Posts Tagged ‘Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’

Thomas Returns to CVSR this Weekend

May 19, 2017

Thomas the Tank Engine is returning to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad this weekend with trips from Boston Mill station on Saturday and Sunday.

Thomas will make a return visit on May 26-28, also departing from Boston Mill station.

The CVSR said that only those who have purchased Thomas tickets or a site ticket will be allowed into the boarding and festival area at Boston Mill. A site ticket grants admission to the Boston Mill station area, but does not include the half-hour train ride.

The site will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include magicians, bounce houses, balloon artists, live entertainment and railroad displays.

Fares are $18 for all trips on Friday and $20 or $22 for Saturday and Sunday trips.

The $20 tickets are good for the 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. trips.  The $22 tickets are for the 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. trips.

Passengers are advised to arrive at the site an hour before departure time.

CVSR Oddball Locomotives Featured in April 2017 Issue of the Akron Railroad Club eBulletin

April 25, 2017

The Alco FPA-4 units built by Montreal Locomotive Works may have gotten much of the attention over the years on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, but if you have spent time chasing CVSR trains you would have seen an eclectic variety of motive power, some of which operated only for a short time.

The cover story in the April 2017 Akron Railroad Club eBulletin will focus on locomotives that did time on the CVSR but seemed out of place even if they added some interest.

A photographer would have had to have regularly spent time on the Valley throughout its more than more 40-year history to have captured all of these locomotives.

Also in the April eBulletin is a report from the ARRC’s 13th annual Dave McKay Day at Berea held on April 1. There is also the latest railroad industry news in the monthly Interchange Track feature.

All Aboard the Akron Soul Train

April 21, 2017

Shipping containers and small houses are going to be used to create a residential artists’ village in Akron that will be known as The Akron Soul Train.

The complex will also have tiny houses and be built near the Northside Arts District.

Funding for the project came from a $150,000 Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grant that was matched by a $50,000 Burton D. Morgan Foundation grant.

Money also is being raised through train-themed memberships, allowing members to get special deals at the village and on Akron Soul Train-branded collectibles.

“A year ago we were just announcing that we got a grant,” said Akron artist Amy Mothersbaugh, who is leading the project with Nancy Brennan. “It’s not because we’re really good at what we do. It’s because everyone seems to be excited about the vision and the possibility of this being in Akron. People feel like it’s theirs too, and that’s so cool.”

The plan is to offer artistic fellowships that help develop, promote and teach visitors about the arts through educational outreach, workshops, classes and exhibitions.

The group hopes to be able to select three artists to live at the village under varying-length fellowships.

For the time being, the fellowships can only be offered in warmer months until heat can be installed.

Akron Soul Train is working to develop collaborative programming with the city, Summit Metro Parks and the CVSR, whose Akron station is near the site of the village.

Speed Limit Drops on Riverview Road in CVNP

April 8, 2017

I got an email this week from fellow Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring letting me know that the speed limit on Riverview Road through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park fell to 35 mph on April 4.

Although a new state law mandated the change, a story in the Akron Beacon Journal said the lower speed limit was requested by Summit County engineer Al Brubaker.

He told the Beacon Journal he wanted the speed limit lowered for safety reasons due to joggers, bicyclists and pedestrians mingling on “curvy and hilly” highways with motor vehicles.

“While drivers, riders and pedestrians will still need to use common care and caution within the park, at least we will now be able to post the county’s park roads at a more reasonable speed limit,” Brubaker said in a statement.

As Paul sees it, though, the slower speed limit makes it difficult if not impossible to chase steam trains on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Before the recent change, Riverview Road had a myriad of speed limits. From north to south it was 25 mph from Pleasant Valley Road to Ohio Route 82, 35 mph to the Cuyahoga-Summit county line, 40 mph to Peninsula, 35 mph in Peninsula to Ohio Route 303, 25 mph to the Peninsula border, 35 mph to just north of the diagonal crossing of the CVSR tracks, and 45 mph to Cuyahoga Falls where the speed limit again dropped to 35 mph.

