Posts Tagged ‘Paul Woodring’

East Broad Top Memories

August 7, 2019

It is May 1, 1982. Robert Farkas, Paul Woodring and Jim Bacon are chasing and photographing East Broad Top No. 12, which is en route to Orbisonia, Pennsylvania.

The three were in Pennsylvania to attend the EBT Railfan Weekend.

Paul remembers that they may have been there only on Saturday. He went on to describe that day:

“It would have been only the second time I was ever at the EBT when it was operating.

“Jim may still have been a member of the Akron Railroad Club at the time, part of the Warren area contingent who rode to the meetings together that dropped out when we went to meeting on Friday nights because Howard Murphy kept his TV repair shop open on Friday evenings.

“There were at least three of the EBT Mikes running, and maybe four, plus the M-1 gas-electric doodlebug back then. I believe back then it was capable of pulling a trailer, [which was] a caboose at that point.

“I don’t believe we rode any trains, just photographed them. It was a very quick round-trip, starting and ending at night.

“I remember having a terrible sinus headache for several hours late Saturday afternoon.

“Jim was into trying to do O. Winston Link-style syncroflash action night photography in medium format and Bob helped him set up for a shot of the last train of the evening crossing the bridge just out of Orbisonia station.

“I no longer remember if the attempt succeeded or not. Doing it with a bunch of small flashes linked together in series either all works or all fails.

“So, we went home well after dark.

“Jim has stayed involved with the Friends of the EBT, leading the ‘Boiler House Rats’ restoration crew that has done yeoman work in restoring many of the shop buildings around the yard in Orbisonia in the past 10 years.”

Photograph by Robert Farkas

This posting has been edited to correct an error in the original version. See the comment below for further information.

Some 50 Years Later

July 10, 2019

As much as I like passenger trains, I’ve never been into studying and memorizing the history of individual cars.

I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of Dennis Tharp, for example, who has stored in his head a treasure trove of facts about rail passenger cars from the streamliner era.

Yet I was intrigued when Paul Woodring dug up some information about a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger car that showed up in a photograph made by Robert Farkas of the Fort Pitt in Canton in the late 1960s.

By the time Bob caught up with Train No. 53 it had shrunk to one coach and a handful of head-end cars trundling daily from Pittsburgh to Chicago.

Paul obtained the roster number of that lone passenger car in Bob’s photo, which turned out to be No. 1537, a converted PRR 21-roomette car known as Franklin Inn.

It had been built by Budd in 1949 for the Pennsy, which converted it to a coach in 1963 to serve in the Northeast Corridor.

At the time the PRR wanted more modern equipment to serve passengers traveling to the 1964 New York World’s Fair so it converted 50 Inn series cars into coach lounges.

The PRR became part of Penn Central in 1968 and after the formation of Amtrak the former Franklin Inn, now Penn Central 1537 was acquired by Southeast Michigan Transportation Authority in 1976 for use on its commuter trains on the Grand Trunk Western in Detroit.

SEMTA renamed the car Pleasant Ridge. Sometime after SEMTA rail commuter service ended in October 1983, the car was leased to Metro North.

Along the way ownership of the car and the lease to Metro North was transferred to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

After Metro North no longer needed the car, it wound up in the heritage fleet of Maryland Area Regional Commuter, which restored the Franklin Inn name and gave it roster number 142.

DCNRHS acquired Franklin Inn in November 2008. It had been retired from revenue service by MARC in 2001 when newer equipment arrived.

Although originally painted Tuscan red, the car now features the livery used by the PRR during the middle 1960s.

The website of the American Association of Private Rail Car Owners shows that Franklin Inn now carries roster number 800957 and reporting mark NRHX142. It is described as a high-capacity coach.

Paul’s interest in Franklin Inn stems from research he did on the consist of the 1968 Robert F. Kennedy funeral train that operated from New York to Washington on PC rails.

He was curious if any of the former MARC cars that were of PRR heritage that Akron Metro acquired and later conveyed to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad were in the RFK funeral train consist.

