Posts Tagged ‘CVSR 6771’

Steam Saturday: When Backlighting is Good

December 24, 2022

Sometimes backlit images can be saved and here are two examples. Both were made in 2016 on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Akron.

In the top image Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 767 is southbound approaching Akron Northside Station in Akron on the afternoon of Sept. 25. For a short time NKP 765 was renumbered to 767. It is shown crossing the remains of the Ohio and Erie Canal. In the bottom image, CVSR FPA-4 No. 6771 is about to pull its train and the NKP 767 north.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

CVSR 6771 in Akron

January 21, 2022

In honor of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad launching its 2022 season today (Jan. 21) we present two views of northbound FPA-4 No. VSR 6771 in Akron on March 22, 2014. The train is on the bridge over the remains of the Ohio & Erie Canal. The unit once worked for Canadian National. The first train of 2022 likely won’t make it as far as Akron, but the National Park Scenic will return to the rubber city on Saturday.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Cruising at Indigo Lake

March 19, 2021

This is the somewhat classic photograph of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad at Indigo Lake. CVSR FPA-4 No. 6771 is just ahead of the Saint Lucie Sound on Sept. 13, 2014. Depending on the lighting conditions and how calm the water is, you can sometimes get a mirror-like reflection.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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.

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.

Train Time at Rockside Road

February 10, 2018

The National Park Scenic departs from Rockside Road station in Independence.

The Rockside Road station in Independence is the northernmost outpost on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

National Park Service ownership of the tracks ends shortly north of the Rockside Road bridge.

In theory, Rockside Road is the closest station to my home. But I seldom photograph the CVSR there because it is not much of a photogenic place and I can’t as easily set out to chase trains from there as I can from other locations on the CVSR.

Last September, though, I ventured to Rockside Road to board a steam excursion train pulled by Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765. Before the steam train left, the first National Park Scenic of the day arrived in the station on a deadhead move, boarded passengers and left for Akron.

The Scenic ferry move from Fitzwater Yard arrives at Rockside Road.

Boarding bikers and their bicycles as a car passes overhead on Rockside Road.

Passengers look for their car to board.

A CVSR trainman walks to his post.

On Second Thought Glad He Was There

October 11, 2017

I was set up to photograph the arrival of the ferry move that would make up the first Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad National Park Scenic run of the day from Rockside Road station.

The space between myself and the tracks was open. I planned to use a low-hanging tree branch to frame the lead locomotive.

Then the inevitable happened. Three people walked into the grassy area that stood between my lens and CVSR FPA-4 No. 6771.

I was not pleased, but I made the photographs anyway.

As I reviewed them on the display screen of my camera, I saw that the guy closest to me was waving at the train.

I would still rather not have had those folks in my image, but if they were going to be there, at least the buy waving added a human interest tough that, dare I say, enhanced the image.

The Latest Thing on the CVSR

February 1, 2017

The money shot of the day was FPA-4 Nos. 6777 and 6771 framed by the Old Station Road bridge over the Cuyahoga River with a reflection in the Cuyahoga River.

The money shot of the day was FPA-4 Nos. 6777 and 6771 framed by the Old Station Road bridge over the Cuyahoga River with a reflection in the Cuyahoga River.

Few things excite a railroad photographer more than a locomotive with a different livery, particularly if it is one he hasn’t seen or photographed before.

Such has been the case with Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA-4 No. 6777, which recently rolled out of the shop with a new paint job.

The 6777 doesn’t look that much different than it did before. The CVSR livery introduced on FPA-4 No. 6771 is still the gold, red and black look that CVSR motive power has had since at least the early 2000s.

But the CVSR winged herald has been removed from the nose in favor of a V-stripe.

Put the 6777 and 6771 back to back and you’ve got a matching set that looks quite spiffy.

I stumbled onto the matching 6777 and 6771 duo the first weekend that it ran. But last Saturday I got a phone call from fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler that the two of them were still paired on the south end of the National Park Scenic.

A previous commitment kept me away from the tracks until mid afternoon, just in time to catch the last run of the Scenic for the day.

I was hoping to get the locomotives traipsing through the snow. There was snow covering the ground at my house, but in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park the snow amounted to only a dusting.

It was cloudy as I made my way to Indigo Lake and then up to Brecksville. My objective was to maximize the number of side views because that is when the matching look of 6777 and 6771 is at its best.

Of course, it helps that 6777 has a new paint job that looks shiny and new.

In time the 6777 and 6771 will be broken up and the shine will fade due to wear.

But for now the CVSR has a new look and it’s time to get out and document it because there are darn few places to get a matching set of FPA-4 units.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Trailing at Indigo Lake.

Trailing at Indigo Lake.

Going away at Brecksville.

Going away at Brecksville.

C424 No. 4241 leads the northbound CVSR Scenic at Indigo Lake.

C424 No. 4241 leads the northbound CVSR Scenic at Indigo Lake.

Looking down Old Station Road bridge at the nose of the CVSR 4241.

Looking down Old Station Road bridge at the nose of the CVSR 4241.

Well, That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard that CVSR Nos. 6777 and 6771 Should Be

January 24, 2017

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA4 Nos. 6771 and 6777 trail as they roll northbound past the golden rod field along Riverview Road between Boston Mill and Jaite.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA4 Nos. 6771 and 6777 trail back-to-back as they roll northbound past the golden rod field along Riverview Road between Boston Mill and Jaite.

My apologies to Carly Simon for stealing a line from one of her best-known songs. But I couldn’t resist because as I looked at the top image that accompanies this post I kept thinking that this is way that these units should look and next thing you know one of my brain cells decided to pull up that Simon song and put it on continuous play.

I posted on Saturday night the images that Akron Railroad Club members Roger Durfee and Bob Farkas made last Saturday of the debut of No. 6777 in the V stripe livery that the CVSR rolled out last year on No. 6771.

Unlike Bob and Roger, though, I didn’t know about the new look 6777 when I set out for the CVSR.

My plan was to meet fellow CVSR member Peter Bowler for lunch at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula at 1 p.m. to copy some photographs that he is contributing to my CVSR book that is in the works.

When Saturday morning proved to be a sunny day, I called Peter and suggested we move the lunch up by an hour and then do some railroad archaeology work afterward, namely hiking in and finding the bridge over the Cuyahoga River on the rail spur that led to the paper mill at Jaite.

Peter had things to do so he could only meet me 15 minutes earlier. I decided to leave the house early enough to catch the northbound CVSR National Park Scenic train at Brecksville or Jaite.

I figured to post an image of it with a story about the opening of the 2017 CVSR season.

As I got into my car I got a text from ARRC member Todd Dillon saying that the 6777 and 6771 were running as a matched pair.

I didn’t know until I made the going away shot at Jaite that the 6777 had recently been repainted into the V stripe livery.

Let me tell you that new paint job glistened in the sunlight and I knew that Peter and I would be chasing it that afternoon.

Peter had not been railfanning for more than a month and had a brand new Nikon camera he wanted to try out. He needed to get out for the day.

With time to kill before meeting Peter for lunch, I went for a walk on the towpath trail out of Peninsula. Peter got done early with his errands and called me on my cell phone as I was walking back to toward town to let me know he had arrived.

The National Park Scenic had already arrived as we stepped out of the Winking Lizard after finishing lunch, which for me featured a chicken quesadilla and a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale draught beer. We also put away a bag of popcorn.

The sunshine was gone and would not return for the rest of the day. At best we had filtered sunlight.

We made some images in Peninsula and went to find that bridge over the Cuyahoga, a story that will be the subject of a future post.

For the afternoon northbound chase, we wanted a side image and elected to set up at the golden rod field along Riverview Road between Boston Mill and Jaite.

How striking that matched pair would have looked in late day sunlight had the clouds not moved in.

There is one no insignificant difference between the 6777 and 6771. The 6777 has a bright metallic trim around its front windows. On the 6771 that trim is painted black. The metallic trim makes the 6777 stand out in direct sunlight.

The CVSR will be operating Saturday only through late February. We can only hope that the 6777 and 6771 stay together on the south end of the train during that time.

But operating three locomotives on a train is the not SOP of the CVSR. It typically only puts two locomotives together on the south end during the autumn foliage season.

I hope the 6777 and 6771 stay together. I have plans for other images I want to make of this dynamic duo.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Looking sharp at Jaite.

Looking sharp at Jaite.

Trailing as the first northbound trip of the season passes through Jaite.

Trailing as the first northbound trip of the season passes through Jaite.

Look at the front windows and you will see a difference between the 6771 and the 6777.

Look at the front windows and you will see a difference between the 6771 and the 6777.

Posing in Peninsula.

Posing in Peninsula.

Throttling up out of Peninsula en route to Akron.

Throttling up out of Peninsula en route to Akron.

A crew member looks back from the cab of 6777 in Peninsula to check on how passenger boarding is going.

A crew member looks back from the cab of 6777 in Peninsula to check on how passenger boarding is going.

New hoses dangling in front of the 6777 in Peninsula.

New hoses dangling in front of the 6777 in Peninsula.

The 4241 was on the north end of the Scenic. It has been a while since I've seen a Scenic with all locomotives wearing CVSR colors.

The 4241 was on the north end of the Scenic. It has been a while since I’ve seen a Scenic with all locomotives wearing CVSR colors.

What a Way to Open the CVSR 2017 Season!

January 21, 2017

At Peninsula with a bit of fog lingering in the trees.

At Peninsula with a bit of fog lingering in the trees.

Cruising at Bath Road.

Cruising at Bath Road.

At Akron Northside station.

At Akron Northside station.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad opened up the 2017 season on Saturday by using fresh out of the shop 6777 back to back with 6771. How cool is it to see and hear in 2017 an FPA4 set, with both of them in a clean and sharp paint scheme.

Photographs by Roger Durfee