The Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad (DT&I) is a defunct railroad that had its beginnings in southern Ohio as the Iron Railroad Company, which connected Ironton to the coal and timber reserves in the southern part of the state. Through acquisitions and mergers, the DT&I stretched for over 370 miles from Ironton to the automobile manufacturing plants in Michigan. Between Jackson and Bloom Junction, the DT&I had trackage rights along the Scioto & Hocking Valley, later part of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), a distance of 23.4 miles.
While exploring Virginia’s back roads, I came upon the former New River, Holston and Western Railroad (NH&W) that once extended from the Norfolk & Western (N&W) at Narrows on the New River in Giles County to the village of Suiter in Bland County, Virginia. The 43-mile line followed Wolf Creek or its tributaries for its entire length.
On a recent business excursion to Virginia, I discovered the oft-forgotten Chesapeake Western Railway which was once proposed from Washington, D.C. to Cincinnati, Ohio. Only a segment from Elkton, Virginia westward to Stokesville was ever completed in its original intention. Although some of the railroad has been dismantled, portions remain active for the Norfolk Southern and for a short line.
The Cleveland, Ohio Cedar Avenue substation was constructed in 1917, and was the first automatic substation completed for the Cleveland Railway Company. It was across the street from the Cedar Avenue power plant, which was then at the time the largest non-condensing direct-current plant in the United States, and was operated non-condensing because the exhaust steam was sold to a salt company adjacent at a price that made it difficult for the central station companies in Cleveland to compete with the Cleveland Railway’s power house on a per-kilowatt-hour output.
If buildings could have diaries, the complex of industrial structures along Ashland Road in Cleveland, Ohio would be overflowing with details on its long and illustrious history. Not much has been written about the complex, owing to a lack of information easily available, and misinterpretations based on various first-hand accounts and urban explorers. But what was uncovered was fascinating and complicated, more so than originally envisioned, and despite a wealth of materials uncovered, there are still gaps that have not yet been resolved.
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to bike the former Hocking Valley Railroad River Division (HV) near Gallipolis, Ohio. The Gallia County Hike and Bike Trail was completed from Logan to Gallipolis in October 1880 for the HV. The tracks were abandoned in 1992 and dismantled a year later.
Railroad YMCA’s were once staples in the United States, offering lounges, recreational amenities, restaurants and a safe and convenient place for rest for the myriad of railroad employees. Russell, Kentucky is one such instance of a town that offered a YMCA.