Posts Tagged ‘Dave McKay’

Installing the Dave McKay Memorial

February 1, 2021

After he died in late 2004, the friends of David McKay raised money to buy a bronze memorial to Dave to be installed in Berea.

McKay, who served as president of the Akron Railroad Club for 12 years before stepping down the same month that he passed away, often could be found on weekends in Berea sitting beneath a lone tree with his camera watching and photographing trains of Norfolk Southern and CSX passing at this busy Cleveland area hot spot.

Some of the money for the memorial was raised from sales of Dave’s first book, Trackside Around Cleveland 1965-1979 with Dave McKay, that was published in 2005 by Morning Sun Books.

Dave completed work on the book, including writing the text and selecting the photographs several months before his death but did not live long enough to see the book printed.

Shortly before he died, McKay expressed the desire that his remains be cremated and the ashes spread near BE Tower, where he had spent many an hour watching trains over a 40 year period.

The ARRC held a book release party on April 2, 2005, and that fall gathered in Berea on a Saturday afternoon for a brief dedication ceremony of the McKay memorial.

The three images shown here were made on Sept. 21, 2005, in Berea on the day that the memorial was placed in the ground.

The three men shown are the late William Surdyk, Marty Surdyk and Harold Mickley.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

15 Years of McKay Day Memories

May 2, 2020

Marty Surdyk photographs a westbound Norfolk Southern manifest freight during the 2013 Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day in Berea.

More than likely I first met the late David McKay in Berea. I didn’t know him by name then, only as a guy who would show up on Saturday morning with another fellow who needed assistance in moving.

I don’t know if we ever were formally introduced, but in time we got to know each other and would talk between watching trains go by.

He sometimes would talk about a railroad club to which he belonged in Akron and that got me to thinking it might be fun to join that group.

Little did I know at the time that I would one day succeed Dave as president of the Akron Railroad Club.

Dave died in late 2004 after serving as ARRC president for 12 years, which at the time the the longest tenure of anyone to hold the office since the club evolved into the ARRC in the late 1940s.

Since 2005 ARRC has held an annual outing known as Dave McKay Day in Berea. Until the 2019 event it was held on the first Saturday in April.

The weather in Northeast Ohio in early April can be quite varied ranging from from summer-like weather with temperatures in the low 80s to January conditions with heavy snow and cold. Sometimes the weather can change rapidly on a single day.

So in 2019 the club changed McKay Day to early May. This year’s event, though, was called off due to the social distancing restricting imposed by the State of Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was to have been held today although at least one ARRC member plans to still railfan in Berea in an unofficial celebration of McKay Day.

In looking back at 15 years of McKay Day outings, one constant has been that the two railroads lines that pass through Berea have always been owned by Norfolk Southern and CSX and you could count on seeing a high volume of traffic, long lulls notwithstanding.

You also could count on a variety of traffic although in some years the motive power was a steady progression of NS and CSX units.

For this report I drew on my own memories of McKay days supplemented by the reports published in the ARRC Bulletin.

I chose one photograph for each year to represent that year’s event in some manner while collectively providing an overview of what we saw over the past 15 years.

April 2, 2005

The inaugural McKay Day was less a railfan outing than a celebration of the release of Dave’s book, Trackside Around Cleveland 1965-1979 with Dave McKay.

The book had been printed shortly before Dave’s death on Dec. 27, 2004, the same month he retired as president of the ARRC, a post he had held since 1993.

But Dave never saw a copy of his book, which was published by Morning Sun Books and printed shortly before his death.

The event was held in a restored rail car that is part of the restaurant housed in Berea’s former Big Four passenger station.

The 80 to 100 attendees ate hors d’oeuvres and a cake decorated for the occasion.

Those who had ordered Dave’s book or bought it at the event received a copy with a memorial edition sticker affixed to the first page that contained a facsimile of Dave’s signature.

Some of the proceeds from books sales went toward the expense of the McKay bronze memorial plaque that sits near the tree where Dave used to set up a folding chair on weekends to watch and photograph trains in Berea.

Between four to six inches of snow fell during the inaugural McKay event and I didn’t make any photographs that day so my representative image shows the first day sticker in my copy of Dave’s book.

April 4, 2006

The first McKay Day to be billed as a railfanning event drew 17 participants who saw 66 trains over 12 hours. The rule established that day as to the train count was that so long as someone saw a train in Berea it counted. That rule was later expanded to include trains seen outside of Berea provided the train would pass through the Berea interlocking or had already done so.

