Posts Tagged ‘Railroad stations’

Grand Opening Set for Renovated Indiana Station

June 9, 2022

Indiana tourist railroad Nickel Plate Express and officials in Noblesville, Indiana, will hold a grand opening on Saturday to celebrate the renovation of the historic Hobbs Station.

The depot is in Forest Park where it has stood since being moved there in 1967.

It was built in 1948 to serve the Nickel Plate Road in Tipton County and was for several years part of the now defunct Indiana Transportation Museum.

The Noblesville Parks & Recreation Department spent $1.6 million to renovate the station, which officially opened on June 6.

The renovation included landscaping and walking paths, a restroom addition, historic signs and paved parking. A covered platform was constructed in the boarding area.

The station will serve as the southern terminus of the 12.4-mile Nickel Plate Express, which operates between Noblesville and Atlanta, Indiana.

During the grand opening on Saturday, the Nickel Plate Express will have departures from Hobbs Station at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person for the 45-minute excursions.

The first 200 passengers will receive a commemorative Hobbs Station lapel pin.

Opening the 2022 Photo Season

March 27, 2022

Whether it is a sports team, a theater company, or a musical ensemble, there is something special about opening day or opening night. The players or performers have been putting in hours of practice and planning as they pointed toward the moment when the season, run or concert series would begin.

There is much anticipation and hope for an auspicious start that will herald great things to come.

And so it was as I made my way to east central Illinois back on Feb. 20 for my first railfan photography outing of the year.

That day proved to be far from a promising beginning. Shown above is the only train I wound up photographing.

Amtrak’s northbound Saluki passes the former Illinois Central station in Arcola, Illinois. There is still some snow lingering from a previous storm and Train 390 was more than a half hour late. On the point was a P42DC rather than the usual SC-44.

I would spend the rest of the day hanging out in Tuscola but train traffic was minimal and I ended up going home feeling disappointed. It was just one of those days.

Opening day is never the only game or performance of a season and this won’t be my only outing of this year. More and better days lie ahead. I’m looking forward to them because you never know what you will see, what you will find.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Detroit Depot Restoration Moving Along

January 16, 2022

Restoration of the former Michigan Central station in Detroit is well along and project managers expect it to be complete by the second quarter of 2023.

Once completed, you’ll be able to eat, drink, work and even get married in the longtime Detroit icon and symbol of urban decay, but you won’t be able to catch a train.

The depot’s days as a train station ended in early January 1988 when Amtrak ceased using it and the beaux arts building’s new owner has other plans for the area where passengers once boarded trains.

The 18-story MC station has been owned by the Ford Motor Company since 2018. For decades before Ford bought it, the structure, which opened in 1913, had seemed destined to be razed.

Nearly all of its windows had been broken and anything of value had been stolen or removed.

During a news media tour last week of the station complex, project managers said the building was missing everything imaginable when workers began their renovation five-year work.

Ford plans to locate restaurants and a luxury hotel on the upper three floor of the station.

Offices for Ford and its partners in the mobility and autonomous vehicle endeavors will be housed in the next 10 floors.

The bottom floors will be devoted to public gathering spaces, a coffee shop, a food court, and events space with a capacity of 1,000.

The former boarding area will become a mobility testing site to be named The Platform.

During the media tour, Ford’s project manager, Rich Bardelli, said the project remains within its $740 million budget. Ford bought the building and its adjacent properties for $90 million.

Much of the early restoration work at the station involved restoring infrastructure that had vanished during the years when the structure sat vacant and was a target of vandals, thieves and squatters.

This included installing 300 miles of electric wire; 20 miles of heating and cooling duct work and piping; 6 miles of plumbing pipes; and 8.6 miles of grout in between 29,000 terracotta tiles along the arching ceiling of the front waiting room.

Some of the station’s original architectural features had to be recreated and painstakingly installed.

More than 1,700 of the Guastavino terracotta ceiling tiles had to be replaced, which involved building 252 tons of scaffolding to place them 65 feet above the floor.

Engineers used 3-D printing and resin to recreate 560 new lightweight ornate floral rosettes and leafs that adorn the windows.

Most of the original iron rosettes had been removed and during the restoration process some individuals who had possession of some of them dropped them off at the construction site so they could be reinstalled.

Located in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, the station is the centerpiece of a campus Ford is creating that will cost $950 million.

Ford plans to move 2,500 of its employees in autonomous and electric vehicle development departments to the campus. There will be space for 2,500 more Ford workers from suppliers and partners in the mobility sector.

Aside from the station itself, Ford is renovating the adjacent Book Depository building for use as offices and plans to construct a third office building on the campus.

Bardelli said dining options in the station complex will be located on the top floors of the tower; the former carriage house on the west end of the building along Vernor Highway; and a food court in the concourse.

Negotiations are underway with potential retail, hospitality and hotel vendors and contracts are expected to be reached later this year.

Over the next 18 months craftsmen will be recreating some of the other historic features of the station, including wood wainscoting panels, crown molding, marble borders and wood floors in the former waiting rooms.

“We’re in the midst right now of just starting to put all of that back,” Bardelli said.

The former waiting areas are being repurposed into events space and Bardelli said Ford has already received inquiries from couples who want to get married there.

Rail News Items From Ohio, Indiana

January 3, 2022

Various railroad related news items of note:

Cargill has taken over the switching of its grain plant in Sidney, Ohio. That work had been done by CSX.

Two switchers in Cargill’s green and white livery have been assigned to the Sidney facility which reportedly will see its yard expanded and realigned.

The Sidney facility is an integrated soybean crush and refined oils plant that is located along the CSX Indianapolis Line (former New York Central).

No injuries occurred on Dec. 23 when a CSX train derailed nine cars at Ansonia, Ohio, also on the Indianapolis Line. The cars were empty auto racks and one turned over.

The derailment occurred as the train was shoving cars around the connection to an R.J. Corman line to Ansonia from Greenville, Ohio.

A story on Dec. 10 damaged the former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station in Effner, Indiana.

The structure was subsequently razed. Since the Conrail era the former PRR line that once extended from Logansport to Effner has been operated by the Toledo, Peoria & Western.

Grant to be Used to Move Historic Rail Depot

December 17, 2021

The Berks County (Pennsylvania) Redevelopment Agency has awarded a $75,000 grant to the Longswamp Township Historical Society, which plans to use the money to relocate an 1870s era railroad station in Mertztown, Pennsylvania.

The grant will supplement $195,000 raised locally thus far to move the depot to Longswamp Township Park. The project cost is estimated at $310,000.

Once moved, the depot will serve as a museum and historical library.

Located 12 miles southwest of Allentown, the Mertztown depot was the last standing, original remnant of the East Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

SEPTA to Rehab 19th Century Depot

December 16, 2021

The Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvanian Transportation Authority plans to restore the interior of the nation’s oldest surviving passenger station.

Railfan and Railroad magazine reported on its website that SEPTA expects to award a $1.25 million contract to rehabilitate the Shawmont station, located along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia’s Roxborough section.

It is not clear what use will be made of the Greek Revival-style depot, which opened in 1834, after the restoration is completed.

Shawmont was a SEPTA flag stop through the 1990s. It is located adjacent to the Schuykill River Trail and is on the list of Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

For more information, visit https://railfan.com/septa-looks-to-restore-oldest-surviving-passenger-station/

NKP Depot to be Fixed Up, New Uses for NYC, PRR Depots

November 4, 2021

A former Nickel Plate Road station in Veedersburg, Indiana, will be renovated with the help of two grants.

One grant of $20,000 came from the Grainger Foundation while the Efroymson Family Fund provided a $10,000 grant.

Veedersburg was located on the former Toledo, St. Louis & Western, better known as the Clover Leaf. The track through Veedersburg was abandoned by Norfolk Southern in the late 1980s.

