Posts Tagged ‘Erie Railroad’

Excursion to Cover Ex-Erie Branch Line

November 4, 2016

The Buffalo, Cattaraugus & Jamestown Scenic Railroad is offering rare mileage excursions on Nov. 12 and 12 over a former Erie Railroad/Erie-Lackawanna branch line in New York state.

EL LogoThe four-hour excursions will depart from Hamburg and travel to South Buffalo, using an Alco locomotive operated by the Buffalo Southern Railroad.

Passenger equipment will be two 1930s-era passenger cars and an open-air car.

The ex-Erie line being traveled was once a branch that handled traffic out of Buffalo to the Chicago-New York mainline via Jamestown, New York.

Scheduled passenger service last ran on the branch in 1955, being provided by a diesel-electric doodlebug in 1955.

Although the line is mostly intact, it is out of service where it connects with the ex-Erie mainline that is now operated by the Western New York & Pennsylvania.

Railroading as it Once Was: Still Chasing Fate

October 19, 2016

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In light that October 17 was the day the Erie Lackawanna was created in 1960, I’ll repost this “Roger’s Reflections” piece.

The Erie Lackawanna Railroad was (and remains) very instrumental in how I got into this hobby back in the early 70s.

Friendly crews and an attractive company image drew me to that railroad right from the first time I started hanging out where the railroads passed through my home town of Akron, Ohio.

Sure, there were other railroads in town, several of which passed right next to the EL lines.

Yes, they were trains and were interesting in their own right. It was the EL that grabbed my attention the most.

With fast mainline trains, frequent cab rides in the yard, and railroaders who took the time to explain the workings of their job to a young fan it’s no wonder I got hooked on the EL.

I would also come to learn that the EL was struggling just to continue operating. A smaller underdog surrounded by larger carriers, the EL kept rolling mostly through the sheer will of its people.

The beginning of the end came in 1976 when the EL was merged into Conrail and ceased to exist as an operating carrier, its motive power and people scattered to the four winds.

In a few short years the tracks through town that once held my undivided attention fell quiet, the sound of steel wheels replaced by the sound of growing weeds. The railroad was gone.

While the EL may be long gone its presence  — its spirit if you will – is often in my thoughts to this day.

It was something that was in my life but then gone all too quick, new found friends and pretty locomotives all disappearing in the blink of times eye. Hard lessons learned at an early age.

Yes, seasons change, and as fall approaches I like to remember how the colors of the EL seemed to fit the fall season just perfectly.

It’s the time of year I miss the EL the most. I paraphrased a song by David Arkenstone called “Slip Away” as a caption to the below above that I’ve titled Missing Diamonds.

The seasons change
and age our temporary souls
I was chasing fate
along its winding road

Your flame burned bright but passed into smoke
And those trains
that passed through my life
now roll down rails of gold

I close my eyes
and drift into a shining memory
but I can’t see your trains
as those rails fade into dreams

Yes, the seasons change . . . and age our temporary souls
And I’m still chasing fate along its winding road.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Restoration Completed on Erie S-2 in Meadville

October 8, 2016
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The former Erie Alco S-2 switcher as it appeared last July before completion of its lettering.

Cosmetic restoration of a former Erie Railroad Alco S-2 switcher has been completed by the French Creek Valley Railroad Historical Society in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

The project got underway in 2007 and was completed with society members finishing the lettering of No. 518 in late September.

The locomotive came to the society from the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Railroad.

Built for the Erie in October 1948, No. 518 served on the Erie Lackawanna and for Cleveland Electric Illuminating before ending up at AC&J.

It is now displayed in Pomona Park in Meadville along with a 1908 wooden Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad boxcar and an Erie Lackawanna bay window caboose, No. C356.

The boxcar is on loan from the collection of the Lake Shore Railway Historical Society while the caboose and the caboose belongs to the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society.

Colorful NS Motive Power Duo

September 15, 2016

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It wasn’t an all heritage locomotives consist, but Norfolk Southern train 64T had an unusual motive power consist when it passed through Northeast Ohio during the morning hours of Monday, Sept. 12.

Leading the train was the Erie Railroad heritage locomotive while the tailing unit was the DC to AC conversion No. 4000.

The same duo had led the train or tank cars westbound through the region last Saturday, but that was during early morning hours and NS 4000 had been leading.

