The Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad has been gone for five decades and in most of the country it is just another obscure fallen flag if it is remembered at all.
But not so in Northeast Ohio where the AC&Y remains well known even though three railroad companies have operated the property since the Norfolk & Western acquired the AC&Y in 1964.
The operations of the AC&Y have been covered in various books and other sources over the years, but now the railroad has its own book.
Released earlier this year by Morning Sun, Akron, Canton & Youngstown and Akron & Barberton Belt in Color does double duty in covering the history of two railroads that were headquartered in Akron.
Today, what is left of both railroads is owned by the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway, with the A&BB operating under the name Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.
Most of the 128 pages of this book are devoted to the AC&Y and follow the standard Morning Sun “slide show in a book” format.
The majority of the content focuses on equipment, but those looking for an overview of the history of both railroads as well as their operations will come away satisfied.
A few black and white photos made their way into the pages, which is not surprising considering that much of the history of the AC&Y was made before color photography became widespread.
Contributing photographers include current and former Akron Railroad Club members John Beach, Peter Bowler, Roger Durfee, Dave McKay and Chris Lantz. Robert Farkas provided information to the author.
Robert E. Lucas wrote the book in conjunction with the AC&Y Historical Society. ARRC member H. Roger Grant wrote the foreword.
Unlike other roads that the Norfolk & Western acquired in the 1960s, the AC&Y continued to operate with a high degree of autonomy that included keeping the AC&Y name.
It wasn’t until 1982 that the AC&Y Corporation was dissolved and the N&W began operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary the road that never made it to either Canton or Youngstown.
Nonetheless, N&W equipment became common on the ex-AC&Y and the AC&Y identity gradually faded away.
This is a comprehensive look at the company’s history, including the era when the western end of the line was known by such names as Pittsburgh, Akron & Western, Lake Erie & Western, and the Northern Ohio Railway.
Some of the trackage in Akron was built as part of the original AC&Y and the book does a nice job of covering the histories of the predecessor railroad companies.
The book describes with words and photographs the operations of the line from Delphos to Akron before describing in detail the locomotive and freight car fleets. There are sections devoted to such topics as stations, infrastructure and passenger train operations.
The book has brief sections describing how the AC&Y as well as the A&BB have fared in the W&LE era.
Most of the photographs are of the roster shot variety with some action images spread throughout the book. Rosters of equipment are provided along with a few maps.
This book will make a welcome addition to the collection of anyone with an interest in the history of Northeast Ohio railroads.
Review by Craig Sanders