Posts Tagged ‘Youngstown’

The Capitol Limited Returns to Akron

August 27, 2021
The CSX office car special passes through Akron Thursday morning.
Rattling the diamonds at Center Street in Youngstown
At Station Square in Pittsburgh. The Capitol Limited of the Baltimore & Ohio used to stop here.
I got cloud skunked just as the train passed the Pittsburgh skyline

Thursday morning CSX ran its ofice car special across northern Ohio and Pennsylvania.

With two F40PHs and 11 passenger cars all decked out in a Baltimore & Ohio inspired livery it looked like the Capitol Limited had returned once again.

I first caught the special at Akron.  The weather was foggy and overcast but my photos turned out okay.

Next was Youngstown where the weather wasn’t any better but I was interviewed by a local TV station curious as to why all the railfans were waiting on the Center Street bridge.

Then it was on to Station Square in Pittsburgh.  The weather was much improved but we unfortunately were cloud skunked when the train arrived.

In times past the Capitol would have made a stop here.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Monday Rail Traffic at Center Street in Youngstown

November 12, 2020

While getting photographs of trains and fall colors on Monday, Todd Dillion also stopped by Center Street in Youngstown to check out the action there.

He bagged an Ohio Central train going to Norfolk Southern, a CSX auto rack train, a CSX local with two big GE units running nose to nose and a CSX coal train with a new EMD ST70AH.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

When the P&LE Served Youngstown

April 12, 2020

We’re taking another look today inside the collection of images made by the late Mike Ondecker.

In today’s series we’ve gone back to mid 1968 to take a look at Pittsburgh & Lake Erie diesels in Youngstown.

In the top image is GP7 No. 5727, which was built for the P&LE in April 1953.

It later served the Illinois Central Railroad, where it was rebuilt into a GP8 and given roster number 7965.

In the bottom image we see a pair of SW9 switchers, Nos. 8939 and 8938.

Notice how the last three numbers on the cab are at an angle.

Both units were built in March 1951. No. 8938 would spend all of its career on the P&LE, but the 8939 would move off the property to enjoy a second life on various other short line railroads.

Photographs by Mike Ondecker

J&LNG Seeking Volunteers to Help With Signal Work

December 30, 2019

The J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad in Youngstown is seeking volunteers who are interested in railway signaling to assist in the installation of a working signal system.

The work includes plans to install switch circuit controllers on the house track and eastern extension switches to operate signals directing movements over these tracks.

Thus far the railroad has completed installation of a searchlight dwarf signal for the house track.

It is now acquiring components for the main track signals and plans to install crossing gates at one of its road crossings.

The railroad said if there is sufficient interest it will schedule a J&LNG signaling weekend in the spring.

The J&LNG  is a part of the Youngstown Steel Heritage Museum and is a 24-inch gauge demonstration railroad that shows the type of narrow gauge railroad operations used by the steel industry.

It features a 93,000 pound 0-4-0T built by HK Porter for the Pittsburgh Works.

Recently the museum has received from CSX three more pieces of rolling stock to add to its collection.

The boxcars will be used for storage while a ballast hopper will become a coal dock for the J&L 58.

Previously, CSX has now donated to the museum a caboose, a tank car for water storage, a hopper for coal storage and boxcars for general storage.

Another EL Monday

December 16, 2019

It’s another Monday morning so let’s dial up the Erie Lackawanna in the wayback machine before getting to work for the week.

In the top image, it’s early 1973 in Kent. That’s EMD E8A No. 812 sandwiched into that motive power consist.

No. 812 was built for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western in spring 1951 and carried the same roster number.

In the bottom image, Alco RS-2 No. 921 is reposing at the engine facility at Brier Hill yard near Youngstown on Oct. 1, 1972.

No. 921 was built in February 1952 for the Erie Railroad.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Youngstown Group to Benefit from HO Model Sales

October 5, 2018

The Youngstown Steel Heritage Foundation will benefit from a plan by Athearn Trains and two hobby shops to donate to the group part of the proceeds of the sale of an HO scale SDP45 locomotive.

The donations will be used to help the Youngstown group preserve an Erie Lackawanna SDP45 that it is acquiring from the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The ex-EL unit is now wearing a Conrail livery.

Athearn, the Maine Model Works of Yarmouth, Maine, and Hobby Express in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, will make a donation for every scale model of EL No. 3639 or Conrail No. 6670 that they sell.

The Youngstown group has raised more than $10,000 toward its $20,000 goal to purchase the locomotive.

It also has purchased new doors and windows for the locomotive, which it plans to move to the Marter Yard Railroad Museum operated by the Mahoning Valley Railroad Heritage Association, in Youngstown.

EMD built No. 3639 in 1969 and it is one of two six-axle EL EMD units that have been preserved. The other is No. 3607 at the National Museum of Transportation near St. Louis.

When the Ohio Central was the Ohio Central

January 17, 2018

This is a grab shot, literally. I was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by fellow Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee.

We were driving around the Youngstown area when we crossed over the OC tracks. There sat three OC diesels, probably resting over the weekend. I made this shot out the window as we drove over them.

Ever since the Ohio Central stopped interchanging with CSX at Warrick, I haven’t seen its trains. The OC system is a little too far south of my regular railfanning haunts.

Since it was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming, OC diesels have been slowly been repainted into the G&W livery that is dominated by the color orange.

Soon these maroon and gold units will be just another memory of the days when the late Jerry Joe Jacobson owned the railroad.

Budget Proposal Just a Starting Point

March 21, 2017

More than likely it is a waste of time to discuss the Trump administration proposal to eliminate funding for Amtrak’s long-distance trains.

A president’s budget proposal is just that, a proposal, and no president of either party sees the budget he sent to Congress come out without any substantive changes.

For that matter the House and Senate will have their own ideas about how to spend public money, including how much to allot to the national rail passenger carrier.

Amtrak has been down this road before, many times in fact. Past administrations have proposed zeroing out Amtrak funding only to see Congress time and again appropriate just enough to keep Amtrak’s skeletal national network operating.

If anything is a surprise that the Trump budget would seek to keep any funding for Amtrak.

Amtrak may have survived past budget fights but there have been route casualties along the way. A major restructuring in 1979 killed the only Amtrak service in Columbus and Dayton with the discontinuance of the New York-Kansas City National Limited.

A 1995 restructuring killed the Broadway Limited, which wiped Akron, Youngstown and Fostoria off the Amtrak map.

They later regained service for a short time when a revived Broadway operating as the Three Rivers ran between Chicago and New York.

Another budget fight took Athens and Chillicothe out of the Amtrak network when the Cincinnati-Washington Shenandoah was discontinued in 1981.

For a short time, that 1981 budget fight kicked Cincinnati out of Amtrak, but thanks to the political clout of the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the Cardinal returned to its Chicago-New York flight path in early 1982, albeit as a tri-weekly rather than a daily train.

Given the history of Amtrak funding, it would seem likely that some, if not all, of Amtrak’s long-distance trains will survive due to political wrangling.

What could happen is that the fight becomes one of percentages as in what percentage of the Amtrak long-distance network will survive.

If that is the case, Ohio could be in the middle of the fight when some modifications of the long-distance route network are proposed to consolidate “duplicate” service, e.g., the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited between Chicago and Cleveland.

I could see someone proposing reducing the Capitol Limited to a Pittsburgh-Washington service that connects with a combined Lake Shore Limited and Pennsylvanian between Chicago and New York. That would leave Erie, Pennsylvania, off the Amtrak map.

Already, Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation have proposed rerouting the Lake Shore Limited through Michigan, presumably in lieu of an existing Wolverine Service train.

Someone in Washington in an Amtrak office, a Department of Transportation office and/or a congressional office has probably been studying the Amtrak map with an eye toward finding a way to end federal funding of the Lake Shore Limited by making it into a state train.

Michigan and Pennsylvania already fund the legs into Chicago and New York City respectively. Why not tell Ohio that if it wants service it needs to fund the leg between Detroit and Pittsburgh?

