I was recently going through some of my film negatives from the late 1990s looking for halfway decent photographs that I made of Conrail operations in its final two years.
I came across a negative of a guy posing in the engineer’s seat of a locomotive at Berea. The face looked familiar and after I scanned the negative I realized it was Dave Mangold.
The image was made on April 11, 1998, and Dave had just gotten aboard a train parked in the Berea siding.
In those days I often would walk with Dan Davidson from the railfan parking area to the west end of the Berea interlocking. We would stand on an abandoned bridge and photograph trains on the Chicago Line crossing the east branch of Rocky River.
One day we were standing closer to the tracks near the signal bridge when a familiar looking figure got out of a crew van. It was Dave and his conductor coming to assume their next assignment.
I wasn’t in the Akron Railroad Club then and in fact I’m not sure that I knew that it existed. But Dave gets around and I had met him at a regional meeting of the National Association of Railroad passengers in Detroit. Our paths had crossed during rail excursions in Northeast Ohio.
We chatted a bit and Dave and his conductor got to work. He apparently agreed to pose for this photo.
A lot has changed since the day this image was made. Conrail was split by Norfolk Southern and CSX just over a year after I made this photo.
I would not even think about walking to the spot where I made this image. Railroads have tightened security, particularly since 9-11. The days of being able to walk around unfettered on or near railroad property to make photographs so long as you weren’t on the tracks or doing something stupid are long past.
Dave went with NS and he still is at the controls of trains passing through Berea. I can think of at least four other occasions when I photographed him behind the throttle of an NS train with two of those occurring this year.
But Conrail 6167 went with CSX or should I say CSX chose it. The unit was repainted and renumbered to 7349.
I’ve long since given up making photographs on color negative film and, in fact, have long since given up shooting on slide film, too, in favor of digital photography.
So here is to old times even if those times were not that long ago, and to old friends.
Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders