Posts Tagged ‘Peter Bowler’

Bowler to Give Wide-Ranging Program

October 23, 2017

Peter Bowler will present a digital program at the October Akron Railroad Club meeting on Friday (Oct. 27) that will take us far and wide.

The show will be done in segments with the first those titled “Southern Swing” and covering a trip to Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia chasing steam, plus a visit to the North Carolina Transportation Museum at Spencer.

There will be a couple video clips of Norfolk & Western steam locomotive 611 inserted for fun and sound.

The second show will be a series of the best of Peter’s China trip steam videos that he ran out of time to show at the December 2015 end of year dinner.

The meeting will begin with a short business session at 8 p.m. followed by the program at approximately 8:30 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.

The Things You Do to Get a Photograph

May 18, 2017

There are tales floating around railfan circles about guys who carry saws and other equipment that they use to remove unwanted vegetation from their photographs.

Guys I know have been known to cut down small trees that were in the way. Most of the time, though, it is weeds that are being whacked or at least bent to the ground.

Last summer Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I spent some time on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern west of Port Clinton.

We were awaiting an eastbound train at a crossing. Peter decided to wade into the weeds and clear them out.

He didn’t remove all of these plants, but got enough of them out of the way to give us a more open view.

Railroad Steam Operations in China to be the Program at ARRC End of Year Dinner on Dec. 5

November 17, 2015

The Akron Railroad Club’s end of the year dinner will feature a digital program presented by Peter Bowler about steam locomotives in China.

The dinner will held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant at 3732 Darrow Road in Stow.

The event will begin with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Attendees will order from the menu and it will be individual settlement.

We’ve reserved a party room for the occasion and attendance is limited to approximately 32.

Free tickets can be obtained from Marty Surdyk at the November ARRC meeting or via mail. Contact Marty at

Peter’s program, titled China: the Twilight of Work-a-Day Steam Railroading in the World, will feature photographs that he has made during his travels to China over the past several years.

Mainline steam railroad operations in China ended in 2005 during the modernization of the country for the Summer Olympic Games, but steam remains on a few industrial and branch lines.

The program will focus on those locations, which are scattered far apart across China as well as their railways, facilities, people, and towns or cities that support them.

China Steam Focus of End of Year Dinner Program

October 4, 2015

Steam railroading operations in China will be for the focus of the Akron Railroad Club’s end of year dinner on Dec. 5.

Club member Peter Bowler will present China highlights, the Twilight of Work-a-day Steam in the World, which will feature images taken during his trip to China to record the last of steam operations.

The show will also highlight some of the cultural highlights aspects of Chinese society. “One cannot travel to China and ignore the vast differences compared to the west and USA,” Bowler said. “It is essential to understand culture to have insight into China.”

The end of year dinner will be held at the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant in Stow, the site of the previous end of year dinners.

Future details about the event will be provided at a later date.

Distinguished Career on the Erie Began Here

September 2, 2015
Peter Bowler stands at the site of the Atlantic passenger station of the Erie Railroad. His grandfather went to work here in the 19th century as a telegraph operator.

Peter Bowler stands at the site of the Atlantic passenger station of the Erie Railroad. His grandfather went to work here in the 19th century as a telegraph operator.

It was getting to be late afternoon and fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler and I were heading north on Pennsylvania Route 18 after having finished a successful chase of a train on the adjacent Bessemer Subdivision of Canadian National.

Peter was telling a story about how his grandfather got his start in the railroad business as a telegrapher for the Erie Railroad in Atlantic, Pennsylvania.

Ralph H. Wallace

Ralph H. Wallace

Atlantic is a mile east of Route 18 so I decided to drive over there to see it.

The station is long gone and Peter said the last time he was there all that remained of the depot was a concrete pad.

We pulled into town, parked in a driveway just short of the tracks and started walking next to the tracks, which today are owned by Norfolk Southern as far as Meadville, Pennsylvania.

The concrete pad that Peter had seen years before was gone. We reached what we concluded was the station site, which sits at the end of a street that dead ends near the tracks.

There isn’t much to Atlantic, just five streets total.

Peter’s story about how his grandfather began on the Erie in the late 19th century and rose to the position of passenger traffic manager for the railroad intrigued me.

A biography published in a Who’s Who in Railroading of North American noted that Ralph H. Wallace had entered railway service on March 1, 1875.

He would later hold positions as a passenger agent in Geneva, Pennsylvania; Lakewood, New York; Atlantic; and Oil City, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Wallace would be promoted to traveling passenger agent based out of Akron and worked in the Cleveland office before being transferred to New York.

He retired effective Dec. 1, 1927, after serving the Erie for nearly 53 years. He died at 74 on April 5, 1930.

After making a photo of Peter standing near the station where his grandfather had begun his railroad career, we took a swing through town and found the street that led to the station.

There were no street signs but I found out later that it was named Depot Street.

An obituary that I found about Mr. Wallace noted that he had an interest in railroad history and enjoyed sharing it with others.