The speed limit will be dropping on other roads in the CVNP, but Riverview is of special interest to railroad photographers because it is parallel with the CVSR tracks.

I have chased Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and Ohio Central No. 1293 on Riverview Road, but found plenty of other obstacles other than the speed limit to chasing a steam train on the CVSR.

Most notable among them is the traffic light at Riverview and Route 303 where traffic backs up when the chase is on. I’ve missed out on more than one photograph because I got hung up at that signal.

It also can be difficult to catch up with a steam train on the CVSR if you photograph it in Peninsula. The weather is usually nice in September and the town is crowded with tourists.

Finding a parking space is tough and navigating your way out of town after getting your photographs is time-consuming due to traffic. I’ve missed the photo runbys at Boston Mill because it took so long to get out of Peninsula.

Some of the photo locations that I favor require some walking to get in and out. That often means being one and done with that particular trip of the steam train.

The lower speed limits are not going to change my strategy for photographing NKP 765 – or whatever number it operates with this year – if it comes back to the CVSR in September.

I’ll determine my photo locations for the day and travel on Riverside when the train is doing its photo runbys at Boston Mill or sitting in the station where trips begin and end. In short, it requires realistic planning and not being so reactive.

Anyone who has chased a steam train has stories to tell about photographers who drove recklessly to get to their next photo op, putting not only themselves at risk of injury but other photographers and motorists who were not there to chase a train.

I also remember a time when I was standing by the CVSR tracks near the Valley Picnic area.

I thought it odd that there was little traffic on Riverview going the direction of the train.

As the train came into view I could see why. A vehicle with a guy making video was pacing the steam locomotive and traffic was backed up behind him.

It doesn’t matter what the speed limit is when someone is behaving like that.

Rice Named CVSR 2016 Volunteer of Year

March 31, 2017

Alan Rice has been named the 2016 Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad volunteer of the year.

Rice, who works on CVSR trains as a conductor and brakeman joined the CVSR in June 2009.

He has contributed more than 7,800 hours including 1,494.5 last year.

An active member of the CVSR Volunteer Association, he is the treasurer and a member of the communications and education committees.

Rice helped revise the volunteer policies and procedures manual and has presented at continuing education events for volunteers.

Merriman Valley CVSR Station Being Sought

March 25, 2017

In late 1989, the Federal Railroad Administration condemned a railroad bridge over Howard Street in Akron, which effectively prevented the Cuyahoga Valley Line from reaching its Akron boarding site.

The bridge was eventually rebuild using federal money and CVL service returned on Aug. 1, 1993.

In 1991 and 1992 CVL trains terminated in the Merriman business district along Riverview Road in far northwest Akron.

Now merchants in that area want to see the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad as it is known now resumed stopping there.

The Merriman Valley Business Association has posted a petition at seeking support for establishing a Merriman Valley station  in land owned by the Summit Metro Parks.

The site would be somewhere between the Greater Akron Motorcycle Club and the Valley Dental Group.

Aside from the cost of building and maintaining the station, another potential hurdle is the fact that the land in question is a wetland.

A spokeswoman for the National Park Service, which owns the tracks used by the CVSR, said the NPS has yet to be contacted by anyone concerning the station proposal.

Likewise, a Metro Parks spokesman said no one has contacted his organization although it is aware of the petition.

If the petition receives at least 500 signatures, it will be presented to the Akron City Council, the CVSR and the Conservancy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The business association sees stopping CVSR trains in the Merriman Valley as one of many steps they hope to undertake to attract more visitors.

They also plan to host a farmer’s market and are pushing for signs along the Towpath Trail to direct hikers and bikers to the business district.

