Posts Tagged ‘Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’

CVSR to Begin 2022 Season on Jan. 22

January 8, 2022

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will resume operations on Jan. 22, operating its National Park Scenic twice a day on Saturdays and Sundays between Independence (Rockside Road) and Akron with an intermediate stop in Peninsula.

Trains will depart Rockside Road at 9 a.m. and noon, and will depart Akron at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

This schedule will remain in place through April. In May trains will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays although the Scenic will not operate May 13-15 or May 20-22 due to the steam in the valley excursions being pulled by Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

Seating options include coach, tabletop and first class with fares ranging from $11 to $36 per person.

Also available is dome section seating in the Silver Lariat or Silver Bronco dome cars. Dome section tickets cost $29 for an adult and $24 for a child.

Executive class seating in the Saint Lucie Sound is available for $36 for an adult and $31 for a child. Seating is assigned in executive class.

No outside food or beverages are allowed aboard trains. A concession car will have snacks and drinks for sale.

CVSR Founder Siegfried Buerling Dies

January 1, 2022

Siegfried Buerling, one of the founders of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, has died. He was 89.

CVSR announced the death in a statement released on Friday. The statement described Buerling as “charismatic, tenacious, hard-working, and kind.”

In the middle 1960s Buerling, who was with the Western Reserve Historical Society, teamed up with Henry Lucas, a Cleveland attorney and a director of the Cuyahoga County Fair to ask the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to operate a steam train to Hale Farm and Village.

Hale Farm, located in Bath Township in Summit County, was owned by the WRHS.

The railroad rejected the proposal, but the two men continued to press for the service, forming with Cleveland businessman Nick Milleti in 1972 the Cuyahoga Valley Preservation and Scenic Railway Association.

Eventually the railroad relented and the CVP&SRA joined with the Midwest Railway Historical Foundation to operate an excursion train between the Cleveland Zoo and Hale Farm, starting in 1975.

“There were very tough years in the early days,” Buerling told the Akron Beacon Journal in 2019. “Everyone thought I was crazy.”

The service was operated as the Cuyahoga Valley Line but eventually changed its name to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The CVSR’s statement noted that Buerling immigrated to the United States from Germany and began working at Hale Farm as a cabinet maker. He later because the facility’s director and worked at Hale Farm for 40 years.

The CVSR has a passenger coach named after Buerling

Steam Saturday: Lot of Memories in This Image

December 18, 2021

My first encounter with Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 was in August 1993. I had just moved to Cleveland to take a new job and had seen that there would be a steam excursion from Akron to Pittsburgh and return.

I don’t remember how I heard about it but I ordered a ticket for a Sunday trip while I was still living in State College, Pennsylvania.

The locomotive for that trip was the 765 although it was disguised as a Chesapeake & Ohio locomotive. My next encounter with the 765 would occur 17 years later when the Berkshire-type steam made its first visit to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

I missed it during its first weekend of operation but vowed I would not miss it during its last weekend. I bought a ticket for the morning trip out of Akron.

Another first occurred that afternoon when I chased the 765. At that time I didn’t know that much about the CVSR territory and had made relatively few photographs of its operations. But by 2010 that had begun to change.

I surprised myself in being able to catch the 765 in multiple locations including the image above made at Howe Meadow. The photo runbys that year were conducted at Indigo Lake. The 765 would come as far as Howe Meadow before backing up to reboard passengers.

A handful of other fans were on hand here as well. There is something about this image I’ve always liked. Much of it has to do with the pleasant memories associated with that day. But another element is symbolic. The 765 is passing out of the darkness of the shadows and into the late afternoon light. In a way this chase represented my own coming out of the darkness with the 765.

When it returned the next year I was ready and chased and photographed it on multiple occasions.

Fast Forward to September 2018. The 765 was back in the Valley just as it had been in every year previous except 2012. I had a ticket for a trip out of Akron that would be the last one for the 765 on its 2018 visit.

That would turn out to be my last encounter to date with the 765 anywhere. I didn’t plan it that way, but there seems a certain symmetry to how my last experience with the 765 on the CVSR mirrors in many ways my first one.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

NKP 765 to Return to CVSR in May 2022

December 10, 2021

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 will return to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in 2022, but for the first time it is coming in the spring.

The CVSR and Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns and operates the Berskhire-type locomotive, said will be run May 13-15 and May 20-22.

Typically, the 765 has run on the CVSR during September. Trains will depart from Rockside Road station in Independence on May 14 and 21 and from Northside station in Akron on May 15 and 22. All of these trips will feature a photo runby.

Trips will depart Rockside Road on May 14 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. May 21 trips depart Rockside at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Trains depart Akron on all dates at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Night excursions with photo opportunities will operate on May 13 and 21, leaving from Rockside Road station at 7:30 p.m.

The three-and-a-half hour outing will involve a night photo shoot with special lighting illuminating a stationary 765.

Other special events being held in conjunction with these excursions include dinner aboard the train, a murder mystery trip, and wine and cocktails trips for passengers age 21 and older.

All of these special events will occur on evening runs and depart from Rockside Road station.

The dinner trains will operate on May 13 and 20, the murder mystery event operates on May 13, the cocktails on the rails is set for May 20, and a canvas and wine event is slated for May 21.

The latter involves an artist providing step-by-step instruction on how to create a painting while the participates sip wine.

Ticket sales for CVSR members begin Dec. 10 with general public ticket sales starting on Dec, 14.

Fares for regular excursions range from $25 to $70 depending on the type of seating class selected.

Prices for special events range from $75 to $135 depending on seating class. Dinner train tickets range from $135 to $150 per person.

More information and ticket sales are available at https://www.cvsr.org/steam

When RDCs Still Ran in Akron

December 3, 2021

During 2007 the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operated its four-car Rail Diesel Car fleet between Canton and Akron. The trains typically were three-car sets as shown in these two images.

