Posts Tagged ‘Cuyahoga River’

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

Steam Saturday: The Classic Brecksville Image

April 10, 2021

It is the classic Brecksville photograph. A train coming south on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, the Ohio Route 82 and the Cuyahoga River reflecting it all.

In this image, we’ve gone back to Oct. 2, 1982, when the CVSR was known as the Cuyahoga Valley Line and former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 was the main attraction.

The river and Route 82 bridge are still there but the 4070 lies disassembled in Cleveland undergoing what could best be termed a slow and long-term restoration to operating condition.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

CVSR FPA-4 Two for Tuesday

November 17, 2020

Today’s two for Tuesday features Montreal Locomotive Works FPA-4 locomotives on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in different liveries and eras.

In the top photograph No. 14 is shown along the Cuyahoga River during a railfan excursion on May 17, 1997.

Several current and former Akron Railroad Club members were aboard this excursion, which covered the length of the line between Akron and Independence.

The train made several stops for photo runbys and railroad volunteers posed in various scenes for the photographers.

In the bottom image, No. 6777 is approaching Northside station in Akron on Feb. 2, 2017. By now the unit has been given a new livery featuring a chevron stripe on the nose.

No. 6777 was built in March 1959 for Canadian National and is, in fact the No. 14 shown in the top image.

At some point the CVSR reverted it back to its original CN roster number.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Chasing Train 291 on NS in July 1997

November 4, 2020

In July 1997 Marty Surdyk, his brother Robert, and Ed Ribinskas chased train 291 on Norfolk Southern’s ex-Nickel Plate Road mainline.

This train was known for its New York, Susquehanna & Western motive power on most days.

The chase began in North East, Pennsylvania, and ended in Vermilion

Here is a sampling of images from that chase that included stops in North East, Swanville (Pennsylvania), Cleveland the Vermilion.

At Swanville, the tracks cross Walnut Creek, in Cleveland they cross the Cuyahoga River and in Vermilion they span the Vermilion River.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

NS to Leave Drawbridge Up Most of the Time

July 24, 2019

Norfolk Southern has agreed for now to keep its lift bridge over the Cuyahoga River in a raised position unless rail traffic is imminent.

The move comes after an incident in which the bridge was down for several hours, which effectively closed the river to almost all marine traffic.

The Goodtime IIII reportedly missed a trip out to Lake Erie and other boaters were reported to be furious.

Railroad officials said the bridge was in the down position on that day due to track maintenance.

Boaters have complained for years that having the bridge in the down position creates delays and safety issues.

Tom Werner, NS vice president of corporate communications, said the railroad has not decided if the new policy will be permanent.

A high-ranking NS manager who knows the bridge well is working with the operations department to come up with a permanent plan for operating the bridge.

Werner said dispatchers who know the intricacies of the bridge, including its quirks, left the company when dispatching operations were centralized in Atlanta last year.

When the bridge is down during warm weather for extended periods of times, flotillas of boats congregate on both sides of it.

Once the bridge is raised, those boats begin to move and, owners of businesses along the river say, crate dangerous wake.

Impatient boat operators tend to gun their engines in anticipation of being able to race out to the lake or back down the river from the lake.

Historically, control of the bridge was in the hands of an operator at Drawbridge Tower.

But three years ago that control was transferred to dispatchers along with control of the track crossovers near the bridge.

There are still bridge tenders at Drawbridge who raise or lower the bridge upon orders from the dispatcher. The bridge is manned around the clock seven days a week.

When the New York Central was still in existence, dispatchers had the option of leaving Drawbridge 1 in the up position and routing trains around the Lakefront Wye to the Big Four and across Drawbridge 2 to Linndale. But that route is no longer possible due to track abandonment.

Nautica Entertainment, which operates anther sightseeing boat, the Nautica Queen, said its captains are encouraged by the change in policy.

Laurie Dittoe of Great Lakes Water Sport, which rents kayaks, boats and jet skis,  told Cleveland.com that last Saturday was at least 50 percent better than the week before.

“Sunday was not as good as the curtain stayed closed for about 90 minutes at one point. BUT, to be fair there was a pretty steady dose of trains running throughout that time frame,” she said. “We did see much improvement.”

Cleveland RTA Offering Free Rides on June 22

June 13, 2019

Cleveland RTA will offer free rides to those using its buses and trains to travel to the Cuyahoga50 event on June 22.

