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Nostalgia & History > Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!


Date: 03/17/23 04:50
Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: Roadjob

Yes I am doing a periodic Conrail whine session again. I should rephrase it to wine, because sometimes I could use a drink thinking about the early Conrail years, I won't moan too much today, so I'll let the images here do that for me. Just a few discoveries as to why Iforced myself to go trackside in the Northeast after April Fools Day 1976. It was a weird time to say the least! Lehigh Valley in Cleveland, Jersey Central in Indiana, Reading, wherever, and my personal hell, EL everywhere except where it should have been. It was an awful time, that I would not want to relive, but, it was an incredibly fascinating period in American railroad history. Looking through the prism of time, I was glad, if for no other reason, to watch history unfolding. Just a few morsels of watching the Erie Lackawanna disappear....As an aside, my long time good buddy Roger Durfee[EL833] has a new book coming out on Conrail's early years. It is focused on Ohio, which was the place one wanted to be in those early years. Roger is an excellent photographer, and this is a must book for anyone interested in this amazing time. The book debuts on April 1st. Roger will be at the Conrail Historical Society's new museum in Shippensburg Pa. I will be there to make sure he can get his head through the door. Someone has to keep the boy in line,lol!!

top...Starting off in Durfee's back yard, Akron Ohio..ouch!

middle...another ouch! Westbound clearing former EL tower at Sterling Ohio. In a few short years, the tower and the tracks would follow the railroad into oblivion.

bottom.. have no clue where I shot this. Probably was too traumatized at that time!

Bill Rettberg
Bel Air, MD








Date: 03/17/23 04:57
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: Roadjob

top...looking every bit like a normal PC TV except it was on the former EL main at Waverly NY. Yes, this hurt just as bad. A few months earlier this would have been a Croxton 99.

middle...westbound at Lilly Pa. Conrail did find a special duty for the brutish SD45-2s of the EL. Shoving, and in this case, pulling trains over the mountains of Pennsylvania.

bottom...then there was the mix and match that showed up everywhere. In this case, east of Cleveland.

 

Bill Rettberg
Bel Air, MD



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 13:28 by Roadjob.








Date: 03/17/23 05:22
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: Roadmaster

#3 looks like an eastbound at Brady Lake, OH, to me, where the EL used some former PRR trackage as one of the main tracks starting at this point going east.  The train has just crossed over the new PRR main and is turning onto the former PRR main; the closer track is now the Portage Hike and Bike trail.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=41.17176,-81.31050&z=15&t=U&marker0=41.17176%2C-81.31050%2C4.4%20km%20ExNE%20of%20Kent%20OH

Here'a another eastbound, viewed from the south side of the EL, crossing over the new PRR main approaching the six-minute, six-degree curve onto the old PRR main at Brady Lake.  https://flickriver.com/photos/davidwilson1949/3200686312/

Here's a view down onto the new PRR main with CR SD80MAC's about to pass westbound under the EL bridge.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/40666398@N02/11126257606

Matthew



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 06:36 by Roadmaster.



Date: 03/17/23 07:34
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: SPDRGWfan

Thanks for these photo's and sounds like an excellent book due soon!  I saw none of those scenes having spent my entire 1970's in northern California so it's a fascinating look at railroading I never got to see in person.

Thanks!
Jim 



Date: 03/17/23 07:55
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: jgilmore

Roadjob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
It was a weird time to say the least! Lehigh
> Valley in Cleveland, Jersey Central in Indiana,
> Reading, wherever, and my personal hell, EL
> everywhere except where it should have been. 

Yes, even Detroit. Saw all of this regularly during that time growing up around Detroit, thought it was really cool. Snowbirds, everybody's SD45s, multi-colors of Alcos, you name it, all through the living room window! When was I ever gonna see any of that in person?! ... Another great early CR bunch!

JG



Date: 03/17/23 08:09
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: santafe199

In 1968 I was 12 turning 13 when the Penn Central merger happened, only dimly aware of the prior history of the PRR vs NYC rivalry. When Conrail happened in '76 I was better educated, and could sense the despair from fans of the latest fallen flag RRs. Fast-forward to modern day and I am mildly surprised at the amount of affection shown for Conrail when it was served up on the NS/CSX buffet table. A sign o' the times, I guess. And in recent years I heard Joe McMillan saying how his BNSF calendars were starting to out-sell his Santa Fe calendars. Another shocking sign o' the times, I reckon... :^/

Lance 



Date: 03/17/23 08:27
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: Roadmaster

santafe199 Wrote: " . . . I heard Joe McMillan saying how his BNSF calendars were starting to out-sell his Santa Fe calendars."

