We have received word that the Midwest Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society has elected to disband.
The chapter, which has approximately 20 members, held a last dinner this month and will donate the remainder of its treasury to a charitable cause.
The Midwest Chapter shared a common heritage with the Akron Railroad Club in that both were spinoffs of the Eastern Ohio Chapter of the NRHS, which was founded on June 20, 1937, as the ninth and westernmost NRHS chapter.
Differences of opinion led to the Easter Ohio Chapter disbanding in late 1945.
Some members who favored retaining the NRHS affiliation founded the Midwest Chapter on May 8, 1946, with a home base in Cleveland.
Other members founded the Northeast Ohio Railfans that same year. That group reorganized as the Akron Railroad Club on March 27, 1947.
The NRHS considers the Midwest Chapter to have superseded the Eastern Ohio chapter.
In his heyday, the Midwest Chapter had well over 100 members and enjoyed a high profile nationally due to its sponsorship of steam excursions in the 1950s, including some on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad that originated in Akron.
The chapter was also know for its “mystery trains” in the 1960s. Passengers would board a train, often in Cleveland, and not know their destination until they were on board.
The Midwest Chapter was allied for many years with the Midwest Railway Preservation Society, which was founded in 1955 to acquire the Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland.
The MRPS is still active and its website says that it owns more than 20 pieces of vintage rolling stock including former Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 light Mikado No. 4070, which operated on the Cuyahoga Valley Line – now named the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – between 1975 and 1990.