In other railroad station news, the former New York Central station in Bryan, Ohio, is now a barbeque restaurant known as the Third Rail Saloon. It is located next to the NS Chicago Line.

A former Pennsylvania Railroad freight house in Eaton, Ohio, will become a bakery. The station is located on the NS New Castle Subdivision, which once hosted PRR passenger trains between Chicago and Cincinnati.

The PRR passenger station in Eaton is now a liquor store.

Hamilton Accepts Donation of B&O Depot

June 11, 2021

The city council of Hamilton, Ohio, voted 5-2 this week to take possession of the former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station.

But the building’s fate is far from decided and some council members are opposed to spending city funds to move and preserve the depot that is more than a century old.

Preservation supporters have urged the city to move the building 500 feet away and renovate it into a community and business center.

However, moving the building is estimated to cost $600,000 and the cost of renovating the station and the site on which it would sit has been put at $1.5 million.

“I struggle with the cost to relocate the historic depot,” Hamilton mayor Pat Moeller said. “I really, really struggle with the loss of a historic building that connects Hamilton to Lincoln, Truman and Eisenhower.”

Council member Susan Vaughn argued against spending city funds to move and preserve the building, but seemed open to some sort of city matching donation.

 “We received thousands of signatures on petitions,” she said. “Maybe if each one of those came with a $100 commitment, maybe we would’ve raised $200,000. Maybe that would help with the moving.”

Another council member, Carla Fieher, said the money that might be spent on saving the depot would be better used for other purposes.

Yet mayor Moeller countered that no other building in town has the history the depot has. “We seem to get more and more convenience stores, but less and less historic buildings.”

The council ultimately voted to accept the depot as a donation from owner CSX, which no longer uses the structure located along the Toledo Subdivision.

The council will discuss at its next meeting what to do with the depot it has now agreed to accept.

Group Presses to Preserve Hamilton Depot

May 20, 2021

The former Baltimore & Ohio station in Hamilton is no longer used by owner CSX.

Effort to preserve the former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station in Hamilton, Ohio, were pushed this week by a local preservation group.

The Citizens for Historic And Preservation Services group asked the Hamilton City Council to spend $600,000 to move the depot two blocks onto city-owned property.

The group also wants the city to buy the structure, which was constructed by the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton.

The station, the group said, “can be the catalyst for extending the revitalization of downtown” into the area with the station.

The station, which is owned by CSX, is actually two buildings, one of which was built in the 1860s and another in the 1880s.

The preservation group said both are worth preserving due to their “unique architectural qualities.” Although council members have expressed support for the project some also have expressed concerns about not knowing how much more it would cost to renovate the structure for a yet-to-be-determined purpose.

One Day at Akron Union Depot

April 18, 2021

It is the late 1960s and the wayback machine has landed us on the Akron Union Depot passenger platform looking railroad west.

In the far center is Erie Lackawanna’s McCoy Street Yard and on the right is EL’s passenger station. The siding in front of us was often used for mail cars.

The tracks are from left to right: Penn Central siding to switch industries, PC branch from Hudson, Baltimore & Ohio eastbound main, B&O mail car siding, B&O westbound main, and the EL eastbound main.

On the other side of the EL platform are the EL westbound main and a siding reaching a few places including Quaker Oats.

This image provides a rich amount of detail. Take, for example, the B&O mail siding. Notice the steam line coming out of the ground, a throwback to its former role as a set out track for passenger cars.

At one time this track was used for set off or pick up sleepers to and from trains arriving in Akron in the middle of the night.

Passengers could board the car at a decent hour and go to sleep well-ahead of train time, or remain on one that had arrived and been set out in the middle of the night until daylight. 

In later years it came to be where mail cars were left for pick-up.  There was a similar siding on the other end of the platform for eastbound trains.

At one time these set off sleepers were a common passenger railroading practice.

Photograph by Robert Farkas