Posts Tagged ‘Cuyahoga Valley National Park’

CVSR Two For Tuesday

November 10, 2020

This week’s two for Tuesday features a pair of images of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in action on Oct. 21, 2009. In the top image the National Park Scenic was caught near Akron. In the bottom image it is crossing a creek near Brecksville. In both images the train was headed northbound.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

CVSR Extends Service Suspension to Oct. 1

April 30, 2020

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on Wednesday said it is canceling all trains operations until Oct. 1.

The tourist railroad that operates between suburb Cleveland and downtown Akron through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, had earlier suspended trains operations in mid March due to the COVID-19 pandemic

“As we look to an uncertain future with respect to this situation, CVSR must make decisions now,” said CVSR President and CEO Joe Mazur in a statement.

Mazur said it was a difficult decision to forgo operations during the busy summer months but said large gatherings are unlikely to be safe for some time.

“We look forward to welcoming our passengers and volunteers when the time is right,” he said.

In a news release, the CVSR said it will continue to monitor the pandemic throughout the summer and determine if it is safe to operate trains in the fall.

The release also contained a statement from park superintendent Craig Kenkel agreeing with the decision to suspend train operations through September.

CVSR said it will issue refunds to passengers who purchased advance tickets and plans to automatically extend all active memberships and appropriate benefits by the number of months the railroad will be closed.

Although the release did not address the fate of the annual steam in the valley program, it seems likely it will not operate this year.

In past years the CVSR has operated steam in the valley in September so that it did not encroach upon the busy fall foliage season.

In most years steam in the valley has featured former Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

This will not be the first time that rail service through the Cuyahoga Valley has not operated during the summer since the then-named Cuyahoga Valley Line emerged in 1975.

Service was cancelled or all of 1986 and 1987 after CSX abandoned the valley line and negotiations played out for the Park Service to buy the tracks.

The 1990 season didn’t get started until July 21 due to mechanical problems that sidelined former Grand Trunks Western 2-8-2 No. 4070.

Tourist Railroads Shut Down, CVNP Trails Still Open

March 19, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to a host of closings, including tourist railroads and the Steamtown National Historic Site.

Steamtown said it will be closed until further notice but did provide a link on its website for a virtual visit.

Among the tourist operations that have suspended operations are the Nevada Northern Railway, Durango & Silverton, and the Aurora Winter Train of the Alaska Railroad.

Florida intercity passenger rail service Brightline said it will reduce service but is still offering 18 weekday trains and 14 weekend trains, while maintaining hourly service during commuter rush-hour periods.

Closer to Northeast Ohio, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has suspended operations into April.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park has closed its Boston Mill Visitor Center, but a notice on the park’s website indicates that trails and restrooms remain open.

All park programs scheduled in the coming days have been canceled.

Also closed are operations of the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park including the Trail Mix store in Peninsula, the Hines Hill campus and the Happy Days Lodge.

The closures, which will extend for the next eight weeks, include cultural arts events, performances, lectures and privately hosted events. Operations at the Environmental Education Center and Stanford House are also suspended.

CVSR Summer Event Ticket Sales Begin This Week

February 23, 2020

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will begin selling tickets this week for theme event trains operating between May and August.

These include family-oriented events, Ales on Rails, the Grape Express, cocktail trains, murder mystery trains, evening train rides and dinner and breakfast service.

Ticket sales for CVSR members at the brakeman level and above start on Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. while ticket sales to the public begin at 10 a.m. on Feb. 28.

CVSR memberships levels vary from $50 to $1,500 per person.

The benefits with each membership class vary and but include such things as complimentary tickets to ride the National Park Scenic, discounts on concession purchases, early access to Polar Express ticket sales, complimentary upgrades to a higher class of service aboard the Scenic, and unlimited access to certain services.

The latter include bike aboard, hike aboard and run board services.

Those who plunk down $1,500 for the Saint Lucie Founder level get one private use of the observation-lounge car Saint Lucie Sound on one regularly scheduled Scenic trip.

Through April 26 the Scenic will be operating on Saturday and Sunday only although the train will not run on Easter Sunday (April 12). Starting May 2 service will increase to Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The summer schedule of operating Wednesday through Sunday will begin on June 3 and run through Aug. 30.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday during that period the Scenic will operate three roundtrips per day between Akron and Rockside Road in Independence (suburban Cleveland).

CVSR Hosting Slate of October Theme Trains

September 28, 2019

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is offering a variety of theme trains in October, including the return of the Fall Flyer.

The Fall Flyer is a two-hour excursion that will operate on a non-stop schedule to enable passengers to view the fall foliage colors of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The trains will operate every Saturday and Sunday during October and offer upper dome car and luxury seating options.

