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Copley, Ohio to Huntingdon, Pennsylvania 6/01/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose and following our Internet duties, we checked out and had a good breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant. After a delicious meal, I drove to the Town of Copley to the depot there and had a nice surprise.

Akron, Canton and Youngstown caboose 63 built by International Car Company in 1947. In 1984 the caboose was slated for retirement but when the Copley Historical Society found out, they asked AC&Y if they could have it and AC&Y graciously gifted it to them. This caboose actually ran the rails through Copley Township so it had special significance to the community. It was fitting to place it next to the Historic Depot and the tracks it had traversed many times. In 2009 a restoration project of the exterior was performed. The AC&Y Historical Society was contacted to enlist their expertise to ensure the correct paint schemes and lettering were used to create an accurate depiction of what the caboose would look like when it was in service. It is open for visitors when the Depot is open.

Pittsburgh Akron and Western Railroad station built in 1891. It was important to the community during that time period because it opened up Copley to the rest of the nation. The railroad provided a reliable form of transportation because roads were muddy and unpassable several months of the year. Copley began as a small farm community that was known for its rich loamy soils that were deposited by the receding of the glaciers. Residents raised vegetables, corn, and wheat and fruit trees were indigenous to the region. Copley also had an abundance of marshy, swampy areas and those yielded wild cranberries, huckleberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Hunting and trapping were labors but supplied meat, animal skins, and furs, and the ponds in the area afforded excellent sporting grounds for fishermen. The railway not only helped improve business operations, it provided convenient passenger access to Akron, Medina, and other desirable points, and also increased the general value of the Township's real estate. Through the years as times changed and the Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad took over the railway, the railroad decided to demolish the Depot in 1974. It was offered to the last AC&Y Agent William "Hank" Gromann for $1 if he would move it from its original Sawmill Road location. Mr. Gromann alone did not have the means to move the station but after learning of the depot's impending demise a group of local residents organized to save the historic structure, thus forming the Copley Historical Society.

Mr. Gromann was one of the original Historical Society's contributors.The Depot was moved to its present location by the railroad tracks on Copley Road in 1974. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 31, 2001 and is open to visitors once a month during the summer and school tours are always welcome.

The Pittsburgh, Akron and Western Railroad had its start in 1883 when the Ohio Railroad Company was incorporated in Columbus by William Arnold Lynch of Canton and Akron industrialists Colonel Arthur Latham Conger, Lewis Miller and David E. Hill. The company proposed to construct from Akron westward to Chicago Junction, Ohio, (renamed Willard in 1917), or some other good connecting point. It was desired for a long time to make a new east and west line. At Chicago Junction, the Baltimore & Ohio & Chicago Railroad could be connected with, and at Akron the Pittsburgh & Western leading directly to Pittsburgh.

The National Register of Historic Places sign. From here I drove us to Diamond to our next station.

Lake Erie, Alliance & Wheeling Railroad station built in 1906. America's Second Industrial Revolution expanded rapidly after the Civil War, the demand for coal and oil grew exponentially. Both minerals were found in east central Ohio, prompting entrepreneurs like Hugh Bleakley of Alliance to ponder the possibilities of building a railroad from Bridgeport, Ohio (opposite Wheeling, West Virginia) on the Ohio River to Fairport Harbor at Painesville, Ohio on Lake Erie. When the railroad was incorporated on February 16th 1874 as the Lake Erie, Alliance and Wheeling Railroad, his idea was to first build a narrow gauge, single-track coal-hauling line north from Alliance to connect at Southington, Ohio, in Trumbull County, with the Painesville & Youngstown Railroad headed to Painesville. As was typical of many railroads of the era, bankruptcy reorganizations and consolidations occurred nearly non-stop throughout the LEA&W's life, with a related alphabet soup of name changes.

Ground was broken on July 31st 1875 and track laid fourteen miles to a small coalfield at Palmyra (just west of Lake Milton) by 1876 and then to Braceville on May 7th 1877 by way of Newton Falls; a total distance of twenty-four miles. There it intersected with the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad (later to be the Erie), serving New York and Cincinnati, and soon Chicago. Unable to service its debt, Bleakley's road was sold to its largest creditor on May 11th 1878 and reorganized as the Alliance & Lake Erie Railroad. A year later, the newly-christened line was extended north a mile to Phalanx where it connected with the Cleveland and Mahoning Valley Railroad (run by the Atlantic and Great Western), headed to Cleveland, Warren and Youngstown. No further narrow gauge track was laid thereafter.

Control of the line passed to the Cleveland, Youngstown & Pittsburgh Railway in July 1882, which decided to convert the line to standard gauge in November 1883 and extend it thirty-six miles south of Alliance to the coalfields near Bergholz. However, this newly constituted line was again forced to reorganize as the Lake Erie, Alliance & Southern Railway in 1887. By April 1891 the segment from Phalanx to Alliance was sold at foreclosure and became the Alliance and Northern Railroad, while the segment from Alliance to Bergholz changed hands in January 1895 to become the Ohio River and Lake Erie Railroad. The two would be reunited and reprised as the Lake Erie, Alliance & Wheeling Railroad by 1902. The idea of reaching the Ohio River was again revived and the line built to within seventeen miles of Wheeling, at Dillonvale.

Although the New York Central had no physical connection with LEA&W, the NYC acquired it in 1905 as a coal origination branch and ran it for nearly sixty years. Finally, the segment between Phalanx and Braceville was abandoned in 1962, between Braceville and Newton Falls in 1969 (by the Penn Central) and between Newton Falls and Alliance in 1976 (by Conrail). It had been a long one-hundred-and-one year ride.

Along the way, back in the days of the original LEA&W, a platform and later a depot was built in Newton Falls; a depot that still exists today as the Broad Street Station bakery. The inaugural train was to arrive on January 24th 1877, but it did not make it until the next day. A sizeable crowd came down to see this curiosity, the first train, come puffing in to town. People around town called it the "peewee" because of its narrow gauge and related smaller locomotives and equipment. Soon coal deliveries began to such places as the Allen House. After half a century, the New York Central made its last steam passenger run on May 20th 1933 and was replaced by a gasoline-powered locomotive called the "Doodlebug". All passenger service finally ended in 1940, although occasional freights still made their way through town on an "as needed" basis. And while the rails were taken up in Newton Falls and elsewhere many years ago, an original, stone whistle post still stands in the ground of the track bed right-of-way just north of the depot to alert engineers to sound their whistle as they approached the station.

With Elizabeth's navigation, we made our way to Canfield where we found more surprises at the fairgrounds.

Youngstown Sheet and Tool Company 0-6-0 301, ex. Youngstown Model Railroad Association 1962 at Niles, Ohio built by Baldwin in 1915. It was donated to Mahoning County Agricultural Society in 1983 and moved to Canfield the same year.

Youngstown & Southern wooden caboose 42 built by Standard Steel Car in 1929 and was used until 1956 by the Montour Railroad.

A watchman's crossing tower.

Canfield Erie Railroad station built in 1886. This station originally sat at the corner of Newton and Railroad Streets on the northeast side of the tracks. Some of the earliest proposed railroads in eastern Ohio, first referenced in 1827, involved schemes stretching from Lake Erie at Ashtabula Harbor to coal and iron ore mines near New Lisbon (now Lisbon). A plan to build an 80-mile railroad between those points by the Ashtabula, Warren & East Liverpool Railroad in 1838 failed as it was not able to raise the necessary capital for the venture.