Oh, the tales he could have told about working in the depot in Atlantic and what used to be here decades ago.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

It Always Helps to Get Lucky

January 2, 2011

The Akron Barberton Cluster train passes the former Erie depot in Barberton.

I have wanted to do for a long time and the opportunity finally arrived to catch a train on the old Erie mainline from Barberton to Rittman, where the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway serves Morton Salt. What I really have wanted and finally got was a shot of a very rare train passing the cute little former Erie station in Barberton.

I might claim brilliant planning and knowledge enabled me to do this, but the truth is that I was wandering around the former B&O as far west as Sterling since I had not been in that area since the signal replacements. When I saw how boring Sterling has become, I decided to head home with no definite plan other than wanting to see Rittman and Barberton to see what they are like without color position lights and if any CPLs were left other than the intermediate signals in Akron.

I was hearing the ABC on the radio, but thought it was in Akron because the reception was very strong. When I got to Rittman I drove around to the ex-Erie Depot restaurant at the backside of Morton Salt and discovered why the radio signal was strong. The ABC was switching Morton.

I hung around until I heard the train get clearance east and realized the Barberton opportunity was upon me at last. I chanced an in-between stop in Wadsworth for a shot and then raced east to Barberton to find the station.

As luck would have it, I beat them there by a couple minutes and scouted for what shot I could make. I took a series of three to four shots trying to get both the station and train fully in the frame since it is such a rare opportunity.

When that was over I ran up to Barberton to see if I could catch the move crossing over from the Erie to the ABC home track but I was too late. I saw that the CPL in Barberton west of Tuscarawas is gone and not replaced at all but there is still a CPL in Barberton 200 yards west of the ABC headquarters and it might still make a decent shot for CSX, but I tabled that until another day. I am not sure if that CPL is in working order, I rather doubt it.

Article and Photographs by Peter Bowler

The ABC switcher works at Morton Salt in Rittman.

Trains CVSR Article Done by ARRC Members

March 29, 2010

The May 2010 issue of Trains magazine that is showing up in subscriber mailboxes this week and on newsstands features an article about the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad that was written by Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders. ARRC members Roger Durfee, Peter Bowler and Robert Surdyk contributed photographs to the article.

The six-page article appears on Pages 34-39 and is headlined “Cleveland’s Streamliner Rocks.”

Sanders began working on the article last November and submitted it in late December. It is published in the annual tourist lines and museums issue.

Accompanying the article is an online only story written by Sanders about the CVSR’s Polar Express train. That feature is accompanied by five photographs taken by Bowler. It can be seen by clicking on this link:

Disney Train Visits Cleveland

October 8, 2009
Two Amtrak P42s led the Disney train promoting the movie "A Christmas Carol" into Cleveland in mid-September. (Photograph by Peter Bowler)

Two Amtrak P42s led the Disney train promoting the movie “A Christmas Carol” into Cleveland in mid-September. A Norfolk Southern estabound train passes the site in the background. (Photograph by Peter Bowler)

The Walt Disney Studios production of A Christmas Carol won’t open in theaters until November 6, but for the past several months a special train to promote the film has been touring the country.

The Disney train stopped in Cleveland for a two-day exhibit on September 16 and 17. The train was parked adjacent to Cleveland Browns Stadium and contained various exhibits related to the making of the movie, which will be shown in 3-D.

Disney executives came up with the idea of using a train to promote the film because with so many channels of communication today, including the Internet, it has become a challenge for marketing and public relations campaigns to be stand out and get widespread attention.

The tour began in Los Angeles in late May and is scheduled to end in late October in New York City.

Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler visited the train during its Cleveland stop.

Canton Railroad Book Now Available

March 4, 2009

Akron Railroad Club president Craig Sanders’ latest book, Canton Area Railroads, has been released by Arcadia Publishing. The book was written in cooperation with the Akron Railroad Club and features photographs from club members Richard Antibus, John Beach, Michael Boss, Peter Bowler, Richard Jacobs, Chris Lantz, James McMullen, Bob Redmond, Edward Ribinskas, Marty Surdyk and Paul Vernier.

The book chronicles the history and development of the railroads that served Stark, Wayne, Holmes, Carroll and Tuscarawas counties. Among the cities coverd are Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Orrville, Wooster, Dover, New Philadelphia, Dennison, Brewster, Navarre, Minerva and Sugar Creek.

Canton Area Railroads documents how railroad operations changed as the steel industry declined and railroad consolidations led to traffic shifts and route abandonments. Among the railroads that served this region were the Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio, New York Central and Wheeling & Lake Erie. The book has images of these roads plus their sucessors Penn Central, Norfolk & Western, Conrail, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Ohio Central, R.J. Corman and OhiRail.

Also discussed are modern passenger operations Amtrak, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. The book is 128 pages and has more than 200 photographs.

Canton Area Railroads is the fifth railroad history book published by Sanders. His other works include Akron Railroads, Amtrak in the Heartland, Limiteds, Locals and Expresses in Indiana, 1838-1971, and Mattoon and Charleston Area Railroads.

The ARRC will be selling copies of Canton Area Railroads at train shows and at its monthly meetings. The book is also available from  booksellers and the publisher (