Tickets range from $25 to $35 per person depending on the class of service selected.

Departures from Rockside Road station in Independence are at 2 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. Departures from Akron Northside station on Sundays will be at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Other theme train experiences being offered during October include a series of two-hour Family Fun Loops excursions that have various themes designed to appeal to children.

Tasty Treats will depart Rockside Road station on Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. and from Northside station at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 6.

Passengers will be able to decorate and of course eat cupcakes. Tickets are $25 for those who want to decorate and eat cupcakes and $15 for those who don’t want a cupcake.

Another set of Family Fun Loop trips will feature pumpkin decorating with arts and craft supplies.

Those trains depart Rockside Road on Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. and from Northside station at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 20. Passengers are encouraged to come wearing Halloween costumes.

Tickets are $30 per person for decorators and $20 per person for helpers, who will not receive a pumpkin.

Super Royal Halloween trains will leave on Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m. from Northside station and Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. from Rockside station.

The trips will feature story telling, singing and a treat with a princess. Onboard will be Warrior Woman, Patriotic Hero, La Princesa, and Amulet Princess.

Tickets are $35 per person and the event is recommended for all ages.

The Family Fun Loops trips will wrap up with A Very Beary Costume Party.

The rides will feature instruction on how to decorate a stuffed animal. All participants will receive a bear and dress it in a costume.

Trains depart on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. from Rockside Road station and on Oct. 27 at 3:30 p.m. from Northside station.

Tickets are $30 for builders, which includes a stuffed animal, and $20 for helpers.

Also slated for October are night excursions that will depart Rockside Road station at 7:30 p.m. on every Friday of the month.

Recommended for ages 3 and older, these excursions feature a two-hour train ride.

Trivia games will be held onboard led by a host with prizes awarded to the top three teams.

On Wednesdays in October the CVSR will host Read Aboard outings leaving at 9:45 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. from the Peninsula depot.

Recommended for ages 3 and up, children under the age of 2 do not need a ticket but must sit on a parent’s or guardian’s lap.

Tickets range from $8 to $10. Aboard the train during the two-hour ride there will be a story time and craft and activities.

On all of the October theme excursions beverages, snacks and merchandise will be for sale in the concession car.

CVSR Summer Schedule to Resume June 1

May 24, 2019

Operations of the National Park Scenic of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will resume on June 1.

The Scenic will operate two round trips between Rockside Road station in Indepence and Northside station in Akron on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and three round trips between those points on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays.

The train will not operate on Monday and Tuesday, which is a reversion to the schedule pattern of previous summers. Last year the CVSR featured Tuesday service.

Currently the Scenic is operating to round trips between Rockside and Akron on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays that stop at all intermediate stations except Boston Mill.

The Boston Mill station is temporarily closed through October due to construction of a nearby visitor’s center for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Scenic will operate this Monday (May 27) on Memorial Day. Bike Aboard service has also resumed for the season.

Elevated View of the CVSR

October 31, 2018

There are very few places to photograph trains on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad from above.

Rockside Road soars over the tracks immediately north of Rockside Road station in Independence, but if you photograph there you are looking southward toward the sunlight.

Trains rarely venture north of the bridge so opportunities to get images there are rare as well.

On the southern end of the railroad, the Y bridge in Akron is situated just to the east of Northside station.

In past years, you could get good images with a telephoto lens. But to prevent jumpers, the city put up fences on the Y bridge.

The only bridge between those points carries East Pleasant Valley Road over the tracks.

It doesn’t have a fence, but it also doesn’t have sidewalks. In theory, you could park on the side of the road, but that is a dicey proposition.

I’ve always parked by the gate where Riverview Road is now cut off. It’s a safe place to park, but located some distance from the bridge.

That’s why I’ve seldom photographed from Pleasant Valley except when Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 is in town.

The photograph above was made on one such occasion. It shows the National Park Scenic that preceded the steam train.

In looking at my photo archives, I determined that I’ve only photographed CVSR trains from the Pleasant Valley bridge once when I wasn’t there to get the NKP 765.

It’s a viable photo location, but one that takes some work.

Kids Ride Free on CVSR in August

August 16, 2018

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is allowing some children to ride for free this month when accompanied by an adult.

The promotion, sponsored by WKYC-TV, allows for one free child’s coach ticket aboard the National Park Scenic when an adult buys a $15 coach ticket. There is a limit of three child tickets per household.

After three free coach child’s tickets, any additional passengers will require paid tickets.

The promotion is available Tuesdays-Fridays and excludes Saturdays and Sundays.

The promotion will end on Aug. 31 and is not valid with other promotions or discounts. It also does not apply to special event tickets.

Steamtown Head Moving to Another Post

August 16, 2018

The head of Steamtown National Historic Site is leaving for another position with the National Park Service.

Debbie Conway, who once worked in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, said she has accepted a position as deputy regional director for the Park Service’s Northeast Region and will step down at Steamtown on Oct. 1.

“This is a great opportunity professionally for me and a position in which I think I can have some positive influence for the region,” Conway told her staff in an email message.

Conway has been at Steamtown for four years. An acting superintendent will be appointed to replace her.

Baseball, Hot Dogs and Trains

July 25, 2018

CVSR train No. 34 approaches the Big Bend station, but no one wanted to get on or off.

Back in late spring Ed Ribinskas proposed that Marty Surdyk and I join him in attending a baseball game in Akron featuring the Class AA Rubber Ducks.

The Ducks, who are affiliated with the Cleveland Indians, were honoring former Cleveland Cavaliers star Mark Price that night and Price is Ed’s favorite former Cav.

As part of the festivities, the first 1,000 fans were to receive a bobble head doll of Price wearing a Rubber Ducks uniform with the same number he wore during his NBA career.

It would be my first trip to Canal Park in several years. The last time I was there the team was still named the Aeros.

We agreed to do some railfanning in the afternoon before the game.

The outing started at Marty’s house and from there we headed for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to chase a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train.

We were driving along Riverview Road when Marty asked, “where are we going?”

I suggested we go to the Big Bend station in Akron, which is located in the Sand Run Metropark.

Big Bend is the only CVSR station where I’ve never photographed a train.

We easily found the station, which isn’t much, just a gravel platform lacking any signs identifying it as a CVSR stop.

The northbound train from Akron to Rockside Road arrived not long after we did. We got our photographs of it alongside a trail and then headed north in pursuit.

I was hoping that C424 No. 365 would be on the north end of the train as it had been the previous weekend. But that was not the case.

Instead, FPA-4 No. 6771 was on the point. That’s not bad because it features the V stripe on the nose.

The next photo stop was at Indigo Lake and after that we caught the train at Boston Mill.

I wanted to get the train passing the under construction CVNP visitor’s center.

Earlier, the National Park Service purchased a private apartment building and is gutting it to create the visitor’s center, which is expected to open in May 2019.

We continued to follow the train northbound, figuring to maybe getting it at Brecksville.

But Riverview was closed north of Jaite so the chase came to an abrupt halt.

We still had more than an hour to kill before heading to Akron and I suggested we check out Maple Grove Park in Hudson next to the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern.

Marty has been there but I haven’t. He wrote about it in a past issue of the Bulletin.

We arrived in the park just ahead of westbound intermodal train 25T, which was slowing to go around a train ahead that was getting a new crew.

The 25T would cross over to Track No. 2 once the eastbound 20E cleared CP 102. The two stack trains met in front of us.

We didn’t have a much longer wait before the train that was stopped, the 24W, got on the move eastbound.

In the meantime someone walking on the trail asked if we were trainspotters. Well, yes, we are, but I associate that term with British railfanning.

After passage of the 24W, it was time to head for Canal Park. The gates opened at 6 p.m. and we had a good half hour or more wait in line to get in.

It turned out that only 200 people got a Mark Price bobble head doll. The vendor had not sent the allotted 1,000 bobble heads so those who were among the first 1,000 into Canal Park but not in the initial 200 received a voucher to receive their bobble head at the Aug. 26 game against Harrisburg. They also received a free ticket to that game.

I didn’t care about the bobble head and had I been offered it I would have given it to Ed or said give it to someone else.

I had eaten a tuna salad wrap from Sheetz during the ride to Akron, but Ed and Marty went to the concession stand to get hotdogs.

The weather was pleasant for a baseball game and it was announced late during the game that it was the eighth sellout of the season.

Price threw out a ceremonial first pitch and signed autographs for fans during the first hour of the game.

The Ducks got the better of the Richmond Flying Squirrels by a score of 4-1, scoring three times in the seventh and once in the eighth.

Following the game was a fireworks display set to music by the Counting Crows. It was nice, but not the best fireworks shows I’ve seen.

It had been an enjoyable day filled with a few firsts for me and visits to four parks.

That gravel to the right of the train is the boarding platform for Big Bend station.

Here comes the train at Indigo Lake.

Boarding at Indigo Lake after a visit to Hale Farm.

Leaving Indigo Lake behind.

That old red building at Boston Mill will several months from now be the new visitor’s center for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Here comes the 25T at Maple Grove Park.

Eastbound 20E meets the 25T at Maple Grove Park.

NS stacker 24W was our last train of the day.

Seems like I’ve seen these guys somewhere before. Maybe it was even in Akron.

Mark Price throws out a first pitch. The ball is at the top of the frame.

The finale of the post-game fireworks show.