Posts Tagged ‘CVSR Fall Flyer’

CVSR to Return on Oct. 1

September 1, 2020

CVSR 6777 (ex-CN, ex-VIA FPA-4) is southbound under the Ohio Route 82 bridge in Brecksville, Ohio on April 10, 2010. (Photograph by Robert Farkas)

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will return to operation on Oct. 1, albeit at reduced capacity and without onboard food and beverage service.

CVSR also plans to operate its Polar Express trains between Nov. 6 and Dec. 20. The Polar Express will not operate on Nov. 11, or Nov. 25-26 during the Thanksgiving holiday period.

In a news release, the CVSR said its initial service will be the Fall Flyer, which will operate on Thursday through Sunday with two roundtrips a day between departing from Akron and Rockside Road in Independence.

Tickets for the Fall Flyer go on sale on Sept. 8 and can only be purchased online at cvsr.org or by calling the CVSR customer service office at 330-439-5708. No in-person ticket sales will be available.

Passengers may board at either Rockside Road or Akron Northside stations and take a two-hour roundtrip excursion or get off in Peninsula and reboard the train later to return to their boarding location.

Fares will range from $15 to $28 depending on class of seating chosen. Options include coach, table car, first class, and upper dome. Seating is assigned in all classes.

Online tickets are only available in groups of four. Those wishing to purchase tickets of a fewer or greater number must contact CVSR customer service.

Trains will depart Rockside Road at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Fridays and Sundays, and from Akron at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Peninsula Explorer departs Rockside at 10 a.m. and departs Peninsula at 2:30 p.m. It departs Akron at 11 a.m. and departs Peninsula at 3: 30 p.m.

Polar Express tickets go on sale to CVSR members at the brakeman level and above on Sept. 22 at 9 a.m. Public ticket Polar Express ticket sales will begin on Oct. 14.

CVSR service has been sidelined since March 13 due to COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time that service was suspended, the tourist railroad said it expected to resume operations on April 17.

That was later extended to April 30 and then to Oct. 1. CVSR furloughed half of its paid employees and said it expected to lose $2 million in lost revenue due to the pandemic.

In announcing the return of service in October, the railroad said train capacity would be no more than 50 percent and seating would be staggered to maintain at least 6 feet of space between groups.

Passengers will undergo temperature checks before boarding and all passengers must wear masks that cover the nose and mouth for the entirely of the ride.

Children age 2 years and younger are exempt from the mask mandate. Passengers eating or drinking food and beverages they have brought with them aboard may temporarily remove their mask.

Trains will not have a café car and souvenirs will not be sold on board. Alcoholic beverages and fast food will be prohibited aboard trains.

Food items that passengers may bring aboard are limited to commercially packaged and sealed snacks and beverages. Movements between rail cars will not be allowed.

In its news release, CVSR said it developed its safety guidelines in consultation with the Cleveland Clinic.

Other pertinent safety features will include placing plastic barriers to separate passengers if staggered seating arrangements are not feasible.

Passengers will be asked a series of COVID-19 screening questions and those who answer yes to any of the screening questions will not be permitted to board a train.

Passengers may also be denied boarding if they have a temperature of 100.4 or higher.

This will be the 27th consecutive season of Polar Express operations on the CVSR.

Tickets can only be purchased online and in groups of four or six with table cars offering groups of six with limited availability.

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 Fall Flyer Tickets Go on Sale This Week

August 18, 2019

Tickets for the Fall Flyer of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will go on sale Aug. 21 for members and Aug. 23 to the public.

The two-hour special will operate on Saturdays and Sundays in October with the first trip set for Oct. 5.

Trips will begin on Saturdays from Rockside Road station in Independence at 2 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Sunday trips will leave from Akron Northside station at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

The train will not make intermediate stops to pick up or discharge passengers.

Beverages, snacks and merchandise will be available for purchase in the concession car.

Tickets range from $25 to $30 per person, depending on the accommodation chosen.

Tickets will be $25 for table top seating and first class seating in the lower level of the Silver Lariat or Silver Bronco.

Roomettes in the Silver Rapids are $25 and must be purchased in sets of two. Similarly, two adjoining rooms can be booked for $30 per person seating up to four people.

Upper dome level seating is $30 per passengers.

Tickets can be purchased at cvsr.com or by calling 800-468-4070.

All tickets are non-refundable after purchase without the purchase of refund protection offered at checkout. All tickets are non-exchangeable.

Exploring CVSR’s Silver Fleet: Part 3

October 17, 2018

A view from the dome section of Silver Solarium as the Fall Flyer of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad cruises northward along Riverview Road south of Peninsula.

The Fall Flyer of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad had many hallmarks of the late, great California Zephyr.

It carried three cars lettered “California Zephyr” along with a dome coach that once operated on the CZ. The latter, the Silver Bronco, today wears CVSR markings and colors.

Like the CZ, the Fall Flyer had sleeping car accommodations and a dining car serving breakfast.

But the similarities ended there. The three-course breakfast was prepared off the train by a caterer.

There was no overnight travel and no porters to make up the beds in the sleeping accommodations.

It was merely a two-hour trip from Rockside Road station to Howe Meadow and return.

Those not purchasing a meal car ticket could buy popcorn, candy bars, beverages and, what a CVSR crewman described as “the best hot dogs in the world” in the concession car.

