Posts Tagged ‘Sperry railcar’

Sperry Rail Car Nose

October 12, 2021

A Sperry Rail Car sits in Marion on Dec. 30, 1972. Sperry still has some rail vehicles but some track inspections are done by specially outfitted trucks.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

What a History it Had

January 7, 2021

Many Sperry Rail Service cars that you would have found in the 1970s were having second lives. Such is the case with car 125, which is shown in May 1974 sitting in the McCoy Street Yard of the Erie Lackawanna in Akron.

It was built in November 1925 by St. Louis Car Company as a 60-foot doodlebug for the Lehigh Valley Railroad where it carried roster number 28.

Railroads used doodlebugs to provide passenger service on lightly-used routes. Many of those services were gone by World War II and some doodlebugs were repurposed into maintenance of way use.

This car continued to serve through the 1980s when it was replaced by a newer model of a track inspection car.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

EL Monday: An Akron Scene

December 28, 2020

We’re visiting McCoy Street Yard in Akron in May 1974. It’s the twilight years of the Erie Lackawanna and forces are at work in Washington and elsewhere that will fold the EL into the Consolidated Rail Corporation in spring 1976.

As you know all too well the coming of Conrail would spell the beginning of the end for the EL in Akron.

But that is still a few years away on this day where they are many relics of the EL including a transfer caboose and a box car with EL markings on display.

Then there is that Erie switcher that is pretending that the Erie and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western never merged. This unit would continue to proudly wear its Erie livery until the coming of Conrail.

Also of interest is that Sperry rail car sitting toward the back of the yard.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Quite an Interesting History

May 5, 2018

I was in Alliance recently and found this Sperry Rail Service car sitting in the remains of the yard across from the former Pennsylvania Railroad station.

Some Sperry rail cars began life as passenger cars and No. 136 proved to be one of those.

It was built by Brill in 1928 as a doodlebug for the New York Central, which gave it roster designation M-11. It joined the Sperry fleet in April 1948.

Its appearance has changed over the years as has the technology used to inspect track.

SRS 136 never moved an inch during the three hours or so that I spent in Alliance.

Just this past week I saw a Sperry Rail Car in action on CSX in Berea headed eastbound. It was dark and I didn’t catch the roster number of the car.

An Akron Railroad Scene Imagined in Layers

May 11, 2016


It is May 1974 in Akron and this is looking west across the Erie Lackawanna yard. Imagine this is in layers.

First there is a Pennsylvania Railroad gondola on the now-removed Penn Central track nearest the viewer.

Then come the hidden two-track Chessie System mainline (now CSX) and the hidden and now-removed two track EL mainline.

To the left is the EL yard office. Behind it are yard tracks. There is an EL transfer caboose on one. Behind it is Erie Railroad 520, and behind that is Sperry 125.

If you look closely behind Sperry 125, you can see the track leading to the bakery and the EL-served bakery.

Today only the two CSX tracks and Sperry 125 survive.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Simple Image Captures Bygone Era

November 6, 2015


It was the end of December 1966 and I had just gotten my first camera, a Minoltina 35 mm rangefinder made by Minolta.

I took several images in Kent after findingĀ a Sperry railcar there.

I was in my early 20s and never thought about modern railway change. After all, steam was gone, but everything else (the Erie Lackawanna, passenger service, Baltimore & Ohio, and most first-generation locomotives) was safe.

Who would have thought this simple image could capture a bygone era?

Article and Photograph by Robert Farkas