Posts Tagged ‘Railroads of Kent Ohio’

EL Monday: Check Out This Lineup

January 4, 2021

The late Mike Ondecker and I were at the Erie Lackawanna Kent yard in 1967 or 1968 where I photographed this eastbound during a crew change. The units include 2554 (EMD GP35), (unidentified) (EMD F7B), 7063 (EMD F3), 2501 (GE U25), 7081 (EMD F3A), and 7254 (Alco FALCO FA-1).

Photographs by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: The Lake Cities in Kent

October 12, 2020

The wayback machine has landed us trackside along the Erie Lackawanna mainline in Kent in the late 1960s.

You’ve got black and white negative film loaded in your camera and show time is at hand as the westbound Lake Cities is about to make its station stop.

Led by E8A No. 822, it will pass by us before stopping. The roof of the passenger station is above the first cars.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: Another Kent Memory

September 28, 2020

Erie Lackawanna U25B No. 2506 is eastbound in Kent in late 1967/early 1968. Notice the westbound shelter with the bad gutter, the boxcar on the team track, and someone’s 1958 Buick.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

What We’ve Lost over Time on the EL in Kent

February 18, 2017


Sometimes when a railroad becomes a fallen flag, much of the rails and other infrastructure disappear and only memories are left. Compare this view of the Erie Lackawanna trackage in Kent in the late 1960s with what the Wheeling & Lake Erie operates now. We are looking toward West Summit Street and into downtown Kent. What a difference almost half a century makes.

Article and Photograph by Bob Farkas


The Lake Cities Stops in Kent in Early 1968

December 26, 2014


Next  month will mark the 45th anniversary since the last pair of Erie Lackawanna intercity passengers trains made their final trips between Chicago and Hoboken, N.J.

Traditionally, the Erie Railroad had three roundtrips between Chicago and New York. The first to go were the Atlantic Express and the Pacific Express, which ceased carrying passengers in July 1965.

The next pair of trains to face the hangman was the Phoebe Snow. These trains had for years operated as the Erie Limited and had been the premier passenger trains on the Erie’s Chicago-New York route. They acquired their “new” name in October 1963.

Phoebe Snow had been the name applied to a pair of New York-Buffalo, N.Y., trains on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western. The Erie and the DL&W had merged in October 1960 to form the EL.

That left the Lake Cities to carry on. Even this train had once operated under a different name. Nos. 5 and 6 had been the Midlander until November 1947. Previously, the Lake Cities name had been given to the Cleveland and Buffalo sections of the Midlander.

By 1969, the Lake Cities was losing $2,700 a day due to, the railroad said, falling patronage and head end revenue.

EL announced that it would end Nos. 5 and 6, but the Interstate Commerce Commission stayed that while it conducted an investigation and held public hearings.

In the end, the ICC found that, in the legal jargon used in these cases at the times, that Nos. 5 and 6 were no longer needed to serve the public convenience and necessity.

The EL said the trains would continue running through early January 1970 to serve the needs of holiday travelers. They began their final trips on Jan. 6.

When the sun the next day the only EL passenger trains left were commuter trains in the New York City area, and between Cleveland and Youngstown.

But all of that was in the future when this photograph was made in early 1968 as No. 5 halted for its daily station stop in Kent. E8A No. 828 was on the point and No. 5 had a string of head end cars.

The westbound Lake Cities was scheduled into Kent at 9:45 a.m. and into Akron at 10:05 a.m.

Today the Kent depot still stands and is used as a restaurant. The tracks are now owned by Portage County and used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Just Another Day on the ABC at Kent

August 5, 2014







I caught the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway Kent job last week as it pulled into Kent and made a pickup at the Star of the West mill. W&LE No. 102 with its Operation Lifesaver logo was the motive power.

A couple other goodies from last week included a nicely lettered (for a scrap car) hopper and the MetLife blimp in for the Bridgestone Invitational PGA golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron. They are walking the airship away from the mast. Note the man still up the pole for its takeoff.

The top photo is the ABC train pulling by some of the original Atlantic & Great Western shop buildings in Kent. With the large Star of the West mill looming tall in the background the crew backs up to get three cars. (next two photos) The lift made, the 102 pulls back out onto the former Erie mainline and a return to Akron.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

The Railroad Came to Kent 150 Years Ago Today

March 7, 2013

The former Erie passenger station in Kent, which is now a restaurant, is shown framed by an arch of the Main Street bridge. Opened in 1875, it is the most visible legacy of the Erie Railroad's former presence in Kent. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

The former Erie passenger station in Kent, which is now a restaurant, is shown framed by an arch of the Main Street bridge. Opened in 1875, it is the most visible legacy of the Erie Railroad’s former presence in Kent. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

The city of Kent will pass an historical milestone today by observing the 150th anniversary of the coming of the first train to the city. It was on March 7, 1863, that an Atlantic & Great Western train arrived in the then-named village of Franklin Mills on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Portage County.

The A&GW, which had been envisioned by Franklin Mills resident Marvin Kent, would eventually extend from Salamanca, N.Y., to Dayton, Ohio. The A&GW was a broad gauge railroad with 6 feet of space between the rails.

The Erie Railroad would lease the A&GW in 1868, but it had been involved with the A&GW from an early stage. Not only did the A&GW connect with the Erie at Salamanca, the Erie also insisted that the A&GW be built as a broad gauge railroad.

Marvin Kent served as president of the A&GW until it came under the Erie’s control. Franklin Mills, which was renamed in honor of Kent in 1867, became a division headquarters and hosted car shops and a large yard.

The genesis for the A&GW came in October 1852 when Kent and others met in Cleveland to plan a railroad that would extend between Ohio and New York state.

They obtained charters from the New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania legislatures. Consequently, the railroad went by separate names in each state, not becoming the A&GW until 1858.

Much of the funding for building the A&GW came from European financiers, primarily located in England.

The arrival of the first train in Kent was cause for celebration. The Portage County Democrat newspaper noted that the train received a “pleasant reception.”

The railroad continued to be known in Kent as the A&GW even after it came under Erie control. The A&GW name was officially retired about 1880 and Bruce Dzeda, author of the book Railroad Town: Kent and the Erie Railroad, noted that by 1895 the residents of Kent referred to the railroad as simply the Erie.

Today, the most noticeable legacy of the Erie Railroad in Kent is the handsome restored depot that stands just south of Main Street.

The tracks in town still remain, owned by the Portage County Port Authority and used by the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway, a subsidiary of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. The tracks west of Kent are used in part by Shelly Materials.

The yard and car shops have long since closed. Part of the yard is now used as a hiking and biking trail.

The Kent Historical Society is marking the 150th anniversary of the coming of the railroad to Kent with a series of events this year. The first of those will occur on April 4 when historian H. Roger Grant will present a lecture on the Erie Railroad. Grant’s talk is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7 p.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church at 118 S. Mantua St.

Some of the former Erie Railroad car shops still exist and have some other use now. An ABC train passes the car shops, which were located south of Summit Street in Kent. (Photograph by Todd Dillon)

Some of the former Erie Railroad car shops still exist. An ABC train passes the car shops, which were located south of Summit Street in Kent. (Photograph by Todd Dillon)