In 1853, another railroad from Lake Erie southward was proposed on the same route that had been earlier proposed in 1827. It was partially built by the Ashtabula & New Lisbon Railroad. In 1864, the uncompleted portion from Niles south to New Lisbon, a total of 35 miles, was leased to the New Lisbon Railway which later became bankrupt in April 1869. The newly formed Niles & New Lisbon Railroad (N&NL) acquired the right-of-way from Niles to New Lisbon, while a new company, the Ashtabula, Youngstown & Pittsburgh Rail Road, chartered on February 11, 1870, acquired the remaining right-of-way to Ashtabula. The entire route from New Lisbon north to Ashtabula Harbor opened by May 1873.

The N&NL consolidated with the Liberty & Vienna Railroad in August 1872 to form the Cleveland & Mahoning Valley Railway. By 1900, it had become part of Erie Railroad's Niles & Lison Branch until 1960. The Erie then merged with the Lackawanna Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna in 1968, falling under Conrail in 1976. The route from Niles south to Lisbon was soon abandoned.

We found a way into the fairgrounds so here are those pictures.


Additional pictures of the station.

The tower.

Youngstown Sheet and Tool Company 0-6-0 301. Next we took the Ohio Turnpike to the Pennsylvania Turnpike to US Highway 22, which we took north east into Johnstown.

Pennsylvania Railroad Johnstown station built in 1916. Amtrak took over intercity passenger service in 1971 and currently the station is a stop on the Pennsylvanian. In 2005, when the Three Rivers was cancelled, it marked the first time in Johnstown's railway history that the town was served by just a single daily passenger train. It also houses the Johnstown Area Heritage Association.

Cambria & Indiana Railroad caboose 13, builder and year unknown.

The Johnstown Incline Railway which is being rehabilitated during this year and is planned to re-open in 2024. I then drove us to Portage and our next station.

Pennsylvania Railroad Portage built in 1926 and is now the Portage Station Museum, which we toured.

Upstairs is a model railroad layout. We then proceeded to Gallitzin.

Pennsylvania Railroad caboose 477859 built by the railroad in 1942.

Norfolk Southern 8080 West came out of the Gallitzin Tunnel. The extremely high grade presented the final obstacle in conquering the Allegheny Mountains, making it necessary to build tunnels as early as 1850. The New Portage Tunnel was completed in 1854 at an elevation of 2,167 feet, and was traditionally (and still is) used primarily for eastbound traffic. The Allegheny Tunnel, at 3,605 feet in length, was completed that same year. The third tunnel, known as the Gallitzin Tunnel, was completed in 1904 and removed from service when the Allegheny Tunnel was expanded to two tracks in 1995. The Tunnels were so significant to the transportation system that they were guarded during the war years.

Across the tracks is the Tunnel Inn, a great place to stay and I did just that with good friend Chris Parker in 2006.

The 1854 Gallitzin Tunnel display board. Our next stop was the world-famous Horseshoe Curve and after paying the park fee, walked up the stairs to get trackside, as did I when Chris Parker and I visited here previously.

The Horseshoe Curve Funicular was out of order, although the cars were being moved.

Pennsylvania Railroad GP9 7048 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1959. This replaced Pennsylvania Railroad 4-6-2 1361 which was on display from November 1957 until September 1985. It was restored to operating condition but suffered an axle failure within a year. Since 2015, it has been under restoration.

Watching the Curve display board.

Over the Hill display board.

Trackside Buildings display board. Next a train came down the grade.

Norfolk Southern 4052 East came around the curve. Then, as luck would have it, a westbound train came behind the first one.

Norfolk Southern 1845 West came west around the curve.

Norfolk Southern DPU 4064.

Norfolk Southern 1845 West came west around the curve. I then drove us to Tryone and our last station of the day and some more surprises.

Pennsylvania Railroad caboose 477813 built by the railroad in 1941.

Conrail caboose 21024 built by Fruit Growers Express in 1978.

A replica of Pennsylvania Railroad's Tyrone station built in 2000 near site of the old station and is occupied by the Tyrone Area Historical Society. Elizabeth then drove us to Kelly's Korner Restaurant and Lounge in Huntingdon where we had an excellent dinner before I drove us to the nearby Comfort Inn for the night.