CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC RAILROAD

CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC RAILROAD

The CUYAHOGA VALLEY SCENIC RAILROAD (formerly the Cuyahoga Valley Line) is a tourist railroad that provides historical rail excursions from Cleveland (Independence) to Akron during the summer months. The trackage was originally part of the Cleveland, Terminal & Valley (later the BALTIMORE & OHIO) railroad, which hauled coal and coke to Cleveland's steel mills. It was owned by the Chessie System when the Cuyahoga Valley Line was incorporated in 1972 by the nonprofit Cuyahoga Valley Preservation & Scenic Railway Assn., a group of private citizens interested in preserving the memory of steam railroading. The association worked closely with the Midwest Railway Historical Foundation, which owned and maintained the rolling stock and provided volunteers to operate the train. Excursions began in the summer of 1975, aided by grants from the state, the county, and private foundations. The train, composed of antique cars pulled by a "Mikado"-style steam locomotive, started its trip in Independence, passing through the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, and making stops at historic Hale Farm & Village and Akron's Quaker Square. When CSX (which absorbed the Chessie System) abandoned the line, the National Park Service purchased the CVL tracks in 1987 for $25 million, and the excursions resumed in 1988. The Cuyahoga Valley Line evolved into the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, a private nonprofit professional rail operation, and a commitment of significant funds from the National Park Service enabled it to purchase 6 reconditioned, heated, and air conditioned cars built in the 1930s and a renovated passenger car from the Barnum & Bailey Circus for snacks and concessions. In 1994 the refurbished line, operating primarily under diesel power, offered an expanded number of tours operating between Independence to Akron through the CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA and had drawn up plans for an extension of service into downtown Cleveland.