Posts Tagged ‘CVSR FPA-4 No. 6771’

From Canada to Akron

February 17, 2021

Southbound Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA-4 No. 6771 is approaching Akron Northside Station on Oct, 18, 2013.

The photographer noted and he and two friends had years earlier traveled to Ontario to catch Montreal Locomotive Works FPA-4s in action on VIA Rail Canada. Those were great trips and great memories.

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.

Best of the Rest (From the Picnic)

September 21, 2017

To borrow a line used by Paul Woodring to title a couple of his programs at Akron Railroad Club meetings, here are the best of the rest of the photographs that I made during the ARRC picnic this past Sunday.

I ended up spending all day at the picnic site, which is located along Riverview Road south of Peninsula in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I didn’t do any chasing of the Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765. Sometimes, it’s nice to let the steam locomotive come to you. And it did, four times.

The regular National Park Scenic train of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also passed by three times. So I photographed it, too.

So here are the best of the rest of my images from last Sunday.

FPA-4 No. 6771 wears its snazzy livery and pulled the Scenic northward during the weekend.

The first of two southbound passages of the Scenic past the Valley Picnic Area in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The second of two southbound runs of the Scenic.

The Scenic heads north for the final time of the day. About 20 minutes later the steam train would come charging north behind it.

Passengers in the Saint Lucie Sound look us over as their train rolls northbound in the afternoon. NKP 765 was trailing at this point, not pulling the train.


Like a Bright Red Sports Car Gone Cruising

February 8, 2017

Despite gathering clouds overhead those matching FPA-4s looked sharp cruising along the Cuyahoga River.

Despite gathering clouds overhead those matching FPA-4s looked sharp cruising along the Cuyahoga River.

The FPA-4 locomotives on the roster of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad are hardly new. All were built in early 1959, which makes them 58 years old.

Yet ever since No. 6771 rolled out of the paint booth last year and No. 6777 emerged this year, they have drawn attention from photographers due to their “like new appearance.”

It doesn’t hurt that the new paint job also includes a new look on the nose, a V stripe that has replaced the CVSR winged herald that many wags have likened to the logo for the hamburger chain Steak ‘n Shake.

Put those FPA-4 together as a matching set and you have a must photograph motive power consist.

I caught a glimpse of No. 6777 in sunlight nearly three Saturdays ago. But it turned cloudy and when I returned the following Saturday clouds also were blocking the sun, taking some of the luster away from that new paint.

I finally got my chance to see those beauties in full sunlight last Saturday morning. It was well worth the trip.

I started in Peninsula, catching the first southbound run of the day. Before the train arrived, fellow Akron Railroad Club member Todd Dillon joined me and reported that, indeed, the matching FPA-4 units were on the point.

The train was late arriving in Peninsula due to having made an unscheduled stop at Boston Mill.

I don’t know if this has anything to do with that, but a CVSR trainman later told me there was a group from Pennsylvania on board and they were fascinated to see a ski resort there even if they thought it rather small.

I had parked on Main Street in Peninsula so I was easily able to get to my next photo location.

The plan was to get the train on the bridge over Furnace Run near Szalay’s Market, but after seeing some cars parked alongside Riverview near the curve south of the diagonal grade crossing, I pulled over there.

ARRC member Roger Durfee and two guys I know from Cleveland were already set up.

I then stopped near Smith Road to get the matched set across the frozen pond at the motorcycle club and then made my way into Akron where I spotted yet another ARRC member, Bob Farkas, at Northside Station, making photographs.

After getting the train leaving Northside, I weaved my way out to Ohio Route 8, getting off at Steels Corner Road.

I headed west on Ira Road only to see the northbound train already at the crossing. Even worse, a car stopped at the intersection with Riverview Road kept me from being able to make a right turn.

He wanted to go west on Ira, but vehicles waiting at the crossing were ahead of him. As luck would have it, he pulled up just enough to enable me to get by.

The CVSR wasn’t running all that fast, so I was able to pull into the access road to a field across from Szalay’s and get the Furnace Run bridge image.

From there it was on to Boston Mill to get the train passing the ski resort and then to Brecksville for images of the train and the Route 82 bridge and the Cuyahoga River.

I called ARRC member Peter Bowler to see if he was out today chasing and we agreed to car pool to Pleasant Valley Road and then to the bend of the Cuyahoga River by the tracks alongside Riverview Road near the Columbia Run picnic area.

There was still good sunlight, but clouds were gathering to the west. That didn’t matter at Pleasant Valley, but near Columbia Run the light was slightly filtered.

That wasn’t a problem because the clouds were still thin and the reflection on those shiny FPA-4s still looked great.

It probably is a matter of time before the 6771 and 6777 are broken apart and, in fact, I am surprised it hasn’t happened already.

Perhaps the CVSR takes a lot of pride in the appearance of these units and plans to run them together for a while longer.

Yet in time dirt and grime will build up on both units, and wear and tear will take its toll. The thrill of seeing matching FPA-4 units will fade in time, too.

But for now Nos. 6771 and 6777 have the appeal of a bright red sports car that has just been driven off the dealer’s lot after getting a wash and wax job.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The wide angle view at Pleasant Valley Road . . .

The wide angle view at Pleasant Valley Road . . .

 . . . and the telephoto shot at Pleasant Valley Road.

. . . and the telephoto shot at Pleasant Valley Road.

Of course I had to made an image with the Ohio Route 82 bridge in the background.

Of course I had to made an image with the Ohio Route 82 bridge in the background.

Another photo op beside the Cuyahoga River.

Another photo op beside the Cuyahoga River.

Passing the "rather small" ski resort at Boston Mill.

Passing the “rather small” ski resort at Boston Mill.

I didn't have much time to spare, but got the train crossing Furnace Run as planned.

I didn’t have much time to spare, but got the train crossing Furnace Run as planned.

Pulling out of Akron Northside Station.

Pulling out of Akron Northside Station.

A crew member checks out something with the 6777 during the station stop in Akron.

A crew member checks out something with the 6777 during the station stop in Akron.

Note the bright gold reflection on the frozen pond near Smith Road.

Note the bright gold reflection on the frozen pond near Smith Road.

Is this a drag race on Riverview Road?

Is this a drag race on Riverview Road?

Arriving at Peninsula in mid morning.

Arriving at Peninsula in mid morning.


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.