Posts Tagged ‘Railroad stations’

Still a Kent Landmark

March 10, 2018

Kent still has three railroad stations standing and the one that served the Erie Railroad gets most of the attention.

That is understandable because it has been restored and converted into a restaurant.

Its location on a bluff overlooking the Cuyahoga River also means that it shows up a lot in images made of CSX trains on the New Castle Subdivision running along the river below the bluff.

And with its pleasing architecture and red brick exterior, the ex-Erie depot makes for a good photo subject.

Getting a lot less love and looking a lot less attractive is the former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station.

It’s a plain Jane frame structure located just off Summit Street. Many a photograph has been made of westbound trains passing this station, but it is not the “go to” shot to be had in Kent of CSX operations.

I’m not sure what use that CSX makes of this structure. Maybe it is used by the maintenance of way forces.

It hasn’t hosted a passenger since April 30, 1971, the last day that the B&O dispatched it own passenger trains.

Amtrak’s Broadway Limited and later the Three Rivers passed by this station for years, but never stopped to board or discharge passengers.

As can be see, vandals have used the depot as a canvass.

Yet on the day that I made this image, I noticed later a carload of Kent State students had shown up to use the station as a photo prop.

It is still something of a Kent landmark even if it isn’t the grand old lady in town.


Railroad Space in Conneaut

March 5, 2018

I’d never photographed a CSX train in Conneaut from this particular angle until last fall.

The crew of westbound Q145 probably paid little attention to the former New York Central depot, which is now a museum. They’ve passed it dozens of times.

As I looked through my lens, I also noted the two-story red brick building to the right of the station.

I suspect that at one time it might have been a hotel. It was common back in the day for hotels to be placed next to or near railroad stations.

If this was a hotel at one time, it has been decades since the last guest signed the register. The NYC last picked up passengers in Conneaut on Oct. 25, 1962.

That building probably had ceased being a hotel well before that. I’m not sure what use is made of that building today. It might be an apartment building.

Winter Afternoon in Peninsula

January 30, 2018

It had been a while since I’d been able to get out with my camera. Car troubles and other matters had kept me at home as winter fell on Northeast Ohio in early January.

More than a week into the month, I finally got everything squared away and was able to get out of the house to go do some winter photography.

I had plans to go watch a college basketball game in Akron on a Tuesday night so I left the house early and stopped by Peninsula to see what I might find.

I knew better than to expect to catch a train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. That operation was on hiatus until later in the month. But you can still do a lot without a train.

Several years ago I photographed the Peninsula train station during winter when it had icicles hanging on it. That was not the case on this day because the sun had melted them.

A step box on the platform had accumulated some snow and the platform area had footprints made by visitors to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Snow no longer covered the rails, but in the late day sunlight the ties on the siding were barely visible as the snow had that sunken look.

At the far north end of town sat a baggage car that had been used as a prop when the Polar Express trains were operating before Christmas. Beneath that car was bare ground.

There weren’t many people around on this day. It was still cold and winter is not a time of year when many people want to visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.


Stately Station in Galion

January 11, 2018

The former New York Central passenger station in Galion, Ohio, is slowly being restored. The different colors of the siding is evidence of this being a work in progress.

Galion, Ohio, is one of many countless towns across America that the railroads have left behind.

Not literally, though, as there are still CSX trains passing through Galion, although fewer of them.

When railroads scale back operations in a town, they typically rip out unused tracks and raze abandoned buildings.

Somehow, though, the former New York Central depot in Galion has escaped that fate.

The last scheduled passenger train to serve this station halted on April 30, 1971. Penn Central served Galion with a nameless pair of trains between Cleveland and Indianapolis, and another pair between Cleveland and Columbus.

Since then, there has been a lot of talk and numerous studies about reviving intercity rail passenger service between Cleveland and Cincinnati over the 3-C corridor.

But those efforts have been blocked by anti-passenger train sentiment in the Ohio legislature and within the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Amtrak has operated some chartered trains that stopped for passengers in Galion, but otherwise these rails have been freight only.

During a visit there last July, it was apparent that the NYC depot in Galion is in a state of transition.

There was evidence of a restoration project in progress, but it seems to have a long way to go.

One of the more intriguing artifacts at the station site is a former station sign post.

NYC stations had brass plates with the name of a town affixed to a pole somewhere along the passenger platform.

The one in Galion has been moved away from the tracks and is missing its name plate.

But seeing it took me back to the days when such trains as the Ohio State Limited, Southwestern, Missourian, and Knickerbocker would pause here to pick up and discharge passengers.

Oh, the passenger history that this pole and lamp fixture have seen.

This post once told passengers that their train had stopped in Galion.

More Former Erie Passenger Stations

December 13, 2017

The Park Ridge Station of the Erie Railroad.

In June I did a series on Erie Railroad mainline stations from Hoboken, New Jersey, to Port Jervis, New York. Here are some other stations on some lesser known Erie/Erie Lackawanna branches.

The New Jersey & New York Railroad was leased by the Erie in the 1880’s. The railroad served Bergen County, New Jersey.

Even though the Erie took control of the line, it was still the NJ&NY on paper right through the EL days.

There are some beautiful old stations on the NJ&NY RR. Here are (in order) River Edge, Oradell, and Park Ridge.

Today the line is New Jersey Transit’s Pascack Valley Line and all these stations still serve passengers in their waiting rooms. Ticket machines sell the tickets rather than agents.

Another Erie Line was originally The Northern Railroad of New Jersey.

This railroad started before the Civil War and was bought outright by the Erie about 1940.

The EL ended passenger service on this line in 1966. Today CSX owns the line and only a couple industries are served on the lower end of the line.

This line served some very affluent New Jersey communities and their stations demonstrate that. In order, we have Tenafly Station, now a restaurant, and Demarest Station, which looks more like a church.

The railroad is pretty much dead in these parts, although there is talk about making part of this line a light rail system, which still won’t reach these locations.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

The Tenafly station of the Erie Railroad

The River Edge station of the Erie Railroad

The Demarest Station of the Erie Railroad

The Oradell Station of the Erie Railroad

Some Erie Sights

November 16, 2017

Hunter’s railroad wasn’t being very cooperative. I had set up on the West Main Street bridge in downtown Kent hoping to get a train or two on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Westbound intermodal trains Q015 and Q137 have been operating in mid to late afternoon of late. But I got crickets. There wasn’t as much as a peep on the radio.

After about 45 minutes of waiting, I got out and walked around to make photographs of whatever caught my eye, including some Erie Railroad relics.

The most prominent of those is the former passenger station, which has been restored and now houses an Italian restaurant.

Just south of the station is a heavyweight passenger car painted in Erie colors. It apparently is used as a meeting room, although I’ve never seen anyone in it.

There is a signal box by the station that I know I’ve seen dozens of times, but never photographed. Today I saw something there as the late afternoon sunlight cast a warm glow on the rust-covered box. Who knows how many years it has been here and how many trains it has seen?

Finally, I checked out the siding for the Star of the West grain elevator. Just the night before during a program at the Railroad Enthusiasts meeting in Cleveland there was speculation as to what will happen with this property, which closed earlier this year.

The Erie would have served this facility as did the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. Now the siding sits unused.

At one time, one of the mainline tracks would have been here, but it has been a long time since these rails were a double-track mainline.

Michigan Central Depot to Host Detroit Event

September 14, 2017

Michigan Central Station in Detroit will host the annual Detroit Homecoming this year, the first significant event to be held in the vacant depot since the middle 1980s.

The 104-year-old station in the Corktown neighborhood has been the subject of various renovation plans, the most recently being backed by the Moroun family of companies.

They have spent more than $8 million in the past two years making repairs that have included constructing a freight elevator in the shaft of the depot’s original smoke stack and installing 1,100 windows.

Matthew Moroun described the station development as a marathon, but insisted the race is well underway. His father, Matty, purchased the depot in 1995.

For years, the Morouns made few moves to restore the Detroit landmark, which once hosted passengers trains of the New York Central and tenants Canadian Pacific and Baltimore & Ohio, the latter using the terminal between 1946 and 1963.

After taking office in 2014, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan sought to improve what he termed the “somewhat checkered” relationship the Morouns have had with past city administrations.

Matthew Moroun and the mayor have discussed a list of issues involving the depot.

Although that list has not been made public, one known item is a request to replace the building’s numerous broken windows.

The mayor had made it known that he was tired of a former train station with broken windows defining the image of Detroit in national news stories about the city.

“I said, ‘I want you to put windows in the train station. And if you do that, everything else will be just fine.’” Duggan said.

The Morouns installed the windows in 2015 at a cost of $4 million.

Since the the windows went in, Matthew Moroun said he’s had more interest from developers with “hundreds of great ideas” for a building that has sat vacant since 1988 when Amtrak ceased passenger service there.

Moroun estimates it would renovating the station will cost more than $100 million.

“We’re looking for the right idea that’s not only popular and motivating, but also economically viable,” Moroun said. “We’re getting closer all of the time.”

Among the ideas that Duggan has for the station is housing a corporate headquarters or building high-end lofts on the 18th floor, which has a 360-degree view of greater downtown Detroit and the waterfront.

“I’m not the one who has to make the numbers work,” Duggan said. “When the day comes, I’m going to do everything I can to help make the numbers work.”

The Agent’s Bay Window

August 26, 2017

The Arcade & Attica depot in Curriers, New York, is in part a museum. Although not restored to its former glory, there are exhibits of historical significance.

One room in the one-story wood station resembles old school railroading when small towns like this had agents.

Many depot had bay windows so that the agent could look down the tracks in both directions to watch for arriving trains.

The restoration of this agent’s desk is incomplete. I doubt that the agents back in the day had three red lanterns. The typewriter might be authentic but the agent would have had other tools as well.

Nonetheless it has a historical feel that harkens back to a time when steam locomotive power was a daily regularity and not a novelty for tourists.

Along the N&W in Lodi in 1985

August 8, 2017


Here are some more railroad-related photos taken Lodi in August 1985. When compared with today, it is amazing how little of this still exists.

In the top image, The Norfolk & Western station still exists, but notice the track in the foreground. This track is missing now.

In the middle image, the N&W station is on the left, and a formerly railroad-served warehouse is on the right.

The bottom image features a trackside view of the warehouse.

Photographs by Robert Farkas


Difference of 21 Years in Springville

July 8, 2017

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific No. 261 journeyed eastward in 1995 far beyond the historic region served by the company that purchased the Northern Type locomotive from Alco in 1944.

Many in Northeast Ohio were trackside on what today is the CSX New Castle Subdivision when the 4-8-4 locomotive went east on a ferry move to help celebrate the opening of Steamtown National Historic Site on July 1, 1995.

The engine remained in the east for nearly a year before venturing back to Minnesota in June 1996.

I knew a guy who had an “in” with Steve Sandberg of the Friends of the 261 group. For a “donation,” a group of people were allowed the ride the ferry move from Orchard Park, New York, to New Castle, Pennsylvania, on June 15, 1996.

Much of the route followed a former Baltimore & Ohio line that linked Pittsburgh and Buffalo, New York.

Originally, the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway, the railroad in 1996 was owned by the Buffalo & Pittsburgh, a property of Genesee & Wyoming.

I don’t remember the details, but a portion of the ferry run out of Orchard Park was used to publicize an effort at the time to launch rail commuter service in Buffalo.

The group placed its emblem on the drumhead of a former Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) business car that brought up the rear of the train.

Members of the group promoting the commuter rail service rode south a way, maybe to Springville, New York.

My slides show that I briefly disembarked in Springville, which is 20.6 rail miles from Orchard Park.

A large crowd of people gathered at the Springville depot, suggesting that the visit of the steam locomotive must have received widespread publicity. It was my first visit to Springville and I remember little about it.

Just over 21 years later, I made a second visit to Springville. Marty Surdyk, Ed Ribinskas and I were traveling traveling in Marty’s Jeep Patriot on New York Route 39 to Arcade, New York, to chase Arcade & Attica 2-8-0 No. 18.

The B&O station in Springville still stands, but the B&O tracks are gone. The tracks have been gone since at least 2012 and probably longer.

On our way back toward Ohio, we stopped in Springville to photograph the depot, which was built by the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway in 1910 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

A July 1955 issue of The Official Guide of the Railways in my collection shows the last scheduled B&O passenger trains were Nos. 251 and 252, which operated on daylight schedules in both directions between Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

These were coaches only train that used the same Buffalo station as the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western at the foot of Main Street. They carried a great deal of head-end business.

No. 251 was scheduled to stop southbound at 11:30 a.m. while No. 252 came through northbound at 6:11 p.m.

The top image above was made from the crew car that accompanied the 261. It shows the station from the same approximate angle as the image I made last weekend (shown in the lower photograph) from ground level standing a little farther back from the depot.

The tracks have been replaced by a trail that has picnic tables on the former platform, which is not as prominent as it had been 21 years earlier.

The depot has been restored and is well maintained. It is now the home of the Spring Creek Pharmacy, which wasn’t open during our visit.

I found during an online search search an article from the Buffalo Courier Express that the last trips of B&O Nos. 251 and 252 occurred on Oct. 15, 1955, and ended 72 years of passenger service on the line.

The trains were steam powered to the end, pulled by the last two steam locomotives still active in the Niagara Frontier.

The Courier Express article said the B&O lost $247,000 on the trains in the previous year. Engineer Robert C. Sharnock ran No. 251 to Salamanca and took No. 252 back to Buffalo on their last trips. He had worked for the railroad for 51 years.

It may be that that ferry move of Milwaukee Road No. 261 was the last passenger train to ever pass by, let alone stop, at the Springville depot.

If so it means the last passenger train, like the last scheduled train to stop in Springville 61 years earlier, were both steam powered.