Posts Tagged ‘Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’

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.


CVNP Begins Construction of Visitor Center

January 10, 2018

A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week for what is being billed as the first full-service visitors center in the 44-year history of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Although eight people engaged in a ceremonial turning of a shovelful of dirt, the new visitor’s center actually will involve renovating what had been a privately-owned apartment building adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad tracks just south of the Boston Mills station.

The visitor’s center is projected to cost $5.9 million and open in spring 2019.

It will supplement and not necessarily replace the nearby Boston Store visitor’s center, which will remain open but be given a new focus.

Park officials do not consider smaller-scale facilities at the Hunt House and the Canal Exploration Center to be visitor centers.

Once opened, the Boston Mills Visitors Center will be described as the main stop for park visitors to learn about attractions and activities inside the 33,000-acre park.

The CVNP was created in late 1974 as the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation area.

Now one of 59 national parks, CVNP drew more than 2.4 million visitors last year, ranking it 12th in attendance among the national parks.

CVSR Names Engine After Retired Mechanic

January 6, 2018

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has named locomotive No. 1822 after Fred Daigneau, who retired last year after working for the railroad as a mechanic for 17 years.

In a news release, the CVSR said that Daigneau has signed on to become a volunteer engineer.

The 1822 is an Alco RS18u that was originally built for the Canadian Pacific in May 1958. It was acquired by the CVSR in fall 1998.

The CVSR in the meantime is in its early January hibernation. The National Park Scenic will resume operations on Jan. 20, operating on Saturdays between Rockside Road Station in Independence and Akron.

There will be two roundtrips departing Rockside at 9 a.m. and 12:50 p.m., and from Akron Northside station at 10:55 a.m. and 2:50 p.m.

NKP 765 Eyes 2018 Excursions

December 29, 2017

No trips have been announced, but the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society is making plans to run its Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 on the road in 2018.

Vice President Kelly Lynch told Trains magazine that the society is planning excursions that it hopes will take the Berkshire locomotive to Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri.

“About half of the possible locations are places to which we have been before, but some of them are new,” Lynch said. “We had been considering going to some of these destinations in 2017, but we ran out of time to do the marketing. It didn’t look like we were going to have our ducks in a row soon enough to allow for that if we had tried those additional excursions in 2017.”

This past year the NKP 765 pulled trips on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Northeast Ohio and on Chicago’s Metra commuter rail line between Joliet, Illinois, and Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station.

The reference to planning trips in Ohio combined with Lynch’s comments suggests that the 765 will be back on the CVSR next year.

Traditionally, the 765 has operated on the CVSR in September.

Sanders Photo Published in Railfan & Railroad

November 21, 2017

A photograph of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 made by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders was recently published in Railfan & Railroad magazine.

The image, which was made on Sept. 24, shows the 2-8-4 Berkshire-type locomotive steaming past Brecksville station on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. At the time, the engine and its train were making a ferry move to Akron.

The photograph was published on Page 16 in the Preservation Railnews section of the November issue of R&R.

Waiting for the Cleveland Night Express

November 18, 2017

Back in the day, railroads would drop off and pick up set-off cars at various intermediate stations. These included sleepers, diners, lounges and head-end cars. Amtrak has all but ended that practice.

During the holiday season, railroads would use every head-end car they had to carry an increase in mail and express business as millions of Christmas cards, parcels and letters rode the rails.

Show above is a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad baggage car on the siding in Peninsula. I’m not sure why it is there, but suspect it has something to do with the Polar Express season.

With a little imagination, though, I can pretend that it is a set off car that will be loaded with  holiday mail and express from the Peninsula post office and sent it out tonight on the Baltimore & Ohio’s Cleveland Night Express.

Sanders to Appear at B&N Author Event

November 15, 2017

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders will be participating in a local author exhibition on Saturday at the Barnes & Noble book store in Akron.

Sanders, whose book Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, was recently released by Fonthill Media, will be among 11 authors who will sign their books and discuss their work with B&N customers.

The authors will appear at tables on the upper level of the store located at 4015 Medina Road in the Fairlawn-Montrose area.

