Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway

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The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, established in 1833, and sometimes referred to as the Lake Shore, was a major part of the New York Central Railroad's Water Level Route from Buffalo, New York, to Chicago, Illinois, primarily along the south shore of Lake Erie (in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio) and across northern Indiana. The line's trackage remains a major rail transportation corridor used by Amtrak passenger trains and several freight lines; in 1998, its ownership was split at Cleveland, Ohio, between CSX Transportation to the east and Norfolk Southern Railway in the west.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway
Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway (red) and New York Central system (orange) as of 1914
LocaleBuffalo, NY to Chicago, IL
Dates of operation1839–1914
SuccessorNew York Central Railroad
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Previous gauge6 ft (1,829 mm)

History edit

Early history: 1835–1869 edit

Part of the original route, now in Sylvania, Ohio
Toledo to Chicago
Drawing of the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad

On April 22, 1833, the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad was chartered in the Territory of Michigan,[1] to run from the former Port Lawrence, Michigan, now Toledo, Ohio, near Lake Erie, northwest to Adrian, Michigan, on the River Raisin. The Toledo War soon gave about one-third of the route to the state of Ohio. Horse-drawn trains began operating on November 2, 1836; the horses were replaced by a newly arrived steam locomotive, Adrian No. 1, in August 1837.

The Buffalo and Mississippi Railroad was chartered in Indiana on February 6, 1835, to run from Buffalo, New York, to the Mississippi River. The name was changed on February 6, 1837, to the Northern Indiana Railroad, which would run from the eastern border of Indiana, west to Michigan City, Indiana, on Lake Michigan. Some grading between Michigan City, and La Porte, Indiana, was done in 1838, but money ran out.

1850 map of the Michigan Southern Rail Road with connections
LSMS double arch bridge over the East Branch of the Huron River, just west of Norwalk, Ohio. A similar, but smaller-sized bridge, exists to the east in the Ohio town of Wakeman.

Around 1838, the state of Michigan started to build the Southern Railroad, running from Monroe, Michigan, on Lake Erie, west to New Buffalo, Michigan, on Lake Michigan. The first section, from Monroe, west to Petersburg, Michigan, opened in 1839. Extensions opened in 1840, to Adrian, and 1843, to Hillsdale, Michigan. On May 9, 1846, the partially completed line was sold to the Michigan Southern Rail Road, which changed the planned western terminal to Chicago, using the charter of the Northern Indiana Railroad. The grading that had been done was not used, as the grade was too steep, and instead the original Buffalo and Mississippi Railroad charter was used west of La Porte. The Michigan Southern leased the Erie and Kalamazoo on August 1, 1849, giving it a branch to Toledo, and a connection to planned railroads to the east.

Due to lobbying by the Michigan Central Railroad, a competitor of the Michigan Southern, the latter's charter prevented it from going within two miles (3.2 km) of the Indiana state line east of Constantine, Michigan. However, the most practical route went closer than two miles, west of White Pigeon, Michigan. To allow for this, Judge Stanfield, of South Bend, Indiana, bought the right-of-way from White Pigeonm to the state line, and leased it to the railroad company for about 10 years, until the charter was modified to allow the company to own it.

The Northern Indiana and Chicago Railroad was chartered on November 30, 1850. Its initial tracks, from the Michigan Southern at the state line running west-southwest to Elkhart, Indiana, then west through Osceola, Indiana, and Mishawaka, Indiana, to South Bend, opened on October 4, 1851. The full line west to Chicago, opened on February 20, 1852, (running to the predecessor of Englewood station, together with the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad). A more direct line was soon planned from Elkhart, east to Toledo, and the Northern Indiana Railroad was chartered in Ohio, on March 3, 1851. On July 8, 1853, the Ohio and Indiana companies merged, and on February 7, 1855, the Northern Indiana and Chicago Railroad and the Buffalo and Mississippi Railroad were merged into the Northern Indiana Railroad. On April 25, 1855, that company in turn merged with the Michigan Southern Rail Road to form the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad. In 1858, [1] the new alignment (Northern Indiana Air Line) from Elkhart, east to Air Line Junction, in Toledo, was completed. The company now owned a main line from Chicago to Toledo, with an alternate route through southern Michigan, east of Elkhart, and a branch off that alternate to Monroe. Also included was the Detroit, Monroe and Toledo Railroad, leased July 1, 1856, and providing a branch from Toledo, past Monroe, to Detroit, Michigan.

Erie to Cleveland edit

The Franklin Canal Company was chartered on May 21, 1844, and built a railroad from Erie, Pennsylvania, southwest to the Ohio border. The Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad was incorporated February 18, 1848,[2] to build northeast from Cleveland, to join the Canal Company's railroad at the state line, and the full line from Erie to Cleveland, opened November 20, 1852. The Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula bought the Franklin Canal Company on June 20, 1854.

Buffalo to Erie edit

The Buffalo and State Line Railroad was incorporated October 13, 1849, and opened January 1, 1852, from Dunkirk,New York, west to Pennsylvania. The rest of the line from Dunkirk to Buffalo, opened on February 22. The Erie and North East Railroad was chartered April 12, 1842, to build the part from the state line west to Erie, and opened on January 19, 1852. On November 16, 1853, an agreement was made between the two railroads, which had been built at 6 ft (1,829 mm) broad gauge, to relay the rails at 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge to match the Franklin Canal Company's railroad (see below) on the other side of Erie, and for the Buffalo and State Line to operate the Erie and Northeast. This would result in through passengers no longer having to change trains at Erie, and on December 7, 1853, the Erie Gauge War began between the railroads and the townspeople. On February 1, 1854, the relaying was finished and the first train passed through Erie. On May 15, 1867, the two companies between Buffalo and Erie merged to form the Buffalo and Erie Railroad.

Cleveland to Toledo edit

The Junction Railroad was chartered March 2, 1846, to build from Cleveland, west to Toledo. The Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad was chartered March 7, 1850, to build from Toledo, east to Grafton, Ohio, on the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad. The latter company opened on January 24, 1853, finally forming a continuous Buffalo-Chicago line. On September 1, the two companies merged to form the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad, with the Junction Railroad becoming the Northern Division and the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland, the Southern Division. The Northern Division opened from Cleveland, west to Sandusky, Ohio, on October 24, 1853, and the rest of the way to Toledo, on April 24, 1855. The Northern Division was abandoned west of Sandusky, due to lack of business, but the track was relaid in 1872, merging with the Southern Division, at Millbury, Ohio, east of Toledo. In 1866, the Southern Division, east of Oberlin, Ohio, was abandoned and a new line was built to Elyria, Ohio, on the Northern Division, ending the use of the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad.

Consolidations edit

In October 1867, the Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad leased the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad. The CP&A changed its name to the Lake Shore Railway on March 31, 1868, and on February 11, 1869, the Lake Shore absorbed the Cleveland and Toledo. On April 6, the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad and Lake Shore merged to form the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, which absorbed the Buffalo and Erie Railroad on June 22, giving one company the whole route from Buffalo to Chicago. The main route passed through Dunkirk; Erie; Ashtabula, Ohio; Cleveland; Toledo; Waterloo, Indiana; and South Bend. An alternate route, the Sandusky Division, in Ohio, ran north of the main line between Elyria, and Millbury, Ohio, not all track was laid until 1872. From Toledo to Elkhart, the Old Road ran to the north, through southern Michigan, and the through route was called the Air Line Division or Northern Indiana Air Line. Along with various branches that had been acquired (see below), the Monroe Branch ran east from Adrian, to Monroe, where it intersected the leased Detroit, Monroe and Toledo Railroad. At some point the original line to Toledo was abandoned west of the branch to Jackson, Michigan, the Palmyra and Jacksonburgh Railroad, with the new connection at Lenawee Junction, the crossing between that branch and the line to Monroe.[3]

The railroad established its first significant repair shop in 1851 along Mason Street in Elkhart, Indiana. These shops were occasionally expanded and upgraded in the 1800s and early 1900s until employment reached about 1,500.[4] A second shop site was established in 1874 in Collinwood on the northeast side of Cleveland, Ohio. In 1901, the railroad bought a new property in Collinwood for $2 million to build a much larger repair center that by the 1920s employed more than 2,000 people. In 1913, a freight car repair shop was established in Ashtabula, Ohio, to maintain the large roster of ore and coal cars operating at the nearby port. In 1952, as the railroad was converting its motive power from steam to diesel, the repair shops were consolidated at Collinwood.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway: 1869–1914 edit

Gold Bond of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Company, issued 1 June 1897.
The Elkhart, Indiana shops in 1903.
0-10-0 "Decapod" switching locomotive of 1907

Around 1877, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and his New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, gained a majority of stock of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway. The line provided an ideal extension of the New York Central main line from Buffalo, west to Chicago, along with the route across southern Ontario, the Canada Southern Railway and the Michigan Central Railroad.

New York Central Railroad: 1914–1968 edit

On December 22, 1914, the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad merged with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway to form the New York Central Railroad. While the original main line was to the south of Sandusky Bay, between Toledo and Elyria, the northern alignment, the Sandusky Division, eventually became the main line.

