One remaining station, a former B&O depot
The Ashland Rwy
Two diamonds, used to be three
Pennsy, B&O, and Erie signals
The Ohio State Reformatory, where they filmed "The Shawshank Redemption"
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 419
Access by train/transit:
A great town, hidden in northern central Ohio, that time has seemed to
forgotten (except for tearing down all of the old railroad structures :-).
Norfolk Southern is the big name player coming thru here, and they run on
parts of the Erie RR and the Pennsy.
Also coming thru, is the Ashland Railway, and they have a small facility on
the northern side of town, off the old B&O tracks. Mansfield is
approximately the midpoint of the railroad.
The are a few remaining railroad buildings left: a former B&O depot off
Mulberry St, and a Norfolk Southern office off North Diamond Street.
Altho not quite as impressive as the triple double diamonds of Fostoria,
Mansfield did have three of them: PRR/Erie, PRR/B&O, and B&O/Erie. The
B&O only had a single track running thru town, so their crossings were
"simple" affairs. But at one time, the PRR/Erie diamond had three
Pennsy and two Erie tracks, quite a noise maker!
To support the three diamonds, there were three towers.
Where the B&O crossed the Erie, you had "MD" tower. Over at the
PRR/B&O diamond, "BO JCT", later "B&O JCT". And on
the Pennsy/Erie diamond, you had "Mansfield" tower. ..... None remain today.
Some info from Steve: The Pennsy main line came westerly from Wooster,
tuned northwest to go thru Mansfield, then headed west towards Crestline.
The Erie mainline came east from Galion, thru MD interlocking (crossing the B&O),
then thru Mansfield interlocking (crossing the Pennsy) and continued on east to
Akron. The B&O came north from Newark (east of Columbus) towards Mansfield,
turned east to parallel the Erie briefly then turned north again to cross MD and
the PRR at B&O Junction interlocking.
The Erie line is now abandoned between Galion and
Mansfield. The line extends to a yard west of Lexington-Springmill Road
which serviced the former GM Body Plant to the north of the yard.
The line appears well maintained. Judging from Google, it appears Norfolk
Southern (NS) has the only access to that line.
The B&O is abandoned (mostly) from Newark up to Mansfield, maybe two blocks away
from Depot/ CPL. From the B&O depot north thru MD there is a small yard to service
a grain elevator next to Main St/OH-13. The line continues north and crosses
the PRR (NS) to the Ashland Railway yard.
As you can see on the Ashland Railway map on internet, they use old B&O north to Willard
and northeast thru Ashland to West Salem, after that, the track is abandoned on both
ends. I think they still service what is left of the Arcelor steel mill.
Steve has pieced together that there was a B&O freight depot at what is now Robertsons
Heating, west of Walnut, between 5th and 6th Street. The rail line came south to
the freight depot, turned east to follow 5th Street on the south side. There are
still tracks on south side of 5th St. The line from the B&O to the freight depot
is long gone. The west2k site shows the freight depot maybe in 1910-1920?
He speculates that the freight depot line came off the B&O somewhere north of the
existing diamond to cross the Erie heading south. ....end Steve...
From Wikipedia: Three railroads previously served Mansfield, but currently only two, the
Norfolk Southern and the Ashland Railway, provide service in the area.
The Sandusky, Mansfield and Newark Railroad opened in 1846 and became part of the
Washington-Chicago main line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) and then later
part of a B&O branch line from Newark to Sandusky. In 1849 the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne
and Chicago Railway (later Pennsylvania Railroad mainline) reached Mansfield, and in
1863 the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad (later Erie Railroad mainline) reached Mansfield.
Passenger services operating into the opening of the 1970s were the Erie Lackawanna's
Chicago-Hoboken, New Jersey Lake Cities (discontinued, 1970); and the Penn Central's
Manhattan Limited and Pennsylvania Limited (both discontinued, 1971, at the transfer
over to Amtrak).
After the B&O branch line was abandoned, the 18.3-mile (29.5 km) section from Butler
to North Lake Park in Mansfield was opened in 1995 as the recreational Richland B&O
Trail. The former B&O track from Mansfield to Willard combined with a piece of the
abandoned Erie Railroad east of Mansfield to West Salem to form the L-shaped 56.5-
mile (90.9 km) Ashland Railway (1986). A spur of the abandoned Erie Railroad leads
west 5 miles (8.0 km) to Ontario to serve the General Motors metal stamping plant
there. ...end Wiki...
To the northwest of town, at Leppo Road, is a nice grade crossing, with both
NS and the Ashland Rwy running next to each other before the Ashland splits
off to go north. Good sight lines in both directions. It's off
of Springmill Rd/39.
Restaurants are not as plentiful as you would think, McDs and Bob Evans are
on Thimble by Rt 30, as is a Quality Inn. Pizza places abound.
An Arby's is on W Park Ave off of Thimble. More hotels up by the
30/I-71 interchange. There's a BK, Mcd's, and Wendy's on Ashland Rd
near Rt 30.
Steve Robey, signal pictures and history
Jim Mihalek, signal pictures
John F. Bjorklund
North American Interlockings
Red Over Yellow dot com
Open Railway Map
US Route 30 skirts the northern side of town, I-71 is about 3 1/2 miles to
Use I-71 exit 173 to get off on Lucas Road / state road 39. Head north
~1.8mi to Park Ave East/430, and take a left into town. Go 1.0 miles
to 5th St, and take a right, this will curve around to the southern end of
the Pennsy interlocking, continue to Main St and take a right.
Use I-71 exit #176 for Route 30, and head west. There is an exit for
Main St in both directions here on Rt 30.
There are rest stops on Route 30, just west of the I-71 interchange, altho
if you are coming to Mansfield from somewhere else, as your destination, not
sure why you would bother stopping there? :-)
Mansfield is at the approximate midpoint of the Ashland Rwy system, going
from Salem OH on the east side, to Willard OH on the west.
From their website: Ashland Railway began operations in 1986 and operates in Richland,
Ashland, Huron, and Wayne counties. We are a 56-mile short line railroad serving North
Central Ohio in a region known as “Mid-Ohio.” Located between Cleveland, Columbus, and
Akron/Canton along the I-71 corridor, we provide essential rail service to the
communities of Ashland, Mansfield, Willard, Shelby, Plymouth, and West Salem. Ashland
Railway interchanges with Class 1 railroads Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation
as well as regional short line Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. Coupled with our affiliated
companies, Skye Trucking and Mansfield Railport, we offer customers a complete logistics package.
The former PRR/Erie Depot
Former GPS Coordinates: 40.768259, -82.512462
The tower and PRR/Erie depot at the diamond, none of which are still around :-(
This union station, built in 1872, was off north Diamond Street, ...It was in the south quadrant
of the PRR/Erie diamond. It a major enlargement and modernization
project in 1940. PRR valuation records say the station was owned by the PRR with part being
leased to the Erie. The records give a build date of 1866.
From the Richland Source page: It was called Union Station because it united two different
railroads that crossed in Mansfield. These tracks went by different names in different eras,
but were primarily known in the 20th century as the Pennsylvania and the Erie.
Passengers on these two lines headed off in different compass directions, but they were
able to board from two sides of the depot because it was built right into the angle of
the crossroad. Although freight traffic on the rails into Mansfield is what energized
the city to greatness during the industrial boom of the late 1800s, it was definitely
the passenger service on these tracks that gave the city true vitality.
In 1900 there were 33 different passenger trains stopping in Mansfield every day. By
1916 there were 42 a day. By the time passenger train service stopped in Mansfield, not
too many people even noticed. The last Erie passenger train pulled out in 1970, and Penn
Central stopped in 1971. The Union Station lasted only a few more years after that,
dark and locked and sadly without heart.
The nightime postcard below, is the same as the daytime one above... early Photoshopping! :-)
Centerra Co-op Center-Cab Switcher
GPS Coordinates: 40.772522, 82.514977
489 N Main St, Mansfield OH 44902
Todd Dillon, December 2010
The Ohio State Reformatory
Built in 1886, this Romanesque Revival prison was featured in the film "The Shawshank Redemption."
At one time this concrete railroad overpass had five active tracks going over it, now there are (the center) three.
Main St / Erie
A small girder bridge that used to carry two Erie tracks, just off Main St to the west.
The next few overpasses are noted, because they might be an OK spot to take pictures from, as long as
you don't park near the bridges on the shoulder, I ran into trouble in
Bellevue OH once where a sheriff
stopped me for doing so.... so I don't know if it is a statewide law or not?
South Illinois Ave / PRR
This is a vehicular overpass, going over the old Pennsy at the southern end of the yard.
US Route 30 / B&O
This is a vehicular overpass, going over the old B&O tracks on the north side of town.
US Route 30 / PRR
This is a vehicular overpass, going over the old Pennsy tracks on the north side of town.
Gee, no standard colorlight signals anywhere to be found, very unusual in
this day and age!
Signals in Mansfield are kind of like signals in a town "that time
forgot!".... A mixture Pennsy PL, B&O CPL, and Erie searchlight signals,
and I guess some (maybe) Conrail era "tri-light" style colorlight signals
(...at least on the Pittsburgh/Altoona line thru central PA, a few of the
Pennsy PL signals were replaced with tri-light signals when Conrail owned
the line). Given the
traffic in, around, and thru Mansfield, none of them will probably be
replaced unless they are absolutely falling over, or in danger of, like the
NYC searchlight signals at Berea! :-) Locations below are in no
particular order, they were numbered as I came across locations using Google
Below is the PRR Interlocking diagram for the "Mansfield" tower, too bad it
didn't go over a little further west to cover the entire PRR/B&O crossing
- the diagram below, covers that from the Penn Central era.
The Pennsy line runs left to right, and shows that Mansfield had three
towers at one time. Notice that ALL of the signals on both the PRR and
the Erie were Pennsy PL signals. Now all we need is a good drawing for
the Erie/B&O diamond.
The above interlocking diagram, and many more for the Pennsylvania RR can be found
B&O CPL / N Mulberry Street
"New" signal on an old mast, you can tell from the finial. The signal
is not a GRS unit, but a newer version made by Safetran.
Below is this signal shown on the Pennsy Interlocking diagram. Since
there is no other signal between the Erie/PRR diamond and the B&O, I will
assume signal 16R also controls the B&O/Erie diamond.
Erie Searchlight / N Mulberry Street
A triple stack of searchlight signals on the old Erie line, the grade
crossing at N Mulberry St, and the nearby B&O/Erie diamond.
EB Erie Searchlight? / Bowman St
A single head signal, for the approach to the diamond signal with the Erie and
B&O. I need a front view to confirm that this is a yellow aspect all
PRR PL / Orange St
A trio of classic Pennsy PL signals for SB traffic going thru the crossovers,
one of which is for the interchange track coming off the Erie.
Jim Mihalek, 2018
Jim Mihalek, 2018
Jim Mihalek, 2018
PRR PL / E 5th St
A trio of classic Pennsy PL signals for NB traffic going thru the crossovers.
Jim Mihalek, 2018
Jim Mihalek, 2018
Jim Mihalek, 2018
Jim Mihalek, 2018
Pennsy "Tri-Lights" / N Main St
Most "Tri-Light" signals on the former Pennsy appeared during the Conrail
era, when I guess they felt it was easier and cheaper to replace the
"antiquated" PL signals with something a tad more recent. Here we have
a pair of them for SB traffic heading towards where the diamond with the Erie used to be.
This is the only colorlight signal in town that I can see!
Jim Mihalek, 2018
CPL Signal / Surrey Rd
A three aspect CPL signal, for the approach to the diamond with the
Erie. This signal can display STOP, CLEAR, and SLOW CLEAR, but
probably only shows Clear using the top white marker.
Ashland RR SB Dwarf / N Main St
This signal, and it's counterpart on the other side of Main Street and the
"PRR", used to be full size CPL signals. Don't know when they were
replaced with these two color dwarfs, but it was -probably- after the
Ashland took over operations on this segment of track. This signal
would have been 6L when it was a CPL. The excerpt is
from the PC interlocking diagram above.
Ashland RR NB Dwarf / N Main St
This would have been signal 6R on the Penn Central interlocking diagram.
About halfway between Mansfield and Crestline was another interlocking on the Pennsy: "Toledo Junction".
Today, nothing is left along the right-of-way that may have suggested there
was ever anything there. However, if we look from above, we can still
see in the tree line, where (at least) some of the branch went. Using
Google maps, the 6.1 and 6.9 mile marks don't line up perfectly as noted on
the drawing, but they are close enough to get an idea where the tower used
to be. This must have been a great spot for pictures with trains
whizzing by at speed, with plenty of signals to spice up the pictures, like
the one below! Picture and diagram came from North American
Interlockings, but the diagram can be found from several sources.
While it may look like there are four tracks because you can see four signal
heads in the distance, you will find that two are facing in each direction
if you look at the diagram. Even tho the diagram calls out 14 levers
for signals, I count 18 signals on the drawing.
Other things Steve suggests to investigate in the "area"....
In Crestline OH, about 12 miles west via US
Route 30 and the Lincoln Highway:
There is a railroad museum in Crestline OH. It is in the south eastern corner of North Washington and Scott Street.
Also in Crestline is the YMCA that was used for PRR crews at the north western corner of South
Thoman St (OH-61) and West Bucyrus St. It is now used by CSX. They have offices
there, and you will see vehicles and construction material there. There
used to be roundhouse there, but it and all of the other buildings have been flattened.
If you continued west on Bucyrus Street you can see the junky area where the roundhouse was.
At some point on Bucyrus you catch a glimpse of the wye-track that extended north from the yard
area. This was to turn some of the larger rigid frame PRR loco's too big for the turntable.
On the www.crestlineprr.com website, there is a funny
story of a hogger and the language used when one jumped the track on the wye.
Mansfield and Crestline are on the historic Lincoln Highway.
In Bucyrus OH, about 25 miles west of Mansfield:
Continuing west from Crestline, you come to Bucyrus OH. Bucyrus has a preserved depot,
the T&OC Railroad Station. It is a beautiful brick building on East Renssalear
Street. It sits at the crossing of PRR's New York-Chicago mainline with PRR line from
Columbus to Sandusky. Both of those lines are still in service. The Toledo
and Ohio Central RR also crossed there. Interlocking was run by COLSAN tower
(North American Interlocking) which is now gone.
Bucyrus was the home of Bucyrus Locomotive Crane, another rust belt company
gone. Check the T&OC website, I think tours are during certain hours.
If you have made it this far, you can go north from Bucyrus on OH-4 to
Bellvue OH, and
visit the Mad River & NKP Museum.
In Marion OH, about 18 miles south of Bucyrus:
For preserved depot and interlocking fans, south of Bucyrus on OH-4 is restored
and preserved 'AC' interlocking tower. The location is still at a very busy railroad hub. It is
on the grounds of the Marion Union Station Association.
Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while
trying to help others.
Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.
For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my
indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented
I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. Once in a while,
an error may creep in :-)
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or
disoriented. Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get
local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the
railroads on them. If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job
of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads. Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous
and/or other stuff.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit
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Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.