It was not a good day for photography. Although the temperature was in the low 50s, the skies were cloudy and there was a brisk wind.

My image for that day shows an eastbound coal train on CSX with Union Pacific motive power. Looking for foreign power would be a pursuit of every McKay Day and in the early 2000s coal trains were still a common sight.

April 7, 2007

It snowed again. Those who braved the winter conditions saw 49 trains in 10 hours. My highlight of that day is Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited passing BE tower in an image I made from the Front Street grade crossing of the NS Chicago Line. No. 48’s appearance surprised us but I was ready for it. It would be the only McKay Day in which Amtrak made an appearance while an ARRC member was present.

April 5, 2008

At last we had good weather with the temperature topping out at 58 degrees. The day began with fog but it eventually burned off. Between 6:45 a.m. and 9:05 p.m. we logged 70 trains.

My image for that year is a crowd standing near the McKay memorial watching an eastbound CSX train pulled by a motive power consist that included two NS units. It wasn’t a common sight then or now in Berea to see motive power of the other railroad on “enemy” tracks.

The report in the Bulletin said 17 ARRC members attended with some bringing friends and family members as can be seen here.

April 4, 2009

It was sunny although quite cool when the day began. By the afternoon it had turned pleasant. There were 18 ARRC members on hand and counting their friends and family members total attendance was 35. These were the halcyon days for the McKay event as far as attendance. Shown is a westbound on NS passing BE tower with a BNSF leader. The NS Cleveland terminal banner on the side of the tower has a photograph made by ARRC members and then NS conductor Roger Durfee. The train log showed 45 trains that day.

April 3, 2010

This was a memorable McKay Day for me because it was only the second time I had been able to get out and photograph railroad operations. In January I had had retina surgery on my left eye and the recovery precluded railfaning for a couple months.

The day began sunny and the high temperature reached the low 80s.

Construction of the Front Street bridges over the NS and CSX tracks was underway and those of us who were there in the morning spent our time on the bridge.

However, in late afternoon a front moved through and the temperatures dropped into the low 60s in short order. It was a busy day on the railroad though and we logged 67 trains.

A highlight of the day was ARRC member and then NS locomotive engineer David Mangold getting called to take train 15N west from Rockport yard.

Seven of us gathered in Olmsted Falls to watch Dave go past as he gave us plenty of horn and bell.

My image for the day shows a westbound CSX tank car train that I made from the Front Street bridge because of how much I enjoyed being able to hang out there.

April 2, 2011

It was another busy day with 71 trains logged over 15 hours. Former ARRC member Tony Dannemiller was at the throttle of an eastbound CSX train that came through during the afternoon. Otherwise there weren’t that many highlights that day.

Even my chosen image of a westbound NS train passing beneath the new signals by BE tower is pretty ho hum. Yet it features the new signals that NS had installed to replaced the venerable Type G signal heads that dated to the New York Central days.

I remember enjoying dinner at a Mexican restaurant that used to operate on Front Street with some of the guys, including Alex Bruchac.

April 7, 2012

The weather was pleasant with sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s. The 16 attendees logged 49 trains, which was probably lower than the previous two years because guys were not arriving as early or staying as late. Few of the trains we saw on this day had foreign power leading. It was my first McKay Day after switching to digital photography and my image for the day was made on the Front Street bridge of an eastbound CSX stack train in good morning light passing the Berea station, which would be the site of many an enjoyable dinner during future McKay Days.

April 6, 2013

It was the first McKay Day after NS created its heritage units fleet. We didn’t see any NS heritage locomotives, but we did meet one of the co-founders of the website He was there with a large video camera. The ARRC Bulletin described the trains we saw as work-a-day CSX and NS because we only saw two sets of foreign power all day.

It was a busy day, though, with 62 trains logged between 8 a.m. and midnight.

In looking at my images there wasn’t much that caught my eye and it didn’t help that the weather alternated between cloudy and sunny.

I chose an image of the conductor of a westbound CSX train watching the assembled railfans.

That evening some of us had dinner at the restaurant in the Berea Big Four station, a tradition that continued for a few more years.

April 5, 2014

It would be the first of three McKays days to feature the NS Wabash heritage unit. This year it was a trailing unit on NS train 15N and it would be the only time that anyone photographed it.

It was the first McKay Day at which I was the first to arrive and among the last to leave. The 15 attendees logged 65 trains between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The image for this year is a Wheeling & Lake Erie train transitioning from CSX to NS in Berea. In the early years of McKay Day the W&LE train to Campbell Road yard on NS was a regular, but by now sightings of it had become scarce.

April 4, 2015

The good news is that the Wabash H unit made an encore performance. Better yet it was the leader on crude oil train 67W.

The bad news is that it was almost dark when it came through and no one got a photograph. We only saw it while having dinner at The Station restaurant.

We logged 69 trains during the day. The Bulletin report said the record was 74, but in going through the newsletter year by year I was unable to verify what year that was. If anything that number appears to be a case of faulty memory.

It was sunny but chilly and it became windy late in the afternoon.

There was a range of foreign power to see, including units of Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, BNSF, Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern.

I chose one of those trains, an eastbound tanker train on CSX led by BNSF power, as the image for that year’s event.

At one point we could see headlights of three westbound trains at the same time split between NS and CSX.

A Loram railgrinder came through on CSX and we saw 13 trains while having dinner.

April 2, 2016

The day’s highlight was the Dave Mangold show on the NS road channel.

Dave was called to recrew a 16G and take it from the Berea siding, where it was tied down, to Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

As soon as Dave got into the cab of the lead unit he reported it lacked operating cab signals.

It would be the first of many lengthy discussions Dave would have with the dispatcher and the NS trouble desk in Atlanta.

Among other things Dave discussed his problems logging into the computer on the second unit, which did have functioning cab signals, and oil seeping out onto the walkway of another unit.

There was also a lot of discussion about how Dave would take cut the motive power away from the train, take it down to the Knob and spin it on the wye there before returning to Berea and tying back onto his train.

All of this started in late afternoon and by the time we left that evening Dave still had not left town.

Only three people showed up, perhaps because of the unpleasant weather which was as varied as any McKay Day.

The morning was sun and clouds conditions but by afternoon intermittent snow showers had moved in followed by partial clearing and then overcast skies.

During dinner with Todd Dillon and Paul Woodring at the Berea station restaurant we saw 10 of the 54 trains that I logged for the day.

There were no heritage units sighted, but we did see the NS GoRail unit.

My image from this day shows a westbound CSX train with a clear signal while up ahead the skies look ominous in a bit of foreshadowing of what was to come.

Another memorable event from the day involved a guy who was not part of our group. He had set up his camera on a tripod next to his vehicle.

As he sat in the vehicle gust of wind blew the tripod over and it landed on the ground camera first, breaking the camera into two pieces. He left shortly after that happened.

April 1, 2017.

Once again the NS Wabash heritage unit showed up and once again no one got a photograph of it.

It was leading NS Train 394 and we knew it was coming but when it got to us it caught us by surprise.

We might have gotten photographs of NS 1070 had we gone to dinner at the Berea station restaurant when we had planned and not tarried to get a photograph of a westbound CSX train.

By the time NS 294 arrived at 6:19 p.m. we were getting up from the dinner table and not everyone even saw it.

Attendance was 12 and we logged 49 trains between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The day was overcast and chilly until the sun broke through about 5:30 p.m.

This was the first McKay Day after E. Hunter Harrison had taken over CSX and implemented the precision scheduled railroading model.

That was the subject of some conversation between a CSX dispatcher and trains crew during the morning.

That same dispatcher also read a pertinent passage over the radio word for word from the CSX rule book regarding inspecting a train carrying hazardous materials after said train went into emergency twice while en route to Collinwood Yard on the Short Line.

Part of the discussion involved whether an eastbound intermodal train on another track could pass the train at restricted speed or even at all.

The dispatcher said he had checked with his boss who in turn had checked with his boss.

The image of that day’s event shows a westbound CSX auto rack train after dinner. Where was that good weather earlier when we needed it.

April 7, 2018

From the perspective of diversity of traffic, this was easily my favorite McKay Day.

During a day that was sunny but cool, we logged more than 40 trains – I didn’t get a firm count – and saw the NS GoRail unit leading the 17N, the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit leading the 65N and a Southern Belle of Kansas City Southern leading CSX Q272.

I also saw the W&LE train and a Pan Am Railways SD40-2 in the motive power consist of NS Train 309.

Any of those would have made a good image for the day, but I chose an image of three NS eastbounds at the west end of the CP194 interlocking plant. They are, left to right, the 16T, 294 and M6G.

Getting the Pennsy H unit was not without some drama. As it approached on the Lake Front line we could see a westbound headlight on CSX.

The PRR H unit and its train beat the CSX train into Berea by just two minutes.

We got hosed from photographing a BNSF warbonnet on an NS train when it was blocked by another NS train coming through Berea as the same time.

The tradition of eating dinner at the Berea station restaurant ended this year, in part because the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts was having its annual banquet on this night at Tony K’s restaurant in Berea.

Before I headed for Tony K’s I saw two former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus train cars pass through on a westbound NS manifest freight. It was that kind of day where there was much to see.

There were 10 attendees, some of them members of both ARRC and the RRE.

May 4, 2019

Thinking the weather in early May would be more favorable then early April, the ARRC officers moved McKay day to the first Saturday in May.

As it turned out the weather on the first Saturday in April was better than the foggy and overcast conditions of the first Saturday in May.

There were six in attendance and no one stayed beyond mid afternoon. Also ending was the tradition of keeping a train log.

I only made a handful of photographs and spent more time watching than photographing trains.

My image for the day is CSX train Q020 coming out of the fog shortly before 8 a.m.


As I was compiling information for this report I was reminded of how many ARRC members are now deceased, those who have since left the club and those who attended McKay Day in some years but have since stopped coming.

It used to be standard operating procedure to take a group photograph at the McKay memorial in the afternoon, but we last did that in 2015 and even then there were just four people in the photograph, two of whom were former members.

Although the event is described as way to remember Dave, in truth we seldom talked about him during the the day named for him.

I wonder how many current active ARRC members knew Dave, who conducted his last ARRC meeting in November 2004 and died about a month later.

Looking at my photographs over a 15-year span also reminded me that although the railroads are the same their operations have changed.

There are fewer trains now and both railroads are mingling traffic that used to operate in single-commodity trains.

Some commodities are seen far less often now, coal most notably but even crude oil shipments aren’t what they used to be due to market changes.

It wasn’t just the trains we saw that I remember from McKay days, though. It was the people we met and the conversations and camaraderie that we shared between trains.

McKay Day was typically the ARRC’s first railfan event of the year and it felt good to get out regardless of the weather.

It was not unlike opening day in baseball, a day of optimism that anything this year is possible even if it’s not always likely.

At one time or another McKay Day featured everything on rails you could expect to see in Berea.

Had he been able to join us I’m sure Dave would have enjoyed it.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Dave No Doubt Approved

April 5, 2019

In my mind’s eye it was just a couple of years ago when I would drive to Berea on Saturday mornings and spot a man sitting in a folding chair beneath a tree watching for trains of Norfolk Southern or CSX.

That man was Dave McKay and when he wasn’t traveling to chase trains elsewhere you often could find him on weekends sitting in that chair in Berea.

Dave died in late December 2004. That’s 14 years ago so it only seems like it was just yesterday.

In 2005, Dave’s many friends in the Cleveland railfanning community arranged to create a memorial to Dave near the spot where he often set up his chair.

The Akron Railroad Club, which Dave served as president of for 12 years, started a tradition of railfanning in Berea on the first Saturday in April in memory of Dave.

Much has changed since Dave’s death, although the ownership of the tracks through Berea is not among those changes.

Dave didn’t live long enough to see the 2012 roll out by Norfolk Southern of its fleet of heritage locomotives but if he had I’m sure he would have made images of all of them rolling through Berea.

Knowing how much Dave used to travel in his younger years he probably photographed all or nearly all of the heritage liveries when they were used by the NS predecessor railroads that they commemorate.

I can’t even guess how many thousands of images that Dave made of Conrail trains at Berea and elsewhere.

On a nice early spring afternoon I ventured to Berea to photograph the NS Conrail heritage unit.

It was the sole motive power pulling train 14N, which was parked in the Berea siding awaiting a new crew.

It had arrived about 9:20 a.m. and didn’t move until 4 p.m. I wasn’t in Berea all that time, but I did spend three hours waiting.

By the time the 14N got moving the lighting conditions were adverse.

Would Dave have made the image anyway? Probably. And so did I.

I walked down to the McKay Memorial and incorporated it into the image that appears above.

The ARRC will conduct its annual Dave McKay Dave this year on May 4. The current leadership decided to move to event to May in hopes of having better weather.

