Posts Tagged ‘EL motive power’

Leaving the Kent Yard

February 17, 2018

An Erie Lackawanna Alco FA and Alco RS-3 are eastbound leaving the EL Kent yard in the late 1960s. This photo is from the north side of the tracks and not the more commonly photographed south side. Notice, also, the light tower, bridges and semaphore signal.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

In Memory of Michael Andrew Ondecker

March 13, 2017

Former Akron Railroad Club member Michael A. Ondecker, 69, died of a heart attack on Jan. 30.

Services were held at the Tallmadge Cemetery on March 3 with the Rev. Michael A. Matusz officiating. Donovan Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

Mr. Ondecker was born on Dec. 21, 1947, the son of Andrew and Isabelle Ondecker. He is survived by a brother, Thomas, who resides in Florida.

A graduate of Kent State University, he was a retired railroader, having worked for the Erie Lackawanna on its power desk and in its intermodal traffic department.

At the time of creation of Conrail, his former EL boss hired him to work at the Grand Trunk Western. Mr. Ondecker later moved to a position in the intermodal traffic department of the Soo Line.

A resident of Tallmadge for the past 15 years, Mr. Ondecker was a volunteer with the Ohio Museum of Transportation, which collects transit buses that were used throughout Ohio.

He was a friend of ARRC member Robert Farkas, who said that Mr. Ondecker introduced him to railfanning in 1965.

They traveled together on nearly a decade of trips to such places as Birmingham, Alabama; Huron, South Dakota; and New Haven, Connecticut.

“Before his aunt loaned him her 120 roll film camera (decent lens but slow top shutter speed) in 1968, he took a few Instamatic photos,” Bob write in an email message. “The quality of the Instamatic photos was poor because of the camera. On the other hand, what he saw was incredible!”

Three of those photographs made by Mr. Ondecker accompany this post.

“Instead of purchasing a better camera with a high shutter speed, he basically stopped taking photos,” Bob said. “Instead he drove and I took the photos for both of us.”

In the top image, made with the Instamatic camera, EL No. 7354 (an Alco FA), an F3B, and other units are shown at an unidentified location. The image was probably created in the middle 1960s.

The middle image also was made with an Instamatic camera.  EL No. 858 (an Alco PA), an Alco FB, and an EMD F3B were captured in the same time period at an unidentified location.

In the bottom image, made with his aunt’s camera, Baltimore & Ohio No. 9131 (an Alco S-2) is in shown in downtown Akron in the summer of 1968.

Help Solve the Mystery of This Train’s Location

February 6, 2017


Here is an Erie Lackawanna F3A, F7A, and BLW DS44-1000 taken in an unknown location most likely from 1967-1970. It is on a two-track line, quite possibly the main line. One of the trucks reads Fisher Foods. Thanks for any help on the location.

Photograph From Robert Farkas

Railroading as It Once Was: Just Another Day at RU Tower in Sterling on the Erie Lackawanna

January 25, 2017


It’s just another normal hot August 1975 afternoon in Sterling. The Erie Lackawanna was doing its normal thing, too, as this eastbound train blasts past RU tower making a run for Wadsworth hill. In a few short miles it would be down to a crawl as gravity worked its magic.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

Bob Cranks up His Wayback Machine Again

January 10, 2017
Erie Lackawanna 2512, a GE U25B

Erie Lackawanna 2512, a GE U25B

Akron Railroad Club member Bob Farkas has invited us over to his house for a party to celebrate the new year and to remember an old year.

After some socializing and snacks, he’s brought out his Wayback Machine and taken us back on the Erie Lackawanna on a winter day in Kent in the 1960s for a “from the same roll of film” show.

He said the images are from the same afternoon and are not in any particular order. Pass the popcorn and enjoy the show.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Louisiana & Northwestern 6036 boxcar

Louisiana & North-West 6036 boxcar

Erie R28 being used as a rider car

Erie R28 being used as a rider car


EL 3613, 3609, both EMD SD45s

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie 24260 and Milwaukee Road boxcars.

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie 24260 and Milwaukee Road boxcars.


EL 2452, an Alco C425; 2553, an EMD GP 35; and 6321, an EMD F7A

EL 2452, an Alco C425; 2553, an EMD GP 35; and 6321, an EMD F7A

CB&Q 28402 boxcar

CB&Q 28402 boxcar

EL 6321, an EMD F7A

EL 6321, an EMD F7A

This is my favorite image from the afternoon. EL 1051 and its train head west through the east end of the yard.

This is my favorite image from the afternoon. EL 1051 and its train head west through the east end of the yard.


Railroading as it Once Was: Erie Lackawanna Winter View in Scranton Felt Like a Railroad

January 5, 2017
Even on a dull day a fresh-painted Erie Lackawanna unit stood out. This is Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the winter of 1975. Typical of a locomotive service area back then, oil and sand were all over. White snow didn’t stay white very long. Goodies abound with not only the shiny Geep but other GP-7s, an Alco C-425, and transfer caboose T-14. Places like this just reeked railroad with the sights, sounds, and smells of an everyday working railroad. I feel blessed to have been able to visit places like this on the EL back then, to experience the “real deal.”

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Railroading as it Once Was: Yes, It’s Conrail

December 22, 2016


Conrail 5985, a former Erie Lackawanna GP-7, prepares to head west on the ex-EL in Akron in March 1978 with local PE-1. The Erie searchlight signal was still in use at this time as were the ex-EL mains. Nothing of the EL remains at this location today and all the buildings behind the train have been torn down.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Railroading as It Once Was: Crossing Over at South Street in Akron in Early Conrail Days

December 8, 2016


Taken 40 years ago in late November 1976, Conrail train TV 77 heads west through Akron. The lead truck on the 3601 has just entered the South Street TBS crossovers that were used to route trains off the former Erie Lackawanna and onto the former Penn Central for a run to Orrville and a connection with the Fort Wayne Line. The low afternoon sun glints off the nose of the EL SD, perhaps fitting as the sun would set for good on these former Erie rails in a few short years.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Hidden Gems at Akron Union Depot

November 25, 2016





Here are some more hidden gems from the past in Akron.

While the two wider images show detail of the Akron Union Depot somewhere between 1967 and 1970, the two close-up crops show hidden gems in the original images. While the close crops are very grainy, consider the size they are in the original negative.

In the second image, which shows the background of the top image, is a lashup of two Erie Lackawanna Alco PAs and a GE.

Look closely at that image and you will see that there is even another treasure because the colors on the GE’s EL emblem are reversed. That error lasted only a small time before being corrected.

Image four is a closer view of the platform in image three. Image four shows an eastbound EL train with an EMD SD45, EMD SD45, EMD F3A lashup.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Railroading as it Once Was: A Youngstown Snapshot Shows How I Remember this City

November 23, 2016


In defense of the grab shot, here is one I snapped in the summer of 1975. It was one of those stop the car, jump out, point and press, so I wasn’t expecting museum quality results.

I just wanted a shot of that Alco C425 as this was one of my first trips to Brier Hill in Youngstown.

Tucked away with all the other less interesting negatives, I took another look at this image recently and decided to scan it.

It is, indeed, a snapshot of what the everyday Erie Lackawanna looked like back then in that area.

From what I can see all equipment is lettered either Erie or EL. That’s the old Division Street bridge and what I think was the YS&T furnaces beyond the bridge.

EL Alcos moving ore hoppers surrounded by the mills: That’s the snapshot of Youngstown I’d like to remember.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee