Posts Tagged ‘Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad’

ORDC Awards Grants to 4 Railroads

November 20, 2020

The Ohio Rail Development Commission announced this week four grants to an equal number of railroads that will provide the state’s share of matching funds for federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program grants.

The grants and projects include: 

Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad: $462,000 to match $4,358,547 of CFER funding and a $4,530,546 CRISI grant to assist with upgrades in the Lima Yard and on 11 miles of track from Lima to north-central Indiana.

Napoleon, Defiance and Western Railroad: $250,000 to match $3,862,452 of NDW funding and a $4,112,452 CRISI grant to assist with significant track upgrades and eliminating speed, train length and height restrictions along the line between Defiance and Woodburn, Indiana.

R. J. Corman Western Ohio & Cleveland Lines: $489,300 to match $709,485 of RJC funding and a $2,226,315 CRISI grant to assist with the installation of more than 20,000 ties of track in and around Massillon, Wooster, Celina and Lima.

Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad: $350,025 to match $350,025 of YSRR funding and a $700,050 CRISI grant to assist with the installation of more than 10,000 ties and perform surfacing along the line between Struthers and Signal in Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Also, five grade crossing surfaces will be repaired.

Still Some Fall Foliage Out There

November 10, 2020

With another 70-degree weather and sunny day I railfanned eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, there was still some fall color to be found. In the top image a Youngstown & Southeastern train climbs south from Youngstown.

In the middle image, a CSX coal train is at Wampum, Pennsylvania, while in the bottom photograph a Buffalo & Pittsburgh coal train is also at Wampum.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Short Lines Get Grants for Ohio Projects

September 22, 2020

Five short line railroads will receive federal grants to help pay for infrastructure projects in Ohio.

One of the largest awards, $4.1 million, will be used by the Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railway for rail replacement and track rehabilitation.

The federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant will cover 50 percent of the project’s cost, with nearly $3.9 million matched by the railroad and 3 percent ($250,000) being provided by the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

The railroad plans to replace 10 miles of steel rail and 29,000 ties on 28 miles of rail line.

Other CRISI grants that were awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation include $4.5 million to the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern to replace 10.8 miles of jointed rail with welded rail, install new ballast and ties, replace seven turnouts and rehabilitate another, and rebuild yard tracks between Lima and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

R.J. Corman received $2.2 million for improvements on four routes while the Youngstown & Southeastern received $700,000 to rebuild 25 miles of track, including tie replacement, track resurfacing, switch renewal and grade-crossing improvement.

Central Railroad of Indiana received $1.2 million for an enclosed conveyor belt system to move materials at its Cincinnati Bulk Terminals and another $1.1 million for grade crossing improvements including a new traffic signal and crossing gates at CSX and Central Railroad of Indiana crossings in Cincinnati.

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.

Y&S Completes Purchase of Line it Operates

November 6, 2019

The Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad has completed acquisition of a 36-mile rail line that runs from Youngstown to Darlington, Pennsylvania.

The rail line was sold by Mule Sidetracks, an affiliate of MarkWest Energy Partners, which had purchased the line in 2013 from the Columbiana County Port Authority for $3 million.

Although the sale price of the railroad to Y&S was not disclosed, The Business Journal of Youngstown reported that public records show Mule Sidetracks sold land along the tracks in Columbiana County to Y&S for $1,815,507 and sold Y&S 14 parcels in Mahoning County for $809,153.

MarkWest, which is based in Denver, had acquired the rail line with the expectation of developing business related to exploration of the Utica shale oil and gas fields.

The Port Authority was hoping that MarkWest would construct a processing plant in Columbiana County.

Y&S has been providing rail service on the line since 2006 under lease from the Port Authority and later by contract with MarkWest.

Y&S is an affiliate of Indiana Boxcar Corporation of Connersville, Indiana. The Class III railroad has annual revenue of less than $5 million.

It connects with NS in Youngstown and CSX in Lowellville.

Yes, They Do Run Trains on the Old Y&S

August 10, 2014


I had training in Pittsburgh last week and on my way home I a train on the Youngstown & Southern local on the south end of the line.

Trains run on this line during the week but rarely on weekends.  Usually weekends are the only time I can railfan so this results in photos of parked equipment.

This week was different and I was able to get a moving train at some scenic locations I have previously scouted.

The Youngstown Southeastern as it’s known currently is like a cat with nine lives.  Like on most railroads in the rust belt, traffic has declined and the railroad closed in the early 1990s.  It was then resurrected and shut down several more times.

Around 2000, garbage hauled to landfills caused a traffic boom.  Sadly, this did not last as the landfills eventually closed.

Then fracking,  a new way to drill for oil, created a new boom.  Loads of pipe are hauled by rail to a staging facility at Darlington Pa.

I caught the local on its return trip.  It is a scenic branchline with much of the line on cinder ballast and first generation diesel power it’s kind of like a time machine.

I felt a little like O. Winston Link must have when he discovered the N&W Abingdon branch in the late 1950s.  True, there is no longer steam but No. 18 tried its best to smoke like one.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon







Sale of Y&S Delayed Yet Again

December 18, 2013

The saga of the sale of the former Youngstown & Southern line continues. For years, the Columbiana County Port Authority has been trying to sell the 36-mile rail line that extends between Youngstown and Darlington, Pa.

A problem with the property title has delayed the sale. Mule Sidetracks LLC, a subsidiary of MarkWest Energy Partners, agreed in September to purchase the rail line.

MarkWest operates a natural gas storage and processing plant in the area. The Surface Transportation Board approved the sale on Oct. 24.

On Monday, however, the authority voted to hire the engineering firm of Dallis Dawson & Associates for $16,000 to perform survey work needed to transfer the title. That work may take as many as two months.

The latest glitch occurred when the county engineer’s office discovered that a 1.4-mile segment of the line was still in the name of a previous owner and not the port authority.

Among the various owners of the line over the past two decades have been Pittsburgh & Lake Erie subsidiary Youngstown & Southern, Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad, Central Columbiana & Pennsylvania Railway, and present operator Youngstown & Southeastern. The Youngstown & Southeastern, which is owned by Indiana Boxcar Corp., is expected to continue to operate the line after the sale is completed.

Cuyahoga Falls Man Wins RR History Grant

September 11, 2013

A Cuyahoga Falls man has won a $2,500 grant from the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society to help him write a book about the Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad.

Matthew C. Hiner is a history professor at Lakeland Community College and his book will be titled “Death and Rebirth of the Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad, 1975-2012.”

The book would be a follow-up on an article that Hiner wrote for Railroad History in 2004 titled: “Fifty Years too Soon: How an Innovative Interurban Bent the Rules to Cut Rates in the Ohio Coal Fields.”

Hiner’s research explores the Y&S in the Great Depression. His proposed book “offers an opportunity to explore the important topic of late twentieth century deindustrialization on a local level, examining how the fight to save a regional railroad impacted not just the Mahoning Valley, but Ohio’s larger economy and larger rail carriers as a whole.”

Also winning a grant was Jeff Brouws of Standford, N.Y., a photographer and writer who is conducting research on the history and development of southern railroad photography with an emphasis on photographers working between 1920 and 1960.

Brouws has written about prominent railroad photographers during the steam-to-diesel transition but his latest work will explore “the anonymous, unsung, and underrepresented amateur railroad photographers who have, in reality, taken the bulk of railroad photos made over the last century.”

Most recently Brouws with his wife, Wendy Burton, published a book titled Some Vernacular Railroad Photographs.

This is the second year that the R&LHS has awarded the fellowships, named for railroad scholars William D. Middleton and John H. White, Jr. An R&LHS review committee chose the recipients.

Woebegone Y&S May Have a New Owner

February 19, 2013

A former Illinois Central Gulf GP10 wearing a livery of the Paducah & Louisville Railway reposes at North Lima, Ohio, along the Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad in July 2010. A water supply company has agreed to buy the 36-mile line.

A former Illinois Central Gulf GP10 wearing a livery of the Paducah & Louisville Railway reposes at North Lima, Ohio, along the Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad in July 2010. A water supply company has agreed to buy the 36-mile line. (Photographs by Craig Sanders)

The Y&S was once an interurban railway as well as a steam freight railroad. The interurban oprations ceased in 1948 as the last interurban in Ohio. Shown is the former interurban depot in Columbiana on July 11, 2010.

The Y&S was once an interurban railway as well as a steam-powered freight railroad. The interurban trains quit running in 1948 and were the last interurban opeations in Ohio. Shown is the former interurban depot in Columbiana on July 11, 2010.

A water supply company recently reached an agreement to purchase the Youngstown & Southern Railroad in far eastern Ohio.

Aqua Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Aqua America, agreed to pay the Columbiana County Port Authority $3 million for the 36-mile railroad that extends from Youngstown to Darlington, Pa.

Acqua plans to continue operating the railroad, but also expects to put down water lines along the right of way. Some of those lines will extend to oil and gas wells expected to be drilled in the area.

Those wells would use a process known as fracking in which water is injected into underground shale formations to crack them open to expose oil and gas deposits

The Review newspaper of East Liverpool, Ohio, reported that the terms of the sale required Acqua to put down a $50,000 down payment and to finalize the deal by June 30.

Acqua said using pipelines to bring water to oil and gas wells will alleviate the wear and tear of trucks using local roads to bring in the water.

The Y&S is also expected to bring in pipes, sand and other supplies by rail. It would be Acqua’s first experience in owning a railroad.

The most recent freight to move over the Y&S was construction and demolition debris that was hauled to a landfill at Negley. That landfill remains open but has not received shipments by rail for some time.

The Y&S began in 1904 as the Youngstown & Southern Railway, offering steam freight service and electric interurban service. The line has had a troubled financial history that has seen several owners come and go.

The sale of the Y&S to Acqua would be the second effort to do so in the past year for the purpose of serving the Utica shale formations of eastern Ohio. A Canadian company agreed in April 2012 to buy the railroad for $2.9 million but that deal was scuttled in early August when the buyer backed out of the sale.

A previous owner sought to abandon the railroad in 1999 and sell the rails for scrap, but Columbiana County officials fiercely opposed that bid and the Surface Transportation Board rejected the abandonment petition.

The Columbiana Port Authority acquired the Y&S in 2000, using in part money borrowed from the Ohio Rail Development Commission. Four times the port authority has sought but failed to sell the railroad, which also has operated under the name Youngstown & Southeastern.