Posts Tagged ‘Steam trains’

Roaring Into Roaring Springs

April 25, 2018

Akron Railroad Club members Ed Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman traveled to central Pennsylvania to chase the Everett Railroad’s steam locomotive. It is shown above coming into Roaring Springs.

Photographs by Jeff Troutman

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Catching Up With Arcade & Attica No. 18

July 6, 2017

Arcade & Attica No. 18 approaches Genesee Road near Arcade, New York, during its last run of the day.

For years the Arcade & Attica has operated its 2-8-0 Alco steam locomotive with its nose facing northward on its excursion from Arcade to Curriers.

The engine runs around the train at Curriers and returns to Arcade with its tender leading.

But on two weekends this year the New York-based tourist railroad has reversed that.

It turned No. 18 on a wye behind its shop in Arcade and ran tender first to Curriers and had the nose pointed southward for the 7.16-mile return trip.

From a photography standpoint, it is better to have the locomotive nose pointed southward because the lighting is better.

One of those weekends when the nose was pointed southward preceded Independence Day. Ed Ribinskas and I piled into Marty Surdyk’s Jeep Patriot to make the trek to Arcade for a day of steam locomotive chasing.

It had been 25 years since Marty had been to the A&A. My last visit had been in September 2012. Ed saw No. 18 pointed southward just over a month ago during Memorial Day weekend.

By the time we caught up with No. 18 it was in Curriers where the A&A excursion train has a layover.

Chasing the A&A is easy because it travels at about 10 miles per hour.

But there aren’t that many places to photograph a train en route because most of the grade crossings are in Arcade.

There is Genesee Road, but not much else. Marty thought he remembered there being two crossings, but other than Genesee Road all other crossings are on private roads outside of Arcade.

Our primary concern in chasing the first return trip of the day to Arcade was cloudy skies. Large, puffy clouds filled the sky and sun breaks were infrequent and short-lived.

Trips leave Arcade at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. After chasing the first of those, we headed for a Subway in a shopping center located next to a Topps grocery store.

Subway is Marty’s official railfanning restaurant so of course that was where we would go. He also got to eat his entire foot-long meatball sandwich.

During the Akron Railroad Club longest day outing in Bellevue Marty had ordered a foot-long meatball sub. He placed half of it on his vehicle as he was eating the other half back at the mini plant.

But the wind blew it onto the ground. In Arcade, we ate inside the restaurant and there was no danger of half of Marty’s sandwich being blown by the wind onto the floor.

Photographing at Genesee Road had reminded me of Genesee beer, a brand I’ve heard about but never tasted.

As Ed and Marty were finishing their sandwiches, I walked over to the Tops grocery store to see if I could buy a couple of “Gennies.” But Genesee beer wasn’t being sold by the bottle there or, or that matter, by the six pack.

I ended up instead buying two bottles of IPA beer from two different Buffalo craft breweries and some large chocolate chip cookies for the guys.

The A&A had already left Arcade by the time we got rolling after lunch.

By now the weather had much improved with the clouds breaking up and ushering in mostly sunny skies.

There had been a pack of railfans chasing and photographing No. 18 earlier in the day, but they were mostly nowhere to be found during the afternoon trip when the locomotive was bathed in sunlight.

We got to Curriers just ahead of the train and got photographs of it coming and going.

Then it was off to do some across the field shots from along Curriers Road.

That was followed by stops at Genesee Road, the Arcade fire station and the street south of the depot where we caught No. 18 going back to the shop.

It was an easy chase that yielded some quite pleasing images.

The train was in the station at Curriers when we first encountered it.

The first photo op at Genesee Road occurred as the sun hid behind a cloud.

Crossing Cattaraugus Creek in Arcade during the return trip.

Doing the runaround move in Arcade. After getting this image it was Subway time.

Patrons are lined up to make a visit to the cab of No. 18 during the layover in Curriers.

A baggage cart load of flowers, a depot and a steam locomotive make for a pleasing sight.

Getting underway at Curriers to return to Arcade while blowing the whistle for Chaffee Road.

Leaving behind a trail of smoke.

Yonder comes a steam train in a view that could have been made several decades earlier.

Skirting the driveway of the fire station.

The train at Curriers as seen in the sunglasses of a trainman wearing a Penn Central conductor hat.

Watching the tracks ahead from the engineer’s seat.

Back in Arcade the locomotive has cut away from its trains as passengers disembark at the station platform.

Heading back to the shop at the end of the last trip.

Yes, it’s an Alco.

At the end of the day at the shop in Arcade.

 

Celebrating 100 Years of Arcade & Attica

May 31, 2017

The New York State-based shortline railroad Arcade & Attica recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding under that name by hosting a series of steam excursions.

The A&A routinely runs tourist trains on weekends, including many runs behind its 2-8-0 No. 18.

But what made these trips out of the ordinary is that the nose of No. 18 faced west rather than its customary eastward direction.

Akron Railroad Club members Edward Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman got up early and drove to Arcade, New York, to chase the first trip of the day and hung around for the second one as well.

Ed sent along a few of his images to share of A&A No. 18 and its train. He noted that No. 18 will be facing westward again during trips on July 1 and 2.

 

Some of My Faves of NKP 767 on the CVSR

October 24, 2016

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I got out twice last month to chase Nickel Plate Road No. 767 when it ran on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

In this post, I’ll show three of my best images from my chase of Sept. 25. That was the day that the Akron Railroad Club had its picnic at the Valley Picnic Area.

The day began early with a drive to Jaite to catch the ferry move of the train from the Fitzwater maintenance facility to Akron.

It was cool and foggy that morning and the 767 was putting out a lot of steam and smoke. The top image shows the ferry move passing the restored train order station at Jaite.

I returned to Jaite to photograph the first passenger trip back to Akron, which is shown in the middle image. The smoke show wasn’t too bad, either.

For the last trip of the day back to Akron, I drove to Merriman Woods to catch the train at milepost 43. While there I saw fellow ARRC member Roger Durfee.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Chasing that NKP 767: Part 1

October 5, 2016
The northbound ferry move of the steam train meets the southbound Scenic in Peninsula in late afternoon on Sunday, Sept. 18.

The northbound ferry move of the steam train meets the southbound Scenic in Peninsula in late afternoon on Sunday, Sept. 18.

Heavy clouds ruled the skies as I made my way southward on Interstate 271 toward the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Would the overcast conditions keep some photographers away from the second day of Nickel Plate Road No. 765 operating as No. 767?

When the news broke that the 765 would be operating on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad as No. 767 I figured the number of trackside photographers would increase because of the novelty factor.

In recent years many guys seem to have had a “been there, done that” attitude toward NKP 765 on the CVSR. Hard core steam aficionados turned out, but casual photographers stayed home.

There were photographers track side on Sunday, Sept. 18, but not as many as I had expected.

My first stop was Indigo Lake where I sought to duplicate an image I made in 2010 during the first visit of NKP 765 to the Cuyahoga River Valley. It was the first time I had seen the 765 in action other than the time in 1993 when it ran as Chesapeake & Ohio No. 2765.

As I arrived, the clouds were breaking up. It would be sun and clouds the remainder of the day.

From Indigo Lake I went to Boston Mill where it’s tough to get a good image due to the fences and other security designed to keep those without tickets confined to Boston Park south of the CVSR station or on the west side of Riverview Road.

I tried to be creative, getting a view that no one else apparently considered.

I was able to create my top human-interest photo of the day, showing a boy with a bottle of soda sitting next to his grandmother as the train backed up to return to Boston Mill station.

I posted those images on the ARRC blog earlier. The images that accompany this post are my “best of the rest” photos from Sept. 18.

My general strategy was to duplicate my favorite images of past years of NKP 765.

That was an impossible objective given how places I’ve photographed the 765 during its visits in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

After the runbys, I went to Jaite to photograph the train going in both directions. I saw former Akron Railroad Club member John Puda, who I had not seen in a few years.

Every visit of the NKP 765/767 is a little different. A signature trait of the 2016 excursions was how each trip involved meeting the CVSR Scenic in Peninsula twice.

That enabled me to get ahead of the train to Deep Lock Quarry on its return to Akron. If I had to choose one photo location to capture a steam train on the CVSR, this would be it.

The steamer is coming upgrade and working. The sound show is magnificent. It’s also a steep uphill climb from track level to the parking lot

I spent the break between excursions in Peninsula where I would get the steam train meeting the Scenic at 1:45 p.m.

It would be tough – if not impractical – to get the photograph I really wanted, which was a straight-down-the tracks shot of the locomotives nose by nose.

A steam locomotive in Peninsula always attracts a crowd and some daisy picker will jump out in front of you. What I accomplished was reasonably close to what I wanted.

The downside of photographing in Peninsula is that it takes time to get out of town.

The Scenic has you blocked, the route out of town is circuitous, and there is heavy traffic to navigate.

I was able to get one of the photo runbys at Boston Mill. I was even able to sit just inside the guardrail on the east side of Riverview beyond the fenced off area.

That perspective would not be available the following weekend due to a heavy police presence, so it was good that I took advantage of it on this day.

I chatted with fellow ARRC member Todd Dillon who would be the only current club member I would see all day. A few other ARRC members were trackside, but I didn’t see them.

After the runby, I motored to Brecksville, getting the coming and going of the train at the Chippewa Creek bridge.

I had enough time to get to Indigo Lake, but had to park in the trailer park because the Indigo Lake lot was filled.

The conditions on this day were among the best I’d seen with the water calm  enough to produce a nearly perfect mirror image.

I guessed the steam train would deadhead to the CVSR’s Fitzwater maintenance facility after unloading passengers at Akron.

I was correct and my last photo op of the day was the meet with the Scenic in Peninsula, the fifth time during the day that that occurred.

I stuck around to photograph the Scenic leaving and spotted former ARRC member Gary Spencer in the vestibule of a car on the Scenic.

A day that began with unfavorable weather ended with nearly ideal conditions. Somehow the rain in the region stayed away during the afternoon.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Well, of course, I had to get an image of NKP 767 with the iconic Ohio Route 82 bridge in the background at Brecksville.

Of course, I had to get an image of NKP 767 with the iconic Ohio Route 82 bridge in the background at Brecksville.

The onlookers are along the fence on the trail to Deep Lock Quarry as the NKP 767 approaches.

The onlookers are along the fence on the trail to Deep Lock Quarry as the NKP 767 approaches.

A wave from one crew member as the train made its ways south at Jaite.

A wave from a crew member as the train makes its ways south at Jaite.

Passing through Jaite.

Passing through Jaite.

I liked how the engineer and fireman were visible in this image at Boston Mill during a photo runby. Getting closeups like this often the best photo ops available there.

I liked how the engineer and fireman were visible in this image at Boston Mill during a photo runby. Getting closeups like this is often the best photo op available there.

My first look at NKP 765 as NKP 767 was at Indigo Lake. I chose this location because this was where I had photographed NKP 765 in action on the CVSR for the first time back in September 2010.

My first look at NKP 765 as NKP 767 was at Indigo Lake. I chose this location because this was where I had photographed NKP 765 in action on the CVSR for the first time back in September 2010.

NKP 767 leaves Indigo Lake behind in a cloud of coal smoke.

NKP 767 leaves Indigo Lake behind in a cloud of coal smoke.

Taking the Farkas Challenge: Sampling The Consummate Chronicler of Steam in NE Ohio

June 21, 2016

Farkas Redmond

The late Robert E. Redmond was the last of his kind in the Akron Railroad Club. When he died in 2015 the club lost its last chronicler of the steam era in Northeast Ohio.

I don’t know if I saw all of his body of work, but I saw much of it, which he kept in albums at his home in Kent. We would sit around his dining room table and I’d look over his photographs to determine which ones I might want to use in my railroad history books published by Arcadia Publishing.

Because much of his work from the steam era was done in black and white, few ARRC members got to see it other than what was published in books and magazines.

Toward the end of the steam era, Bob began making color slides. Perhaps you remember his photographs of Roanoke, Virginia, during the final years of Norfolk & Western steam.

I got my first glimpse of that work at the ARRC member’s night in 2004. On the way back to Cleveland, the late Dave McKay commented that Bob’s work had stolen the show.

Much of Bob’s photography was done around Kent and the east side of Akron, particularly on “the hill” near Home and Tallmadge avenues.

Among his photographs was a quadruple header of Baltimore & Ohio stream locomotives leading a train up “the hill,” all of them working hard.

But my nomination on Bob’s behalf for the Farkas challenge is this image made in March 1957 in Cuyahoga Falls of a westbound double-header. It has always been my favorite image of steam from Bob’s collection.

On the point is Big Six No. 524, an S-1 class 2-10-2. It’s big time steam power and it was an everyday sight in Akron.

This image appeared in black and white in Akron Railroads and I’ve showed the color version of it twice, including last June during a program devoted to remembering Bob.

At the time I commented that as I looked at this image I could imagine a young Jerry Jacobson walking to the tracks from his home in Cuyahoga Falls and taking in scenes like this. Jerry has said that his passion for steam developed while watching B&O steam trains pass by in the Falls.

The B&O was the last railroad serving Akron proper to use steam locomotives in regular service. A year from now, work-a-day steam will be gone as the B&O and the Nickel Plate Road retire the last of their steam locomotives and complete the process of switching to diesel locomotive power.

But on this day, you didn’t have to imagine what steam was like. You could see it, feel it, hear it and even breath it.

Article by Craig Sanders, Photograph by Robert Redmond

6 Hours of Waiting for 3 Minutes of Action

July 28, 2015
Its a Nickel Plate steam locomotive on the former Nickel Plate Road. The 765 must have crossed this bridge countless times in the late 1940 and the 1950s.

It’s a Nickel Plate steam locomotive on the former Nickel Plate Road. The 765 must have crossed this bridge countless times in the late 1940 and the 1950s.

When Peter Bowler and I arrived on Riverside Drive just east of the Painesville trestle of Norfolk Southern last Thursday morning, we nearly had the place to ourselves. Just one other railfan was parked there.

It was nearly 7:30 a.m. and had the ferry move of Nickel Plate Road 765 followed the best case scenario, it would be showing up in about a half hour to an hour.

But ferry moves seldom, if ever, follow the best case scenario.

The 765 crew had tweeted the night before that the Berkshire would be leaving Rockport Yard in Cleveland between 7 and 11 a.m.

As the morning drug on, the crowd got larger and more diverse. There were the usual railroad enthusiasm suspects as well as the proverbial daisy pickers.

Countless numbers of people stopped and asked what everyone was doing here.

A report filtered through the crowd that westbound Norfolk Southern train No. 145 had the Virginian heritage locomotive in the lead.

Then came another report around mid morning that the 765 was waiting for the 26R and the 206 to go by and it would follow them eastward.

The NS line east of Cleveland is at best moderately busy. It can go quiet for hours, but that was not the case today.

NS put by us two westbound intermodal trains and two eastbound trains, a manifest freight and an auto rack.

I chatted with fellow Akron Railroad Club members Edward Ribinskas and Jeff Troutman, both Painesville residents. I also spoke with a couple other fans I knew.

At 10:21 a.m., the 765 crew tweeted that it was leaving Rockport Yard. Maybe it would get here by 11:30, but noon was more likely.

But that wasn’t to be. There was a 23K coming westward and what the Youngstown Line dispatcher told that train was discouraging.

The 23K would be waiting in the siding at Unionville for five eastbound trains, the 26R, the 22K, the 206, the 310 and the 955.

The latter was the symbol for the NKP 765 ferry move, although that symbol was later changed to 958.

The 145 with the NS 1069 on the lead was stuck in Conneaut and would be there for a while until all of those eastbounds got out of the way. So much for seeing the Virginian H unit today.

We counted down the number of NS eastbounds passing by. As one wag commented, we would be getting a lot of “catfish” on the Painesville trestle – a slang term for an NS locomotive – and a lot of practice making photographs of where we wanted to catch the 765.

One some outings you might not get any NS trains on the trestle. On this day I got eight of ‘em.

Some photographers worried openly about the sun angles by the time the 765 showed up.

Throughout the morning, we watched the skies turn from to partly cloudy, to sun and clouds, to partly sunny and then back to clear again.

We even watched a funeral procession pass by to a nearby cemetery and spotted a guy tooling around in a vintage automobile that was a good two to three decades older than the 765.

The crowd continued to grow in numbers to the 50 to 100 range. There was the expected barking at those who the more vocal members of the photo line thought were going to get into their photos.

I heard the 958 call a clear signal at Daniels, located about five railroad signal blocks to the west. I took my place on the photo line.

Someone said the 765 had called Jackson Street and cameras were raised and/or fixed onto tripods. The long-awaited show was about to begin.

It was 1:45 p.m. Peter and I had rendezvoused near I-271 in the eastern Cleveland suburbs at 5:30 a.m. before setting out for Painesville. We could have stayed in bed longer.

Four minutes later there was smoke, the sound of a steam locomotive whistle and then a headlight on the Painesville trestle.

Six hours of waiting were about to pay off. Three minutes later, the 765 and its train were gone.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

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The photo line eyes the 765 as it approaches RIverside Drive.

The photo line eyes the 765 as it approaches RIverside Drive.

The passenger cars came from Norfolk Southern and various private owners.

The passenger cars came from Norfolk Southern and various private owners.

 

NKP 765 Assaulting Carson Hill in Ashtabula

July 26, 2015
Hearing the seeing the Nickel Plate Road 765 work up Carson hill in Ashtabula was quite an experience. This is my favorite photo of the day.

Hearing and seeing the Nickel Plate Road 765 work up Carson hill in Ashtabula was quite an experience. This is my favorite photo of the day.

While photographing Nickel Plate Road No. 765 on Thursday in Ashtabula as it made a service stop, I heard Rich Melvin of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society talk about there being a “hell of a hill” on the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern leaving town.

On Saturday afternoon I decided to check it out as the 2-8-4 Lima-built Berkshire assaulted the hill with a load of passengers on the return leg of a public excursion between Youngstown and Ashtabula.

I decided to forego going into town to look for the train in favor of scouting photo locations. I liked Plymouth Road because the tracks curve to the south here and the location is fairly open and parking would not be difficult.

A handful of other fans were on hand, including Drayton Blackgrove, a Michigan college student I had met while chasing the 765 last year on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. He runs an outfit named Delay in Block Productions and posts videos on YouTube.com.

This year he had a drone and it was the first time that I got to see someone up close operate one of those things. I was amazed at how quickly that thing can take off.

Although I heard the 765 talking on the radio when it was ready to leave, what I was really listening for was the sound of a steam locomotive working upgrade.

I was not disappointed. Melvin was at the throttle as the 765 ascended Carson hill, putting on a show that was a pure delight for the eyes and the ears alike.

I later caught the 765 just south of Dorset, although I got there a little too late, and again at the U.S. 322 crossing at Wick. With that I decided to head for home. It had been a most enjoyable day chasing the 765.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Coming into the curve on Carson hill near the hamlet of Plymouth Center.

Coming into the curve on Carson hill near the hamlet of Plymouth Center.

Blowing the whistle for Plymouth Road. Until about five to 10  minutes before the train arrived, two NS signal maintainer were working to get the grade crossing flashers back in working order.

Blowing the whistle for Plymouth Road. Until about five to 10 minutes before the train arrived, two NS signal maintainer were working to get the grade crossing flashers back in working order.

NKP 765 and its train are 26 miles out of Ashtabula on a former New York Central line that now known as the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern. The train is approaching Wick.

NKP 765 and its train are 26 miles out of Ashtabula on a former New York Central line that now known as the Youngstown Line of Norfolk Southern. The train is approaching Wick.

About to cross U.S. 322 at Wick en route back to Youngstown.

About to cross U.S. 322 at Wick en route back to Youngstown.

Easing past the cemetery south of Dorset. Cloudy conditions were a challenge here.

Easing past the cemetery south of Dorset. Cloudy conditions were a challenge here.

The crew of the helper locomotive greets the locals as the train rolls through Wick.

The crew of the helper locomotive greets the locals as the train rolls through Wick.

Rowland Proposes Steam Train to Honor Vets

February 27, 2015

Ross Rowland wants to replicate the American Freedom Train, but this time he would focus on honoring America’s veterans.

Rowland has proposed a steam-hauled exhibition train that would visit 125 cities between 2017 and 2020.

To be named the Yellow Ribbon Express, Rowland said the train would deliver a “a national loud and proud thank you” to American military veterans, especially those who have served since 9/11.

Rowland also hopes to raise $1 billion to aid wounded veterans of the wars who have fought since 2001.

“It’s a thank you from the 99 percent of us to the 1 percent of us who have done the heavy lifting,” he said.

To get the Yellow Ribbon Express rolling, Rowland is seeking 10 corporate sponsors to invest $2 million a year each for five years.

“It’s a tall mountain to climb, and there are no guarantees,” Rowland says. “I’m modestly optimistic that we can do this.”

Pulling the train would be Chesapeake & Ohio No. 614, a 1948 Lima 4-8-4 that Rowland has owned for three decades.

Rowland said he and his engineering team are considering converting the locomotive to burn natural gas.

He also said that another main line locomotives will double-head with No. 614 on the tour so that a live, steaming locomotive will be on hand every day at every exhibit site.

“There are quite a few large, mainline locomotive available around the country so we can have a live locomotive on site every day,” he said.

“It will be a spectacle,” Rowland said. “Steam will draw people to the train. It will be a happening.”

Rowland is seeking support of several Class I railroads, and one, which he declined to name, is already on board with the idea.

The American Freedom Train operated in 1975-1976 and carried hundreds of historic artifacts and documents that were seen by more than 7 million people.

For more information, visit www.yellowribbonexpress.com.

 

 

While ARRC Members Did Steam in the Valley . . .

September 26, 2013

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 . . . I was out in Illinois photographing a Chinese steam engine.

We came across this excursion by shear dumb luck. We had departed Galesburg that morning and were working our way back up to Interstate 80 for a fast ride home.

We picked up Route 6 near Sheffield. The Iowa Interstate (ex-Rock Island) main crosses the IAIS just east of town.

As we crossed the tracks we noticed a light way off in the distance. We thought it to be some good luck that we noticed the light and would be able to photograph a westbound IAIS freight. We turned around and went into “downtown” Sheffield where we noticed some tents and food vendors set up.

We inquired about the fair going on and were told there wasn’t any fair but the steam special was due in.

In short order IAIS Chinese-built (1986) QJ No.7081 rolled into town and stopped to unload passengers.

The trips were short, running from Tiskilwa to Sheffield and return. We did some shots while they serviced the QJ and took a few detail photos.

GP38-2 No. 707 was on the east end of the train and would lead back to Tiskilwa. We followed the train back east for a shot or two south of Wyanet, but as time was running short for us (I had to work the next morning) we elected to give up the chase and roll toward home.

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

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Cruising along the East Branch of the Hennepin Canal near Wyanet. That's Lock 17 off to the right if I remember correctly.

Cruising along the East Branch of the Hennepin Canal near Wyanet. That’s Lock 17 off to the right if I remember correctly.

A "going away" shot I while some fans take photos.

A “going away” shot I while some fans take photos.