None of them were. For that matter the former Franklin Inn was not in the RFK funeral train, either, although 14 cars from former Inn series that had been converted to coaches for Congressional Service assignments.

The Congressional Service cars were normally idle on weekends.

The Franklin Inn has operated through Northeast Ohio on excursions pulled by Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

Paul reported that it also operated behind Norfolk & Western 611 during some of its excursions in the East and South.

That sent me digging into my archive to see if I had a photograph of the Franklin Inn behind the Berkshire-type steam locomotive.

I found it in the consist of a July 2015 excursion from Ashtabula to Youngstown.

It is shown in the bottom image above on Carson Hill just outside Ashtabula. Interestingly both images show the car from the same end.

I’m not sure if Franklin Inn ever ran on the CVSR, but a sister car, Collinsville Inn has operated there along with ex-PRR car Paul Revere.

It seems odd that a car whose normal assignment was between Washington and New York would find its way to the Fort Pitt.

I wondered if the assignment of Franklin Inn to the Fort Pitt was so that the lounge section could be used in snack-bar coach service.

But a check of my collection of copies of The Official Guide of the Railways published in the late 1960s found that from at least 1965 onward the Fort Pitt was shown as being a coach-only train with no food service.

I also found that the Fort Pitt name was removed early in the Penn Central era.

So perhaps it was assigned to PRR Lines West service for another reason.

On the day that Bob photographed No. 53, he probably viewed this coach as just another passenger car.

There was reason to believe that its future with the Pennsylvania and/or Penn Central was likely to be short given how railroads were lopping off passenger trains as quickly as regulatory officials would allow.

A lot of rail passenger cars would become surplus and many would be scrapped.

But who could have known 50 years ago in Canton what the future held for the Franklin Inn and that it would still be carrying passengers five decades later.

Cranking Up My Not So Far Way Back Machine

June 16, 2018

When Akron Railroad Club member Bob Farkas cranks up his way back machine he usually has in mind going back to the 1970s or earlier.

When I dive into my version of a way back machine I tend to have a much shorter focus in time.

I recently launched a project of reviewing some my older digital images with an eye toward processing and posting some that got overlooked shortly after they were made.

I decided to start with July, August and September of 2011, a period of time that incorporated the first three months that I started doing digital photography.

I was all over the visit that September of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 when it came to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and pulled a series of excursions.

The image above was made on Sept. 17. The 765 was pulling a trip headed for Canton that was billed as a “total track tour.”

I was waiting for it on the Old Station Road bride that is now part of the towpath trail.

What caught my attention about this photograph is the FL9 that is trailing on the train and will bring it back north later today.

The CVSR used that FL9, a former Amtrak and New Haven unit, between 2009 and early 2012.

It was paired with NKP 765 during its September 2011 visit, which would turn out to be the waning days of No. 484’s tenure in the Valley.

No. 484 at the time was owned by F.P. Flynn but has since moved on to working in Canada.

Another notable fact about this train is the presence of two dome cars. The dome with the blue, gold and gray paint was named Emerson at the time and had just been joined by the former Silver Bronco, which was already wearing CVSR colors.

The ex-Silver Bronco assumed the Emerson name for a while before reverting to its original Denver & Rio Grande Western name.

The blue, gold and gray dome in this train is a former Great Northern car than ran on the CVSR between 2009 and 2011.

As I processed this image I also noticed something that had escaped my attention at the time.

Can you find the Akron Railroad Club member in this photo? He is standing  next a tripod with a video camera and has a still photo camera around his neck. Look a little to the left of the Buckeye crossbuck at the grade crossing.

It is Paul Wooding who was part of the impromptu photo line.

Brother of Paul Woodring Dies

September 28, 2017

Bruce Woodring, 56, the brother of Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring, died last Sunday after a battle with cancer.

Bruce Woodring

Mr. Woodring was a life-long Akron area resident and he and his family rode several ARRC excursions on the Ohio Central in the 1990s and early 2000s.

He and his father, Ken Woodring, helped to install a hanging screen at the Summit County Historical Society in advance of Paul giving a program at an ARRC meeting.

