Posts Tagged ‘PRR Cleveland Akron & Columbus line’

All That Was Left of the CA&C in Warwick

October 27, 2021

It is November 1988 in Warwick where all that is left of the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad line to Orrville and Columbus is this short stub passing in front of Warwick Tower. Originally, this route was known as the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus. Soon this track and the crossings would be gone as well as one of the two lines being crossed. The line that would be left would become an R.J. Corman line.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

CA&C Article Appears in Conrail Quarterly

July 4, 2021

An article by Dennis Fravel about the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus will be published this month by Conrail Quarterly.

The article is titled The Main Line That Never Was and included numerous photographs made between Hudson and Orrville,

Fravel said those were provided by the Conrail Historical Society were easier to obtain than images made on the Akron/Mt. Vernon Secondary.

The article is focused on the Conrail era and the line’s eventual demise. However, the article has some history and discussion of the line’s legacy.

Fravel, a Columbus resident, presented a program on the CA&C at the Akron Railroad’s Club’s end of year dinner in December 2018.

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

Taking the Farkas Challenge: One Afternoon When Akron’s First Railroad was in its Final Days

August 1, 2016

Farkas Antibus

The first train chugged into Akron on July 4, 1852, amid much celebration. It came from Hudson on the Akron Branch of the newly-built Cleveland & Pittsburgh.

Akron’s first rail line eventually became part of the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad network and the Akron Branch was extended to Columbus.

Shown is a CSX rail train on the former Akron Branch on Sept. 30, 2001. It would be one of the last trains to use the line within Akron proper.

The image was made by Richard Antibus and is my nomination on his behalf for the Farkas challenge.

A CSX train is on these rails because the railroad had considered rehabilitating the Akron Branch and using it as a second mainline between AY (Arlington Street) and Cuyahoga Falls.

Instead, the Akron branch was abandoned and the rails were pulled up. The track remains in place between Cuyahoga Falls and Hudson, having been railbanked by Akron Metro. But those rails have been dormant for several years.

Likewise it has been a while since the PRR position light signals here have been used and one signal head has been turned to show that it is out of service.

The other signal was probably used as a “distant signal” in advance of AY, a role it will no longer be serving for much longer.

So much of Akron’s railroad history is “what used to be.”

Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin expression that has been widely interpreted to mean “wordly things are fleeting.”

And so it would seem are railroad lines. The Akron Branch served Akron well for more than a century, so we wouldn’t necessarily call its existence fleeting.

Yet for those in the Akron Railroad Club who grew up in or near Akron, their acquaintance with the Akron Branch has been quite fleeting.

Article by Craig Sanders, Photograph by Richard Antibus

Searching for the CA&C in Apple Creek

July 9, 2015

The  view of the unused Cleveland, Akron & Columbus in the early 1970s.

The view of the unused Cleveland, Akron & Columbus in the early 1970s in Apple Creek.

Not only are the tracks gone today, but the mill now has two additions and a slightly different look.

Not only are the tracks gone today, but the mill now has two additions and a slightly different look. The Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station may have been somewhere in this vicinity at one time.

The pastor giving the eulogy at the funeral for Richard Jacobs invoked the metaphor of a steam locomotive in describing Jake’s life.

As I listened, I turned to gaze at the stain glass windows of the United Methodist Church of Apple Creek and wondered when was the last time that the noise of a train vibrated those windows or that a locomotive horn was heard inside this sanctuary.

Apple Creek was served by a Pennsylvania Railroad branch between Orrville and Columbus that was often known as the CA&C (Cleveland, Akron & Columbus).

The line had a number of names before being taken over by the Pennsy, but the CA&C moniker stuck even decades after that company ceased to exist.

I knew that part of the ex-CA&C had been washed out during a drenching storm of July 4, 1969, and that service was never re-instituted between Orrville and Holmesville.

Apple Creek is located between those points and even as I listened to Jake’s eulogy I knew the answer to my question.

The ex-CA&C was never a busy rail line, but it was once an important one because it was the most direct route the Pennsylvania had between Cleveland and Columbus even if the route was meandering and featured a stiff grade over Baddow Pass.

Passenger service lasted until December 1950 in the form of an overnight diesel-powered Cleveland-Cincinnati train that did not stop in Apple Creek. As late as 1948, the PRR ran a pair of local passenger trains between Akron and Columbus that did call on Apple Creek.

In its final days of PRR stewardship, there was a pair of Cleveland-Columbus manifest freights, FC-1 and FC-2, which primarily conveyed boxcars of auto parts from Bedford and Twinsburg to assembly plants of Ford and Chrysler in the South and West.

With the coming of Penn Central, those trains were shifted to the former Big Four route between Cleveland and Columbus and the CA&C through Apple Creek saw only a pair of daily locals between Columbus and Orrville.

Then the washout came and the locals began operating Columbus-Millersburg, running north to Holmesville only as needed. No longer could train horns be heard inside the Methodist Church in Apple Creek.

Of course, at one time I imagine that folks sitting in this sanctuary must have heard the sound of Pennsy steam locomotives blowing for the crossing a few blocks down Main Street, which today doubles as U.S. Route 250.

As the pastor eulogizing Jake noted, a steam locomotive whistle has a distinctive sound that no one ever forgets and which has the ability to travel some distance. It can fill up a room, including a nearby church sanctuary.

At one time, steam locomotive whistles were an everyday occurrence in Apple Creek. But that was long ago.

After the service ended, I made a right turn out of the church parking lot and went to find the CA&C.

I wasn’t expecting to see railroad tracks. Those had been pulled up after abandonment was authorized in 1972. But often there are reminders of a railroad and I wanted to see if one peculiar to Apple Creek still existed.

While doing my book Canton Area Railroads, my friend Jeff Darbee had provide two images that he made in Apple Creek in the early 1970s.

One showed the rusty rails of the ex-C&AC and other showed a stone flower garden pot inscribed with the initials “CA&C.”

The flower garden pot, it turned out, was easy to find. It still sits right off Main Street and is in much better condition today than it was when Jeff photographed it more than 40 years ago.

But where were the tracks? A Rand McNally atlas of the Akron and Canton region covers Apple Creek and the maps show the railroad tracks as though it is still the 1950s.

The tracks were situated between Maple and High streets. Jeff’s photos showed an open area with a couple of structures in the background, one of which was a mill.

Those buildings still stand, although the mill has been modified and gained a couple of additions over the years.

There is an alley next to those buildings that I thought might have been the railway right of way, but the map showed two railroads tracks, one of which presumably was a siding for the mill.

In Jeff’s photo, corn is being loaded into a truck next to the mill and there is no railroad track there, suggesting that rail service must have ended quite some time before his visit.

The only track left when Jeff visited was located several hundred feet out from the mill and a three story building that looks much today as it did in the early 1970s.

The open area shown in Jeff’s photo is not so open anymore. A modern building that contains a post office and a Dollar General store sits there now.

I walked around to see if I could locate the former railroad right of way.

But the landscape has been reworked so much over the years that the tell-tale signs of a railroad right of way have vanished as earth was moved and reshaped.

Behind a long shed, I found a concrete footing that might have been the easternmost support structure for a railroad bridge over Apple Creek.

Yet the bottom land fields west of the creek are noticeably lower than the bluff on which I was standing. That suggested the railroad must have had what might have been an impressive bridge over the creek.

I drove out Bank Street and turned right onto Apple Creek Road in search of the remnant of a railroad right of way, a grade crossing.

It was not hard to find. There was a narrow, but level, open strip of land between two fields that led into town. On the other side, I detected a slightly raised linear strip of land that must have been the right of way.

Part of this has been paved and at first I thought it might be a hiking trail. But it turned out to be a driveway to someone’s home.

I drove back into town and went out on High Street because the map showed the railroad running parallel with that street.

I didn’t see any evidence of a railroad right of way, but the map said a railroad track used to run here and I could only conclude that the terrain has been reshaped since the rails were pulled up.

A short distance later, High Street made a rightward jog and I saw signs that there used to be a grade crossing here. On one side of the road were trees while on the other side was a farmer’s field.

There was a short stretch of elevated land that was even with the road on each side, which is often evidence that a railroad used to cross here.

But the elevation quickly drops slightly in that field. The railroad or a salvage company would have scooped up as much ballast as they could and the farmer would have plowed the land and in the process made the former right of way level with the rest of the field.

The next day I found two aerial maps of Apple Creek and they confirmed my theories of where the ex-C&AC tracks once ran.

Even though the rails had been pulled up and the roadbed flattened or reshaped, a former railroad right of way still tends to be stand out in an aerial photo.

The apparent path of the ex-CA&C that I had found the day before could be seen in the aerial photos, which matched the map showing the rail line.

As I drove through the countryside looking for the ex-CA&C, it occurred to me that this was the type of activity that Jake might have enjoyed doing.

Instead, it was because I traveled to Apple Creek on a Sunday afternoon to say farewell to Jake that I had the opportunity to look around for a long-abandoned railroad.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A 19th century monument that was, perhaps, funded in part by the CA&C was looking rather down on its heels in the early 1970s.

A 19th century monument that was, perhaps, funded in part by the CA&C was looking rather down on its heels in the early 1970s.

Today, the monument that was neglected in the early 1970s has been spruced up and looks rather grand.

Today, the monument that was neglected in the early 1970s has been spruced up and looks rather grand.

"C.A.&C." inscription on a monument dedicated on July 4, 1897

“C.A.&C.” inscription on a monument dedicated on July 4, 1897. The monument has easily outlived the railroad, no matter what name it was operated under.

The area between Maple Street at far right and those buildings at far left were once railroad space. Now that space is filled with a building housing the post office, a Dollar General store and (in the foreground), a small park. The statue has a railroad connection. It depicts Pvt. William Knight, an Apple Creek Civil War solider awarded the Medal of Honor for his role as the locomotive engineer for Andrew's Raiders, which captured the Confederate locomotive "General."

The area between Maple Street at far right and those buildings at far left were once railroad space. Now that space is filled with a building housing the post office, a Dollar General store and (in the foreground), a small park. The statue has a railroad connection. It depicts Pvt. William Knight, an Apple Creek Civil War solider awarded the Medal of Honor for his role as the locomotive engineer for Andrews’ Raiders, which captured the Confederate locomotive “General,” touching off The Great Locomotive Chase of 1862 in Georgia.

This appears to be the east abutment for the bridge carrying the CA&C over Apple Creek.

This appears to be the east abutment for the bridge carrying the CA&C over Apple Creek.

Looking toward Apple Creek, the tracks would have crossed the creek just beyond the trees in the distance. The former CA&C right away today splits two fields.

Looking toward Apple Creek, the tracks would have crossed the creek just beyond the trees in the distance. The former CA&C right of way today splits two fields.

Looking west-southwest from Apple Creek Road. Maps show the tracks curving in the same direction as the concrete driveway here today. The slightly elevated ground also suggests a former railroad right of way.

Looking west-southwest from Apple Creek Road. Maps show the tracks curving in the same direction as the concrete driveway here today. The slightly elevated ground also suggests a former railroad right of way.

Northeast of town the CA&C crossed High Street here. Note how the road from the right curves upward to a crown that suggests the tracks crossed on that crown. The view is looking northeastward. Somewhere in this area, a spur came off the CA&C and branched off to the left.

Northeast of town the CA&C crossed High Street here. Note how the road from the right curves upward to a crown that suggests the tracks crossed on that crown. The view is looking northeastward. Somewhere in this area, a spur came off the CA&C and branched off to the left.

 

Hudson Depot Not Long for This World

January 3, 2012

The new year is unlikely to hold good fortune for the abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad depot in Hudson. Efforts to raise funds to preserve the building fell well short of the amount needed to move the building for future restoration.

Norfolk Southern waited patiently in hopes of positive results but it has been notified that the group has given up, so down she will come. When is uncertain.

Hudson was once an important junction on the PRR’s Cleveland & Pittsburgh line. It was here that connections were made with the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus line, another PRR-owned line.  In 1941, 36 passenger trains would stop here daily.  Doodlebugs were a common site making connections from the CA&C with C&P trains.

During the holidays I took a trip there to get some photos.  The top photo one is the depot looking north along the C&P.  The second photo is looking south. To the right is the CA&C line that goes south through Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and Orrville.

Passengers from Cleveland wanting to travel west on the PRR had a disadvantage of traveling quite a distance south before transferring to a westbound train in either Alliance or Orrville.  In the same time frame, the westbound traveler on the New York Central from Cleveland was well on his way, west of Sandusky and nearing Toledo.

The third shot is from my collection and features the Hudson depot with a doodlebug on the CA&C making a connection with a northbound C&P passenger train.  As you can see when you compare the photos of today, much has changed.

Article and Photographs by Dan Davidson