Few people still alive ever saw the Lorain, Ashland & Southern Railroad, which operated in the early 20th century between Lorain and Custaloga, Ohio, a junction with the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Fort Wayne Line in far southern Wayne County.
The LA&S was abandoned in 1925 and only a few traces of it remain today, many of which you need to know where to look to find.
Marty Surdyk has long had a fascination with the LA&S and last year he began to recreate it in the basement of his home.
The project began with Marty scrapped his model railroad layout that had been based on a New York Central branch line in far southern Ohio.
In doing this, Marty took a few liberties with historical fact. First, he assumed that the LA&S survived until the early 1960s. Second, he assumed that NYC controlled the LA&S and not that dastardly “P Company” along with the Erie Railroad.
But that’s the beauty of model railroading. You can create any universe that you want and pay attention to any historical facts that you choose.
I recently had a chance to watch Marty’s LA&S in action. We had spent a few hours sorting slides to be auctioned off at an upcoming Akron Railroad Club meeting.
At my request, Marty brought the railroad to life, running a short freight train led by an NYC Alco FA locomotive that he received as a Christmas present.
In real life it is unlikely that branch line road freights would have had an FA for their motive power, but this is a model railroad layout and you make your own operating rules.
The train repeatedly snaked around the layout, a pattern that would not be typical had Marty been having an operating session complete with train orders and customers to serve.
Like most layouts, Marty’s LA&S is a work in progress. You have to use a little imagination to visualize the LA&S because unlike the real thing Marty’s LA&S moves in curves and circles and not linear lines.
Aside from a few snapshots that I took in the early 1960s with a Kodak Brownie camera, I never photographed the New York Central. So, I couldn’t resist getting my camera out and capturing the LA&S Division of the Mighty Oval. It was kinda fun going back to the 1960s to photograph with a digital camera.