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Rides on the Jones & Laughlin Steel Narrow Gauge Railroad at the Steel Heritage Museum 6/17/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I awoke and after our morning preparations, we checked out of the hotel in St. Clairsville, Ohio and went to Bob Evans for an excellent breakast. Fortified and ready for the day, I drove us to Columbiana for the first depot.

Youngstown and Southern Railway Columbiana station. From here we took some local roads and a freeway that took us to the Jones & Laughlin Steel Narrow Gauge Railroad and parked in their lot.

Jones & Laughlin Steel Narrow Gauge Railroad

Located in Youngstown, Ohio, the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad is a 24 inch gauge steel mill demonstration railroad where historic narrow gauge rail equipment used in steelmaking and heavy industry is preserved and operated. The centerpiece of the railroad is J&L 58, a 45 ton Porter 0-4-0 Tank locomotive once used by Jones & Laughlin Steel in Pittsburgh. We regularly operate the 58 on our ever-expanding on site trackage keeping the spirit of steel mill steam railroading alive in Youngstown.

Our 2023 season will start in June. Admission will remain $8.00 per person with children 5 and under free. The train ride last about 15 minutes and a ticket entitles the visitor to ride as many times as they would like. Currently we have about 1,000 feet of track. You can arrive at any time between 10 am to 2 pm to ride on the train as the runs are every 20 to 30 minutes. Thanks for your interest in the "Smallest Railroad with the Heaviest Locomotives".

Our Visit

We went and bought tickets for our trip then boarded the train and waited for others to join us.

Power for our trip was Jones & Laughlin Steel 0-4-0T 58, built by H.K. Porter in 1937 and sold to Crown Metal Products Company in 1968.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride aboard the Jones & Laughlin Steel Narrow Narrow Gauge Railroad.

The trip to the switch. The conductor pushes a button then the switch changes.

The switch changes and the fun begins. Great sound of working steam will be heard.

The first trip to the present end of the line. What great sounds Jones & Laughlin Steel 0-4-0T 58 puts out.

Scenes on the trip back to the switch.

This time the conductor did not push the button.

We made a second trip to the end of the line then returned to the switch.

This time the conductor pushed the button and the switch changed.

We returned by passing through Jones & Laughlin Steel 58 engine house. Elizabeth purchased us T-shirts, magnets and a mug then we explored the steam engines and other equipment here.

Standard Slag 70 ton switcher LM-6 built by General Electric in 1942 as York Central Railroad 512 and was originally used to switch passenger cars at large terminals during World War II. The locomotive was sold to Cambria Slag Co. in 1952 and moved slag (ore-refining waste) at plants in Sharpsville, Pennsylvnia, and Youngstown until 1980. Eventually, it sold to the Valley Mould & Iron Company in Hubbard, Ohio as 6114-A, for moving hot-metal cars between its melt shop and the ingot mold foundry building.

Youngstown Steel Ladle Car, a Kling-type hot metal car, built in Youngstown by the William B. Pollock Company. These cars hauled 75 tons of molten iron, called hot metal, from the blast furnaces to the steelmaking furnaces at steel mills. The cars have a thick refractory brick lining and the ladle is designed to be detachable.

Silica Sand Corp. 0-4-0T 4 built by H.K. Porter in 1924. This locomotive is almost certainly the Porter 6804 locomotive currently marked as operating at the Hamilton Estate in Gavers, Ohio.

Jones & Laughlin Steel 0-4-0T 57, built for Jones & Laughlin Steel Corparation 57 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in 1969 sold to Crown Metal Products Company built by H.K. Porter in 1937.

Jones & Laughlin Steel 0-4-0T 60, built For: Jones & Laughlin Steel Corparation 60 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and in 1969 sold to Crown Metal Products Compamy built by H.K. Porter in 1944.

Jones & Laughlin Steel 58 reversed out of the station to the switch and after the conductor pushes the button, the switch will be changed.

Now Jones & Laughlin Steel 58 charges up the hill putting on a great sound and steam show.

