The Lake Erie and Pittsburg Railway (intentionally misspelled) was incorporated around 1900 as a joint venture between what would later become the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads. The purpose of the railroad was to serve as a linker between the NYC mainline at Lorain (west of Cleveland on Lake Erie) and the PRR mainline at Brady
Lake, east of Kent (both of these lines are now Norfolk Southern). Construction began at Lorain and proceeded eastward through the Avon, North Ridgeville, and North Olmsted areas. However, construction came to a halt at Berea, where some unexpectedly swampy terrain was encountered. Earth had been graded and bridges installed between
Lorain and Berea, but this segment of the line had to be abandoned around 1905 without track ever having been laid.
The new LE&P route was replanned and constructed in 1905-06. The new alignment began at a NYC yard in Marcy (now Cuyahoga Heights), just south of downtown Cleveland. The railroad headed east on a high trestle over Mill Creek, then passed southward through Bedford and
Northfield, again crossing a high trestle at Tinkers Creek. The line gradually made a southeasterly curve through northern Summit County, passing through the Stow and Kent areas, and finally joined the PRR line at Brady Lake as had originally been planned. Service began in 1906 and continued for 62 years.
The Lake Erie and Pittsburg was rendered obsolete by the 1968 Penn Central merger. The line was immediately abandoned and tracks were removed mostly in the 70's. Most of the right of way in Cuyahoga County has been obliterated by urban sprawl. In Summit and Portage Counties, however, much of it has been preserved as an excellent bike path. The
never-used segment of ROW between Lorain and Berea is much more difficult to identify. Some of this ROW is now used as a cut for high-tension power lines in the North Olmsted area. Bridge abutments can reportedly be found at French Creek near Avon.
These concrete blocks are all that remains of the Tinkers Creek Gorge trestle, which stood from 1911 to 1974 and towered high above the frame of the picture. Two more blocks (barely visible) lie in the trees behind the road, and many more can be seen in winter. It is not known how or where the railroad crossed the gorge prior to 1911. Photo May 2003.
Special thanks to Elias C. Jones for the pictures and information on this page.
Top of the gorge, about 100 feet above and a few hundred feet SE of the photo above. These concrete piers, both about 6 feet tall, formed the southern terminus of the trestle. This is now somebody's backyard -- it was not possible to get any closer. Photo May 2003.
Milepost on the ROW in Sagamore Hills Township, looking south from OH 82. Photo June 2003.
ROW in northern Summit County, looking south. Here it seems the bike path was built off to the side of the tracks. Many crossties, like that near the bottom of the photo, were found at this site, still half-buried in overgrown ballast. In this area it
appears that the rails were taken up but everything else left down. In fact, if you look
closely, you can still see the outline of the tracks--rails, ties and all--in the grass (or is it an optical illusion?). Photo June 2003.
Shady section of ROW in Summit County, near OH 303. Crossties and other artifacts can be found in the undergrowth around here. Photo May 2003.
Nine miles to Brady Lake, according to this milepost near Stow...
...and in the other direction, 19 miles to Marcy (now Cuyahoga Heights). Photos August 2003.