I’ve attended all 14 McKay Days held thus far and I know how the weather can range from feeling like summer to feeling like mid January.

But traditions die hard and tomorrow I plan to be in Berea out of nostalgia. I should be at the “official” McKay Day next month, but going to Berea on the first Saturday of April has become a tradition I’d like to keep while I can.

Annual McKay Day Berea Outing Set for April 1

March 28, 2017

The Akron Railroad Club’s 13th annual Dave McKay Day outing in Berea will held on Saturday, April 1.

Come early and stay late while watching the action on the busy CSX and Norfolk Southern mainlines. Berea is one of Ohio’s premier railroad hot spots and features a wide variety of rail action.

This year we will be able to see if we can detect any changes in CSX operations as a result of its new CEO, E. Hunter Harrison, implementing his scheduled precision railroading operating philosophy.

While at Illinois Central, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, Harrison’s railroads became known for longer and less frequent trains. You might see an intermodal train with a block of boxcars or who knows what attached to it.

Of late NS has accounted for about 60 percent of the rail traffic at Berea with CSX making up the other 40 percent.

Although Amtrak passes through Berea four times a day, those trains operate in the pre-dawn hours unless one or more of them are excessively late.

Our best shot to see Amtrak is the eastbound Lake Shore Limited, which is scheduled into Cleveland at 5:35 a.m., which should put it through Berea shortly after 5 a.m. Yes, that is early.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie has trackage rights on CSX between Wellington and Cleveland, although its trains to the Cleveland steel mills operate on an as-needed basis.

Although most trains feature routine motive power assignments, part of the challenge of spending a day in Berea involves the search for something out of the ordinary.

On NS it could be a heritage unit or one of the former Indiana Rail Road locomotives that NS acquired that are still running around in their original red and white INDR livery.

We’ve seen a few NS heritage units trailing during the McKay Day, but have yet to have one leading. We are more than due for that bad luck to change.

Foreign power can lead trains on either railroad, so we might catch units of BNSF, Union Pacific and, if we are really lucky, Kansas City Southern.

CP has a run-through train that uses CSX tracks between Chicago and Buffalo, New York, and we’ve often seen that train during our time in Berea. It almost always has CP motive power.

The two railroads can be expected to offer an array of manifest freights, intermodal trains, auto racks consists, and unit trains of coal, ethanol, grain and crude oil.

As late afternoon begins to transition to early evening, those still on hand will go to the Berea Union Depot Taverne for dinner and more training watching from out table along the windows that are adjacent to the CSX tracks.

The McKay Day will be held rain, shine or snow. We’ve seen just about every form of weather you can imagine over the years. It might be cold and you’ll need your winter coat or it might be short-sleeves shirt weather.

The event is named for the late Dave McKay, who served as ARRC president between 1993 and 2004. He died in late December 2004 and and plaque in his memory lies in the ground at Berea.

On Photography: The Legacy of Dave McKay

April 3, 2015

Dave McKay and I didn’t railfan together all that much.

We both liked to hang out in Berea on weekends and during the final year of his life we got in some train watching on CSX at Voris Street in Akron before Akron Railroad Club meetings. But that was it.

I never discussed photography techniques with Dave. That’s unfortunate because he knew a lot about making photographs of railroad operations.

Yet I learned from Dave two important lessons about photography even if we never discussed them: What it means to have a photographer’s mentality and the value of sharing your photographs with others.

One thing that distinguished Dave from others was his diversity of interests. If it was a steel wheel on a steel rail, Dave photographed it. He would photograph any railroad operation anywhere, anytime.

His camera never collected dust and slide film never expired sitting in his camera bag, closet or refrigerator.

Dave was always thinking photograph. Many railfans dabble in photography but not Dave. He seldom, if ever, went trackside without his camera.

It was seeing Dave constantly making photographs that got me to thinking that you can’t be a serious photographer and you can’t develop and hone your craft if you don’t get out regularly with your camera and use it.

When I met Dave I was a sometimes photographer. Observing Dave, even if for a short period of time, showed me what it was like to have a photographer’s mindset.

My last memory of Dave is leaving his house after the 2004 ARRC December banquet. We agreed to get together again in January to look at slides at his home.

We had done that a few times when I was working on my Indiana passenger train book and, later, my Amtrak book.

During one of those evening slide shows, Dave commented that his photos didn’t do anyone any good sitting in boxes. He wanted to share with others what he had made because he knew that they would enjoy them.

Not all photographers feel that way. Some never show their stuff in programs, let alone volunteer to allow authors to use it in books or articles.

Indeed some of my most pleasant memories of Dave were the hours that we spent in his living room looking at slides.

But that January slide bash that we talked about in December never came to be because Dave died about three weeks after the ARRC banquet.

Perhaps it was easier for Dave to commit to photography because he was single, didn’t have a family and didn’t have the type of responsibilities that keep so many fans away from the tracks. Life can get incredibly complicated sometimes.

Dave had few other interests in life, so he could afford to be “all in” on photography. Nonetheless, making photographs was in his blood and had been from an early age.

There is nothing wrong with being a sometimes photographer. It is for most of us, after all, a hobby and not a job.

For many fans, it is still about watching trains and you can’t enjoy them quite the same through a viewfinder.

The beauty of this hobby is that it can be experienced and enjoyed in so many different ways.

Dave died just as the conversion to digital photography among railfan photographers had begun to take hold.

Were he still alive, Dave would be approaching his mid 70s. Perhaps health concerns might have kept him away from the tracks more than he would have liked.

If he were alive today and physically able to do so that Dave would still be out nearly every weekend in Berea photographing whatever rolled past on Norfolk Southern or CSX.

Dave was an old school type of guy so I don’t know that he would have made the switch from film to digital. When he died he still didn’t have a personal computer.

My guess is that he would still be using slide film and I doubt that he would be posting his work at such sites as Flickr or Train

He enjoyed the fellowship of sitting in a darkened room and looking at photographs projected on a screen while having the give and take with other fans that comes with it.

He once lamented that guys didn’t get together anymore as they once did to look at each other’s photographic work.

Some photographers are going to stick with creating slides so long as slide film is still made. It is what they are used to and they like what slide film has to offer.

But chances are Dave would appreciate digital photography and see its advantages even if he had stuck with slides. He was not one to dismiss or be judgmental about a new technology just because it was different from what had been used for years.

Whether he made images with megapixels or film, Dave would still be creating photographic images and would still be pleased to share them with others because, well, he was a photographer.

A Friend’s Tribute to Dave McKay

April 21, 2014


Dave McKay and I were friends and he would trek to New Jersey once a year and spend time in the area, staying with me for a few days.

We would railfan, hit different tourist lines together and have good times. I am glad that you and the group ([kron Railroad Club] have a day honoring Dave. He was a good guy.

He visited me for the last time a few months before he passed. I actually took him to Morning Sun Books with his slides for his very first book, which, unfortunately he never got to see. During that visit, one stop we made was a trip to the Valley Railroad in Essex, Conn. I took this shot of Dave in their ex-New Haven heavyweight parlor car Wallingford.

It was one of my favorite shots of him. I want to share the photo with you and I wish your group all the best. I enjoy visiting your website and reading the articles and stories.

Article and Photograph by Jack Norris

Wild West Night at April ARRC Meeting

April 21, 2014

It will be “The Wild, Wild West” night at the April Akron Railroad Club meeting. ARRC Bulletin editor Marty Surdyk will dip into the club’s Dave McKay photographs collection to present a program of images that Dave made during his many travels out west.

We will follow the Santa Fe across the Heartland to New Mexico then do the same with AT&SF steamer No. 3751, during its cross country trip in 1992.

Then we will head to Colorado & Utah for a look at the Rio Grande. After that, we will go to the far west and finish our journey at the Tehacapi Loop and Cajon Pass. There will be lots of great Kodachrome slides to view.

The Friday, April 25 ARRC meeting will begin at 8 p.m. with a half-hour business meeting followed by the program at approximately 8:45 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Some members gather at about 6 p.m. for dinner at Duffy’s Grill, 231 Darrow Road. Following the meeting, members meet at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

Latest McKay Book a Nice Trip Back in Time

June 25, 2009

The most recent installment in the Morning Sun Books Trackside series featuring the photography of the late Dave McKay is devoted to western Ohio. That’s true only if you take a map of Ohio and divide it into equal eastern and western halves.

McKay western Ohio cover copyMany of the images in Trackside Around Western Ohio 1965-1995 with Dave McKay were captured in Marion, which many in the Buckeye State would consider to be in central, not western Ohio. Likewise, many would not consider Mansfield, Crestline, Galion, Columbus or New London to be in western Ohio, either. Yet photographs taken in those places show up throughout this book.

