Posts Tagged ‘Orrville Railroad Heritage Society’

An ORHS Excursion on the Wheeling

September 20, 2020

The Wheeling & Lake Erie was once a gracious host of various excursion trains sponsored by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society, the Midwest Railway Preservation Society, and the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum.

Many of those excursions passed through or near Akron.

W&LE GP 35 No. 104 is sh own traveling eastbound with an ORHS excursion at Justus on Oct. 13, 2012.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

An Ohio Central Steam Chase

August 9, 2020

It is a foggy Aug. 13, 2004, in Dennison (top photograph). Ohio Central 4-8-4 No. 6325 is on one end of the train while the rust-colored duo of F7A 1000 and F7A 1001 is on the other end.

The Ohio Central motive power has picked up an Orrville Railroad Heritage Society fantrip.

In the middle photo, the 6325, which once operated for the Grand Trunk Western, is westbound with the train a few miles west of Bowerston.

In the bottom image, Nos. 1000 and 1001 plus OHCR GP7u No. 471 are being towed west. I never could catch up with the train after this.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

When the Wheeling Was Still in the Excursion Business

April 17, 2020

Excursion trains were once a regular sight on the Wheeling & Lake Erie. Many of them were operated by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society and featured day trips.

W&LE GP35 No. 104 is shown pulling one such ORHS excursion eastbound at the crossing of the Wheeling and R.J. Corman line at Justus east of Brewster on Oct. 13, 2012.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

ORHS Offering Throttle Time Program in 2020

November 29, 2019

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society will resume its Throttle Time with GP7u No. 471 in May 2020.

For $471 participants will be able to operate the 1,500 horsepower locomotive on track at the ORHS rail yard located at DABO, Incorporated in Orrville.

The session will last for an hour and include safety and operation training as well as 20 minutes in the engineer’s seat at the throttle.

There will also be a look inside the locomotive’s engine compartment.

Participants must be 18 years or older to purchase a session, which also comes with an honorary engineer certificate and one year membership in the ORHS.

The information and order form can be downloaded at the ORHS website at

Long pants and closed toe footwear is required and gloves are recommended.

The application form notes that participants must have a clean driving record, must follow directions from ORHS staff, and must assume all liability during the session.

ORHS to Hold Christmas at the Depot on Saturday

November 27, 2019

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society will hold its annual Christmas at the Depot event on Saturday (Nov. 30) from noon to 4 p.m.

Santa Claus will arrive at the restored former Pennsylvania Railroad station at 4 p.m.

The depot will be decorated for the holidays and have operating train layouts and refreshments.

The gift shop will be open and with any luck at all Norfolk Southern will send a train or two past during the festivities.

ORHS has also announced that it will hold its annual membership dinner on Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. at Top of the Viaduct Restaurant at 607 Lincoln Way West in Massillon.

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and include two meats, potatoes, pasta, vegetable, salad and coffee or soft drink.

The cost is $15 person and ORHS members are welcome to bring a guest and/or family members.

An automatic 18 percent gratuity will be added to each bill. Meal charges will be collected at the restaurant.

Following dinner, members of the board of directors will be elected for 2020.

Used to Be Amtrak

November 4, 2019

If the profile of FLNX No. 418 looks familiar that’s because this F40PHR began life as Amtrak No. 319.

Built by EMD in August 1979, Amtrak 319 roamed the system until being retired in October 2001.

It was then acquired by R.P. Flynn Incorporation, doing business as Ohio Railway Supply, and pulled Orrville Railroad Heritage Society excursion trains in 2005.

It is shown stored at the former ORHS maintenance site on Oct. 29, 2005, in Orrville.

The unit later moved to the Saratoga & North Creek, a tourist railroad in the New York Adirondack mountains.

A footnote in the history of this locomotive shows that when built by EMD in 1979 the shop used parts from former Amtrak SDP40F No. 583, hence the letter “R” in its model designation.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

When ORHS Ran on Conrail

August 26, 2019

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society was known for its excursion trains on the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway.

But years ago the ORHS hosted a few excursions on Conrail.

These trips often ran to Pittsburgh from Orrville. The photographer believes that this was one of those trips.

The image was made on May 11, 1985, in Canton, and appears to be Pittsburgh bound.

On the point is GP28-2 No. 8258 along with a sister unit.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Catching NS on the Fort Wayne Line in Orrville

July 12, 2019

Traffic on Norfolk Southern’s Fort Wayne Line through Orrville, Ohio, can be hit and a lot of miss.

It’s a secondary line for NS that doesn’t have as much traffic as the route did during the Conrail era.

Recently, Bob Farkas was able to catch some NS action in Orrville. The top image and the one immediately below the text were made on June 12, 2019.

Note that the former Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals are still standing.

The day before that, he caught NS No. 6307 leading a westbound through Orrville.

That same day he also photographed another eastbound passing the PRR position signals as well as the former Union Depot, which is now the headquarters of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society.





Visit With a Speeder

June 16, 2019

On the evening of June 11, 2019, I was driving past where the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society stores its equipment in Orrville.

A member of the ORHS had his restored speeder at the end of the track closest to the  road.

As you can see the speeder is painted for use by the Ravenna Arsenal, where weapons were made during World War II and during the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The arsenal had a complex of railroad tracks, which were described several years ago during an Akron Railroad Club program by Ralph A. Pfingsten, author of the book The History of the Ravenna Arsenal.

Thankfully the owner of the speeder gave me permission to photograph his speeder and the caboose stored there.

A friend of his showed up, and we had a ride in his speeder down a small still-intact portion of Cleveland, Akron & Columbus track (later part of the Pennsylvania Railroad) that is used by the ORHS.

At the far end of the track beyond where we stopped was this bridge.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Once Upon a Time in Orrville

May 14, 2018

A westbound Conrail RoadRailer cruises through Orrville on June 12 1995, during the then-named Depot Days of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. The view is from the steps of Orr Tower.

The last sentence of a news release issued by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society noted that the upcoming open house to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Orrville Union Depot will not feature train or track car rides.

That was probably placed there because in the past track car rides and a short train ride were a part of a day-long festival that centered on the station that once served the Pennsylvania Railroad.

But all of that began to go away a few years ago when some ORHS passenger cars being ferried back home by the Wheeling & Lake Erie derailed while on Norfolk Southern tracks in Bellevue.

The W&LE subsequently banned excursion trains from its rails and evicted the ORHS from a siding track in Orrville.

I may or may not get down to the depot anniversary event on Saturday, May 19. If I do, it will be to indulge in a little bit of nostalgia.

Back in the 1990s the ORHS used to sponsor what it called Depot Days. Aside from track car and train rides, the depot was open along with the restored Orr Tower.

Conrail usually sent a locomotive that was on static display and visitors were allowed to visit the cab.

In those days Conrail had a fair level of traffic through Orrville, much of it coming off the Indianapolis Line at Crestline and taking the Fort Wayne Line that ran through Orrville.

You could count on seeing a couple of intermodal trains in late morning and manifest freights at intervals throughout the day.

Much of that traffic ended after CSX and NS divided Conrail in 1999. There were no more visiting locomotives and the level of train traffic greatly diminished.

The event itself was renamed Railroad Days and moved to August. But the train rides and track car rides continued and at times the W&LE would have a visiting locomotive to view.

This week’s event will be but a shadow of what used to be. You can sit in Orrville for hours now before a train comes through.

But there will always be memories of what once was.