Roger Durfee's Early Conrail Action

Roger has been shooting Conrail action since the beginning in his home area of Ohio. These superb photos come from Roger's extensive collection. 

There is quite the eclectic mix of power at the former Erie E55th St facility in Cleveland,Ohio this August 1976 day. The EL C-424 is on home rails, but the Penn Central FP7 (note lift rings), the Lehigh Valley GP-18, and the far from home BAR geep are new visitors to this Conrail yard. The base of the old steam era water tank still stands in this shot, but today all tracks seen here are gone. EL 2414 would become CR 2488 and spend a lot of time down in Youngstown.
A holdover from the PRR days, the lease of BAR power during the winter lasted into Conrail's first years. Here BAR 79, two ex EL C424's, and a former PC GP38 work the former EL yard in Kent, Ohio. The one EL 424 has already received it's CR number.
Shot at nearly the same spot as the DE 018 seen below, this UCI coal train is stopped at Hudson, Ohio dead on the law. Helping out CE 106, 107, and 101 was Conrail 3680, a former EL unit now in blue. The coal had originated in the mines south of Mingo Junction and is headed for the Cleveland Electric plant in Willoughby,Ohio. These "yellow birds" always made for a colorful train to photograph.
Power short Conrail used a group of Canadian National units to help it through it's first year. Included in that group of CN units were several GP40-2LW GMD's, certainly interesting as this was well before our "wide cab" revolution. Note the 4 section window, the triangle cluster of marker lights, and the high mounted bell. This is CR train TV-98 on the former Erie Lackawanna in Akron, Ohio in October of 1976. The two GP40-2LW's are followed by an M630. Word was Conrail crews "abused" these units, so once the original group returned to Canada few others came to replace them.
Another one of the goodies Conrail used during those first years was this Chicago and North Western GP-30. CNW 810 was delivered in April 1963 and has a former PRR FP7 and some switchers to keep it company at the P1A shop at Collinwood in this May 1977 view.
Although a pre Conrail shot, these Erie Lackawanna Huletts at Cleveland would work for the new Conrail for only a short while- the near by C&P Huletts would render them surplus pretty quick. Larger boats could be accommodated at those ex PRR Huletts located right on Lake Erie without having to navigate the sharp curves of the Cuyahoga River that was required to reach the Erie ones. The EL diamond looked good up on the arms.
A hump crew gathers up a couple of cabin cars at East Conway. SD38 6941 is paired with MT-6 #1124, the former Penn Central RSD-12 # 6856. It survives today as NS RPU6 #859.
It's one of those "hey-wow" early Conrail consists, A Penn Central GP38 leads U25B 2627, C636 6789, and the one and only blue F, the 1648 west through Brady Lake, Ohio on a fine November 1976 day. Had to settle for a going away shot, but this down on view leaves no doubt that the entire F was painted, including the roof. 1648 would be renumbered late in it's career to 1792 just prior to it's scrapping.
I mention the South St TBS a lot in my photo captions. It was where crossovers were installed to route traffic off the former EL and onto the former PC in an effort to eventually downgrade and eliminate the EL west of Akron. An ex Erie trailer was brought in to house the operator, and for a while it remained in the two tone green colors of the Erie. It's 1977 in this shot, way before the EPA and such had the clout it does today, so we'll just ignore the 55 gallon drums out back, some of which are lettered "Valvoline". This TBS would last over 4 years and eventually the trailer got painted gray, the Penn Central F got scrapped.
In ABA formation, this set of Conrail F's has just departed Collinwood and is headed for Rockport yard via former CUT track- note the old electric supports.
Steam on Conrail, while rare, did happen. Witness Cuyahoga Valley Lines ex GTW #4070 waiting on the former Erie main as the Akron to Motor train heads north on the ex PC 103 track with a pair of F7's head out. The 4070 still exists, albeit in pieces, in the ex B&O roundhouse in Cleveland. The F's are scrapped.
A small F7 and a large SD45-2 depart Collinwood for Motor. It wasn't very common to see big power like that ex EL SD on the pullers.
What a place to find a nice ABA set of Conrail F's, the Collinwood deadline. Their running days over, the 1730. 3870, and 1725 have joined former EL, RDG, and PC Alco's to await a trip to the scrapper this November 1978 day.
Conrail F7A 1733 get some windshield wiper attention as the fireman eyeballs the photographer. Motor yard, Bedford, Ohio in January 1978.
A Conrail ABAA set of F7's rest at Motor yard on the east side of Cleveland,Ohio after their run from Collinwood. It's May of 1977, and all but the 1743 have received the "CR" treatment. In order, 1743,3869,1750,and 1755.
Just a collection of early CR'd power nose shots surrounding SD80mac 4111, the pinnacle of Conrail's power. Left to right, F7A, SDP45, C630, C420, SD80mac, and RS11.
Conrail F7A's 1772, 1784, and 1829, all ex NYC, work the east end of Motor yard in the last year of freight F unit service.
Conrail F7A's 1774 and 1833 are on a Collinwood to Motor puller passing through the near east side of Cleveland in April 1979.They are passing the remains of the Cleveland Union Terminal electric supports. This track is today's CSX main through town.
Conrail F7A 1782 is at Akron, Ohio in June 1976 with a Cleveland to Akron local.
The use of F units on Conrail was just about over by August 1979, but a couple did hang on, including the 1788. The engineer seemed to know the 1788's days were numbered and stopped for a moment right in front of us so we could get some photos. After we were done we waved, he waved, and he continued on towards the P1A shop. It was actually a treat to catch a single A unit. By September the 1788 was shut down and retired.
Three F units and 1 PC geep are poised to make their last run west to the scrapper this Feb 1979 day. Dead and drained, 1792, 1854, 1794, and the geep are headed for trade in fodder in Chicago. The 1792 is the celebrity of the bunch, the only F to get blue paint. It's the former 1648, one of only 6 that got renumbered just prior to their retirement to make room for the new GP-15's.
A set of 4 F7A's sit on a side track in the ex PRR/PC South Akron yard located behind the Firestone T&R plant in Akron. The crew was probably "switching Clausers", a local eating joint located in front of the factory.
A Conrail caboose hop has just departed the Riverbed for Collinwood and is seen here passing through Bridge 1 in downtown Cleveland. 1869, still in Penn Central paint, leads this F7A/F7B/GP9B/F7A/caboose set east. Conrail is only a year old at this date, and the railroad still looks a mess in some places.
There were a few Conrail heritage units that had interesting lineage, and this F7A was one of them. It was delivered in June 1952 to the Denver and Rio Grande Western as their #5721. After a long career on the Grande, it was sold, along with others, to the Penn Central who planned on using them as trade in credit units in 1970. Out of that group there were 4 units, 2 A's and 2 B's, that were found to be in running condition, so some "PC" logos were applied and off they went to earn their keep. PC paint eventually was applied, but the A units were easy to spot due to being the only F7's to have dual headlights and non-recessed MU plug ins next to the upper headlight. All 4 made it through to Conrail- here the 1878 rests outside the P1A shop in August 1978. It would be retired in November and scrapped, a sad end to a good running unit.
Conrail 1879's heritage is a no brainer for those in the know- it's a former Denver and Rio Grande F7A, the dual headlights and MU location giving it away if the number don't. It would be the highest numbered ex Penn Central F7A conveyed to Conrail, and it started life as DRGW 5754 in July 1952 and was retired by Conrail on the 24th of May, 1978, so odds are it never ran after this shot was taken.....bummer.
Ah, the smell of new paint ! Former Reading Lines #94041 is on one of it's first trips after receiving a new coat of dress blue.
A former Erie F3A and a former PRR FP7A "kiss" under the ex NYC coaling tower at Collinwood. It's almost Conrail's first birthday, and neither unit has much of a future with big blue. PC 4365 is the FP number.
Due to being very power short the first year or so a handful of former Erie Lackawanna covered wagons were taken out of storage (most from Scranton) and joined their PC sisters in Cleveland,Ohio. Less than a year into the new Conrail this former EL unit waits for some shop time at Collinwood in this Feb 1977 view. This unit was EL 7131, and Erie RR 713A before that, a 1951 product of EMD. Somehow the EL diamond has remained untouched even though the unit's been renumbered and "CR"d.
The most B23-7's I've ever seen at one time, trains PIME-15 and ZWW-619 meet near New Castle,Pa on March 15th, 1981. The Conway to Meadville train had 1908,1934, and 1904 and the Shenango to Weirton ore train had 1902, 1906, 1925, 5914(GP-7), 1912, and 1921 for a total of 8 B23's and 1 geep. Both leaders went to CSX in the Conrail split.
The operator at "Castle" walks over to hand up a set of 19's to train ZWW619 as a local crew looks on. The train has ran over the P&LE from Youngstown to here and is entering the Youngstown Line via the connection. That's the Youngstown Line curving off to the left. Castle was a tower at one time, but a fire resulted in this trailer becoming the control point.
Conrail train MEPI-15 heads north near New Castle, Pa with a trio of B23-7's, 1908, 1934, and 1904. Behind me is a ZWW ore train waiting to go south, see "CR 1902" for the meet.
A repainted ex Penn Central class N5 cabin car brings up the rear of a eastbound on the former EL in Akron.
Former EL C196, now CR 19660, is in Akron, Ohio and sporting a chalked on "Erie" diamond. Old allegiances die hard I guess. Note the "valley" stencil under the number.
This photo pretty much sums up the Conrail merger in it's very early stages. All 4 of the big roads are here at Sayre, Pa this day, Reading C430 5212, Lehigh Valley U23B 509 behind it, with Penn Central GP-35 2334 and Erie Lackawanna SDP-45 3659 beside. I took one look at this lineup and yelled down to a worker and asked if it was ok to come down for a shot or two. As you see, the answer was yes :-) Those ex LV guys were a great bunch.
A trio of Conrail C430's, two ex PC ones and blue ex Reading Lines 2049, work through a set of crossovers at Weirton tower on the Pittsburgh to Columbus "Panhandle" line in Weirton, WVa during April 1978. One of only two ex RDG C430's on Conrail, it was nice to catch it.
It turned out to be a long winter for these Alcos. None of them have ran since Thanksgiving 1979, and none would ever run again for Conrail. There are 11 in this view, a mix of C430 and C425 units, with the C425's renumbered into the 5000 series. That 5071 was one of only 2 that ran with the new number. CR 2049, the ex Reading 5212 "Old Ironsides II" , would be scrapped down the street at Midwest Steel in 1981.
Alco C-430 2052 teams up with RS-27 2407 as they negotiate the connection between the former EL and PRR in Youngstown, Ohio on what was probably a local from Haselton to Sharon and return. That's the ex NYC Youngstown passenger station with the line to Ashtabula running under it, and the ex EL and PRR in the foreground. NS still operates the ex NYC as their Youngstown Line with CSX having trackage rights to the docks. This ex NYC/PRR pair operated together for a couple of weeks, shown here on another day with a Brier Hill to Haselton transfer :
A Brier Hill to Haselton transfer negotiates the maze of track at Center St Junction in Youngstown, Ohio in August 1979. The Republic Steel furnaces are still hot on this date, and there is still a good stockpile of ore. This former NYC Alco C-430 has equally rare ex PRR DL-640 #2407 with it, the last one still operating on Conrail. As a side note, to this day I kick myself for not shooting that blue EL car behind the power!
A pair of blue Alco's, a C430/C425 duo, bring a train through Center St Junction in Youngstown, Ohio. The limestone loads will go to the Republic mill off to the left. The tracks curving to the right are the Chessie, the very far right track is the Youngstown Line.
One of those "hey wow" early Conrail treats, this e/b on the ex EL in Hubbard, Ohio has an all Alco C430/C430/C425/C430 consist.
Running their last miles in transfer service between Brier Hill and Hazelton yards, former NYC and PRR Alco's wait for traffic ahead to clear. C430 #2056 and C425 #2422 would be sidelined in a few days, never to run for Conrail again.
Lehigh and Hudson River Railway Alco C420 #23 rests in Bethlehem,Pa in November 1976, before she was renumbered to CR 2073.
A small corner of Conrail was the Peoria and Eastern, a PC subsidiary. Although late in the day at Collinwood, one of the small fleet of P&E cabooses was worth a shot in the low light. April, 1977, looks close to a PC class N7.
Even as power short as Conrail was in those first years, some of the heritage units were in bad shape or too old to fix, hence scenes like this of funeral trains. With a big chunk of the former Erie Lackawanna Marion deadline, this Conrail eastbound passes through Orrville, Ohio on the ex PRR in August of 1976. Penn Central N7A #21749 brings up the rear. Two E8's (820 and 829), 2 RS-3's, 2 S2's (including #520 still in pure "Erie" black), 2 more RS-3's, and 2 more E8's are visible in this view. Some of the E's and RS's would languish at Altoona for a while, but the S2's would pass this way again as they headed for Chicago as trade in material, better known as "scrap"....
An odd group of units are westbound on the former Erie Lackawanna in Tallmadge, Ohio (near Akron) in September of '77. The ex Reading Lines and Penn Central units are no surprise, but that ex Florida East Coast GP7, PNC 1507 in this photo, certainly adds to the color riot that was early CR. It's a very typical late 70's Conrail scene from over my way- doors flapping in the breeze on the units, under maintained power smoking it up, and a weed infested ex EL line that is slowly returning to nature. Little remains at this location today.
Units that came from the PRR, NYC, PC and of course the Lehigh Valley populate the ex CNJ Allentown roundhouse.
As a N&W coal train glides above, a Conrail westbound passes the east end of Orrville yards. Today the Conrail is the NS, the N&W is the Wheeling. Numbers include 2339, 3050, 8168, and 3135.
Still in PC green, but with a small "Conrail" above the bay, this former New Haven caboose (ex NYNH&H 709) will get a coat of blue.
Before she was painted blue, Akron, Ohio August, 1976. CR/PC class NE6 cabin car.
A westbound with a pair of GP35's and a GP38-2 pass through the QD tower area of Collinwood, Ohio on a nice February 1983 day.

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