Posts Tagged ‘CVSR FPA-4 No. 6777’

July 2022 Scenes from Akron

November 10, 2022

Here are three images made in Akron on July 30, 2022. In the top image, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA-4 No. 6771 is southbound approaching Akron Northside Station as the train crosses over the remains of the Ohio and Erie Canal.

In the middle image, the 6777 is is being towed south and will be the lead unit on the northbound trip.

In the bottom image Wheeling & Lake Erie SD40-2 No. 7006 is on the connecting track between CSX and the W&LE. In a few minutes the former CEFX unit will pull forward bringing its train onto the Wheeling. Then it will back down to Brittain Yard.

The Wheeling acquired the 7006 in December 2015 and quickly pressed it into revenue service.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Steam Saturday: Remembering a 2010 Night Photo Shoot

October 23, 2021

Let’s take a trip back to September 2010. Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 has arrived on the property of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for the first of what has turned out be an almost annual ritual.

Someone – I don’t remember who – arranged with CVSR officials for a night photo shoot of the 765 at the CVSR’s Fitzwater Shops, where the Berkshire-type locomotive spends its time between excursions.

Night photo shoots used to be a thing with some railfan photographers back in the day.

The photographers would set up their cameras on tripods and one member of the party would run around the object of the photographs – usually a locomotive – firing off a series of flashbulbs while the camera shutters were held open on the bulb setting.

The late O. Winston Link is well-known for having used a similar technique to record the final years of steam operations on the Norfolk & Western.

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts used to engage in night photo shoots here and there. One memorable one occurred in Youngstown on Jan. 14, 1977, to mark the end of the Cleveland-Youngstown commuter train on the former Erie Lackawanna route.

That photo shoot is remembered in Trackside Around Cleveland 1965-1979 with Dave McKay.

Another memorable night photo shoot occurred Sept. 10, 1988, in Brecksville when the then-named Cuyahoga Valley Line staged Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070 along the Cuyahoga River with the iconic Ohio Route 82 bridge in the background.

That night is recalled in my book Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in an Edward Ribinskas photograph.

Fast forward 22 year to the evening of Sept. 16, 2010. RRE and Akron Railroad Club members brought their cameras and tripods to Fitzwater at dusk to photograph the 765 with two CVSR FPA-4 locomotives.

There was a small fee charged for the event with the proceeds going to the CVSR if I remember correctly.

CVSR trainmaster and director of operations Larry Blanchard brought the 6777 and 800 out of the shop and posed them with the 765, which was not in steam on this evening.

We picked our spots and set up our cameras and awaited the command of “open them up.” Then someone ran around firing off a flash gun a few times.

I was still a slide film shooter in 2010 and although my results were satisfactory not all of the images I made were necessarily top quality. In some instances light from the open shop doors cast a yellow glow over the scene despite the use of daylight balanced flash bulbs.

It was my first and thus far only night photo shoot in which flash bulbs were used.

The night photo shoot at Fitzwater would be the last of its kind staged by the RRE.

There are still photographers out there who use flash to create night photographs but they use strobes rather than flashbulbs.

During the most recent visit of the 765 to the CVSR, a night photo shoot was staged at Northside Station in Akron, but the lighting was provided by floodlights rather than flashes.

I’m not sure that the CVSR would allow the RRE/ARRC to replicate today what happened on that September 2010 evening at Fitzwater. Whatever the case, nothing like it has happened since, which makes these images all the more valuable and memorable.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

CVSR FPA-4 Two for Tuesday

November 17, 2020

Today’s two for Tuesday features Montreal Locomotive Works FPA-4 locomotives on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in different liveries and eras.

In the top photograph No. 14 is shown along the Cuyahoga River during a railfan excursion on May 17, 1997.

Several current and former Akron Railroad Club members were aboard this excursion, which covered the length of the line between Akron and Independence.

The train made several stops for photo runbys and railroad volunteers posed in various scenes for the photographers.

In the bottom image, No. 6777 is approaching Northside station in Akron on Feb. 2, 2017. By now the unit has been given a new livery featuring a chevron stripe on the nose.

No. 6777 was built in March 1959 for Canadian National and is, in fact the No. 14 shown in the top image.

At some point the CVSR reverted it back to its original CN roster number.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Train Time at Northside Station

October 20, 2018

Few Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad passengers probably know that the site of the Akron station once hosted a Baltimore & Ohio passenger station.

The original depot was created by the Valley Railway in the 19th century.

B&O passenger trains using what are today’s CVSR tracks continued to stop at the station at Ridge and North Howard streets until B&O passenger service on the line ended in January 1962.

The station was razed a few years later, but when the Cuyahoga Valley Line began serving Akron in the late 1970s, the station site again saw passengers, albeit without a station. The current CVSR Northside station opened in 2001.

Shown is FPA-4 No. 6777 on the north end of a steam excursion pulled by Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

It is moving east of the station to get out of the way of the National Park Scenic.

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.

30 Years Gone From VIA

March 7, 2018

Do you realize that VIA Rail Canada took its FPA-4 locomotives out of service 30 years ago? Yet two of them were on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s National Park Scenic train last Saturday.

The top and middle images were taken in Peninsula while the bottom photograph was made in Akron as Baltimore & Ohio No. 800 was being towed north.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Leaf Peepers Special at Deep Lock Quarry

October 27, 2017

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has been running an autumn foliage special on weekends during October.

Known as the Fall Flyer, it is scheduled to depart Rockside Road station in Independence 45 minutes behind the National Park Scenic in the morning and 40 minutes behind it in the afternoon.

The Fall Flyer operates non-stop to Indigo Lake before returning to Rockside.

Presumably, it was created to take pressure off the National Park Scenic, which often ran well behind schedule during October due to the large number of bikers and sight seers riding the train.

The Fall Flyer will make its last trips on Oct. 29. It is shown above on Oct. 21 coming and going near Deep Lock Quarry south of Peninsula.

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.