Posts Tagged ‘Railfanning in Akron Ohio’

Another Take on the New Look CVSR 6771

June 5, 2016




On Saturday Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway FPA4 No. 6771, which was originally built in 1959 for Canadian National, returned to service.

It has a new paint job that features a deeper maroon stripe instead of red and a V stripe on the nose.

I went out and got a few photographs of it in Brecksville (top image) and in Akron (middle and bottom images.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

CVSR Debuts on Saturday the 3rd Generation of its Gold, Red and Black Locomotive Livery

June 4, 2016
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad No. FPA4 No. 6771 shows off its new look at Peninsula on the north end of the National Park Scenic.

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA4 No. 6771 shows off its new look at Peninsula on the north end of the National Park Scenic.

Here are a few photographs from Saturday (June 4) morning’s first public run of freshly-painted Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad FPA4 No. 6771.

The former Canadian National and VIA Rail Canada veteran carries a modified scheme that features a new nose design.

Built in January 1959 by Montreal Locomotive Works, it carried CN roster number 6771, which it retained through its service for VIA.

It became No. 305 when it worked on the Western Maryland Scenic and No. 15 during its early days on the CVSR when it was known as the Cuyahoga Valley Line and sported a Delaware & Hudson look alike livery.

It initially retained roster No. 15 after being repainted in the first rendition of the CVSR gold, red and black livery. Its current look is the third version of that livery, although the latest look is not substantially different from the second generation.

It was in active service last fall when it was paired with No. 800, which wears the Baltimore & Ohio tribute livery, during the fall foliage season.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

The next three photographs were all made at Boston Mill station.

The next three photographs were all made at Boston Mill station.



A lock of the Ohio & Erie Canal in Akron.

A lock of the Ohio & Erie Canal in Akron.

Crossing the Towpath Trail in Akron.

Crossing the Towpath Trail in Akron.

The Akron firefighters in the Indigo Lake photos were setting up to practice water rescues.

The Akron firefighters in the Indigo Lake photos were setting up to practice water rescues.

CVSR No. 800 was on the south end of the Scenic as it passed Indigo Lake.

CVSR No. 800 was on the south end of the Scenic as it passed Indigo Lake.


Another view at the Peninsula station during a service stop.

Taking the Farkas Challenge: EL Akron Memories

May 31, 2016

EL image

If he was still here, the late Richard Jacobs might have been the first Akron Railroad Club to step up and take the Farkas challenge of providing a best or most memorable image made while railfanning in Akron.

But Jake died nearly a year ago so I am going to select my favorite photo of his that he made in Akron.

It is March 1976 and a westbound Erie Lackawanna train sits beneath the Thornton Street overpass near the Erie yard in downtown Akron. The EL has less than a month to live before it is folded into Conrail.

Once that happens, much of the EL in Ohio and Indiana is going to be doomed as the planners who created Conrail saw no use for it except, perhaps, if purchased by another railroad(s).

But on this day the EL is still the EL and looking quite sharp.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the brightly-painted EL locomotives provided a splash of color compared with the dark tones and Spartan liveries of Penn Central and the Baltimore & Ohio.

EL No. 3652 is an SDP45 that was designed for passenger service, but the EL acquired 34 of them and assigned them to freight service.

The SDP45 was a stretched version of the SD45 and its longer frame enabled the installation of larger fuel tanks. That meant a train could run between Chicago and the East Coast without having to refuel.

This image was published in my book Akron Railroads. Had Jake still been around when I was working on the color version of Akron Railroads I’m sure he would have allowed me to use it.

This image not only portrayed the EL well, but it also is good reflection of the Akron railroad scene before the great transformation began in the late 1970s that has wiped out much of the railroad infrastructure in downtown Akron.

Whenever I look at this image, I will always remember Jake. I can see him sitting next to the EL tracks somewhere west of Akron on a Sunday afternoon taking in the action of one of his favorite railroads.

Article by Craig Sanders, Photograph by Richard Jacobs

Taking the Farkas Challenge: My Best Akron Photo is One of My Best of All Time Anywhere

May 29, 2016


It didn’t take long to figure out my favorite train photo taken in Akron.

This backlighted photo of Nickel Plate Road No.765 crossing the old PA&W bridge is easily my best in Akron and maybe ever.

It’s from the ferry move in 2013. I had been chasing it from Norwalk and on this occasion it came into Akron with some daylight remaining. Previously it had always arrived after dark.

I had always wanted to get a train on this bridge and had with some Wheeling & Lake Erie trains but the results were less than satisfactory. Either the light wasn’t right or the train was moving in the wrong direction. It was always something.

On this night, the light was back lighted pretty well. Most people in order to get a good color photo would shoot it going away and I had even considered that myself. It would have made a great photo but instead I went for this angle and got an awesome photo instead.

I love how the sun lights up all the details that would normally be in shadow.

Article and Photograph by Todd Dillon 

Taking the Farkas Challenge: My Favorite Railfanning Photograph Made in Akron

May 27, 2016

April 30, 2006 in Akron

Fellow Akron Railroad Club member Robert Farkas challenged us to contribute to this blog our favorite railroad photograph made in Akron.

The image shown above immediately came to mind. I made it on April 30, 2006. It features a westbound manifest freight passing the former Akron Union Depot.