The event marks the 50th anniversary of the last fire on the Cuyahoga River.

Funding for the complimentary public transportation that day is being provided by a $25,000 grant to RTA from Cuyahoga County.

Cuyahoga50 is a five-day event that is part of Sustainable Cleveland 2019, a 10-year effort to promote environmental improvement and sustainability.

More than 100,000 people above the normal Saturday traffic are expected to be in downtown Cleveland on June 22.

That same day the Cleveland Indians will be hosting the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field.

Other contributors to the RTA free day include the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which awarded a $75,000 grant.

Memories of My First CVSR Trip

May 17, 2018

My first photograph of a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train came during a railfan event. It would be another decade before I saw the CVSR again.

Twenty-one years ago today I saw and rode the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for the first time.

I was a passenger on a railfan special that traveled the length of the CVSR.

I don’t remember how I learned about this event. Maybe I read about it in The Plain Dealer.

At the time I didn’t belong to any railroad clubs and the only railfans I knew were a few guys I regularly saw in Berea.

I bought my ticket by phone and during that conversation the ticket agent asked if I also wanted to buy a cab ride. Sure, why not.

Aboard that day were at least three Akron Railroad Club members: Marty Surdyk, Robert Farkas and the late Dave McKay. There may have been others.

Little did I know that photographs made by Marty and Bob on this day would later turn up in book I would publish about the CVSR.

Although I don’t remember it, my rail travel logs indicate the event started at Boston Mill station with the train being pulled to Rockside Road station by RS3 No. 4099.

It would be my first and only time to see that locomotive, which in the CVSR’s early diesel era was one of its workhorses.

At Rockside Road, we got off and did one of many photo ops staged for us by the crew.

This one involved the conductor and two crew members comparing watches and train orders on the platform.

There was also a handing up of train orders at Jaite, a scene of a pickup truck and tractor waiting at a rural road crossing that was located at Szalay’s Farm, and a “farmer” handing up milk cans to a crew member in the baggage section of the combine.

There were photo runbys at various places, including just south of Pleasant Valley Road, along the Cuyahoga River just south of Fitzwater Yard – although it wasn’t a railroad shop at the time – and at Brecksville to get the classic Ohio Route 82 bridge shot.

For the latter, the CVSR got permission from the National Park Service to cut down vegetation growing along the bank of the Cuyahoga River so as to afford a more open view of the train.

There probably were other photo runbys, but I don’t remember where they were. I knew virtually nothing about the CVSR of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in those days.

The train arrived in Akron at the site of today’s Northside Station and we rode buses to the Spaghetti Warehouse to have lunch.

It was one of two times I’ve eaten there. The other time occurred in summer 2013 when fellow ARRC member Paul Woodring and I were scouting for a place to hold the first end of year dinner.

My cab ride came during the last segment of the event. I don’t remember where I got on at, but it probably was at Indigo Lake.

I rode in the cab of FPA-4 No. 14, which today is CVSR No. 6777. The other FPA-4 in the motive power consist was No. 15, which today is CVSR No. 6771.

At the time, CVSR locomotives had a red, black and gold livery that heavily emphasized the gold. It has since been revised to emphasize black on the flanks.

The railfan event was one of just two times that I’ve seen lounge-observation car Saint Lucie Sound operate uncovered.

Most of the time, the observation end of the former Florida East Coast car is covered by a locomotive due to trains operating with motive power on each end.

I don’t recall us being allowed into the Saint Lucie Sound during our trip.

It would be just over a decade before I again rode and saw the CVSR. I’ve been trying to make up lost ground ever since in documenting the CVSR.

There is much I’ve missed that I could have recorded. I arrived in Northeast Ohio three years too late to see former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 light Mikado No. 4070 on the then-named Cuyahoga Valley Line.

I missed the Delaware & Hudson look-alike livery era even though it played out during my earlier years here.

The photographs I made of that railfan trip from 1997 are my only ones of CVSR locomotives in that first red, gold and black livery.

Given that the CVSR has moved to nearly all year scheduled operations on weekends, it would be difficult to duplicate this event.

It would have to be done on a weekend in the off-season and that would not encourage ridership.

Like so many railfan events, it was a good things that I did it when I did.

Comparing watches at Rockside Road station.

Creating a farm road scene at Szaly’s Farm.

