Posts Tagged ‘downtown Cleveland’

Downtown Group Pushes Revival of RTA Rail Loop Plan

January 17, 2021

A downtown Cleveland group is trying to revive the idea of creating a rail loop by extending the Waterfront Line southward to connect with the Red Line.

The business oriented group Campus District recently wrote to Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority CEO India Birdsong endorsing the idea and trying to get the transit agency to revive it.

The idea is not new. A planning document issued in 2000 described such as extension that would run along East 17th Street between Playhouse Square and the Cleveland State University campus and pass through the downtown Cuyahoga Community College campus before connecting with the Red Line at East 34th Street.

Campus District is seeking to portray the loop as a throwback to the streetcar era that ended in downtown Cleveland in 1954.

The proposed downtown loop also has been endorsed by All Aboard Ohio, a rail passenger advocacy group that also supports public transit.

Campus District Executive Director Mark Lammon said the current RTA rail system needs better access to downtown.

 “It’s not a circle,” he said. “We lack some downtown stations and it goes right through our neighborhood.”

An RTA official indicated the agency is not opposed to the idea but views other needs as having a high priority.

These include a large scale and expensive plan to replace the system’s existing rail cars.

Lammon acknowledges that much has changed in the 20 years since the downtown loop rail line was proposed.

But he believes that although some of the same metrics of the 2000 study are valid today, “what you’re plugging into the study would be radically different from what was in 2000.”

He noted that there are more residents and apartment buildings downtown than there were two decades ago. Some downtown warehouses are now being transformed into apartments and office space.

Lammon also pointed to the success of RTA’s bus rapid transit Health Line on Euclid Avenue as showing that huge investments follow transit upgrades.

RTA has estimated that the Health Line, which cost $110 million to develop, led to $9.5 billion in economic development along Euclid Avenue.

 “This could be something that changes the look and feel of our neighborhood and all of downtown in a lifetime,” Lammon said.

Seeing (CN) Red in Downtown Cleveland

September 17, 2016

Norfolk Southern train 145 had a consist of three Canadian National locomotives as it rolled through Cleveland on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern.

Norfolk Southern train 145 had a consist of three Canadian National locomotives as it rolled through Cleveland on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern.

Yeah, I'd rather that the three CN units be heading toward me rather than going away, but it is still a good image anyway.

Yeah, I’d rather that the three CN units be heading toward me rather than going away, but it is still a good image anyway.

My friend Adam and I were hanging out at Old Broadway in Cleveland when we heard a westbound train calling signals.

That wasn’t what we had wanted to hear. I wanted to get an eastbound with the Cleveland skyline behind it in all of its glory.

But I wasn’t going to pass up any train. It had been more than an hour since we had arrived and I wanted to get something, anything.

The train was the 145, a westbound that originates in Buffalo, New York, and terminates in Kansas City.

I have an interesting history with the 145. In early February 2014 I bagged the 145 crossing the Painesville trestle over the Grand River on one of the best days for winter photography that I’ve ever experienced.

Ed Ribinskas won a photo contest for his image of the 145 that he made that day and received a free enlargement from Dodd Camera that prominently is displayed in his home.

More recently, I caught the 145 in Conneaut with a pair of Union Pacific locomotives and nothing else. Yes, it was running light as two UP units.

The 145 soon came into sight and as it did I could see the nose wasn’t black. We didn’t know of any Norfolk Southern  heritage units on the former Nickel Plate line.

The lead unit turned out to be a Canadian Pacific locomotive. And so was the trailing unit and so was the third unit. It was an all CN motive power consist.

Those are not necessarily rare, but not common in Cleveland, either. Not a bad way to start the day.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS Trains at Cleveland’s Old Broadway

September 11, 2016

NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

NS train 206 passes Old Broadway as the Cleveland skyline looms behind it.

Old Broadway is a favorite go-to place of railfan photographers when a Norfolk Southern heritage unit is leading a train eastward on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline through Cleveland.

It features an open view of eastbound traffic with the Cleveland skyline in the background. I’ve seen a number of H units photographed here, but never done it myself.

Old Broadway is also a place where fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Marty Surdyk likes to photograph. His strategy is to hang out in Berea until the 22K or the 206 comes past and then barrel up Interstate 71 toward downtown to get into position.

He has been known to get his shot at Old Broadway and then hot foot it out to Willoughby and get the iconic Willoughby Coal Company building in an image.

Going back even father to the 1950s, photography Herbert Harwood photographed at Old Broadway, catching Nickel Plate steam and various passengers trains headed to Cleveland Union Terminal.

As for myself, I had never photographed at Old Broadway and it has long been on my “to do” list.

With the help of my friend Adam, I finally was able to cross it off the list.

It turns out that the term “Old Broadway” is something of misnomer. It is actually located off the end of Rockefeller Avenue.

The Old Broadway name dates to the time when, or so I am told, Broadway Avenue crossed the tracks here.

There is still a concrete foundation that appears to have once supported a bridge.

You park in a cul-de-sac that looks modern. I can’t tell you how many vehicles came down Rockefeller, saw the cul-de-sac and then turned around and went back toward where they came. Either these folks don’t have a GPS, have a faulty GPS or can’t read a map.

We were banking on the fact that the 22K and the 206 both seem to be reliably late morning trains through Cleveland.

Maybe so on most days, but not on this day. We arrived about 9 a.m. and sat for an hour-and-a-half before getting a train. It was a westbound, the 145.

Just over a half-hour passed before another train showed up. It, too was a westbound, the 205.

It was almost noon and we decided to give it just a little more time. Then we got lucky.

The scanner brought news that we not had one, but two eastbounds coming, the 206 and the 310.

As we expected, the 206 arrived first. The last containers of the 206 were still in sight when the head end of the 310 came around the curve.

By now the sky had turned to sun and clouds so we played dodge ball with the light and shadows, not always winning.

But the images turned out well enough. We might have to give Old Broadway another try some day. Maybe this one of those eastbounds will have a heritage unit on the lead.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Here comes NS train 206 as Terminal Tower looks on.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Getting the train and the buildings of downtown Cleveland both in sunlight provided elusive much of the time as the 206 passed by.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Here comes NS train 310 as the last containers of train 206 clear.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Train 310 is walking in sunshine, but much of downtown Cleveland is in shadows.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower.

Tracks still lead into Cleveland Union Terminal, but they are the rails of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Show is NS train 310 passing beneath Terminal Tower, which is partly shrouded in shadows.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Another perspective of NS 310 and Terminal Tower.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

Getting a last look at the motive power of NS 310.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

By the time that NS train 205 showed up in late morning the light was starting to look favorably on westbound trains.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

A closer view of the motive power of NS train 205 shows that the number boards for NS 8166 have black backgrounds and white numerals rather than the other way around.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

Looks like a white snake slinking its way under the gaze of Terminal Tower.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren't casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.

The tail end of NS train 205. For once the clouds weren’t casting any shadows over downtown Cleveland.

Golden Glow Envelops Downtown Cleveland

November 10, 2014

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Although last Friday was a day of solid overcast along with being cold and blustery, the sun made a brief appearance just before it set.

The low light cast a golden glow on downtown Cleveland. Now all I needed was a train.

A westbound empty tanker was passing over Bridge 1 and the question was would it make it up the hill before the sun disappeared.

It did, and its standard cab EMD was reflecting the nearly horizontal sun. too. The clouds behind the city took on an ominous look, a taste of the winter skies we will soon be seeing along the shores of Lake Erie.

In the second photo the train is just banking onto the new shoofly track around the West 73rd Street bridge construction. Note the “old” main stubs in the foreground.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee