Posts Tagged ‘Erie Railroad’

Pair of Good Catches in Lake County

May 5, 2016

DSC_2532

DSC_2538

DSC_2540

Here are a couple of catches I’ve been able to make recently out in Lake County.

I was able to get Erie heritage locomotive No. 1068 last Saturday on 22K just moments before I left for work. The location is at Madison Avenue in Painesville.

On Wednesday morning I was able to get double heritage on a 45-minute late Amtrak No. 48.

I saw last night that the Amtrak exhibit train was going to be combined with the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

No. 48 being slightly late helped Jeff Troutman and myself get excellent lighting at the new Shamrock Boulevard overpass just west of the Ohio Route 44 overpass.

Leading No. 48 was Phase IV heritage locomotive P42DC No. 184 followed by P40 N o. 822 and NPCU 406, a former F40PH. The latter two units wear the Phase III heritage livery.

The consist of the exhibit train was cars 10020, 10093, 10094, 10095 and 85999, followed by baggage 61032, Viewliner sleepers 62029,62035,62031, Heritage diner 8524, Amfleet lounge car 28004 and Amfleet II coaches 25065, 25117, 25107, 25008 and 25120.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Erie Heritage With the Erie H Unit in Cleveland

April 30, 2016

IMG_5250

FullSizeRender

The Erie Railroad heritage unit has been assigned to Norfolk Southern intermodal trains 22K and 23K for about a month now. Sometimes it leads, sometimes not, but until today (April 30), I had not been able to catch it.
One challenge in chasing H units is to somehow work in the actual railroad the heritage engine represents.

Catching the New York Central on the NYC or the Pennsylvania on the Pennsy is like a double bonus. Getting the Erie on the Erie is difficult to do in northeast Ohio.

But the 22K, which the Erie lea today, traverses the former Nickel Plate Road east of Cleveland and it passes former although now abandoned tracks that the Erie used.

The Cleveland Union Terminal hosted passenger trains from the NYC, Baltimore & Ohio, NKP and Erie.

This is appropriate as the Erie heritage is based on the two-tone green colors of Erie passenger engines and trains.

Another Erie connection is the Terminal Tower complex seen in the background. Passenger trains ended their run here but Erie also had its headquarters located in this complex.

The Erie at one time was a Van Sweringen road. The Van Sweringen brothers owned a consortium of railroads including the Nickel Plate, Erie, Chesapeake & Ohio and Pere Marquette.

They were also responsible for building the massive Terminal Tower complex, a Cleveland landmark.

Their intent was to merge these holdings into a giant rail system. Alas, these plans fell through and while Pere Marquette did merge with the C&O, the Nickel Plate and Erie went their separate ways.

I wonder how today’s rail network would look had this merger happened. It would likely have been a dominant player in the rail scene.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Waiting For Winter to Uncover an Erie Relic

April 22, 2016

Tank base-x

I had seen and photographed the concrete base of what had been a water tank in the Erie Railroad yard in Kent, but that was several years ago.

I had on my “to do” list finding the water tank base and photographing it again. The base sits a little ways off the Portage Hike and Bike trail, which skirts what had been the edge of the Kent yard in the area where the roundhouse had been many decades ago.

The water tank base can’t be seen during much of the year because it is obscured by foliage. Even with all of the leaves off the trees in winter I missed it the first time I went looking for it.

I had forgotten that is is farther off the trail than I remembered. I only caught a glimpse of it and made a mental note to find it again when I had more time.

That moment came this past winter. There was a trail leading back to the water tank base,

Judging by the graffiti on it, this must be a popular place. Maybe at night the ghosts who live in the woods surrounding the tank come out.

As I stood looking at the concrete base I recognized that it has outlived everything it was designed to serve, whether it be the railroad, steam locomotives or the men who used this facility in their work.

In time, the forces of nature will weaken the massive concrete structure and I can envision a future generation of public officials making the decision to haze it razed because it has become a safety hazard.

But that decision is well off in the future. This structure was built to last and survive it has.

For now, the water tank base is among a handful of reminders of what was once an important location for the Erie Railroad.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Not Much of a Winter

March 28, 2016
How about some frosted used railroad ties?

How about some frosted used railroad ties?

Although most people probably are not complaining, I missed the winter of 2016.

I didn’t make a single image of railroad operations during a snowstorm. I was only able to create a handful of images of railroads and the aftermath of a snowfall and those weren’t much. By the time I could get out, most of the snow had melted.

Nonetheless, here is a gallery of some of what I was able to record during weekend walks on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail near Kent.

Presumably, next winter there won’t be an El Nino and there will be more seasonable levels of snow. Of course we’ll all be complaining about it.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Looking west on the former Erie Mainline at Ravenna Road.

Looking west on the former Erie Mainline at Ravenna Road.

There was plenty of snow covering the former Erie Railroad mainline near Lake Rockwell Road even if the snow had melted most everywhere else.

There was plenty of snow covering the former Erie Railroad mainline near Lake Rockwell Road even if the snow had melted most everywhere else.

They are now railroad tracks, but the snow left in these tire tracks resembles a railroad track.

They are now railroad tracks, but the snow left in these tire tracks resembles a railroad track.

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.

ARRC eBulletin Debuts Today

February 22, 2016

February cover-z

The inaugural issue of the Akron Railroad Club eBulletin debuted today. The cover story is a feature story about the Pacific Express and Atlantic Express, which until they ceased carrying passengers in July 1965 were the oldest Erie Railroad train names still operating and primarily mail and express workhorses.

The story is illustrated with photographs made by the late William Surdyk, including the one on the cover that is shown above.

The issue also has railroad news from this month, a preview of the program at the ARRC’s Feb. 26 meeting and a column by ARRC President Craig Sanders about how the club faces the challenge of managing its decline.

The back cover features a photograph made in the early 1980s at Warwick Tower by Robert Farkas.

To subscribe to the eBulletin, send an email message to csanders429@aol.com.

Relics of the Erie

November 7, 2015
Looking eastward toward Brady Lake on the former Erie Railroad near Kent.

Looking eastward toward Brady Lake on the former Erie Railroad near Kent. The Portage Hike and Bike trail is to the left.

I was hiking on the Portage County Hike and Bike trail recently on a nice fall day. The sun was out and the leaves were at their peak color.

A portion of the former Erie Railroad mainline that once ran between Chicago and New York runs parallel to the trail for much of its path between Brady Lake and Kent.

If you know where to look, you can find a few relics of the Erie, although none of are functional any more.

They include a six-side former telephone shanty that was once used to call the dispatcher, the control box of a former yard light tower and a bridge over Breakneck Creek.

The telephone shanty lies on its side off the trail. I’ve seen it before, but on this day I noticed that vegetation is growing over it.

Built of concrete, the shanty was designed to last a long time, but the forces of nature are slowly breaking it down.

The control box for the light tower is in good condition, having been painted a few years ago. But the light tower itself is gone.

The tower was one of three that illuminated the yard and Akron Railroad Club member Bob Rohal said he used to climb those towers to change the light bulbs when he worked for the Erie back in the 1950s.

The bridge over Breakneck Creek is in the same situation as the telephone shanty. It was built to last and is likely to be standing for some time to come. But the wood is rotting and the metal structure rusting away.

Then there is the track itself. From what I’ve observed in photographs, it is the former eastbound main, the westbound main having been removed in the 1970s.

When walking on the trail I try to imagine what it must have looked like when Erie and Erie Lackawanna trains used those rails. Conrail also used it for a time and it was during Conrail ownership that the infrastructure of the ex-Erie was greatly reduced.

Today, the Akron Barberton Cluster Railways uses the tracks, which are owned by Portage County. Service is infrequent and I’ve seldom seen trains on the line while out walking. I’ve never seen one on weekends when I am most likely to be on the trail.

