Posts Tagged ‘abandoned railroad lines’

Two for Tuesday: Then and Now at Warwick

June 29, 2021

Here are two photos from nearly the same location in Clinton (Warwick). This is the now-removed east leg of the wye that was in Warwick. As I recall the east leg was ripped out in the early 1990s.

In the top image, it’s 1968 or 1969, and a trio of Pennsylvania Railroad locomotives are heading toward Massillon.

In the bottom image, it’s May 20, 2021, and very little is left to suggest a railroad once ran through here.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Where Bobcats Used to Board in Athens

March 23, 2021

With Ohio University winning a thriller over the University of Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday night, I had to look through photos from our trip to Athens in July 2018 to visit our niece Hannah, who was attending the OU medical program.

She has since graduated and our nephew Justin is now studying at OU.

Here is the Baltimore & Ohio station in private use adjacent to the campus.

The last Amtrak train to stop here was the Cincinnati-Washington Shenandoah, which was discontinued in 1981.

Eventually CSX abandoned the route and the tracks are gone but evidence can still be found highlighted by the station.

As for the OU men’s basketball team, the Bobcats lost on Monday night to Creighton University, thus ending their magical season.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Things You Don’t See Anymore

July 24, 2020

The photographer said this image is one of his favorites. It is easy to see why.

Aside from it being a very good photograph there is much to see here that you can’t see anymore.

Norfolk & Western GP7 No. 2410 is sitting with its train in Massillon on Sept. 6, 1980.

This former Nickel Plate Road unit is on tracks that were once the original Wheeling & Erie line to Toledo via Dalton.

Until the Orrville cutoff opened in 1909, this was the W&LE’s mainline from Brewster to Toledo.

The track to Dalton has since been ripped out and N&W long ago became part of Norfolk Southern.

Note the Northern Pacific boxcar back in the consist.

The track to the left is Conrail’s Fort Wayne Line. Also visible is the Tuscarawas River and the fabled curved bridge over the river built decades earlier by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

The Northern Arrow Doesn’t Run Here Anymore

September 23, 2019

I’m standing on the former right of way of the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad, which was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system.

The view is looking north toward Lynn, Indiana. That is U.S. 27 to the right.

The paint has long since worn off this rather substantial PRR milepost and after inspecting it I can see why the workers who pulled up the rails years ago left it in place.

At one time, these tracks hosted the Northern Arrow, a seasonal service that ran to Mackinaw City, Michigan, and served the resort territory on the west side of the state.

It carried through cars for Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinnati. In its final years of operation, the Northern Arrow did not operate daily.

It began its last northbound trek on Sept. 1, 1961, and its final southbound journey on Sept. 4.

The Northern Arrow was the last passenger train on this segment of the GR&I.

The GR&I route between Richmond and Fort Wayne also at times hosted the Chicago-Florida Southland. It was moved off this route in 1950.

Sanders Speaks to NYC Convention

May 7, 2018

Akron Railroad Club President Craig Sanders gave a presentation on the New York Central’s St. Louis line on Sunday to the annual New York Central System Historical Society, which met over the weekend in Independence.

Sanders spoke about the history of the line, particularly in his hometown of Mattoon, Illinois.

He illustrated his presentation with historic images and presented some here and now scenes to show how the railroad right of way has changed.

The St. Louis line of the New York Central was built in the mid 1850s between Terre Haute, Indiana, and Alton, Illinois.

It later became part of the Big Four, which was leased by the New York Central in 1930.

Conrail abandoned the line between Paris and Pana, Illinois, in March 1982. The tracks through Mattoon were removed in May 1983.

Since then, virtually all traces of the former NYC in Mattoon, including the passenger station, shops, Railway Express Building and the bridge over the Illinois Central mainline, have been razed.

A portion of the yard and shops is now a softball fields complex known as the Roundhouse Complex because it is located where the 21-stall roundhouse used to be.

Ex-Monon Segment May Become Trail

January 10, 2018

The south end of the former Monon Railroad in Southern Indiana might become a trail.

Indiana Trail Funds has asked the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to order CSX to do nothing more to a 62-mile segment of the ex-Monon other than remove the rails, ties and signal systems.

