Posts Tagged ‘Erie Railroad’

Erie/EL Stations of the East: Lackawanna Terminal

May 30, 2016

DL&W Hoboken Terminal Built 1907

First of a Series

New Jersey is big on preservation and many communities have preserved and/or restored their train stations.

Except for Mahwah, Waldwick, Middletown and Port Jervis, all of these stations still provide their waiting rooms for daily commuters using New Jersey Transit trains.

Only Mahwah does not sit in its original spot. It is now located about 200 feet from the tracks it once served.

In this first of a five-part series, Jack Norris takes us on a tour of Erie Railroad and Erie Lackawanna passenger stations in New Jersey and New York on the former New York Division.

We begin with the Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken, New Jersey. This became the terminal for all EL passenger trains after the October 1960 merger of the Erie and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

Lackawanna Terminal opened in 1907. The exterior is copper and the waiting room ceiling was made by Tiffany (yes, THE Tiffany).

The original clock tower was removed in the early 1950s due to it being unstable. The clock tower you see is a recreation that New Jersey Transit installed in 2008.

During Superstorm Sandy, 5 feet of sea water and mud filled this waiting room. That is about a foot or so above the ticket window counters.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Hoboken Terminal Entrance

Hoboken Ticket Windows

HobokenTiffany Ceiling

Erie 833, C&O 614 Out East

May 25, 2016

 

Erie 833 (3)

After hearing from Jack Norris last week about AC Tower in Waldwick, New Jersey, I sent him an email saying that the Akron Railroad Club would love to make a trip out to New Jersey to see the restored tower if we could ride the Lake Cities of the Erie Lackawanna. But the Lake Cities didn’t stop in Waldwick in the late 1960s and much of the ex-Erie is out of service in Ohio east of Ravenna. He responded to say how we could have gotten to Waldwick back in 1969.

After the Erie Lackawanna merger, all mainline trains went on the Lackawanna side via Scranton, Pennsylvania.

You could take a connecting train on the Erie side via Port Jervis and Binghamton, New York, and switch to the mainline train at Binghamton for the remainder of the trip to your area.

The connecting service stopped at Ridgewood, New Jersey, which is about two miles from Waldwick.

Today, one can ride the Lackawanna side to Hackettstown, New Jersey, and ride the Erie side as far as Port Jervis, New York.

Port Jervis is home to Erie 833 and in the late ‘90s was the destination of Chesapeake & Ohio 614.

[Former ARRC President] Dave McKay stayed with me and we rode a 614 trip. Here is a recent picture (eight months ago) of Erie 833 on the operational Port Jervis 115-foot turntable as well as some 614 pictures.

Alas, the old coaling towers were torn down in the early 2000s.

Article and Photographs From Jack Norris

C&O 614 (5)

C&O 614 (7)

C&O 614(2)

 

Keeping Erie, EL Alive on New York Division

May 20, 2016
The restored WB Tower in Waldwick, New Jersey.

The restored WB Tower in Waldwick, New Jersey.

Akron Railroad Club blog reader Jack Norris wrote from his home in New Jersey that because many of us here in Ohio are interested in the history of the Erie and Erie Lackawanna railroads that we might be interested in some news from the old New York Division.

In Waldwick, New Jersey (milepost 23.2) on four-track old Erie Mainline is the home of the famous Waldwick “S” curve (a.k.a. Collin’s Curve) and sits WC Tower.

The Victorian style wooden tower controlled the interlocking as well as the entrance to Waldwick Yard, a layover yard for intermediate distance commuter trains.

The tower was manned until 1986 when New Jersey Transit closed it. The tower then languished for several years and was in danger of being torn down.

The community of Waldwick wanted to save their tower as well as the matching Victorian station.

The restoration process was successful and both structures are now property of the Waldwick Historical Society.

WC Tower has been restored and is open infrequently for guests to visit. The building has displays on both the lower level and the operator’s level.

Although the interlocking machine and model board are not in the building at the present time, both still exist and may, in fact, be reinstalled one day, depending on public interest and funding. The Waldwick Station will open this Sunday (May 22, 2016) as a town history museum.