The B&N store has set up a Facebook page about the event:

Other authors and their books scheduled to be at the event are: Louise Richards, A Christmas Story a Day; Wes Locher, Unit 44; Anita Fox, Bobby’s Journeys…; Kristen Lepionka, The Last Place You Look; Mike & Janice Olszewski, Cleveland Radio Tales; Dave Bair, The Lasso; Carmen Williams, FitOverIt and That Too; Robert J. Roman, Ohio State Football: The Forgotten Dawn; Brendan Bowers, LeBron James vs The NBA; and Irv Korman, Antuan was Hear.

First Energy Foundation Gives CVSR $50K

November 15, 2017

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad plans to launch a comprehensive capital campaign in early 2018 with the first donation already having been made by the FirstEnergy Foundation.

The Akron-based group recently gave the railroad $50,000 to kick start a program to modernize the CVSR fleet of locomotives and passenger cars.

Details of the campaign will be announced early next year, railroad officials said.

“The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic railroad has become a cultural institution in Northeast Ohio, drawing people from far and wide for programs designed to build wonderful family memories, such as summer valley excursions or trips on the Polar Express during the holiday season,” said FirstEnergy Foundation President Dee Lowery in a statement. “The fact that this is the railroad’s first comprehensive capital campaign in its 45 years of operation is a testament to the organization’s viability, and we’re pleased to support it.”

CVSR has engaged in various fundraising activities over the years, but the railroad is describing the upcoming campaign as the first of its kind since its 1972 founding.

The CVSR has operated scheduled service on a former Baltimore & Ohio branch line between Cleveland and Akron since 1975.

Peninsula is Now the North Pole

November 13, 2017

The southbound National Park Scenic arrives at the North Pole, a.k.a. Peninsula, where a large Christmas trees sits alongside the tracks on West Mill Street.

The annual Polar Express  trains of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad got underway on Saturday night and will continue to operate on most nights through Dec. 21.

All trips of the Polar Express are sold out and have been for a while. The train, which is based on the story of the same name by Chris Van Allsberg, will take a break on the night before and the night of Thanksgiving.

Trains leave at 7 p.m. from Rockside Road Station in Independence or Northside Station in Akron. On Dec. 9 and 16 the Polar Express will feature daytime running, departing at 3 p.m. from its stations.

The destination of the Polar Express is the North Pole, a.k.a. known as Peninsula.

Last Saturday afternoon Peninsula was all decked out in lights and decorations as the southbound National Park Scenic made its regular appearance.

The Scenic is making its last runs of 2017. It will operate through Nov. 26 and then go on hiatus until Jan. 20 when it will return on its winter schedule of running on Saturdays.

The first welcome sign that Polar Express passengers will see upon entering Peninsula on the CVSR if coming from Rockside Road.

The train bulletin board at the Peninsula station is wrapped in a bow for Christmas. The National Park Scenic, though, will last run in 2017 on Nov. 26.


November 11, 2017

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad owns four FPA-4 locomotives. All were built in 1959 for Canadian National by Montreal Locomotive Works under license from Alco.

If you’ve followed the CVSR over the years, you’ve seen and photographed Nos. 6771, 6777 and 800. The latter wears a Baltimore & Ohio livery while the other two have in the past two years been repainted into the CVSR’s sharp-looking V-stripe livery.

Then there is the 6767. It arrived on the property in March 2001 after being acquired from a previous owner in North Carolina.

No. 6767 was in rough condition when it arrived on the CVSR. It had sat on static display outside a business.

The unit was found to have a seized prime mover due to a stack being left uncapped, thus exposing the engine to the elements.

Nonetheless, CVSR 6767 had been repainted by 2005 from its VIA Rail Canada markings to the CVSR livery.

Numerous photographs have been posted at of the 6767 sitting at Fitzwater Yard and Shops, but none showing it pulling a train on the road.

I caught the 6767 in May 2014 sitting by itself on the siding in Peninsula and looking quite the worse for wear.

One report I saw was that the 6767 had been stripped of its parts and was to be converted to a cab car.

Apparently, the 6767 was moved to Ohio Locomotive Works in Lorain where it was stripped down to its framework. This is the same shop that rebuilt CVSR C420 No. 365.

Back in September, though, I spotted the 6767 at Fitzwater. Something has happened that brought the 6767 back home and it looks nothing like a cab car

I don’t know the story behind that or the plans for its future. What I can easily see is that this locomotive working on trains anytime soon and maybe not at all.