And if Pittsburgh-Washington service is to survive then Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia or a combination of those three states will have to fund what would be left of the Capitol Limited.

Some lawmakers like to talk about offering “options.”  They may or may not know or may or may not care that Ohio is unlikely to agree to fund the middle section of the Lake Shore Limited route.

But if Ohio says “no,” well it was given an option and it voted with its wallet.

Buried in the Trump budget proposal is the rational for sharply reducing funding for programs that benefit public transportation: “Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.”

Look for some in the coming months or years to begin seeking to apply this philosophy to funding for Amtrak long-distance trains.

It would be part of a larger effort to frame the narrative over passenger train funding as a local issue, not a national one even if the trains in question work to form a national transportation network.

Railroading as It Once Was: When Steel was Still King and Center Street Was a Busy RR Junction

February 16, 2016

Chessie at Center Street

Rubber in Akron and steel in Youngstown. Neither of them are what they used to be. There was a time when the Baltimore & Ohio and other railroads reaped large revenue from both industries.

But the industrial base of Northeast Ohio deteriorated in the 1970s and the rust belt moniker became an accurate description of the region.

In the photograph above, we’ve gone back to the days before the steel industry collapsed in the Mahoning Valley.

A Chessie System freight is curving through the Center Street junction in Youngstown. At one time this was a hub of railroad activity.

Note the large iron ore pile and Republic Steel gantry crane off to the left. The double main the lead unit is on is Conrail’s former Pittsburgh, Youngstown & Ashtabula Branch.

The lines over on the right are Conrail’s ex-New York Central line to Ashtabula.

Center Street is still a railroad junction, but the scene doesn’t look like this today.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

Chasing NKP 765 Was Easiest in Youngstown

July 27, 2015

The 765 trails on the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday. This is my favorite photo of the two days as it reminds me of the many photos Dave McKay used to take in the Youngstown area.   Taken from an overpass just east Covelli Center

The 765 trails on the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday. This is my favorite photo of the two days as it reminds me of the many photos Dave McKay used to take in the Youngstown area. Taken from an overpass just east Covelli Center

In chasing the Nickel Plate Road 765 Ashtabula trips last weekend I discovered two things.

First, it is not very easy to chase this line.  Second, the majority of good photos were in Youngstown.

Yes, there are some nice locations along the line but at the speeds that the 765 was travelling it was difficult to keep up.  No four lane highway directly parallels the Youngstown Line as ws the case for the Indiana trip chase.

However, in Youngstown there were several good spots in close proximity.  Even better, the train made several reverse moves to access the loading facility at the Covelli Center.

In the afternoon, the sequence was as follows.  The train would pull in from Ashtabula with the 765 leading.  Then it would back in on the line to unload.

After unloading, the 765 would pull east. The train would reverse to Hubbard where a wye is located.

The train would turn here and then back into the Haselton Yard to stay overnight.  An SD40-2 was provided to assist with these and stayed with the train to help at Ashtabula.

All these moves were at slow speed and provided many good opportunities for photographs and video.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Heading north at Bell Wick Road at Hubbard on Sunday morning.  The railroad turns east west for a distance here with good sun in both directions.

Heading north at Bell Wick Road at Hubbard on Sunday morning. The railroad turns east west for a distance here with good sun in both directions.

Pulling out of Covelli Center after unloading on Sunday.

Pulling out of Covelli Center after unloading on Sunday.

Leading Sunday's train into Youngstown.

Leading Sunday’s train into Youngstown.

A coal train followed shortly after.

A coal train followed shortly after.

The 765 charges out of town Sunday morning.

The 765 charges out of town Sunday morning.

The steam locmotive wasn't the only thing of interest this weekend.  Rick Rowlands showed up with this old hi-rail truck lettered for Conrail.

The steam locmotive wasn’t the only thing of interest this weekend. Rick Rowlands showed up with this old hi-rail truck lettered for Conrail.

NS 3479 leads the backup move to Hubbard on Saturday