Posts Tagged ‘train stations’

Signal Indication is a Shadow

March 8, 2018

It’s late afternoon in Olmsted Falls. The sun is swinging around toward the southwest and illuminating the west end of the former New York Central station, which is now owned by the Cuyahoga Valley & West Shore Model Railroad Club.

One of the latest additions to the club’s modest 1:1 scale of railroad collectables at the depot is a two-headed Type G signal.

You don’t see the signal above, but it is casting a shadow on the side of the station.

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Railroad Space in Conneaut

March 5, 2018

I’d never photographed a CSX train in Conneaut from this particular angle until last fall.

The crew of westbound Q145 probably paid little attention to the former New York Central depot, which is now a museum. They’ve passed it dozens of times.

As I looked through my lens, I also noted the two-story red brick building to the right of the station.

I suspect that at one time it might have been a hotel. It was common back in the day for hotels to be placed next to or near railroad stations.

If this was a hotel at one time, it has been decades since the last guest signed the register. The NYC last picked up passengers in Conneaut on Oct. 25, 1962.

That building probably had ceased being a hotel well before that. I’m not sure what use is made of that building today. It might be an apartment building.

Some Erie Sights

November 16, 2017

Hunter’s railroad wasn’t being very cooperative. I had set up on the West Main Street bridge in downtown Kent hoping to get a train or two on the CSX New Castle Subdivision.

Westbound intermodal trains Q015 and Q137 have been operating in mid to late afternoon of late. But I got crickets. There wasn’t as much as a peep on the radio.

After about 45 minutes of waiting, I got out and walked around to make photographs of whatever caught my eye, including some Erie Railroad relics.

The most prominent of those is the former passenger station, which has been restored and now houses an Italian restaurant.

Just south of the station is a heavyweight passenger car painted in Erie colors. It apparently is used as a meeting room, although I’ve never seen anyone in it.

There is a signal box by the station that I know I’ve seen dozens of times, but never photographed. Today I saw something there as the late afternoon sunlight cast a warm glow on the rust-covered box. Who knows how many years it has been here and how many trains it has seen?

Finally, I checked out the siding for the Star of the West grain elevator. Just the night before during a program at the Railroad Enthusiasts meeting in Cleveland there was speculation as to what will happen with this property, which closed earlier this year.

The Erie would have served this facility as did the Akron Barberton Cluster Railway. Now the siding sits unused.

At one time, one of the mainline tracks would have been here, but it has been a long time since these rails were a double-track mainline.

Reflections on a Reflection

October 28, 2017

Many of my favorite photographs have been created by happenstance. Such was the case with this image of a reflection of the former Erie Railroad passenger station in Kent in a pool of the decorative dam on the Cuyahoga River.

The story behind this image begins with a walk down to the observation platform that can be seen toward the right middle of the image.

My intent was to get a close-up view of the late day sun hitting the station, which is now an Italian restaurant named Treno, which is Italian for train.

The dam used to be functional, but several years ago the river was channeled away from it and into the remnants of the Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal. What had been the river became dry land that was transformed into a park while the dam was renovated to become, in essence, a giant water fountain.

The top of the dam is quite high, about at the level of my eyes. I happened to notice the station reflecting in the pool at the top of the dam and thought it would make a nice photograph.

I made it but all you could see was the reflection in the water. I then lifted my camera above my head and held it over the railing in the foreground.

A Canon 60D has a foldout screen that can be angled up or down. That came in handy in being able to see what the lens was seeing. I then used the live view feature of the camera to make the image.

The result was, perhaps, my best image of the day. What appears to be a reflection from a flash toward the right end of the station is actually the sun reflecting off a window.

Fire Destroys P&LE Station near Beaver Falls

June 23, 2017

A Pittsburgh & Lake Erie passenger station in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, will be razed after it was heavily damaged by fire.

Firefighters told local news media that trying to bring the blaze under control was difficult because the area had no fire hydrants.

That forced fire fighters to use a relay pump to supply water for their efforts.

Known as College Hill station, the two-story structure opened in 1910 and was used to carry passengers to Geneva College.

It was later used by the PAT commuter trains until they were discontinued in 1985. The building was last used in the early 1990s.

Ex-Erie Station in Fair Lawn Being Renovated

April 18, 2017

The former Erie Railroad station in the Radburn section of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, is closing for four months for some badly needed TLC.

It is getting a new roof, ceiling and interior renovations. The station was built by the Erie in 1929 and replaced a small wood building.

The station sees about 1,500 commuters a day and is one of only a couple of former Erie stations that still has an agent, albeit only for morning rush hour Monday through Friday.

The station is styled in the Dutch style that matched many of Fair Lawn’s early homes.

Since the station is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places the appearance of the depot will not change.

The only significant change to the station was the addition of a platform canopy in the early 2000s. Compare the 1950s postcard view with the picture taken at the same angle in 2012.

The Radburn-Fair Lawn station has a special meaning for me; It is where I became a railfan.

In the ‘60s, when I was old enough to start wandering around town on my own I would go to the station every day after school and watch the trains roll by.

The Erie Lackawanna’s commuter trains were hauled by RS-3s and geeps. The train to Port Jervis was hauled by an E8.

In the early 1970s the commuter trains were replaced with brand new U34CH diesels and push-pull train sets.

The E’s would last on the Port Jervis runs a few more years. In those days the station still had a full-time agent who was there until 4 p.m.

I had many pleasant conversations with the gentleman. There was also a full-time section gang that had an office in the station, including a a kind old Italian gentlemen who would always talk to a young railfan.

My daily railfanning would end at 6:15 p.m. when the train pulled in and brought my father home from his job in New York City.

We would get in the car and drive home to become a complete family once again.

At 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 14, the agent closed up the office and New Jersey Transit started removing the office equipment.

On Monday the station’s cozy waiting room fell silent. In about four months the refurbished building should be reopened and the waiting room and agent will be welcoming travelers once again.

I can’t wait to walk through her doors once again.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

A contemporary view of Radburn station.

Historic post card view of Radburn station.

Buffalo Station Committee to hold 1st Meeting

November 29, 2016

A committee to study sites for a new Amtrak station in Buffalo, New York, expects to hold its first meeting in December.

Amtrak 4The 17-member committee will review such locations as the former Buffalo Central Terminal, Larkinville, Canalside and the current Exchange Street Amtrak station.

The State of New York has allocated $20 for construction of the station and the committee will look to see if it can obtain some federal funding.

“We’ll be able to fast track these initiatives that unfortunately have taken the back burner because of a lack of funding,” said committee member Tim Kennedy, a state senator from Buffalo. “Now we can drive forward with those. And I think it fits right into the timetable that we’re looking at with the new train station in Buffalo.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said he will accept a challenge from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decide on a station location within the next six months.

Ann Arbor Officials Expect to Name Preferred Site by January for New Amtrak Station

September 29, 2016

A consultant hired by the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said local officials want to get resolved by early next year a preferred site for a new Amtrak station.

Robert Gorski of AECOM told a public hearing held on Monday that the city is working with the Michigan Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration to choose a preferred site by January and complete an environmental assessment that must be approved by the FRA.

Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit Wolverine Service trains currently stop in Ann Arbor at a modular station built by Amtrak in 1983.

Amtrak 4Therese Cody, the MDOT rail operating programs manager said at the hearing that neither Amtrak or the state wants to own train stations.

MDOT prefers that local communities own their depots.

“Because then they reflect what the community wants the station to be — like you’ve seen Dearborn go up and Detroit go up,” she said. “They’re all a reflection of the community. A lot of times it’s a gateway to the community.” Cody described the current Ann Arbor station as an Amshack.

City officials are studying four station alternatives that include two options at the site of the existing Amtrak station on Depot Street.

Another is to build in Fuller Park in front of the University of Michigan Hospital while the fourth option is to use the former Michigan Central station, which is now a restaurant.

City officials said during the Monday hearing that the corporate owner of the Gandy Dancer restaurant has not returned phone calls inquiring about whether it would be interested in selling its property

However, the city could use its powers of eminent domain to take it over.

Cody noted that federal funding for new stations is provided to communities and not to Amtrak.

“Amtrak doesn’t put a lot of vested interest into their stations, where we believe that a community can make it a little more inviting and provide for the community’s needs,” she said. “Amtrak doesn’t go around and say, ‘Do you guys need a meeting room? Do you guys need this or that?’ They don’t care.”

Gorski said the cost of building a new station at each of the identified sites will be taken into account in selecting a preferred location.

Although the city has not yet released cost estimates for each station option, it projects that the  station design will cost $2.6 million and construction will $44.5 million.

Wherever it is built, the new station will have 9,100 square feet of space and 900-1,100 parking spaces.

Ann Arbor OKs Money for More Station Studies

September 22, 2016

The Ann Arbor City Council has approved a resolution to amend the city’s professional services agreement with AECOM, an engineering firm, which would provide additional funding to perform further studies on a new Amtrak station.

michiganHowever, some council members expressed discontent about how much money has already been spent on studies related to the new depot.

They noted that nearly a million dollars has already been expended on studies and environmental reviews since 2012 and yet a site for the station has yet to be chosen.

A study recently released identified several station options at three sites.

“This additional money is necessary because we have not narrowed it down to one site. The original agreement included the environment review for one preferred alternative,” said council member Jack Eaton. “If we were able to narrow it down to one alternative we would not have to spend this extra $196,000.”

Public Services Administrator Craig Hupy and Transportation Manager Eli Cooper said the additional city funding is needed for studies of the potential station sites because the project’s current funding grant from the Federal Railroad Association did not provide money for those studies.

Nine council members voted to approve the resolution, with Eaton the sole no vote.

Ann Arbor is served by six daily Wolverine Service trains between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

Buffalo Exchange Street Station Closed After Heavy Rainfall Leads to Ceiling Collapse

September 22, 2016

Exchange Street station in Buffalo, New York, has been closed after heavy rain caused the ceiling to collapse.

Amtrak 3The city of Buffalo, which owns the station, has indicated that it will seek cost estimates about repairing the facility, which is served by New York-Niagara Falls Empire Service trains and the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf.

All of those trains plus the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited are also served by another Amtrak station in suburban Buffalo in Depew, New York.

Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak said a contractor has been sent to the site to evaluate the condition of the building. Stepniak said the city will explore various options before moving forward.

The ceiling collapse occurred near the passenger waiting area last weekend and the station was closed on Monday.

Earlier this month, another portion of the ceiling collapsed, prompting the closure of the station’s ticket office.

Amtrak will continue to serve the station in the meantime. The passenger carrier said it is working with the New York State Department of Transportation, but is not directly involved in station repairs because it does not own the station.

A passenger train advocate said the situation underscores the need for a new station in Buffalo near the city’s waterfront.

“We are very concerned over the immediate safety implications, and the loss of service to the increasingly vibrant downtown Buffalo area,” said Bruce Becker, vice president of operations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers.