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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

COLLINWOOD RAILROAD YARDS

COLLINWOOD RAILROAD YARDS

The COLLINWOOD RAILROAD YARDS & Diesel Terminal, one of the principal repair facilities and freight transfer points of the NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD, originated in 1874 when its new subsidiary, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern RR established a rail center in the village of COLLINWOOD. A brick roundhouse was built to house and repair locomotives; nearby, a machine shop, housing an engine room, blacksmith shop, and an office was constructed with upstairs apartments for the use of the road's employees. The freight transfer yards were located on the south side of the LS&MS main tracks, with extensive stock yards north of them. In 1874 at least 500 engineers, firemen, brakemen, conductors, and other employees made their headquarters near the yard to handle the 72 freight trains arriving daily. As the railroad grew, so did the village of Collinwood, with its population reaching about 3,200 by the 1890s. The yards, situated along present-day E. 152nd St. just south of the Lakeland Freeway, were expanded in 1903 and again in 1929; at that time they included 120 miles of track and could handle 2,000 cars daily. In 1933 the facilities employed about 2,000 workers. By the end of World War II, the Collinwood yards became a major switching and diesel repair facility for the NYC and later for the PENN CENTRAL TRANSPORTATION CO. Although CONRAIL, which took over the Penn Central properties in 1976, committed $3.6 million to upgrade the yards, in 1981 it closed Collinwood's extensive diesel locomotive repair facilities, idling 250 workers. The following year it sold 49 acres of the rail yard east of E. 152nd St., a major part of the facility's freight complex, to developer A. Arthur Bates for $1.4 million. The diesel terminal west of E. 152nd St. was not affected. In 1986 a new $800,000 warehouse for diesel train parts was added to the terminal facility, which refueled and repaired diesel locomotives for Conrail's Western Division. The yard and shop operations were not affected when Conrail closed its administrative offices in 1988.