News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron Children's Hospital

Levin Furniture

Hennes Paynter Communications

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us

The Cuyahoga Valley railroad: The sound of the end of the shutdown
The scenic railroad missed two of its busiest weeks of the year because of the federal shutdown

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
This weekend is predicted to be the peak for fall colors in the Cuyahoga Valley.
Courtesy of Cuyahoga JCO
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is back in service, having waited out the two-week federal government shutdown. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze’s caught up this morning with the first train to Akron.

LISTEN: The sound of the end of the shutdown

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:56)

For 16 days, the sound of the train whistle and clacking on the tracks has been missing from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is technically not part of the National Parks System. It’s a separate nonprofit. But it runs on tracks that zigzag through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. So when the government shut down and the barricades went up, the railroad shut down.

Kelly Steele-Moore has worked for the scenic railroad for six years. And every afternoon for the last two weeks, she and other employees had to make phone calls.

“It’s been a rollercoaster. When it hit, we were on day-by-day. At 3 o’clock each day we had to make the decision whether we knew enough that we were going to be able to run the next day or not. And at that point, we had to call all the passengers who had a presold ticket for the next day and give them the bad news that they weren’t going to be able to ride.  It was very disappointing to have to make those phone calls.”

And there were a lot of those calls to make. October is the scenic railroad’s busiest month.

Yesterday’s calls, though, ended on a different note.

“We had a few ticket holders that we had talked to yesterday saying, ‘Watch the news, we’re hopeful, this is our plan.’ And they came out and got on board this morning.”

But not without some work being done ahead of time.

“It was lining up crews. We had to send a track inspection truck out at 7 o’clock this morning just to make sure nothing had happened to the rails with us being absent for 16 days. There was a lot of scrambling, a lot of work to be done for us to get that train out by 9 o’clock this morning.”

Ale rebooked for Friday, wine for next week 
The railroad has rebooked some of its biggest events. The Ales on Rails run is tomorrow night/tonight. The wine tasting tour is on for Oct. 26th. Two dinner trains also have been rescheduled.

But looking from the train station up Mill street  in the tiny Summit County village of Peninsula, Steele-Moore says the closing cut deep.

“Peninsula relies on us to bring people. We bring hundreds of people here on the weekends. We had some fundraisers that were scheduled on the train. Different organizations had to cancel their annual outings. So we know a lot of people have been hurt by this.

And if it happens again in when the next budget deadline arrives in January?

“We’ll take the train to Washington and give them the utmost protest that we can. We can’t recover from this. This is just lost ticket sales. It’s not something we can make up for. So I certainly hope they make better decisions in realizing how much this has hurt the American people.”

Hank Olich is a volunteer at the park.  He’s cleaning up some of the dead grass at the Trail Mix store next to the Peninsula train station. For the last 16 days, he’s been…

“Staying away, like I’m supposed to but that’s my car over there with the bicycle on it, and I’m done staying away. As soon as I’m done with some yard work here, I’ll be on the trail.”

The railroad’s Kelly Steele-Moore says there are plenty of others who are likely to join him. The shutdown wasn’t kind to the park, but Mother Nature seems to be trying to make amends. Bright yellow, red and orange leaves are still clinging to the trees, and the peak season for fall colors is this weekend.


(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Bhutanese resettlement has had a big economic impact
Informative especially for nonmembers of North Hill. I appreciate the fact that you mention that the younger generation has an easier time than the elders but t...

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

More join the battle against Ohio's current forfeiture laws
NOT TRUE IN OHIO! ! My cousin's 8 rental houses were siezed in the early 2000s. He was a decorated Cleveland Police officer and detective (now retired). His dis...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University