Posts Tagged ‘Erie Railroad’

Do You Know Your Erie Railroad Rulebook?

April 23, 2018

Have you ever seen a rules test? This test from the Erie Railroad, dated 1930, was given to new firemen and trainmen who were on the job for six months.

This exam is 38 pages and contains 324 questions, covering train operations, signal aspects, whistle signals, etc. Tests like this are still given by railroads today.

I couldn’t resist acquiring this interesting piece of railroading. I do have an Erie rule book from this same period that I have skimmed through over the years.

I took this test and had no problem answering over half of the questions. I have to review to get the others. Oh well, looks like summer school for me.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

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Meanwhile, Back in New Jersey

April 10, 2018

I hope Dave McKay Day went well. I was in Waldwick, New Jersey, on that day, getting the Erie Waldwick Tower and Waldwick Erie Station museums ready to open for the season. Since the famous Erie landmark Waldwick “S” Curve (also known as Collin’s Curve) is right there I decided to take a couple shots. It may be only three tracks now and the only varnish it sees are NJ Transit commuter trains, but it still looks good and is still as photogenic as ever. Also included is a shot of Chesapeake & Ohio 614 when it traveled the ex-Erie back in 1996.

Photographs by Jack Norris

Simulating the Work of a Tower Operator

January 31, 2018

Being a volunteer at the former Erie Railroad WC Interlocking Tower Museum in Waldwick, New Jersey, I have keys to the place and can access it whenever I want.

I had a day off so I decided to spend a Monday morning rush hour seeing it from the tower operator’s point of view.

Between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. there were 30 scheduled movements, plus deadheads and a local Norfolk Southern freight for good measure.

These trains either passed through the interlocking on the mainline or were originating/terminating in Waldwick Yard.

Each time I watched the computer-controlled interlocking set up for each train, all I could think of was the poor operator setting up the interlocking for up to 10 trains per hour.

Even though WC interlocking was electrified early, the operator still had to throw the switches and signals individually.

When you experience the conditions first hand it makes you appreciate the workers of the past. Here is some of the variety from this morning, including New Jersey Transit runs push-pull trains with a cab car on the south end.

They are suffering from a cab car shortage right now, the result being that some trains are being led by a locomotive on the south end, making for some rare photo ops.

Being a volunteer at the former Erie Railroad WC Interlocking Tower Museum in Waldwick, New Jersey, I have keys to the place and can access it whenever I want.

I had a day off so I decided to spend a Monday morning rush hour seeing it from the tower operator’s point of view.

Between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. there were 30 scheduled movements, plus deadheads and a local Norfolk Southern freight for good measure.

These trains either passed through the interlocking on the mainline or were originating/terminating in Waldwick Yard.

Each time I watched the computer-controlled interlocking set up for each train, all I could think of was the poor operator setting up the interlocking for up to 10 trains per hour.

Even though WC interlocking was electrified early, the operator still had to throw the switches and signals individually.

When you experience the conditions first hand it makes you appreciate the workers of the past. Here is some of the variety from this morning, including New Jersey Transit runs push-pull trains with a cab car on the south end.

They are suffering from a cab car shortage right now, the result being that some trains are being led by a locomotive on the south end, making for some rare photo ops.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

 

Life After Conrail

January 25, 2018

It was interesting to see Conrail 4022 (a.k.a. Erie 833) pulling an Amtrak train in the January Akron Railroad Club eBulletin. As I have shared with you, Erie 833 survives in a happy retirement in Port Jervis, New York, usually displayed on the former Erie Turntable.

Photograph by Jack Norris

Straight Down the Tracks

December 14, 2017

The advance signals on the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern for the location west of Vermilion where the connecting track to the Chicago Line diverges.

There is a group on Flickr titled Tracks Without Trains. I’ve posted there a few times because I like to make photographs of empty tracks.

I like the look of rails going off into infinity, which seems to invite you to travel.

Sure, I’d prefer to be photographing a train here instead, but sometimes the rails are all you get.

The first two images below were made of the former Erie Railroad mainline between Kent and Brady Lake. The piece of track was lying on the former right of way of the Akron, Canton & Youngstown west of New London. The bottom image is the Cleveland District of Norfolk Southern west of Vermilion.

 

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

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.

3 From the 1960s

November 14, 2017

Here are three local photos that show long-gone pieces of Northeast Ohio history from December 1966 and January 1967.

In the top images are boxcars on the now-removed Pennsylvania Railroad line to Orrville crossing the southbound Baltimore & Ohio tracks at Warwick.

Looking down the string of boxcars, the main road is there, but the railroad crossing cross bucks and the side road aren’t. Also, there is a bridge under Ohio Route 21 in this photo. How quickly the past is removed.

In the middle is Akron, Canton & Youngstown X991 big hook in Akron.

The bottom image shows Erie No. 21576 at the north end of the A&BB yard that served Columbia Chemical and PPG.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

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.

Reflections on a Reflection

October 28, 2017

Many of my favorite photographs have been created by happenstance. Such was the case with this image of a reflection of the former Erie Railroad passenger station in Kent in a pool of the decorative dam on the Cuyahoga River.

The story behind this image begins with a walk down to the observation platform that can be seen toward the right middle of the image.

My intent was to get a close-up view of the late day sun hitting the station, which is now an Italian restaurant named Treno, which is Italian for train.

The dam used to be functional, but several years ago the river was channeled away from it and into the remnants of the Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal. What had been the river became dry land that was transformed into a park while the dam was renovated to become, in essence, a giant water fountain.

The top of the dam is quite high, about at the level of my eyes. I happened to notice the station reflecting in the pool at the top of the dam and thought it would make a nice photograph.

I made it but all you could see was the reflection in the water. I then lifted my camera above my head and held it over the railing in the foreground.

A Canon 60D has a foldout screen that can be angled up or down. That came in handy in being able to see what the lens was seeing. I then used the live view feature of the camera to make the image.

The result was, perhaps, my best image of the day. What appears to be a reflection from a flash toward the right end of the station is actually the sun reflecting off a window.