Conrail's Cleveland Line

Conrail's Cleveland Line was an important artery that linked the Chicago Line in Cleveland on the north end and the Fort Wayne line at Rochester, PA on the south. The Cleveland Line also joined the Fort Wayne Line at Alliance, OH. The preferred routing from trains exiting Conway to the west was the Ft. Wayne Line to Alliance, then turning north on the Cleveland Line to reach the Chicago Line. The line also went through Yellow Creek, OH and was a vital outlet for traffic to the steel mills of southeast Ohio and West Virginia. 

Map Icon This gallery is available on an interactive map.

1
OK...I'm cheating; this is not a Conrail movement. This was a Norfolk Southern movement on Conrail in 1991. This short train came east on the 4C line (now CSX) and pulled to a halt for the night. The train is an NS geep, a gondola spacer, a colorful Schnabel car with an equally colorful, yet contrasting, generator, and two cabooses.
2
This consist traveled as an NS train on Conrail to Berea and parked for the night. The generator's colors are complemented by the colors of the Schnabel car. A couple of months later I saw a picture of this consist in Maine in Railpace Magazine and was irked that I had not sent mine in.
3
Shot at nearly the same spot as the DE 018 seen below, this UCI coal train is stopped at Hudson, Ohio dead on the law. Helping out CE 106, 107, and 101 was Conrail 3680, a former EL unit now in blue. The coal had originated in the mines south of Mingo Junction and is headed for the Cleveland Electric plant in Willoughby,Ohio. These "yellow birds" always made for a colorful train to photograph.
4
Conrail F7A's 1772, 1784, and 1829, all ex NYC, work the east end of Motor yard in the last year of freight F unit service.
5
Several things have disappeared since I took this shot in 1983. The Thomas Bros barn has been torn down, the B23-7 is gone, and last but not least Conrail itself is history at this location. That's a section of ELPI seen here, a heavy train from the looks of the exhaust. NS still uses this former PRR/PC line in a big way as it's main from Chicago to Conway and points east.
6

Photo reprinted with permission from John C. Benson.  The photo was originally published on the inside back cover of the August 1976 issue of Trains.

"For Uncle Sam's freight haulers, royal blue"

The description under the caption begins:

First Conrail diesel to bear the big new Federally funded road's official color scheme of royal blue carbody, white lettering, and black underbody is former NYC GP40 No. 3091 shown fresh out of Collinwood Shop in Cleveland on May 20, 1976. 

7
A westbound freight on the Cleveland Line waits for Amtrak to finish up and get out of the Cleveland station over on the Chicago Line. Normally a middle of the night train in these parts, today's Lake Shore Ltd has been delayed due to weather. The old Muni stadium has since been torn down and replaced with a modern structure and the once mighty NYC line is now just one track. Both the ex PRR the Conrail train is on and the ex NYC came together right behind me at Bridge 1.
8
Conrail train TV-22 passes RAVE tower in Ravenna, Ohio in March of 1983. GP-40 3232, the "Con ail" unit, is leading. The tower and PRR style signals are gone now, but this is still a busy crossover location on the Cleveland Line, and it is as far east as the Dearborn Div goes- it's the Pittsburgh Div from here east.
9
B36-7 5006 leads an eastbound past the Berea tower in 1991. The NS unit in this picture had earlier come up the 4-C line with a short train with a Schnabel car.
10
A dimension special has been put in the clear on the Akron Branch at Hudson, Ohio to let some mainline traffic pass. B40-8 5076 has but one car in tow, EJ&E 6280.
11
I had to make a pick up at a customer in Cleveland one afternoon. The Cleveland line passed right behind their building. While I was waiting to get loaded, I went out back to see what action might show up. I saw a half dozen trains that day, this westbound among them, with an SD60/C39-8 pair leading 100 cars.
12
Conrail 6107 leads Eastbound TV-2M near CP83 in Alliance, OH [coming off Conrail's Cleveland line].
13
Conrail C40-8W 6159 leads Eastbound TV-12MX on Conrail's Cleveland Line in Alliance, Ohio.
14
I'm in the cab of Conrail F7A 1733 heading down the switching lead as a set of power goes east on the house lead. Former EL U33C 6573 heads up a good mix of early Conrail power that includes F's, geeps, and a BAR GP-38.
15
Conrail train TV-26 blasts east through the hand crossovers at Twinsburg, Ohio. Today this is CP 102 on the NS Cleveland Line. TV-26, a Detroit to Baltimore train, often carried mixed freight on the head end of the vans.
16
SD50 6729 at C39-8 6011 are just about to pass Berea Tower on an overcast summer 1997 day pulling a general merchandise train. This train is eastbound on the Chicago Line through Cleveland.
17
A clean SD50 pair leads westbound at Hudson, Ohio in June 1984. A Jordan spreader rests on the Carr Bros track and a local with a black GP38 is off in the distance on the eastward siding. That's the east leg of the wye to the Akron Branch curving off to the right.
18
Conrail train ELPI-8 passes through Hudson, Ohio on it's way to Conway. The 2 CNW SD's add a little extra color to the consist this day- both CNW and UP power was actually common on these trains for a while. This location was where the Akron Branch wyed off the Cleveland Line, and it had over 15 ex PRR position light signal masts for traffic control. The operator was in the station seen in the distance. CR 6789 would become NS 5451 but leave the NS roster shortly after the split, and all the PRR style signals would fall under the cab signal project. The station still stands but is in rough shape.
19
Conrail tried out EMD SD-60 demo units in 1985. Here a pair, EMD 4 and 1, back a loaded ore train through Hudson interlocking and onto the Akron Branch 09-07-85. The crew was outlawing and both mains were needed clear for other traffic, hence this move. Conrail must have liked what they saw as they purchased 3 of the 4 demos and eventually added more after that.
20

A neat little train, this MofW extra consisted of a GP-38 on each end with 2 PC boxcars, 1 EL baggage car, and 1 PC coach between.

Shown heading west on the Cleveland Line at Bayard, Ohio in May 1984.

21
An interesting work train move going west on the Cleveland Line at Bayard. It had an engine on each end and an assortment of former PC and EL passenger turned work train cars. For the other end see : http://thecrhs.org/?q=image/view/7321/_original
22
An F unit sandwich heads east at Stow Rd in Hudson, Ohio with what was probably Conrail train FC-10 out of Detroit. I would spend many an hour on this unit while working out of Altoona in the late 90's.
23
Westbound coal for Detroit Edison in Monroe, Michigan passes through Brady Lake, Ohio on Conrail's Cleveland Line on a nice fall afternoon. The path above the train is the former NYC line that was part of a flyover junction to get over the PRR at this location. Near the rear of the train the ex EL main is above this line also.
24
Another one of the unit coal trains Conrail ran using utility purchased power was the Detroit Edison trains for the Monroe, Michigan plant. Interesting trains, they used a fleet of U30C's and SD40's pulling large capacity aluminum rotary dump gons and mid train radio units on the loaded moves. Numbered DE 001 to 022, there were 12 EMD's and 10 U30C's with SD40's 001,002,and GE's 007,008,018,019,and 020 equipped as radio control leaders. In this photo a set of four elephant style U30C's are sitting at Hudson,Ohio on the law waiting for a new crew on a nice August 1979 evening. These Detroit Edison U-boats were nice to catch, as Conrail only had 10 U30C's of their own, 5 ex PC and 5 ex Reading.
25
NS 5400 and 5401 push NS 578 west through Hudson, Ohio.

Like this site?

If you're a fan of Conrail, and you find this site useful, please consider supporting The CRHS with a donation or membership.

Want more CRHS content? Join our mailing list to keep up with what's going on with the society.