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EUCLID RAILROAD

EUCLID RAILROAD, a short line, in what is now EUCLID and SOUTH EUCLID, was incorporated on October 11, 1883.It began at a tie-in on the NICKEL PLATE RAILROAD tracks just north of Euclid Avenue and ran south approximately 1.45 miles to the QUARRIES AT BLUESTONE, Ohio (the area around Bluestone and Green Roads in South Euclid).Bluestone was a thriving town boasting two saloons, a church, and a temperance hall at its height in the 1890s.The people of Bluestone were mostly Irish, Swedes, and Italians who worked in the nearby quarries.The railroad moved bluestone from the quarries to the interchange with the Nickel Plate Railroad in Euclid and also served lumber companies that operated in the area.

Although privately-owned, the Euclid Railroad was dependent on the Nickel Plate given that it had no locomotives or rolling stock of its own.Trains from the Nickel Plate moved all of the freight over its tracks.The route was precarious.Trains moved up a steep grade that paralleled Upper Valley and Green Roads, cutting through a forest and gorges along a route which included numerous curves, many of which were not banked.The route limited train size to a locomotive and two or three cars.

By the late 1920s, quarry operations in the Bluestone area had slowed down due to the introduction of ready-mix concrete and because the quarries west of Green Road had become depleted.Consequently, the Euclid Railroad¿s tracks were shifted to the east side of Green Road.This eliminated two grade crossings and allowed for the property west of Green Road to be annexed to the City of Cleveland. With a lack of business, operations slowed significantly during the next two decades.

In 1942, two businessmen, Michael Fornaro and Lee Lehman, purchased the railroad.Their goal was to generate new business by serving the growing industries in the Green Road area of South Euclid which would eventually include the South Euclid Concrete Company which they created in 1945.

By 1950, the Euclid Railroad had a total of 18 customers and shipped an average of 1100 cars a year over its 1.8 miles of track.Along with cement, trains hauled stone, lumber, peat moss, slag, coal and other general freight. The Cities of South Euclid and CLEVELAND HEIGHTS had their coal shipped to them over the Euclid Railroad.As in the past all movements were made with Nickel Plate equipment.

The railroad had begun losing money in 1962 and by 1966 it was serving only two customers.That, along with the need to undertake expensive repairs to its tracks and roadbed, led to an application for abandonment.An application for abandonment was filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1966 and approved in March, 1967.

In subsequent years several attempts were made to convert the former right of way into nature trails, but were not successful.

Thomas F. Pappas

Euclid Public Library