CSX last month filed a letter of exemption with the STB to abandon the ex-Monon between milepost 251.7 (about midway between Bedford and Mitchell) and milepost 314 (Vernia) near New Albany.

In response to the Indiana Trail petition, CSX said it was willing to negotiate with the group for possible interim trail use/rail banking.

In a report to the STB, CSX said no trains have moved over the line for more than two years and its only activity has been car storage.

CSX said it was unlikely any rail-oriented businesses would locate on the line, which it said it does not need for operational purposes.

The line in question is the Hoosier Subdivision, which has been abandoned north of Bedford.

It is not clear why CSX is not seeking to abandon any track within Bedford. The only other railroad to serve Bedford, a branch of the former Milwaukee Road that extended to Terre Haute, Indiana, has been abandoned and converted into a trail.

If the abandonment of the Hoosier Subdivision is approved, Bedford would be cut off from the nation’s rail system.

The STB had in May 2010 gave CSX approval to cease providing rail service on the Hoosier Sub. It had been used under trackage rights granted to the Indiana Rail Road to reach Louisville, Kentucky, but that company has since ceased exercising those rights.

CSX would continue to own 3.7 miles of the ex-Monon in New Albany that connects to Norfolk Southern and the former Kentucky & Indiana Terminal.

In its report to the STB, CSX said its records show there are 21 railroad-owned structures on the line more that are more than 50 years old and may be eligible for listing on the National Register. All of them are bridges.

Records show the main track was rebuilt in the 1980s. At one time the Monon extended between Louisville and Chicago with branches to Michigan City, Indiana, and Indianapolis that diverged at the town of Monon.

CSX continues to use the ex-Monon between Cloverdale and Munster, Indiana. Amtrak’s Cardinal and Hoosier State use the line between Crawfordsville and Munster.

Railroad Archeology in Monroeville

March 25, 2017

The most visible reminder of the railroads past in Monroeville, Ohio, is this passenger station, which served the New York Central and its predecessor railroads. It has since been restored, but the tracks are long gone.

The most visible reminder of the railroads past in Monroeville, Ohio, is this passenger station, which served the New York Central and its predecessor railroads. It has since been restored, but the tracks are long gone.

In the past few years I’ve found myself in Monroeville, Ohio, while chasing trains on the Wheeling & Lake Erie.

At one time, Monroeville was served by three railroads plus an interurban railway.

The railroads of Monroville included the Toledo-Brewster line of the original Wheeling & Lake Erie. This line still exists with the modern W&LE owning it between Brewster and Bellevue.

Monroeville was also served by a Willard-Sandusky branch of the Baltimore & Ohio, the Norwalk Branch of the New York Central and the Cleveland-Toledo Lake Shore Electric.

The Norwalk Branch began life as the Toledo, Norwalk & Cleveland Railroad, which built between its namesake cities in the 1860s. It was later absorbed by the Lake Shore & Michigan  Southern, which in turn became part of the NYC.

The Norwalk branch was the main route of the LS&MS until it built a cutoff via Sandusky along Lake Erie, which today is the Chicago Line of NS. The Norwalk branch diverged at Elyria and rejoined at Milbury.

Penn Central continued to offer freight service on the Norwalk branch through 1976. The line was not conveyed to Conrail and was subsequently abandoned. Passenger service on the line ended in 1949.

I don’t know when the B&O branch was abandoned, but it likely continued in operation through the 1970s and possibly into the 1980s.  A portion of it still exists in Monroeville for the W&LE to serve a grain elevator.

The Lake Shore Electric last operated on May 15, 1938. Not long before then, the Eastern Ohio Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society — a forerunner of the Akron Railroad Club — ran a trip over the line.

During the 1960s, the ARRC chartered a B&O Rail Diesel Car and ran excursions between Akron and Sandusky to visit the Cedar Point amusement park.

I’ve long been fascinated by what railroads leave behind after they leave town. If you know where to look and what to look for,  you can find reminders of what used to be.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The North Coast Inland Tail uses the former NYC Norwalk Branch. The view is from the bridge over the West Branch Huron River looking westward toward the NYC passenger station.

The North Coast Inland Tail uses the former NYC Norwalk Branch. The view is from the bridge over the West Branch Huron River looking westward toward the NYC passenger station, which was built in 1863.

A train order board at the Monroeville station.

A train order board at the Monroeville station.

I don't know if this train bulletin at the former NYC station is accurate.

I don’t know if this train bulletin at the former NYC station is accurate.

The former freight NYC freight station still stands a short distance west of the passenger depot.

The former freight NYC freight station still stands a short distance west of the passenger depot.

Looking westward on the Lake Shore Electric right of way with the passenger station on the left.

Looking westward on the Lake Shore Electric right of way with the passenger station on the left.

Looking northward toward the Lake Shore Electric (foreground) and NYC stations. The B&O tracks would have been to the right of both stations.

Looking northward toward the Lake Shore Electric (foreground) and NYC stations. The B&O tracks would have been to the right of both stations.

Looking southward on the former B&O right of way.

Looking southward on the former B&O right of way.

A relic from the days when these tracks operated as the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.

A relic from the days when these tracks operated as the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.

A restored property boundary marker.

A restored property boundary marker.

A bridge pier that once held the Lake Shore Electric bridge over the West Branch Huron River.

A bridge pier that once held the Lake Shore Electric bridge over the West Branch Huron River.

The concrete base of what was once the northbound home signal for the B&O crossing of the NYC.

The concrete base of what was once the northbound home signal for the B&O crossing of the NYC.

This signal cover is along the W&LE and may be still used.

This signal cover is along the W&LE and may be still used.

Railroad ties once used to hold B&O rails remain embedded in the ground, slowly deteriorating as the forces of nature take their toll.

These railroad ties are on the former Lake Shore Electric right of way. The LSE was abandoned in the 1930s, they probably were used as a connecting track between the B&O and the NYC.

The B&O and W&LE used to cross here. At one time there was a passenger station here that was used by both railroads. Next to the depot was a hotel and freight station. On the other side of that pile of ballast is the only remnant of track once used by the B&O.

The B&O and W&LE used to cross here. At one time there was a passenger station here that was used by both railroads. Next to the depot was a hotel and freight station. On the other side of that pile of ballast is the only remnant of track once used by the B&O.

A short stretch of the former B&O remains in place for the W&LE to serve a grain elevator. But this segment of the B&O is used only as a tail track that ends at a pile of ballast north of where the B&O and W&LE used to cross on a diamond.

A short stretch of the former B&O remains in place for the W&LE to serve a grain elevator. But this segment of the B&O is used only as a tail track that ends at a pile of ballast north of where the B&O and W&LE used to cross on a diamond.

 

Silent Monuments to the Valley’s Industrial Heritage

February 14, 2017

This bridge over the Cuyahoga River once led to the Jaite Paper Mill, but has not been used since the middle 1980s.

This bridge over the Cuyahoga River once led to the Jaite Paper Mill, but has not been used since the middle 1980s.

I’ve long known that there was a paper mill in Jaite that was served by a spur off the Baltimore & Ohio’s Valley Line between Cleveland and Akron.

Maps at such online sites as Google, Mapquest and Bing still show the rail spur diverging from the Valley Line, which is now owned by the National Park Service and used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

But I always thought that those maps were in error and that the rail spur had been removed years ago. It turns out that I was mistaken and not the maps.

While doing research for my CVSR book, I was able to determine where the paper mill had been located. I thought it had been west of the Cuyahoga River, but it was east of the river and southeast of Jaite.

I also discovered that the spur to the paper mill, which had been established in 1909 and closed in 1984, crossed the Cuyahoga on a through truss bridge.

That this bridge existed at all was news to me. I’d never seen a photograph of it and no railfan I know who is a native of Northeast Ohio has ever talked about it.

In reviewing satellite images, I discovered the bridge and most of the railroad spur still exist. I wanted to find them and the best time to do that is during the winter when there is less vegetation to deal with.

Saturday, Jan. 21 turned out to be an ideal day for railroad archeology in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

There was no snow on the ground, no precipitation was likely to fall and the temperatures rose into the lower 60s.

After having lunch with fellow Akron Railroad Club member Peter Bowler at the Winking Lizard in Peninsula, we drove to Jaite, parked in the lot of the CVNP headquarters and began walking southward along the CVSR tracks.