Post-NYC: 1968–present edit

In 1968, the New York Central merged with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad to form the Penn Central Transportation Company, Penn Central, which two years later, filed for bankruptcy. In 1976, it became part of Conrail. In 1976, the Southern Division, from Elyria to Millbury, was abandoned, with parts of the former right of way now in use as a recreational trail, the North Coast Inland Trail. Under Conrail, the Lake Shore main line was part of the New York City–Chicago, Chicago Line.

In 1998, Conrail was split between CSX and Norfolk Southern. The Chicago Line east of Cleveland, went to CSX, and was split into several subdivisions: the Lake Shore Subdivision, from Buffalo, to Erie, the Erie West Subdivision, from Erie, to east of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Terminal Subdivision, into downtown Cleveland. From the former Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad junction in Cleveland, west to Chicago, the line is now Norfolk Southern's Chicago Line.

Amtrak's New York City–Chicago Lake Shore Limited runs along the full route from Buffalo west. The Capitol Limited joins in Cleveland, at the "Amtrak Connection" from the former Pennsylvania Railroad, C&P line, just east of the present Cleveland Station (MP 181), on its way from Washington, D.C., to Chicago. Passenger trains along the route originally terminated at LaSalle Street Station, but now run to Union Station, switching to the parallel former Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway, Pennsylvania Railroad, at a crossover in Whiting, Indiana, Indiana, (41°41′05″N 87°29′43″W / 41.68480°N 87.49534°W / 41.68480; -87.49534) to get there.

Branches edit

A major branch of the LS&MS extended from Northeastern Ohio, to the coal and oil fields of northwestern Pennsylvania, terminating near Brookville. Originally the line extended to the oil fields and refineries on the Allegheny River, at Franklin, and Oil City, Pennsylvania.

The line was later extended from Polk Junction, west of Franklin, to Rose, Pennsylvania, just west of Brookville. Also added was a connector south from Franklin, to the Allegheny River crossing on the new extension. This line included perhaps the most impressive engineering structures on the LS&MS, as well as the later NYC, with several large trestles, bridges, and tunnels, near Brookville, including a bridge-tunnel-bridge-tunnel-fill combination near Piney, Pennsylvania, and two magnificent trestles west of Brookville, near Corsica, Pennsylvania. The New York Central used trackage rights over the Pennsylvania Railroad and the B&O Railroad to connect from Rose to NYC lines at Clearfield, Pennsylvania.

There were several mines on this line near Brookville, as well as a connection to the Lake Erie, Franklin and Clarion (LEF&C) at Sutton, Pennsylvania, and connections to the Pennsylvania Railroad, and via the Pennsy, to the Pittsburgh & Shawmut, at Brookville.

Once coal traffic dried up in the late 1990s, this line was severed and cut back to the mine at Piney. Many of the larger trestles were taken out in the late 2000s, reportedly on orders of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), although the bridge across the Clarion River survived, as of 2015.

Station listing edit

State Milepost City Station Lat/long Opening date Connections and notes
New York QDN1.9 Buffalo Exchange Street Station 42°52′42″N 78°52′26″W / 42.8783°N 78.8738°W / 42.8783; -78.8738 Amtrak Empire Service and Maple Leaf Lake Shore Railway Museum
Lackawanna Lackawanna
Blasdell Blasdell
Bay View
Athol Springs Athol Springs
Lake View Lake View
Derby Derby
QD21.4 Angola Angola
Farnham Farnham
QD27.0 Irving Irving
QD31.4 Silver Creek Silver Creek
Waites Crossing
QD40.3 Dunkirk Dunkirk Connection to Titusville Branch; Former Union Station shared by Erie RailroadErie Railroad and New York Central trains stopped at the same station.[5][6]
Van Buren
Brocton Brocton
Portland Portland
West Portland West Portland
QD57.5 Westfield Westfield 42°11′39″N 79°20′44″W / 42.194224°N 79.34552°W / 42.194224; -79.34552 On NRHP as "Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Station"
Forsyth Forsyth
QD65.3 Ripley Ripley
State Line State Line
Pennsylvania QD73.0 North East North East 42°12′36.2″N 79°50′19.2″W / 42.210056°N 79.838667°W / 42.210056; -79.838667 Lake Shore Railway Museum
Harbor Creek Twp. Harbor Creek
Wesleyville Wesleyville
QD86.9 Erie Erie 42°7′15.24″N 80°4′55.2″W / 42.1209000°N 80.082000°W / 42.1209000; -80.082000 Amtrak Lake Shore Limited
Dock Junction
Swanville Swanville
QD97.8 Fairview Twp. Fairview
North Girard
Girard Junction
Springfield Twp. Springfield
Ohio QD114.5 Conneaut Conneaut 41°56′59″N 80°33′33″W / 41.949722°N 80.559167°W / 41.949722; -80.559167 Conneaut Historic Railroad Museum
Kingsville Kingsville
QD127.7 Ashtabula Ashtabula 41°52′33″N 80°47′33″W / 41.87583°N 80.79250°W / 41.87583; -80.79250 Currently a CSX signal storage house
QD137.1 Geneva Geneva
Unionville Unionville
QD142.5 Madison
QD147.5 Perry
QD153.2 Painesville
QD159.4 Mentor Mentor 41°40′44″N 81°20′18″W / 41.678889°N 81.338333°W / 41.678889; -81.338333 On NRHP as the "Lake Shore and Michigan Southern RR Depot and Freight House"
QD163.7 Willoughby Willoughby
QD168.3 Wickliffe Wickliffe
Cleveland Collinwood
East 105th Street
QD180.5 East 26th Street
Union Depot
Detroit Avenue
West Park
Belt Junction
Berea Berea 41°22′52″N 81°51′16″W / 41.38111°N 81.85444°W / 41.38111; -81.85444 Union Depot, with Big Four Railway
Olmsted Falls Olmsted Falls
Elyria Elyria Amtrak Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited
Amherst Amherst
Brownhelm Twp. Brownhelm
Vermilion Vermilion
Ceylon Ceylon
Huron Huron
Sandusky Sandusky 41°26′26″N 82°43′7″W / 41.44056°N 82.71861°W / 41.44056; -82.71861 Amtrak Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited; NRHP named Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad Depot
Bay Bridge
Danbury Danbury
Gypsum Gypsum
Port Clinton Port Clinton
La Carne La Carne
Oak Harbor Oak Harbor
Rocky Ridge Rocky Ridge
Graytown Graytown
Millbury Millbury Junction
Northwood Vickers
Toledo Toledo 41°38′16″N 83°32′30″W / 41.63778°N 83.54167°W / 41.63778; -83.54167 Amtrak Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited
Air Line Junction
Holland Holland
Swanton Swanton
Delta Delta
Wauseon Wauseon 41°32′50″N 84°08′13″W / 41.547222°N 84.136944°W / 41.547222; -84.136944
Pettisville Pettisville
Archbold Archbold
Stryker Stryker
Bryan Bryan Amtrak Lake Shore Limited
Melbern Melbern
Edgerton Edgerton
Indiana Butler Butler
Waterloo Waterloo Amtrak Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited
Corunna Corunna
Kendallville Kendallville
Brimfield Brimfield
Wawaka Wawaka
Ligonier Ligonier
Millersburg Millersburg
Goshen Goshen
Elkhart Elkhart 41°40′50″N 85°58′18″W / 41.6806°N 85.9717°W / 41.6806; -85.9717 Amtrak Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited; National NYCRR Museum
Osceola Osceola
Mishawaka Mishawaka
South Bend South Bend 41°40′09″N 86°15′16″W / 41.6693°N 86.2545°W / 41.6693; -86.2545
Terre Coupee
New Carlisle New Carlisle
Rolling Prairie Rolling Prairie
La Porte La Porte
Otis Otis
Chesterton Chesterton 41°36′41″N 87°3′16″W / 41.61139°N 87.05444°W / 41.61139; -87.05444 On NRHP as the "New York Central Railroad Passenger Depot"
Porter Porter
Burns Harbor ? Dune Park
Portage Ogden Dunes 41°36′32″N 87°11′07″W / 41.6088°N 87.1852°W / 41.6088; -87.1852 South Shore Line
Gary Miller
Gary 41°21′43″N 87°12′05″W / 41.36203°N 87.201307°W / 41.36203; -87.201307
East Chicago Indiana Harbor
? Mahoning
Whiting Whiting
Hammond Robertsdale
Illinois Chicago East Side
South Chicago
Grand Crossing
71st Street
Park Manor
Englewood 41°46′47″N 87°37′37″W / 41.7797°N 87.627°W / 41.7797; -87.627
31st Street
LaSalle Street Station 41°52′32″N 87°37′57″W / 41.87553°N 87.63239°W / 41.87553; -87.63239 Metra Rock Island District

See also edit


Footnotes edit

  1. ^ "Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad records, 1834-1968". University of Michigan library. Retrieved 2024-03-30.
  2. ^ Morris, J. C., ed. (December 31, 1902). Ohio Railway Report: Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs; Part II. History of the Railroads of Ohio. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  3. ^ Galbraith's railway mail service maps, Michigan. Library of Congress. Publ. 1897, c1898. Accessed April 2020.
  4. ^ Starr, Timothy. The Back Shop Illustrated, Vol. 2.
  5. ^ "Index of Railroad Stations, p. 1530". Official Guide of the Railways. 64 (9). National Railway Publication Company. February 1932.
  6. ^ "Index of Railroad Stations, p. 1317". Official Guide of the Railways. 78 (12). National Railway Publication Company. May 1946.

References edit