Posts Tagged ‘Erie Lackawanna Railroad’

EL Monday: Back to July 1972 in Kent

August 2, 2021

The wayback machine is set for 1972 in Kent. We see SD45 No. 3610 on a westbound on July 22, 1972. The unit was built for the EL in June 1967 and would later spend time on the Conrail roster.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: I Just Liked This Scene

July 19, 2021

Sometimes I just like a scene. It’s Sept. 4, 1972, in Akron. The power for a westbound train has cut off and left the train in the Erie Lackawanna’s McCoy Street Yard.

Soon a switcher will add/remove cars, and this power will back on to its train and leave town. EL 2452 is an Alco C425 coupled to what appears to be a former EL passenger unit now working in freight service.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: An Akron Trio

May 24, 2021

A trio of Erie Lackawanna road locomotives with roster numbers 2509, 2568, and 7082 lead a westbound in Akron in September 1972.

Photogrraph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: Intermodal in Kent

May 17, 2021

As pair of Erie Lackawanna SD45s, Nos. 3608 and 3607, are on the point of an eastbound TOFC in Kent in the late 1960s. It is passing the passenger station and about to cross Main Street.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: Notice the Windshield

May 10, 2021

Erie Lackawanna GE U25B No. 2510 sports a one-piece windshield as it leads an eastbound train through Kent in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

On the Path of the EL’s New York 99

November 20, 2013

A lone jogger exercises on the Freedom Trail in Tallmadge on a Sunday morning in early November. To the right is the former Erie Lackawanna mainline.

A lone jogger exercises on the Freedom Trail in Tallmadge on a Sunday morning in early November. To the right is the former Erie Lackawanna mainline.

You won’t see the New England 99, Croxton 99 or the New York 99 – which the Erie Lackawanna officially nicknamed The Flying Saucer – but you can walk, run or bike on the path that those trains once took.

The Freedom Trail is a 4.2-mile hiking and biking trail that operates between Middlebury Road west of Kent and Tallmadge Circle.

Dedicated last May, the trail runs parallel with the eastbound track of the former Erie Lackawanna mainline, which is owned by the Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority.

That track is still in place, but is overgrown with trees and other vegetation. Akron METRO purchased the rail line from Conrail more than a decade ago to rail bank it for potential commuter train use.

Conrail sharply curtailed operations on the former EL within a year after Conrail began on April 1, 1976. The ex-EL route east of Akron were renamed the Freedom Secondary, because it traversed Freedom Township in Portage County.

Next year, construction is expected to begin on extending the Freedom Trail into Akron where it will eventually connect with the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in downtown Akron near the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Northside Station.

When completed in 2015, the 8.4 mile trail will link Akron and Kent, connecting at the latter with the Portage Hike & Bike Trail. Some sections of the Portage trail parallel the former EL east of Kent on tracks that still sees freight serviced provided by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

Funding for the trail came in part from a $700,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration and a $250,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Phases two and three are currently projected to cost another $5.5 million.

The trail has parking lots at Middlebury Road and Tallmadge Road.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

There is a break in the ex-EL tracks at Tallmadge Road.

There is a break in the ex-EL tracks at Tallmadge Road.

This whistle post for westbound trains is yet another reminder of the past.

This whistle post for westbound trains is yet another reminder of the past.

A caboose and passenger car repose at a restaurant and bar alongside the Freedom Trail in Tallmadge. The passenger car traveled the ex-EL tracks to get here.

A caboose and passenger car repose at a restaurant and bar alongside the Freedom Trail in Tallmadge. The passenger car traveled the ex-EL tracks to get here.

Remember EL RS-3s in Akron?

August 1, 2013

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Remember when the Erie Lackawanna kept Alco RS-3s in Akron? Here’s EL No. 1020 in front of the EL’s McCoy Street Yard engine house on Jan. 21, 1973.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Almost Storm Light

June 7, 2013

Looking railroad east but geographically north to northeast, on the former Erie Lackawanna tracks Lake Rockwell Road in Kent.

Looking railroad east but geographically north to northeast, on the former Erie Lackawanna tracks Lake Rockwell Road in Kent.

During the summer months I enjoy hiking on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail near Kent. The trail parallels the former Erie Lackawanna Railroad tracks between Kent and Ravenna Road, but I never see a train on those tracks unless I happen to be out on a weekday morning.

That’s because the current operator of the line, the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway, only operates Monday through Friday, and during the morning hours.

Most of the time, I’m on the trail on weekends when the ABC has gone into hibernation.

So I use my imagination as I walk along and try to visualize in my mind what an Erie Lackawanna train would look like here.

There are members of the Akron Railroad Club who have seen and photographed EL trains on these rails.

But the trail wasn’t in place during the EL years or, for that matter, during Conrail ownership of this track.

On a recent late Sunday afternoon, I was walking briskly back to the parking lot at Lake Rockwell Road. I had felt a few sprinkles and threatening clouds loomed to the north.

A hole in the clouds opened and sunlight poured through. I had my camera with me and I made this image of almost storm light conditions.

Some of the most dramatic photographs I’ve seen involved storm light. It’s a “you have to be in the right place at the right time” to get the image sort of thing.

Thus far I’ve haven’t had such luck in getting a storm light photo although I’ve had a few “almost storm light” photos. Count this image as one of them.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Erie Freight House in Akron Being Demolished

May 15, 2013

Demolition of the former Erie Railroad freight house in downtown Akron began earlier this month to make way for a housing project aimed at University of Akron students.

The building was constructed by the Erie in 1916 and at one time had a clerical staff of about 30  and 150 dock workers.

The last use of the building was to store rolls of newsprint for the Akron Beacon Journal. However, for many years that paper has arrived at the building by truck rather than by rail. The freight house is located at the corner of East Exchange Street and South Broadway.

The former Erie Railroad yards were just to the southwest of the freight house. That site is now used as a bus transfer terminal by Akron METRO Regional Transportation Authority.

A passenger station built by the Erie in the late 1940s was once located on the other side of Exchange Street from the freight house, but it was torn down in the 1970s and the site now houses a bank branch.

The $20 million student housing project that will be built on the site will be named The Depot as homage to the site’s rail history and close proximity to the CSX New Castle Subdivision tracks.

“We’re at the confluence of that,” said Aaron Pechota, vice president of the NRP Group, a development company based in Garfield Heights.

A Beacon Journal article about the demolition of the freight house quoted former Erie Lackawanna conductor Fred Stuckmann, who took photographs of the building being torn down.

Stuckmann told the newspaper that when he heard that the building would be torn down to make way for new student housing, he got permission to take pictures of the inside of the facility. He later returned to chronicle its dismantling.

“I got to go inside this before it was put to sleep — to look at what I supported all those years when I was putting cars in front of it,” Stuckmann said, adding that he would post his photographs at http://rrpicturearchives.net.

Stuckmann told the Beacon Journal  that after seeing the interior of the freight house he concluded that it was beyond saving.

“I’d like to see it not be destroyed, but I realize you can’t stop progress,” said Stuckmann, 65, of Akron, who began working for the EL in the 1960s and left railroading in the 1980s.

The Beacon Journal sold the 3.4-acre Erie freight house property to the NRP Group, which created Exchange LLC for the project.

Newspaper executives declined to disclose the purchase price. But a Beacon Journal news story about The Depot project quoted an unnamed city official who is familiar with the project as saying that the sale price was about $3 million. The Beacon Journal bought the property in 1967 for more than $200,000.

The city was involved with the sale because it was expected to authorize Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, for the project. A TIF deal freezes the value of the land before any improvements are made. Taxes are paid as if the land had never been developed. Additional money collected for the increased value of the land goes for a specified time to the project instead.

Mark Moore, the city’s strategic initiatives division manager, said the TIF on The Depot project is for 30 years and is expected to raise about $19 million. The money will be split between the developer and the city.

The Depot is among four private student-housing developments that the city has approved that will provide off-campus housing for nearly 2,000 students. The Akron City Council approved plans for The Depot in April.

More Kent Conrail (and EL and B&O) Nostalgia

March 21, 2013

A caboose meet in downtown Kent in January 1979. Note the old Home Savings sign.