Reports on HeritageUnits.com indicated that on Monday the 64T was reported at Alliance at 11:06 a.m.

No reports were made for the time that train passed through Cleveland.

Rich Thompson was able to get to Hines Hill Road near Macedonia to capture the 64T as it made its way east on the NS Cleveland Line.

Photographs by Richard Thompson

Chasing Erie Ghosts, Alcos in Meadville

August 10, 2016
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This Alco S2 was an unexpected find during our time in Meadville. It is within sight of the former Erie mainline.

A while back after the conclusion of a chase of a train on the former Bessemer & Lake Erie, my friend Adam and I drove over to Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Our intent was to find Alco locomotives on the Western New York & Pennsylvania, which we did, but I also found myself chasing ghosts of the Erie Railroad.

Meadville was a big Erie town and some passenger trains would set out and drop off cars here, including sleepers, lounges and diners. This practice continued into the Erie Lackawanna era.

The Erie also had a major yard in Meadville, which is used today by the WNY&P. The yard is not hard to find and neither were the Alcos.

We were there on a Saturday of a long holiday weekend, so the Alcos were probably spending the weekend waiting until being recalled for service on Tuesday.

There didn’t seem to be any activity in the WNY&P yard. We got our photos and left.

I then spotted what turned out to be a museum display devoted to the Erie and EL.

The display is maintained by the French Creek Valley Railroad Historical Society and features an Alco S2, a caboose in EL markings and a boxcar, among other artifacts.

The S2 was in the process of being restored to its Erie livery and it turned out that it used to be owned by the Cleveland Illuminating Company and also spent time on the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson.

I may have seen No. 518 reposing on the AC&Y and maybe photographed it when it was still in its CEI markings.

So, it turned out, we found more Alcos than we expected in Meadville.

We then turned our attention to our other reason for venturing to Meadville, which was to check out the Voodoo Brewery and Brew Pub, which was quite good.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Keeping alive the heritage of the Erie Lackawanna in Meadville.

Keeping alive the heritage of the Erie Lackawanna in Meadville.

The Erie diamond etched in concrete was saved from the coaling tower in Meadville when it was being razed.

The Erie diamond etched in concrete was saved from the coaling tower in Meadville when it was being razed.

The former Erie mainline in Meadville just east of the yard is now operated by the WNY&P.

The former Erie mainline in Meadville just east of the yard is now operated by the WNY&P.

Looking eastward on the former Erie mainline at Osgood, Pennsylvania. Norfolk Southern owns the tracks here.

Looking eastward on the former Erie mainline at Osgood, Pennsylvania. Norfolk Southern owns the tracks here.

WNY&P No. 427, an Alco C425, was sitting idle at the east end of the former Erie yard in Meadville.

WNY&P No. 427, an Alco C425, was sitting idle at the east end of the former Erie yard in Meadville.

WNY&P C424 No. 435 was one of the Alcos that we came looking for in Meadville.

WNY&P C424 No. 435 was one of the Alcos that we came looking for in Meadville.

 

A Favorite Trip on the Ex-Erie

August 3, 2016

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One of my favorite day trips in my neck of the woods here in New Jersey is a ride on the former Erie up to Port Jervis, New York, a 94-mile ride from Hoboken.

The ride has two scenic highlights, Moodna Viaduct and Otisville Tunnel. Moodna Viaduct crosses Moodna Creek and is 3,200 feet in length and stands 193 feet high above the creek.

The trestle, the longest east of the Mississippi, was built in 1909 when the Graham Line was constructed to bypass severe grades, tight curves and many grade crossings.

The downside is that the Graham Line, which runs from Harriman, New York, to Howells, New York, adds 7 miles to the trip between Harriman and Howells.

Otisville Tunnel, 5,314 feet long and opened in 1908, was the only tunnel on the Erie between the main yard in Croxton (Secaucus, New Jersey) and Chicago.

The attached photos show the view from the train as it crosses Moodna Viaduct as well as a shot of the bridge itself.

Needless to say the view is spectacular on a sunny fall day. It is interesting to note that this view was never available to Erie or EL passengers back in the day, as passenger trains used the main line through the New York cities of Goshen, Monroe, Chester and Middletown.

In 1983 as Conrail was trimming excess trackage, it decided to abandon the old main line and transfer everything to the Graham Line.

