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