Posts Tagged ‘CVSR Saint Lucie Sound’

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

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.

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.

Saint Lucie Sound Mural Being Restored

March 7, 2017

CVSR observation-lounge car Saint Lucie Sound trails behind FPA-4 No. 6771 while crossing the Cuyahoga River in September 2016 south of Peninsula.

CVSR observation-lounge car Saint Lucie Sound trails behind FPA-4 No. 6771 while crossing the Cuyahoga River in September 2016 south of Peninsula.

A mural inside observation-lounge Saint Lucie Sound is being restored by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad  in cooperation with the ICA Art Conservation.

The mural restoration is part of an on-going rehabilitation of the former Florida East Coast car that began in 2014.

The mural was discovered as workers were restoring the car’s bar area. Beneath the carpet covering the bar was a linoleum mural depicting Native Americans.

The creator of the mural is unknown, but it is believed to be original to the car, which was built by the Budd Company in 1946.

CVSR estimates that volunteers have spent more than 80 hours removing glue from the mural.

Layers of glue had damaged the mural, but most of it remains in place.

Saint Lucie Sound was donated to the CVSR in 1995 by the Haslinger family.

The car has had multiple owners over the years and undergone several changes that have altered its original interior appearance.

CVSR Scenic to Resume Service on Saturday

January 19, 2017

A southbound CVSR Scenic train arrives at the station in Brecksville.

A southbound CVSR Scenic train arrives at the station in Brecksville.

The National Park Scenic train of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will resume operations on Saturday (Jan. 21).

CVSRThe Scenic will operate twice a day on Saturdays through the end of February.

Trains will depart from Rockside Road station in Independence at 9 a.m. and 12:50 p.m. and arrive at 12:30 p.m. and 4:05 p.m.

Depaturers from Peninsula will be at 9:40 a.m.,11:30 a.m., 1:40 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Departures from Akron’s Northside station will be at 10:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. with arrivals at 10:20 a.m. and 2:20 p.m.

A coach ticket is $15 for adults and $10 for children and is good all day.

Tickets to ride in the caboose are $13 for adults and $8 for children. The caboose has just seven seats and outside food and beverages are not permitted aboard.

Caboose passengers will not be able to move from that car to other passenger cars during the duration of their ride.

The caboose ride is a half loop that departs from Peninsula at 9:40 a.m. and returns at 11:30 a.m.

Dome car Silver Bronco and first class car Saint Lucie Sound will not be available until March due to being down for maintenance.

Shades of the Great Steel Fleet

February 5, 2016

Saint Lucie Sound

The CVSR’s Saint Lucie Sound gleams in the late day sunlight as it travels past the Brecksville station late on a Saturday afternoon.

Many New York Central streamlined passenger cars featured a simple livery of stainless steel with the railroad’s name in the letter board. No stripes. No bands of colors. No color of any kind other than silver.

It wasn’t as striking or attention grabbing as the liveries used by many other railroads, but it sure looked classy and in my mind has always represented a time when passenger travel by rail still was foremost in the public mind.

I was down on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad recently when I noticed that former Florida East Coast lounge-observation car Saint Lucie Sound is looking these days like a member of the NYC’s Great Steel Fleet.

The car carries only the name “Cuyahoga Valley” in the letter board and the car name on its flanks beneath the windows.

The CVSR raised money last year to renovate the Saint Lucie Sound and perhaps in time it will regain CVSR’s red and gold livery.

As I watched the car roll past, it reminded me of that long-ago era when the Great Steel Fleet was king. I could have been seeing the Chicago-Detroit Twilight Limited or the Chicago-Boston New England States blast past. Now that was classy and classic.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

CVSR Raising Funds to Restore Saint Lucie Sound

April 26, 2015

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has launched a campaign to raise money to renovate its former Florida East Coast observation-lounge Saint Lucie Sound.

Thus far, the CVSR has receive grants from the following: Haslinger Family Fund of Akron Community Foundation ($100,000), Lehner Family Foundation ($25,000), Tom E. Dailey Foundation ($7,500) and the CVSR Volunteer Association ($3,000)

There is a short video and information about the project at

CVSR Wins Grant to Help Restore Rail Car

February 11, 2015

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has received a grant of $7,500 from the Thomas E. Dailey Foundation that will be used to restore its observation car Saint Lucie Sound. Restoration of the car, which was built in 1946 for the Florida East Coast, is projected to cost $242,000.

Also receiving a grant from the foundation is the Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation, which will receive $1,500 to restore Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. 0-4-0 No. 58, a 23-inch gauge steam locomotive built by the H. K. Porter Co. in 1937 for use at the Jones & Laughlin Pittsburgh Works.

The locomotive is unique because of its heavy design with a high pressure boiler for extremely high traction in order to haul the tonnage of ingots and molds.

The grant will assist with fabrication of the previously removed cab section back to its original design along with the saddle tank water tank.

In addition to restoring the locomotive, the project includes 300 feet of track so that when the locomotive is fired, its use in the historically important Youngstown steel industry can be demonstrated regularly to the community and visitors. The awards were among 11 grants totaling $40,300 that were announced by the Dailey Foundation on Feb. 7.

Since its creation in 2013, the Foundation has awarded grants totaling $345,300. Other rail grant recipients included: National Capital Trolley Museum – Silver Spring, Md.: $2,500 to help fund renovation of Capital Traction Co. 522, a streetcar built in 1898 for use in the nation’s capital.

Western New York Railway Historical Society – Orchard Park, N.Y.: $2,000 to help fund an upgrade to the security system at the Williamsville Depot.

Rufus Porter Museum Inc. – Bridgton, Maine: $1,800 to fund creation of a model of the Broadway Elevated Railroad based on Rufus Porter’s design and drawing, which was published in Scientific American.

Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Inc. – Chama, N.M.: $5,000 to help fund restoration of Denver & Rio Grande Western Tourist Sleeper Car 0252/470.

Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society, Inc. – North Freedom, Wis.: $1,000 to help restore East Jordan & Southern passenger car No. 2, which was built in 1864.

Northern Pacific Railway Depot Museum – Wallace, Idaho: $2,500 to assist with replacement of the 1901 depot’s cedar roof.

Douglas County Museum Foundation – Roseburg, Ore.: $1,500 to help restore Oregon & California Railcar No. 3001.

Venice Historic Preservation League, Inc. – Venice, Fla.: $5,000, to help acquire, refurbish and display an existing circus train car to represent the living quarters of circus performers during the time that the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus spent the winter in Venice.