In the top photograph, a train from Canton is passing beneath the CSX New Castle Subdivision at Akron Junction and passing the CSX yard office near Arlington Street. The train will be at Northside station in a couple of minutes.

In the bottom image, an RDC train bound for Canton passes through the Goodyear complex in Akron. It is about to pass under a bridge that once carried tracks of the Akron & Barberton Belt.

Steam Saturday: Remembering a 2010 Night Photo Shoot

October 23, 2021

Let’s take a trip back to September 2010. Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 has arrived on the property of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for the first of what has turned out be an almost annual ritual.

Someone – I don’t remember who – arranged with CVSR officials for a night photo shoot of the 765 at the CVSR’s Fitzwater Shops, where the Berkshire-type locomotive spends its time between excursions.

Night photo shoots used to be a thing with some railfan photographers back in the day.

The photographers would set up their cameras on tripods and one member of the party would run around the object of the photographs – usually a locomotive – firing off a series of flashbulbs while the camera shutters were held open on the bulb setting.

The late O. Winston Link is well-known for having used a similar technique to record the final years of steam operations on the Norfolk & Western.

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts used to engage in night photo shoots here and there. One memorable one occurred in Youngstown on Jan. 14, 1977, to mark the end of the Cleveland-Youngstown commuter train on the former Erie Lackawanna route.

That photo shoot is remembered in Trackside Around Cleveland 1965-1979 with Dave McKay.

Another memorable night photo shoot occurred Sept. 10, 1988, in Brecksville when the then-named Cuyahoga Valley Line staged Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 along the Cuyahoga River with the iconic Ohio Route 82 bridge in the background.

That night is recalled in my book Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in an Edward Ribinskas photograph.

Fast forward 22 year to the evening of Sept. 16, 2010. RRE and Akron Railroad Club members brought their cameras and tripods to Fitzwater at dusk to photograph the 765 with two CVSR FPA-4 locomotives.

There was a small fee charged for the event with the proceeds going to the CVSR if I remember correctly.

CVSR trainmaster and director of operations Larry Blanchard brought the 6777 and 800 out of the shop and posed them with the 765, which was not in steam on this evening.

We picked our spots and set up our cameras and awaited the command of “open them up.” Then someone ran around firing off a flash gun a few times.

I was still a slide film shooter in 2010 and although my results were satisfactory not all of the images I made were necessarily top quality. In some instances light from the open shop doors cast a yellow glow over the scene despite the use of daylight balanced flash bulbs.

It was my first and thus far only night photo shoot in which flash bulbs were used.

The night photo shoot at Fitzwater would be the last of its kind staged by the RRE.

There are still photographers out there who use flash to create night photographs but they use strobes rather than flashbulbs.

During the most recent visit of the 765 to the CVSR, a night photo shoot was staged at Northside Station in Akron, but the lighting was provided by floodlights rather than flashes.

I’m not sure that the CVSR would allow the RRE/ARRC to replicate today what happened on that September 2010 evening at Fitzwater. Whatever the case, nothing like it has happened since, which makes these images all the more valuable and memorable.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NKP 765 Back Home Again in Indiana

October 7, 2021

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 returned home to New Haven, Indiana, On Monday after spending much of September in Ohio.

The Berkshire-type locomotive pulled excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Northeast Ohio and then put in an appearance at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

While in Bellevue, the 765 was reunited with one-time running mate NKP 757, which is being cosmetically restored by the Mad River museum.

It was the first time two NKP Berkshire locomotives were coupled together since the early 1960s when many steam locomotives were lined up waiting to be scrapped.

Museum officials said that more than 2,000 purchased tickets for caboose rides, hostling tours, and a night photo session.

They said several hundred more showed up just to see the two locomotives together.

During the event, the 765 crew ran a steam line to No. 757 to allow the latter’s whistle to sound. During the night photo session, a third Berkshire made a temporary appearance with No. 765 assuming the cosmetic role of Wheeling & Lake Erie No. 828, whose whistle has been featured on the 765 previously.

Some cosmetic changes to the 765 were undertaken to give it the appearance of a W&LE steamer.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the 765 said planning is underway to celebrate the locomotive’s 50th anniversary next year.

Society officials said they are talking with various possible hosts in locations the 765 might be able to visit.

FtWRHS Vice President Kelly Lynch said next year also is the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, so plans for a special Steam in the Valley experience are in the works.

Steam Saturday: Suitable for Framing

September 25, 2021

Both of these black and white images were made on Sept. 24, 2011, during a southbound steam in the valley excursion on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The top image was made at Indigo Lake while the bottom image shows the train crossing the Ohio & Erie Canal in Akron.

The type of lighting at these two spots along with the post processing changes the mood in each photo.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

CVSR to Offer Friday Night Train Rides

September 23, 2021

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will offer two-hour rides this fall on Friday nights.

Trains will depart Rockside Road station in Independence at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person.

The first night trip is this Friday (Sept. 24) and had tickets available in dome car Silver Bronco.

Trains will operate every Friday evening during October.

CVSR to Serve Howe Meadow Market on Sept. 25

September 17, 2021

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s National Park Scenic will be making a stop on Sept. 25 at Howe Meadow so that passengers can shop at the Countryside Food and Farms market.

Passengers must board at Rockside Road in Independence and the train will depart at 9 a.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children.  The farmer’s market features more than 50 local farmers, food entrepreneurs and artists.

Passengers will have a one and half-hour stay at the market and depart at 11:30 a.m. to return to Rockside Road station at 12:30 p.m.

The National Park Scenic on that date will not operate between Howe Meadow and Akron. The second loop of the Scenic will depart Rockside Road station for Akron at 1 p.m.