Posts Tagged ‘Abandoned railroad facilities’

At the ‘End of the Line’

June 10, 2012

The Murray City depot, caboose and dinky 0-4-0 bask in the Memorial Day afternoon sun on May 28, 2012.

After Barbara and I left Nelsonville, Ohio, on Memorial Day, May 28, at 3:30 p.m., we headed north on Ohio Route 78 for Zanesville. On the way, in Murray City, we spotted a depot with a displayed caboose. We stopped for a look see.

The depot had a Snow Fork Line caboose and a little dinky 0-4-0 switcher displayed alongside. We parked and walked around. The depot was a well maintained structure that turned out to be the Murray City Train Depot and Coal Mining Museum. It was not open on this Memorial Day, however. That was disappointing.

The depot is located at the end of a former Hocking Valley Railway branch, now abandoned. The branch led northeast from Nelsonville to Snow Fork Junction, where it split with one leg leading to Murray City, Coalgate and New Pittsburgh. The other leg led northwest to Monday Creek Junction, where it joined the HV branch from Logan to New Straitsville.

The Murray City Train Depot, established between 1890-1900, was for many years the only way in or out of the coal mine camp town Murray City, which once boasted of having the “largest coal mine in the world.”

Goods and people were shipped to Murray City aboard the Hocking Valley Railway. Coal was shipped out of the Murray City Sunday Creek Coal mines Nos. 25, 5 and the New Pittsburgh No. 7, and, before that, the Greendale No. 29.

he train line was so important because of a lack of any other transportation or roads. The depot at Murray City was called the “End of the Line Depot” because the railroad track ended there and the train had to turn around. The Murray City Depot is one of only three original historic train depots left in the state of Ohio.

The Murray City Improvement Committee has restored the historic train depot and added a coal mining museum inside. The depot houses railroad and coal mining artifacts, and looks to be close to the original facility.

Article and Photographs by Richard Jacobs

The restored Hocking Valley Railway depot at Murray City, Ohio, has a dinky locomotive and caboose displayed alongside.

The Murray City 0-4-0 dinky and restored Hocking Valley depot.

Wither the Niles Erie Station

February 10, 2012

Niles, Ohio, is one of those Midwest cities that reflects well the moniker of “rust belt.” Situated in the Mahoning Valley between Warren and Youngstown, Niles hosted lines of the Baltimore & Ohio, Erie and Pennsylvania railroads. Today, few trains roll through Niles and a good portion of the tracks have been abandoned or lie in a state of disuse, a victim of a diminishing industrial base.

As part of his back to the Erie Lackawanna tour on Feb. 5, 2012, Roger Durfee paid a visit to the former EL passenger station in Niles. Actually, he visted the location where it once stood.

Roger recalled having photographed the Niles station in the early Conrail era (top photo) in November 1979. This was the second Erie depot to serve Niles. The older of the two had been a wooden structure that was similiar in design to the passenger station in nearby Girard.

In the image immediately below this article is shown a Conrail Alco C425 sitting near the Niles station in November 1979.

The last passenger train to board paying customers here was the Youngstown-Cleveland commuter service. It made its last runs on Jan. 14, 1977. Prior to that, such EL passenger trains as the Lake Cities, Atlantic Express/Pacific Express and the Phoebe Snow called here. The last of those was the Lake Cities, which was discontinued in January 1970.

Just as Conrail had little use for much of the former Erie in Ohio, it also had no use for the Niles depot. The bottom photo shows the site of the station today. Only portions of the concrete foundation and some flooring remain.

Photographs by Roger Durfee


Then and Now at Youngstown’s Brier Hill Shops

January 30, 2012

The weekend of Jan. 21-22, 2012, found Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee in Pennsylvania for a Conrail Historical Society meeting. But en route, he stopped in Youngstown to take care of some unfinished business.

Thirty-five years ago, Roger shot the above scene at Conrail’s Brier Hill shops. Before Conrail, Brier Hill sported the major classification yard in Youngstown of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. The EL also maintained a major locomotive repair shop here.

Reportedly, the shop forces, including the managers, were railfan friendly and allowed photographers to record the array of motive power displayed there.

Look carefully at the photo above and you’ll find liveries of at least four railroads.

Initially after the Conrail takeover in 1976, Brier Hill continued to play a key role. It became the western terminus of what had once been a Conway (Pittsburgh) to Haselton Yard train. Locomotive inspections and repairs done at Gateway (Pittsburgh & Lake Erie) and Haselton (Pennsylvania) yards were shifted to Brier Hill.

The collapse of the steel industry in the Mahoning Valley combined with Conrail’s downgrading of the former EL and other lines would diminish Brier Hill. Locomotive servicing was concentrated at Conway. Much of the former EL in Ohio was downgraded or ripped up.

In modern times, some of the Brier Hill shops complex continued to be used as a repair facility by Norfolk Southern maintenance forces. The Ohio Central also uses part of Brier Hill yard.

As seen in the photograph below, though, other parts of Brier Hill are silent, with some remains serving as monuments to a glorious past.

Photographs by Roger Durfee


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