The Toledo, Norwalk and Cleveland Railroad began in 1852 and was among the first passenger rail lines connecting Cleveland and Toledo. It was first built to Grafton, OH, where it connected with the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway, along which the TN&C had trackage rights into Cleveland. After a merger with the Junction Railroad in 1853 which formed the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad, a more direct route from Oberlin to Elyria was built utilizing its former Junction Railroad route from Elyria to Cleveland in 1866. The old route from Oberlin to Grafton was abandoned but a short segment from Oberlin going a few miles southeast to where a stone quarry spur branched off was used until the early 1900s before it to became abandoned. The line carried the C&TRR name up until 1868 when it merged with other railroads into the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern system, which later became part of New York Central. At its peak in the early twentieth century, the route was a part of NYC's busy Buffalo-Chicago passenger mainline.
Ultimately, the line's eastern end lay at the LS&MS track on the west side of Elyria. From here, the route headed southwest to Oberlin, where it turned westward and continued to Norwalk, passing through the towns of Kipton, Wakeman, and Collins. From Norwalk, the railroad continued to Toledo alongside the Wheeling & Lake Erie/Nickel Plate/Norfolk & Western to Fremont. The line joined the northern LSMS line to Toledo at Millbury Junction.
Passenger service on the line was terminated in 1949, and traffic in general started to decline around this time as NYC began routing freight trains on its more direct lakeshore line to the north. The railroad had fallen into disuse by the 1970s and was deemed unfit for absorption into Conrail. The line was abandoned concurrent with that company's formation in 1976.
Today, the right of way between Elyria and Kipton has been preserved as a bike path, and many mileposts and other artifacts along the route have also been saved. The Oberlin passenger station also remains standing with a caboose on display. The remainder of the right of way hasn't been preserved very well but can be found easily.
Towns on the line from Elyria to the west are Oberlin, Kipton, Wakeman, Collins, Norwalk, Monroeville, Bellevue, Clyde, Fremont, Lindsey, Elmore, Genoa and then to Millbury Junction. At the west side of Bellevue lay a small 4-track staging yard called Klines which is still in use today by the Norfolk Southern.
Reference: Joseph P. Schwieterman, When the Railroad Leaves Town, 2001
Thanks to Elias C. Jones and Fritz N. Kuenzel for contributing information about this route.