The Cleveland & Marietta Railway (C&M) is a former railroad between Marietta to Dover and Harmer Connection in southeast Ohio.

The C&M’s earliest predecessor is the Marietta & Pittsburg Railroad, formed on September 29, 1868 2 with the goal of connecting Marietta and Dennison.6 The mainline was constructed from Marietta north to Macksburg in 1871, and to Newcomerstown and Canal Dover (Dover) in June 1874.2 6

A branch extended northwest from Liberty through Coshocton County to Loudonville.

Marietta & Pittsburgh

An 1871 map of the Marietta & Pittsburgh.

A supplemental certificate dated August 7, 1872 called for five additional branches:

  • Northwest Extension: From Guernsey County to Richland County;
  • McConnellsville Branch: From Point Pleasant, in Guernsey County, to McConnellsville, in Morgan County;
  • Fast Fork Branch: From Washington County to a point near Stafford, in Monroe County;
  • Dexter Coal Branch: From Dexter Station in Noble County;
  • Marietta City Branch: From the main line in Marietta through the city to a connection with the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad in Harmer.

On December 7, 1873, the company was reorganized to the Marietta, Pittsburg & Cleveland Railway.2 It was put into receivership on August 5, 1875, reincorporating on May 29, 1879 as the Cleveland & Marietta Railroad (C&M). The C&M made an arrangement in September 1882 to use the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad (C&P) from Canal Dover to Zoar.1 The railroad was quitclaimed in April 1883; one-third was allocated to the Junction & Terminal property at Valley Junction while two-thirds went to the W≤2 the entirely of the C&M was then operated as a branch of the W&LE.1

The railroad was once again in receivership on February 2, 1885, where it was reorganized on July 2, 1886 as the Cleveland & Marietta Railway (C&M).2 The railroad counted 96.24 miles of track from Marietta north to Canal Dover (Dover) and 6.89 miles of track from Marietta to Harmer Connection with the Baltimore & Ohio Southwest.

The C&M eventually became a part of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Marietta Branch (PRR). In 1968, the PRR merged with the New York Central (NYC) to form the Penn Central Railroad (PC).5 In 1976, PC became part of Conrail and on May 1, 1976, the last train rolled over the line from Marietta to Dover.

In 1966, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) abandoned a portion of its Eastern Ohio Branch from the C&M crossing between Pleasant City and Derwent east through Buffalo, Senecaville and Lore City.5 The track west of the C&M was left intact to serve Central Ohio Coal. The B&O obtained trackage rights with the PRR from Cambridge to Cambridge. Eventually, the PRR line from Cambridge to Cumberland fell into the hands of the B&O.

The B&O contained to operate over the line from Cambridge to the C&M junction near Pleasant City and westward towards Cumberland and the Central Ohio Coal Muskingum Mine shipping mostly ammonium nitrate for use in explosives. The movement was referred to as ZADYR, short for the Zanesville Dynamite Run.5 6

On June 18, 1986, regular service to Cumberland and the mines ended when a bulk transfer facility on Woodlawn Avenue in Cambridge was constructed.5 6 Ammonium nitrate was unloaded at the new facility and shipped by truck to the mining site. Occasionally, oversized equipment, such as boom components for the last drag line to be built at the Muskingum Mine, would be transferred by flatcar. The last train to Cumberland was a small diesel switcher engine for the Muskingum Electric Railway in October 1993.

A handful of trains operated to Derwent, serving BSI, until 1998 when a flood destroyed some track south of Byesville.5 CSX, the B&O’s ultimate successor, attempted to abandon the line from Byesville to Cumberland in 1999. In order to maintain railroad service for BSI, the Cambridge-Guernsey Community Improvement Corporation was formed and purchased the CSX line from Byesville south to Derwent in 2000. Reconstruction of the line began in late 2001 and was completed by the end of the year. Ownership of the rail line eventually passed to Byesville Scenic Trails.

The Byesville Scenic Railway was formed in 2006 to operate an excursion train from Byesville south to Pleasant City.5 The railroad began work to reopen an additional 7.5 miles of line from Pleasant City to Cumberland and eventually to The Wilds, a large wild animal preserve on former strip mine land operated on by Central Ohio Coal. On August 21, 2011, a notice to suspend passenger operations was passed down from the track owner, Byesville Scenic Trails.3 After reopening briefly, operations were once again suspended in April 2012.4

Sources