Posts Tagged ‘Cuyahoga River’

CVSR to Resume Operating Feb. 3

February 2, 2023

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad said this week it plans to resume operating on Feb. 3.

Since last October the CVSR has been limited to operating over for miles between Rockside Road station in Independence and the Fitzwater maintenance facility.

The curtailed operations were due to erosion along the bank of the Cuyahoga River in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where the tracks run along the waterway.

Pamela Barnes, the track was closed until potential safety risks could be better understood. She said the track was evaluated by a geotechnical engineer and park officials decided that train operations could resume.

The first operation to resume will be the Cleveland Dinner and Event Train on Feb. 3. That will be followed by an Ales on Rails excursion on Feb. 10 and a Grape Escape wine tasting train on Feb. 11.

The National Park Scenic is slated to resume operating on March 4.

However, Barnes said that depending on conditions operations may be modified.

Park officials said the track closure is a separate issue from a riverbank stabilization program being undertaken at eight locations in Summit and Cuyahoga counties.

In an unrelated development, travel website Travel Lens has named the CVNP as the second best national park in the United States.

The site ranked parks base several on factors including number of recreational visitors, entrance fee, distance to the closest city and percentage of park reviews that mention the word “beautiful.” CVNP received a score of 8.16 our of 10.

The study said CVNP had 2.76 recreational visitors with 35 percent of them describing the park as “beautiful.”

Topping the list was Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park received a score of 8.16 out of 10.

Boaters Upset Over NS Handling of Drawbridge

November 20, 2022

Boats wait for an NS train to clear the drawbridge on the Chicago Line near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland in Sept. 24, 2017. The view is looking northward toward Lake Erie.

A Cleveland TV station recently reported that boaters and Great Lakes freighters operating on Lake Erie are disenchanted with Norfolk Southern’s handling of opening and closing its drawbridge over the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland.

The I-Team of WJW-TV said it was told by the U.S. Coast Guard that the bridge being closed when boats want to pass has been a chronic problem for years.

Blair Stanifer of the Coast Guard told Channel 8 that the agency has seen delays of two hours and even three hours when the bridge was closed.

He said if a train isn’t coming close to going over the bridge it must go up for boats and ships.

 “Once you make a request, provided it’s safe to do so, the bridge is supposed to open promptly and fully.,” he said.

The Coast Guard has the legal authority to fine the railroad up to $30,000 per complaint.

However, the WJW report said that it can take months and even years for the Coast Guard to hear and decide on complaints with some complaints filed in 2019 having been dismissed.

“They open when they feel like they want to . . . not by the law which is a requirement when a signal is sounded by a vessel coming through,” said Eric Peace, vice president of of the Lake Carriers Association, a shipping industry trade group.

“You bring a 700-foot ship, and you put them inside this break wall, they have to be able to hold position if they can’t get through that bridge. You actually have to tread water. It becomes a safety problem.”

Peace said the only way to get NS to be more responsive to boaters is to continue to raise the fines.

In a statement NS said it works with the Coast Guard and others to ensure that rail and marine traffic keeps moving. The statement said the railroad seeks to balance the needs of both.

Erosion Issues Prompt Cancellation of CVSR Fall Flyer and National Park Scenic Trips for Awhile

October 14, 2022

Erosion issues continue to plaque the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, prompting it to cancel all National Park Scenic and Fall Flyer excursions for this weekend.

In a notice posted on the railroad’s website and its Facebook page, the cancellations were attributed to the National Park Service closing portions of the tracks used by CVSR trains “due to significant erosion from the Cuyahoga River.”

The Cleveland Dinner and Event Train will run as scheduled tonight (Oct. 14). Also still operating this weekend is a special CVSR members-only event.

The CVSR notice said the Park Service regularly inspects the railroad tracks, particularly near the Cuyahoga River.

The statement indicated that the erosion areas are the same as those that last spring shut down the line from about the Columbia Run picnic area north of Boston Mill to Akron.

Park Service officials have hired an engineering firm that is reviewing how to address the area where erosion has been a problem.

CVSR’s statement suggested that train cancellations are might continue beyond this weekend.

“The modifications to operations will remain in place while NPS and CVSR wait for additional information and explore options for returning to normal,” the statement said.

No North Pole Adventure trains, which will begin running Nov. 11, have been cancelled but CVSR said some trips may be modified.

It is the second consecutive weekend in which the CVSR has cancelled trips.

The weekend of Oct. 7-9 saw all Fall Flyer excursions cancelled and some National Park Scenic trips were scrapped on Oct. 7.

Those cancellations were attributed to maintenance issues with CVSR’s motive power fleet.

Earlier this week, the CVSR posted another notice on its Facebook page acknowledging, “the CVSR is a preservation railroad that provides a traditional rail experience through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park; many of our cars were built in the 1940s and 1950s.”

The loss of excursions in October will be a major blow to a tourist railroad that suffered significant revenue losses during the COVID-19 pandemic when dozens of trips were cancelled.

October is one of the railroad’s busiest months as passengers flock to CVSR trains to see fall foliage.

CVSR to Resume Akron Service July 16

July 12, 2022

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad said today it will return to operating the full length of its route on July 16.

Trains have been operating only eight miles south of Rockside Road station in Independence due to erosion of the bank of Cuyahoga River in early March.

Railroad officials said the erosion had reached to within a few feet of the CVSR tracks.

Heavy rains caused the erosion near the Columbia Run picnic area of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The location is between Boston Mill and Jaite.

In a news release, CVSR said it will reinstate the full summer schedule of the National Park Scenic. The Scenic will operate five days a week, skipping Monday and Tuesday.

Also being reinstated will be the Explorer program, formerly known as Bike Aboard. The Explorer program allows passengers to bring aboard bicycles and kayaks. That program will resume on July 20

CVSR said those who have purchased tickets for an excursion starting July 16 or after will be contacted by email with updated information on their planned journey. This will not apply to those holding tickets for the Cleveland Dinner & Event Train.

Ticket sales for trips from Akron and Peninsula will begin July 13 at 9 a.m. and can be purchased at cvsr.org.

On the West Side of the Kent Dam

May 4, 2022

Here is a September 2007 memory from Kent. An eastbound passes the dam on the Cuyahoga River just south of the West Main Street Bridge. The dam by now was strictly for decoration as the channel of the river had been diverted to flow freely through town.

Photograph by Craig Sanders

NKP 765 Won’t See Akron in May

March 26, 2022

There will be no steam excursions from Akron in May and resumption of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad service to the city is not expected until July.

The change in operating plans was prompted by erosion of the bank of the Cuyahoga River to within three feet of the tracks north of Boston Mill.

The National Park Service, which owns the tracks, is overseeing a riverbank stabilization program to shore up the bank.

The erosion occurred in early March following heavy rains. Since then CVSR has been operating only from Rockside Road station in Independence.

The steam excursions, to be pulled by former Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, will now operate out of Rockside Road for all trips.

Trips are scheduled for May 13-15 and 20-22. Schedules have been changed on the CVSR website to reflect the changes.

In a news release, CVSR said it is contacting those who purchased tickets for excursions from Akron’s Northside station.

Those who wish a refund of their fare must notify CVSR by March 29. Otherwise, the CVSR will rebook them on a trip from Rockside Road.

The 765 is owned by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and usually visits the CVSR in the fall.

The CVSR news release said the timeline of work for the riverbank stabilization program is still being worked out.

CVSR Suspends Service to Akron, Peninsula

March 9, 2022

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has cancelled its National Park Scenic train through May.

In its place, it will offer a replacement, the National Park Flyer, which will operate on Saturdays and Sundays for one-and-a-half hour trips from Rockside Road station in Independence. The Flyer will not operate to Peninsula or Akron.

The schedule change was prompted by erosion of the bank of the Cuyahoga River north of Boston Mill where the tracks run close to the river for a short stretch.

National Park Service officials said last weekend that erosion from recent rains has reached to within a few feet of the tracks used by the CVSR.

The Park Service owns the track, which passes through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Park officials said it will take weeks to complete work to stabilize the river’s banks where the erosion occurred near the Columbia Run picnic area just north of the Boston Mill ski resort.

In an email message distributed on Tuesday morning, the CVSR said the Cleveland Dinner  & Event Train will continue to operate on Fridays. Also still operating are such theme experiences such as Ales on Rails and caboose rides.

Trains depart from Rockside Road station on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and noon. The dinner and event train departs Rockside Road at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Riverbank Erosion Prompts CVSR Curtailment

March 6, 2022

Erosion of the bank of the Cuyahoga River has prompted the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad to cut back operations to between Peninsula and Akron.

The National Park Service is undertaking an emergency stabilization effort to shore up the river bank in an area near the Columbia Run picnic area north of Boston Mill in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

However, the work is expected to take weeks to complete.

NPS officials said in a news release that the erosion occurred as a result of recent rains and reached within three feet of the ballast of the track used by CVSR trains.

The track is owned by the Park Service. As part of the repair process, engineering must be performed before the bank can be stabilized.

NPS spokeswoman Pamela Barnes said the erosion progressed quickly. She said park staff routinely monitors the riverbank.

 “The river is a dynamic system, and it is constantly changing,” park officials said in the news release.

Cleveland From Atop Terminal Tower

November 26, 2021

In March 1969 and again in early 1973 the late Joe Farkas, made a series of photographs of railroad operations in Cleveland from atop Terminal Tower.

He most likely was using a 50mm lens because he did not have a zoom at that time.

Consequently all the railroads are small, but they are there.

He also captured a Great Lakes freighter and, of course, some of the many bridges over the Cuyahoga River.

You can see such detail as where the wires once had been for Cleveland Union Terminal electrics and the rapid transit line out to the airport.

There is much to see here including much that is no longer. Cities are in a constant state of evolving even if the pace of change seems glacial at times.

Photographs by Joe Farkas

Another Chilly But Sunny Dave McKay Day

May 31, 2021
The first train of the day was an eastbound NS stack train.
The second train was an eastbound CSX train.
The Herbert C. Jackson with some familiar Cleveland landmarks behind it makes it way upriver on the Cuyahoga River.
The Reading heritage unit leads the 21E at Hudson.

The annual Akron Railroad Club Dave Mckay Day at Berea was chilly but had sunny skies all day. 

Four members attended including Bill Kubas, Paul Woodring, Dave Kachinko and myelf.

I counted 21 trains during the time I was there which was 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  It was a fair mix of NS and CSX traffic although NS had a few more trains.

No heritage units went by although NS 4001, one of the Blues Brothers, trailed on the 12Q.

The Reading heritage unit did lead westbound 21E but that didn’t show up until after 8 p.m.

After leaving at 3 p.m., I went downtown to do some boat chasing. The Herbert C Jackson was heading upriver and I caught it several times. 

I also ran into Roger Durfee during this chase so that made five ARRC members out today.

After that I went to Hudson and caught three more trains including the aforementioned 21E with the Reading heritage.  That brought the day’s total to 24 trains and one lake boat.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon