Posts Tagged ‘Roger Durfee’

Durfee Conrail Book to be Released April 1

January 3, 2023

Presale orders have begun for a book written by Akron resident Roger Durfee about the early Conrail era. Conrail Rainbow Era: Northeast Ohio is the fifth in a series published by The Garbelly Publishing Comapny.

It is being sold for $45 and will be released on April 1.

In a Facebook post Durfee indicated the book focuses on Conrail operations in Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown and nearby areas. It contains 160 color images.

The publisher’s website described the content of the book as showing “Conrail’s Alco locomotives, F-units, and first-generation power in the railroad’s earliest years. A smattering of freshly painted Conrail blue locomotives and leased power from other railroads mingled with the patched power from Conrail’s predecessors, adding to the color palette.”

Durfee is a retired conductor for Norfolk Southern who once worked for Conrail.

The book can be ordered at

Durfee Selling 2020 Calendar

December 23, 2019

Vintage diesel locomotives and fallen flags highlight the 2020 Railroading Calendar being offered by sale by Akron photographer Roger Durfee.

Issued via his Digital Durf Photography business, the calendar features images made by Roger largely but not exclusively in Northeast Ohio.

Among the railroads represented are Amtrak; Conrail; Erie Lackawanna; Santa Fe; Missouri-Kansas-Texas; Gulf, Mobile & Ohio; Toledo, Peoria & Western; Baltimore & Ohio; Western Maryland; Lehigh Valley; Ohi-Rail; Chicago & North Western; Chessie System; Illinois Central Gulf; Seaboard Coast Line; Southern; Soo Line; Monongahela; Ontario Northland; Penn Central; and Norfolk & Western.

Many of the aforementioned roads are represented as “heritage” power that still wore its original colors and markings after its owners was merged into another railroad, most notably Conrail and the Chessie System.

Each month has a feature photo and two to three smaller photographs.

The calendar costs $10 if purchased in person from Roger and $12 is ordered by mail. To order a copy of the calendar contact Roger at

The calendar was arranged with the assistance of graphic artist Keith Adams and printed by Ron Smith Printing.

The cover image shown above portrays Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited at the Cleveland station as a Conrail train waits for a signal. In the background behind SDP40F No. 604 and an E unit is the former Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Durfee to Present at ARRC End of Year Dinner

November 19, 2019

The Akron Railroad Club has announced that veteran railroad photographer Roger Durfee of Akron will present the program at the club’s annual end of year dinner.

The event will be held on Dec. 7 between 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the New Era restaurant, 10 Massillon Road in Akron.

Durfee has been photographing railroad operations since the 1970s and has traveled widely to capture trains on slides and digitally. He retired from Norfolk Southern as a conductor after having worked for NS and Conrail in the Cleveland are and in Pennsylvania.

The title of his program is Rail Travels Since Retirement. The program will probably feature, among other things, images made during a trip he made earlier this year to the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and the wilds of Canada.

The event will begin with cocktails at 5 p.m. with dinner being ordered from the restaurant’s menu between 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Attendance is limited to 40 and reservations can be made at the Nov. 22 ARRC meeting or by contacting ARRC Vice President Bill Kubas at 330-928-7025 or

There is no cost for a reservation and the ARRC is not collecting any money for the event. Attendees are responsible for paying the restaurant for their dinner, drinks and gratuities.

The ARRC also has announced its program schedule for the first three months of 2020.

Ron McElrath, who currently serves as the editor of the club’s newsletter, will present a video program at the January meeting on Jan. 24.

McElrath, who owns and operates Revelation Video in Tallmadge, Ohio, has traveled around the world to capture various types of railroad operations.

David Mangold will present the program at the February meeting on Feb. 28.

Mangold is a locomotive engineer who in the past couple years has been a boomer, working for railroads in Nebraska, Mississippi, California and Colorado.

He also worked as an engineer for Norfolk Southern, Canadian National and Conrail and was a car attendant for Amtrak.

The January and February meetings will begin at 8 p.m.

The March meeting on March 28 will be the ARRC’s annual member’s night and pizza party. It will begin at 6 p.m. and feature an open projector night format.

All monthly meetings are held at the New Horizons Christian Church at 290 Darrow Road in Akron.

Durfee ‘Pulls the Pin’ on Railroad Career

May 15, 2018

Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee recently announced his retirement from Norfolk Southern, bringing to a close a railroad career that begin in early 1998 on Conrail

Roger Durfee

In a post on his Facebook page, Durfee said he worked his last day last month, but his retirement – or what railroaders call “pulling the pin” – did not become final until earlier this month.

In his post, Durfee said he had tried to get hired by the Erie Lackawanna after graduating from his school in 1972, but his favorite railroad didn’t hire him.

He attended the University of Akron and landed a job with UPS. His railroad career began at a Conrail hiring session in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

He started with Conrail in Altoona, Pennsylvania, but eventually transferred to Cleveland.

When Conrail was divided by CSX and NS, he went with NS, where he worked as a conductor until his retirement.

In his recent years at NS, Durfee had enough seniority to hold a yard job or work as a flagman at construction sites.

“I was skeptical in that trying to turn a ‘hobby’ into an avocation doesn’t always work but in this case it was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Durfee wrote on his Facebook page. “Was it just like any other job some days? You bet, but through it all I never lost the passion for the steel rails.”

Durfee, who is known for his photography work, said he’ll miss railroad work and the yard office camaraderie, but he won’t be completely away from railroading.

He expects to work someday as a volunteer for a tourist railroad, take a trip or two and unwind.

There has also been talk about his mining his vast photo collection to publish books.

Durfee to Take Us to Nebraska’s Sand Hills

August 20, 2017

Roger Durfee will present a program titled A Sandhills Journey at the August 25 Akron Railroad Club meeting.

The digital program will feature a look through some of Roger’s several trips along Nebraska Route 2 between Grand Island and Alliance, Nebraska, that often parallels the BNSF.

The rail line is a heavy-duty line that funnels mostly coal out of the Powder River basin. “I’ve returned to this area several times over the past few years as I enjoy the sometimes desolate scenery, a nice two lane road with minimal traffic, and a constant parade of trains,” Roger said about his program.

The meeting will begin with a short business meeting at 8 p.m. followed by the program at approximately 8:30 p.m. The club meets at the New Horizons Christian Church, 290 Darrow Road, in Akron.

Following the meeting, some members gather at the Eat ‘n Park restaurant at Howe and Main streets in Cuyahoga Falls for a late dinner, dessert or an early breakfast.

Visitors are always welcome at Akron Railroad Club meetings.

30 Enjoy ARRC End of Year Dinner

December 5, 2016


Roger Durfee (right) adjusts the slide projector prior to his program as Marty Surdyk looks on during the Akron Railroad Club end of year dinner on Saturday.

Thirty Akron Railroad Club members and guests enjoyed dinner and a program about the evolution of Conrail motive power on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the club’s annual end of year dinner.

Held at Beef ‘O’Brady’s restaurant in Stow, the highlight of the event was a slide show presented by ARRC member Roger Durfee that summarized the locomotives used by Conrail during its existence between April 1, 1976, when it was formed from by consolidating many of the assets of multiple bankrupt railroads, to its being divided on June 1, 1999, by Norfolk Southern and CSX.

Roger had just begun his photography career when Conrail came along and he was able to photograph the railroad’s operations from the beginning to the end.

By the time Conrail was carved up in 1999, Roger had been a employee of the railroad since 1998, working out of the Altoona, Pennsylvania, terminal.

The program was not intended to be a comprehensive review of Conrail motive power or the railroad’s sprawling network.

Over its lifetime, Conrail had several dozen makes, models and types of locomotives, many of which it inherited from its predecessor railroads.

In his program, Roger gave viewers a sense of what how Conrail motive power evolved to become the fleet that it had when it ended, although Conrail still exists in the sense that some of its properties operate under the Conrail shared assets banner or NS and CSX.

Roger focused his program on some of the older models that were frequent sights in Northeast Ohio, which was the location where most of the images he presented were made.

Conrail based in Cleveland many of the F units it operated in its early years. Most, although not all, of them came from Penn Central and served Conrail in a utilitarian black livery with a “CR” stenciled on  the nose and flanks.

However, Conrail found itself short of working power so it brought out of retirement for a time a number of former Erie Lackawanna F units wearing the EL’s  colorful livery.

Aside from Conrail in the Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown regions, Roger also took us to eastern Pennsylvania, including the Northeast Corridor to view Conrail locomotives that seldom if ever ventured westward.

The end of year dinner was the last ARRC activity o f 2016. An issue of eBulletin will be issued this week, but the paper Bulletin will not be published this month.

All Tickets Distributed for End of Year Dinner

November 28, 2016

We can’t call it a sellout because the tickets were free. But all of the 32 tickets available for the Akron Railroad Club’s end of year dinner have been distributed.

ARRC logoThe dinner will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant in Stow at 3732 Darrow Road.

Roger Durfee will present a slide program titled “One Man’s Journey With Big Blue.” Durfee will show with photographs and discuss how Conrail developed and evolved from its April 1, 1976, inception to its final years before being divided between Norfolk Southern and CSX on June 1, 1999.

Durfee, a conductor for NS, began his railroad career with Conrail.

The end of year dinner is limited to 32 attendees due to the small size of the meeting room in which it is held.

The event will begin with cocktails starting at approximately 5:30 p.m. We will order from the restaurant’s regular menu starting about 6 p.m. The program should get underway around 8 p.m.

The event is held on an individual settlement basis.

It will be the final ARRC activity for 2016. The club’s next event will be the January meeting.

Although the paper Bulletin is not published in December, the eBulletin will be distributed during the week of Dec. 4.

4 Tickets Left for ARRC End of Year Dinner

November 21, 2016

A cocktail hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. and we’ll be ordering at about 6 p.m. Event attendees will order from the restaurant’s regular menu on an individual settlJust four tickets remain for the Dec. 3 Akron Railroad Club end of the year dinner.

ARRC logoTickets are free, but limited due to the small size of the meeting room that we reserved at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant in Stow.

To obtain a ticket, contact Marty Surdyk at

The program at the event will be a slide show presented by Roger Durfee titled “One Man’s Journey With Big Blue.” The program will look at Conrail from its beginning in April 1976 through its final days in May 1999.

Durfee Photo Accepted for 2017 NS Calendar

November 14, 2016

Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee has had a photograph chosen to appear in the 2017 Norfolk Southern calendar.

ARRC logoDurfee’s photo illustrates December by showing a stack train passing a frozen and snow-covered Sandusky Bay. A pink artificial palm tree stands on the shore next to a pile of firewood.

The calendar showcases photographs of NS operations that were made by the railroad’s employees.

Durfee has regularly had a photograph chosen for the calendar over the years.

A second view of NS in Ohio appears in July with an image of a train with the ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland behind it. The image was made by conductor trainee Kyle Ori.

It is Ori’s second photograph to be published in the NS calendar.

Locomotive engineer Willie Brown of Powhatan, Ohio, placed a photograph in the calendar that shows a train on a curve in East View, Pennsylvania.

Durfee Photo Published in 2016 NS Calendar

December 15, 2015

Roger Durfee has a photograph in the 2016 issue of the Norfolk Southern calendar. Durfee’s photo of the Penn Central heritage locomotive in the rain accompanies the month of April in the calendar. Ohio is well represented with images in the annual calendar.

Roger Durfee

        Roger Durfee

The long-time Akron Railroad Club member said five of his images were finalists and he was happy to see the rain photo selected.

Durfee said nearly anyone can make a good image on a sunny day, but it doing it in adverse weather conditions is more of a challenge.

“The railroads runs 24/7 in rain, hail, sleet and snow, and I like to show that in my photographs,” Durfee wrote in the “liner notes” that accompany his image.

“I saw this train with the Penn Central heritage locomotive as I was getting off, so I drove to the other side of town to this spot to catch it,” he said. On the way over, the weather got worse, and by the time I got there, it was just a deluge of rain. Even though I was in my car leaning out the window, I got soaking wet.”

The image was made on the Chicago Line near Rockport Yard. Durfee said he liked the mood of the image and said the fact it was the black and white Penn Central unit enhanced that. He expressed doubt that a more colorful heritage unit would have created the same powerful expression.

A conductor assigned to the Cleveland Terminal, Durfee formerly worked for Conrail and joined NS after the Conrail split in 1999.

Photos taken in Ohio that are published in the Calendar begin with the month of February showing an NS intermodal train passing the Wauseon passenger station of the former New York Central in a scene with snow on the ground and the Lackawanna heritage unit trailing lead unit NS 6315.

The image was made by Tim Calvin, a track foreman in maintenance of way service in Kendallville, Indiana.

He noted in his “liner notes” that photographing in northern Ohio and Indiana is a challenge because of the lack of such dramatic landmarks as mountains and tunnels.

So he has focused on the old passenger depots that still hug the Chicago Line in the region.

The father and son duo of Dave and Kyle Ori had photographs published in back-to-back months.

Kyle, a conductor trainee in Cleveland, has the image for October that shows a train crossing the trestle over the Rocky River in its namesake city with fall foliage along the right and left sides of the image.

His father, Dave, has the image for November, which shows the NS veterans tribute locomotive leading a stack train at Port Clinton.

The younger Ori said that he was in second grade when his father gave him a camera to use during a three-day trip to photograph trains. Kyle Ori said he still has his first photo, which he described as terrible.

But father and son continued to photograph trains over the years and Kyle became a quite proficient photographer.

He is the fourth generation of his family to work for a railroad.

As for his NS calendar photo, Kyle Ori said his father gave him a tip that led to the photo. “This trestle is considered a cool shot for us Cleveland guys, but traffic volume over the trestle is low, and photographing a train at the right time of day can be difficult,” he said.

Dave Ori alerted his son that a train was coming one morning and Kyle not only got the image, but he also got his first NS calendar submission accepted.

Dave Ori, who worked for NS in Cleveland before the Conrail split, has been entering the railroad’s calendar competition since 1994.

His first submission to be published was an image made at the same location as his son’s first winning image. That was in 1995.

“That’s really funny,” Dave Ori said in the liner notes. “I don’t remember winning with that photo, but then, it was 20 years ago.”

Dave Ori said that he learned that the veteran’s tribute unit was leaving Conway Yard near Pittsburgh but he had a long drive to get to the location where he wanted to capture it in Port Clinton. He made it with about 15 minutes to spare.

Unlike his son, Dave Ori is a confirmed slide film photographer for now. His 2016 winning entry was made on slide film with a Nikon F100 camera.

“I really like shooting slides,” he said. “To me, there are still some issues with digital cameras, but I eventually will come over to digital. Maybe next year.”

The calendar’s cover photo was also made in Ohio by Jermaine Ashby, a trainmaster in Marion, Indiana.

Ashby captured an ethanol train moving through an S curve west of Vermilion.

He said he chose the location because it showed the train making a connection between the Lake and Dearborn divisions.

When he made was turned out to be his fifth winning calendar entry, Ashby was based in Bellevue. Now that he is in Indiana, he said he is looking forward to finding new locations to photograph trains.