The Cloverleaf Division
This abandoned railway began in 1874 as the Toledo and Maumee Railroad, a 7-mile long narrow gauge line built along the Miami and Erie Canal in Toledo. In 1879, it consolidated with four other railroads, becoming the Toledo, Delphos and Burlington Railroad. It reached East Saint Louis, MO, in 1883. Shorty after, the company collapsed, and the lines were broken up and sold to different railroads. A short time later, the Toledo-East Saint Louis line became the Toledo, Saint Louis and Kansas City Railroad, adopting the "Cloverleaf" as its emblem. The line was converted to standard gauge in the late 1880s. By 1893, the company went into bankruptcy, and emerged as the Toledo, Saint Louis and Western Railroad. The company lasted until 1922, when it was purchased by the Nickel Plate Road (NKP). It subsequently became the "Cloverleaf Division," and finally provided the connection to Saint Louis for the NKP, which was the original intent upon its formation.
In 1964, the NKP merged with the Norfolk & Western (NW). In the early 1970s, a derailment near Continental spelled doom for this line; rail was pulled up from Grand Rapids to Douglas in 1975, and from Douglas to Craigville, Indiana, in 1998. (This portion was sold to a shortline railroad in the late 1980s, but service was eventually discontinued by 1998.)
A 15-mile segment of the line from Waterville, south of Toledo, to Grand Rapids was saved, and is still in use by a volunteer railroad, the Toledo, Lake Erie, & Western. Otherwise, most of the ROW has been obliterated by agriculture. Ironically, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) still lists the portion from Continental to the Ohio/Indiana state line as active, though no trackage remains on this segment.
A shortline, the Wabash Central Railroad, operates the tracks beyond this line west from Craigville to Van Buren.
See also Part 2 of the Cloverleaf Division.
Thanks to Aaron M. for contributing information.
From Van Buren West is still basically there, just overgrown and unconnected. A small Segment in Marion to Marion's Belt at Michaelsville is or will so be abandoned and pulled up(I know within Marion, alongside the old NYC line it is gone, but depot remains at SR 18 with historical plaque). From the Marion Belt to Kokomo is still active by Central Railroad of Indianapolis(CERA). Trackage from Kokomo to Frankfort is still there mostly, but out of service from Kokomo to at least the Howard and Clinton Counties line. A Bridge and a crossing have been removed on Kokomo's West side. NS still services a business in Michigantown and uses the line East of here towards Howard County for storage. Another small segment from the Frankfort Yard West for about maybe a half mile is still there to service some business's. It was pulled West of there within the last 10 years or so.
Dont forget about the section between Delphos and Landeck Oh. still very active, serving D&D grain.
There is still a section from Waterville to Maumee that is actively used to supply the Johns Manville plant with raw materials for insulation. The track is connected to the private tourist track in Waterville but there is a barrier between the two.
Currently the TLE&W tourist railroad is seeking funds to rebuild a collapsed culvert that is preventing trains from crossing the 900-foot Maumee river bridge. Very nice railroad with scenic views of the countryside.
I've got photo copies of the Cloverleaf dist track still in-tack threw parts of Marion, Landess on toward bluffton and from Marion west to Greentown. Would you like copies of these?
The crossover from "Wannick Jct" to Walbridge junction was done in the early 30's. The cities of Maumee and Toledo paid for most of this update. Wabash and NKP paralleled each other. In order to build US-24 into Toledo the railroad needed to be moved. The cities bought the ROW and made what is now Anthony Wayne Trail aka US-24. Wabash double tracked its mainline and installed CTC to accomadate this surge in traffic.
Just an update. Tourist line TLE&W has repainted an engine and caboose and is reportedly going to haul some freight for an unknown customer. Perhaps it is simply storage of cars I do not know but did see the repaints and they look pretty good. Marion Belt(Michaelsville) to Marion in Indiana has been removed and another bridge has been removed just outside of Kokomo on the section from Kokomo to Frankfort which was also put up for an "out of service" decision by NS via the STB. Central Railroad of Indianapolis(CERA)still runs Kokomo to Marion Belt and offers many NS powered unit grain trains including some of the heritage units including the Nickel Plate Road unit twice recently on this old NKP segment. How fitting, but scary to see these six axle units on the old spindly rail of the Cloverleaf.
Rails from Delphos to Fort Jennings lasted until 1998 to service the grain elevator there. When the elevator no longer needed rail service, the line was torn up, after 1998. The Cloverleaf through Cloverdale on up to Continental was torn up after the derailment in the 1970's. Being from the area all my life, I have not seen any tracks in Cloverdale. A conductor's mistake cost the line its existence. His orders were to let out an auto rack at the interchange, but he left it on his train and the car caught on the bridge. It wasnt destroyed, but was badly damaged. N&W decided there was no financial reason to rebuild the bridge to service a dying route. Most of their larger locomotives couldn't traverse the route anyways, as it had tight curves and light bridge weight limits.
As for the TLE&W, there are only 10 miles left, not the stated 15.