Posts Tagged ‘excursion train’

Old Enough to Be Nostalgia

February 22, 2018

Early in its history, the modern Wheeling & Lake Erie held a competition among its employees to design a locomotive livery.

The winner was a bright combination of red and gold that was applied to two GP35s, Nos. 2662 and 2679. W&LE CEO Larry Parsons often referred to them as the “painted ladies.”

Parsons believes that the best color for a locomotive is black so the red and gold look was not widely applied.

No. 2679 has since been rebuilt and repainted in the W&LE’s standard livery, but No. 2662 remains on the active roster in its red and gold appearance.

The two units are shown together in the above images in Akron on May 8, 1994.

They had led an excursion train from Bellevue into town and parked it near Summit Street.

Passengers were taken by bus to Quaker Square for dinner. I remember that it was Mother’s Day.

The two “painted ladies” are shown ready to return to Bellevue. The train was sponsored by the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum and operated under the name Bradley Memorial Limited in honor of a boy who had died far too early.

The fact that No. 2662 is still in service means the image is not yet lost history, even if it is historic.

The images also qualify as nostalgic because the W&LE no longer will agree to host excursion trains such as these.

This would be the only time that I saw the two “painted ladies” paired together on the same train.


Nickel Plate Road 759 at Conneaut

July 17, 2017

Before Nickel Plate Road 765 was restored, there was NKP 759. Here NKP 759 is heading eastbound over the Norfolk & Western (ex-NKP) trestle in Conneaut on Sept. 8, 1968. This was her first excursion after rebuilding in 1968.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

One Summer Day in Kent Not all that Long Ago

January 20, 2016

Trains at Kent July 5, 2003

I have a hard time thinking of something that occurred in the first decade of the 21st century as having been a long time ago.

Yet we are halfway through the second decade of the 21st century and things that occurred nearly 13 years ago can be said to qualify as old, particularly if they show something you don’t see anymore.

And so it is with the image shown above that I made on July 5, 2003, in Kent.

First, let’s make the case that this is not uncommon. Wheeling & Lake Erie No. 200, which is shown sitting with an excursion train on the former Erie Lackawanna (nee Erie) mainline, is still in service. In fact, I photographed it a year ago near New London.

CSX 7697 is still in service, too, and wears the blue, gray and yellow livery it was wearing more than a decade ago.

C40-8W locomotives on CSX hardly are a rare sight. You could hang out any day of the week in Kent and have a good chance of seeing at least one of them.

Yet this image has one thing going for it that relegates it to the realm of the uncommon if not gone for good.

Passenger train rides on the former EL used to be a fixture of the annual Kent Heritage Festival held every year around July 4.

But about five years ago the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway said it would no longer host the trips.

Given the hostility of the Wheeling & Lake Erie, the owner of the ABC, toward public passenger excursions in the past two years, its seems unlikely that there are going to be train rides anytime soon during the Kent Heritage Festival.

This image brings back a lot of fond memories. Earlier in the day, I had ridden this train, which ran a couple miles east toward Ravenna Road.

At the time, I was thinking of joining a group called the Akron Railroad Club. Later that month I attended my first ARRC meeting.

Also, this photo was made on one of my earliest railfan outings in Kent.

It would have been nice had that tree growing along the bank of the Cuyahoga River not been there for its obscures the noses of both locomotives.

At the time, though, I was happy to get an image of a train above and a train below. I have not seen that opportunity come along since then.

So this image brings back many pleasant memories. Isn’t that one of reasons why we make photographs?

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders