Posts Tagged ‘Erie Lackawanna’

More Former Erie Passenger Stations

December 13, 2017

The Park Ridge Station of the Erie Railroad.

In June I did a series on Erie Railroad mainline stations from Hoboken, New Jersey, to Port Jervis, New York. Here are some other stations on some lesser known Erie/Erie Lackawanna branches.

The New Jersey & New York Railroad was leased by the Erie in the 1880’s. The railroad served Bergen County, New Jersey.

Even though the Erie took control of the line, it was still the NJ&NY on paper right through the EL days.

There are some beautiful old stations on the NJ&NY RR. Here are (in order) River Edge, Oradell, and Park Ridge.

Today the line is New Jersey Transit’s Pascack Valley Line and all these stations still serve passengers in their waiting rooms. Ticket machines sell the tickets rather than agents.

Another Erie Line was originally The Northern Railroad of New Jersey.

This railroad started before the Civil War and was bought outright by the Erie about 1940.

The EL ended passenger service on this line in 1966. Today CSX owns the line and only a couple industries are served on the lower end of the line.

This line served some very affluent New Jersey communities and their stations demonstrate that. In order, we have Tenafly Station, now a restaurant, and Demarest Station, which looks more like a church.

The railroad is pretty much dead in these parts, although there is talk about making part of this line a light rail system, which still won’t reach these locations.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

The Tenafly station of the Erie Railroad

The River Edge station of the Erie Railroad

The Demarest Station of the Erie Railroad

The Oradell Station of the Erie Railroad

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Searching for Ghosts of the Erie in Sterling

July 31, 2017

A westbound CSX auto rack train with Union Pacific and BNSF motive power rattles the windows as it passes through Sterling on the New Castle Subdivision.

I can’t help but be reminded of the late Richard Jacobs when I am in or think about Sterling.

It was the last place I saw Jake alive and during the final years of his life he often hung out at Sterling and photographed CSX operations on the New Castle Subdivision.

Jake’s last posting to the Akron Railroad Club blog was about an outing to Sterling in March 2015. He died of cancer the following June.

It was an article written by fellow ARRC officer Marty Surdyk, though, that prompted me to visit Sterling on a Saturday afternoon in early July.

He had written about Sterling in the ARRC Bulletin after he and his brother Robert swung past there earlier this year.

Marty made a few observations about railfanning in Sterling these days, including how it has changed from the old days when RU Tower still guarded the crossing of the Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie) and Baltimore & Ohio mainlines.

The tower is long gone and so is the EL. But Wayne County has converted 6.75 miles of the former Erie right of way between Creston and Rittman into an asphalt hiking and biking trail.

Just off Kauffman Avenue in Sterling is a parking lot for the trail and a former B&O freight house that long-range plans call for converting into a museum.

The trail runs parallel with the CSX line and I wanted to check it out.

So I parked at the station and started walking westward with my camera over my shoulder.

Marty’s article had spoken about there being an opening to photograph trains passing beneath the eastbound home signals for the interlocking.

You have to walk off the trail a short distance, but the view is reasonably open.

CSX crosses Chippewa Creek here and the view from the trail is open, but rather tight.

I walked for about a mile and a half west from Sterling and most of the time a wall of trees obscured the view of the CSX tracks.

There are a few open areas, but only at the grade crossings can you get any significant open space to work with in making photographs.

The first of those is at Eby Road, which has crossing gates protecting the CSX tracks. If you know of a train coming you can stand by the side of the road and have fairly open views.

There are three tracks here one of which is a siding used to store cars although this may be a block swapping location.

Likewise, there are open views at Jordan Road, which is about a half-mile to a mile west.

Here the trail jogs slightly and there are remnants of ballast for the EL tracks. The jog is made to avoid an access road leading to private property.

A short distance west of Jordan Road the trail veers away from the CSX New Castle Sub as it nears Creston.

It is in this vicinity that you can see the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Brewster Subdivision to the south

I came upon a few other remnants of the Erie during my hike, including a milepost, a whistle post and the concrete foundation of what might have been a signal base. There were also discarded cross ties in various places.

The trail is level and easy to walk. I wished, though, that I had a much smaller and lighter point and shoot digital camera rather than my DSLR.

Marty mentioned various places to eat in Creston. There is also Bradley’s in Sterling and a restaurant in Creston in the former Erie depot in Rittman.

I will have to check out the latter. The last time I saw the ex-Erie depot in Rittman there were still tracks in front of it.

The Akron Barberton Cluster Railway serves a customer in Rittman and operates on the ex-Erie between there and Barberton.

Once you’re done hiking or biking, you can always hang out in the trailhead parking lot in Sterling and wait for trains to come to you on CSX.

One thing hasn’t changed. Traffic on the New Castle Sub remains hit and miss. I spotted four trains in Sterling during my time there, three of them westbounds.

But during the last hour and a half that I was there nothing came past or seemed to be imminent.

If you are out on the trail you might not have much advance warning of an approaching train and will have to hustle to find an opening in the trees to watch and/or photograph it.

Plans are to make into former freight station into a museum.

Joggers and bikers are 225 miles from Salamanca, New York.

Something the railroad left behind when pulling up the tracks.

A remnant of CSX stands outside the former B&O freight station in Sterling.

A trio of silos between a pair of tank cars.

If a CSX train comes as you’re out on the trail you might have to hustle to get to an open area to watch it.

Looking west at Eby Road.

An eastbound manifest freight passes a cut of cars in the siding as it approaches Eby Road.

Ex-Erie Station in Fair Lawn Being Renovated

April 18, 2017

The former Erie Railroad station in the Radburn section of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, is closing for four months for some badly needed TLC.

It is getting a new roof, ceiling and interior renovations. The station was built by the Erie in 1929 and replaced a small wood building.

The station sees about 1,500 commuters a day and is one of only a couple of former Erie stations that still has an agent, albeit only for morning rush hour Monday through Friday.

The station is styled in the Dutch style that matched many of Fair Lawn’s early homes.

Since the station is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places the appearance of the depot will not change.

The only significant change to the station was the addition of a platform canopy in the early 2000s. Compare the 1950s postcard view with the picture taken at the same angle in 2012.

The Radburn-Fair Lawn station has a special meaning for me; It is where I became a railfan.

In the ‘60s, when I was old enough to start wandering around town on my own I would go to the station every day after school and watch the trains roll by.

The Erie Lackawanna’s commuter trains were hauled by RS-3s and geeps. The train to Port Jervis was hauled by an E8.

In the early 1970s the commuter trains were replaced with brand new U34CH diesels and push-pull train sets.

The E’s would last on the Port Jervis runs a few more years. In those days the station still had a full-time agent who was there until 4 p.m.

I had many pleasant conversations with the gentleman. There was also a full-time section gang that had an office in the station, including a a kind old Italian gentlemen who would always talk to a young railfan.

My daily railfanning would end at 6:15 p.m. when the train pulled in and brought my father home from his job in New York City.

We would get in the car and drive home to become a complete family once again.

At 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 14, the agent closed up the office and New Jersey Transit started removing the office equipment.

On Monday the station’s cozy waiting room fell silent. In about four months the refurbished building should be reopened and the waiting room and agent will be welcoming travelers once again.

I can’t wait to walk through her doors once again.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

A contemporary view of Radburn station.

Historic post card view of Radburn station.

When Pennsy Had a Yard in Akron

April 7, 2017

Perhaps you will have the same feeling of disbelief as I had when I looked at these two Mike Ondecker images.

Where was this heavily industrialized area? I didn’t know, but the sign on one of the factories matched a company in Cleveland, so I labeled this as Cleveland.

Much to my surprise, several railfans said this was Akron!

It was only upon close observation that I realized this was taken from a Firestone building.

On the left where a stone company now is located was once the Pennsylvania Railroad yard in Akron.

The building on the left is part of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. Erie No. 517 is most likely bringing a cut of cars back to the Erie Lackawanna McCoy Street Yard.

This Akron of the early 1960s is totally unlike today’s railroad/industrial scene, but thanks to Mike these memories come alive again.

Article by Robert Farkas, Photographs by Mike Ondecker

 

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.

EL Business Car Arrives at Pa. Short Line Railroad

March 11, 2017

Genesee Valley Transportation Company will use a former Erie Lackawanna business car that was sold last month.

EL No. 2 recently arrived in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Built by Pullman for the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the car later was sold to the Erie Railroad.

It has been privately owned by a series of owners since 1975.

One of those owners had it rebuilt to meet Amtrak standards for private cars and renamed it Phoebe Snow.

Most recently, No. 2 has been at the North Shore Railroad in Northumberland, Pennsylvania.

Genesee Valley operates four short line railroads in Pennsylvania and New York, including Delaware-Lackawanna, Depew Lancaster & Western, Falls Road, and Mohawk Adirondack & Northern.

What We’ve Lost over Time on the EL in Kent

February 18, 2017

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Sometimes when a railroad becomes a fallen flag, much of the rails and other infrastructure disappear and only memories are left. Compare this view of the Erie Lackawanna trackage in Kent in the late 1960s with what the Wheeling & Lake Erie operates now. We are looking toward West Summit Street and into downtown Kent. What a difference almost half a century makes.

Article and Photograph by Bob Farkas

 

Help Solve the Mystery of This Train’s Location

February 6, 2017

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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

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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

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EL 3613, 3609, both EMD SD45s

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie 24260 and Milwaukee Road boxcars.

Pittsburgh & Lake Erie 24260 and Milwaukee Road boxcars.

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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.