Front View of Thomas House

Ward-Thomas Museum

Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Five images of buildings and grounds

Early Railroads in Niles

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

Click here to become a Niles Historical Society Member or to renew your membership

Return to the Homepage

Click on any photograph to view a larger image.

 

Email Us

Phone: 330.544.2143
Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446

Individual Membership: $20.00
Family Membership: $30.00
Patron Membership: $50.00
Business Membership: $100.00
Lifetime Membership: $500.00
Corporate Membership:
Call 330.544.2143


Do you love the history of Niles, Ohio and want to preserve that history and memories of events for future generations?

Click here to donate:

As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, your donation is tax deductible. When you click on the Donate Button, you will be taken to a secure Website where your donation will entered and a receipt generated.


 

 

 

 

 

1882 Birdseye map of Niles with rail lines marked in color.

1882 Birdseye map of Niles with rail lines marked in color. See index for railroad names.

Early Railroads in Niles, Ohio
First railroad in 1856; Three railroads in 1874.
Early Rail Lines were Base of Present Niles Railroads.
(from Centennial Club History)
Modern transportation first reached Niles with the coming of the railroad in the ‘fifties. When James Ward Sr. arrived in Niles in 1841, the villagers were anticipating the prosperity that would come from the opening of the canal. Ten years later the end of the canal was at hand and by 1874, Niles was served by three railroads.

First to be completed, in 1856, was the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad. Successively it was leased to the Atlantic and Great Western Railway, and the New York, Pittsburgh and Ohio Railroad Company. It is the Erie Railroad of today.


This map shows the route of the C & M Railroad (Erie leased) in the area bounded by North Main Street and East Federal and Heaton Avenue (West FederalStreet) featuring the General Electric Glass Works Company and the Bostwick Steel Lath Company.

This map shows the route of the C & M Railroad (Erie leased) in the area bounded by North Main Street and East Federal and Heaton Avenue (West FederalStreet) featuring the General Electric Glass Works Company and the Bostwick Steel Lath Company.

Also, the route of the PC & T Railroad (B & O) with the freight yard off Robbins Avenue is featured on this map.


Niles-Alliance railroad covered bridge over the Mahoning River. It was built in the late 1880's and later became part of the Pennsylvania RR.

Niles-Alliance railroad covered bridge over the Mahoning River. It was built in the late 1880's and later became part of the Pennsylvania RR. PO1.1911

In 1853 a railroad through Niles was projected from Ashtabula to New Lisbon. The portion north of Niles was not at the time completed, but the branch from Niles to New Lisbon was completed in 1869 and in 1872 consolidated with the Cleveland and Mahoning into the Atlantic and Great Western Railway. It is now the Niles-Lisbon branch of the Erie Railroad.

South Main Street bridge - sometime after Pennsylvania Railroad station was built in 1901. The bridge was built in 1882 by the Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio. It replaced an earlier span that was washed away by high waters. This bridge was replaced by the viaduct in 1933. PO1.67


South Main Street bridge - sometime after Pennsylvania Railroad stationwas built in 1901. The bridge was built in 1882 by the Morse Bridge Co. of Youngstown, Ohio. It replaced an earlier span that was washed away by high waters. This bridge was replaced by the viaduct in 1933.

South Main Street bridge - sometime after Pennsylvania Railroad stationwas built in 1901. The bridge was built in 1882 by the Morse Bridge Co. of Youngstown, Ohio. It replaced an earlier span that was washed away by high waters. This bridge was replaced by the viaduct in 1933. PO1.67

In 1870, the Ashtabula, Youngstown and Pittsburgh Railroad Company contracted for the construction of a line between Ashtabula Harbor and Youngstown.

This was accomplished by buying and completing the unfinished portion of the Ashtabula and New Lisbon line north of Niles, and by construction from Niles to Girard where the company had a connection to Youngstown.

The line was later leased to Pennsylvania Railroad Co. and with the Alliance branch built in the late ‘eighties, comprises the Pennsylvania railroad line through Niles at the present time.


From South Main Street looking west. Note water works in the background on left. Passenger train is on the Pennsylvania RR coming into Niles.

From South Main Street looking west. Note water works in the background on left. Passenger train is on the Pennsylvania RR coming into Niles. PO1.1807

In 1874 the Painesville and Youngstown Railroad was completed to Niles, and later extended to Youngstown. This was a narrow gauge line and proved unprofitable until rebuilt to standard gauge.

The Pittsburgh and Western Railroad Company purchased the right of way north of Niles, replaced the narrow gauge with a standard gauge line and constructed a track to Youngstown. Later this property came into the possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which operates it today.

The narrow gauge continued to operate until the ‘nineties between Niles and Youngstown, the small locomotives and cars following the track which crossed the river over a former bridge near the present Lisbon-Niles railroad bridge and then followed the river valley to Youngstown.

At first, conditions of travel were rather primitive. Coaches on the first crowded trains were reserved for women, with the men riding on plank seats in roofless cars. This condition, however, must have passed quickly and in 1869 railway travel was somewhat similar to that today.


The B&O railroad was located on the north side of Church Street. It ran through Niles as early as 1874. It later expanded taking in the Ashtabula & Pittsburgh line and the Painesville & Youngstown line

The B&O railroad was located on the north side of Church Street. It ran through Niles as early as 1874. It later expanded taking in the Ashtabula & Pittsburgh line and the Painesville & Youngstown line. PO1.1458

As early as 1888, Niles was one of the most favorably situated cities of northeast Ohio for RR service.

Pennsylvania RR yards and freight station with Mahoning River on the right and Niles Firebrick plant in left background.

Pennsylvania RR yards and freight station with Mahoning River on the right and Niles Firebrick plant in left background. PO1.1427

View looking eastward the old iron bridge and RR crossing over the Mahoning River near Water Street.

View looking eastward the old iron bridge and RR crossing over the Mahoning River near Water Street. PO1.68A


A view of the Pennsylvania RR freight station, which was located on South Main Street near the river.

A view of the Pennsylvania RR freight station, which was located on South Main Street near the river. PO1.1460

Pennsylvania train at the station around 1900-02.

Pennsylvania train at the station around 1900-02. The old Ward Mill that was located on that site was torn down to make way for the new Pennsylvania station.PO1.1456

Pennsylvania passenger station, ca 1968

Pennsylvania passenger station, ca 1968. S11.178


The Erie Depot was located on Mahoning Avenue

The Erie Depot was located on Mahoning Avenue and was the most luxurious in Niles.

It was constructed of brick and was a fine example of 19th century Western Stick architecture. PO1.1459

Erie RR Station, ca 1968.

Erie RR Station, ca 1968. S11.176

B&O railroad freight station, ca 1968

B&O railroad freight station, ca 1968. S11.175


Pennsylvania Freight Station, ca 1968

Pennsylvania Freight Station, ca 1968. S11.179

A wreck on the Lisbon branch of the Erie RR, near McKee's Lane in Niles

A wreck on the Lisbon branch of the Erie RR, near McKee's Lane in Niles. PO2.609

Unable to determine whether the wreck was on the Painesville and Youngstown RR and the PA & Western RR as they both ran through Niles. PO1.1455


     

  Copyright©2008-2022, Niles Historical Society, All rights reserved
  Back to top