Although the Graham Line had easy grades, gradual curves and no grade crossings, it also bypasses all inhabited areas.

That is not a problem today, however, since most everyone has automobiles and can drive to reach a train station.

Three new passenger stations were built on the Graham Line at Salisbury Mills, Campbell Hall, and the edge of Middletown.

The lots at these stations, ranging from 300 to almost 1,000 cars, are almost filled every weekday.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

The Evolution of Service on an Ex-Erie Line

July 30, 2016

EL 1234 at Radburn 1975

EL Switcher At Radburn 1975

EL Switcher At Radburn 1975

Conrail 5977 at Radburn 1977

Conrail 6152 at Radburn 1977

NJT 4014 at Radburn 2015

NS 5612 at Radburn 2015

With your current theme of then and now, I thought you might like to see action through Fair Lawn, New Jersey, over the years.

All pictures are at Radburn Station and were made between 1975 and 2015. The first three images are from 1975, the next two are from 1977 and the final two are from 2015.

Times have changed here, too. The local freight that serves the Fair Lawn Industrial Park no longer serves Kodak, of which no trace remains.

The only customer still served by rail in the industrial park is Nabisco. At the other end of town is Zerega and Sons pasta factory.

These two industries are the only freight customers left in Fair Lawn.

The tracks, the former Erie Railroad/Erie Lackawanna Bergen County Line, are now owned by New Jersey Transit and freight service is provided by Norfolk Southern.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Trail Built on Erie ROW Wins Award

June 6, 2016

A trail built on the right of way of the former Erie Railroad has been recognized by the Greater Cleveland Trails and Greenways Conference.

The Freedom Trail of the Summit Metro Parks was named a gold medal winner by the Conference and was one of two Northeast Ohio trails rated among the best.

The first 4 miles of the trail opened between Southeast Avenue in Tallmadge and Middlebury Road in Kent and cost $1.1 million to develop.

One track of the former Erie is parallel to the trail because it has been railbanked.

Another 2-mile section has since been opened between Tallmadge and Eastwood Avenue in Akron. That segment cost $750,000 to develop.

Plans are to extend the trail another 2 miles to the University of Akron campus and eventually link the trail with the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath trail on the southern edge of downtown Akron.

Another gold medal winning trail was Barberton’s Magic Mile trail, which runs for a mile from downtown Barberton to Lake Anna.

The two gold medal winners were chosen from 36 nominated trail and greenway projects in Cuyahoga, Summit, Medina, Loran, Geauga, Tuscarawas and Trumbull counties. There were five silver medal winners named.

Erie/EL Stations of the East: 3 in New York

June 3, 2016

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Erie Middletown Built 1896

Last in a Series

Our tour of Erie Railroad stations concludes with three stations in New York state.

The Tuxedo depot (top photograph) was built in 1882.

Although Middletown Station (middle photograph) is in its original location, the adjacent Erie mainline was ripped out by Conrail in the early 1980s. It was built in 1896 and is now used as the Middletown Library. Adjacent to the old Erie mainline right of way, the tracks were removed by Conrail in 1983.

Finally, there is Port Jervis station (bottom photograph), which was built in 1896 and served as home to the Delaware Division headquarters.

This station is now under private ownership and contains offices and retail. It is no longer in use by the railroad.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Erie/EL Stations of the East: Ridgewood, Mahwah

June 2, 2016

Erie Ridgewood Built 1918

Mahwah Station Built 1871

Part 4 of a Series

Today we look at two more stations along the former Erie Railroad New York Division in New Jersey.

The station at Ridgewood (top photo) was built in 1918 and features a unique mission style architecture, that was ruined (in my opinion) several years ago by the addition of high-level ADA platforms.

This was the suburban stop for most Erie long-distance trains. Although it had eastbound and westbound waiting rooms, only the eastbound building is used today by New Jersey Transit.

The Mahwah station was built in 1871 but retired by the Erie in 1904 due to right of way expansion.

The building was moved in 1904 to a dairy farm for use as warehouse. After the dairy farm closed, the station was moved again to this location where it is now an Erie Railroad Museum. Although the station is more than 145 years old, it only served the railroad for 33 years.

For more info visit:   http://mahwahmuseum.org/new-exhibit-at-the-old-station-museum-and-caboose/

Article and photographs by Jack Norris