Saint Lucie Sound Mural Being Restored

March 7, 2017
CVSR observation-lounge car Saint Lucie Sound trails behind FPA-4 No. 6771 while crossing the Cuyahoga River in September 2016 south of Peninsula.

CVSR observation-lounge car Saint Lucie Sound trails behind FPA-4 No. 6771 while crossing the Cuyahoga River in September 2016 south of Peninsula.

A mural inside observation-lounge Saint Lucie Sound is being restored by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad  in cooperation with the ICA Art Conservation.

The mural restoration is part of an on-going rehabilitation of the former Florida East Coast car that began in 2014.

The mural was discovered as workers were restoring the car’s bar area. Beneath the carpet covering the bar was a linoleum mural depicting Native Americans.

The creator of the mural is unknown, but it is believed to be original to the car, which was built by the Budd Company in 1946.

CVSR estimates that volunteers have spent more than 80 hours removing glue from the mural.

Layers of glue had damaged the mural, but most of it remains in place.

Saint Lucie Sound was donated to the CVSR in 1995 by the Haslinger family.

The car has had multiple owners over the years and undergone several changes that have altered its original interior appearance.

CVSR Volunteers Set Service Record in 2016

March 6, 2017
A CVSR crew member watches for the arrival a steam train during a meet in Peninsula in September 2016.

A CVSR crew member watches for the arrival a steam train during a meet in Peninsula in September 2016.

Volunteers contributed a record 93,000 hours of service to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in 2016.

CVSR said that the service was provided by 1,740 volunteers and their work was the equivalent of approximately 45 full-time employees.

The previous record was 91,000 hours of service set in 2015.

“They are an integral part of every aspect of our organization and their support and dedication allowed us to bring quality programs to more than 214,000 passengers in 2016,” said Sherri Lemley, CVSR manager of trustee and volunteer relations.

CVSR volunteers fulfill a range of duties, including providing on-board service, developing safety initiatives and promoting CVSR and Cuyahoga Valley National Park at community events.

In a related development, the CVSR said that volunteer Mary Stewart has been named the recipient of the CVNP’s 2016 Safety Award. The award is given by the CVNP Safety Advisory Council.

Stewart served as chair of the CVSR Fire Extinguisher Committee and has overseen efforts to assure the readiness of CVSR’s fire extinguishers.

Her team has installed fire extinguishers at Fitzwater Yard and Shops, om stations and aboard CVSR’s rolling stock.

Stewart has contributed 3,000 hours of service to the CVSR as a volunteer since June 2013 and has served as a trainman and a regular steward on the Saint Lucie Sound observation-lounge car.

CVSR Service Expands Today

March 4, 2017


Starting today the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will expand service to Saturdays and Sundays on weekends. Since mid January the railroad had operated only on Saturdays.

Service will expand to Friday, Saturday and Sunday in May when  service also begins at intermediate stations at the Canal Education Center, Brecksville,  Boston Mill, Indigo Lake, Botzum and Big Bend.

The new schedule has trains departing from Rockside Road station in Independence at 10 a.m. and 1:50 p.m. and arriving at 1:20 p.m. and 5:10 p.m.

Times are Peninsula are 10:45 a.m., 12:35 p.m., 2:40 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Arriving in Akron are at 11:30 a.m. and 3:25 p.m. while departures are at 11:45 a.m. and 3:40 p.m.


Ohio Central Steam Memory on the CVSR

February 28, 2017


Most photographs that Northeast Ohio railfans made of Ohio Central 4-6-2 No. 1293 were made on its former home rails, which are now operated by Genesee & Wyoming.

By the Pacific-type owned by Jerry Jacobson made three visits to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, that last of which occurred in September 2012.

The first excursion of that visit occurred on Sept. 8 and ran from Rockside Road Station to Indigo Lake.

It carried those passengers attending the CVSR’s 40th anniversary gala held at Hale Farm and Village.

Shown in the cab are Mark Perri (left) and engineer Tim Sposato.