By the way, if you know where to look you can still find seven EL manhole covers still doing their intended job even though their railroad is long gone.

I am sending along some photographs of WC Tower and the restored station.

About 100 commuter trains a day pass through Waldwick on a weekday as well as a couple local freights. One road freight passes through nocturnally five nights a week. I am also attaching the websites for both structures.

For more information, visit

http://allaboardwaldwick.org/

and https://www.facebook.com/WaldwickCommunityAlliance/

The Erie station in Waldwick before its restoration.

The Erie station in Waldwick before its restoration.

The restored Erie Railroad passenger station in Walkwick, New Jersey, as seen in December 2014.

The restored Erie Railroad passenger station in Waldwick, New Jersey, as seen in December 2014.

An Erie Lackawanna manhole cover.

An Erie Lackawanna manhole cover.

The next three photographs show the various exhibits of Erie and EL artifacts.

The next three photographs show the various exhibits of Erie and EL artifacts.

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New Jersey Transit has an extensive network of commuter rail routes in its namesake state.

New Jersey Transit has an extensive network of commuter rail routes in its namesake state.

The current NJT locomotive livery.

The current NJT locomotive livery.

NJT trains come with a variety of motive power.

NJT trains come with a variety of motive power.

A Metro North commuter train.

A Metro North locomotive pulls a commuter train.

WC Tower before its restoration.

WC Tower before its restoration.

Another view of WC Tower.

Another view of WC Tower.

Neglected Reminder of the Erie Railroad

May 17, 2016
Looking down the tracks where rails used to be on an old Erie Railroad bridge near Kent.

Looking down the tracks where rails used to be on an old Erie Railroad bridge near Kent.

The view of the old Erie Railroad bridge over Breakneck Creek as seen from the Portage Hike and Bike trail.

The view of the old Erie Railroad bridge over Breakneck Creek as seen from the Portage Hike and Bike trail.

When a railroad line is abandoned, the railroad and/or salvage company generally removes anything that might be of value.

Most notably, it pulls up the rails, ties and ballast. In many cases, though, bridges are left in place because they cannot be easily removed, particularly if a bridge is quite large.

Along the Portage Hike and Bike trail is one such example. The bridge shown above probably carried a set of lead tracks into the yard in Kent over Breakneck Creek.

It is located adjacent to what used to be the westbound main and judging by it looks of it it has not been used in several decades.

The Erie Lackawanna greatly diminished operations in the Kent yard well before the EL became part of Conrail in 1976. In fact, the Kent yard was rationalized quite a bit in the middle 1960s as the financially strapped EL cut back on yard operations in a bid to save money.

It’s doubtful that EL executives at company headquarters in Cleveland concerned themselves with the fate of a bridge over a creek. The decision to leave this bridge in place was made much lower down the chain of command.

Boards have been placed at both ends of the bridge to keep trespassers off, but the barriers are not substantial enough to deter someone determined to walk out onto the bridge.

I would imagine that has been done before and maybe some people still do it. Myself, I would not want to find out how sturdy this bridge still is. The metal supports are probably strong, but the wood boards show signs of advanced deterioration.

It was enough for me to observe this bridge from a safe distance while wondering what tales this structure could tell about about times past.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

An Akron Railroad Scene Imagined in Layers

May 11, 2016

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It is May 1974 in Akron and this is looking west across the Erie Lackawanna yard. Imagine this is in layers.

First there is a Pennsylvania Railroad gondola on the now-removed Penn Central track nearest the viewer.

Then come the hidden two-track Chessie System mainline (now CSX) and the hidden and now-removed two track EL mainline.

To the left is the EL yard office. Behind it are yard tracks. There is an EL transfer caboose on one. Behind it is Erie Railroad 520, and behind that is Sperry 125.

If you look closely behind Sperry 125, you can see the track leading to the bakery and the EL-served bakery.

Today only the two CSX tracks and Sperry 125 survive.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Pair of Good Catches in Lake County

May 5, 2016

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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

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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.


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