WO Story: Concept | History | System Map
The Western Ohio Railway is a freelanced regional railroad operating from Jackson and Detroit Michigan in the north, to Cincinnati, Ohio in the south and Portsmouth, Ohio to the east. The Western Ohio started operation in 1970.

The creation of the Penn Central in the 1960s created a lot of parallel trackage, where the Pennsylvania and New York Central use to compete. Lines no longer needed were soon abandoned, creating opportunities for shortlines and regional carriers. One such line was a New York Central route running from Bryan, OH, west of Toledo south to Cincinnati.

The Penn Central sold the line from Bryan to Carlisle to the founders of the Western Ohio. In Bryan, the Western Ohio interchanged with the Penn Central, which operated the east-west line from Toledo, OH to Chicago, IL. At Carlisle, the Western Ohio had interchanges with both the Baltimore and Ohio and Penn Central. In addition to the two terminal interchanges, the Western Ohio, had access to other interchanges, including the Baltimore and Ohio at Sherwood, the Norfolk and Western at Latty (ex- Nickel Plate), Ohio City (ex-Wabash), Celina (ex-Nickel Plate), Penn Central at Ansonia.

Business originally was primarily to service the local industries in the various towns along the line. If the line had been completely abandoned, dozens of industries would have been devastated by the loss of rail service. But there was very little through traffic on the line, except for some extras the Penn Central would send over the line relieve congestion off their preferred routes.

In 1971, the Penn Central sold the Michigan portion of this same line from Bryan, OH to Jackson and Ypsilanti, MI in the north. In case you are wondering, no consideration was ever given to incorporating Michigan into the railroad's name. The founder of the Western Ohio is an avid fan of Ohio State football, and the "Western Ohio and that state up north" is way too long for a railroad name.

As the Penn Central continued to struggle and eventually fail, the Western Ohio acquired several branch lines up and down the main. The Western Ohio also acquired usage rights to Conrail lines into Detroit and Toledo. The Western Ohio was also given access to use the engine facilities at Toledos Airline Yard by Conrail. In the south, the Western Ohio gained tracks rights from Carlisle to Sharon Yard and Gest Street Yard in Cincinnati.

The railroad saw little change from the late 70s for almost 20 years. The only changes were the addition or reduction of some branch lines as business came and went. Then in 1998, Conrail was divided between the Norfolk Southern and CSX. Part of the deal gave Norfolk Southern the Conrail line from Columbus, OH to Cincinnati, OH. Prior to 1998, that traffic was routed from Columbus to Portsmouth, and then west to Cincinnati.

The Norfolk Southern quickly began routing all traffic between Columbus and Cincinnati over the newly acquired line. The Cincinnati to Portsmouth line, known as the Peavine, was cut off to through traffic. Norfolk Southern was considering abandoning the line. The Western Ohio stepped in. The line was originally leased to the Western Ohio starting in 2002. The Western Ohio officially acquired the line in 2006. The Norfolk Southern was given generous track rights to run extras as needed, so Norfolk Southern trains are still a common site on the Peavine today.

Operations on the "Western Ohio Peavine Division" focus on the daily Sardinia Turn. This train originates out of Clare Yard and services the industries between Clare and Sardinia. This job takes (or will take when the layout is finished) most of an operating session to complete.

Daily manifest trains drop inbound cars at Clare and pick up outbound cars. A westbound freight operates out of Marien Yard outside of Portsmouth, OH. And eastbound freight comes out of Carlisle Yard, exchanging cars at the Norfolk Southern's Sharon Yard before terminating at Clare. Each inbound train has a sister train that performs the same duties in the opposite direction.

In addition to these daily locals, grain and coal unit trains cross the Peavine on a daily basis. An auto train snakes down the Peavine, alternating direction each day. Extras from both the Western Ohio and Norfolk Southern round out the daily activity.

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