why I bothered to create photographs at all given the conditions. But I did.

On a day such as this, the appearance of an eastbound CSX interrmodal train led by a pair of BNSF “pumpkins” was a welcome sight because it gave the day a splash of bright color.

I had forgotten that I made these images until I went looking for something else and found these photos, which were made on Feb. 1, 2014.

Scenes From RRE 2021 Turkey Shoot

December 5, 2021

RRE members watch I 166 pass through Berea. That is Marty Surdyk’s silver jeep behind them.
Bob Todten takes shelter from the rain in his vehicle.
Here comes the I 166 as NS train 20T passes nearby.
An eastbound NS manifest freight with Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific motive power passes through Berea.

Despite the cool temperatures and steady rain, a few brave Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts members still made it to Berea for the 46th Annual Turkey Shoot on Thanksgiving Day, Nov 25, 2021.

Marty Surdyk and Bob Todten arrived first, followed by another five members.

Both CSX and Norfolk Southern ran a few trains, including the I 166, the Canadian Pacific run through train on CSX with a 1+1 pair of CP GE’s which looked like they had previously been in coal train service, given their coating of what looked like coal dust on their car bodies.

In the photographs above, that is Marty’s  silver Jeep behind the group and Bob Todten, sitting in his SUV, avoiding the then-steady downpour. 

Back in 1975, Bob and I started what has become this annual tradition.

Article and Photographs by Mark Demaline

Trio From Berea

August 18, 2021

Here are three trains passing through Berea on April 16, 2005. Although that was a Saturday, it was not an Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day, which was traditionally held on the first Saturday in April. In fact the first McKay Day was held two weeks before these images were made and it was snowing heavily that day. Note that in 2005 former Conrail locomotives in their original livery were still roaming Norfolk Southern.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

The ‘Unofficial’ McKay Day

May 4, 2020

Q166 appears with its customary Canadian Pacific motive power.

Jason Worcester (standing), Dennis Taksar and Alex Bruchac watch the reduced rail action in Berea.

Alex Bruchac takes it easy as a westbound CSX train approaches in Berea.

This year’s Dave McKay Day event in Berea was officially cancelled, but unofficially it was a success. Six current and former members attended.

At least that’s who I saw; it’s possible there were others.

In attendance were Todd Dillon, Brian Szemon Alex Bruchec, Dennis Taksar, Jason Worcester and Richard Thompson.

There were many others there as well whether they knew it was Dave McKay day or not.

The parking lots were full as it turned out to be a pretty nice day although a bit windy with a high of 73 degrees.

We ended up with about 24 trains that we either saw or knew about.

Two Norfolk Southern heritage paint units and an Operation Lifesaver went by but in true club tradition we missed them all.

The Erie on the 15N arrived at 8:15 a.m. and the Central of Georgia was on 14N, which went by during lunch break.

An Operation Lifesaver unit was on 24Z which also went by before anyone arrived.

That left the most interesting power on CSX trains Q166 and Q165 which are the Canadian Pacific run-through trains.

The Q166 had CP power while Q165 had CP and Union Pacific power.

Two oil or ethanol trains 66Z and 66J, which would have run on the Fort Wayne Line a couple weeks ago but now run through Bellevue and Cleveland, added to the train count.

Missing from the train count was 22K which now takes the connection at Vermillion and bypasses Berea.

We left around 5 p.m. as there was only one westbound train on both NS and CSX which were still east of Cleveland.

On Sunday morning I returned for a few hours and got six NS and one CSX train.

In summary traffic levels are way down from previous years.

Part of this is due to the precision scheduled railroading operating model that favors longer and fewer trains, but part is the downturn in the economy with rail freight traffic levels dropping 30 percent or more in the first quarter.

A couple trains were huge. NS Train 310, for example, had two mid train DPUs and was basically two full-length trains combined.

The lone CSX train on Sunday morning was an empty tank and grain train combined.

Had these trains run separately, which they easily could have been, the train count would have increased.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

15 Years of McKay Day Memories

May 2, 2020

Marty Surdyk photographs a westbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight during the 2013 Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day in Berea.

More than likely I first met the late David McKay in Berea. I didn’t know him by name then, only as a guy who would show up on Saturday morning with another fellow who needed assistance in moving.

I don’t know if we ever were formally introduced, but in time we got to know each other and would talk between watching trains go by.

He sometimes would talk about a railroad club to which he belonged in Akron and that got me to thinking it might be fun to join that group.

Little did I know at the time that I would one day succeed Dave as president of the Akron Railroad Club.

Dave died in late 2004 after serving as ARRC president for 12 years, which at the time the the longest tenure of anyone to hold the office since the club evolved into the ARRC in the late 1940s.

Since 2005 ARRC has held an annual outing known as Dave McKay Day in Berea. Until the 2019 event it was held on the first Saturday in April.

The weather in Northeast Ohio in early April can be quite varied ranging from from summer-like weather with temperatures in the low 80s to January conditions with heavy snow and cold. Sometimes the weather can change rapidly on a single day.

So in 2019 the club changed McKay Day to early May. This year’s event, though, was called off due to the social distancing restricting imposed by the State of Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was to have been held today although at least one ARRC member plans to still railfan in Berea in an unofficial celebration of McKay Day.

In looking back at 15 years of McKay Day outings, one constant has been that the two railroads lines that pass through Berea have always been owned by Norfolk Southern and CSX and you could count on seeing a high volume of traffic, long lulls notwithstanding.

You also could count on a variety of traffic although in some years the motive power was a steady progression of NS and CSX units.

For this report I drew on my own memories of McKay days supplemented by the reports published in the ARRC Bulletin.

I chose one photograph for each year to represent that year’s event in some manner while collectively providing an overview of what we saw over the past 15 years.

April 2, 2005

The inaugural McKay Day was less a railfan outing than a celebration of the release of Dave’s book, Trackside Around Cleveland 1965-1979 with Dave McKay.

The book had been printed shortly before Dave’s death on Dec. 27, 2004, the same month he retired as president of the ARRC, a post he had held since 1993.

But Dave never saw a copy of his book, which was published by Morning Sun Books and printed shortly before his death.

The event was held in a restored rail car that is part of the restaurant housed in Berea’s former Big Four passenger station.

The 80 to 100 attendees ate hors d’oeuvres and a cake decorated for the occasion.

Those who had ordered Dave’s book or bought it at the event received a copy with a memorial edition sticker affixed to the first page that contained a facsimile of Dave’s signature.

Some of the proceeds from books sales went toward the expense of the McKay bronze memorial plaque that sits near the tree where Dave used to set up a folding chair on weekends to watch and photograph trains in Berea.

Between four to six inches of snow fell during the inaugural McKay event and I didn’t make any photographs that day so my representative image shows the first day sticker in my copy of Dave’s book.

April 4, 2006

The first McKay Day to be billed as a railfanning event drew 17 participants who saw 66 trains over 12 hours. The rule established that day as to the train count was that so long as someone saw a train in Berea it counted. That rule was later expanded to include trains seen outside of Berea provided the train would pass through the Berea interlocking or had already done so.

It was not a good day for photography. Although the temperature was in the low 50s, the skies were cloudy and there was a brisk wind.

My image for that day shows an eastbound coal train on CSX with Union Pacific motive power. Looking for foreign power would be a pursuit of every McKay Day and in the early 2000s coal trains were still a common sight.

April 7, 2007

It snowed again. Those who braved the winter conditions saw 49 trains in 10 hours. My highlight of that day is Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited passing BE tower in an image I made from the Front Street grade crossing of the NS Chicago Line. No. 48’s appearance surprised us but I was ready for it. It would be the only McKay Day in which Amtrak made an appearance while an ARRC member was present.

April 5, 2008

At last we had good weather with the temperature topping out at 58 degrees. The day began with fog but it eventually burned off. Between 6:45 a.m. and 9:05 p.m. we logged 70 trains.

My image for that year is a crowd standing near the McKay memorial watching an eastbound CSX train pulled by a motive power consist that included two NS units. It wasn’t a common sight then or now in Berea to see motive power of the other railroad on “enemy” tracks.

The report in the Bulletin said 17 ARRC members attended with some bringing friends and family members as can be seen here.

April 4, 2009

It was sunny although quite cool when the day began. By the afternoon it had turned pleasant. There were 18 ARRC members on hand and counting their friends and family members total attendance was 35. These were the halcyon days for the McKay event as far as attendance. Shown is a westbound on NS passing BE tower with a BNSF leader. The NS Cleveland terminal banner on the side of the tower has a photograph made by ARRC members and then NS conductor Roger Durfee. The train log showed 45 trains that day.

April 3, 2010

This was a memorable McKay Day for me because it was only the second time I had been able to get out and photograph railroad operations. In January I had had retina surgery on my left eye and the recovery precluded railfaning for a couple months.

The day began sunny and the high temperature reached the low 80s.

Construction of the Front Street bridges over the NS and CSX tracks was underway and those of us who were there in the morning spent our time on the bridge.

However, in late afternoon a front moved through and the temperatures dropped into the low 60s in short order. It was a busy day on the railroad though and we logged 67 trains.

A highlight of the day was ARRC member and then NS locomotive engineer David Mangold getting called to take train 15N west from Rockport yard.

Seven of us gathered in Olmsted Falls to watch Dave go past as he gave us plenty of horn and bell.

My image for the day shows a westbound CSX tank car train that I made from the Front Street bridge because of how much I enjoyed being able to hang out there.

April 2, 2011

It was another busy day with 71 trains logged over 15 hours. Former ARRC member Tony Dannemiller was at the throttle of an eastbound CSX train that came through during the afternoon. Otherwise there weren’t that many highlights that day.

Even my chosen image of a westbound NS train passing beneath the new signals by BE tower is pretty ho hum. Yet it features the new signals that NS had installed to replaced the venerable Type G signal heads that dated to the New York Central days.

I remember enjoying dinner at a Mexican restaurant that used to operate on Front Street with some of the guys, including Alex Bruchac.

April 7, 2012

The weather was pleasant with sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s. The 16 attendees logged 49 trains, which was probably lower than the previous two years because guys were not arriving as early or staying as late. Few of the trains we saw on this day had foreign power leading. It was my first McKay Day after switching to digital photography and my image for the day was made on the Front Street bridge of an eastbound CSX stack train in good morning light passing the Berea station, which would be the site of many an enjoyable dinner during future McKay Days.

April 6, 2013

It was the first McKay Day after NS created its heritage units fleet. We didn’t see any NS heritage locomotives, but we did meet one of the co-founders of the website Heritageunits.com. He was there with a large video camera. The ARRC Bulletin described the trains we saw as work-a-day CSX and NS because we only saw two sets of foreign power all day.

It was a busy day, though, with 62 trains logged between 8 a.m. and midnight.

In looking at my images there wasn’t much that caught my eye and it didn’t help that the weather alternated between cloudy and sunny.

I chose an image of the conductor of a westbound CSX train watching the assembled railfans.

That evening some of us had dinner at the restaurant in the Berea Big Four station, a tradition that continued for a few more years.

April 5, 2014

It would be the first of three McKays days to feature the NS Wabash heritage unit. This year it was a trailing unit on NS train 15N and it would be the only time that anyone photographed it.

It was the first McKay Day at which I was the first to arrive and among the last to leave. The 15 attendees logged 65 trains between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The image for this year is a Wheeling & Lake Erie train transitioning from CSX to NS in Berea. In the early years of McKay Day the W&LE train to Campbell Road yard on NS was a regular, but by now sightings of it had become scarce.

April 4, 2015

The good news is that the Wabash H unit made an encore performance. Better yet it was the leader on crude oil train 67W.

The bad news is that it was almost dark when it came through and no one got a photograph. We only saw it while having dinner at The Station restaurant.

We logged 69 trains during the day. The Bulletin report said the record was 74, but in going through the newsletter year by year I was unable to verify what year that was. If anything that number appears to be a case of faulty memory.

It was sunny but chilly and it became windy late in the afternoon.

There was a range of foreign power to see, including units of Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, BNSF, Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern.

I chose one of those trains, an eastbound tanker train on CSX led by BNSF power, as the image for that year’s event.

At one point we could see headlights of three westbound trains at the same time split between NS and CSX.

A Loram railgrinder came through on CSX and we saw 13 trains while having dinner.

April 2, 2016

The day’s highlight was the Dave Mangold show on the NS road channel.

Dave was called to recrew a 16G and take it from the Berea siding, where it was tied down, to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

As soon as Dave got into the cab of the lead unit he reported it lacked operating cab signals.

It would be the first of many lengthy discussions Dave would have with the dispatcher and the NS trouble desk in Atlanta.

Among other things Dave discussed his problems logging into the computer on the second unit, which did have functioning cab signals, and oil seeping out onto the walkway of another unit.

There was also a lot of discussion about how Dave would take cut the motive power away from the train, take it down to the Knob and spin it on the wye there before returning to Berea and tying back onto his train.

All of this started in late afternoon and by the time we left that evening Dave still had not left town.

Only three people showed up, perhaps because of the unpleasant weather which was as varied as any McKay Day.

The morning was sun and clouds conditions but by afternoon intermittent snow showers had moved in followed by partial clearing and then overcast skies.

During dinner with Todd Dillon and Paul Woodring at the Berea station restaurant we saw 10 of the 54 trains that I logged for the day.

There were no heritage units sighted, but we did see the NS GoRail unit.

My image from this day shows a westbound CSX train with a clear signal while up ahead the skies look ominous in a bit of foreshadowing of what was to come.

