The Lorain and West Virginia was by far the more successful of the two railroads planned by Joseph Ramsey of the Wabash system. Wabash, once the parent company of the Wheeling and Lake Erie railroad, commissioned Ramsey to plan a connection between the W&LE at Wellington, Ohio and the industrial plants at Lorain on Lake Erie. Ramsey planned the line but was replaced before construction began; he then planned and constructed a second line between Wellington and Lorain, the Lorain Ashland and Southern (see The Lorain, Ashland and Southern Railroad). The L&WV, unlike its short-lived competitor, survived through much of the twentieth century. It began at a wye on the W&LE tracks on the west side of Wellington (this "Wheeling" connection is probably how the railroad got its name even though it passes nowhere near West Virginia). From here the line headed north, passing around the western edge of Oberlin, and then took a northeasterly direction across the southern side of Lorain. In the Sheffield Lake area, where the railroad met its northern end at the present-day Norfolk Southern tracks, there was a maintenance facility and small yard. Tracks in this former yard can still be seen on the northwestern side of Interstate 90 during the winter months (the site is now heavily wooded).
Service began around 1906 and mostly consisted of coal shipments to Lorain and Oberlin, and steel shipments from Lorain. The L&WV was acquired by the Nickel Plate Road in 1948, causing traffic to decline. Service was cut back even further when the line was purchased by Norfolk and Western in 1963, by which time the railroad was mainly used as a connector with few customers. The railroad's fate was sealed by a 1969 flood that washed out a bridge near Wellington. All traffic was discontinued and the tracks lay virtually unused until being formally abandoned in 1979.
In the years since, local groups have fought to keep the railroad intact, and they have succeeded in maintaining a well-preserved section of track near Wellington in the hopes of operating a tourist railroad. Lots of old rolling stock, including a restored locomotive, is being stored at the railway's southern terminus in Wellington. Hopefully these efforts will bring some justice to this neglected rail line. Remarkably, nearly all the rails, many bridges, and even some mileposts and crossbucks are still intact on the ROW (although in many places, especially around Lorain, the ROW is so badly overgrown it can be difficult to spot). The most spectacular sight on the L&WV is the trestle over the Black River in Sheffield Village. The trestle can easily be seen to the north side of the OH Route 254 bridge over same.
Thanks to Elias C. Jones for contributing information about this route.