The RIVER TERMINAL RAILWAY CO., a class I "Switching" or "belt line," has been a vital link between Cuyahoga River Valley industries and the main-line railroads into Cleveland. The railway was incorporated in 1909 as a subsidiary of the CORRIGAN-MCKINNEY STEEL CO. to service 2 small blast furnaces on the west side of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. When Corrigan-McKinney became part of REPUBLIC STEEL in 1935, the River Terminal Railway became a subsidiary of that company, with 1.5 mi. of main track connecting Republic's 2 open hearth blast furnaces on east side of the river. It continued to add sidings, locomotives, and freight cars to pick up iron ore from Republic's docks and move it to interchange points with other railroads, which then delivered it to plants in Warren and Youngstown. From these interchange points the railway would transport coal back to the mills. By 1972 it was moving 120 carloads of coal a day and 1.5 million tons of iron ore, as well as molten steel and finished products from one section of Republic's plant to another. The belt line also served chemical plants and other industries along the Cuyahoga River.
In 1936 the River Terminal Railway purchased the first diesel locomotive in Cleveland, and by the late 1950s it had completed the switch from steam to diesel. In a dispute over safety regulations, 140 workers went on a weeklong strike over Republic's suspension of a conductor in 1944, forcing the total shutdown of Republic's mills, which employed 4,600 people. In 1983 the River Terminal Railway Co. became a subsidiary of the LTV CORP. as it remained in 1995, employing some 200 Clevelanders.