A caboose meet in downtown Kent in January 1979. Note the old Home Savings sign.

I thought with all the interest in the railroad photos taken around Kent and posted on the Akron Railroad Club blog lately that I’d toss in a few from my early days of rail photography in that area.

The Erie Lackawanna/Conrail and the Chessie were busy of course, but the ex-Norfolk & Western line that the Wheeling & Lake Erie and the Akron Barberton Cluster run on today was dormant for years through Kent.

Conrail soon eliminated the inter-divisional runs that the EL had, which had all trains change crews in Kent. It was sad to watch the remains of the former EL slowly get quieter and weed infested as the 1970s ended.

Once the through trains were removed in late 1980 it was just that local out of Leavittsburg that served Ravenna and Kent from the Youngstown area.

Back then the Star of the West Milling facility was Williams Brothers and there was a tank car lining facility located beside Mogadore Road. Both businesses were switched often.

There was a short time when Kent was served by a local out of Alliance off the Cleveland & Pittsburgh (now the Cleveland Line of Norfolk Southern).

A connection was built about a mile east of the Towner’s Woods area where the EL and the C&P were side by side. The connection had hand-throw switches. Although I photographed the tracks, I never caught a train using them.

For me, Kent has always been one of those places that is nice just to hang out and wait for trains, and remains so today. I guess as long as trains still roll along the Cuyahoga and pass in front of the old Kent station you’ll find me there, camera in hand.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

An EL local passes in front of a boarded up ex Erie passenger station in downtown Kent in December 1975.

An EL local passes in front of a boarded up ex Erie passenger station in downtown Kent in December 1975.

A Conrail westbound waits for a new crew at Crain Avenue on a really nice winter day in February 1979. We were really dig'n that blue Alco C636.

A Conrail westbound waits for a new crew at Crain Avenue on a really nice winter day in February 1979. We were really dig’n that blue Alco C636.

A Conrail eastbound passes Williams Brothers Grain Co in downtown Kent in February 1978.

A Conrail eastbound passes Williams Brothers Grain Co in downtown Kent in February 1978.

An EL local crosses Ravenna Road and blows past Brady Tower before this area had become Towner's Woods Park.

An EL local crosses Ravenna Road and blows past Brady Tower before this area had become Towner’s Woods Park.

In one of the more interesting trains to pass through Kent, 12 dead GG1 electrics sit at the Summit Street crossing on the former EL in April 1979. They were bound for a scrapper in Hubbard, Ohio. That’s the tank car lining building in the background.

In one of the more interesting trains to pass through Kent, 12 dead GG1 electrics sit at the Summit Street crossing on the former EL in April 1979. They were bound for a scrapper in Hubbard, Ohio. That’s the tank car lining building in the background.

It was hard to beat this November 1977 early Conrail power set. Four matched ex-EL Alco C-424s depart Kent eastbound on their home road. The B&O is below that girder bridge under the third unit.

It was hard to beat this November 1977 early Conrail power set. Four matched ex-EL Alco C-424s depart Kent eastbound on their home road. The B&O is below that girder bridge under the third unit.

One of only two ex-Reading Lines Alco C-430s and the only one of the two to get full blue waits for a new crew at the east end of the former Erie yards in Kent. It’s a typical “dog’s breakfast” of an early Conrail power consist.

One of only two ex-Reading Lines Alco C-430s and the only one of the two to get full blue waits for a new crew at the east end of the former Erie yards in Kent. It’s a typical “dog’s breakfast” of an early Conrail power consist.

B&O 4230 leads the Philly Jet eastbound past the old B&O freight station. This station was removed a couple of years ago.

A colorful westbound grain train passes the former B&O station in Kent. You can see the former Erie station up on the hill in the background.

A colorful westbound grain train passes the former B&O station in Kent. You can see the former Erie station up on the hill in the background.

A detouring Chessie westbound passes the former Erie Kent depot on a hazy July 1977 day.

A classy looking black and gold Western Maryland unit leads a westbound through Kent. You can see the dam/waterfall stonework since the falls is dry on this day in May 1977.