Posts Tagged ‘Ohi-Rail’

Two Different Eras for No. 101

August 6, 2020

Northeast Ohio short line railroad Fairport, Painesville & Eastern had a fleet of eight Alco switchers numbered 101 to 108.

In the top photograph, S4 No. 105 and S2 No. 101 are sitting 105 and 101 are near Fairport Harbor, Ohio in the late 1960s

FP&E 101 became Ohi-Rail No. 101 and it is seen in the bottom photograph along with another Alco S2 in in Minerva in October 1997.

Nos. 101 and 102 both worked for the FP&E before winding up on Ohi-Rail.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Along Ohi-Rail in Minerva

February 15, 2020

Here are two from Ohi-Rail in Minerva on Aug. 19, 2010.

There is a road in Minerva that parallels Ohi-Rail’s yard. These stored locomotives and cabooses were visible at the west and of the yard.

In the top photo are Ohi-Rail No. 102 and Minerva Scenic Railway No. 18.

The MSR used Ohi-Rail trackage but only lasted a few years and was out of business at the time this photo was taken.

In the bottom photo are former a Canadian National vans (caboose), an ex-Conrail caboose, and an ex-Pennsylvania Railroad cabin car.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Whistling Past the Graveyard?

February 3, 2020

We don’t know if Ohi-Rail Alco S2 No. 101 was blowing its whistle as it passed this cemetery in Minerva, Ohio, but we do know that it is sitting behind it in mid 1997. OK, so technically diesel locomotives have horns and not whistles.

The unit was built in October 1945 for the Fairport, Painesville & Eastern.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

G&W Subsidiary to Acquire Ohi-Rail

January 23, 2020

The Mahoning Valley Railway has filed noticed with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board that it plans to acquire Ohi-Rail, a short-line carrier based in Minerva.

The noticed, filed on Jan. 17, seeks an exemption from certain regulations as provided by federal law to consummate the purchase of 44.7 miles of Ohi-Rail track in Carroll, Stark, Columbiana, Jefferson, and Harrison counties.

The Mahoning Valley is a subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming. The STB filing did not disclose the purchase price of the transaction but said G&W and Ohi-Rail have executed an asset purchase agreement to acquire the rail lines.

A map included in the filing shows that the track in question includes the Tuscarawas Industrial Track between Minerva and Bayard, the Tuscarawas Secondary Track between Minerva and Pekin, a route between Minerva and Hopedale, and the Wolf Run Branch between Philips and East Springfield.

MVRY said in the filing that it expected to begin operations on the Ohi-Rail network “upon the closing of the acquisition, which will occur following the date on which this Notice of Exemption is effective.”

The filing noted that if the exemption is granted that the transaction would not be subject to labor protection conditions, and would not require environmental and historic reports.

MVRY said the agreement does not include an interchange commitment and that the projected revenues from taking over Ohi-Rail lines will not exceed the threshold that qualifies MVRY as a Class III carrier.

The MVRY asked the STB to issue a notice allowing the acquisition to become effective 30 days from the filing of the notice of exemption.

Well Weathered

February 17, 2018

Traces of Conrail can easily be found despite the fact that it has been 18 years since it was divided between CSX and Norfolk Southern.

The most likely vestige of Conrail that you can find are freight cars still carrying the carrier’s herald and name. It will be awhile before those vanish.

But if you pay attention, you can find Conrail in other ways, too.

Many railroad signs along the right of way of former Conrail routes continue to wear Conrail colors, even if the paint is peeling and the color has faded from years of exposure to sunlight.

That includes this station sign in Minvera, Ohio, that still stands along a former Pennsylvania Railroad branch line that at one time extended to Marietta, Ohio.

It is hard to believe that this line was once part of Conrail, but it was.

Conrail was created, after all, to get rid of branches such as the line to Marrietta and it did. Much of the route is abandoned west of Minerva.

The short-line railroad Ohi-Rail operates the remaining rails between Minerva and Bayard, where it interchanges with Norfolk Southern.

Not a Duck and Not Conrail, Either

February 12, 2018

There’s an expression that if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it is a duck. Except when it isn’t.

The locomotive shown above looks for all the world like a Conrail unit except for the letters OHIC toward the top. Those show that it is actually owned by Minerva-based Ohi-Rail.

Class 1 Railroads hold garage sales every so often to get rid of “surplus” motive power that has either been replaced by newer units or been deemed to be no longer needed.

Short-line railroads shop these sales looking for bargains on good merchandise just as many people make it a way of life to shop yard sales on Saturday mornings in the summer.

More often than not these used locomotives continue to work with their former identities for a while before seeing a paint booth to get the livery of a new owner.

This image of a former Conrail B23-7R was made in Minerva in June 2004. The unit was built by GE as a U23B for Western Pacific, but later transformed into a Monongahela Railway Super 7. No. 4097 was on the Norfolk Southern roster for a while before Ohi-Rail got it.

I’m not sure what this locomotive was doing at the time I saw it, but it might have been coming back from interchanging cars with NS at Bayard and is headed for the yard.

Fresh Look for Ohi-Rail GP9

January 29, 2018

Small short-line railroads must by financial necessity shop the used locomotive market. This often results in a rag-tag locomotive fleet of units wearing Spartan liveries.

Or it might mean a “heritage fleet” of locomotives still wearing in whole or in part the colors and markings of a former owner.

Within the past month, Minvera-based Ohi-Rail Corporation has placed into revenue service a former Chesapeake & Ohio GP9 that has a fresh new look.

When the unit went into the shop for repainting, the C&O initials and name were bleeding through the black paint.

When it came out, No. 53 had a new coat of paint, an inverted V-shaped stripe of  gold and white on its nose and something you won’t see on many, if any, other locomotives.

The herald of the Future Farmers of America on the side of the nose is in tribute to the work put in by members of the Minerva FFA chapter in helping to restore the locomotive.

Thanks for a tip from Akron Railroad Club member Pete Poremba, who works for Ohi-Rail, I was able to photograph No. 53 shoving a cut of empty tank cars from Minerva to Bayard to interchange to Norfolk Southern.

Ohi-Rail uses tracks that were once branch lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central. It also interchanges on occasion in Minerva with the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

A caboose converted to a shoving platform is used on the east end of trains headed for Bayard.

It comes with lights and a horn and from a distance you would swear that it was a locomotive horn, which it used to be.

AOS Roundhouse Summarizes Recent Work

August 18, 2016

The Age of Steam Roundhouse has posted its latest progress report and here are highlights of what the shop has been working on during the past six months.

Former 0-6-0 No. 12 of the Morehead & North Fork continued to undergo restoration.

Age of SteamThe former Southern Railway engine has a new tender tank that was placed on a rebuilt tender frame and refurbished trucks.

Wood decking was applied to the frame. The tender’s air brake system—including piping, brackets and brake cylinder—was overhauled and the back headlight put into place.

Although now painted in primer, the tender will be painted later in gloss back.

No. 12 also underwent an ultra sound examination that found the need for some minor boiler repairs. Shop forces are planning to install 300 new boiler tubes later this year.

Canadian Pacific No. 1293 passed a Federal Railroad Administration annual inspection last April.

Repairs undertaken on the 4-6-2 include adjusting several of appliances, including the Nathan mechanical lubricator and 8-1/2-inch Westinghouse cross-compound air compressor.

The roundhouse has received components needed to repair the boiler of Lake Shore & Ishpeming 2-8-0 No. 33.

This work will include fabrication of the locomotive’s new crown sheet and Nicholson Thermic Syphons.

Major work has begun to restore Alabama, Tennessee & Northern No. 401. The locomotive, which most recently was Woodward Iron No. 41, was in rough condition after being stored in the elements for more than 50 years.

Work completed thus far includes removing a heavy accumulation of rust and layers of dried grease, particularly in the cylinders and smokebox. New wood plans were places on the footboard pilot and the rear of the tender.

A headlight has been put into place along with a bell, class lights, lubricators and other appliances that have improved the “front-end” look of the locomotive. Additional cosmetic work is planned for No. 401

Locomotive No. 1, an 0-4-0 that operates on compressed air, has received a cosmetic overhaul that included repainting it gloss black and installing new cab windows. The AOS workforce is still seeking two sand boxes to place on No. 1

AOS acquired from the Wheeling & Lake Erie a small sand tower that is thought to have been built by the Akron Canton & Youngstown at Brittain Yard in Akron.

The tower had stood unused for more than 25 years and AOS management decided that it had a correct steam-era appearance. The tower is being rebuilt at the AOS back shop.

Another new addition to the AOS property is the addition of a pair of rebuilt Baltimore & Ohio color position light signals that now stand at the front entrance of the AOS complex.

The CPLs now have steam engine-era masts, signal lights and finials.  They have been wired to automatically cycle into all four indications—clear (vertical green), approach (diagonal yellow), stop (horizontal red) and restricting (diagonal lunar white).

Minor repairs have been completed on two F40M-2Cs, No. 452 and No. 460, which have been leased to Ohi-Rail Corporation for use in freight service.

Long Train on a Short Line Railroad

March 28, 2014
NS train 66W passes the WAS home signals on the Cleveland Line at Alliance.

NS train 66W passes the WAS home signals on the Cleveland Line at Alliance.

You don’t usually associate “unit train” with shortline Ohi-Rail in Minerva, Ohio, but that’s not the case anymore.

On Saturday, March 22, an 80-car unit train of frac sand was handed off to them by Norfolk Southern via the Bayard interchange.

The train had arrived in Cleveland with Union Pacific power. A helper set was added to the front for cab signals at Rockport.

Once at Bayard the helper set was cut away, the Ohi-Rail crew boarded the UP power, and it was off to Minerva.

It made quite a sight with two big UP six motors and 80 cars of sand rolling, albeit slowly, down this ex-Pennsylvania Railroad and ex-New York Central track through Minerva.

The unloading facility is at the east end of Minerva yard. The train started unloading as soon as it arrived. If this test train works out there will be more, so keep your eyes and ears open for more moves like this one.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

It's an uphill climb from Alliance to near Homeworth. The sound of the EMD's (the UP GE was offline) was sweet.

It’s an uphill climb from Alliance to near Homeworth. The sound of the EMD’s (the UP GE was offline) was sweet.

The 66W passes the high car detector, an old schoolhouse, and a barking dog at DCS station Moult.

The 66W passes the high car detector, an old schoolhouse, and a barking dog at DCS station Moult.

The NS power has cut away and ran ahead to clear the switch- note it in the distance- as the Ohi-Rail crew starts down its railroad using the UP power.

The NS power has cut away and ran ahead to clear the switch- note it in the distance- as the Ohi-Rail crew starts down its railroad using the UP power.

Passing through Minerva; note the blue sign.

Passing through Minerva; note the blue sign.

Some sand dust flies as the train starts to unload at Minerva.

Some sand dust flies as the train starts to unload at Minerva.

Minerva RR Museum Equipment to be Auctioned

October 8, 2009
The Elderberry Line tourist railroad opreation served Minerva through 2003. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

The Elderberry Line tourist railroad opreation served Minerva through 2003. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

Want to buy and operate your own tourist railroad? The Steam Railroad Museum in Minerva, Ohio, is for sale. It’s equipment will be auctioned by Kiko Auctions on October 15, 2009.

The rolling stock to be sold includes two Alco 1,000-hp diesel switchers, a Wheeling & Lake Erie caboose, a Fairmount M4 motorcar and trailer, a baggage car, a railroad crane and numerous shop machines and some railroad signs and signals. The museum operated the Minerva Scenic Railway for three seasons beginning in 2004. It shut down when insurance costs exceeded its budget. It operated over a portion of Ohi-Rail out of Minerva, but that option is no longer allowed by the new owners of Ohi-Rail.

Before that the Carrollton, Oneida & Minerva Railroad operated passenger trains from Carrollton to Minerva and return on a 22-mile trip. Known as the Elderberry Line, it used a portion of Ohi-Rail to enter Minerva and a W&LE branch line between Carrrollton and Minerva Junction.

Barbara and I rode this train in September 1998. We rode in the cab of Alco No. 102 (now for sale) on the return to Carrollton. The Elderberry Line ceased operations after the 2003 season.

In these days of higher liability insurance costs and railroad mega-mergers, preservation of our nation’s railroad heritage has become more difficult.

Richard Jacobs

This Alco switcher pulled trains for the Minerva Scenic Railroad for three seasons beginning in 2004. Now it will be sold as the Steam Railroad Museum in Minerva sells its equipment at auction. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

This Alco switcher pulled trains for the Minerva Scenic Railroad for three seasons beginning in 2004. Now it will be sold as the Steam Railroad Museum in Minerva sells its equipment at auction. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)