Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by NEOH-Railfan
Hi all,

Long time lurker and fan of the site. A bit about me: I come from a railroading family and grew up within spitting distance of one of the busiest rail routes in the area: E-L double mainline, B&O/PRR shared double mainline (which will be the crux of my post...) and a regional belt road which had its two tracks positioned between the Class 1s. Did I mention the B&O also had a 6000' passing siding between the PRR tracks and the Ohio-Erie Canal...or was it the other way around?

Anyhoo...in the early 70s I saw as many as 5 (count 'em) trains on those tracks at once. Of course, a youngster didn't have much of an idea where the tracks went. What I did know a bit later is that Chessie/CSX single-tracked a very busy, nearby right-of-way on the Great Lakes Sub.

Fast forward to last year and an old hobby taken back up: Bicycling. The bike path we take runs adjacent to the CSX single-track for many miles and an afternoon ride makes for a good bit of railfanning. A friend of mine at work - herself an avid bicyclist - put me onto the following trail as an alternative to the busier section of the Ohio Erie Towpath Trail:


We took the trail - which parallels a single track, later identified as ex-B&O/RJ Corman - from Canal Fulton south to its end near the northern edge of Massillon. There were mileposts to the easternmost side of the trail (100 through 104) and these matched the posts along the active Corman stretch. A concrete whistlepost about 1/4mi south of the Canal Fulton trailhead on Cherry St, which is where the picture in the link above is located. A very large coal spill and old ties about 1mi south of the whistlepost...and a rusty, discarded brake cylinder that was recently dug out of the coal.

Evidently there was a railroad here at one time, and it was double-tracked. But which one?

More research yielded the following:


So...it looks to be part PRR, part B&O. PRR pre-'68; PC from then until Conrail took it over...and who knows how long the line was in operation until Conrail quit using it. Perhaps they ripped the tracks up in '90 when the shared trackage with Chessie/CSX from Akron through Warwick was also removed?

I would love to hear from anyone familiar with that stretch, especially if you have pictures of it in operation. My wife and I will occasionally ride the Olde Muskingum late at night, usually headed northbound after a day spent in Massillon. I tell her to listen intently for the ghosts of E-units pulling that grade, or perhaps a steam whistle signalling approach to one of the several crossings along its length. In the quiet countryside, under the canopy of trees which is slowly constructing its own tunnel over the former PRR line...you can almost hear them.

Both of us wish Stark Parks would build the bike trail along that deserted R-O-W from Canal Fulton to Clinton. I wish I could have caught a glimpse of the way things were along the route back in the day.
  by shlustig
IIRC, B&O and PRR operated a shared track arrangment between Warwick (Clinton) and Mace (Massillon). The B&O trackage was the mainline of the Cleveland, Lorain & Wheeling.

The B&O had trackage rights over the PRR (CA&C) between Arlington St. (Akron Jct.) and Warwick which was used as the B&O mainline when the present mainline route was formed from Pittsburgh west using the existing P&W, the CA&C, the CL&W from Warwick to Sterling, and new construction from Sterling to Chicago Jct. (Willard).

PRR ownership passed to Penn Central and then to Conrail. It was alleged that maintenance on that portion was kept deferred in order to impose slower speeds on the B&O, later CSX. That ended with the great butane burnoff in Akron (c. 1988) when Conrail was forced to sell the line to CSX.