Posts Tagged ‘CVSR in Peninsula Ohio’

Going Back in Time on the CVSR

January 27, 2021

It is Aug. 10, 1996, in Peninsula, Ohio. Here comes Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA-4 No. 14. It used to belong to VIA Rail Canada and before that Canadian National. When it ran for those railroads it wore roster number 6777.

These days No. 14 wears its old roster number as it toils for the CVSR. Of course as this is posted in January 2021 nothing is running in revenue service on the CVSR due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps later this year we’ll see the 6777 back in action in Peninsula.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

New Horses On the CVSR

November 13, 2020

This week the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad received a new set of power just in time for the Polar Express trains. Horizon Rail Nos. 6421 and 2328, a former CSX slug set, are on lease to the CVSR. I caught up with the southbound ferry move at Boston Mills and again at Peninsula.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

I Had Forgotten How Good This Day Had Been

May 23, 2020

A three-way meet in Olmsted Falls with an eastbound Norfolk Stack train, a very Lake Shore Limited and a tied down grain train with Canadian Pacific power was one of the highlights of my outing of Aug. 30, 2014.

It can be a quite pleasing feeling when going through old photographs and discovering an image you forgot you had.

I recently discovered not only images I had forgotten having made but a day-long outing that in retrospect must have seemed like one of those days where everything was going right.

And it occurred less than six years ago. So how could I have forgotten it?

I’ll answer that question later but on Aug. 30, 2014, I photographed 18 trains and saw locomotives of every Class 1 railroad except Canadian National.

The day began in Olmsted Falls just after 8 a.m. where I found a grain train sitting in the Berea siding west of Mapleway Drive with a Canadian Pacific leader.

There was no crew on board and the train probably needed a Norfolk Southern unit equipped with a cab signal apparatus.

In case you’ve forgotten, summer 2014 was the year NS implemented a new computer program in its dispatching system that tied the Chicago Line into knots for several weeks.

Mainline tracks between Cleveland and Chicago were blocked with trains whose crews had outlawed.

It was so bad that Amtrak in daylight became a regular occurrence in Northeast Ohio.

Indeed, I twice in one week photographed the eastbound Capitol Limited in mid morning. No. 30 is scheduled to arrive in Cleveland at 1:45 a.m., well before daybreak.

I’ve long since forgotten what plans I had for railfanning on Aug. 30, but I began the day in Olmsted Falls because the eastbound Lake Shore Limited was running more than five hours behind schedule.

Amtrak No. 48 would not reach Olmsted Falls until shortly before 11 a.m. By then NS had sent eight trains through the Falls of which four were westbounds.

An interesting fact I discovered upon reviewing the photos of the 11 Chicago Line trains I photographed that morning is that all but two of them were running on Track 1.

The NS dispatcher sent four trains west on Track 1 between 8:15 a.m. and 9:22 a.m. Three trains went east on the same track through Olmsted Falls between 9:38 a.m. and 10:05 a.m.

It must have been a challenge getting those trains out of each other’s way west of Cleveland.

An eastbound stack train at 10:50 a.m. was the first train to use Track 2 during the time I was there.

Two minutes after it arrived came the eastbound Lake Shore Limited on Track 1.

Running right behind the stacker on Track 2 was an eastbound coal train, which turned out to be the last NS train I saw.

The 10 NS trains I photographed included six stack trains, two tank car trains, a coal train and the grain train that never turned a wheel during my time in the Falls.

After the coal train cleared I headed for Wellington where CSX was equally as busy.

Between 12:15 p.m. and 12:47 p.m. I photographed five trains, two eastbounds and three westbounds.

It was an interesting mix of traffic that included an eastbound manifest freight, an eastbound auto rack train, the westbound trash containers train, the westbound Union Pacific-CSX “salad shooter” reefer train and a westbound grain train.

The reefer train had its customary three UP units, but of particular interest was the Southern Belle of Kansas City Southern leading the trash train.

Sometime after 1:30 p.m. I decided to head for New London. On the drive there, I spotted a Wheeling & Lake Erie train tied down just west of the grade crossing on Ohio Route 162 east of New London on the Carey Subdivision.

The lead unit of the eastbound W&LE train was a former KCS SD40 still wearing its KCS colors but with small W&LE markings.

The trailing unit was painted in Wheeling colors but lettered for the Denver & Rio Grande Western.

I don’t remember hanging out in New London but I presume that I did. Yet I didn’t photograph any trains there, which suggests that CSX might have died for the afternoon.

Whatever the case, I decided at some point to head east and wound up on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad where I photographed the last southbound train of the day arriving in Peninsula.

On the south end of the train was that LTEX leased unit that everyone loved to hate, GP15 No. 1420 in its solid black livery. On the north end was CVSR 1822, an Alco RS18u.

I photographed the train leaving and then headed home, having had quite a day with my camera.

OK, why did this become a “lost” memory given the diversity of what I captured with megapixels.

A number of reasons come to mind. Notice that I saw virtually no trains for most of the afternoon. I tend to evaluate the success of an outing by how it ends more than how it begins.

If the day ends with a flourish I tend to remember it as being successful. It is ends with little I tend to think that it could have been better.

Another factor was that August 2014 was a busy and eventful month for me and that might explain why this outing got lost in a lot of other memories.

Finally, days like the one I had on Aug. 30 used to be fairly common in Northeast Ohio when rail traffic was heavier.

A Kansas City Southern Belle might not have been a common sight in NEO back then — and still isn’t — but UP, BNSF and CP units were.

When you live in a place that has a high level of freight traffic it is easy to get somewhat jaded about it. It will always be there, right?

Yet five years later changes in railroad operating patterns have made outings like this less common.

There are fewer trains even though NS and CSX mainlines through Cleveland still host a lot of trains and can have busy spells. The “salad shooter” is now gone and the nature of and the overall level of rail traffic is not what it was five years ago.

Given my current circumstances how I long for a day today like the one I had on Aug. 30.

If there is a lesson to be drawn from this story it would be to appreciate what you have when you have it and learn to make the best of the opportunities that do present themselves in the here and now. They won’t always be there.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Many of the photographs that I made in Olmsted Falls on this day revolved around the grain train and its CP leader. In the distance a stack train heads west.

BNSF and NS units combined to wheel a westbound container train through Olmsted Falls.

NS units created a BNSF sandwich in the motive power consist of this eastbound tank car train.

A pretty lady leads an ugly train at Wellington. Southern Belles were a prized catch whenever I was trackside anywhere in Northeast Ohio.

The “salad shooter” makes an appearance in Wellington with its customary Union Pacific motive power consist.

Fresh lumber was among the many commodities being toted by this eastbound CSX manifest freight past the reservoir in Wellington.

Although it’s a Wheeling & Lake Erie unit, this SD40 still wore its KCS colors and thus made it a KCS two-fer type of day. It is sitting at the distant signal for Hiles near New London.

CVSR 1822 will be leading when this train comes back through Peninsula more than an hour from now.

Steam is Back in the Cuyahoga Valley

September 22, 2019

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 operated a full day of excursions on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on Saturday with three trips out of Rockside Road station in Independence.

The 2.5 hour excursions featured a photo runby at Indigo Lake.

Shown above is the morning trip passing southbound through Peninsula. The Berkshire was in its customary position on the south end of the train with back-to-back FPA4 Nos. 6777 and 6771 on the north end.

The train had 15 passenger cars including dome cars Silver Bronco, Silver Lariat and Silver Solarium, and the the two former Nickel Plate Road heavyweight open window cars of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

The consist alco includedand the crew car of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the NKP 765, and a head end power car at the front of the train behind the crew car.

Photographer Robert Farkas reported that Peninsula is one of the best morning locations to photograph the NKP 765 and its train in the morning.

He also said that Saturday (Sept. 21) is the 40th anniversary of his receiving a phone call to inform him, “They’re firing up a Berkshire in Fort Wayne tomorrow. Do you want to go?”

So the next day Bob, Paul Woodring and Mark Perri were off to Indiana to watch history being made.

This year is the ninth September that NKP 765 has appeared on the CVSR.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Stand Here, Kids

April 14, 2018

A father instructs his two young children to stand on a step box at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad station in Peninsula so that he can photograph them next to the train. By the looks of things, the boy isn’t quite sure that he likes this idea.

The CVSR National Park Scenic is operating twice a day on Saturday and Sundays throughout April. The schedule will expand next month.

Winter Afternoon in Peninsula

January 30, 2018

It had been a while since I’d been able to get out with my camera. Car troubles and other matters had kept me at home as winter fell on Northeast Ohio in early January.

More than a week into the month, I finally got everything squared away and was able to get out of the house to go do some winter photography.

I had plans to go watch a college basketball game in Akron on a Tuesday night so I left the house early and stopped by Peninsula to see what I might find.

I knew better than to expect to catch a train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. That operation was on hiatus until later in the month. But you can still do a lot without a train.

Several years ago I photographed the Peninsula train station during winter when it had icicles hanging on it. That was not the case on this day because the sun had melted them.

A step box on the platform had accumulated some snow and the platform area had footprints made by visitors to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Snow no longer covered the rails, but in the late day sunlight the ties on the siding were barely visible as the snow had that sunken look.

At the far north end of town sat a baggage car that had been used as a prop when the Polar Express trains were operating before Christmas. Beneath that car was bare ground.

There weren’t many people around on this day. It was still cold and winter is not a time of year when many people want to visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

 

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.

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.

It Bike Aboard Season Again on the CVSR

May 27, 2017

The Bike Aboard program is back for another year on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Shown is a long line of bikes waiting to be boarded in the baggage car at Peninsula. It’s a Saturday morning and this is the first southbound National Park Scenic train of the day.

Swelling the numbers was a Boy  Scout troop that was riding the train one way and biking back to Peninsula, perhaps from Akron.

The waiting bicyclists made for an impressive sight.

Waving From a Train

May 26, 2017

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad crew members are encouraged to wave at people they see watching their train at stations and within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Of course waving at or from a train is a common practice in many other places, too. It is a practice as American as apple pie.

Some locomotives engineers will wave at railfans along the tracks and many railfans like to wave at trains whether the crew reciprocates or not.

These images were made of CVSR crew members waving in Peninsula on a recent Saturday.

In my experience, CVSR passengers like to get into the act, particularly if they see you photographing a train leaving or arriving at a station.

That included that man in the Saint Lucie Sound shown above.