Posts Tagged ‘railfan outings’

RRE Cancels October Meeting, Will Hold Railfan Outing in Vermilion on Oct. 10 Instead

October 5, 2020

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts has canceled its October meeting but instead will conduct a railfan outing in Vermilion.

The Cleveland-based group had been set to meet on Oct. 9 but will go to Vermilion on Oct. 10 weather permitting.

Norfolk Southern has two routes through Vermilion, the busy Chicago Line and the far less busy Cleveland District.

Plans are to meet in the morning at the boat launch on the Vermilion River and then move to the railfan platform downtown on Main Street in mid afternoon.

The boat launch is located off West River Road with parking in either the upper lot or at river level.

The railfan platform is located in Victory Park on the south side of the Chicago Line.

The FCD/RRE also announced that it will hold its annual turkey shoot on Thanksgiving morning in Berea.

However, rather than meet at a local restaurant for breakfast as members have traditionnaly done they plan to get coffee, donuts and breakfast sandwiches at the Dunkin’ Donouts on Front Street in Berea if it is open that day.

Cincy NRHS Chapter to Host Whitewater Valley Outing

January 15, 2020

The Cincinnati chapter of the National Railway Historical Society is sponsoring an outing on March 27 to the Whitewater Valley Railroad.

The event is being held in conjunction with the 2020 NRHS Spring Conference to be held in Cincinnati March 26-28.

The outing will begin with a bus ride from the conference hotel in West Chester, Ohio, the Marriott North, to the tourist railroad’s station in Connersville, Indiana.

Tickets are $95 per person and include transportation to and from the hotel, a six-hour one way train ride that will include photo runbys, and lunch.

To reserve a space or for further information call 513-729-1919 or send a check to treasurer Dave Price at 64 Hillcrest Drive, Springboro, OH 45066-8587.

The outing is open to the public. The registration deadline is Feb. 20.

Tickets are nonrefundable and passengers are advised that there are no restrooms aboard the train, which also is not handicapped accessible.

RRE to Hold Annual Turkey Shoot in Berea

November 25, 2019

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will hold its annual Turkey Shoot outing in Berea on Nov. 28.

The long standing event is open to everyone and anyone.

It begins when the first person shows up in Berea and ends when the last one heads for home.

Typically, an RRE member is there from sunrise to about noon.

There will be an optional breakfast that morning between 7 and 8 a.m. at Bob’s Big Boy restaurant at the corner of West 130th Street and Brookpark Road.

ARRC to Meet Aug. 23, Railfan in Vermilion Aug. 24

August 19, 2019

The Akron Railroad Club will hold its August meeting on Friday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. at the New Horizons Christian Church at 290 Darrow Road in Akron.

Three presenters will team up to give the program.

Long-time ARRC member Richard Antibus will show slides made in and around Orrville, Ohio, in the 1980s

The program will feature events that were sponsored in part by the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society and are no longer held.

Those include Orrville Depot Days, the Medina Loop excursion train, the Santa train and the Spirit of Charleston. Rich will also show many personalities of the day.

ARRC member Tom Goughnour will show photographs he made during a visit to the Whitewater Valley Railroad tourist railroad in Indiana.

Tom made a trip on the railroad from Metamora to Connersville that followed the Whitewater Canal.

He also visited a car museum in Connersville where manufactured Aburns, Duesenbergs and Cords were once built. He got a ride in one of the cars from Richmond to Cambridge City.

Brian Szemon will round out the programs with images of the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy steam locomotive during its trip last May from Evanston, Wyoming, to Ogden, Utah.

The program will offer images made at Promontory Point, Utah, after the official celebration of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

Brian may also have images shots of the UP Big Boy’s trip from Chicago to Iowa in July.

The ARRC also will be holding its annual railfan outing to Vermilion on Aug. 24 to watch and photograph Norfolk Southern operations.

The NS Chicago Line and Cleveland District pass through Vermilion.

The outing will begin at the city’s boat launch on the Vermilion River, which features a view of the Chicago Line crossing the river.

Later in the day participants will hang out at the railfan platform in downtown Vermilion next to the Chicago Line.

Those still there in the evening will have dinner at the Quaker Steak and Lube restaurant on Liberty Street east of downtown Vermilion.

RRE To Have Outing to NORM on Aug. 24

August 11, 2019

Members of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will be having an outing at the Northern Ohio Railway Museum on Aug. 24 in lieu of an August meeting.

The Cleveland-based organization normally meets on the second Friday of the month, but in past years has had a picnic on a Saturday in August.

NORM is located on Buffham Road between Chippewa Lake and Seville.

There is no admission charge to the museum, but donations are requested.

A highlight of the museum are short trips aboard a 1914 Cleveland trolley car.

There is a $4 charge for adults and $2 for children ages 6-12 to ride the car, but a ticket enables the holder to have unlimited rides.

The car runs on a short stretch of track on the museum grounds usually twice a month during the summer.

Upcoming dates for the car to be operating are Aug. 24, Sept. 14 and 28, and Oct. 12.

McKay Day 2019

May 5, 2019

There was still some fog hanging in the air as CSX intermodal train Q020 passed through Berea during the 2019 Akron Railroad Club Dave McKay Day.

A variety of atmospheric conditions have greeted those participating in the annual Dave McKay Day outing to Berea since the first one began in a snowstorm in 2005.

Add rain and fog to the list.

Traditionally, the McKay Day outing was held on the first Saturday of April. But this year the officers decided to make it the first Saturday in May.

That’s wasn’t a bad idea, but this year it didn’t work. The first Saturday in April had much better weather.

Fog gripped Berea just after sunrise on May 4, 2019. I arrived around 7:20 a.m. and figured that maybe I could get some special effects images due to the fog.

However, there wasn’t enough fog to create any special effects and by the time the first train came through — CSX eastbound stack train Q020 — the fog had begun lifting.

For about two hours I was the only ARRC member on hand. Then I was joined by Bill Kubas, Rick Houck and Paul Woodring. Former members Alex Bruchac and Dennis Taksar joined just later in the day.

The train action was fairly stead with no hour-long lulls. There were a few trains with the usual suspects of foreign power, including BNSF, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National.

A fair number of Union Pacific units came through, but all were trailing.

No special interest locomotives made an appearance unless you count the Erie heritage unit that came through on the lead of 21M in the middle of the night when no one was around.

For the most part it was just the usual assortment of traffic you can expect to see in Berea during daylight hours on any given day.

CSX is making greater use of distributed power, which we saw on crude oil, intermodal and manifest freights.

The weather never improved much during the day. It was cloudy and cool, not ideal conditions for making photographs. For the most part, my camera stayed in its bag during the day.

It was a nice day, though, to have conversation. Socializing is, of course, one of the main purposes of these events.

Although the event is named after the late David McKay, we never talked about him during our conversations. Maybe that’s to be expected given that he’s been gone for 14 years.

I did think about Dave as I drifted westward on the grassy strip next to the CSX tracks.

I noticed that some shine on the lettering on the memorial plaque commemorating Dave is starting to wear off.

I also wondered what happened to that simple folding chair he used to sit on while awaiting the next train. He’d place that chair under a tree that still stands near his memorial.

Presumably, the McKay Day outing will continue in 2020. With attendance being very light in recent years it’s not what it used to be.

McKay Day was traditionally first ARRC outing of the year. Whatever happens to the McKay Day down the road, one thing will remain the same. There will still be lot of trains passing Dave’s memorial in Berea.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A few flats cars of vehicles was in the consist of Norfolk Southern train 14N. Are these military vehicles?

An eastbound CSX manifest freight with a cut of grain hoppers behind the motive power.

A pair of Canadian National locomotives headed a westbound CSX auto rack train.

Trying to Stay Dry on Vermilion Day

August 29, 2018

An eastbound coal train crosses the Vermilion River on the Chicago Line at about 4:30 p.m. during the Akron Railroad Club outing in Vermilion. Where was a boat on the river when we needed it?

It started with rain and ended with rain. In between we managed to see some Norfolk Southern action interspersed with long periods of waiting.

And that in a nutshell summarizes the 2018 Akron Railroad Club day in Vermilion that was attended by eight members.

As we expected, most of the action was on the Chicago Line, which boasted its usual assortment of manifests, intermodals and single commodity trains.

But the iffy weather meant that few boats were plying the Vermilion River by the boat launch that was our base of operations for much of the day.

No NS heritage units came through but the 9-1-1 unit made an appearance late in the afternoon trailing in the motive power consist of a coal train.

Two ARRC members saw it from the rail platform in downtown Vermilion, but three of us missed it because we were in Huron seeking photographs of trains passing beneath the old signal bridge with its Type G signal heads that NS is about to replace.

It took a long wait before an eastbound and westbound came through Huron.

In the meantime, we heard the Toledo East dispatcher talking to trains east of us and multiple trains coming onto the Chicago Line and turning west in Sandusky from the Sandusky District.

Those of us in Huron missed the 9-1-1 unit because its train diverged from the Chicago Line west of Vermilion and went to the Cleveland District en route to Bellevue.

The Cleveland District, which is the former Nickel Plate Road mainline, was largely quiet during the day.

As I arrived in the Vermilion area I spotted an eastbound stack train east of town on the Cleveland District.

Presumably it was either the 206 or the 22K and had taken the new connection west of Vermilion that allows eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to move onto the Cleveland District.

Otherwise, the only other train on the Cleveland District was eastbound manifest freight 210, which had one locomotive on each end, something we’d never seen on this train.

One eastbound coal train came past with BNSF motive power and a few trains had former CSX units still wearing their CSX colors.

The rain stopped around mid day and gradually the clouds moved out to afford us alternating sunny skies and conditions of sun and clouds.

But as the five of us who had dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube came out of the restaurant about 9:45 p.m. light rain was falling and continued to fall throughout my drive home. Maybe that was a fitting way to end our day.

ARRC member Todd Vander Sluis (blue shirt) watches the L13 as it passes the former passenger station in Vermilion.

ARRC member Alan Nagy gets video of westbound NS stack train 25V as it races through Vermilion. It was the last train we saw before going to dinner and then calling it a day.

An Obscure West Virginia Short Line

August 10, 2018

Here are two Ed Treesh photos and their closer crops. They were taken on a Cherry River Boom and Lumber fan trip at Richwood, West Virginia in June 1958. The top two photos show CRB&L No. 3, a GE 70 ton switcher.

The next two photographs feature bay window caboose No. 9.

Photographs Courtesy of Robert Farkas

Memories of My First CVSR Trip

May 17, 2018

My first photograph of a Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train came during a railfan event. It would be another decade before I saw the CVSR again.

Twenty-one years ago today I saw and rode the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for the first time.

I was a passenger on a railfan special that traveled the length of the CVSR.

I don’t remember how I learned about this event. Maybe I read about it in The Plain Dealer.

At the time I didn’t belong to any railroad clubs and the only railfans I knew were a few guys I regularly saw in Berea.

I bought my ticket by phone and during that conversation the ticket agent asked if I also wanted to buy a cab ride. Sure, why not.

Aboard that day were at least three Akron Railroad Club members: Marty Surdyk, Robert Farkas and the late Dave McKay. There may have been others.

Little did I know that photographs made by Marty and Bob on this day would later turn up in book I would publish about the CVSR.

Although I don’t remember it, my rail travel logs indicate the event started at Boston Mill station with the train being pulled to Rockside Road station by RS3 No. 4099.

It would be my first and only time to see that locomotive, which in the CVSR’s early diesel era was one of its workhorses.

At Rockside Road, we got off and did one of many photo ops staged for us by the crew.

This one involved the conductor and two crew members comparing watches and train orders on the platform.

There was also a handing up of train orders at Jaite, a scene of a pickup truck and tractor waiting at a rural road crossing that was located at Szalay’s Farm, and a “farmer” handing up milk cans to a crew member in the baggage section of the combine.

There were photo runbys at various places, including just south of Pleasant Valley Road, along the Cuyahoga River just south of Fitzwater Yard – although it wasn’t a railroad shop at the time – and at Brecksville to get the classic Ohio Route 82 bridge shot.

For the latter, the CVSR got permission from the National Park Service to cut down vegetation growing along the bank of the Cuyahoga River so as to afford a more open view of the train.

There probably were other photo runbys, but I don’t remember where they were. I knew virtually nothing about the CVSR of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in those days.

The train arrived in Akron at the site of today’s Northside Station and we rode buses to the Spaghetti Warehouse to have lunch.

It was one of two times I’ve eaten there. The other time occurred in summer 2013 when fellow ARRC member Paul Woodring and I were scouting for a place to hold the first end of year dinner.

My cab ride came during the last segment of the event. I don’t remember where I got on at, but it probably was at Indigo Lake.

I rode in the cab of FPA-4 No. 14, which today is CVSR No. 6777. The other FPA-4 in the motive power consist was No. 15, which today is CVSR No. 6771.

At the time, CVSR locomotives had a red, black and gold livery that heavily emphasized the gold. It has since been revised to emphasize black on the flanks.

The railfan event was one of just two times that I’ve seen lounge-observation car Saint Lucie Sound operate uncovered.

Most of the time, the observation end of the former Florida East Coast car is covered by a locomotive due to trains operating with motive power on each end.

I don’t recall us being allowed into the Saint Lucie Sound during our trip.

It would be just over a decade before I again rode and saw the CVSR. I’ve been trying to make up lost ground ever since in documenting the CVSR.

There is much I’ve missed that I could have recorded. I arrived in Northeast Ohio three years too late to see former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 light Mikado No. 4070 on the then-named Cuyahoga Valley Line.

I missed the Delaware & Hudson look-alike livery era even though it played out during my earlier years here.

The photographs I made of that railfan trip from 1997 are my only ones of CVSR locomotives in that first red, gold and black livery.

Given that the CVSR has moved to nearly all year scheduled operations on weekends, it would be difficult to duplicate this event.

It would have to be done on a weekend in the off-season and that would not encourage ridership.

Like so many railfan events, it was a good things that I did it when I did.

Comparing watches at Rockside Road station.

Creating a farm road scene at Szaly’s Farm.

Coming into Peninsula during my cab ride.

We were able to see Saint Lucie Sound operate as it was designed to operate.

Handing up train orders at Jaite.

ARRC Longest Day is Sunday in Bellevue

June 21, 2017

The Akron Railroad Club will use the Kemper Railfan Park in Bellevue for its base of operations for the 2017 longest day outing.

Although it has been less than two years since the Akron Railroad Club held an outing in Bellevue, the club’s last longest day outing there occurred on June 27, 2010.

The outing was memorable for being cut short in late afternoon by a major thunderstorm.

We retreated to the Bob Evans restaurant in Norwalk for dinner and were greeted with a rainbow upon leaving. By then the storm had moved on.

Much has changed since the last ARRC longest day in Bellevue. The NS motive power fleet has grown more colorful with the addition of 20 heritage locomotives paying tribute to NS predecessor railroad.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has added a railfan park on Monroe Street inside the NS mini plant, and the yard has been enlarged and named after former NS President and CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman.

With any luck we will be able to bag an NS heritage locomotive and maybe a train or two on the Wheeling & Lake Erie, which also comes into Bellevue.

Foreign power from Union Pacific, BNSF and Canadian National makes regular appearances in Bellevue.

It’s a given that there will be a lot of trains throughout the day. But we won’t be seeing the RoadRailer trains that we saw in 2010 and high-hood diesels, once a common sight in Bellevue, are pretty much gone.

Also gone are the Nickel Plate Road-style block signals on the Fostoria District, the Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals on the Sandusky District and the searchlight signals on the Toledo District. They’ve all been replaced by Safetrans signals.

The traffic mix will be mostly merchandise freight and auto rack trains. Some intermodal trains run on the Sandusky District, many of which take a connection between the Sandusky and Fostoria districts near Slaughterhouse Road on the south side of town.

As with other ARRC longest day events, it begins when the first person arrives and ends when the last person leaves.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum will be open between noon and 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (age 60 and older) and $5 for children (ages 5 to 12).

A portion of the museum’s collection, though, can be seen for free. This includes some locomotives and rolling stock.

Those still around at the end of the day will likely gather somewhere for dinner before heading home.

Maybe it will be the Bob Evans in Norwalk or somewhere else. It remains to be seen.

The focal point of the day will be the Kemper Railfan Park. It features a pavilion with tables and is strategically located to see most rail traffic in and out of Bellevue.

Parking along Monroe Street at the park is limited, so you might have to park across the tracks in a large gravel lot.

Also be advised that there are no restroom facilities at the railfan park.

As for food, there is a pizza shop (Pizza House West) within walking distance that is said by some railfans to be good. Subway has a shop at 301 East Main Street and there are a variety of restaurants in town including the standard fast food joints of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, East of Chicago Pizza, Marco’s Pizza, Burger King and Taco Bell.

Local establishments include Bone Boy’s BBQ The Smokehouse, Pizza Wheel, Twin Lakes Restaurant, Jenny’s Amsden House Restaurant, Happy Garden, Fontana’s Italian Eatery, Casa Mexicana, Little Italy Pizza, and Long Way Home Family Restaurant.