Fellow Akron Railroad Club member Edward Ribinskas had purchased four tickets for the dome section of Silver Solarium and our travel party also included his brother Steven and Ed’s former J.C. Penney co-worker and railfan Shawn Novak.

The CVSR did its best Amtrak imitation by leaving Rockside Road station nearly 15 minutes late. We still got our two hours of travel time.

For the most part, the trip was like riding the CVSR’s National Park Scenic.

A CVSR trainman provided occasional commentary as the train rolled through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

He also made a pitch to join the CVSR as a volunteer, noting the railroad is currently short 22 trainmen.

It had rained earlier in the day and water droplets clung to the windows of the dome section for most of our trip thereby making photography a challenge.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 was sitting outside the shop at Fitzwater Yard along with two Charter Steel cars that it brought to Cleveland last month and will reportedly move when the Berkshire-type locomotive returns to Fort Wayne.

As I expected, there was scant fall foliage to view. The warm summer and relatively warm autumn have delayed the process of leaves transforming into their autumn colors.

The CVSR trainman said the Silver Lariat has a full kitchen and plans are in the works to hire some top chefs from Cleveland to prepare meals for a dinner train operation.

Those dinners will be pricey. The CVSR website indicates that an adult breakfast ticket is $37 per person whereas adult lunch tickets are $40 per person. A child breakfast or lunch ticket is less.

Tickets for the beer and wine trains range from $85 for a seat in the dome section to $65 for a table car.

This is not to be critical of the fares. It is to say the dinner trains won’t be like dining at Bob Evans or Eat ‘n Park.

The CVSR has always described its mission in part as preserving rolling stock from the streamliner era even if it doesn’t use that term very often.

It pays lip service to the heritage and history of this equipment, but most who ride the trains are not interested in railroad history in any depth.

They probably know little to nothing about the original California Zephyr and have no more than  a passing interest in it.

They see the CVSR as providing transportation within the CVNP or presenting a pleasant sightseeing experience.

I don’t know how much repeat business the CVSR gets from the sightseers, but it strikes me as the sort of thing you do once or, maybe, occasionally.

Hence the railroad must continually offer new programming and gimmicks to continue to draw passengers.

It remains to be seen how much longer the new silver cars will retain their current California Zephyr look.

Chances are the interiors will remain the same even if the exteriors might receive CVSR colors.

Then again when the Saint Lucie Sound was overhauled a couple years ago it was stripped of its CVSR colors and those have yet to be reinstated.

It also remains to be seen if the Silver Solarium will operate in the manner that it was designed to operate as the last car on the train and with an unobstructed view of the scenery as the train rolls down the rails.

CVSR operating practice is to have diesel locomotives at each end of a train. That is done for practical and safety reasons.

I can’t imagine the Silver Solarium operating routinely uncovered by a locomotive.

Perhaps it will operate in that manner on special occasions. CVSR was willing to detach the FPA-4 behind the Silver Solarium during the photo runbys of the last NKP 765 excursions on Sept. 30.

Perhaps that was a trial run to determine how easily and efficiently a locomotive can be detached and attached to a train on the road.

What I would not expect is for a train to back up from Akron to Rockside using only the tiny whistle on the rear of the Silver Solarium to warn vehicular traffic at grade crossings.

All of these are matters to play out in the future. For now the Silver Solarium, Silver Lariat and Silver Rapids have that new out of the box feel even if they have been around for several decades and are entering yet another phase of their service lives.

But at least they are still in revenue service rather than sitting static in a museum or, worse, being cut up in a scrap yard.

Looking toward the rest of the train from the dome section of the Silver Solarium. The dome car ahead is the Silver Lariat.

Edward Ribinskas (left) and his brother Steven repose in the lounge section of the Silver Solarium.

An overhead view of the dome section of Silver Solarium as seen from the East Pleasant Valley Road bridge.

For the time being the CVSR’s dome car trio have been operating in tandem.

CVSR Fall Flyer to Feature Domes, Sleeping Car Rooms

August 28, 2018

When the Fall Flyer of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad hits the rails this year it will be a facsimile of the famed California Zephyr.

The Fall Flyer will feature at least two of the CVSR’s three dome cars, all three of which once operated on the CZ. Passengers will also have the option of booking rooms in a sleeping car the railroad is in the process of acquiring.

The Fall Flyer will operate on Saturdays and Sundays in October, departing Rockside Road at 9:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and from Akron on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Passengers will get a two-hour train ride.

Tickets will cost $25 per person for seating in a table car with seats sold individually from sections of four-top dining tables and chairs.

Tickets on the lower level of dome cars Silver Lariat and Silver Bronco are priced at $25 per passenger. The dome section of both cars is available for $30 per person.

In the Silver Rapids sleeping car, seating is available for $30 per person in a private suite that consists of two rooms together. The suite capacity is four passengers.

Seats in one of the eight roomettes of the Silver Rapids will cost $25 per person. Each roomette features a window and seating for two. Tickets must be purchased in sets of two.

Snacks, drinks and merchandise will be available for purchase in the concession car. All children age 3 or older must have a ticket. Children age 2 or younger do not require a ticket if they are to sit on a parent or guardian’s lap.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the station 30 minutes prior to departure time. For more information, contact CVSR customer service at 800-468-4070, extension 1.