Posts Tagged ‘Orrville Union Depot’

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.

 

 

 

 

Orrville Depot to Celebrate 150th Anniversary

May 14, 2018

An eastbound Norfolk Southern train passes the Orrville station. The view was made from the steps of the former Orrville Tower.

The former Union Depot in Orrville will mark its 150th anniversary next Saturday (May 19) and to mark the occasion the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society is holding an open house on between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The event also marks the 40year anniversary of the ORHS.

During the open house there will be a cake cutting ceremony at noon. Visitors will be able to tour the building throughout the day.

Although there is no admission charge, visitors are encouraged to make a donation.

The ORHS gift shop will be open and model train layouts will be in operation.

Operation Lifesaver will have representatives on hand to promote railroad safety.

The station was built in 1868 to serve the Piitsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago, and the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus railroads. Both eventually became of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The depot has since been restored by the ORHS and serves as a railroad museum and the society’s administrative offices. It is located at 145 Depot Street.

For more information on ORHS, the historic Union Depot Museum or to view the schedule of events, visit www.orrvillerailroad.com or the ORHS Facebook page. You can also call 330-683-2426 to hear the most up to date information on each event.

Watching Steel Rust on the Fort Wayne Line

June 24, 2015
The first NS train through Orrville arrived a half-hour after I did. Then I had a four-hour wait for the next one.

The first NS train through Orrville arrived a half-hour after I did. Then I had a four-hour wait for the next one.

Last winter the railfan cyberspace world was abuzz with reports that Norfolk Southern was rehabilitating the tracks of the Fort Wayne Line west of Bucyrus.

This was remarkable news for a number of reasons. First, NS doesn’t own these tracks. CSX does.

Second, CSX doesn’t use this line. The Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern does.

Yes, NS does have the right under the terms of the Conrail breakup to operate as many as six trains a day west of Bucyrus, but it has seldom taken advantage of those rights.

But after the meltdown on the Chicago Line last summer, railroad officials began looking for alternative routes for some trains.

One of those alternatives was the Fort Wayne Line. Even before the Conrail breakup, this former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline in western Ohio saw little traffic.

The segment between Crestline and Alliance was moderately busy under Conrail, but once NS took it over the traffic levels dropped precipitously.

NS operates a pair of Conway-Bellevue manifest freights over the line daily. The route also sees locals out of Mansfield that operate as far east as Orrville. There are some coal trains.

But otherwise, traffic on the Fort Wayne Line is rather sparse.

As I read the reports that traffic on the Fort Wayne Line was picking up, I made a mental note that I needed to get down there this summer and see just much more traffic is using the line.

In particular, NS is routing eastbound crude oil trains over the route. I had seen posted photos taken of some of those trains, which led me to believe that they operated during daylight hours.

On the first Saturday in June, I set out for Orrville. I wasn’t expecting to see a flood of new traffic, but I was hopeful that there would be enough to make it worth the trip.

I got a later start than I wanted so it was about 10:30 a.m. when I arrived, parked next to the tracks, set up my scanner and waited.

Shortly after 11 a.m. I could hear the scratchy sound on the radio of a train calling signals.

The signal became stronger and clearer. That a train was coming a half-hour after I had arrived was a good omen.

It was a westbound coal train and it had one of those massive ex-Union Pacific SD90MACs as the second of two locomotives.

Then things got quiet, real quiet. And that was the way it was for the next four hours. That’s right, four hours.

To pass the time I read that day’s Akron Beacon Journal and the latest issue of Trains. The Fort Wayne Line has a long and colorful history and I had plenty of time to think about it.

I had expected lulls between trains, but not this long. I was about to give up for the day when I heard a scratchy sound on my scanner.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., an eastbound oil train showed up with a set of helper units on the rear.

I was curious how far I’d be able to hear that train call signals over the radio so I stuck around and listened.

That train must have been past Massillon when I thought I heard the oil train crew speaking with the crew of another train.

Could it be that a westbound was waiting at Massillon for the oil train to pass? I decided to wait awhile longer. It was an agonizingly long wait.

I was, again, about to pack it in when I thought I heard a distant radio transmission. It took awhile but it got stronger and my earlier hunch had been right. There had been a westbound near Massillon.

That train, another coal train with an ex-UP SD90MAC in the motive power consist, finally reached Orrville at almost 4:30 p.m. After its passage, I headed home.

I’d like to give Orrville and the Fort Wayne Line another try, preferably getting there in the early morning.

It has always seemed as though more trains pass through Northeast Ohio in the morning hours than during the middle of the day.

Maybe that’s not true for the Fort Wayne Line, but I’d like to give it a try.

I’d also like to go down during the week when the locals are running and when the R.J. Corman train for Wooster comes and goes.

It may be technically accurate to say that there is more traffic on the Fort Wayne Line than there used to be.

But when the previous traffic levels were already quite thin, adding another couple of trains a day isn’t going to make that much of a difference.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The tower at Orrville used to be on the other side of the tracks and farther west. I can't remember a time when it wasn't where is is today. But my first visit to Orrville came in 1995.

The tower at Orrville used to be on the other side of the tracks and farther west. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t where is is today. But my first visit to Orrville came in 1995.

This former Pennsy cabin car has been in display for years in Orrville, but no one has gotten around to restoring the PRR keystone and markings.

This former Pennsy cabin car has been in display for years in Orrville, but no one has gotten around to restoring the PRR keystone and markings.

After a wait of four hours I could not believe my eyes. There is training coming on the Fort Wayne Line.

After a wait of four hours I could not believe my eyes. There is training coming on the Fort Wayne Line.

The first and (only) eastbound of the day (for me at least) passes the Orrville station. The view was made from the steps of the former Orrville Tower.

The first and (only) eastbound of the day (for me at least) passes the Orrville station. The view was made from the steps of the former Orrville Tower.

What a nice surprise. There were helper locomotives on the rear of the 66W, the eastbound crude oil train.

What a nice surprise. There were helper locomotives on the rear of the 66W, the eastbound crude oil train.

Orrville is located at milespost 124 on the Fort Wayne Line. I had plenty of time to memorize this fact.

Orrville is located at milespost 124 on the Fort Wayne Line. I had plenty of time to memorize this fact.

The rear of the morning westbound coal train passes the restored Orrville depot, now the home of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society.

The rear of the morning westbound coal train passes the restored Orrville depot, now the home of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society.

Orrville Depot Damaged in Car Crash

May 21, 2014
The west wall of the Orrville Union Depot Museum was shattered by a colliding car on 5/20/2014. The baggage cart was pushed in front of the crash site after to prevent entry.

The west wall of the Orrville Union Depot Museum was shattered by a colliding car on 5/20/2014. The baggage cart was pushed in front of the crash site after to prevent entry.

Orrville School System has conducted tours of the Orrville Historic District for third grade students for several years.

It is a walking history lesson for the students. The district is comprised of the Smith Orr homestead, the Orrville History Museum and the Orrville Union Depot Museum. All are related to the early founders of Orrville and the Pennsylvania Railroad.

On Tuesday May 20, approximately 120 students took the history tour. They were in groups of about 12 students who rotated from one site to the next.

Just before noon the last group was inside the Orrville Union Depot Museum, the home of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. ORHS member Roger Scott had just finished talking about the artifacts in a large wood and glass showcase in the former depot waiting room.

A few seconds after they moved to another display a large crash filled the room with a loud bang. A car had backed into the west depot wall, caving it in and spreading debris inside.

The large showcase was toppled and shoved several feet into the room. Shattered glass was everywhere. Roger and the students were still in the waiting room, but luckily were no longer in front of the toppled showcase. Thankfully, no one had been injured.

The driver of the car had been escorting the student groups to and from the depot. Since it was the last group of the morning, he climbed into his car to leave. As he was backing from his parking spot, his foot slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator. This caused his car to careen into the depot wall.

When you have a trackside historic museum, you are always concerned about a derailed train coming through the wall. It happened to the Wooster depot by a Conrail freight train after it had been painted for restoration as a museum by a local history group. That depot was a total loss.

Today’s crash was much less serious than that, but could have caused many injuries. It was a blessing that it did not.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

Bricks from the depot's west wall litter the floor of the main waiting room after the crash.

Bricks from the depot’s west wall litter the floor of the main waiting room after the crash.

????????

DSC02443

Railroad artifact debris fills the toppled showcase.

Railroad artifact debris fills the toppled showcase.

Red, White and Boom

July 3, 2012

Rocket bursts viewed from the Orrville Union Depot platform on July 3, 2011. Note the home signal for the NS Orrville Secondary. Have a happy and safe July 4th holiday. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)