It would be nice to see trains more often on the ex-Erie, but that is not likely to happen. So I rely mostly on my knowledge of railroad history and imagination to “see” what used to be while enjoying what is there now.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The phone to call the dispatcher has been removed. In time, the shanty will succumb to the forces of nature.

The phone to call the dispatcher has been removed. In time, the shanty will succumb to the forces of nature.

No one uses the bridge over Breakneck Creek.

No one uses the bridge over Breakneck Creek.

The light tower is gone, but at least the control box has received a new coat of paint.

The light tower is gone, but at least the control box has received a new coat of paint.

Oh, to see a train come down these rails some day.

Oh, to see a train come down these rails some day.

 

Distinguished Career on the Erie Began Here

September 2, 2015
Peter Bowler stands at the site of the Atlantic passenger station of the Erie Railroad. His grandfather went to work here in the 19th century as a telegraph operator.

Peter Bowler stands at the site of the Atlantic passenger station of the Erie Railroad. His grandfather went to work here in the 19th century as a telegraph operator.

It was getting to be late afternoon and fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I were heading north on Pennsylvania Route 18 after having finished a successful chase of a train on the adjacent Bessemer Subdivision of Canadian National.

Peter was telling a story about how his grandfather got his start in the railroad business as a telegrapher for the Erie Railroad in Atlantic, Pennsylvania.

Ralph H. Wallace

Ralph H. Wallace

Atlantic is a mile east of Route 18 so I decided to drive over there to see it.

The station is long gone and Peter said the last time he was there all that remained of the depot was a concrete pad.

We pulled into town, parked in a driveway just short of the tracks and started walking next to the tracks, which today are owned by Norfolk Southern as far as Meadville, Pennsylvania.

The concrete pad that Peter had seen years before was gone. We reached what we concluded was the station site, which sits at the end of a street that dead ends near the tracks.

There isn’t much to Atlantic, just five streets total.

Peter’s story about how his grandfather began on the Erie in the late 19th century and rose to the position of passenger traffic manager for the railroad intrigued me.

A biography published in a Who’s Who in Railroading of North American noted that Ralph H. Wallace had entered railway service on March 1, 1875.

He would later hold positions as a passenger agent in Geneva, Pennsylvania; Lakewood, New York; Atlantic; and Oil City, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Wallace would be promoted to traveling passenger agent based out of Akron and worked in the Cleveland office before being transferred to New York.

He retired effective Dec. 1, 1927, after serving the Erie for nearly 53 years. He died at 74 on April 5, 1930.

After making a photo of Peter standing near the station where his grandfather had begun his railroad career, we took a swing through town and found the street that led to the station.

There were no street signs but I found out later that it was named Depot Street.

An obituary that I found about Mr. Wallace noted that he had an interest in railroad history and enjoyed sharing it with others.

Oh, the tales he could have told about working in the depot in Atlantic and what used to be here decades ago.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

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

Peaceful Rails In Late Afternoon Sunlight

March 3, 2015

Tracks snow sun 01a

Several years ago Trains magazine asked the question of whether railroad photographs must have a train in them. The magazine then proceeded to publish a page of railroad images without trains.

Apparently it wasn’t something that the publication thought that it needed to do frequently because I don’t recall it ever publishing such a page again.

But then again the title of the magazine is “trains” and not “tracks.”

I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of images made by railfan photographers have a train in them and that the vast majority of those feature the lead locomotive. That describes much of my railroad photographs portfolio, too.

But I like to make it a point, particularly in the winter, to make images of rails sans trains. Shown is the former Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie railroad) at the crossing of Lake Rockwell Road near Kent.

It’s late on Saturday afternoon and these rails are inactive during the weekend. The Akron Barberton Cluster Railway only uses these tracks on weekdays and even then it doesn’t travel over these rails every day.

Today it is sunny with only a few clouds in the sky. But tomorrow will bring another winter storm and more snow. For the moment all is peaceful here and the rails glisten in the late day sunlight.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 84 other followers