Toledo to Heath

Looking north, the right-of-way is seen as it approaches US Route 6. Photo by Aaron M.
Just past the former crossing with US Route 6, looking north. The railbed has been obliterated at the former crossing of US-6 (no more "hump" in the road). This suggests that US-6 was rebuilt after the abandonment of the railroad. Photo by Aaron M.
Looking north in Stony Ridge is the grade crossing of the line with US Route 20. The rails have been paved over here, and just below the crossing signals, is a sign that reads "EXEMPT". There was a depot in Stony Ridge; the remains of a possible platform next to the track suggest that the depot may have been located here. Photo by Aaron M.
Looking south in Stony Ridge, a milepost denoting 10 miles from Toledo. Photo by Aaron M.
Looking north, a partially dismantled siding sits along the mainline in Stony Ridge. The date stamps on the tracks read, "1953," while the tie plates are stamped "1944." Photo by Aaron M.
Looking north in Stony Ridge, the tracks end here. Crossties and various railroad hardware (tie plates, bolts, nuts) lie in place for about 500 feet behind the photo. Photo by Aaron M.
Looking south in Stony Ridge, the rails end just behind the photo. Crossties and railroad hardware are in place, as pictured, for another 500 feet beyond where the photo was taken. Then the ROW, now just the raised rail-bed, disappears into vegetation on its way southward. Photo by Aaron M.

This abandoned railway began as the East Division of the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad. It was constructed around 1869 to connect Toledo to Corning, and later to points in West Virginia and southwestern Ohio. The West and East divisions branched out from Stanley Yard in Toledo, and reunited at Heath. This line boasted the world's first installation of Centralized Traffic Control, when the New York Central System (NYC) installed it at the interlocking tower in Fostoria to control a 40-mile segment of the line from Stanley to Berwick in 1927. The line later became part of the NYC, eventually having official ownership in 1937.

During the mid-20th century, as the railroad industry was in decline, the NYC sought out ways to reduce operating costs. Electing to reroute trains to the still-active western division, the NYC began to remove the eastern division. The line south of Bucyrus was discontinued in 1965. The remaining portion of the line was gone around the early 1980s, when Conrail elected to upgrade the western division and abandon what remained of the eastern division.

Only a small portion of the right-of-way is still in service, mainly as a line used to assist with operations out of Stanley Yard in Toledo. This small remnant runs just south of the town of Stony Ridge. Various parts of the line have been converted to rail-trails, and the remainder remains undeveloped. The interlocking tower at Fostoria which protected the T&OC with the LE&W line (also abandoned, east of Fostoria, see Sandusky to Fostoria) still stands, with a barely visible NYC "cigar logo", which can be viewed at the link below.

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—  User Comments  —

Hello, The Thurston Secondary was in the No.6 PC Timetable (1973), however I've seen a photo taken at Martel Tower where the Secondary crossing was really rusty but intact. The photo was dated 1972. Where the line crossed the Columbus Line at N. Edison the diamond was still there in early '80s. PC Timetable No.7 (1975) has General Orders of this line being "officially" out of service.(Berwick to Spore, Bucyrus to N. Edison and Mt. Gilead to Heath Tower). Without photos or documentation it's hard to say if PC ran anything on the Thurston Secondary north of Heath or south of Berwick. I thought this might help.

David Kates
Thurston, OH
5/1/2009

I was just a kid so I don't rememeber exact dates. But PC continued to operate north of Heath until early 70's when a culvert washed out near Alexandria. I remember a switch engine pulling the local through Croton. So I assumed that job was based out of Heath or Newark. I do not know how far north the local went before turning.

After the PC merger ( I said this occured in 1968 but others have told me it was '69 or 70) a daily through freight operated for three or four months. It would go north one day and south the next. Most times the train was hoppers (coal north/ empties south). On occassion it would be a shorter train of mixed cars. Do not know why this occured or where the trains went to going north. I was in hog heaven as long as it lasted. With the local sometimes I was getting three trains a day.

The last train into Johnstown operated in March 1975. The rails were pulled up in the early 80's

Jim Shoemaker
Croton, OH
5/31/2012

A portion of the T&OC from Heath south to Hebron, perhaps five miles, is still in service, operated by the Ohio Central, part of Genessee & Wyoming. It serves an industrial park and large grain loader.

Larry Brough
Newark, OH
9/23/2012

A section from Heath to Granville was in use until at least 1975. Two shippers, a lumber yard and a grain mill, received cars. At this time PC handled around 500 cars per year, and when PC filed for abandonment both shippers protested to no avail. CR never served Granville after the merger, and the rails were finally removed in the summer of 1979.

Heath_Tower
Indianapolis, IN
10/31/2014

Theres about an 8-mile stretch of track that runs north out of bucyrus to the stone quarry,just north of spore. During the winter time,there isnt any traffic,but during the spring,and especially the summer time,theres upwards to about 3 trains a week. They slowly wobble and screech north empty & slowly wobble and screech south full of stone. The trains are decent sized too. Maybe 20-30 hoppers.

north of bucyrus
central, OH
2/19/2015

The section from Bucyrus to Spore is still in service under CFt.W&E ownership.

Main reason for the demise of the T&OC Eastern was that it took 2 crews to do what 1 did on the T&OC Western. Bucyrus was the mid-terminal on the Eastern side which resulted in a short district to Stanley. The railroad NYC/PC wanted to run through Bucyrus but the unions refused to set up a long pool Thurston / Toledo. Even though the route was about 25 miles shorter than the Western and bypassed the congestion in Columbus, traffic was diverted and the Eastern was abandoned in stages.

S. H. Lustig
Mayfield Hts., OH
11/16/2015

I would echo what others are saying, that the entire T&OC eastern was intact until 1975, although down to local service only.

I could be wrong about Spore-Berwick, but the other two segments listed as out of service in the 1975 timetable were definitely there until then. The Spore-Berwick segment looked recently pulled up in the early 1980's, so most likely made it to 1975 as well.

Also, Thurston, not Heath, was where the eastern and western lines diverged.

Regan Rickson
Roswell, GA
3/30/2017

The NYC Train Dispatcher at Jackson Street Fostoria did not control the T&OC/LE&W crossing. It was a tilting target protection for the C&O?T&OC?LE&W untile F Tower was constructed and controlled the rail crossing.

Jim Evans
Upper Sandusky , OH
3/4/2019