BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad has canceled spring activities and excursions after significant erosion discovered last fall continues to present problems, the National Park Service said in a statement.
Last October, engineers doing routine stabilization of the tracks found the erosion more severe than anticipated.
At the time, programming was either scaled down or canceled, and sections of track north of the Boston Mill Visitor Center were closed while engineers continued assessing the erosion.
Although officials had hoped full railroad operations could resume this month, the extent of the erosion has forced complete suspension of the modified train operations along with cancellation of spring programming, the park service said.
An “advanced-stability monitoring system” was installed to help facilitate a return to normal programming, officials said. Instead, the data the system captured revealed the need “to forgo all use of the tracks until repairs are made.”
“We are going to do everything we can to allow the train to return to normal operations as soon as possible,” said Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent Lisa Petit. “We ask for continued patience while we complete construction projects to stabilize the tracks near the river."
Scenic railroad employees and volunteers are resourceful and “have successfully overcome numerous obstacles over the past few years,” said President and CEO Joe Mazur.
“The CVSR team is fully committed to keeping the train running,” he said.
In the meantime, Cleveland Dinner & Event Train and National Park Scenic Excursions have been canceled, the park service said. Passengers can expect automatic refunds within five to seven business days for all tickets purchased.
The train tracks, built in 1880 for the Valley Railway, run parallel with the Cuyahoga River — in some areas in close proximity. Because the river is a dynamic system, the tracks must be constantly monitored, the park service said.
While officials explore ways to get the train up and running in time for summer, safety will remain the top priority, the park service said.
The scenic railroad has weathered major damage in the past.
In May 2014, a major storm caused severe damage, washing out a section of tracks near Yellow Creek and West Bath Road. The damage forced a pause in programming between the Peninsula Station and Akron Northside Station, with the tracks reopening later that summer.
The scenic railroad, which does not operate commercial train service, runs on a 26-mile stretch through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Akron and Cleveland, and offers a variety of year-round excursions in historic railcars, from family events to date-night programming.
The scenic railroad is jointly managed and maintained through a partnership. The National Park Service owns and maintains the tracks while the nonprofit Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad owns and maintains the railcar fleet.
For information on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, visit the website.