• NS (former Erie Railroad) Solon, Aurora, Mantua

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by bluestreak81
I am very curious about the current NS line that ran from Cleveland through Solon and Aurora ending at Leavittsburg. I understand that the line is only active from Cleveland to Solon and non-active from Solon eastward. However the tracks remain in-place up to the Chamberlain Road crossing near Mantua. My curiosity sets in as to why NS has decided to hold onto the line that extends from Solon to the Chamberlain Road crossing when there is no industry to serve and most importantly since the tracks stop at the Chamberlain crossing. I understand the tracks ran to chamberlain Road because of an old plastics plant that no longer requires rail service and hence why the tracks were removed from that point eastward. But here's the thing, the Aurora area has been fighting to install a trail on the rail line since the tracks have not been used since 1996. However, it was recently discussed in the Aurora Advocate newspaper (April 2008 - http://www.auroraadvocate.com/news/article/3634502) that NS has no desired plans to give up the non-active rail line to the city. Why would NS be so interested in holding onto the rail line that hasn't seen a train in over 10 years and has no customers to serve along the route? Especially since tracks have been removed from Chamberlain Road eastward. Could NS be possibley interested in retaining the line to eventually install a commuter rail service to Youngstown?

Links: http://www.auroraadvocate.com/news/article/3634502
http://abandonedrailroads.homestead.com ... antua.html
  by bluestreak81
Well I discovered an answer to my own question. The reason NS hasn't given up the non-active rails to a bike path on the line extending from Solon to Mantua is because that section of rail is under a current study to be re-activated as a commuter rail. I would love to see this happen. This is the same rail line that runs adjacent to (now defunct) Geauga Lake.

As of June, 2008...
Democratic congressional candidate Bill O’Neill, supported by a number of elected officials from all parts of the 14th congressional district, issued the call this morning for an investment in commuter rail line that would connect the region and revitalize Northeast Ohio’s economy. The project, based on a 2001 study by the Northeast Ohio Area-wide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), would consist of two lines – the Lakeshore Line, which would run through Mentor, Painesville, Ashtabula and Conneaut; and the Aurora Line, which would run through Shaker Square to Solon and then on to Aurora and Mantua.
http://www.oneill08.com/oneill-makes-pu ... muter-rail
  by shlustig
AFAIK, the passenger service being considered would not access the Shaker Square area as there is no direct rail connection from the RTA's Blue and Green Lines to the former ERIE, and the cost of new construction was so prohibitive that it prevented any expansion of the former Shaker Hts. lines.

What is being considered is a through heavy-rail suburban route utiliozing (west to east) the NS's former NKP from Lorain to downtown Cleveland; former PRR/PC/CR Clevand Line to ERIE Crossing; and the former ERIE to Aurora. All of this trackage is of mainline standards, and the only new construction would be east-to-east connections at W. 98th St. to access the Chicago Line and at ERIE Crossing. However, in the past, NS has insisted that a new movable bridge be constructed to augment the present double-tracked Bridge #1 (DB Tower) if the proposed service is to use the Lakefront Station.

The alternative proposal is for the RTA to access the former ERIE in the vicinity of E. 34th St. and operate an electrified service out to Aurora. The route is largely grade-separated with relatively few road crossings. The big stumbling block is the requirement for a grade separation at ERIE Crossing. This service would use the Tower City station and - depending on the type of equipment used -- operate either to the Waterfront or out to the Airport.

Also, this is one of the routes under consideration for the proposed Ohio Hub passenger services. The trackage would have to be relaid from chaberlin Rd. to Leavittsburg and into downton Youngstown, and the entire line upgraded. However, this route (ERIE/P&LE "Steel King") used to be time-competitive with the former PRR ("Steeler) which operated via Alliance and missed Warren, Niles, and Youngstown.
  by bluestreak81
I've seen the "ERIE crossing" listed on several discussions and am unclear as to what it means. I did, however, find an article discussing those who wish to sever the idea of the Solon-Mantua commuter rail proposal by removing in-active tracks at several crossings. However, on other threads on railraod.net, it appears the entire line from Solon east to Chamberlain Road in Mantua is railbanked. Which I believe means that the railroad still owns the line and the tracks regardless if they are currently being used for possible re-activation in the future. So I don't see how the city has the right to remove any of the tracks that NS still owns.

March 2007 - In regards to the park service trying to obtain the right-of-way to build a bike path:
The biggest challenge is to get an agreement, proposal or price from the railroad company (to convert into a rail-trail). Currently the railroad company (NS) feels they have intentions of using that line for a commuter rail. They are in the process of setting up a meeting with the railroad company potentially talking to state legislators to get the process moving. Mr. Kovach stated Rt. 82 will be paved and the City has approval to remove the railroad tracks on 306, therefore there will be no commuter trains going on that stretch of tracks. Mr. Kraus stated he and Mr. Trew (Service Director) had discussed this but there is still no approval for the stretch of track need for removal from the railroad company. Mr. Kraus stated he would report the findings next month. ... s&ie=UTF-8

To me that doesn't sound too good. However, with gas prices continuing to soar, I think commuter rail service is the next big boom. I know that from Mantua eastward the right-of-way was converted into a bike path. I've ridden on it and it's certainly still feesable to re-lay track back since there is no development along the route if they were to extend the rail line from Mantua back out to Youngstown (it's original path).
  by shlustig
ERIE CROSSING was / is a level crossing-at-grade between the former ERIE (2 tracks) Cleveland - Youngstown mainline and the former Pennsylvania RR (4 tracks) Cleveland - Alliance mainline located on the east side of Cleveland between Bessemer Ave. and Aetna St. crossings. There was an ERIE / PRR interchange track in the SW quadrant of the junction. the tower was manned 24/7.

In Penn Central and CR days, when the ERIE was downgraded and the former PRR Kinsman St. Yard was closed, the trackage was simplified.
  by bluestreak81
Shlustig - It appears you have some awareness as to the commuter rail theory involving the NS (ex EL) line extending from Solon to Mantua. Do you have an intuition as to whether or not you think this line will make a comeback? What kind of roadblocks do you think stand in the way? I grew up in Bay Village which the current NS line (aka west shore corridor) travels thru. It's also under the magnifying glass for commuter rail possibilities. Since 5 or less trains travel those tracks per day and is currently maintained, it could happen. I would love to see it and the Solon-Mantua line burst at the seams with train traffic once again.
  by shlustig
There has been talk of establishing commuter rail for several years, but the sad fact is that the potential volume of traffic to / from the downtown area simply isn't sufficient to support such service. The traffic base into the downtown area is about 1/3 of what it was 25 years ago, and the City has been losing population at an alrming rate. The industrial and corporate base is long gone as is the retail side.

Long ago, both the ERIE and the PRR had commuter service here. The NKP had 2 inbound and 1 outbound long-distance trains that offered good commute schedules from the west; and the NYC had several trains that could be used to East Cleveland and Painesville on the east side, to Linndale and Elyria on the west side, and down the Big Four to Berea, Grafton and Wellington.

An additional problem is the relative remoteness of the Lakefront Amtrak station, even with the RTA's Waterfront Line. As far as Tower City (nee- Cleveland Union Terminal) goes, the new Federal Bldg. has blocked access into the former train station area.

The RTA is in bad financial condition and -- in the short term -- is stretched to the limit with the Euclid Corridor project.

For the long term, a regional service could be successful and should have been started years ago. The logical first route should have been Sandusky to Youngstown utilizing the former NKP and ERIE. Routes such as Cleveland / Akron / Canton and Cleveland / Medina could have followed, but would have been more costly to implement. Whether the RTA and NOACA are capable of managing the establishment and operation of such a service is another question as is the source of funding.

Intrastate and interstate services (Cleveland / Columbus / Cincinnati; Cleveland / Chicago; Pittsburgh / Cleveland / Detroit) could have been started under Amtrak with state funding. There have been at least 7 demonstration trips on the 3-C Corridor, but no progress. The present ORDC project gives the aura of another bureaucratic boondoggle.

What is desperately needed is political leadership such as has made the California model successful, and operating talent that is highly competent. Neither appears to be forthcoming.
  by bluestreak81
Thank you shlustig for all of your information. It's a shame if there's little hope in rekindling the Solon-Mantua line. I just hate to see any segment of track go lifeless. That particular line has some great views that even a tourist railroad like the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad could bring some attention to the line for tourist usage. Although it's a shame that Geauga Lake is now gone as that could have been a great destination at the tip of the route. I'll keep wishing. I drove along route 306 and noticed they finally removed the tracks at the crossing and paved over the road. Not the sign I'd hope to see. But you never know, maybe Bill O'Neill's push for commuter rail in NE Ohio may be what it takes. At least NS hasn't sold off the line and removed the tracks.