Another memorable event from the day involved a guy who was not part of our group. He had set up his camera on a tripod next to his vehicle.

As he sat in the vehicle gust of wind blew the tripod over and it landed on the ground camera first, breaking the camera into two pieces. He left shortly after that happened.

April 1, 2017.

Once again the NS Wabash heritage unit showed up and once again no one got a photograph of it.

It was leading NS Train 394 and we knew it was coming but when it got to us it caught us by surprise.

We might have gotten photographs of NS 1070 had we gone to dinner at the Berea station restaurant when we had planned and not tarried to get a photograph of a westbound CSX train.

By the time NS 294 arrived at 6:19 p.m. we were getting up from the dinner table and not everyone even saw it.

Attendance was 12 and we logged 49 trains between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The day was overcast and chilly until the sun broke through about 5:30 p.m.

This was the first McKay Day after E. Hunter Harrison had taken over CSX and implemented the precision scheduled railroading model.

That was the subject of some conversation between a CSX dispatcher and trains crew during the morning.

That same dispatcher also read a pertinent passage over the radio word for word from the CSX rule book regarding inspecting a train carrying hazardous materials after said train went into emergency twice while en route to Collinwood Yard on the Short Line.

Part of the discussion involved whether an eastbound intermodal train on another track could pass the train at restricted speed or even at all.

The dispatcher said he had checked with his boss who in turn had checked with his boss.

The image of that day’s event shows a westbound CSX auto rack train after dinner. Where was that good weather earlier when we needed it.

April 7, 2018

From the perspective of diversity of traffic, this was easily my favorite McKay Day.

During a day that was sunny but cool, we logged more than 40 trains – I didn’t get a firm count – and saw the NS GoRail unit leading the 17N, the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leading the 65N and a Southern Belle of Kansas City Southern leading CSX Q272.

I also saw the W&LE train and a Pan Am Railways SD40-2 in the motive power consist of NS Train 309.

Any of those would have made a good image for the day, but I chose an image of three NS eastbounds at the west end of the CP194 interlocking plant. They are, left to right, the 16T, 294 and M6G.

Getting the Pennsy H unit was not without some drama. As it approached on the Lake Front line we could see a westbound headlight on CSX.

The PRR H unit and its train beat the CSX train into Berea by just two minutes.

We got hosed from photographing a BNSF warbonnet on an NS train when it was blocked by another NS train coming through Berea as the same time.

The tradition of eating dinner at the Berea station restaurant ended this year, in part because the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts was having its annual banquet on this night at Tony K’s restaurant in Berea.

Before I headed for Tony K’s I saw two former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus train cars pass through on a westbound NS manifest freight. It was that kind of day where there was much to see.

There were 10 attendees, some of them members of both ARRC and the RRE.

May 4, 2019

Thinking the weather in early May would be more favorable then early April, the ARRC officers moved McKay day to the first Saturday in May.

As it turned out the weather on the first Saturday in April was better than the foggy and overcast conditions of the first Saturday in May.

There were six in attendance and no one stayed beyond mid afternoon. Also ending was the tradition of keeping a train log.

I only made a handful of photographs and spent more time watching than photographing trains.

My image for the day is CSX train Q020 coming out of the fog shortly before 8 a.m.

Summary

As I was compiling information for this report I was reminded of how many ARRC members are now deceased, those who have since left the club and those who attended McKay Day in some years but have since stopped coming.

It used to be standard operating procedure to take a group photograph at the McKay memorial in the afternoon, but we last did that in 2015 and even then there were just four people in the photograph, two of whom were former members.

Although the event is described as way to remember Dave, in truth we seldom talked about him during the the day named for him.

I wonder how many current active ARRC members knew Dave, who conducted his last ARRC meeting in November 2004 and died about a month later.

Looking at my photographs over a 15-year span also reminded me that although the railroads are the same their operations have changed.

There are fewer trains now and both railroads are mingling traffic that used to operate in single-commodity trains.

Some commodities are seen far less often now, coal most notably but even crude oil shipments aren’t what they used to be due to market changes.

It wasn’t just the trains we saw that I remember from McKay days, though. It was the people we met and the conversations and camaraderie that we shared between trains.

McKay Day was typically the ARRC’s first railfan event of the year and it felt good to get out regardless of the weather.

It was not unlike opening day in baseball, a day of optimism that anything this year is possible even if it’s not always likely.

At one time or another McKay Day featured everything on rails you could expect to see in Berea.

Had he been able to join us I’m sure Dave would have enjoyed it.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders