Posts Tagged ‘passenger trains’

30 Years Gone From VIA

March 7, 2018

Do you realize that VIA Rail Canada took its FPA-4 locomotives out of service 30 years ago? Yet two of them were on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s National Park Scenic train last Saturday.

The top and middle images were taken in Peninsula while the bottom photograph was made in Akron as Baltimore & Ohio No. 800 was being towed north.

Photographs by Robert Farkas


Last Year of IC Varnish

February 13, 2018

I was going through some glassine envelopes of negatives and found this. Illinois Central No. 4035 is in Centralia, Illinois, in August 1970. The Train name/number are unknown to me.

John Woodworth, Mike Ondecker, and I were in Centralia to photograph IC passenger trains. I never guessed that in less than a year there would no longer be IC passenger trains.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Train Time at Rockside Road

February 10, 2018

The National Park Scenic departs from Rockside Road station in Independence.

The Rockside Road station in Independence is the northernmost outpost on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

National Park Service ownership of the tracks ends shortly north of the Rockside Road bridge.

In theory, Rockside Road is the closest station to my home. But I seldom photograph the CVSR there because it is not much of a photogenic place and I can’t as easily set out to chase trains from there as I can from other locations on the CVSR.

Last September, though, I ventured to Rockside Road to board a steam excursion train pulled by Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765. Before the steam train left, the first National Park Scenic of the day arrived in the station on a deadhead move, boarded passengers and left for Akron.

The Scenic ferry move from Fitzwater Yard arrives at Rockside Road.

Boarding bikers and their bicycles as a car passes overhead on Rockside Road.

Passengers look for their car to board.

A CVSR trainman walks to his post.

Train Time at Canal Exploration Center

November 4, 2017

I’ve photographed the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad multiple times at all of its stations except two.

I had never been to the CVSR station at Hillside Road, which CVSR refers to as the Canal Exploration Center station.

The visitor’s center is actually located on the east side of the Cuyahoga River whereas the tracks are on the west side.

You have to take a trail that spans the river on a dedicated bridge. Otherwise CEC is just like any other CVSR station.

I decided to visit the CEC station after disembarking at Rockside Road station from a steam excursion train pulled by Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

The CVSR website designates CEC station as a bike aboard station. But on the day of my visit a large crowd was on hand to board the train and they were not bicyclists.

It was probably a tour group that had been to the visitor center there and had made arrangements to ride the train.

In the top image, cell phone cameras are out as the train approaches. In the middle image some passengers are heeding the call of a notice in some CVSR stations to wave at the engineer if they plan to board the train.

The bottom image was made from the farm south end of the station platform.

Now the only station where I need to photograph the CVSR in action is Big Bend in Akron.

Where Have You Been CVSR 365?

October 30, 2017

CVSR Alco C420 No. 365 leads the National Park Scenic at Brecksville station on Oct. 21.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad locomotive No. 365 was the railroad’s first locomotive that I ever photographed.

The date was June 19, 2004, and the location was at the Lincoln Highway station in Canton. It would be the southern-facing unit on a trip I made to Akron, which was the second time that I rode the CVSR.

I would encounter No. 365 a few times in subsequent years, but I wasn’t making many images of the CVSR then.

No. 365 was on the north end of an Akron Railroad Club CVSR excursion of Sept. 22, 2007, behind Ohio Central steam locomotive No. 1293. The 365 pulled us back to Rockside Road station from Botzum.

The C420 would perform the same duties a year later on Sept. 27 on another ARRC outing on the CVSR behind OC 1293, this time returning us to Rockside from Indigo Lake.

The 365 began life in June 1965 when it was built by American Locomotive Company for the Seaboard Air Line.

It would later work for Seaboard Coast Line, the Louisville & Nashville and a handful of short-line railroads before being acquired by the CVSR in 2001.

No. 365 was a CVSR mainstay until 2010 when it was sidelined with a bad generator.

The 2012 CVSR annual report said the 365 was awaiting being sent out to be rebuilt with “green technology.”

But it didn’t move until June 2013 when CVSR interchanged it to the Wheeling & Lake Erie in Akron en route to Ohio Locomotive Works in Lorain.

The W&LE handed the 365 off to Norfolk Southern in Bellevue, which took it to Lorain.

For the rest of 2013, the 365 underwent a thorough rebuilding. That work continued through September 2014 when the unit began getting a new paint job in the current CVSR livery.

Photographs made by Fred Stuckmann and posted at documented the rebuilding of the 365. It was displayed at an open house held in late September 2014 at OLW.

Among those on hand to view the 365 on that day was Siegfried Buerling, one of the men who incorporated the Cuyahoga Valley Preservation and Scenic Railway Association in February 1972.

And then it is was though the 365 vanished into thin air. No more photographs of it were posted online and the unit apparently still needed more work.

In the intervening years, the CVSR leased motive power from LTEX and Horizon Rail but no word emerged on the 365.

A couple of weeks ago I heard a report that the 365 was back in the Valley. I don’t know how long it has been there.

I didn’t see it when a CVSR train I rode in mid September went past the Fitzwater yard and shops. Maybe it was inside getting prepared for revenue service.

I finally caught up with the 365 in Brecksville on Saturday, Oct. 21. Fellow ARRC member Todd Dillon had caught the 365 the previous day.

