Facebook Page

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway and Stations to Gallipolis, Ohio 6/11/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose and following our Internet duties, we had our last breakfast at the Residence Inn then packed and checked out. I drove us to Nelsonville and we arrived about forty minutes before departure time, which gave us an opportunity to look around. We picked up our tickets then it was time to explore this railroad, new to both of us.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway History

The original railroad line we operate over was founded as the Mineral Rail Road on April 14, 1864, to build a railroad from Columbus to Athens, Ohio. In 1867, the name was changed to the Columbus & Hocking Valley Railroad. Construction then began in mid-1867. The primary purpose for building the C&HV was to transport the Hocking Valley's salt and coal out; the famous brick industry arose to prominence not long after. The first train arrived in Canal Winchester in 1868, with regular passenger service established to Lancaster in 1869. The very first freight train from Nelsonville arrived in Columbus on August 17, 1869. As this particular train made its way from Nelsonville, there was an actual cannon on board that was fired as it approached each town along the way to let everyone know they were coming. Full service to Athens was in place by August 1870.

Eventually, the C&HV grew and became the Columbus, Hocking Valley & Toledo Railway before ultimately becoming the Hocking Valley Railway in 1899. Known as the "Buckeye Route" and "Columbus' Railroad", the HV was the largest independent railroad located entirely within the state of Ohio. The HV connected Toledo and Lake Erie with the Ohio River towns of Pomeroy and Gallipolis. The Hocking Valley Railway was eventually merged into the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in May 1930, becoming the Hocking Division. Passenger service ended on the lines south of Columbus on December 31, 1949 and many depots ultimately were torn down (the only surviving HV depots today are Prospect, Canal Winchester, Carroll, Haydenville and Wellston). Freight service dropped off over time, with the line through Nelsonville finally coming to an end in the early 1980's.

We, operating earlier on the old Monday Creek Branch from Nelsonville to nearby Carbon Hill, did not want to be cut off from the rest of the national rail network. So, we managed to acquire a sizable chunk of the former C&O Armitage Subdivision and began operating on it around 1985. Funds were very tight then, requiring a loan to start each season, so the Monday Creek line had to be scrapped to help make ends meet. Since then, the HVSR has grown and become one of the premier tourist railroads in Ohio. Of course, everything is a work in progress, as we deal with equipment dating back as far as 1917 and track that has undergone its first major overhaul in many years. Since we are managed and operated entirely by volunteers, we are always looking for new people to join us in our never-ending quest to restore and maintain history! From event coordinators to car hosts to track and shop maintenance, there's something for everyone and all skill levels!

Baltimore and Ohio GP7 5833, ex. Chicago South Shore 5833, exxx. Chicago South Shore 1508, nee Cheasapeake and Ohio 1508 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1952.

Baltimore and Ohio combine 1497, nee Baltimore and Ohio 4072, built by Standard Steel in 1915.

Ohio Historical Marker Hocking Valley Railway.

Baltimore and Ohio caboose C2253 built by Fruit Growers Express in 1980. It is painted in the B&O Sentinel scheme on one side and Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Train Rides on the other.

Hocking Valley 65 ton switcher 8122 ex. American Aggregates 700711, exx. Maryland Midland 102, exxx. East Washington Railway 102, nee United States Army 8465 built by General Electric in 1944.

New York Central wedge snow plough X625 built by Russell Snow Plow in 1946.

Hocking Valley Scenic maintainence-of-way/kitchen car K-200, nee Baltimore and Ohio coach 4571 built by Pullman in 1914.

Family Lines caboose 01022, ex. Seaboard Coast Line 21022, exx. Seaboard Coast Line 01022, nee Atlantic Coast Line 0747, built by the railroad in 1967.

Baltimore and Ohio transfer caboose C2550, ex. Seaboard System 16610, nee Louisville and Nashville 6610 built by the railroad.

Detroit Toledo and Ironton caboose 118, nee Detroit Toledo and Shore Line Railroad 100 built by the railroad in 1949.

Baltimore and Ohio caboose 3015 built by International Car in 1966.

Baltimore and Ohio caboose 90762 built by Standard Steel in 1924.

Baltimore and Ohio coach 3501, ex. Railroad Passenger Cars Incorporated 3501, nee Baltimore and Ohio 3501, built by Pullman in 1930.

Hocking Valley covered open air car 91308, nee Delaware Lackawanna Railroad flat car 91308.

Hocking Valley covered open air car 60166, nee Cheasapeake and Ohio gondola 60166.

Hocking Valley coach 2607 built by Standard Steel in 1929.

Hocking Valley dining car 1444, ex. Mid America Rail Car Leasing 2502, exx. Amtrak 2502 rebuilt to Dorm-Lounge, nee Union Pacific 1447, built by Budd Company in 1950.

Amtrak dining car 8528, nee Southern Pacific 10213, built by the Budd Company in 1950.

The front of the train was ready to go.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Nelsonville station built in the early 1980's. The design is based on original plans of Ohio railroad stations of the late 1800's, was designed by architect Ted Goodman and built by the carpentry students from the Tri-County Vocational School.

Now sit back and enjoy the ride aboard the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway on a wet afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed your ride on a wet day in Ohio.

In East Logan, the engine ran around the train then I rejoined Elizabeth who was inside the Baltimore and Ohio coach for the trip back to Nelsonville. The gift shop was not opened after the trip so we could not buy any souvenirs from the railroad and we were rather disappointed that we had nothing to commemorate our visit apart from the ticket.

From here I drove us east to Athens, Ohio.

Toledo and Ohio Central Athens station. This building was previously on the property of the Athens Lumber Company near the corner of Union and Factory Streets. It was moved in the early 2000's. Bill Denbow and Dan West have researched the origin of this building and the findings thus far have been inconclusive. It does look like a station and a Toledo and Ohio Central station at that. It may be the original Athens station that was moved to its current location or it may be an original lumber company building.

Cinninati Washington and Baltimore Railroad Athens depot built by 1889. The railroad became the Baltimore and Ohio Southwest Railroad later in the year. The station of today is the same station only greatly renovated and enlarged in 1915 and 1916. In most of its years of service, it was a stop on the Baltimore and Ohio's direct route between Washington, DC and Cincinnati. It served the daily B&O trains, Diplomat and National Limited, both of which were on a St. Louis to Jersey City routing. In the last years leading to B&O's yielding routes to Amtrak in 1971, the B&O's Metropolitan (shortened and rerouted: Cincinnati to Washington, DC) made stops at Athens station. It was used by Amtrak's Shenandoah (Cincinnati to Washington, DC), operating between 1976 and 1981.

The next station on our list was Middleport.

Columbus, Hocking Valley and Toledo Railroad Middleport station. The Columbus & Toledo Railway was incorporated in 1872 with the goal of constructing a line between Columbus and Toledo to primarily haul coal from the Hocking Valley region to export terminals along the Great Lakes. The contract to construct the C&T was awarded to C&HV President Benjamin Smith and nine others under the Miller, Smiths & Company on April 16, 1875, with the first spike driven in Delaware on April 29, 1876. The Columbus to Marion section opened on November 1, 1866 and the remainder to Toledo opened on January 10, 1877.

The Gallipolis, Jackson & Chillicothe Railroad was incorporated on March 22, 1850, with the goal of constructing a railroad between the Ohio River at Gallipolis and Chillicothe via Jackson. It was never constructed, but the proposal was partially revised on March 3, 1870 as the Gallipolis, McArthur & Columbus Railroad (GM&C), with the goal of building a line between the Ohio River at Pomeroy and Logan via McArthur, Vinton and Gallipolis. Construction of the GM&C began in 1872 and progressed through August 1874. The GM&C was sold to the Columbus & Gallipolis Railway in November 1877 and to the Ohio & West Virginia Railway (O&WV) in August 1878. The railroad was completed between Gallipolis and Logan in October 1880, and between Gallipolis and Pomeroy in January 1881.

The O&WV became a part of the Columbus, Hocking Valley & Toledo Railroad's Hocking Valley River Division in 1895. As the O&WV and the CH&V had no connection to export terminals in Toledo without utilizing the C&T, the O&WV, CH&V and the C&T merged to become the Columbus, Hocking Valley & Toledo Railway in July 1881.

The Ohio River at Middleport. From here I drove us to Bob Evans in Gallipolis where we both enjoyed a good meal then afterwards, I drove us to a what turned out to be a major surprise.

Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum sign.

American Gas & Electric 0-4-0F 1 built by H.K. Porter in 1945 for the railway's operation in Cabin Creek, West Virginia. It was involved in a corporate sale to the Appalachian Power Company then was donated to the St. Albans Railroad in 1981. The engine came to Gallipolis from the West Virginia State Farm Museum.

Baltimore and Ohio "wagon top" type caboose C2801 built by the railroad in 1945 and was also acquired from the West Virginia State Farm Museum.

Southern Railway caboose X411, nee Norfolk and Western 557411 built by Gantt Manufacturing in 1969 as Norfolk and Western.

Hocking Valley Railroad Gallipolis station built in 1901. It remained a bustling freight depot for the area through the ownership of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway as well as the Baltimore and Ohio and the Chessie System. The station was closed by CSX in late 1981 and in the years that followed, ownership passed to the O.O. McIntyre Park District and the City of Gallipolis. In 2015, a group of concerned residents organized by Dallas (Jim) Love became involved in efforts to save the deteriorating 26 foot x 80 foot station. By 2016, the Gallipolis R.R. Freight Stations Museum, LLC was formed. Bylaws were written, officers and directors were elected and a 501(c)(3) status was granted by the IRS. During late summer 2016, the city deeded the station to the museum board.

The Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum's goal is to offer a historical collection of railroad memorabilia relating but not limited to the railroad history of southeastern Ohio. The role railroads played in the development of the local area, state and nation will be emphasized. Within the museum there will be a freight office as it appeared in the early 1900's-working telegraph included! The display area will also house model train displays by local modellers.

Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus coach 41307 1992, ex. New Jersey Transit 5439, nee Pennsylvania Railroad 8267 built by Budd company in 1949.

Baltimore and Ohio box car 557411 built by American Car and Foundry in 1947.

Museum view. After that, I drove us to the Quality Inn where we checked in for the night.