Posts Tagged ‘railroad club meetings’

Slide Show to Highlight ARRC Meeting

September 23, 2021

A good old fashioned slide show is in store for the September meeting of the Akron Railroad Club on Friday.

Rick Varga will present Kodachrome slides made during the 1980s and 1990s. The program will include images of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, Conrail and CSX.

Varga, who recently retired after a career as an operating employee of Norfolk Southern, plans to emphasize in his program how CSX has changed over the years.

The club will meet on Friday (Sept. 24) at 8 p.m. at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

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

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Denny’s restaurant on Main Street in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Next month the ARRC plans to hold its annual member’s night. It is set for Oct. 23, which is a Saturday.

Members who plan to show slides or digital images during member’s night or who simply plan to attend and watch the shows will be asked to indicate their interest on a signup sheet at the September meeting.

The ARRC officers said this would give the club an idea of how many pizzas to order for the event.

As in past years, member’s night attendees will pay a $5 cover charge to cover the cost of the pizzas and some carbonated beverages and water.

Attendees of the member’s night event are encouraged to bring non-alcoholic beverages and snacks such as pretzels and chips.

The officers said those planning to show slides or digital images should limit their program to 10 to 12 minutes, showing 35 to 45 images.

There will be no business meeting during the member’s night event. Those who are unable to sign up at the September meeting are asked to contact Vice President Bill Kubas at 330-928-7025 ( or acting Secretary Dave Kachinko at 440-537-6487 ( to indicate they are coming.

Doors will open on member’s night at 5:45 p.m. with pizza being served at 6:30 p.m. Presentations are expected to begin about 7 p.m.

Sanders to Present CONO Program on Zoom to Potomac Chapter NRHS

April 19, 2021

Former Akron Railroad Club president Craig Sanders will present his program on the famous railroad song City of New Orleans to the Potomac Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society via Zoom on Tuesday night.

The meeting, which begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, is open to all and can be accessed via the link below:

Meeting ID: 858 7288 4361
Passcode: 953143

Sanders will discuss how songwriter Steve Goodman came to write about the train with the disappearing railroad blues and how he went about trying to get a known performer to record it.

Although several artists have recorded City of New Orleans over the years the best known rendition was sang by Arlo Guthrie.

The Guthrie version reached the top 20 in summer 1972. A version sung by Willie Nelson became a No. 1 country hit in 1984 and earned Goodman a posthumous Grammy award a year later.

RRE to Meet Trackside in Berea on April 10

April 5, 2021

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts plans to resume in-person meetings this month.

The club has announced it will meet on April 10 in the west end of the parking lot for the Berea Union Depot Restaurant.

The outdoor meeting will begin at 2:30 p.m. Among the topics to be discussed during the meeting are the future of the club’s newsletter and future activities for this year.

Publication of the newsletter was suspended last year and the printing shop where it had been printed has since closed.

The club has been offered the opportunity to attend the picnic scheduled for July in Cuyahoga Falls at Waterworks Park to be held by the Akron Railroad Club.

The RRE expects to resume meeting next month at its regular meeting site at the Fraternal Order of Police hall in Westlake.

ARRC Eyes Resuming Meetings in June

March 23, 2021

The Akron Railroad Club expects to resume meeting in June and will hold its first outing of 2021 over Memorial Day weekend.

The New Horizons Christian Church, where the club has met since January 2007, has resumed holding in-person services but is still working out its policies and procedures for groups to hold meetings using its facilities.

The ARRC last met in February 2020. Meetings have been suspended since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Club officers recently met to set the slate of activities for the year.

The first of those will be the annual Dave McKay Day in Berea on May 29.

Historically, McKay Day was held on the first Saturday in April until 2019 when it moved to the first Saturday in May.

Other events this year will include the longest day outing on June 27 in Fostoria at the Iron Triangle railfan park.

The summer picnic has been set for July 18 at Waterworks Park in Cuyahoga Falls and will be a joint event with the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts.

The ARRC plans to wrap up its year with the end of year dinner in December at the New Era restaurant in Akron.

The end of year dinner and summer picnic were canceled last year due to the pandemic.

In an unrelated development, the RRE is eyeing May as its first in-person meeting since the pandemic began a year ago.

The RRE last met in March 2020 but has held virtual meetings online in January, February and March.

The group is considering having its April meeting in Berea as part of a day of railfanning there.

RRE to Meet Online This Friday

March 9, 2021

The Cleveland-based Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts will hold an online meeting on Friday, March 12.

The program will be presented by Dave Beach.

The meeting is being held on the Cisco WebEx platform through Lakeland College.

The meeting will go online between 7:15 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. and begin at 7:30 p.m.

It is the third virtual meeting the RRE has held this year. The group last met in person in March 2020.

ARRC Cancels March, April Meetings

March 4, 2021

The March and April meetings of the Akron Railroad Club have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ARRC has not met since February 2020 due to the pandemic although it has held a few outdoor outings, including railfanning trips to Berea and Alliance.

The club has not announced any events for 2021.


Will Pandemic Be Tipping Point for Local RR Clubs?

August 24, 2020

Author Malcom Gladwell has written about what he terms a “tipping point,” which he defines as “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

In this context tipping point refers to how an idea reaches enough widespread acceptance to then be implemented.

But tipping point can also refer to a point of no return when an organization or an effort tips into a downward spiral ultimately resulting in failure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a host of examples, most notably businesses losing enough customers and revenue that they descend into a death spiral from which they cannot recover.

In some instances, a business had been in trouble long before the pandemic began, but in other cases the forced closings and reopening at reduced capacity resulted in too much lose revenue for an owner to overcome.

Although tipping points might be obvious after the fact they are not necessarily recognizable when they occur.

It remains to be seen whether the pandemic proves to be a tipping point for local railfan clubs.

In Northeast Ohio, the Akron Railroad Club and Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts have not held a meeting since early spring.

The Miami Valley Railfans group in the Dayton had been shut down since then, too, and finally held a meeting this month by going to Richmond, Indiana.

The two Northeast Ohio groups have held railfan outings that drew a few participants but those events are not the same as what draws most members to meeting, which is seeing a slide show.

The longer members have not attended a meeting, the more likely they are to begin to think they don’t need to belong to that group.

I’ve written extensively about how interest in organized railfan groups is waning and that younger fans show little to no interest in joining.

The pandemic might not in and of itself doom the railfan groups in Northeast Ohio, but it seems likely to deal a death blow to some groups that were already struggling to survive.

Both the ARRC and RRE have been beset with declining membership and participation in recent years.

This is not to say those who are left are going to abandon these organizations once they can begin meeting again.

If anything there might be pent up demand to attend a meeting, see a slide show and socialize with the guys.

At the same time, the membership of these groups tends to be older and at higher risk of severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.

Some are going to decline to attend meetings until they feel it is safe to do so. That might be a long time coming, a very long time.

You have to be careful when looking at membership numbers. In its early years, the ARRC had around 20 members and was still a thriving organization.

The key is to have enough members who are committed to attending meetings and participating in keeping the group going.

In theory that could be a group of less than 10 if they are committed to meeting on a regular basis and have a place to do so.

Another key is having competent leadership. It may not be enough to merely send out a notice that the group is meeting this Friday.

Good leadership needs to work to make the members feel comfortable about attending and attracting quality programming that members will want to take the time to come see.

Lack of leadership may doom some organizations if meeting notices are not sent in a timely and effective manner and the administrative chores associated with governing an organization are not adequately addressed.

Of course it might also be the pandemic will turn out to be the tipping point that accelerates the decline that was already underway.

If you have ever had an elderly parent, relative or friend who had a life-threatening condition, such as cancer, you know that person’s decline might play out over a period of months or even years.

Those individuals will have moments when it appears their body is rallying and fending off the condition that threatens their life. But each time they wind up a little weaker until reaching the point of no return.

I would expect that once the ARRC and RRE are able to resume meeting that there will be enough attendance at meetings to make it feel like old times.

These organizations may well continue to meet and do what they’ve always done for several more years.

There may be someday an effective vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 although some medical experts are warning that coronavirus will always be around.

There may not be a way to cure lack of interest, which has much to do with why membership and participation in these clubs is declining.

These groups may still have a lot of life left, yet it also might be that someday you will be able to trace the tipping point of irreversible decline to the pandemic.

ARRC Cancels June Meeting

June 1, 2020

The Akron Railroad Club has canceled its June 26 meeting in the wake of an order by the State of Ohio to continue limiting mass gatherings to no more than 10 people.

The order, issued last Friday, has been extended through July 1 in an effort to restrain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The mass gather order is one of the last of the state’s major coronavirus restrictions still in place.

The ban applies to gatherings of 10 or more people outside of a single household.

It makes exceptions for certain events, including religious services, free-speech demonstrations, funerals, and weddings.

The June meeting was to have featured a slide show by Mike Costil of railroad images made between the late 1950s and early 1970s.

The ARRC has not held a meeting since February.

ARRC Hopes to Be Able to Meet in June

May 17, 2020

The Akron Railroad Club will not meet in May, but still hopes to conduct a meeting on June 26.

The club has not met since February due to social distancing restrictions imposed by the State of Ohio in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The ARRC is awaiting notification by the New Horizons Christian Church as to the availability of the social hall where the club normally meets.

The church is closed during the pandemic and has been conducting its Sunday services online.

If the June meeting is held the program will be a slide show presented by Mike Costil titled Surprise.

It will consist of railroad images made between the late 1950s and early 1970s.

If the June meeting is canceled, the program may be rescheduled in July or August.

ARRC officers remain unsure if the club will be able to meet during the summer.

RRE Cancels May Meeting

May 3, 2020

The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts has canceled its May meeting due to ongoing social restrictions impose by the State of Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program was to have been a slide show presented by Dennis Nehrenz.

That program may be rescheduled for the September or October meeting.

The next scheduled event for the RRE is a June 12 outing to the Kemper Railfan Park in Bellevue.