Former Lone Star Cement 5 ton gas-mechanical 36 built by Brookville in 19551, acquired from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in 2017 and re-numbered 64. It was 36" gauge but has been converted to 24" gauge.

Conrail caboose 21747, ex. Penn Central 21747, nee New York Central built by the railroad in 1965.

Jones & Laughlin Steel 58 charges up the hill again.

The train reversed down the hill.

Jones & Laughlin Steel 58 returned to the station and we decided to ride again.

On our second trip, the working of the semaphore.

Elizabeth was really enjoying her trip aboard Jones & Laughlin Steel Railroad. Love that smile! After the ride we thanked everyone before we left this great little railroad.

I started the drive by taking Interstate 680 to Interstate 76, to Interstate 71 to US 30 and the next station.

Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad/Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway Forest freight house built in 1887. It was converted to a library in 2000.

Silhouette of a train.

Information board about this station. From here we made our way to Ada.

Ohio Historical Board Ada Passenger Depot 1887.

Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad Ada station built in 1887. The Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago Railway Company was formed in 1856 as a consolidation of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad, the Ohio and Indiana Railroad and the Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad. Over the span of three years, it made several expansions, primarily throughout Illinois. However, due to financial problems the company went bankrupt. It was reorganized on February 26, 1862 and renamed the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway. The new railway leased lines throughout the Beaver Valley, in Pennsylvania and in the Mahoning Valley in Ohio. It also included routes throughout Ashtabula and Cleveland.

In 1869 the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) took over operation of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago. PRR retained control until 1871 when the line was transferred to the Pennsylvania Company. The Pennsylvania Company returned the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago line to PRR January 1, 1918. They retained control until 1968 when Penn Central bought out the Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

On July 14, 1973, the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago filed for bankruptcy and was bought out by Conrail three years later. After the breakup of Conrail in 1998, the line was divided at Crestline, Ohio. The eastern half was bought by Norfolk Southern and the western half was bought by CSX. The line is currently operated in limited capacity by several companies including RailAmerica, CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Pennsylania Railroad caboose 47779 built by the railroad in 1941.

National Register of Historical Place for this depot. Elizabeth then navigated us to Lima.

Ohio Southern Railroad later Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad station built in 1893. This station was moved from Uniopolis and is now on display in the park.

Display board on this station.

Railroad embles on a road bridge commemorating Lima and the Lima Locomotive Work.

Ohio Historical Sign Lima Locomotive Works.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 779 built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1949 and was displayed at the Chicago Railroad Fair that year. In its nine-year operating life, the locomotive logged 677,095 miles. Retired in 1958, it was placed in storage at NKP's Conneaut shops. Five years later it was moved to the City of Lima and placed on display in Lincoln Park.

Nickel Plate Road wooden cupola caboose 1091 built by Lafayette Car Works in Lafayette, Indiana in 1882. It was renumbered 559091 when the NKP merged into the Norfolk & Western Railroad in 1964. It has been completely restored and equipped by the Allen County Historical Society. Although much of the structure had been replaced during its years of service, the corner posts, door posts and wooden bows which support the roof are original. Inside the caboose are the coal stove used for cooking and heating, a built-in icebox and bunks for the brakemen. Such wooden cabooses were gradually replaced by steel construction in the 1950's and 1960's.

Nickel Plate Road Pullman sleeping car 5, nee Lake Erie and Western 100, built by Pullman in 1883.

Nickel Plate Road hand car.

Watchman's crossing shanty.

Milepost S89 sign. From here we drove over to the other station in town.

Ohio Historical Marker Servicemen's Free Canteen.

Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad Lima station built in 1887. It was a stop on the Broadway Limited and the Pennsylvania Limited. From 1942 to 1970, the station hosted the Free Serviceman's Canteen, assisting troops in transit during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

A transportation mural in Lima, artist unknown.

Elizabeth then drove us Bob Evans in Defiance and after an excellent dinner, I drove us to the Holiday City Quality Inn in Montpelier where checked into the night.