Posts Tagged ‘Ohio short-line railroads’

OmniTRAX Promoting Development Along NW Ohio Line

March 13, 2021

Short line holding company OmniTRAX has extended an economic development program to its rail line in Northwest Ohio.

Known as the Rail-Ready Sites program, it seeks to link shippers who want rail service with its various rail lines.

In this instance, OmniTRAX has established a partnership with the Sandusky County Economic Development Corporation to market two two properties along its 25-mile Northern Ohio & Western between Woodville and Tiffin, which offers interchanges with CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Principal commodities that are handled on that line include limestone, lime and pressed board.

Iowa Short Line Buys Flats Industrial Switcher

December 21, 2020

An Iowa short line railroad has acquired an EMD switch engine from the Flats Industrial Railroad of Cleveland.

The SW9m, No. 1202, has been purchased by the Davenport Industrial Railroad.

The unit was built in May 1951 for the Lehigh Valley where it worked until 1974.

It was later owned by U.S. Steel, which assigned it to its Youngstown & Northern property, and by the Lake Terminal Railroad.

The late Arthur Fournier acquired the 1202 in 1999 for use on his Flats Industrial Railroad.

It had been rebuilt in 1995 during its time on the Lake Terminal.

The switcher is expected to be moved to Iowa sometime this winter.

A recent report incorrectly stated the unit had been moved by the Flats Industrial in preparation for movement.

In fact, that move was done so that some brake rigging repair could be performed on the locomotive.

The Flats Industrial, which is located in downtown Cleveland, is idle these days due to lack of business

Cleveland Short Line Reportedly Sells Switcher

December 17, 2020

An online report indicated that the Cleveland-based Flats Industrial Railroad has largely been idle in recent weeks after its biggest customer, a grain mill, ceased operations.

The report said the Flats Industrial last Sunday moved its smaller switch engine, Nos. 1202, because it has been sold to another short line railroad.

No. 1202 was at one time owned by the Southern Pacific.

The move did not require moving over a lift bridge over the Cuyahoga River.

The Flats Industrial uses former Conrail track in downtown Cleveland.

Startup Wants to Revive ex-Akron Branch

December 5, 2020
The former Akron Branch as it looked in October 2012 near Stow.

A Norfolk Southern worker has proposed restoring freight service to an out of service former Pennsylvania Railroad line in Summit County.

Jeff White is a founder and part owner of the Hudson & Southern, which would operate the nearly 15-mile line that runs between Hudson and Cuyahoga Falls via Hudson, Stow and Silver Lake.

The line in question has long been known as the Akron Branch and was the first railroad to serve Akron when it was completed on July 4, 1852.

The line was last used by Conrail in 1994 and has since been railbanked.

White indicated his primary business initially would be the storage of rail cars for shippers using NS and CSX.

Most of the line is owned by Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority which bought it in 1995 and railbanked it for potential commuter rail use.

However a portion of the line in Hudson is owned by NS and is still used occasionally by that company to turn equipment on a wye.

Although the H&S is still establishing its business plan, White said longer term his company is considering establishing a transload facility near Seasons Road that would transfer bulk commodities between rail cars and trucks.

White said he has learned of interest by some companies to build manufacturing facilities or warehouses in the Seasons Road area, but they would do that only if there is an active rail line nearby.

“It’s kind of a ‘if you build it, they will come’ kind of thing,” he said.

However, Akron Metro and the residents of Cuyahoga Falls, Stow and Silver Lake have other ideas for what use should be made of the railroad right of way.

Valerie Shea, director of planning and strategic development for Akron Metro said her agency has met with officials in those communities about their interest in developing the land as a hike and bike trail.

“That’s kind of been what we’ve been pursuing a little more,” Shea said.

She said Akron Metro met with H&S officials about a year ago but has not spoken with the company since then.

White said N&S last met with Akron Metro in fall 2019 but the COVID-19 pandemic stalled development of those plans. Work resumed on creating a business model within the past month.

In a best case scenario, White envisions it would be three to four years before trains resume using the line.

N&S will need to work with the Ohio Rail Development Commission on rehabilitating the track.

The railroad would also need to obtain approval of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to reactivate the line as well as the approval and cooperation of NS and Akron Metro.

White hopes to file a petition with the STB in spring 2021.

Akron Metro would need approval of the Federal Transit Administration before the rail line could be used for a trail.

Shea said she didn’t know how long that process would take.

In the meantime, Shea said Akron Metro is working with all the municipalities along the line to ensure the use of the land is “amenable to everybody.”

She said the public transit agency is willing to consider H&S’s proposal “if it’s vetted through the municipalities that we’ve been working with.”

That could lead to widespread opposition as happened several years ago when another rail operator proposed using the Akron Branch for a dinner train.

White said he knows resuming rail use has been “a touchy subject in the past.”

Since revealing his plans for the ex-Pennsy line, White said he has heard from people concerned about noise and trains traveling past their homes at late hours.

In response, White said modern trains are not noisy, N&S would only operate two to three times a week on weekdays during mid morning or late afternoon.

The trains of five to 12 cars would travel no more than 10 mph and quiet zones could be established in residential areas.

He also said that his company would not be handling hazardous materials, noting the area is not zoned to allow operations that would involve those.

“Most people who live along the tracks are going to be hard-pressed to ever even see the train,,” White said adding that he N&S wants to be a community partner.

Ohio Short Line Added to Ready List

October 1, 2020

Short line railroad holding company OmniTRAX has added the Northern Ohio & Western to Rail-Ready Sites program.

The move is an effort to boost the efforts of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership in northwestern Ohio.

In a news release, OmniTRAX said the Rail-Ready program helps connect companies looking to improve supply-chain performance with railroads.

OmniTRAX and the economic group will market three initial sites on the NO&W, with property parcels ranging from 14 to 72 acres.

NO&W interchanges with Norfolk Southern and CSX and hauls such commodities as limestone, lime and pressed board.

Ohio, Indiana Short Line Railroad Sold

September 9, 2020

Two Ohio and Indiana short line railroads have been acquired by Midwest & Blue Grass Rail.

The Ohio railroads include the Camp Chase Railway, which operates 15 miles of track in the Columbus area, and the Youngstown & Southeastern, which operates 40 miles of track near Youngstown.

The Indiana short lines included the Cheaspeake & Indiana Railroad (28 miles in northwest Indiana) and the Vermillion Valley Railroad, a 6-mile line between Danville, Illinois, and Olin, Indiana.

All four properties were acquired from Indiana Boxcar Corporation, which said in a statement that it planned to focus on its freight car and locomotive leasing business.

The short lines haul a range of commodities, including agricultural products, fertilizer, recyclables and construction-related materials.

Founded in 2019, M&BG has offices in Lexington, Kentucky, and Kansas City.

In a news release, M&BG described itself as a full-service rail company seeking to acquire, market and development railroads. It also provides trans-loading services.

It’s Western Ohio, Not Kansas

April 10, 2020

On Wednesday I chased the Napoleon, Defiance & Western in Western Ohio. This is a short line that runs a former Wabash line between Woodburn, Indiana, and Napoleon, Ohio.

They roster about a half dozen engines including two GP20s still lettered for the Santa Fe.

We chased it from Okalona, Ohio, to Napoleon where it switched a Campbell’s food warehouse and then returned to Defiance.

In the top photography the train is leaving Okalona. Then it is shown leaving Napolean after switching and passing the elevator at Okalona.

The next set shows the train crossing the Maumee River at Defiance, a pair of the GP20s in  Defiance and the return trip at Okalona.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

W&LE Gets Grant to Rebuild Bridge

March 29, 2020

The Wheeling & Lake Erie has received a grant from the Ohio Rail Development Commission to be used to repair a bridge on its Carrollton branch.

The grant of $235,225 will be used to rehabilitate the century-old Oneida Bridge at milepost 16.78 in Oneida.

In a news release, the ORDC said the project will ensure the bridge is in safe working condition.

The release said the W&LE has committed to maintaining the bridge in operable condition for 10 years after completion of the project.

Jeff Sunderland, the W&LE’s assistant vice president, business development, said in the news release that the railroad will continue to provide service to new and current customers in Carrollton.

Among them is Griffeth & Son, a trucking company that is extending a rail spur to be used to unload carloads of crushed limestone.

The ORDC gave the trucking company a $100,000 ORDC grant and it also received an award of $200,000 from JobsOhio and $50,000 from the Carroll County Community Improvement Corporation.

The W&LE will bring in the stone to the unloading facility on a weekly basis once the project is completed.

The limestone is now being trucked to Carrollton from a quarry near Carey.

James Griffeth told the The Repository of Canton last October that the number of trains bringing limetone to Carrollton might increase to two or three a week if demand rises.

The ORDC news release said work on the Oneida bridge is expected to be done this year.

The Repository story of last October said at the time that Carroll County did not have any active rail shippers.

Ashland Gets Grant for Yard Expansion, Track Work

March 24, 2020

The Ashland Railway has received a grant from the Ohio Rail Development Commission to expand its yard in Mansfield.

The $735,882 grant will also be use for track repair on its route to Willard.

The $1.4 project involves installation of about 3,000 feet of new track and seven turnouts; ultrasonic rail flaw detection on 23 miles of the Willard line; and replacement of rail identified as defective by the rail test.

The RDC said in a news release the project calls for reconnecting stub-ended tracks and extending several yard tracks to improve the efficiency of rail-car switching and blocking, as well as increasing usable car storage.

The work will increase capacity of the yard by 80 rail cars.

“The yard rehab project will add much needed carload space, which will allow Ashland Railway to overcome a capacity problem that has been an issue in the past,” said Bob Thompson, an ASRY roadmaster.

Along Ohi-Rail in Minerva

February 15, 2020

Here are two from Ohi-Rail in Minerva on Aug. 19, 2010.

There is a road in Minerva that parallels Ohi-Rail’s yard. These stored locomotives and cabooses were visible at the west and of the yard.

In the top photo are Ohi-Rail No. 102 and Minerva Scenic Railway No. 18.

The MSR used Ohi-Rail trackage but only lasted a few years and was out of business at the time this photo was taken.

In the bottom photo are former a Canadian National vans (caboose), an ex-Conrail caboose, and an ex-Pennsylvania Railroad cabin car.

Photographs by Robert Farkas