Posts Tagged ‘indigo lake’

Cruising at Indigo Lake

March 19, 2021

This is the somewhat classic photograph of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad at Indigo Lake. CVSR FPA-4 No. 6771 is just ahead of the Saint Lucie Sound on Sept. 13, 2014. Depending on the lighting conditions and how calm the water is, you can sometimes get a mirror-like reflection.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Tying Back to Where it Began

October 9, 2019

A tram has just delivered passengers to the Indigo Lake station of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad after a visit to Hale Farm and Village in August 2019. In the railroad’s early years you rode an old school bus from Bath Road.

I was reading an article in the Akron Beacon Journal online about recent changes on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad when I found toward the end an interesting and poignant observation from one of its founders.

Siegfried Buerling was the director of Hale Farm and Village in the early 1970s when the CVSR, initially called the Cuyahoga Valley Line, was created.

Buerling was among a small group that sought to start an excursion train on a Baltimore & Ohio branch line that ran between Cleveland and Akron through the Cuyahoga Valley.

It took about a decade, but they saw their idea come to fruition in June 1975 when the first CVL trip run left Cleveland behind former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 light Mikado No. 4070.

Buerling mused in an interview with the ABJ that everyone said getting the excursion service out of the station couldn’t be done.

“There were very tough years in the early days,” he said. “Everyone thought I was crazy.”

He’s right about that. During the first five years of the CVL fares covered only half of the operating expenses. Grants and donations made up the difference.

The 1980 season was almost canceled. It was saved when the City of Akron, the developer of Quaker Square and some other local governments in Summit and Cuyahoga counties agreed to contribute funding.

There were the lost years of 1886 and 1987 when no trains ran because CSX had abandoned most of the track used by the CVL.

In stepped the National Park Service to buy the track. Federal funding would play a key role in the development of the CVSR but would also lead to the transformation of the railroad’s basic purpose.

The ABJ article observed that in its early years the CVL offered a simple ride through the countryside with a side trip to Hale Farm.

The CVL had been created to transport passengers from Cleveland to Hale Farm. Then it began allowing passengers to stay onboard to Akron where the steam locomotive was turned.

It wasn’t long after that before buses began meeting the train to take passengers to Quaker Square and other Akron cultural attractions.

But once the Park Service began to develop the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, renamed Cuyahoga Valley National Park in 2000, the role of the CVSR changed to serving the park.

Foundations, corporate gifts and multiple revenue streams now ensure the financial viability of the railroad.

The CVSR is in the midst of a $5 million capital campaign that has raised money to expand the fleet, which includes three dome cars and two observation cars.

Operating nearly year-round, the CVSR offers a wide range of theme trains in a wide of fares.

For $115 per person you can ride in the dome section and enjoy a gourmet meal.

For $15 you can ride in a coach seat the length of the 25-mile line and back with a stopover in Peninsula if you’d like.

For $5 you and your bicycle can travel one way within the park. And there are programs designed to appeal to families and children, and others tied to particular seasons. You can even sample wine and beer.

It seems unlikely that these services were on the minds of those who created the CVL in the middle 1970s. Keep in mind the park itself was created at the same time as the CVL so it has developed on a parallel track with the railroad.

I thought about these things the last time I was trackside on the CVSR at Indigo Lake waiting for the National Park Scenic to arrive.

Up came a tram with a handful of passengers who had been to Hale Farm and were returning to catch the train.

Taking the train to Hale Farm is just one of many experiences the CVSR offers whereas it was once the reason for the train to operate.

As I watched the Scenic arrive in the station, my mind wandered back to that ABJ article and another comment made by Buerling.

“I never envisioned we would be doing something like this,” Buerling said. “This is a dream come true.”

It probably was inevitable that the CVL would morph into something that at times resembles corporate entertainment designed to squeeze every dollar possible from its assets.

A simple ride through the countryside would at some point no longer be enough to keep people coming back.

Yet if a simple ride is all you’re seeking you can still find it on the CVSR.

Warm Memories of NKP 767 in the Valley

January 28, 2017

Nickel Plate Road No. 765, operating as No. 767, approaches Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Nickel Plate Road No. 765, operating as No. 767, approaches Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday, Sept. 24.

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Reflecting on past steam trips in the Valley at Indigo Lake.

I waited for quite a while to get the NKP 767 crossing the Cuyahoga River north of Peninsula.

I waited for quite a while to get the NKP 767 crossing the Cuyahoga River north of Peninsula.

Now that winter is here and the warm days of summer and early autumn in 2016 are just another memory, how about some warm memories to take the chill out of the air?

Here are three images of Nickel Plate Road 767 — which is actually NKP 765 — when it was running on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad last September.

All were among my favorite images of the NKP 767 in action, but for various reasons they didn’t make the cut when it came time to post those photographs.

But I kept them with the idea of posting them during the winter. Perhaps NKP 765 willl return to the CVSR in 2017, but that remains to be seen. If it does come back as NKP 767?

Even if it doesn’t, we’ll always have our memories and photographs of when it was the 767.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Another Round of CVSR With Autumn Foliage

November 5, 2016

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad meets the Cuyahoga River north of Boston Mill along Riverview Road.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad meets the Cuyahoga River north of Boston Mill along Riverview Road.

I spent the afternoon before the October Akron Railroad Club meeting in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

I had gone down there to see if the fall foliage had reached its peak around Peninsula. It had not.

So I went to Howe Meadow to intercept the northbound National Park Scenic of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The color here was nice, yet not as intense as it has been in past years. Maybe it is just an off year for autumn leaves.

I had plenty of time to get up to the Columbia Run Picnic Area, park and walk along Riverview Road to the opening where a bend in the Cuyahoga River almost touches the tracks.

I had photographed at that location the previous Sunday when RS18u No. 1822 was on the south end of the Scenic.

But on Friday the 1822 had been replaced by FPA-4 Nos. 800 and 6771. It was the first time I’d seen a double-headed set of locomotives on the Scenic since late autumn 2015.

There figured to be enough light left to catch the last southbound trip of the Scenic to Akron but I had time to kill.

I checked out the ledges overlook, which was even more spectacular than I had thought it might be. And it was easy to reach.

My last photo op with the CVSR was at Indigo Lake. I stood up on small hill on the west side of the tracks to get the train against the background of fall foliage on the east side of the rails.

All in all it was a good afternoon of autumn photography.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

At the far northeast corner of Howe Meadow. I photographed this same locomotive in this last location in 2015, although from a slightly different angle.

At the far northeast corner of Howe Meadow. I photographed this same locomotive in this last location in 2015, although from a slightly different angle.

The curve coming into Indigo Lake is a nice place to photograph in the fall.

The curve coming into Indigo Lake is a nice place to photograph in the fall.

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Coming into the station at Indigo Lake.

An Alco doing what an Alco does when it accelerates. It makes a dense cloud of black smoke.

An Alco doing what an Alco does when it accelerates. It makes a dense cloud of black smoke.

The Scenic is just about to stop for the station at Indigo Lake, which is out of view to the left.

The Scenic is just about to stop for the station at Indigo Lake, which is out of view to the left.

Horizon Rail GP 10 No. 8420 looks good amid a backdrop of fall foliage and a reflection from the late day sun.

Horizon Rail GP 10 No. 8420 looks good amid a backdrop of fall foliage and a reflection from the late day sun.

Labor Day Wanderings: Part 1

September 6, 2016

Most of my railfanning moves on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend were done in pursuit of NS 80xx, the Southern heritage locomotive, which I've seen just once before.

Most of my railfanning moves on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend were done in pursuit of NS 80xx, the Southern heritage locomotive, which I’ve seen just once before.

Many guys take advantage of the Labor Day weekend to make an out of town railfanning trip. I got out of town during the holiday weekend, but not for an overnight adventure. I spent two days railfanning in my “backyard.”

The plan for Saturday was to pick up my friend Adam and head to Alliance. He needed to be back by 3 p.m. to take care of child care duties and after than I would head down to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for the final day of operation of the Saturday-only bike train.

Adam and I had talked on Friday about going over to southwest Pennsylvania to find DC to AC conversion unit No. 4000, which on Friday morning had been reported on HeritageUnits.com as being in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

But by early Saturday there had been no updates on the 4000 and traveling to Pennsylvania seemed risky because the 4000 might have moved on in the middle of the night and no one had seen it.

There was a report on HU about the Southern heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern heading west on the point of train 740. Another report said the Erie H unit was in the motive power consist of an eastbound 64T going through Lima.

They would both pass through Alliance so that was the place to be. We were going around Ravenna on Ohio Route 14 when Adam’s phone dinged with an update from HU reporting that the Southern H unit had just passed through Alliance. Now what?

I’ve seen NS 8099 just once and Adam thinks it is one of the more attractive NS heritage units. It had been out of service for several weeks due to mechanical issues.

I turned south on Ohio Route 44 and headed for Interstate 76. The new plan was go to Massillon to catch the 740 and the 34T and 740 at Mace from Cherry Road NW bridge.

I had shot the Pennsylvania Railroad heritage unit from this bridge on the day of the Akron Railroad Club picnic this past July.

We made good time cruising westward and managed to avoid delays in the construction zones in Akron.

Adam had just gotten his phone during the past week and no sooner had that happened, but the manufacturer issued a recall because of the danger of the phone catching fire.

That led to a lot of joking about how Adam’s phone would blow up in his hand, the flash of light would momentarily blind me and I’d crash into something. And we would miss the heritage units.

Few of that model phone have actually caught fire and those that did did so while the owner was recharging the battery. So long as Adam didn’t try to charge the battery we were safe.

An online report indicated that the 64T was following NS train 170, which had gone into emergency west of Orrville.

The Fort Wayne Line is single track between Mace and Orrville and we played guessing games as to whether the 740 would meet the 170 at Orrville or at Mace.

We also learned that the NS 4000 was in Conway and planned to lead a coal train west on the Fort Wayne line. That looked to be an afternoon move. The New York Central heritage unit was leading a train eastward on the Sandusky District. So, the day was filled with colorful possibilities.

The 170 was going through Mace when we arrived and all I could manage was an image of the rear of the train passing the PRR position light signals.

Railfan Matt Arnold arrived not long after we did. I’d never met Matt before Saturday, but had long admired his photographic work of the Wheeling & Lake Erie. He is a talented young photographer who often railfans with his Dad.

Matt said the 740 was moving slowly, which suggested the 64T would go through Mace first.

That plan was confirmed when an R.J. Corman northbound unexpectedly showed up and keyed up the Pittsburgh West dispatcher.

To our surprise, the dispatcher said the Corman train would go through Mace south to north immediately after the 64T passed through.

The Erie H unit was second of two units, trailing a Union Pacific locomotive. The R.J. Corman train had two units.

I’ve photographed Ohio Central trains a number of times on the former Baltimore & Ohio line in Massillon at Mace, but gotten the Corman there just once while chasing an OC train during the ARRC picnic at Warwick Park.

After the Corman train cleared Mace, the westbound signal for Track 2 went to clear, which is only the second time I’ve seen that indication at that signal.

Although I’ve been to Mace several times over the years, I’ve rarely seen an NS train there. I was never there during the Conrail era.

The Pittsburgh West dispatcher called the 740 crew and said he was ready for them at Mace.

It took awhile but the 740 came into view with NS 8099 on the lead. The lighting was not favorable for a westbound coming into Mace, but I did what I could with what I had to work with.

After getting the train coming image, I dashed across the road and got a side shot and a couple of going away views.

We still had some time before I had to take Adam home. It was at this point that things started falling apart.

Matt had received a phone call from a contact saying the Corman train was going to drop its cars and go to Wooster.

But I neglected to ask him where the cars were going to be dropped. I presumed it would be in Massillon, but it might have been Warwick.

I decided to chase the 740 to Orrville and figured the Corman train would be behind it.

The route to Orrville was slow going and the 740 easily got ahead of us. I ducked down a country road to a grade crossing but nothing was in sight.

I heard the 740 call a clear signal in Orrville and realized we were too late.

We waited in Orrville for about an hour but the Corman train never showed up. Either the information about going to Wooster was incorrect and/or they had gone to Warwick first.

We also learned that the NS 4000 was bad ordered in Conway with flat spots. Either those got worked out right away or the report was in error.

As it turned out, the NS 4000 became the trailing unit on the 64T, the UP unit was removed in Conway and the Erie H unit became the leader.

I felt rather dejected as I took Adam home. Had I gone to Warwick we might have caught the Corman train leaving there. It has been a good five years since I’ve photographed the Corman.

I had better luck on the CVSR later in the afternoon. Aside from photographing the last run of the Saturday bike train, I was curious as to what motive power was running on the CVSR these days.

It turned out that the Scenic train had Horizon Rail 8420 on the north end and the Baltimore & Ohio 800 on the south end.

The bike train had the newly repainted 6771 on the north end and the 1822 on the south end. I was glad to see the 6771 because I like the spiffy new livery adorning it.

I got both trains at Indigo Lake and caught a break when the Scenic had a longer than usual dwell time in Peninsula.

The conductor had told the engineer of the 8420 that there might be several people in wheelchairs in Peninsula and if so the train would need to follow a special operating plan.

As I drove north with the intention of getting the bike train at Jaite, I saw the Scenic sitting at Boston Mills station.

I would get both of them at Jaite. With that objective accomplished I headed for home and made plans for another day of holiday railfanning on Sunday.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The last cars on train 170 were tank cars. The train is moving onto track No. 1.

The last cars on train 170 were tank cars. The train is moving onto track No. 1.

The R,J. Corman train approaches the Cherry Street NW bridge. It had a red board at Mace.

The R,J. Corman train approaches the Cherry Street NW bridge. It had a red board at Mace.

Here comes the 34T with a UP in the lead splitting the PRR position signals at Mace.

Here comes the 34T with a UP in the lead splitting the PRR position signals at Mace.

A closeup of the Erie heritage locomotive. Yeah, it's trailing, but I don't get to see it often.

A closeup of the Erie heritage locomotive. Yeah, it’s trailing, but I don’t get to see it often.

I've always like the sight of uniform looking unit trains, particularly when they are snaking through switches and curves.

I’ve always like the sight of uniform looking unit trains, particularly when they are snaking through switches and curves.

The two units of the R.J. Corman train are on the move.

The two units of the R.J. Corman train are on the move.

The Corman train has the signal at Mace. I've never seen an indication like this. One light is green and other either amber or lunar.

The Corman train has the signal at Mace. I’ve never seen an indication like this. One light is green and other either amber or lunar.

The Corman train is about to briefly the NS Fort Wayne Line and move through a pair of switches.

The Corman train is about to briefly the NS Fort Wayne Line and move through a pair of switches.

Going south to north at Mace.

Going south to north at Mace.

At last the 740 made its way through Mace. Seeing four trains here in just over an hour was unusual.

At last the 740 made its way through Mace. Seeing four trains here in just over an hour was unusual.

Horizon Rail GP10 No. 8420 is back in service and the blue loaner unit has apparently returned for assignment elsewhere. It was nice to see while it lasted.

Horizon Rail GP10 No. 8420 is back in service and the blue loaner unit has apparently returned for assignment elsewhere. It was nice to see while it lasted.

Reflections of a CVSR coach in the waters of Indigo Lake.

Reflections of a CVSR coach in the waters of Indigo Lake.

CVSR 800 at Indigo Lake station.

CVSR 800 at Indigo Lake station.

The 1822 was the south unit on the bike train on its last day of operation.

The 1822 was the south unit on the bike train on its last day of operation.

Boarding the bike train at Indigo Lake.

Boarding the bike train at Indigo Lake.

As much as anything, I made this image to get the old truck waiting at the grade crossing for the northbound Scenic.

As much as anything, I made this image to get the old truck waiting at the grade crossing for the northbound Scenic.

A B&O "heritage unit" passes the former B&O train order office in Jaite.

A B&O “heritage unit” passes the former B&O train order office in Jaite.

Another photo op with the new look CVSR locomotive livery, this time at Jaite.

Another photo op with the new look CVSR locomotive livery, this time at Jaite.

The last scheduled bike train of the season is on the last leg of its last trip to Brecksville.

The last scheduled bike train of the season is on the last leg of its last trip to Brecksville.

 

CVSR Reflections at Indigo Lake

November 21, 2015

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The late day sunlight at Indigo Lake was warm and inviting. My plan was to catch Nickel Plate Road No. 765 as it passed by on its last trip of the day on its last day of excursion service on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

But it didn’t work out that way. The steamer never got to even milepost 50 before its train reversed course and headed back north.

Yeah, it was a bummer, but I knew that the CVSR Scenic train would be coming by before too long.

So I waited for it to arrive. It was well worth the wait.

There was a light breeze that stirred the water and distorted the reflections, yet I was still pleased with what I was able to get.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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Around the Corner and Down the Hill Lies the Little CVSR Train Station at Indigo Lake

May 15, 2015

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It was a warm Saturday afternoon and I had time to kill before the northbound Scenic of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad came by at Indigo Lake.

I had decided to wait for the train here because there was a nice flowering tree next to the station. Photographing flowering trees was my photographic priority on this outing and I wanted to scout the area to see what else might be there.

I walked up the hill toward Hale Farm for a bit, being careful not to go too far away. I wasn’t sure just when the train would arrive. I only knew when it left Akron.

At the crest of the hill I found a nice tree and photographed it. The elevation enabled me to see the distant hills but a fence and vegetation obscured the lake.

I like lines and curves because they suggest movement. The winding road bending to the left and then to the right toward the station implies the last leg of a journey.

If you want to ride the CVSR to visit Hale Farm, Indigo Lake is where you get off. During the main tourist season, a shuttle takes people to Hale Farm. Otherwise you have to walk and going up the hill from the tracks is a little steep.

This was as far as I ventured before going back down the hill and puttering around near the tracks while listening for a locomotive horn to sound nearby that would signal the imminent arrival of the Scenic.

Sometimes little interludes like this one at the top of the hill and the images that they yield make an already enjoyable outing all that more satisfying.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Searching for Flowering Trees Next to the CVSR

May 11, 2015

A touch of pink along Riverview Road north of Boston Mill by the Columbia picnic area.

A touch of pink along Riverview Road north of Boston Mill by the Columbia Run picnic area.

Spring has been late this year and as a result many trees that would have flowered in mid to late April are still in full bloom as the calendar moves to the middle of May.

With temperatures on Saturday in the high 80s, it was a good time to get out and look for flowering trees next to a railroad track.

Making images of trains in scenes that say “spring” can be more challenging than finding good autumn foliage.

Although all trees get buds, many do not flower. We have no shortage of trees along the railroad tracks in northern Ohio, but most of them are not the flowering type.

I thought my best bet would be to check out the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. I wasn’t expecting to find redbuds or flowering magnolias, but I hoped to find some trees with white flowers.

And that was mostly what I found, although even then those type of trees were not in plentiful supply.

So I worked with what I found, the best of which was at the Indigo Lake station.

The CVSR won’t go to daily except Monday and Tuesday service until early June, but they have resumed the Bike Aboard! service, meaning that trains now stop at stations that were bypassed during the winter. The CVSR during May has also begun operating on
Fridays.

I was pleased to see that the Baltimore & Ohio tribute locomotive was still leading trains southward as it did during the winter. Leading northward trains was the 1822, an Alco RS18u. They looked good amid the new green of spring in the trees.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Yes, spring is here after the long winter. This is my favorite image of the day.

Yes, spring is here after the long winter. This is my favorite image of the day.

A man goes about his Saturday chores as the southbound Scenic leaves Boston Mill and passes a few  golden flowering trees.

A man goes about his Saturday chores as the southbound Scenic leaves Boston Mill and passes a few golden flowering trees.

The last time that I was at Deep Lock Quary there was deep snow on the ground.

The last time that I was at Deep Lock Quarry there was deep snow on the ground.

A small flowering trees adds a touch of white to the green of the trees leafing out just north of Brecksville staion.

A small flowering trees adds a touch of white to the green of the trees leafing out just north of Brecksville station.

Bikers board at Indigo Lake on a great day to be in the park.

Bikers board at Indigo Lake on a great day to be in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Steam Returns to the CVSR

September 9, 2012

Central Ohio Railroad steam locomotive No. 1293 steams and smokes its way south as it approaches the overpass on Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Central Ohio Railroad No. 1293, formerly the Ohio Central 1293 and before that Canadian Pacific 1293, made a return appearance to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad on Saturday (Sept. 8, 2012).

The 4-6-2 Pacific-type steam locomotive led a 40th anniversary excursion special on the CVSR from Rockside Road station in Independence to Indigo Lake.

However, the 1293 developed mechanical problems while doing an apparent runby at Indigo Lake. The locomotive’s throttle stuck open and the drivers began spinning wildly. Engineer Tim Sposato had to open the cylinder cocks, center the reverse gear and dump the fire.

For safety reasons, CVSR crew members cleared onlookers from the vicinity of the locomotive as the engine crew was working on it.

The 1293 and its train — which had a CVSR diesel locomotive on the north end — then departed for Fitzwater Yard. The passengers had already disembarked and begun making their way to a gala celebration at Hale Farm that was scheduled to last well into the evening.

A second special train also operated from Akron to Indigo Lake with passengers bound for the anniversary event. The CVSR website on Saturday morning listed the event as sold out. The least expensive ticket was $95.

It was an unexpected development in what to that point had been an apparent flawless run of the 1293 on the first of what is scheduled to be several excursions during September on the CVSR.

A brunch train will still operate on Sunday (Sept. 9) but without the 1293. That train, scheduled to leave from Brecksville, will be all diesel.

The 1293 is not expected to cool down completely until Sunday at which time crew members can inspect it to determine what happened and what needs to be done to fix it.

The 1293 and its train, which included the dome car Emerson and the observation-lounge Saint Lucie Sound, had departed Rockside Road at 5:15 p.m.

It moved along at a deliberate pace and a number of fans were trackside with cameras to record the journey. Lighting conditions presented some challenges due to the partly cloudy conditions. Although there was good late day sunlight at Pleasant Valley Road, we got skunked by clouds just south of Jaite and again at Everett.

We were rewarded, though, with good sun light most of the time at Indigo Lake. What we expected to be a few static shots there turned into quite something else.

Among the other Akron Railroad Club members who turned out to photograph the 1293 were Dennis Taksar, Alex Bruchac, Don Woods, Dave Shepherd and David Mangold.

The 1293 is scheduled to operate again on the CVSR next Saturday (Sept. 15) on an almost total track tour trip from Brecksville to Canton and return.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The 1293 and its train steams along southbound just south of Jaite.

The 1293 backs up at the Indigo Lake station as passengers and crews watch.

 

The 1293 and its train began a runby of sorts. Shortly after this image was made, the locomotive experienced mechanical problems that would sideline it the next day.

 

The cylinder cocks of the 1293 are open as the crew tries to determine why the engine began to experience mechanical problems. The scene is reflected in the still water of Indigo Lake.

All of the equipment used by the 1293, which is owned by ARRC life member Jerry Joe Jacobson, has been relettered as the Central Ohio Railroad. Shown is tool car “Conneaut.” at Indigo Lake.

Engineer Tim Sposato strikes a pose for the photographers shortly after the 1293 arrived at Indigo Lake.

A crew member dumps some more of the fire during a brief stop at Boston Mill after the train had departed Indigo Lake en route to the Fitzwater shops.

Having dumped some more of the 1293’s fire, the train is now proceeding northward as the 1293 is shrouded a bit in steam at Boston Mill.

Remains of the fire from the 1293 cool on the CVSR tracks at Boston Mill. The train can be seen in the distance heading north.