On the point is a “rent a wreck” locomotive. The trailing unit is either owned by Union Pacific or used to be because it appears to wear a UP livery.

Akron Union Depot is something of a mystery to me because I’ve never been inside the building, which the University of Akron has transformed into a continuing education center.

Nor do I know what the interior looked liked when it was a train station. I’ve seen only one photograph of the inside of the station and it showed the upper level of the concourse.

I’ve never seen images of the waiting room or the head house. If any present ARRC members have photographed the interior of the station, they’ve never shown those images during a club program.

Most ARRC members came of age after passenger service here ended on May 1, 1971, with the coming of Amtrak so by the time they began photographing, Akron Union Depot no longer served as a passenger station.

This is the third union station to serve Akron. It opened in the early 1950s and was used by just two railroads, the Baltimore & Ohio, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Erie Railroad elected to build its own depot across the tracks.

The PRR used Akron Union Depot less than a decade, so the B&O was the primary tenant over the two-decade period when this was a train station. The campaign to have this station built took far longer than the time that the depot served as a passenger train station.

Still, that was enough time for a lot of history to be made and for countless numbers of people to have begun or ended their journey by rail on this platform.

There was a time in the 1950s when Union Depot figured in the activities of the ARRC. Club members sometimes rode the PRR shuttle train to and from Hudson during meetings. At other times, they would board a train here, ride to another city where they conducted their meeting and then returned to Akron, sometimes on a different railroad.

Since this image was made, the train sheds and platform have been removed. For a while, the building itself was in danger of being razed by UA in order to construct a new law school.

But the university has moved in a different direction on the law school, electing to renovate and expand the existing building. So, for now at least, Akron Union Station continues to stand, albeit with virtually every feature of its passenger train days having been removed or modified.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Take the Challenge: What Photograph Reflects Your Favorite Akron Railfanning Memory and Why

May 26, 2016


With the Akron Railroad Club about to celebrate its 80th year, I have a challenge. Pick one photo from your many that captures an Akron railfanning memory.

Perhaps it will be from your early years or one you took this week, but chose one with meaning to you.

Let’s post a memory on the blog from as many members as possible. Let this be a blog “celebration” of our heritage.

If you would, tell a little bit about why this is special to you.

Here’s mine: Erie Lackawanna 818 with the westbound Lake Cities is passing under the Union Depot walk bridge on a snowy late-1960s morning.

Mike Ondecker introduced me to railfanning in 1965. He told me steam might be gone, but many early diesels also were disappearing.

He had the knowledge and I had the camera. We started going railfanning as many times as possible.

At the time we both went to Kent State and called Kent and Akron our two favorite locations.

The weather did not matter. We went out.

The EL was our favorite railroad and I took quite a few black and white photos and then switched to slides.

Yes, I also took Baltimore & Ohio, Pennsylvania Railroad, Akron & Barberton Belt, Akron, Canton  & Youngstown, etc., but the EL had a special place in my heart.

Many of my current friends are railfans I met years ago including members of the club, so railfanning to me is about both friendships and photos.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

An Akron Railroad Scene Imagined in Layers

May 11, 2016


It is May 1974 in Akron and this is looking west across the Erie Lackawanna yard. Imagine this is in layers.

First there is a Pennsylvania Railroad gondola on the now-removed Penn Central track nearest the viewer.

Then come the hidden two-track Chessie System mainline (now CSX) and the hidden and now-removed two track EL mainline.

To the left is the EL yard office. Behind it are yard tracks. There is an EL transfer caboose on one. Behind it is Erie Railroad 520, and behind that is Sperry 125.

If you look closely behind Sperry 125, you can see the track leading to the bakery and the EL-served bakery.

Today only the two CSX tracks and Sperry 125 survive.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Another View of the Akron Brewing Building

April 29, 2016


Roger Durfee and I both spent a great deal of time within view of the Akron Brewing building. Here is an image from an earlier time.

Westbound Erie Lackawanna 2504, Reading 3604 and Penn Central 1730 approach the same building on June 12, 1976, during the early Conrail “any lash-up goes” period.

Today, this scene is virtually all memories. The Akron Brewing building with its Admiral Television sign on a north wall, the EL, RDG, PC, most of the trackage, and the other building are history with only our memories and slides to help preserve the past.

The building, by the way, is being razed to make room for a rebuilding of an exit ramp from Interstates 76 and 77.

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas

Another Akron Landmark is Falling

April 28, 2016



Work continues on the demolition of the former Akron Brewing building near Voris Street in Akron. I’m sad to see this one go as it’s been in thousands of my photos over the years. I was happy to catch a trio of “tigers” passing it last week as the demolition started.

Photographs by Roger Durfee




Another Successful ‘Easter Egg Hunt’

March 29, 2016





Over the Easter weekend I ended up with some colorful lashups while railfanning in a sort of Easter Egg hunt.

On Saturday I got a GATX GP15 going west on a Norfolk Southern freight at Alliance. Later that afternoon I caught a “skittles” lashup of Wheeling & Lake Erie power at Summit Street in Akron.

On Sunday, I found a Union Pacific GE in a westbound NS coal train. The engines were making some nice smoke effects.

Finally, I got an eastbound oil train which I chased down the Bayard line. A scenic photo at the dairy farm at Moultrie finished off my weekend.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon