TRAINS – A remarkable history of train service and Erie County’s roll in its development.

We received four copies of Central Headlight magazine, published by the New York Central System Historical Society This is a great magazine that covers the history of the New York Central RR, using extensive research, photos and personal stories about local sections throughout its extensive routes. Of particular importance are the sections that traverse Erie County.  All four of these articles were written by Ron Helmeci.

Sandusky – In at the Beginning – Part 1
This first article appeared in the first issue of Central Headlight, First Quarter 2020. Sandusky was a mandatory station stop. In 1910, Sandusky hosted an extensive network of steam roads and interurban lines radiating form the downtown waterfront like a giant fan, with New York Central lines forming a garland of steel around the city. This network was built out over 70+ years, beginning in the 1830s. You can read the entire article HERE.

Sandusky – In at the Beginning – Part 2
Ron Helmeci picks up the story at the beginning of the Civil War. As far as its railroads were concerned, Sandusky entered the Civil War era in an unenviable position. NW lines competed with NS lines and competition and improvements were needed as the City grew. Lots of great photos in these articles. Read the article HERE.

From Stilts To Steel – Constructing the Lakeshore Lines from Cleveland to Toledo 1835-1850, Part 1 Ron Helmeci picks up his story a few years later in another 2-part series.
Before the opening of the Erie Canal, the only water exit from the lakes was past Niagara Falls and then down the rapids-strewn St. Lawrence River. Aside from these obstacles, this route was ice-bound much of the year and in the hands of the hostile British. Thus, the Lakeshore Ohio line was constructed. Read all about these early days HERE.

From Stilts To Steel – Constructing the Lakeshore Lines from Cleveland to Toledo 1835-1850, Part 2 – 1850-1872
Ron Helmeci continues his story. Lessons, some hard, were learned from the successes and failures of the 1930s and 1840s. Railroad promoters, builders and operators were forced to develop a more realistic understanding of the limits and potential of railroads. Cleveland to Sandusky, Toledo, and Chicago were improved and connections were made to other lines. Read all about this important period in railroad expansion in Northern Ohio HERE.

Sandusky Waterfront - Erie County Ohio Historical Society