In General
Getting Here
Fire & Police


In General

Location / Name:
Mansfield OH, Richland County

What's Here:
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
ZIP: 44902

Access by train/transit:

The Scoop:

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,[114] 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
Mike Woodruff
Todd Dillon
North American Interlockings
Red Over Yellow dot com
Denver Todd
Google Maps
Open Railway Map
Bing Maps

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:

Getting Here

US Route 30 skirts the northern side of town, I-71 is about 3 1/2 miles to the southeast.

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? :-)



Here is a list of the stations and freight sheds in Mansfield:

This list comes from:

  The former B&O Depot

GPS Coordinates: 40.766288, -82.518502
283 N. Mulberry St

There was an older B&O Union Station on the east side of Main Street just south of Orchard Street, GPS: 40.769622,-82.514738.

  The Ashland Railway

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