Exploring Zanesville’s Railroad Past and Present

Caboose Np. 231 resides next to the railroad yard in Zanesville, Ohio, on April 10, 2011

Ohio Central Nos. 4097 and 4099 spend a quiet Sunday afternoon in the Zanesville, Ohio railroad yard.
Ohio Central No. 4099 in new owner Genesee & Wyoming colors at Zanesville, Ohio.
Zanesville, Ohio, railroad yard with CSX yard office and Ohio Central power.
Former PRR (C&MV) depot in Zanesville, Ohio.
Caboose No. 231 is displayed next to the former station building and freight house in Zanesville, Ohio.

Barbara and I were returning home from our Nelsonville music weekend on Sunday, April 10, 2011. Ohio Route 22 took us into Zanesville where we drove to the town center to check out the railroad facilities. The former Pennsylvania Railroad station is located at the end of Market Street on the levee of the Muskingham River. Next to the station was a railroad yard and two more buildings that looked like older railroad ones, even though they were now used for other purposes.

Browsing around the yard, which was full of cars, I noticed two locomotives idling away the time on that Sunday afternoon. They were Ohio Central (OHCR) engines No. 4097 (likely of Conrail heritage) and No. 4099 resplendent in Genesee & Wyoming’s (GNWR) new Ohio Central livery.

The GNWR U-boat was not in the best location for photography, behind No. 4097 and hemmed in by cars on the sunny side. I did take a few photos, however. I was familiar with the GNWR paint scheme, but I had not seen one of the Ohio Central before. The Ohio Central line comes down from Coshocton and terminates in Zanesville. It was acquired by Genesee & Wyoming Inc in 2008 with the rest of the Ohio Central System.

There was a gray and blue fenced in yard office with a CSX fuel tank in the compound. It serves as the yard office for the former B&O line between Newark and Cambridge. It sat near the location of the B&O depot which was torn down by CSX a few years ago.

Zanesville is on the former B&O mainline from Wheeling to Columbus. The remnant of the B&O mainline to Wheeling still exists east to Cambridge and beyond to Gibson where it ends. Westward it exists to Newark and Columbus. The Columbus & Ohio River (CUOH) portion of the Ohio Central system (now GNWR) shares the track from Newark to Columbus.

On the east side of the yard was caboose No. 231 displayed on a short track. It was of the Wabash/DT&I style. Next to the caboose was a single story brick building now used by the Wellness Center. It looks like a station building.

Behind that brick building along Second Street is the former freight house that served the B&O and New York Central. It is now used by the Freight Shops on Market Street that offer a unique setting for diners and shoppers.

Located in the heart of the Zanesville railroad yard area, they are housed in one of the two remaining railroad structures that once supported freight and passenger services to travelers from around the world. It was easy to imagine boxcars unloading at the former freight house with goods for the wagons being loaded on the street side.

John B. Corns tells me that today, all railroad operations in Zanesville are done by the parent company, Genesee & Wyoming. The line from Coshocton to Zanesville (Ohio Central Railroad) is the old line (CC&S, NKP, N&W) that is owned outright by GNWR. The line from Newark to Zanesville that continues on to Cambridge (Columbus & Ohio River RR) is an old B&O line now owned by CSXT and leased to the GNWR.

The former PRR line that ran from Trinway to Zanesville (C&MV) is abandoned and removed. The old two-story brick building still there is the former PRR (C&MV) passenger station. The Pennsy had a freight house there, too.

The Zanesville Belt & Terminal RR (owned and operated by the old W&LE, NKP and N&W) is abandoned and removed.

The freight buildings on Market Street in Zanesville were clumped together in one general location, and served the B&O and NYC. W&LE’s freight house was located across the Muskingum River on Linden Avenue.

All of that area around the passenger depots and freight houses was covered with, literally, dozens of railroad tracks and sidings. The B&O, NYC, PRR, W&LE and the Zanesville Belt & Terminal all existed at one time on the levee of the Muskingham River, close to downtown Zanesville.

You can only imagine what the area’s facilities might have been like when B&O passenger trains, such as Nos. 245 and 246, ran between Wheeling and Willard through Zanesville and Newark.

Thanks to John B. Corns for his immeasurable help with this article.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

2 Responses to “Exploring Zanesville’s Railroad Past and Present”

  1. Jerry Thompson Says:

    Mr. Jacobs,

    Great article and pictures! l live in near-by Cambridge, and was just yesterday exploring and taking a long overdue look at the sites you’ve discussed My last look-around was probably 35 years ago, and a LOT has changed since then! Can you tell me how to reach John Corns? Does he live in the Zanesville area? I particularly want tp find out more about the old OR&W right-of-way . Many thanks, and keep up the great work!

    Jerry Thompson,

  2. Donna Huberty Says:

    My great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Lattner from Baden Baden Germany, worked on the railroad from New York to Zanesville, Ohio. He was a contractor and surveyor. He died in Zanesville in 1850 and is buried there. Do you have any history on this early railroad he worked on?

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