Built between 1875 and 1877, this section appears on old Ohio railroad maps as the "LEA&W", or the Lake Erie, Alliance & Wheeling Railroad. This line was built at 3' gauge and was standardized in 1880. Here is a description and history of the LEA&W from the Rails and Trails web site:
"Lake Erie, Alliance and Wheeling Railroad Company. Incorporated January 20, 1901. Acquired all the property of The Alliance and Northern Railroad Company, The Ohio River and Lake Erie Railroad Company, and The Wheeling and Cleveland Railroad Company.
The line extends from Phalanx, Trumbull County, Ohio, to Dillonvale, Jefferson County, Ohio. The northern portion of this property was originally constructed as a narrow guage in 1875. In 1880 standard gauge was adopted and the line completed shortly thereafter to Bergholz. During 1901 and 1902 the road was extended to Dillonvale, passing through the extensive coal fields now being developed by the Lake Erie, Alliance and Wheeling Coal Company, The Eastern Ohio Coal Company, The Ohio and Pennsylvania Coal Company, and The United States Coal Company.
The main line from Phalanx to Dillonvale is 90 miles long. During the year 1902 the old wooden bridges have been replaced by steel structures, the old portion of the road ballasted and retied, and additional rolling stock acquired."
The LEA&W was purchased by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway in 1903. The LSMS became part of the New York Central in December 1914. This section of the line apparently survived until the days of Penn Central, but was abandoned between 1972 and 1976. The railroad's northern end was at Phalanx Station, near Braceville in western Trumbull County, on the Erie railroad Cleveland Branch. From here the railroad passed southward through Portage, Mahoning, and Stark Counties. At Minerva there was an intersection with the PRR and a small yard. From Minerva the railroad continued southeast to Dillonvale, a very small town near the Ohio River. The line from Minerva to Dillonvale outlived the northern half and is or was operated (at least in part) as a short line by Ohi-Rail (although the southernmost part of the Ohi-Rail is likely abandoned now between Hopedale and Dillonvale, as shown in the SPV Atlas). Towns on or near the right of way include Braceville, Newton Falls, Diamond, Deerfield, Alliance, and Paris.
It is not certain exactly when the railroad was abandoned. Some maps suggest the line was out of service in the 1960's, while others indicate it lasted into the Conrail years. "Right-of-Way" (see links page) lists it as being abandoned by Penn Central between 1972 and 1984. Since Penn Central survived only until 1976, this would put the abandonment in the 1972 - 1976 time period. The northernmost end of the line appears to have survived the longest as it is in this area
(in and around Newton Falls) where the ROW is most evident. The route can also be traced through Alliance if you know what to look for. In most other places the ROW has not endured the years well and is difficult to find.
The building on the right appears to be the old Diamond station (which might have once been called Palmyra Station, since it is in Palmyra Township). It is likely that there were two tracks, one on either side of the building, for northbound and southbound trains. A few hundred feet behind the picture, Interstate 76 has a bridge over the right of way, indicating that this part of the railroad was still present (if not in use) until the late 1960's at least. Photo July 2003.
Special thanks to Elias C. Jones for the pictures and information on this page.
Looking north on the right of way at Windham Road near Braceville. Photo July 2003.