Connor Authors Book About Ohio Central

Morning Sun books released on Feb. 1 the first volume of a planned line of books focusing on the Ohio Central System.

Ohio Central In Color Volume 1: Southern Lines was written by former OC chief operating officer/chief marketing officer and later vice president Michael J. Connor. The book focuses on the southernmost routes of the OC.

Ohio Central Book CoverLifetime ARRC member Jerry Jacobson was instrumental in developing the modern day Ohio Central, which began in 1988. Jacobson ran the railroad until selling it to Genesee & Wyoming in 2008.

During Jacobson’s ownership of the Ohio Central, he graciously offered steam and diesel-powered excursion trips on the OC, many of them between Sugar Creek and Morgan Run near Coshocton.

Morning Sun is offering the book for sale on its website for $59.95 plus postage (

However, Connor has a number of the books that he will offer for sale to members of the Akron Railroad Club at the Feb. 28. Watch this blog for further information about that.

Connor spoke about the Ohio Central to the ARRC several years ago about the early years of the railroad.

The southern end of the OC opened in 1889 as part of a standard-gauge line from Coshocton to Zanesville. The OC north of Coshocton was, with the exception of the relocation of flood-prone segments near Beach City in the 1930s, originally built to a 36-inch gauge.

Before World War II, the railroad south of Coshocton served several coal mines, all of them since closed.

Following the war, the railroad began to focus on traffic for Armco Steel Corporation’s Zanesville plant, which was linked with another Armco plant in Butler, Pa. The OC developed this traffic in cooperation with four other railroads that made up the Butler-Zanesville service lane.

OC’s efforts led to improved reliability and transit time on the route. The OC also worked to develop through traffic, principally coal, over the Zanesville gateway in conjunction with the Ohio Southern Railroad.

In 2005 the Columbus & Ohio River Rail Road, an OC affiliate, acquired the CSX lines east of Columbus, resulting in all railroads in the Zanesville area becoming part of the Ohio Central System.


Michael J. Connor

Since September 2011, Connor has served as president of the The Buffalo, Cattaraugus & Jamestown Scenic Railway Company.

Before that he served as principal railroad consultant at Excelsior Transportation Management between 2008 and 2010.

He joined the Ohio Central in August 1988 and served for more than 17 years before leaving in March 2006, when he joined the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville/Western New York & Pennsylvania system as vice president—operation and maintenance.

Before joining the OC, Connor worked at Conrail for seven years, coming on board with its inception in 1976. At Conrail, Connor worked in the Philadelphia headquarters as director of light density lines.

Connor began his railroad career while he attended John Carroll University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in transportation economics in 1967. During his summers while in college, Connor worked for the Buffalo Creek Railroad, the Erie Lackawanna and the New York Central.

Following graduation from John Carroll, Connor served as a lieutenant with the U. S. Army Transportation Corps. He was assigned to the 714th Transportation Battalion (Railway Operating) (Steam and Diesel-Electric) in the Military Railway Service.

After leaving the Army, he worked at Penn Central, serving as trainmaster in Muncie, Ind.; and East St. Louis, Ill.; and as supervisor of locomotive utilization in Indianapolis.

Connor also served as a vice president of the Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad between 1983 and 1988. He is currently the president of the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society.

Excerpted below are a couple of pages from Connor’s Ohio Central book.

Pages courtesy of Michael J. Connor



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