Coming into Peninsula during my cab ride.

We were able to see Saint Lucie Sound operate as it was designed to operate.

Handing up train orders at Jaite.

Boats and an NS Heritage Unit

May 8, 2018

I thought on Sunday that I would intercept Norfolk Southern train 287 with the Central of Georgia Heritage unit at the Cuyahoga River Bridge.

While I was waiting, the Sam Laud, an ore boat, was heading upriver to the Mittal Steel mill.

As the Sam Laud was clearing a tugboat with a barge left just as the 287 came through.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Warm Memories of NKP 765 on the CVSR

January 10, 2018

Nickel Plate Road No. 765 cruises along the Cuyahoga River where it runs parallel to the tracks along Riverside Road north of Boston Mill station. Alas, the vegetation is obscuring most of the river.

I have many motivations for making photographs, but chief among them is to relive later something about which I have fond memories.

There are some experiences in life that seem warmer when you look back on them than they did at the time you actually experienced them.

It wasn’t that you didn’t enjoy it at the time, but some experiences have that ability to bring sunshine to a cloudy day, warmth to a cold day, and happiness to a trying day.

Such is the case with memories of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 plying the rails of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The big Berkshire has run on the CVSR enough times that many railfans in Northeast Ohio have grown complacent about it. It is no longer a “must see and photograph” event for them.

Maybe so, but every time it comes I remind myself that it might not happen again. And how often can you see a mainline steam locomotive in operation?

This galley of photographs includes images that didn’t quite fit the story line of my previous postings about the NKP 765 that I wrote last September.

I purposely saved them for winter when cold temperatures and snow storms would have us pining for the warmer days of late summer and early fall.

All of these images take me back to an outing I won’t soon forget and will always remember with fondness.

Along Riverside Road during the Akron Railroad Club picnic at the Valley Picnic Area on the other side of the road.

Southbound at Hillside Road during the second excursion of the day from Rockside Road station.

Arriving at the CVSR’s Rockside Road station. Ultimately, it’s all about having an experience that can’t easily be had anymore.

The photo line captures memories to be cherished later as the NKP 765 arrives at Rockside Road station.

Greetings from the fireman’s side. Note the tribute to the late Jerry Jacobson.

The NKP 765 crew waves to the crowd waiting to board at Rockside Road station.

A Whatisit on the NS Cleveland Line

December 15, 2017

I made reference to this train in a previous post, but for those who missed it or forgot it, it is a westbound Norfolk Southern dimension train on the Cleveland Line carrying two large pieces of equipment and operating as symbol freight L053.

I’m told this equipment is transformers used to step up or down electrical voltage for transmission.

As a railfan, I love it when these special moves are out on the line because the dispatcher tends to talk to them a lot to let them know what opposing trains they will meet.

When you are hunting for trains to photograph you can never have too much information about what it out there.

My intent had been to photograph a train crossing the Cuyahoga River along Ravenna Road near Lake Rockwell and the Akron water works plant. I’d photographed it once before, but that was several years ago.

Akron doesn’t own the Cuyahoga River here, but it sure does what it can to try to discourage people from being here. There are fences all around Lake Rockwell along with no trespassing signs.

Over the years, I’ve seen people parked beneath the NS bridge over Ravenna Road and fishing in the Cuyahoga on the south side of the NS bridge over the river. But I’ve never hung out here to wait for and photograph trains.

Within the past year or so, someone created a public canoe launch site, complete with a parking lot and signs. That creates at least the aura of it being a public location where railfans can make photographs of NS trains on the Cleveland Line.

My strategy was to sit in the parking lot at Towner’s Woods park about a mile to the east and monitor the radio frequency. From there I can hear the detector at Rootstown as well as trains calling the signal at CP 86 in Ravenna.

That would give me ample time to motor down to the bridge and get into position.

And so it was with the dimension train. I got the photographs that I wanted and was about to turn and head back to my car when the eastbound 20E came charging past.

I had heard the dispatcher tell the L053 that the 20E would be the next train he would meet. But by the time I got to the canoe launch I had forgotten about it.

That was a close call. Had that intermodal train shown up a minute earlier, it would have blocked the L053. But this time at least things worked out to near perfection.

I got my westbound train on the bridge and I got a reflection shot in the calm waters of the Cuyahoga in late day light. You can’t complain about that.