Posts Tagged ‘Richard Jacobs’

Last Ride on the Three Rivers

January 24, 2021

Ed Ribinskas sent me this photograph yesterday. It was made in Pittsburgh on Feb. 19, 2005.

All four guys you see were Akron Railroad Club members and two of them are now deceased. They are (from left) Al Philmore, Richard Jacobs, Craig Sanders and Edward Ribinskas.

I remember this trip well. It had started in the wee hours of the morning in Cleveland the day before when Ed and I boarded the westbound Lake Shore Limited to ride to Chicago.

I had strained my back in the Cleveland Amtrak station and sitting in a coach seat or any other seat was somewhat painful. The strain had stemmed from shoveling snow a day or two before.

We spent all day in Chicago, at one point riding a Metra commuter train to Antioch, Illinois, and back, and having dinner at the Berghoff in downtown Chicago. The Three Rivers left Chicago around 9:30 p.m. so it was a long day.

I managed to doze off a few times riding across Indiana and in part of western Ohio. But from about Fostoria eastward I was awake. I wanted to see, even if in the dark, some areas that I had only seen from next to the tracks.

As the train sat in the Akron station, I heard this familiar booming voice coming from the rear of our Amfleet coach. It sound like Jake.

All of us were aboard this train for the same reason. It was running on borrowed time.

The Three Rivers had begin in September 1995 as a replacement between Pittsburgh and New York for the discontinued Broadway Limited.

It was extended west of Pittsburgh in November 1996. The primary reason for that was because of the heavy mail and express business that Amtrak was carrying at the time.

Transferring those cars in Pittsburgh between the Three Rivers and the Capitol Limited was hindering the performance of the latter train.

But a change in philosophy at Amtrak resulted in the carrier deciding to exit the head end business. The Three Rivers proved to be expendable.

Ed got up to check out that familiar voice and it was indeed Jake. He and Al had boarded in Akron for one last trip aboard the last intercity passenger train to serve the Rubber City.

After we disembarked in Pittsburgh we were able to talk someone into making this photograph of us standing in front of the P42DC puling Train No. 40.

I took a Greyhound bus to Akron where a friend picked me up. We had plans to watch a University of Akron basketball game that afternoon. Ed took Greyhound back to Cleveland.

An interesting footnote to this trip is that we had reached Pittsburgh before the Capitol Limited did even though No. 30 had left hours earlier.

A locomotive breakdown en route severely delayed the Capitol and I was able to photograph it coming into the Pittsburgh station.

The Three Rivers were be discontinued west of Pittsburgh just over two weeks later, making its last runs through Northeast Ohio on March 7.

Article by Craig Sanders

Too Late for Jake, but At Last a Train in Sterling

July 1, 2015

Richard Jacobs pauses just before returning to the nursing home after the last railfan outing of his life. He would die nearly two weeks later.

Richard Jacobs pauses just before returning to the nursing home after the last railfan outing of his life. He would die nearly two weeks later.

A westbound manifest freight cruises through Sterling on a late Sunday afternoon on the day of Richard Jacob's funeral.

A westbound manifest freight cruises through Sterling on a late Sunday afternoon on the day of Richard Jacobs’ funeral.

Richard Jacobs wanted one last outing in Sterling. It would not be an easy one to arrange.

Cancer was eating away at his body and he could not move on his own. Nonetheless, he arranged for a specially-fitted van to take him to Sterling on a Wednesday for one more outing with the Loopers, as the group that gathers there weekly calls themselves.

He made sure that I knew about his planned outing and I said I would be there.

Given Jake’s condition, it wasn’t a sure thing that he would be able to make it. The date was set for Wednesday, June 10.

As that date approached, Jake wasn’t sure that things were going to go off as planned. He had grand plans. He would show his Colorado program — the same one he had planned to show to the Akron Railroad Club at its June 26 meeting — on the patio at Bradley’s restaurant.

Jake and the Loopers always went to Bradley’s for dinner on Wednesday nights.

On the day of the event I called Jake to make sure that everything was still on. It was, but his arrival time had been moved back.

We sat or stood around for what seemed an awfully long time. Where was Jake? It was getting to be 4 p.m.

Then word came that Jake was over at Bradley’s, but he had gotten sick right after he arrived. It was unclear if he would be coming over to visit the Loopers or going back to the nursing home.

Finally, around 4:30, the word got out that Jake’s grandson Rob, would roll him over from Bradley’s. About 10 minutes later I could see Jake being wheeled through the parking lot for the hike and bike trail that is located on the former Erie Railroad right of way.

Jake came over and the visiting began. I was planning to make a photograph of him with a CSX train passing in the background.

But there was a problem. CSX traffic had been halted for hours due to a maintenance of way window. It was ending, but the workers still had odds and ends to clean up.

I could hear trains nearby talking on the radio, but nothing came through Sterling.

At 6 p.m. the van arrived to take Jake back to the nursing home. There would be no slide show and Jake probably wasn’t physically able to do that anyway.

But, worse, there would be no last train for Jake to photograph and watch. I look one last photo of Jake with the CSX tracks in the background. Jake joked with me that I could use Photoshop to add a train to make it look like one came by. But I didn’t.

The next day Jake called to say that shortly after we both left that the trains began running almost non-stop.

Thirteen days later, Jake died. His funeral was this past Sunday and I stopped in Sterling on my way back home. I wanted to get that train that had eluded Jake and I both during his last outing.

Jake saw and photographed countless trains during his lifetime, starting at the age of 9 and continuing until two months before he died at age 83.

Therein lies an important lesson. Never stop watching or photographing trains if it gives you pleasure in life. Someday the trains may not come anymore for you and there won’t be a tomorrow to see another one.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Memories of Travels with Jake

June 25, 2015

It was just before dawn as Amtrak’s eastbound Three Rivers halted in Akron in February 2005.

I was riding No. 40 along with fellow Akron Railroad Club officer Edward Ribinskas because the Three Rivers was slated to be discontinued west of Pittsburgh about a month later.

As the train sat in the Akron station, a booming baritone voice broke the silence of the Amfleet II coach. Ed and I looked at each other. Could it be . . .

Ed went back to check and, yes, that voice did indeed belong to Richard Jacobs. He, too, was making one last trip over the former Baltimore & Ohio mainline and all of us would be getting off in Pittsburgh.

Jake’s voice was one that we heard a lot over the years at ARRC meetings. It was a rare meeting when he didn’t have news to announce about the activities of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society or the railroads that served Wayne County.

He was a prolific photographer who loved to show his images during programs at ARRC meetings.

He was a prolific writer who loved write about his travels in articles published in the ARRC Bulletin and on the ARRC blog.

You might have thought that Jake was a journalist or a teacher given how much he liked to share information with others.

You would not know in listening to him, though, that he spent more than 40 years as an aeronautical engineer. He often referenced his employment with NASA, but rarely talked about what he did there.

Maybe that was because he didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about that during a railroad club meeting, but I spent many hours traveling with Jake while chasing trains and he never talked about his career then, either.

We had some good-natured exchanges about our respective alma maters. Jake was a Purdue University grad and I’m an Indiana University grad and the two schools are bitter rivals. Yet rivalries have a way of joining people and so it was with Jake and I.

Jake was the first ARRC member to befriend me after I joined the club in August 2003.

Back then club members used to gather at the Grapevine Café in Fairlawn for dinner before the meetings.

I was a newcomer who was excited about being in the club so I attended those gatherings. As luck would have it, I was seated next to Jake at the first dinner that I attended.

Jake and I had a pleasant conversation and a friendship was kindled. That act of kindness in reaching out to make me feel at home is one that I will always remember.

When I mentioned that I was working on a book for Arcadia Publishing about the history of railroads in Akron, Jake may have been the first ARRC member to offer to provide images for that book.

Jake has presented before numerous groups and something tells me no one ever had to ask if he wanted to do that. He was always a willing volunteer.

The same held true for newsletter articles. Jake’s willingness to present and write were two traits that I came to greatly appreciate after I became ARRC president.

In making up the program schedule for the year Jake could be counted on to present.  If we needed someone to fill a slot in a tag team presentation, Jake would agree to do it.

After I started the ARRC blog, I could count on getting contributions from Jake without having to ask.

On many a day I would check my email and find an article with photographs from Jake. On some days I would be up to my ears in grading student papers and/or making lesson plans when one of Jake’s articles would come in.

Reading and editing Jake’s accounts of his latest venture to Sterling or chasing the Norfolk Southern locals in Wayne County was a welcome respite on those days.

* * * * *

Several years ago at the ARRC picnic in Clinton, we heard on the scanner that a CSX train was approaching and Jake offered to let me ride along as he chased the train west of town.

Over the years Jake and I railfanned together several times. Aside from railfanning CSX during the ARRC picnic, we chased the Ashland Railway one humid summer afternoon and photographed the R.J. Corman operations in Wooster on an unusually warm and sunny early November day.

Our ventures typically began by meeting at a McDonald’s restaurant for breakfast. I’d then park somewhere and we would be off in Jake’s Trail Blazer.

Jake was not shy about calling a railroad or inquiring in a yard office about train operations. I’d never think of doing that, but Jake seemed to get away with it. Maybe his age was an asset or he knew how to approach railroad officials.

During that chase of the Corman local in Wooster, we arrived to find the locomotive parked next to a convenience store. Jake went inside to find the crew, correctly surmising they had gone to get something to eat.

One morning we planned to chase the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway train to Rittman. I wanted to get a photograph of the train passing the restored Erie Railroad station in Barberton.

Jake had earlier called the railroad to find out what days the ABC went to Rittman. On the appointed day, we went into the yard office in Barberton where the crew was having its job briefing before starting work. They confirmed that they would be going to Rittman that day.

We parked by the Barberton depot and waited. But no train came. We then got itchy feet and drove over to yard but didn’t see the train.

I had heard them talking on the radio so they had to be somewhere close. We drove around in a futile effort to find the train. As we were doing that, the ABC job left town and went to Rittman.

It turned out that the crew served another customer first and then went to Rittman. Had we stayed put we would have eventually seen the train and I would have gotten the photo that I wanted. We even heard them talking about us on the radio.

Jake went back a week later and got the photograph, but I still don’t have it.

If Jake had a weakness it was that he was too generous at times. He wanted to show too many of his photographs and wanted to talk about them a little too much.

At a 2005 ARRC meeting Jake took out four boxes of slide carousel trays before his scheduled program. He isn’t going to show all of those slides is he? He was and he did.

There were times when I wished that Jake would be more judicious in how many photographs that he sent to illustrate his trip reports.

One time Jake sent so many images and wrote so many articles that we both lost track of what he had and had not covered.

Some images and information got posted to the blog twice and other images were out of sequence. I finally had to take everything down and start over once all of the photographs and articles had been reorganized and resent.

In recent years, Jake would share with me what he planned to present during his annual ARRC program and what he planned to send to post on the blog after he returned from one of his trips.

That is how I knew that his June 2015 show would be a review of his trip to Colorado last year.

* * * * *

I was sitting in my car in Berea this past April during the annual ARRC Dave McKay Day when my cell phone rang. It was Jake. I thought he was calling to say he would be coming late or that he couldn’t make it.

Instead, he told me that his cancer was back and he was in the hospital in Wooster. Jake had serious health problems, real serious health problems.

I just knew that he wouldn’t be presenting in June and would never present to the ARRC again. Nor would we ever be going trackside together again.

I didn’t hear anything from or about Jake for two weeks. I thought about going to the National Train Day event in Orrville and asking if anyone knew how Jake was doing.

In early May, Jake called me. I was happy to hear from him. He was quite frank in saying that his cancer was terminal and that he wouldn’t be around much longer.

We talked by phone over the next few weeks and at times the effects of the medication and his declining condition made it difficult to understand him.

One time Jake called my cell phone, but it was not turned on. Jake got my voicemail and failed to grasp that he was hearing a recording of my voice and not me in person.

“Craig, this is Jake. (long pause). Are you there? Craig, this Jake. (another  long pause). Are you there?” There would be an even longer pause and he would repeat what he had just said. It was comical and sad at the same time.

Jake arranged to make what turned out to be his last visit to Sterling. He made sure that I knew about it and I told him I would be there.

Jake being Jake, he also thought he would be able to present his Colorado program on a screen to be set up on the outdoor patio at Bradley’s restaurant.

I had never been to a gathering of the Sterling “Loopers” but having read about them so often in Jake’s posts I felt like I knew them and their Wednesday rituals.

It took awhile, but eventually Jake’s grandson Rob wheeled him over to where the Loopers hang out next to the former Baltimore & Ohio freight station that has been relocated aside the trail built on the former Erie Railway right of way.

I knew Jake was not in good condition, but the sight of seeing him in that wheelchair was depressing. Although Jake’s mind was still sharp, the medications he was taking for pain had taken their toll. We were able to converse, but Jake was laboring to do that.

He spoke about wanting to donate his photograph collection to White River Productions for the purpose of having that company do a book containing those photos. The Loopers took turns greeting him and at one point we thought a train was coming.

Rob got out Jake’s camera and prepared it so that he could make one last image of a train at Sterling. But no train came. Traffic had been halted due to a maintenance of way window.

In a cruel twist of fate, Jake could neither watch nor photograph a train during the last railfan outing of his life.

He thought he’d be able to stay in Sterling for several hours, but it was not to be. At 6 p.m. the van to take Jake back to the nursing home arrived. It was time to leave.

I took one more photograph of Jake sitting in his wheelchair with the CSX New Castle Subdivision tracks behind him. He joked with me that I could use Photoshop to add a train to the scene.

We said our farewells and shook hands. It would not be my last conversation with Jake, but it would be the last time that I saw him.

In one of those calls, he asked me to pick up some of his books from his home and take them to Orrville to mail to the historical societies to which he planned to donate them.

But his longtime partner, Barbara Cormell, said that his attorney had advised that Jake couldn’t begin disbursing his estate until he died.

I last heard from Jake a few days before his death. He left a message on my cell phone that was unintelligible. I could pick out a few words here and there, but not enough to understand what he was saying.

But I think it had something to do with having Rob download the photos from his camera and give them to me to post to the ARRC blog. Up to the very end Jake was still wanting to present.

* * * * *

This past Tuesday I was driving my wife to work at The Plain Dealer when my cell phone rang. “It’s probably Jake,” I said to Mary Ann as we barreled westward on Interstate 480.

It wasn’t. It was Tony Dannemiller calling with the news that Jake had died about an hour earlier.

On Friday night at the ARRC meeting I’ll be telling some stories about my travels with Jake. You will get to see some of Jake’s photographs and some of the photographs that I made during my travels with him.

He knew that I would be doing a program about our travels together and seemed pleased about that. He also knew that we would be going to Fostoria for our longest day outing and he regretted that he couldn’t go. I could that regret in his eyes.

Jake was resigned to the fact that he didn’t see any trains during his last railfan outing. It’s just the way that those things go sometimes, he said. He even called me the next day to say that shortly after he and I left Sterling that CSX trains began running virtually non-stop.

During one of those conversations that I had with Jake after he went into the hospital, he asked if I planned to go out later that day to railfan.

It was a nice day and perhaps this was Jake’s way of telling me not to waste them by neglecting to do something that I very much enjoy.

Jake’s funeral is this Sunday afternoon in Apple Creek. It may or may not be a nice day, but in memory of Jake I’ll stop in Sterling on my way home and get in some railfanning.

Commentary by Craig Sanders

In Memory of Richard Jacobs

June 24, 2015

Services for 13-year Akron Railroad Club member Richard Earnest Jacobs, who died early Tuesday afternoon, will be Sunday (June 28) at 2 p.m. at Apple Creek United Methodist Church, 269 West Main St.,with the Rev. Ken Curren and the Rev. Michael Koch officiating. Burial will be in Apple Creek Cemetery.

Visitation will be Saturday at Apple Creek United Methodist Church from 6 to 8 p.m. and one hour prior to the service on Sunday. Auble Funeral Home in Orrville is handling the arrangements.


Richard Jacobs

Known to his friends as “Jake,” Mr. Jacobs, 83,  joined the ARRC on Feb. 22, 2002. He was one of the club’s most prolific photographers and continued to go trackside with his camera to photograph trains as recently as this past March.

He also was a frequent program presenter at ARRC meetings. In some years, Mr. Jacobs presented two programs during the year.

Many of his programs featured images made during one of his two yearly trips to ride excursion and tourist trains in various places in North America.

However, he also often showed images that he made over the years of various railroad operations.

His last presentation, given at the July 2014 ARRC meeting, was such a program. He showed images made during a trip in the 1970s with his son Gary to see soon-to-be fallen flag railroads.

Mr. Jacobs was a retired aeronautical engineer who worked as a fluid systems engineer in the launch vehicle program for NASA, which he joined in 1956 after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in engineering.

He initially enrolled at Purdue in 1950 and four years later as a junior began taking courses in aeronautical engineering. One of his classmates in a 1954 laboratory was Neil Armstrong, who also went on to work for NASA and in July 1969 become the first man to walk on the moon.

In a letter to the editor of The Daily Record of Wooster that was published after Mr. Armstrong died in August 2012, Mr. Jacobs said that he sat next to Mr. Armstrong in class. “Little did I realize what he was destined to do. He was quiet and studious in the lab,” Mr. Jacobs wrote.

Mr. Jacobs’ tenure with NASA brought the upstate New York native to Cleveland where he worked at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, which later became the Glenn Research Center.

With NASA, Mr. Jacobs worked in what he described as the biggest testing facility at the time. During his career, he helped to design auto control systems and was in charge of testing facilities that worked on advanced turbine research.

He also worked for nearly 20 years in the Space Shuttle program. “I have always been proud to have been part of an outstanding scientific and engineering team that kept the United States at the pinnacle of scientific leadership,” he wrote in that letter to the editor of The Daily Record.

Mr. Jacobs worked for NASA for 27 years before joining Analex, Inc., a support contractor, where he worked for 17 years before retiring in 2000. He moved to Wayne County in 1995.

His work with Analex took him to San Diego, Florida and Houston. During his days in California, Mr. Jacobs often spent time photographing railroad operations there.

But his favorite railroad was the Erie Lackawanna, whose operations in Northeast Ohio he documented. Some of those images were featured in the book Akron Railroads, published by Arcadia Press and written by ARRC President Craig Sanders.

Mr. Jacobs’ images appeared in several other books, including Canton Area Railroads and the series of books about the former Pennsylvania Railroad that were co-authored by David Oroszi and Steve Hipes and published by The Railroad Press.

In recent years, Mr. Jacobs was a frequent contributor to the ARRC blog. Many of his posts documented the operations of Norfolk Southern locals serving Wayne County as well as the CSX trains that passed through Sterling, where he often hung out on Wednesdays with other members of the informal group the Sterling Loopers.

Other posts chronicled the trains that he saw during his travels in Ohio and elsewhere.

Mr. Jacobs joined the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society in 1985 and served for several years as the editor of the group’s newsletter.

He could usually be seen riding the many ORHS excursion trains that operated on Northeast Ohio rail lines until 2014. If he wasn’t riding the train, Mr. Jacobs would be chasing it.

Mr. Jacobs began making photographs of railroad operations at age 9. Much of his early work was done with black and white film. He switched to color slide film early in the Penn Central era and estimates that he amassed a collection of more than 20,000 slides.

In recent years, he had become a digital photographer, filling up 15 SD cards with his SONY digital SLR camera.

Mr. Jacobs had a fondness for Chevy Trail Blazers, which he drove while chasing trains.

He was born on March 7, 1932, in Oswego, New York, the son of William and Margaret (Horr) Jacobs. He graduated from Gloversville (New York) High School in 1950 and from Purdue University in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in aeronautical engineering.

He is survived by his longtime partner, Barbara Cormell, of Apple Creek; a son, Gary (Andrea) Jacobs of North East, Pennsylvania; a daughter, Melanie Jacobs of Moreland; three grandchildren, Jennifer Jacobs, Robin Becker and Richard (Brandi Thomas) Becker; and a great-granddaughter, Thalia Becker.

Mr. Jacobs had beaten cancer several years ago, but revealed in early April that the cancer had returned. In the past few weeks he had received hospice care.

Memorial contributions may be made to LifeCare Hospice, 1900 Akron Road, Wooster 44691; the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society, 145 Depot St., Orrville 44667; or the Apple Creek United Methodist Church, 269 W. Main St., Apple Creek 44606.

Online registry and expressions of condolence may be made at the funeral home’s website at

C27 Leaving Orrville on a Sunny Afternoon

March 26, 2015

NS 5827 leads the C27 Orrville local onto the Fort Wayne line from the former CA&C on March 25, 2015.

NS 5827 leads the C27 Orrville local onto the Fort Wayne line from the former CA&C on March 25, 2015.

I stopped trackside in Orrville on my way to supper. The Norfolk Southern C27 local was leaving the Orrville Secondary (former CA&C) after switching Smuckers. It looked nice in the afternoon sun.

Photograph by Richard Jacobs

CSX Traffic Was Sparse in Sterling

March 24, 2015

CSX double stack hotshot Q016 is eastbound at Sterling.

CSX double stack hotshot Q016 is eastbound at Sterling.

CSX westbound coal train T410 for Duke Power is westbound at Kauffman Avenue in Sterling.

CSX westbound coal train T410 for Duke Power is westbound at Kauffman Avenue in Sterling.

CSX empty oil train K059 is westbound at Sterling.

CSX empty oil train K059 is westbound at Sterling.

On Wednesday, March 18, several of the Loop railfans gathered trackside at Sterling. CSX train activity was sparse.

Eastbound Q016 entered the interlocking at 4:07 p.m. That train is an eastbound double stack intermodal pulled by CSX 5479 and 5455.

The next two trains were westbounds. CSX coal train T410 for Duke Power went over Kauffman Avenue at 6:39 p.m. It was followed by CSX empty oil train K059 at 6:55 pm.

I had to boost the ISO for the last two photos. All got quiet again, so I headed for home.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

Beating Winter Blues at Sterling with Sun, CSX

March 14, 2015

Lot's of power! CSX westbound Q355 crosses Kauffman Avenue in Sterling.

Lot’s of power! CSX westbound Q355 crosses Kauffman Avenue in Sterling.

It has been a long hard winter for me. I’ve had bronchitis for three months, since Thanksgiving, and extreme shortness of breath. With the snow and cold weather, I mostly have been hibernating like an old bear.

On Wednesday, March 11 we had a special gathering of Loop railfans at Sterling. It was a rare opportunity to get all nine members there.

Luckily, at 3 p.m. the sun was out and the temperature was close to 50. CSX cooperated by running a number of trains in the sunshine.

There were several westbounds running into the sun. The first was Q355, a manifest freight with seven engines on the head end. The westbounds also included intermodals Q015 and Q137, and auto rack train Q299.

Q641, the Buffalo, N.Y. , to Cumberland, Md., train, came down the CL&W Sub and went east on the New Castle Sub, the mainline, at 6:07 p.m. after we had chowed down at Bradley’s.

That train carries trash cars from the Buffalo area for LaFarge, Ohio, near Lordstown. The setout of trash cars there is the reason that Q640/641 uses the CL&W.

The last train of the day was Q296 eastbound out of the setting sun. It was led by Canadian Pacific No. 9655 at 6:17p.m.

We then left for home as the train activity had quieted down. It was a welcome cabin fever reliever on a sunny afternoon.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

CSX/UP units lead intermodal hotshot Q015 westbound at Sterling.

CSX/UP units lead intermodal hotshot Q015 westbound at Sterling.

Westbound CSX Q137 passes over Kauffman Avenue in Sterling.

Westbound CSX Q137 passes over Kauffman Avenue in Sterling.

CSX eastbound Q647 enters Sterling.

CSX eastbound Q647 enters Sterling.

CSX auto rack Q299 is westbound at Sterling.

CSX auto rack Q299 is westbound at Sterling.

CSX 833/8785 lead Q641 off the CL&W Sub.

CSX 833/8785 lead Q641 off the CL&W Sub.

CSX Q641, Buffalo to Cumberland, is eastbound off the CL&W Sub.

CSX Q641, Buffalo to Cumberland, is eastbound off the CL&W Sub.

Trash cars on CSX Q641.

Trash cars on CSX Q641.

Lumber cars on CSX Q641.

Lumber cars on CSX Q641.

CP power leads an eastbound auto rack train into Sterling at sunset.

CP power leads an eastbound auto rack train into Sterling at sunset.

CP power led by 9655 is hauling a CSX auto rack train Q296 eastbound at Sterling.

CP power led by 9655 is hauling a CSX auto rack train Q296 eastbound at Sterling.



Red, White and Boom

July 3, 2012

Rocket bursts viewed from the Orrville Union Depot platform on July 3, 2011. Note the home signal for the NS Orrville Secondary. Have a happy and safe July 4th holiday. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)

Jacobs Photo Published in Railpace

June 29, 2010

The eastbound Orrville Railroad Heritage Society "Museum Flyer" behind Wheeling & Lake Erie No. 102 and ORHS No. 471 arrives at Monroeville to load passengers for the return trip to Orrville on May 8, 2010.

Akron Railroad Club Richard Jacobs had a photography published in the July 2010 issue of Railpace magazine of an Orrville Railroad Heritage Society excursion train. The photo, which was published on Page 21 in the Lake Shore News section, shows the Museum Flyer excursion train at Monroeville.

The Flyer operated from Orrville to Monroeville with passengers then taken by bus to Bellevue to visit the Mad River & Nickel Plate Road Museum.

Railpace is a  monthly magazine is devoted to news and features of railroads in the northeastern United States.

On a related note, Jacobs also had an article that he wrote published in The Headlight, the newsletter of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. That article, published in the June issue, a shippers special that the then fledgling W&LE operated in October 1990. The W&LE was less than six months old after been spun off by Norfolk Southern and wanted to showcase the re-opening of the Cleveland line of the railroad that NS had allowed to lie dormant for years.  The Wheeling borrows a steam locomotive from Jerry Jacobson and hauled the passengers in style.

Unit Coal Trains in Northeast Ohio

June 12, 2010

A CSX westbbound loaded coal train of DKPX hoppers enters the Sterling, Ohio, interlocking at 2013 hours on June 2, 2010. Ties are piled ready for installation on the CL&W subdivision. (Photographs by Richard Jacobs)

As I have been out railfanning lately, I’ve photographed two separate unit coal trains passing through our area of Northeastern Ohio.

One was on the W&LE. I first heard it called on the scanner. I knew it was not the usual W&LE train due to the BNSF locomotive numbers. On Sunday, May 14, 2010, I caught it eastbound at the Ohio Route 57 crossing just south of Orrville. It was a 12,000- to 16,000-ton train of 125 cars.

I later caught the returning empties on a different train westbound at Creston on Wednesday, May 26.

I found out from the Wheeling that it is a Powder River Coal train handed off from NS at Bellevue to the Wheeling. It travels on the W&LE to Rayland on the Ohio River. There is a train to barge transload facility there. The coal is taken by barge to power plants on the river.

The second unit coal train I saw and photographed was on CSX at Sterling. It was a westbound led by CSX No. 533 on Wednesday, June 2. The T388-31 train was loaded, with a mix of DKPX (Duke Power) and CSX hoppers, mostly DKPX.

I found out from Tony Dannemiller that it started in Newell, Pennsylvania, and ended in Terrell, North Carolina, at the Duke Power plant. This is a roundabout routing for sure. It goes westbound through Sterling to Greenwich and then travels via Columbus and Russell, Kentucky, over the former C&O east to the CSX route that serves North Carolina south of Richmond, Virginia.

Not all unit coal trains in our area are Powder River ones. The CSX loaded coal train that I caught at Sterling had coal that had been mined in Pennsylvania.

There is something about a long train of matched loaded hoppers of coal that inspires my railfan photography. I don’t have to go to Wyoming either!

 Richard Jacobs

A W&LE unit coal train is led eastbound by BNSF No. 8947 at MP 123 (Route 57) on the Brewster Subdivision on May 4, 2010. The train of Powder River coal is received from NS at Bellevue for delivery to the rail-barge facility at Rayland on the Ohio River.

BNSF SD75MAC No. 8878 leads a westbound empty Powder River coal train into Creston on May 26, 2010. The train is coming from the rail-barge transload facility at Rayland, Ohion, on the Ohio River. It will deliver the cars to NS at Bellevue for westward return.