On the north end of the Scenic was B&O No. 800. Gotta say that it’s good to see you again 365.



Leaf Peepers Special at Deep Lock Quarry

October 27, 2017

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has been running an autumn foliage special on weekends during October.

Known as the Fall Flyer, it is scheduled to depart Rockside Road station in Independence 45 minutes behind the National Park Scenic in the morning and 40 minutes behind it in the afternoon.

The Fall Flyer operates non-stop to Indigo Lake before returning to Rockside.

Presumably, it was created to take pressure off the National Park Scenic, which often ran well behind schedule during October due to the large number of bikers and sight seers riding the train.

The Fall Flyer will make its last trips on Oct. 29. It is shown above on Oct. 21 coming and going near Deep Lock Quarry south of Peninsula.

On Second Thought Glad He Was There

October 11, 2017

I was set up to photograph the arrival of the ferry move that would make up the first Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad National Park Scenic run of the day from Rockside Road station.

The space between myself and the tracks was open. I planned to use a low-hanging tree branch to frame the lead locomotive.

Then the inevitable happened. Three people walked into the grassy area that stood between my lens and CVSR FPA-4 No. 6771.

I was not pleased, but I made the photographs anyway.

As I reviewed them on the display screen of my camera, I saw that the guy closest to me was waving at the train.

I would still rather not have had those folks in my image, but if they were going to be there, at least the buy waving added a human interest tough that, dare I say, enhanced the image.

Michigan Central Depot to Host Detroit Event

September 14, 2017

Michigan Central Station in Detroit will host the annual Detroit Homecoming this year, the first significant event to be held in the vacant depot since the middle 1980s.

The 104-year-old station in the Corktown neighborhood has been the subject of various renovation plans, the most recently being backed by the Moroun family of companies.

They have spent more than $8 million in the past two years making repairs that have included constructing a freight elevator in the shaft of the depot’s original smoke stack and installing 1,100 windows.

Matthew Moroun described the station development as a marathon, but insisted the race is well underway. His father, Matty, purchased the depot in 1995.

For years, the Morouns made few moves to restore the Detroit landmark, which once hosted passengers trains of the New York Central and tenants Canadian Pacific and Baltimore & Ohio, the latter using the terminal between 1946 and 1963.

After taking office in 2014, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan sought to improve what he termed the “somewhat checkered” relationship the Morouns have had with past city administrations.

Matthew Moroun and the mayor have discussed a list of issues involving the depot.

Although that list has not been made public, one known item is a request to replace the building’s numerous broken windows.

The mayor had made it known that he was tired of a former train station with broken windows defining the image of Detroit in national news stories about the city.

“I said, ‘I want you to put windows in the train station. And if you do that, everything else will be just fine.’” Duggan said.

The Morouns installed the windows in 2015 at a cost of $4 million.

Since the the windows went in, Matthew Moroun said he’s had more interest from developers with “hundreds of great ideas” for a building that has sat vacant since 1988 when Amtrak ceased passenger service there.

Moroun estimates it would renovating the station will cost more than $100 million.

“We’re looking for the right idea that’s not only popular and motivating, but also economically viable,” Moroun said. “We’re getting closer all of the time.”

Among the ideas that Duggan has for the station is housing a corporate headquarters or building high-end lofts on the 18th floor, which has a 360-degree view of greater downtown Detroit and the waterfront.

“I’m not the one who has to make the numbers work,” Duggan said. “When the day comes, I’m going to do everything I can to help make the numbers work.”

Plans Set for Annual New River Train

August 10, 2017

Plans have been announced for the annual New River Train, which will roll on Oct. 21, 22, 28, and 29 between Huntington, West Virginia, and Hinton, West Virginia, through the New River Gorge.

New this year will be a consist of all heritage cars from private owners.

Gone are the Amtrak Amfleet and Horizon  coaches that have characterized the makeup of past trains.

All of the 30 cars on the New River Train will come from private owners. Three Amtrak P42DC locomotives will pull the train.

Some of the passenger cars expected to be in the consist include California Zephyr vista-dome car Silver Solarium, Pullman-built Milwaukee Road Super Dome, Budd-built full-length dome car Summit View, the Overland Trail, a former Southern Pacific barber shop car, and Great Northern full-length dome car Prairie View.

Other cars will include lounge and passenger cars built for the New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Baltimore & Ohio and Central of Georgia Railway

Sponsored by the the Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society, the 51st running of the New River Train will travel CSX’s Kanawha and New River subdivisions, both of which are former Chesapeake & Ohio.

The train has a capacity of 1,200 passengers per day and usually sells out by early September. Some heritage coach tickets remain at $179 per person.

When Varnish Was Common in Massillon

July 14, 2017

Penn Central was still running passenger trains through Massillon, Ohio, in the late 1960s. Here is the westbound mid-afternoon Fort Pitt with PC 4292 on the point racing through the super-elevated curve, which actually comes through the bridge over the Tuscarawas River.

I believe it was October 1969 and the red “P”/white “”C” had only been painted on a handful of E units, making this a rarer photo.

Today a Norfolk Southern office car special sometimes gives a similar scene, but it is hard to imagine even in the late 1960s passenger trains such as this were somewhat common on this line.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas