The Worthington Grade Separation Project
By the late 1920s heavy railroad and automobile traffic were having a hard time coexisting on the east side of Worthington, Ohio. Slow PRR north bound coal drags and twelve very fast passenger trains on the NYC RR as well as trains holding in the NYC RR passing siding all contributed to the blocking of State Route 161 the east-west highway through Worthington. To add to the problem the PRR crossed the NYC RR just south of SR 161 providing another opportunity for trains to have to stop, blocking the highway. In 1916 when the PRR was doubled tracked both steam roads were re-graded causing the railroads to sit higher than the highway further increasing the hazard for the automobile driver.
Besides being a safety problem it interfered with access to Howard Potter's lumber yard located between the PRR and NYC RR tracks. This may have motivated Mr. Potter to became chairman of the Worthington Chamber of Commerce's grade crossing committee which lobbied for the grade separation project. Work started in April of 1931 with the building of a temporary road to detour around the area. Automobile traffic begin using the new underpasses on December 24, 1931.
The following pictures show scenes of the construction as well as finished shots. Also shown are two rare shots of the CD&M E Co. depot. The CD&M E Co. called this location Worthington Junction while the two steam roads called it just Worthington.
Worth 003 - CD&M E. Co. bridge over State Route 161
Route 161 grade separation construction of the CD&M RR bridge. The camera is under the PRR bridge looking west toward downtown Worthington. The sign for Dr. George Harding II's Columbus Rural Rest Home is on the left at the top of the hill. This bridge was removed after the CD&M RR stopped operation on August 23, 1933. In the early 1960's the Ohio Railway Museum rebuilt the bridge, using the original pier foundations, for their museum operations. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 004 - CD&M E. Co. bridge over State Route 161
Route 161 grade separation construction of the CD&M RR bridge taken from the west side of the project looking east. Behind the CD&M bridge can be seen the PRR double track bridge also under construction. The crane in the distance is working on the NYC bridge. The building to the left is the Worthington Coal and Supply office. This building along with its scale had to be rotated 90 degrees and access now obtained by Potter Street. The building on the right is the PRR section house used to house the tools and track car used by the section gang to maintain the PRR track. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 005 - PRR bridge over State Route 161
Photo taken from under the CD&M bridge (see shadow) shows the PRR bridge under construction. The camera is facing east. The name "Pennsylvania" is not yet prominent on the side of the bridge. The PRR section house can be seen on the right. The crane in the background is working on the NYC bridge. In the distance there is still much dirt to be removed. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 007 - NYC RR bridge over State Route 161
The NYC RR bridge under construction. The camera is pointed northeast. Each of the three bridges was built by a different construction company resulting in three different designs. The track closest to the camera is the single track main line. Also carried by the bridge was a passing siding that ran from Schrock Road on the north to the interlocking plant located about 1000' to the south. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 006 - NYC RR bridge over State Route 161
This is the NYC RR bridge taken from the east side of the project looking west. The building center-left with the two doors open is the PRR section house. The buildings on the right are actually three buildings starting with the top of a white house which is located on the other side of the construction. The long building just to the right of the white house is Worthington's CD&M station located on the west side of the CD&M track. In front of the CD&M station is the small office of the Worthington Coal and Supply Co. which is on the east side of the CD&M track. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 008 - CD&M E. Co., PRR and NYC RR bridges over State Route 161
The project is now complete and you can see all three bridges taken from the west side of the project looking east. The first bridge is the CD&M followed by the PRR and in the distance the NYC bridge. The stairs on the left lead up to the Worthington Coal and Supply Co. office and the CD&M station. In December 1931 the street was opened to automobile traffic after being shut for several months. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 009 - PRR and NYC RR bridges over State Route 161
Taken from under the CD&M bridge, looking northeast a better view of the Worthington Coal and Supply Co. office with owner Gordon Silcott's automobile parked where he would park it for the next forty years. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 010 - Potter Lumber
This is a view of Howard Potter's Lumber yard which was located on the north side of SR 161 between the PRR and NYC tracks. It would expand greatly over the years and be renamed Potter Lumber. The lumber yard had a siding served by the NYC RR that was behind the large building. The NYC's small depot was also located behind the large lumber yard building between the main line and the lumber yard siding. The one NYC train each way that stopped in Worthington may have been discontinued by 1931 when this picture was taken. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 013 - NYC RR and PRR bridges over State Route 161
The camera is pointed west showing the CD&M depot which is located on the west side of the CD&M track. In front of the depot between the CD&M track and the PRR tracks is the Worthington Coal and Supply Co. office facing the camera. The depot was a narrow building with a large roofed overhang on the north side of the building. There was also a siding that ended just north of the overhanging roof used as a passing siding and for setting off a freight car.
The PRR depot was located off camera to the right of the CD&M depot about 500'. It was on the west side of the PRR tracks and is in fact still there in 2006 being used as a storage building. The PRR ended passenger train service on its Columbus Sandusky branch in late 1930 or early 1931. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 014 - From under the CD&M E. Co. bridge over State Route 161
Another view from under the CD&M bridge looking west at the completed grade separation project. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 011 - NYC RR, PRR and CD&M E. Co. bridges over State Route 161
Looking west from the east side of the grade separation project showing all three bridges. A PRR steam engine is just entering the bridge. (Photo from the DAK collection)
Worth 012 - NYC RR and PRR bridge over State Route 161
This is a sad picture taken some time after the CD&M abandoned operation on August 23, 1933. In this photo the CD&M bridge is gone as is the depot. A Worthington Corporation sign is visible where the CD&M bridge was once located. (Photo from the DAK collection)