Be that as it may, author Stephen M. Timko has done an admirable job of assembling images from McKay’s collection to show railroading in the western half of Ohio in the late 1960s and early 1970s, which is the dominant time frame covered in this work. All of the images are sharp, properly exposed and interesting to ponder. You can’t say that about every Morning Sun book. This book does well in reflecting the type of photographer that Dave was. And he was pretty good.

The book presents a nice range of images of fallen flags Erie Lackawanna, Penn Central, New York Central, Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio and Chesapeake & Ohio. Modern day carriers CSX and Norfolk Southern get their due along with the late, great Conrail. There are images of such short line and regional carriers as the Ann Arbor, Detroit & Toledo Shore Line, and Toledo Terminal Railroad. The majority of the photographs, though, feature class 1 railroads.

If you like cab units, you will want to pick up this book. Dave photographed a generous array of such locomotives in the 1960s on freight and passenger trains. There are plenty of first- and second-generation diesels on display as well.

Beyond rolling stock, the book pays some tribute to stations and towers that are no more. In particular, the book shows how much the landscape has changed at Marion. Preservationists in that city, where four mainlines once intersected, have saved the union passenger station and AC tower, but much of what was once there is now gone.

This is the fourth Trackside title issued by Morning Sun that features the photography of McKay, who died in December 2004, and the third authored by Timko. The first title focused on the Cleveland region with the text and captions written by McKay himself. Timko wrote the second title, which examined Youngstown, and the third book, which had eastern Ohio as its focus.

This book follows the standard Morning Sun slide show in a book format. The text is minimal other than the captions. Timko makes the best of it to provide an overview of what railroads operated in the region, what traffic they carried and where their tracks ran. He does well in identifying locomotive models and giving a bit of history about select noteworthy units.

McKay, who served as president of the Akron Railroad Club for 12 years, was a prolific photographer and Morning Sun likely will issue additional Trackside books featuring his photographs. For those who knew Dave, reading this book is akin to spending a pleasant evening in his living room looking at slides from his vast collection. For others, it will be a journey back to an era of railroading that no longer exists. Oh, what some might give to be able to go back to those days. You can’t do that, but this book can take you there.

Trackside Around Western Ohio 1965-1995 With Dave McKay is available from book dealers and on line at the Morning Sun Web site at The cover price is $59.95.

Reviewed by Craig Sanders

Sun, Wind Greet 14 at McKay Day Outing in Berea

April 7, 2009

ARRC members gathered for a group protrait by the Dave McKay memorial. Kneeling are (from left) Richard Thompson and Marty Surdyk. Standing are (from left) Paul Woodring, Dave Mangold, Alex Bruchac, Craig Sanders, Steve McMullen, Clint Ensworth, Peter Bowler and Dennis Taksar. (Photograph by Tim Krogg)

ARRC members gathered for a group protrait by the Dave McKay memorial. Kneeling are (from left) Richard Thompson and Marty Surdyk. Standing are (from left) Paul Woodring, Dave Mangold, Alex Bruchac, Craig Sanders, Steve McMullen, Clint Ensworth, Peter Bowler and Dennis Taksar. (Photograph by Tim Krogg)


Sunny skies and blustery winds greeted the 14 Akron Railroad Club members who turned out on Saturday, April 4 for the fifth annual Dave McKay Day at Berea. They were treated to a steady parade of trains on Norfolk Southern and CSX with more than 40 trains passing through Berea during the time that club members were on hand.

Rick Houck was the first to arrive at 6:45 a.m. followed by Richard Thompson not long after that. However, most members did not get there until late morning or early afternoon. Skies were a mixture of sun and clouds during the morning, but by noon mostly sunny skies had arrived.

Perhaps the most notable operation of the day was when an eastbound coal train parked in the Berea siding on NS and the power, both BNSF units, cut away from the train and eased down to the former BE tower to take on water in the trailing unit. Because the train was bound for the Cleveland Line, an NS unit came out to be theleader because foreign locomotives are not
equipped with a cab signal apparatus suitable for the line.

The annual outing to Berea, held on the first Saturday in April, is in memory of the late Dave McKay, who served as president of the ARRC for 12 years before stepping down in December 2004. The club raised money in 2005 for a plaque to be placed at Berea to memorialize Dave, who often could be found at Berea year around watching and photographing trains before his death in late December 2004.

The following is a list of trains seen by club members with the locomotive power in parenthesis. In instances of just one unit being shown, that was the lead locomotive.

Listed below is a compilation of trains that passed through Berea on Saturday as compiled by Richard Thompson.

E940 – BNSF 5738 – 7:30 AM
M6N – NS 9168 – 7:40 AM
Q140 – CSXT 4738 – 7:50 AM
20Q – NS 9702 – 8:00 AM
Q380 – CSXT 8018 – 8:15 AM
Q386 – CN 5718/SOO 6027 – 8:25 AM
N859 – BNSF 6049 – 8:40 AM
Q123 – CSXT 7789 – 8:45 AM
20R – NS 9847 – 8:55 AM
Q164 – CSXT 7561 – 9:00 AM
23K – NS N/A – 9:00 AM
Q364 – CSXT 802 – 9:15 AM
20G – NS N/A – 9:15 AM
21T – NS 7512 – 9:45 AM
Q377 – CSXT 7696 – 10:00 AM
16N – NS 9490 – 10:30 AM
20E – NS 7632 – 11:00 AM
262 – NS 2734 – 11:15 AM
205 – NS 2752 – 11:20 AM
206 – NS 9653 – 11:40 AM
Q393 – CSXT 7853 – 11:50 AM
V771 – UP 5892 – 12:20 PM
Q351 – UP 5200 – 12:40 PM
261 – NS 2616 – 12:40 PM
20K – NS 9406 – 12:50 PM
Q365 – CSXT 158 – 1:10 PM
145 – NS 7699 – 1:25 PM
??? – NS 8327 – 1:30 PM
416 (PWR) – BNSF 6231 – 1:40 PM
X416 (PWR) – NS 5825 – 2:00 PM
17E – NS 9342 – 3:00 PM
LGT PWR – NS 9363 – 3:30 PM
Q110 – CSXT 5495 – 3:30 PM
416 – NS 5825 – 3:40 PM
16E – NS 8424 – 3:55 PM
25Z – NS 9205 – 4:15 PM
Q161 – CSXT 553 – 4:45 PM
M8A – NS 9972 – 5:00 PM
Q109 – CSXT 5499 – 5:15 PM
Q263 – CSXT 7916 – 5:40 PM

The following list was compiled by Steve McMullen.

13:14  E/B  NS  20K (TOFC)
NS  9406
NS  2771

13:25  E/B  NS  20E  (TOFC)
NS  9970
NS  2768

13:35  W/B CSXT  Q365  (MIXED FRT)
CSXT  158
CSXT  224

13:52  W/B  NS  145  (MIXED FRT)
NS  7699
NS  2550

13:54  W/B NS  ?SYM?  (MIXED FRT)
NS  8357
NS  5416  (Conrail Blue)

14:00  E/B  NS  416  (COAL LOADS)
BNSF  6231
BNSF  5915 (had low water, cut away from train and watered at BE twr)
(Departed Berea at 15:18 – added leader: NS 5825 (CSS equipped GP38-3!)

14:24  W/B NS  LITE PWR
NS  5825  (New CSS leader GP38-3 for outbound 416)

15:00  W/B  NS  11V
NS  9342
NS  9154

15:07  W/B  NS  LITE PWR
NS  9363
NS  9288

15:09  E/B  CSXT  Q110  (TOFC)
CSXT  5495
CSXT  5425
CSXT       3
CSXT  7922
CSXT  7324

15:30  E/B  CSXT  Q122  (TOFC)
CSXT     26
CSXT  7712

15:46  E/B  NS  16E  (MIXED FRT)
NS   8424
NS   9507

15:52  W/B  NS  ?SYM?  (TOFC)
NS  2757
NS  2638

**Dinner Break!, Front Street Tavern, 15:55 – 17:18**

17:19  W/B  CSXT  Q161  (TOFC)
CSXT  553
CSXT  522

17:23  E/B  NS  M8A (MIXED FRT)
NS  9972
NS  9275
NS  2662

17:47  W/B  CSXT  Q109  (TOFC)
CSXT  5499
CSXT  7682
CSXT  5432

18:00  W/B  CSXT  Q263  (MIXED FRT)
CSXT  7916
CSXT  7691

Some of the symbols may be missing, or wrong,
thank the crews who don’t properly call signals!