B&O Line East of Cleveland

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B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby Schaffner » Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:35 am

When I was a kid in the early 80's heading to Cleveland from the east on I-90, I remember passing under a bridge over the interstate that had B&O emblems on it. The bridge is now gone. What B&O line was this, and where did it go?
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby shlustig » Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:46 pm

That was just east of the SR-44 Painesville interchange.

The B&O line was the Lake Branch which ran between De Forest Jct. (near Warren) to Fairport Harbor.
It crossed the ERIE at North Warren and the NKP and NYC at Painesville.
This line remained largely steam-powered into the mid-1950's and was the subject of a couple of photo spreads in TRAINS. As the steam era approached the end, this was one of the lines on which the B&O used the 7600-series 2-8-8-4's on the coal trains up to the port.

The NKP crossing at PE Tower was one of the last great places to witness steam power in the mid-1950's as both the NKP and B&O were mostly steam roads.

That bridge over I-90 remained for several years after the railroad was abandoned, then was demolished. A new bridge has been constructed at the same location for the rail-trail which now occupies the right-of-way.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby BaltOhio » Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:08 am

Adding to Sheldon's reply, in its later days this line existed primarily to carry coal to an antique McMyler dumper at Fairport Harbor and to serve the Diamond Alkali chemical plant at that location. It was one of the toughest pieces of railroad on the B&O system -- originally a narrow-gauge line with numerous curves and grades. In late steam days it was common to use two EM-1 2-8-8-4s on WB trains from a spot south of West Farmington to Chardon, and occasionally three had to be used. My first sight of a train on this line consisted of a tripleheaded set of EM-1, Q-4 (2-8-2), and S-1 (2-10-2).
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby Northwest727 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:27 pm

That was the old Fairport or Lake Branch of the B&O. The line itself was pulled up in 1982.

http://www.abandonedrails.com/article.asp?id=388

I'd like to get out there and ride the rail trails and add some photos, should I find any artifacts.
Aviation and flying are in my blood, but the railroad is in my heart
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby bluestreak81 » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:56 pm

I have ridden the rail-trail several times. It has three segments. It is one of the most beautiful and hidden trails I've ridden on in Ohio. The only remnants of the railroad itself are a few telegraph poles, a weathered whistle post, a lonely rail that lays alongside rt 608, and the abutments of the old trestles which are now supporting newly constructed trail bridges. Had it been converted into a tourist railroad I am sure it would have been successful with it's rural countryside settings. What a view those locomotive engineers must have had back in the day.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby kinter2 » Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:40 am

My father-in-law was born in Fairport and lived all his life in that area. He told me that there used to be a roundhouse and turntable in Painesville between Richmond Street and Richmond Road where Sanford meets Richmond Street. He also told me that the trains would stop in Painesville and the "Malleys" would be turned around while cars were taken to Fairport by switchers. At some point, the turntable/roundhouse was replaced by a wye, I believe. The historical association might know.

My wife and I lived along High Street in Fairport between 1972 and 1974 and we occasionally saw B&O diesels serving the building just down the hill that took delivery of covered hoppers. That facility is still there but is now served by the FP&E. It is a switchback line which connects to the old NYC line east of Fairport. That line used to serve the old Diamond Shamrock plant in Fairport. It is gone, too.

On one occasion in the mid-70's, we were driving up to Painesville from Virginia and out in the middle of nowhere was a single GP heading east on that line.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby BaltOhio » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:35 am

kinter2 wrote:My father-in-law was born in Fairport and lived all his life in that area. He told me that there used to be a roundhouse and turntable in Painesville between Richmond Street and Richmond Road where Sanford meets Richmond Street. He also told me that the trains would stop in Painesville and the "Malleys" would be turned around while cars were taken to Fairport by switchers. At some point, the turntable/roundhouse was replaced by a wye, I believe. The historical association might know.


I don't know the specific streets, but B&O's engine facilities (along with the rather austere-looking wood passenger and freight stations) were located just south of the NYC crossing and looked like they dated back to the narrow gauge days. In the mid-1950s, steam locos were turned on a wye west of the engine house. By then, too, the servicing facilities were rather crude -- e.g., locos were coaled via a portable conveyor. I'm not sure I'd dignify the engine house as a "roundhouse" -- it was a three-stall rectangular wood shed. Road trains would arrive and depart from the yard north of the crossing with their road power, although transfer switchers worked up to the NKP interchange.

In steam days, heavy westbound (northbound) trains would have at least two engines (EM-1s, when I saw the operation, EL Mallets and 2-10-2s before that) between West Farmington and Chardon. At Chardon, the helper engine (which was the lead engine at this point) was uncoupled and run light down the hill to Painesville while retainers were set on the train. The single road engine would then bring the train down into the yard.

It was a fascinating, rather primitive operation -- sad to see the line, docks, and industry gone now.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby shlustig » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:53 pm

[quote][/quote]


Herb,

Were you one of the very lucky phoyographers who caught a northbound train with triple-head EM's?
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby BaltOhio » Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:23 am

shlustig wrote:

Herb,
Were you one of the very lucky phoyographers who caught a northbound train with triple-head EM's?


Yup -- two or three times, as I recall. I think Bill Vigrass and I were the only ones who caught such an operation, in fact. At the very end of the steam era, B&O began making the coal trains heavier, using two EM-s as road power and one more as helper between Failes Spur (W. Farmington) and Chardon. The helper was always supposed to be on the rear up the twisting Swine Creek grade to Middlefield, then was moved to the head as far as Chardon where it was uncoupled to run to Painesville.

But on one occasion three light engines were dispatched from Painesville to pick up 127 coal cars at DeForest Jct. that had been left there by a New Castle Jct.-Willard crew. It was on Labor Day weekend and the crew was anxious to get home, so all three EM-1s were placed at the head to avoid the time taken switching around at Middlefield. That didn't work so well. A drawbar let loose on the 3rd or 4th car back as the train was struggling around a curve on Swine Creek Hill, leaving three articulateds to pull a three-car train to Painesville -- and the local Amish farmers got some coal for the winter. I was told that the superintendent and the conductor had a nice chat afterward.

Herb H.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby K.O.Prax » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:24 pm

Had a house in Concord in the late 70's After the tracks were pulled rode dirtbikes on the roadbed. In the early 80's the "W" signs where their for the taking, one still stands tall at the old house. The old I-90 bridge was ca. 1959 tail fin era. Got the builders plate of the bridge in Chardon. Loaded the torches in the old Ford pickup & drove down the track bed from South St. /Rt. 44. Cut the 2 large heads off threw the prize it in the cab. Backed out to S. St. O great timing a Chardon cop was their to greet me. He asked what I was up to, so told what I had done. He told me they would contact the B&O about trespassing & took the plate. So I contacted the B&O @ some office. He said he wish he could have a plate like it, so when to the police station told them what the guy @ the B&O had said. The cop gave back the plate & it is on display @ my new place! The plate says American Bridge Co. 1926. It holds a speical place in my heart same year my dad was born. Not 2 far from the old bridge their stands a pole. Went on a walk & seen a green head thing so, pulled it out & it was a copper dated nail from the late 20's. The EM-1s are long gone, but a few reminders still remain. To this day I like riding my bicycle on the paved rail to trail. John 3:16
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby tracksentinel » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:45 pm

I lived in Painesville for most of my life starting in 1959 when I was 3 years old. I lived right on the old NKP on a side street off Bank Street, very near Coe Manufacturing. I went to Walnut Jr. High School from 1969- 1971 which was located right along the old B&O tracks.

I remember there were only two trains per day at that time. The northbound train would usually arrive within 30 minutes (give or take) of school dismissal and would often have to stop to wait for trains on the Penn Central to clear before it could proceed into Fairport. Many times this train would come right at school dismissal and when stopped, would block Walnut Street and my regular access home. Many times I remember witnessing kids crawling over or under the train to get home.
I do remember one particular time the school principal busting kids for doing this.

We used to play near the interchange tracks southwest of the NKP diamond. These tracks were a common (and I would assume illegal) dumping ground for the septic holding tanks of either NKP or B&O cabooses.
When you are walking the tracks and come upon something like that, you never forget it or the smell...

Up until that time, I had never seen the southbound B&O train but I knew it headed south sometime during the night.
For years, late at night I could hear it's wheels slamming over the NKP diamond from my bedroom window. It wasn't until 1970 when my grandparents moved from Florida back to Painesville that I got to see the southbound trains.

The city of Painesville had built a 6 story senior apartment building on Jackson Street called Jackson Towers. Not only did my grandparents move into the place, but had the end apartment (#302) on the 3rd floor overlooking the B&O tracks. Spending the night at my grandparents was always a treat for me but made even better with this grandstand view of the B&O tracks from the bedroom window. The southbound train usually came around midnight and many times had 6 to 7 locomotives in it's consist. Sometimes with several F units for power which would be roaring in notch 8 to get track speed for the almost immediate 2% climb into Chardon.

That was so long ago but still very much a favorite part of my childhood.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby bluestreak81 » Fri May 13, 2011 3:28 pm

Does anyone have any photos of this line or links to photos? I have a major interest in this line since I bike it often in the summer. To see a photo of a train would be awesome.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby shlustig » Sat May 14, 2011 6:21 am

Check the index for "Trains" Magazine.

There was a feature photo article on this line c. late 1950's - 1960's.
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby BaltOhio » Sat May 14, 2011 10:00 am

Also check the B&O Historical Society. I did an extensive article on the history of this line in about 1988, and while I suppose the HS wouldn't still have extra back copies, they may be able to photocopy it for you.

HHH
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Re: B&O Line East of Cleveland

Postby bluestreak81 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:41 pm

Has anyone walked the former B&O corridor in the Swine Creek Reservation area? I see on the Geauga Park District website they purchased the B&O corridor in the Swine Creek reservation (I believe to convert to a paved rail-trail in the near future). Just curious if it's walkable. The steel bridge over Swine Creek Rd. still exists.
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