Stations & Depots

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Columbus Stations & Depots

Union Depots

         Many railroad stations have served Columbus between 1850 and 1979. There have been two Columbus Union Depots and a Columbus Union Station all built on North High Street just north of Naghten Street (now named Nationwide Blvd). Before the first Union Depot was opened there was a temporary station on West Broad Street along the west bank of the Scioto River used by the Columbus & Xenia Railroad. For the last three years of passenger service in Columbus Amtrak occupied a small metal building at North Fourth and East Goodale Streets.

Ohio Central Station

         One railroad, the Toledo & Ohio Central, built a station at 379 West Broad Street in 1895. Ohio Central Station served as a passenger station until about 1930 when the T&OC absorbed by the New York Central Railroad moved to Union Station. Ohio Central Station still stands repurposed as a Union Hall.

Train to Plane

         In 1929 the Pennsylvania Railroad built an elaborate loading platform at Port Columbus for the PRR-Transcontinental Air Transport’s Train-Plane Service. While the service lasted only a few years the platforms were there until WW II.

Other Stations

         There were a number of smaller passenger/freight stations mostly located on the outskirts of Columbus. Typically only the local passenger train, which stopped at every station along the route, would stop there. A more important role was as a base for the freight agent that represented the railroad to the local businesses, arranged for freight shipments and sometimes served as a telegraph operator.
         Both the T&OC and the Hocking Valley had such a station on the west side of South High Street near Merritt Street. The Hocking Valley had a station on West Mound Street east of the Scioto River. That station served as the Hocking Valley's Columbus station until they were able to move into Union Depot. The N&W and Hocking Valley shared a station at Valley Crossing on Williams Road.
         There were two stations that served as conveniences for wealthy communities. The PRR had a station on Fifth Avenue in Marble Cliff. The Big Four had a gingerbread style station on E. North Broadway Road near Indianola Avenue. It’s not clear if either station saw very many regularly scheduled passenger trains. They may have served more as a flag stop.

Loading Platforms

         In the 1800s before electric streetcars, large crowds for State Fairs were served by the railroads. There was a loading platform at the Ohio State Fairgrounds near Eleventh Avenue. When the Fair was held at Franklin Park in the early years the N&W provided this service.
         During times of military buildup there were loading platforms employed to bypass Union Station – during World War II a covered loading platform was located on the north side of Ft. Hayes.

The End of Passenger Service

         There was a time when the railroads were glad to serve the public and made an effort to provide good service to its passengers. That all fell apart after 1960 with jet airplanes, the interstate highway system, and personal automobiles taking the passenger business away from the railroads. Another factor was the 1967 decision by the U.S. Post Office to end all mail contracts with the railroads.
         Amtrak's National Limited was the last scheduled passenger train through Columbus ending service on September 30, 1979. It was glorious while it lasted.