Posts Tagged ‘EL passenger station in Akron’

It Only Looks Like the New York Central

November 29, 2020

It is the summer of 1968 in dpwntown Akron. Three Penn Central locomotives. al of them still wearing a New York Central livery, are bound for Hudson and beyond.

The fancy building on the other side of the bridge is the Erie Lackawanna freight house. The train is passing the still-in-use at that time EL passenger station.

Both former Erie Railroad structures have since been razed.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Merger, What Merger?

November 1, 2020

It’s the late 1960s in Akron. The Pennsylvania Railroad has merged with the New York Central to form Penn Central.

But you might not know it from this scene which could have been made in the early 1960s.

PRR SW9 switcher 9114 is working a cut of cars by the Erie Lackawanna passenger and freight stations, one of which carries an NYC oval herald.

The 9114 was built in December 1952 and would survive long enough to be on the Conrail motive power roster for a while.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday in Akron

August 10, 2020

We’ve got an Erie Lackawanna Alco S2 switcher for EL Monday today.

No. 518 is working with a train in Akron in 1968 in front of the passenger station.

McCoy Street Yard was a short distance out of sight to the left.

Photograph by Mike Ondecker

Its Nearly All Gone Now

April 28, 2020

Most of what you see in this image of an eastbound Penn Central train ambling through downtown Akron in 1968 is gone.

The Pennsylvania Railroad had just vanished into Penn Central which itself is now 44 years gone for having given way to Conrail.

Conrail ceased operations in Akron long before it was divided by Norfolk Southern and CSX.

The Erie Lackawanna passenger station, which was still in use when this image was made, is gone and a bank now sits on that site.

In the background you can see the former Erie Railroad freight house, which lasted the longest of most things in this scene.

The freight house was razed a few years ago to make way for new apartments catering to University of Akron students.

The three railroads that used these tracks in 1968 are all gone as well, including the Baltimore & Ohio.

Also gone is the B&O style color position signal just to the right of the nose of the Pennsy Alco diesel.

A portion of the boarding platform for Akron Union Depot is visible and it was removed in early 2012. If anything, it is remarkable that it lasted as long as it did given that this section of the platform never served passengers again after May 1, 1971.

There are fewer tracks at this location now. The two that exist are part of the CSX New Castle Subdivision and also used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

You can still stand in this general location and photograph trains even though the nature of this scene has changed quite a bit in the past 52 years.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

B&O’s Diplomat in Akron

March 14, 2020

The westbound Diplomat of the Baltimore & Ohio is making its station stop in Akron in 1968.

Leading No. 7 today is E8A No. 1446. In the background is the passenger station for the Erie Lackawanna.

The Diplomat is on the westbound B&O main line with the Akron Union Depot passenger platform between No. 1446 and the viewer.

The track between No. 7 and the platform was used for storing cars to be put on passenger trains or cars that were taken off passenger trains.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Down at the Akron EL Station

June 29, 2019

Erie Lackawanna 6311 is eastbound past the EL passenger station in Akron in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

By then passenger service on the former Erie Railroad had shrunk to the Lake Cities between Chicago and Hoboken, New Jersey.

The Lake Cities would continue to operate through early January 1970. It would be the last EL intercity passenger train although the carrier continued to operate a commuter train between Cleveland and Youngstown, and it had extensive commuter rail operations in the New York City region.

But the Lake Cities would be the last EL varnish to carry a dining car and sleeping cars.

The Akron EL station, which was built by the Erie in the late 1940s, no longer stands. It was razed and a bank branch is now on the site.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Two for One

December 1, 2016

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It is early in the Penn Central era (1968 or 1969), and PC 1665 (Notice the red “P” and white “C”) and New York Central 1666 are leading a northbound PC freight heading to Hudson. Is this an image of the ex-Erie Lackawanna Akron passenger station when it was still in use or a distant image of two F’s? You be the judge.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Taking the Farkas Challenge: A Frame of Reference Image of the Railroads of Akron

June 10, 2016

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If the image above looks familiar, it should. A cropped version of this photograph has appeared at the top of the Akron Railroad Club blog since the site was launched in March 2009.

It was made by the late Binford Eubank and I am nominating it as his contribution to the Farkas challenge of a favorite photograph of railfanning in Akron.

The image shows a westbound Baltimore & Ohio passenger train departing in June 1965. The station in the background belongs to the Erie Lackawanna.

In many ways this is the quintessential Akron railroad scene for most members of the ARRC.

If you were born following World War II, you came of age in the 1960s and whatever the railroad structure was at that time is your frame of reference for Akron and its railroads for all time.

That means that you always have known the city’s dominant railroad as the B&O. The second-most dominant carrier was the Erie Lackawanna, which used to be the Erie Railroad, but that was during a time when you were too young to remember much.

Just as you were becoming intimately familiar with those railroads, they changed. The B&O morphed into the Chessie System although, technically, it was still the B&O on paper and the letters “B” and “O” appeared on the sides of locomotive cabs.

The Erie Lackawanna became part of Conrail, which worked steadily to erase it.

And the passengers trains serving Akron went away. That depot shown in Ben’s photo was razed and the site is now a bank branch.

Even if you came of age in the 1970s, this scene is still your frame of reference because your parents and their friends spoke of railroad operations during the era when this image was made. It is how you came to understand the railroads.

Change has a way of forcing people into being pragmatic and accepting that things are not the way they used to be.

Yet scenes such as this one are the foundation upon which understandings of the history of a city’s railroads are based, rooted in statements of facts prefaced with the phrase “used to be” as in that used to be the old B&O. The Erie Lackawanna used to run there. There used to be passenger trains here.

Article by Craig Sanders, Photograph by Binford Eubank