Mr. Woodring was the owner of WTS Transportation Services and played the drums for many bands and at his church.

In addition to his brother Paul, Mr. Woodring is survived by his parents, Gloria and Ken Woodring; and his three children, Esteban, Stephanie and Kenny.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 30) at Advent Lutheran Church, 1516 Edison St. NW, Uniontown, OH 44685, with the Rev. Bob Cheyney officiating.

In the May ARRC eBulletin

May 23, 2017

In November 1990 Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring was working for Amtrak and managed to wrangle an assignment covering the carrier’s publicity special that operated from Chicago to Pittsburgh and back to promote a pending reroute of the Capitol Limited and Broadway Limited.

At the time, both trains operated via the Fort Wayne Line between Chicago and Pittsburgh but had to find other routes due to Conrail downgrading the line.

The Broadway Limited began serving Akron while the Capitol Limited was routed via Cleveland.

In the cover story of the May 2017 ARRC eBulletin, Paul tells the story of how he got the assignment and what it was like to be on board the publicity special.

Paul took numerous photographs on and off the train, which are used to illustrate the feature.

Also in the May eBulletin is a preview of the program at the May 26 ARRC meeting and the latest railroad news.

To subscribe to the eBulletin or to receive a copy, send an email to csanders429@aol

A subscription or a single copy is free.

Woodring Article Published in NRHS News

August 26, 2016

An article written by Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring about the last run of Amtrak’s AEM-7 electric locomotives has been re-published in the newsletter of the National Railway Historical Society.

ARRC logo 2Paul rode the farewell to the AEM-7 trip, an Amtrak chartered train that operated on June 18. That trip went from Washington to Philadelphia and return and included a tour of Amtrak’s Wilmington shops.

A member of the Potomac Chapter of NRHS, Paul originally wrote the article for the ARRC blog. NRHS News Editor Charles Williams saw the article on the blog and asked to reprint it.

The article begins on Page 18 of the August 2016 issue of the NRHS News and is accompanied by photographs made by various NRHS members.

Woodring to Show ‘Best of Rest’ at ARRC Meeting

August 22, 2016


Paul Woodring will present a slide show titled “The Best of the Rest” at the August Akron Railroad Club meeting.

The program will feature a range of geographic locations and railroad operations across time.

Paul plans to draw from his collection of images made in Northern Ohio (mostly from the 1980s), Amtrak and CSX in the East, a trip to China that he made in 1987, trips to Canada in the early 1980’s, scenes from a few NRHS conventions in the 1990s, and a trip to Colorado in 2009

He said that each image will stand on its own as a good image and he’ll present some stories to go with many of the photographs.

“So [it] probably won’t be one of my bigger shows in terms of total number of images,” he said.

As a preview of his program, Paul sent along one of his favorite images from the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad that was made around 1980-1981 of Mogul No. 3, Albert, which has long since been retired to display on the Frontier Trail.

It is shown waiting to depart the main station in better days, pulling one of the original trains, which has since been sold to Santa Claus Land in Indiana.

In the background is the former Frontier Lift sky ride, which was removed over 20 years ago.

The meeting will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26 with a half-hour business meeting followed by the program at approximately 8:45 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

Taking the Farkas Challenge: B&O on ‘The Hill’

July 18, 2016

Farkas Woodring

If you have spent any time railfanning in Akron you already know about “the hill.”

It is a railfanning spot that has been frequented by Akron railroad photographers for generations.

Name a member of the Akron Railroad Club who has photographed trains in Akron and chances are he has spent time on “the hill” making photographs.

The late Robert E. Redmond hung out there a lot in the late 1950s documenting the last days of steam motive power on the Baltimore & Ohio.

In his younger years, Paul Woodring spent time there, too, documenting the B&O in a different era.

His image of four B&O GP40s all wearing the same 1960s era solid blue livery is my nomination on his behalf for the Farkas challenge.

He made this image of an eastbound train in September 1984 when it was still the Chessie System. By then such a motive power consist would not have been common.

Paul’s photo of the “blues brothers” as he called it, will appear in the color version of Akron Railroads that will be released later this year.

It is a photo that he really liked and wanted to see it included in the book.

“The hill” goes by a number of names, including “Bettes Corner” and “Home and Tallmadge.” These names refer to the nearby streets.

Although most often associated with the B&O, “the hill” also had tracks belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad. In fact, that track cutting across the lower right-hand corner is the ex-PRR.

Most of the images you’ll see that have been made here are of eastbound trains. Photographing westbound trains just doesn’t seem to work out as well because the train is going away from you into an S curve.

Another reason to favor eastbound trains is because they are working up a 1.05 percent grade from Akron Junction to Cuyahoga Falls, the steepest on the Akron Division of the B&O.

In steam days, as many as four locomotives might be coupled together to get a train up the hill. But even one steamer pulling a train up that grade could make for an impressive sight.

Many photographs made of trains working up the hill have featured the A. Schulman, Inc., facility in the background. It’s hard to miss and is as much an Akron landmark here as the railroads themselves.

Over time, change came to the hill. The PRR became Penn Central which developed into Conrail. Today, the former Pennsy line here has been removed.

The A. Schulman facility has expanded but otherwise has been a constant for decades. Of course the B&O morphed into the Chesssie System which evolved into CSX.

The hill has never been among Northeast Ohio’s premier railfanning spots and I’m not sure that it is the favorite of Akron fans today.

Brush and weeds growing along the top of the hill overlooking the tracks present a challenge in getting a clear look. At times, railfans have voluntarily trimmed the weeds at the site.

Although you can see everything that CSX puts through Akron on “the hill,” Voris Street not only has clearer sightlines but also features Akron Barberton Cluster trains exercising their CSX trackage rights.

Nonetheless, no story of the history of railroads and railfanning in Akron is complete without paying tribute to “the hill.”

Article by Craig Sanders, Photograph by Paul Woodring


March ARRC Program Will Pay Tribute to Ohio Central 4-6-2 Steam Locomotive No. 1293

March 21, 2016

The sights and sounds of former Canadian Pacific No. 1293 will gloriously fill the room during the March 25 meeting of the Akron Railroad Club as Paul Woodring and Craig Sanders present a salute to the Pacific-type locomotive.

Built by Canadian Locomotive Company in June 1948, Jerry Joe Jacobson purchased the steamer in 1996 and rebuilt it to operating condition.

By the following fall the 4-6-2 was pulling tourist and excursion trains on the Ohio Central System.

ARRC logoIt was a star of several Akron Railroad Club excursions, including the last trips that the club made on the OC.

Craig will lead off the salute to the 1293 by showing slides that have been digitized of the 4-6-2 pulling ARRC excursions in 2003, 2004 and 2006.

These included two trips between Sugarcreek and Morgan Run, and a trip over the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Pittsburgh-St. Louis mainline east of Dennison that also included a run up the former Hopedale line of the New York Central. The latter is now known as the Apex branch.

The segment will conclude with images made during the ARRC’s 2013 visit to the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek.

Paul will then show a video he made titled My Best of Ohio Central No. 1293, 2004-2008.

The narrated program will take us trackside as the 1293 pulls excursions during the 2004 Dennison Train Festival, the 2006 New Philadelphia convention of the National Railway Historical Society, the 2004 and 2006 ARRC excursions, and a ferry move to Byesville via Zanesville.

In 2007 and 2008 the 1293 visited the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and Paul will show it in action in various locations. He’ll also have footage of the ferry moves to and from the CVSR via the Wheeling & Lake Erie and OC railroads.

The ARRC meeting will begin at 8 p.m. with a half-hour business meeting followed by the program at approximately 8:45 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

Paul Woodring Posts NS Program on YouTube

January 15, 2013

Akron Railroad Club member Paul Woodring has posted his NS steam program presentation on The program, which he first presented last November at the ARRC members night, involves images that he made of Norfolk & Western No. 611 and No. 1218. The images were scanned from slides.

The images are presented with the music of Alison Krauss and Union Station. The 6-minute program can be seen by clicking on the link below.