Posts Tagged ‘Marion Union Station Association’

Marion Railfans Meeting Set for Sept. 21

September 18, 2019

The Marion Railfan Society will hold its next meeting on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at the depot in Marion, Ohio.

This month’s program is an open projector format with attendees invited to bring a brief program on any topic that is railroad related.

All railfans are welcome at the meetings but donations are appreciated and to help pay to maintain the station and AC Tower.

The next meeting will be Oct. 19 when it will be the annual tower night show.

Another Summerail in the Books

August 13, 2018

Steve Barry, editor in chief of Railfan & Railroad magazine, presides at the 2018 Summerail event held at the Palace Theater in Marion.

Thirteen programs highlighted the 2018 Summerail event held last Saturday at the Palace Theater in Marion.

None of the presenters were from Northeast Ohio and as was the case last year images made in NEO were sparse.

Nonetheless, all 13 of the programs were of top quality and it was the strongest program slate I’ve seen at Summerail. OK, so this was just my third time at Summerail.

Throw in some train watching along with socializing and you had an enjoyable day of viewing railroad photographs and video set to music.

My “gold medal” for best program would go to Land of Enchantment by John Ryan and Paul Swanson of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Janesville, Wisconsin, respectively.

It focused on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief on its route between La Junta, Colorado, and Albuquerque.

The program featured video set to a piece of classical music performed by a symphony from London with a vocalist.

The video portrayed the Chief traversing a piece of railroad that has changed little since the days of the Santa Fe and which is now the center of controversy over Amtrak’s proposal to replace the train with buses between Albuquerque and Dodge City, Kansas.

The time frame of the scenes was recent years but the scenery was timeless, filled with wig wag grade crossing signals and semaphore block signals.

Some video was made from a drone, including some footage looking straight down.

Nos. 3 and 4 were shown traveling through high plains, desert canyons, and the stunning beauty of Raton and Glorieta passes. It was enchanting, indeed.

My “silver medal” would go to EL’s West End by Mark Llanuza of Chicago.

Showing scanned slides from his collection and those of four other photographers, Llanuza portrayed the EL primarily in Indiana and the Chicago region during its final years

The closing segment of Mark’s program borrowed an idea from Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee. It featured the Moby song One of These Mornings to show a series of then and now scenes.

Roger created a similar music and images program in spring 2012 about the EL, his favorite railroad. Mark had seen Roger’s program and used the Moby song in a similar format with Roger’s permission.

My “bronze medal” is a tossup between Richard Baldwin’s Richard Baldwin’s Greatest Hits and George Pitary’s A Taste of Maine.

Baldwin, an Indianapolis native and resident, had the only program to go back as far as the 1950s and 1960s, showing various railroads in the Midwest, South and West with music recorded during the period portrayed on the screen.

The program took in the end of steam and the early diesel era, showing many liveries and railroads that no longer exist. Richard was a photojournalist by trade before his retirement.

Pitarys is a retired railroader who covered 45 years of railroad operations in Maine.

A Maine native, George covered the major carriers and modern-day short lines. The program also highlighted the scenery of the state in all four seasons.

Ohio wasn’t left out of the programs. Brian Seller presented a program devoted to short-line railroads of the Cincinnati region as well as passenger specials and excursion trains in the Queen City.

Before the programs began in early afternoon and during the dinner break, CSX and Norfolk Southern provided a fairly steady flow of traffic past Marion Union Station.

However, many photographers, myself included, got hosed on the highlight of the day, the original NS heritage unit leading a westbound auto rack train that came through town as an eastbound auto rack train also was passing through.

You got both trains if you were on the east side of the NS Sandusky District tracks, but I, like most railfans, was on the west side. Specifically, I was standing at the top of the steps of AC Tower, which was open all day.

Our consolidation prize was the Union Pacific unit leading the eastbound auto rack, which carried symbol 288.

Another prize was a Florida East Coast SD70M-2 No. 105 trailing in the motive power consist of westbound stack train 25N, which originates in Columbus and terminates at Corwith Yard in Chicago.

It was my first spotting of one of the FEC units that NS is leasing to cover a motive power shortage. Heck, it is the first FEC unit of any kind that I’ve ever photographed.

Shortly after I arrived at Marion US during the dinner break, CSX sent a sulfur train eastbound on the Columbus Subdivision. It had a Canadian National leader and a UP trailer.

ARRC member Richard Antibus said it was the sixth train he had seen on the former Chesapeake & Ohio line since arriving in Marion about mid morning.

Antibus and ARRC Secretary Jim Mastromatteo spent the day railfanning at the station while Ron McElrath manned his table at the train show at the Palace Theater.

I also spotted ARRC members Steve Heister, Dennis Tharp and Tom Fritsch in the crowd at the Palace Theater.

For the second year there was a catered Skyline Chili dinner in the waiting room of the depot that was arranged by the Marion Union Station Association and White River Productions.

This year’s Summerail was dedicated to Joe Slanser, who died earlier this summer. Mr. Slanser, a well-known Marion railfan, played a key role in preserving Marion Union Station after it sat vacant for more than a decade after closing after the last passenger trains stopped there on April 30, 1971.

Steve Barry, the editor of Railfan & Railroad, magazine served as the emcee for most of the day during the programs.

Summerail 2019 will return to Marion on Aug. 10. I’m already looking forward to it.

For me, at least, this was the highlight of the day while railfanning in Marion during the 2018 Summerail event.

NS train 101 trundles through Marion during the dinner hour.

NS eastbound auto rack train 288 is about to cross the CSX Mt. Victory Subdivision. It would block the NS heritage unit on the westbound 27V.

Q008 was the last CSX train that many Summerail attendees saw before heading for the Palace Theater and first session of programs.

This westbound auto rack train must be empty if it only needs a single locomotive to pull it.

An eastbound CSX sulfur train is led by a Canadian nation al unit as it approaches Marion Union Station on the Columbus Subdivision.

CSX manifest freight Q651 heads into the lay day light in Marion.

Jerry Jordak enjoys a dish of Skyline chili while checking out the latest news in the world of railroads and railfanning while eating at Marion Union Station during the dinner break of Summerail.

Photographers get their photographs of a westbound NS light power move passing AC Tower in Marion.

Sanders Gives Program in Marion

April 28, 2018

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders recently presented his program on the writing of the song City of New Orleans to the Marion Union Station Association.

Sanders was the featured program presenter at the group’s April 21 meeting. the MUSA holds a slide night on the third Saturday of each month.

The program that Sanders presented was based on research he did about how the late Steve Goodman came to write one of his best-known songs, which was popularized by Arlo Guthrie and been recorded by more than 100 artists.

Summerail 2017 Lineup Set, Tickets Available

March 15, 2017

Tickets are now on sale for Summerail 2017 to be held on Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Palace Theater in Marion, Ohio, at 276 West Center Street.

It is the same location as the 2016 event, which was moved from Cincinnati Union Terminal due to a renovation project being undertaken there.

Tickets are $25 apiece and can be ordered from Bill Haines, 305 Lamar Court, Vandalia OH 45377. Make checks payable to Marion Union Station Association.

The main program will feature multimedia programs of images set to music and narration.

The 10 presenters and their programs are: Marshall Beecher (My Metra Life), Mike Biehn  (Bluegrass Boats – TTI), Steve Carter (Autumn Days and Autumn Nights; Night Tracks),

Steve Glischinski (SPUD’s 90th Anniversary), Scooter Hovanec (Hills, Mills and Mines), Barry Lennon (Natural Resources), Garland McKee (L&N in Eastern Kentucky), Eric Miller (My Appalachian Odyssey), Don Toon (Toon’s B&W Scanning Chronicles), and Lance Wales (Nine Inch Rail).

The programs will be presented between 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. with a dinner on your own break between 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The traditional railroadiana show and sale will be conducted in the pavilion of the theater from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A railroad show only ticket is available for $5.

Tickets also will be available at the door on the day of the event.

Free parking will be available to behind the theater and to the northeast behind the Marion County Building.

Marion Union Station and AC Tower will be open all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 11-13).

Summing Up Summerail 2016 in Marion

August 15, 2016
The view from the stage of the seating area inside the Palace Theater in Marion, where Summerail 2016 was held.

The view from the stage of the seating area inside the Palace Theater in Marion, where Summerail 2016 was held.

When I heard that Summerail would be held in Marion on Saturday, Aug. 13, I made plans to go. Now that I’ve experienced Summerail for the first time, here are a few observations.

First and foremost, I enjoyed it. We’ve had a few multi-media programs during my time in the Akron Railroad Club, including presentations by 2016 Summerail presenters Dave Oroszi and Dave Beach. But this was my first experience with a full day of multi-media programs in a festival-like setting.

Among my fellow ARRC members who I saw at Summerail were Paul Woodring, Dave Mangold, John Beach and Ron McElrath.

Summerail is typically held at Cincinnati Union Terminal, but with CUT being renovated the auditorium normally used for Summerail is closed. The Marion Union Station Association agreed to host Summerail 2016.

As I expected, the full Summerail experience is an all-day marathon.

I left home at 7:30 a.m. and reached Marion just after 10 a.m. I bought my ticket and spent time at the railroad show and sale.

I then walked to Marion Union Station and got in an hour and a half of railfanning, netting two eastbound CSX intermodal trains, before hoofing it back to the Palace Theater for the afternoon programs. After the last program ended at 9 p.m., I made the long drive back home.

Keeping me company on the way back was the broadcast of the Indians vs. Angels baseball game, which had experienced a two plus hour rain delay. It rained a lot in Marion on Saturday, too, with some heavy rain coming during the dinner break.

Each program is 15 minutes and intermissions are held after every two programs. There were door prize giveaways, but my number was never called.

The Palace Theater is a restored venue that is larger and more elegant than I had expected.

The interior features the look and feel of a Moorish courtyard with lights in the ceiling mimicking stars in the sky at night. Built in 1928, the 1,445-seat Palace is a smaller version of the Akron Civic Theater.

I don’t know how many attended Summerail 2016, but it was a good crowd, perhaps exceeding what they get in Cincinnati, which is around 300. The Cincinnati venue tends to sell out weeks in advance, but in Marion you could walk up on the day of the event and get a ticket.

The 10 programs were consistent in quality with all images technically sound and the photo selection built around well-developed themes. Summerail programs are peer reviewed, but I don’t know all the details of how that process works.

The subject matter covered by the programs varied, yet a common theme among the programs was nostalgia for something lost, usually stemming from an ownership change due to sale or merger.

That included railroading of the 1950s and 1960s, but most of the lost glory being mourned or celebrated still existed in the 1990s.

Such fallen flags as Santa Fe, Denver & Rio Grande Western, Conrail and Southern Pacific received a lot of attention, as did short line railroads.

The most unique railroad operation portrayed was featured in the program Railfanning on Top of the World in which Chris Guss examined a railroad operating inside the Arctic Circle in Sweden and Norway.

Although all of the presenters are good photographers, that didn’t mean that all of their images were outstanding.

There were many good images similar to those you would find in a local railroad club program. Yet Summerail programs are not your ordinary railfan program fare.

The quality that I found in Summerail programs that distinguished them from most programs that I’ve seen at local railroad club meetings was the diversity of the images.

The presenters know well the territory of the railroads that they portrayed and it was apparent that these photographers have spent a lot of time trackside throughout the year and at all hours of the day and night making images of railroad operations.

They are more tuned into using props with their images to give a sense of place and to expanding their vision beyond the typical three-quarter “here comes the train” perspective. They know how to make weather and lighting conditions work to bring out a mood.

It was this high level of quality and diversity that I expected to see at Summerail and I was not disappointed.

I also came away with a newfound appreciation of how showing images with music creates an effect that traditional “talkie” program tend to lack.

In a nutshell, it focuses the viewer’s attention on image content with a consistent flow that is not broken by audience interruptions, pauses by the presenter or inconsistent pacing.

To arrive at that conclusion, I thought about what these programs would be like without music.

Most people don’t like extended periods of silence because it makes them uncomfortable. The music enables viewers to have something to listen to while watching the images roll by. It also means there is far less likely to be audience interruptions.

I liked how the recorded multi-media format enables the images to tell a story with a well-paced flow of images and, in some programs, text.

You don’t need to know where and when all of the images you are seeing were made in order to grasp the story they have to tell and to enjoy the scenes.

That said, some presenters could have done better in choosing music to enhance their program.

In some instances, the music – usually rock music – was simply white noise that did little to evoke a mood or feeling.

The music wasn’t telling the same story as the photographs even if the lyrics or song title  were, ostensibly, related to the program theme.

A good choice of music with lyrics that matched the story line of the images was the use of Hitchin’ a Ride by Vanity Fare in a program presented by Mike Schafer and Craig Willett about passenger trains in the 1960s.

It worked because the song, like the passenger trains shown, is about going from one place to another.

Another effective use of music occurred in the program by Chris Guss. The instrumental music chosen wonderfully drew out the feeling of desolation and physical challenges of living and working in a land of climate extremes.

Attending Summerail proved to be a long and tiring day, but I’d do it again. In fact, I would like to watch all 10 of those programs again. All were enjoyable in their own right.

Summerail will return to Marion in 2017. Provided I don’t have a schedule conflict, I’ll be back at the Palace Theater for another day of pleasing and entertaining programs.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The site of Summerail 2016 is a place I've driven past many times while in Marion to railfan.

The site of Summerail 2016 is a place I’ve driven past many times while in Marion to railfan.

The master of ceremonies and resident Summerail wisecracker Ron Flanary kept the audience entertained between introducing programs.

The master of ceremonies and resident Summerail wisecracker Ron Flanary kept the audience entertained between introducing programs.

Steve Berry, editor of Railfan and Railroad magazine, recognizes someone in the audience during the evening session. He liked Marion, but missed being able to go to Skyline Chili, a tradition with some who regularly attend Summerail in Cincinnati.

Steve Berry, editor of Railfan and Railroad magazine, recognizes someone in the audience during the evening session. He liked Marion, but missed being able to go to Skyline Chili, a tradition with some who regularly attend Summerail in Cincinnati.

Jerry Jordak (left) and Steve Hipes relax between programs. The guy in front of them is Terry Chicwak.

Jerry Jordak (back) and Steve Hipes relax between programs. The guy in front of them is Terry Chicwak.

Here comes the eastbound Q008, a hot UPS train. Note the railfan photographer visible through the bay windows of Marion Union Station.

Here comes the eastbound Q008, a hot UPS train. Note the railfan photographer visible through the bay windows of Marion Union Station.

Q109, the Marion-North Baltimore intermodal shuttle train, is about to cross the NS Sandusky District as the hogger gives a friendly wave to the railfans on hand.

Q109, the Marion-North Baltimore intermodal shuttle train, is about to cross the NS Sandusky District as the hogger gives a friendly wave to the railfans on hand.

The only Norfolk Southern train that I saw during the day.

The only Norfolk Southern train that I saw during the day.

Umbrellas and rain gear was out as an eastbound NS train passes through Marion.

Umbrellas and rain gear was out as an eastbound NS train passes through Marion.

The Marion Operator’s Viewpoint (Reconstructed)

May 6, 2016

Marion

It has been many years since an operator lined the switches and signals from AC Tower in Marion.

In fact, it has been several years since the tower itself was moved across the tracks to its current location and restored as a museum run by the Marion Union Station Association.

The tower is a popular spot to photograph trains in Marion, particularly from its metal stairway.

I’ve seen a few images made over the years through the tower’s windows and I’ve tried my hand at it myself.

The photo above is not a pure representation of what the operator would see while sitting at his desk. For one thing, the operator would not be standing behind the desk as I did.

And I highly doubt that when operators worked in AC tower that they had a contribution jar on their desk.

Still, museums exist to give visitors a sense of how it once was during a given era that is no more. The number of interlocking towers where operators line switches and signals had dwindled to a small number and they might not be around much longer.

But this is the beauty of a museum. We can create visual representations of what it looked like and what it must have felt like to have been standing at the elbow of the operator as he watched a train pass by.

It’s not the real thing, but it’s as close as we can get to going back into a bygone era.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

 

Summerail 2016 Program Lineup Set

March 5, 2016

The program lineup for Summerail 2016 in Marion has been set and tickets are now on sale.

Ten presenters will cover a variety of subject matter in their multimedia programs, but a recurring theme in many programs is “way back when.”

SummerailThe presenters and their program names are: Dave Beach, 50 Years of Good Times; Brian Carlson, Regional and Shortline Vignettes; John Dziobko, Godfather’s Golden Oldies; Chris Guss, Railfanning on Top of the World; Andrew Nelson, Through the Cheddar Curtain; Dave Oroszi, Big O’s Best of the West; John Ryan, Halcyon Days on the WSOR; Mike Schafer and Craig Willett, Before We Were Geezers; Pat Sweeney, Still Blue About Conrail – Indianapolis Edition; Craig Williams, Reflecting on the Hobby.

Tickets are $25 and may be ordered from Bill Haines, 305 Lamar Court, Vandalia, OH 45377. For further information call 937-898-8220 or send an email to rustyrails@woh.rr.com

Information can also be found on the summerail website www.summerail.com

Summerail is ordinarily held at Cincinnati Union Terminal, but was moved to Marion this year due to construction at CUT.

This year’s shows will be held at the Palace Theater, which is located two blocks east of Marion Union Station.

The multi-media shows will run from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13 with a dinner break between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Unlike in past years, there will not be slide shows on Friday night. Instead, the Marion Union Station Association,  which is sponsoring the event, will have Union Station and AC Tower open all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Summerail attendees are invited to stop by the station on Friday night for an evening of railfanning.

The ticket price includes admission to the programs, and the train show and sale. A ticket for the train show and sale only will be available at the door for $5.

Parking for the Palace Theater will be available in a lot to the northeast behind the Marion County Building. Parking at Marion Union Station will be limited.

Tickets on Sale for Summerail 2016 in Marion

December 16, 2015

Tickets are now on sale for Summerail 2016, which will be held on Aug. 12-13 in Marion.

The event has historically been held at Cincinnati Union Terminal, but is moving for at least the next year due to construction at CUT.

Tickets are $25 and entitle the bearer to see all of the multi-media programs as well as the railroad show and sale, all of which is being held on Saturday (Aug. 13).

The multi-media shows will be presented at the Palace Theater between 1 and 4:30 p.m. and between 7 and 10 p.m. There will be a dinner break between 4:30 and 7 p.m.

All multi-media shows will feature digital images set to music and/or narration.

The railroad show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event will be held in the pavilion of the Palace Theater complex, located at 276 W. Center St.

Marion Union Station Association, which is hosting Summerail 2016, will have the station and AC tower open throughout the weekend, including on Sunday, Aug. 14.

The station is two blocks from the Palace Theater. There will be no admission charge to visit the station or AC tower.

A railroad show only ticket is available for $5 and can be purchased at the door.

Parking will be available at Marion Union Station and in a lot to the northeast of the theater along Campbell Street.

On Friday night, the traditional “talkie” programs will be held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. There is no admission charge for that event.

To order tickets send a check made out to “Marion Union Station Association” to Bill Haines, 305 Lamar Court, Vandalia OH 45377. For information, call 937-898-8220 or send an email to rustyrails@woh.rr.com

Information is also available at http://www.summerail.com/

Summerail Moving to Marion in 2016

September 16, 2015

Summerail 2016 will have be held in Marion at the Marion Palace Theater. No further details have been announced other than it will be on Aug. 13.

An online report indicated that a renovation of Cincinnati Union Terminal, the longtime home of Summerail, has forced the relocation.

The 2016 Summerail will be hosted by the Marion Union Station Association.

The event is known for its slide shows set to music as well as a railroadiana show.

3 ARRC Members Present to Marion Railfans

November 22, 2014
Craig Sanders presents his VIA Canadian show at Marion.

Craig Sanders presents his VIA Canadian show at Marion.

The Nov. 15 meeting of railfans at the Marion Union Station featured three Akron Railroad Club members giving presentations.

Craig Sanders, ARRC president, presented a digital images review of his May train trip from Vancouver, B.C., to Toronto aboard The Canadian, which is operated by VIA Rail Canada.

Craig’s images were of magnificent scenery and train operations across Canada as well as activities on the train.

He showed some images of the Toronto rail scene at the end of his cross-Canada voyage on VIA.

His show was followed by ARRC member Richard Jacobs showing images from his September trip to Colorado. Jake focused on the three narrow gauge steam railroad trains that he and Barbara Cormel rode.

Roger Durfee, ARRC member and Norfolk Southern conductor, followed with a slide presentation of Conrail’s activities in Youngstown in the late 1970s into the early 1980s; before the end of steel making in that major industrial center.

MUSA member Bill Haines followed with slides of short lines from various areas of the United States.

The evening concluded with a presentation by MUSA members Pete White and George Detweiller about their recent trip to Durbin and Cass, W. Va. They rode heritage trains in the valley of the Greenbrier River and surrounding mountains.

It was a very interesting meeting at Marion enhanced by the presentations by three ARRC members.

While the photos were being presented, CSX and NS ran trains by the Marion Union Station. Since it was a cold night, the doors were closed so the sound of the trains was lessened.

Marion is a great place for railroad photography. With many trains on three mainlines and trackside access, a railfan can get many nice photos.

It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon when I arrived about 3:30 p.m. I seemed to be always in the wrong place at train time, however.

I did manage two decent grab shots, one from my Trail Blazer and one from inside the station.
The NS westbound viewed through the station window had an Iowa, Chicago & Eastern unit leading. I missed the motive power shot and had to settle for the stacks passing over the CSX mainline.

A later NS eastbound had a BNSF war bonnet leading, but, again, I missed it.

Oh well, the photo shows were worth the visit. I also had a chance to visit once more with my MUSA friends. There will be other days to photograph the trains at Marion.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

Roger Durfee presenting his Conrail in Youngstown show at Marion.

Roger Durfee presenting his Conrail in Youngstown show at Marion.

Photo from inside the station. An NS westbound stack train crosses CSX former Big Four/EL mainlines. Relocated AC Tower is at the crossing.

Photo from inside the station. An NS westbound stack train crosses CSX former Big Four/EL mainlines. Relocated AC Tower is at the crossing.

Grab shot! A westbound CSX hopper train splits the home signals at Marion interlocking.

Grab shot! A westbound CSX hopper train splits the home signals at Marion interlocking.