Posts Tagged ‘Erie Railroad in Kent’

Used to be a Yard Here

June 15, 2018

The Erie Railroad once had a large yard, roundhouse and shops in Kent. All of that is gone now and has been for many years.

This view is looking northeastward at the area where the yard used to be.

The one track left is owned by Portage County and used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway to serve a tar company in Kent and cardboard box company in Ravenna.

It can be difficult to imagine that at one time at all hours of the day men worked here sorting freight cars and servicing engines.

The beginning of the end was when the Erie gave up steam locomotive power in the early 1950s, but the decline sharply accelerated after the Erie Lackawanna decided to do in Marion much of the work done in Kent.

Today, trees and brush grow where there used to be yard tracks. Rather than the sound of bumping freight cars and shrieking steel wheels there is the blowing wind and whatever ambient noise is emanating from the city.

The Portage Hike and Bike trail skirts the edge of the complex and it was from that trail that I made this image.

Some Erie Sights

November 16, 2017

Hunter’s railroad wasn’t being very cooperative. I had set up on the West Main Street bridge in downtown Kent hoping to get a train or two on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Westbound intermodal trains Q015 and Q137 have been operating in mid to late afternoon of late. But I got crickets. There wasn’t as much as a peep on the radio.

After about 45 minutes of waiting, I got out and walked around to make photographs of whatever caught my eye, including some Erie Railroad relics.

The most prominent of those is the former passenger station, which has been restored and now houses an Italian restaurant.

Just south of the station is a heavyweight passenger car painted in Erie colors. It apparently is used as a meeting room, although I’ve never seen anyone in it.

There is a signal box by the station that I know I’ve seen dozens of times, but never photographed. Today I saw something there as the late afternoon sunlight cast a warm glow on the rust-covered box. Who knows how many years it has been here and how many trains it has seen?

Finally, I checked out the siding for the Star of the West grain elevator. Just the night before during a program at the Railroad Enthusiasts meeting in Cleveland there was speculation as to what will happen with this property, which closed earlier this year.

The Erie would have served this facility as did the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. Now the siding sits unused.

At one time, one of the mainline tracks would have been here, but it has been a long time since these rails were a double-track mainline.

Share the Trail With a CSX ET44EH

November 3, 2017

Walkers, joggers and bicyclists are common users of the Portage Hike and Bike trail, but with a little imagination you can pretend that this CSX ET44EH is coming around the curve and continuing down the trail to Kent.

In reality, CSX No. 3343 is going away on Track No. 2 in a light power move.

Note the remains of the foundation of the Erie Railroad roundhouse at the right by the sign that explains some history of the Erie in Kent.

That sign contains a few photographs of the Erie in Kent that were made by the late Robert Redmond, a one-time Akron Railroad Club member.

Autumn on the (Former) Erie

January 13, 2017

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Several years ago I made an image of a maple tree next to the former Erie Railroad mainline near Kent at Lake Rockwell Road.

That was back in the days when I was making images with slide film.

I liked that image and wanted to try it again as a digital image. But for various reasons it didn’t work out once I went to digital photography in 2011.

I couldn’t get down there, I got there too early, I got there too late. If you’re a photographer you know the reasons why something doesn’t get done.

It wasn’t a high priority on my autumn “to do” list but it was still there.

Last autumn everything finally lined up. I went down to Kent to walk on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail, which runs parallel with the lone track that is left of the ex-Erie.

That tree that I remembered at the Lake Rockwell Road crossing was at its peak fall colors. It was a mostly sunny day.

So, here it is along with a couple other images of the tracks, fall foliage and a few utility poles left over from the days when they had wires used to communicate and provide power for the signal system.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Kent Grain Mill May Be Closing This Year

March 21, 2016

A regular reader of the Akron Railroad Club blog reports that the talk around Kent is that this may be the last year of operation for the Star of the West grain mill.

The downtown Kent landmark sits next to the former Erie Railroad mainline and is served by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

The owner of the mill is reported to be building a new facility near Bellevue and has said the Kent facility might be used as a smaller “specialty” facility.

There are no apparent plans to sell or demolish the Kent mill, but that is subject to change.

There might be a short time left to photograph rail operations at the mill.

The ABB job to Kent that serves the mill operates  on weekdays and generally arrives in Kent at about 8 or 9 a.m.

The mill has a trackmobile that it uses to shuffle cars around.

Another Touch of Erie Heritage in Kent

August 19, 2015

Erie car in Kent-x

Kent was an Erie Railroad town for many decades. It was a crew change point, the home of a large classification yard, and the location of a roundhouse and shops.

Over time, the railroad cut back its facilities and activities in Kent and by the time the Erie Lackawanna had turned into Conrail in 1976 there wasn’t much left.

Today, the Erie yard and shops are gone but the former passenger station remains as restaurant.

There are other reminders of the Erie. A local student painted a mural of the Lake Cities passenger train on a wall in downtown Kent.

Now another paean to the heritage of the Erie has come to Kent. For the past several years, there has been a passenger car sitting next to the former Erie station.

It was painted Pullman green and used as a meeting room. When passing through town recently I noticed that the car has gotten some new paint to reflect the passenger livery of the Erie.

On the day that I was there, the paint job had been completed on just one side of the car. So here is to the memory of the Erie Railroad.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Bridge Project Finished in Kent

June 3, 2013
An eastbound CSX empty coal train passes beneath the former Erie Railroad tracks in Kent on Sunday afternoon. The Erie bridge, now used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway, was raised and unused bridged removed as part of a clearance project on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

An eastbound CSX empty coal train passes beneath the former Erie Railroad bridge in Kent on Sunday afternoon. The bridge, now used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway, was raised and unused bridges were removed as part of a project to increase clearances on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

I went for a walk on Sunday afternoon on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail. I took my camera so I could document the progress of the project to raise the bridge carrying the former Erie Railroad tracks (now operated by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway) over the former Baltimore & Ohio tracks (now CSX) in Kent.

The project appears to be done with only some cleanup work to be completed. All but two of the spans of the ex-Erie bridges over CSX have been removed. One span carries the ABC tracks while the other carries the hiking and biking trail.

During my last visit here the ABC was using a shoofly track while crews raised the bridge that the ABC uses permanently.

The shoofly is gone now and the ABC has a straight shot. New rail was also installed at the site.

This location was once the eastern throat of the Erie Yard. That facility was still used during the Erie Lackawanna days, but the downgrading of the route in the middle 1970s under Conrail ownership led to the abandonment of the yard.

Conrail later sold what it termed the Freedom Secondary to the Portage County Port Authority and Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority. The tracks have been abandoned east of Ravenna.

The bridge work in Kent began in March and was part of a clearance project undertaken by CSX to increase clearances on its New Castle Subdivision so that double-stack container trains can operate between the intermodal sorting facility at North Baltimore, Ohio, and the Washington-Baltimore area.

The route is part of the developing CSX National Gateway Network.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

This view is looking westward down the new tracks installed over the ex-Erie bridge in Kent over the ex-B&O tracks below.

This view is looking westward down the new tracks installed over the ex-Erie bridge in Kent over the ex-B&O tracks below.

This girder once was part of the multi-track Erie Railroad bridge over the B&O. Now it has been removed and will likely be scraped.

This girder once was part of the multi-track Erie Railroad bridge over the B&O. Now it has been removed and will likely be scraped.

This communications box next to the former Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie) Railroad tracks in Kent has been given a new life. It once stood beside a light tower that illuminated the eastern end of the Erie Yard. But the tower was removed more than a year ago. This surviving structure is next to the Portage Hike and Bike Trail.

This communications box next to the former Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie) Railroad tracks in Kent has been given a new life. It once stood beside a light tower that illuminated the eastern end of the Erie Yard. But the tower was removed more than a year ago. This surviving structure is along the Portage Hike and Bike Trail.