The switch for the paper mill spur has been removed, but its location was easy to find because there are still long cross ties that once held the diverging rails.

The spur has been cut a short distance from the Valley Line and it was apparent that it is used as a trail by fisherman and bird watchers.

As we made our way through the brush along the spur, we talked about how this location would make a good place for a nighttime ghost walk.

The spur is a virtual continuous curve and I could hear in my mind the shrieking and squealing of flanges combined with the low rumble of a Geep’s prime mover as it moved boxcars in and out of the paper mill.

Given the layout of the spur switch, the paper mill must have been worked by a northbound B&O local that backed cars in and pulled them out.

In short order we reached the bridge that carried  the single-track spur over the Cuyahoga.

I’ve always had a fondness for the visual aesthetics of through truss bridges.

Online background information about the bridge indicates that it was built between 1907 and 1909 and known as B&O Bridge No. 451/1.

The spur has not been used since the paper mill closed and the switch connecting it to the Valley line was removed in 2002, probably during a track rehabilitation project.

I’m not a bridge expert or structural engineer, but I could see that although the bridge appears to be in good condition, much work would need to be done to enable rail operations over it again.

Of course there is little to no likelihood that that is going to come about.

The paper mill spur and the bridge are silent monuments to the industrial past of the Cuyahoga Valley.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Still spanning the Cuyahoga River decades after the last train rolled over it.

Still spanning the Cuyahoga River decades after the last train rolled over it.

No way would I walk across this bridge to the other side although I'm sure some people have done so.

No way would I walk across this bridge to the other side although I’m sure some people have done so.

Come spring the vegetation covering the rails on the bridge will turn green again.

Come spring the vegetation covering the rails on the bridge will turn green again.

Nature-made tunnel

Nature-made tunnel

Some rail has started to disintegrate.

Some rail has started to disintegrate.

Rails amid the weeds and trees.

Rails amid the weeds and trees.

The vegetation covering the spur is quite high in some places.

The vegetation covering the spur is quite high in some places.

Today, the Jaite Paper Mill spur is used as a trail by some.

Today, the Jaite Paper Mill spur is used as a trail by some.

Where they cut the rails of the Jaite Paper Mill spur.

Where they cut the rails of the Jaite Paper Mill spur.

Long ties mark the spot where the switch for the Jaite Paper Mill spur was located on the B&O Valley Line.

Long ties mark the spot where the switch for the Jaite Paper Mill spur was located on the B&O Valley Line.

Very Old Rails Without a Doubt

January 20, 2017

securedownload1

You showed new rail. Here is some very old rail. In an old industrial site next to the Erie Railroad Bergen County Line in Fair Lawn, New Jersey lies some 80-pound rail made in 1912. The yard once served a coal company among other things. The tracks are still pretty much intact, complete with switches. The 1960 Erie employee timetable still listed the main line connecting switch as active. The site is being redeveloped. I don’t know the future of these rails, but so far they have survived for 105 years.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

securedownload15

securedownload13

securedownload11

securedownload5

securedownload3

Still Flying the Flag 56 Years Later

December 19, 2016

akron-erie-bridge-x

There is something comforting about seeing a relic of the long ago past even if it is just a rusty hulk of its former self. I have had a lifelong interest in history so finding such relics is a way to see and almost touch something that I never was able to experience in its prime.

Such is the case with old railroad bridges that still wear the markings of a past owner. As this is posted in December 2016, it has been 56 years since the Erie Railroad operated its last train.

In October 1960 it merged with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western to form the Erie Lackawanna. Even that road has been gone now for 40 years.

Much of the former Erie in Northeast Ohio has been abandoned. Some rails are still in place, but have been out of service for many years.

Motorists traveling on North Forge Street in Akron, Ohio, can see a daily reminder of the Erie.

This bridge carried the Chicago route of the Erie over North Forge near Akron Junction. All of the mainline railroads serving Akron crossed over Forge in a two-block area with the Erie being the westernmost of them.

Today the former Erie bridge is silent. As best I can tell from looking at an overhead view on Bing Maps, there may be one set of tracks on the bridge, but otherwise the rails have been removed.