Maybe one day I can remember to order calendars in a timely manner and help reverse that trend . . . no offense to the skilled photographers contributing to the BNSF calendar.  :)

Matthew



Date: 03/17/23 08:31
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: CPMorris

"...Ohio, which was the place one wanted to be in those early years."
Yes, especially Dayton, specifically, Dayton Union Station. It was strange watching
CNJ, LV and Reading units pass through. Even stranger was seeing PC locomotives
on the Reading -  " MY personal hell ! "



Date: 03/17/23 08:40
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: EL833

Sweet photos as usual Bill, and yes, as much as I enjoyed the transition years it was still sad to see my end of the EL pretty much totally fade into history. Thank you for the book plug as well- I'll see you (and it sounds like perklocal too) over east in a couple weeks. It's going to be a fun few days ! I'll second the above comment on photo #3- it's definitely an eastbound that has just crossed over the C&P (PC Cleveland Line). Of interest, the line your train is on between your photo and near Ravenna was built on the former C&P right of way that was sold to the Erie RR when the PRR upgraded the C&P.

Roger Durfee
Akron, OH



Date: 03/17/23 09:52
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: Roadjob

Thank you Rog  and  Roadmaster for telling me where I was. I was completely lost on that one! Usually don't lose track of the EL, but that spot had me.

Bill Rettberg
Bel Air, MD



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 09:54 by Roadjob.



Date: 03/17/23 11:18
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: EL833

Roadjob Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
top...Starting off in Durfee's back yard, Akron Ohio..ouch!

....ouch is right ! Everything in this photo on the former EL side is gone....track, building, locomotives, even the road crossing. Last info I can find on that ex EL pup is a photo down in Texas, painted blue (not CR), DIT somewhere. I'm going to assume it's razor blades.

Roger Durfee
Akron, OH



Date: 03/17/23 12:52
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: gcm

That certainly was a strange time in railroad history.
Another excellent series !
Gary



Date: 03/17/23 12:53
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: randgust

The speed at which through traffic came off the EL main (I was in Jamestown, NY) was just chilling.    Conrail day was April 1, by summer the main was down to  one through train a day each way.   One week before April 1, I'd chased the westbound hot UPS train NY-99 and simply could not keep up with it, running at track speed.  Last time I'd see that. 

The oddest thing around us was that we still had two surviving manned towers at Niobe NY and Falconer NY.   One operator drove between each tower post-Conrail, manually setting the home signals for the next directional move - one through move a day.   That continued right up until the signals were removed years later.   And when the Lake Shore line( NYC) collapsed west of Erie in March1987, all the traffic that could be diverted to the ex-EL main came through, but given the lack of operators, crews. etc. it was a challenge handling the flood.   Trains were doubled, tripled, and fleeted directionally.

 I remember the first 'marooned' westbound coal train that got stopped at Falconer (DV) on a Sunday due to the red signal, I chased and photographed it as I hadn't seen a coal train in four years, let alone a Sunday move west.   Walked over to the stopped train at DV and they wanted to know if I was the operator.... and I wasn't.  "Well, do you know how to run the signal?"  Geez.....  I ended up driving them to a motel as the next operator wasn't due until Monday morning.   Then the real fun with mass detours started.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/23 13:04 by randgust.



Date: 03/17/23 13:53
Re: Culture shock! Watching a railroad evaporate!
Author: EL833

randgust Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The speed at which through traffic came off the EL main (I was in Jamestown, NY) was just chilling. 
>  Conrail day was April 1, by summer the main was down to  one through train a day each way. 
>  One week before April 1, I'd chased the westbound hot UPS train NY-99 and simply could not keep up with it, running at track speed.  Last time I'd see that. 

The traffic diversion did happen fast. Conrail had installed crossover switches and established a TBS (Temporary Block Station) at South St in Akron to route trains off the EL and onto the PC side to access the Ft Wayne Line at Orrville. Movement sheets from that TBS show a handfull of trains that would still go "all EL" west of town to Marion. A June 77 sheet shows westbounds IHB-9, TV-77, BRC-75 going to the PC side at the TBS and MV-61, a Creston Turn, and MC-97 going straight EL (plus the PE-1 local). Eastbound off the PC to the EL shows NY-74, TV-98, IHB-8 and BRC-76 with CM-96, MV-62, a Harding Turn, and the local running EL to EL at the TBS. We had a few more trains in Ohio due to those Creston Turns (Youngstown to the N&W connection at Creston and return, an all EL move), and every 6 months Conrail got the coke trains that came off the B&LE at Shenango. Those went west on the EL to Akron and then the PC Ft Wayne Line to Chicago. Extras of course added trains at times. Today little remains of the former EL in Ohio, just short sections here and there operated by shortlines.
 

Roger Durfee
Akron, OH



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