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Columbus - Newark Sub-Division


       The rails heading east from Columbus to Newark, Ohio were jointly owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. This 33 mile stretch was a bit like the waist of an hour glass.  At the Newark end PRR trains from Steubenville - Pittsburgh and B&O trains from Wheeling - Pittsburgh shared the track.  From the west at Columbus PRR trains from Cincinnati, St. Louis and Chicago came together on the Columbus-Newark Sub-Division along with B&O trains from Midland City-Cincinnati. 

       The Columbus-Newark route had a formidable eastbound grade between Taylor Station and Summit Station.  This part of the line was triple tracked so as not to delay the many passenger trains that used the route.  In the 1950s B&O freights used a steam helper to reach Summit. The B&O passenger train while not requiring a helper did put on quite a show on the climb to Summit.  By the early 1950s the PRR had dieselized both freight and passenger trains and didn't require helpers. In steam days the PRR did use helpers to Summit and sometimes they ran the second engine all the way to Pittsburgh. 

        There were several small depots along the Columbus-Newark route, but no passenger trains stopped at any of them in the 1950s.  Even during busy 1943 only one of twenty-three passenger  trains, a PRR eastbound, made flag stops at four of the stations (Black Lick, Summit, Outville and Heath) and a regular scheduled stop at Pataskala.

        It was on the C&N route at Port Columbus, on the east side of Columbus, that the short lived transcontinental rail-air service, inaugurated in July 1929, made a passenger transfer from the PRR overnight train from New York to an airplane for the first daylight segment of the trip west.  The PRR built platforms with an umbrella roof for the comfort of the passengers at Port Columbus.  They even included a covered walkway across Fifth Avenue between the platform and the Port Columbus terminal. 

        Moving forward to the early 1950s here is a sampling of PRR train action showing what you might have seen while railfanning along the C&N.  All Photos are by Donald A. Kaiser.



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An eastbound freight east of Alum Creek approaching Cassidy Avenue.  The trailing unit is a 1500 HP EMD F7.  Cassidy Avenue is where the Ralston Steel Car Co. was located.  Photo taken August 20, 1952.

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A westbound mail/express train between Alum Creek and Cassidy Avenue headed for Columbus Union Station.  The lead unit #5753 is a 2000 HP Alco PA1.  The PRR had a big mail/express business through Columbus and it was not unusual to see a 25 car train during the busy holiday season.  If the train carried passengers it would have a trailing coach, if not a caboose just for the crew. Photo taken August 20, 1952.

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This westbound freight is approaching SI tower in Summit Station.  The head end is an A-B-B-A EMD F7. Photo taken January 1, 1955.

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Again SI tower is in the background as PRR Train # 205 with two EMD E-8 A-A is pouring it on.  A CSX engineer friend couldn't help but notice the clean and dressed ballast line.  This was the era of section gangs that took great pride in their well maintained section.  That signal bridge is going to play a big role in the January 2008 Picture of the Month.  Photo taken January 1, 1955.

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A westbound PRR freight train with EMD F-7 A-B-A locomotive set is passing Summit Station.  It has been a long time since a passenger stopped here even in 1955.  You can see a section man's hand car between the depot and the tracks.  The view is looking east from Summit Road.  SI tower is about 1/2 mile east on the north side of the tracks and is hidden by the train.  Photo taken 1/1/1955.

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Further east from Summit PRR #5849 an EMD E7A is at Heath tower.  The eastbound mail/express train is crossing the NYC RR (the T&OC eastern line).  The view is looking west.  Photo taken 4/9/1955.

It's November, 2007 looking east from Summit Road.   The left track is the  Ohio Central Railroad main line.  The right track is a passing siding.  The wide space in the center once held a third track.

The same spot looking west toward Summit Hill.  The Summit Station was on the south side of the tracks on what is now an empty spot on the left edge of the photo past the silver control box.

This is the route the ex-Nickel Plate Railroad's 2-8-4, #763 took as it traveled to its new home on the Ohio Central in November, 2007.  The Ohio Central Railroad  recently purchased #763 from the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke, VA.  Railfans are waiting for the day when we see #763 climb Summit Hill under steam.