Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway

Last updated

The Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway was an interurban electrified railway system serving northwestern Ohio's Marblehead Peninsula.


The interurban is a type of electric railway, with streetcar-like light electric self-propelled railcars which run within and between cities or towns. They were prevalent in North America between 1900 and 1925 and were used primarily for passenger travel between cities and their surrounding suburban and rural communities. Limited examples existed in Europe and Asia. Interurban as a term encompassed the companies, their infrastructure, and the cars that ran on the rails.

Railway electrification system electric power to railway trains and trams without an on-board prime mover or local fuel supply

A railway electrification system supplies electric power to railway trains and trams without an on-board prime mover or local fuel supply. Electric railways use electric locomotives to haul passengers or freight in separate cars or electric multiple units, passenger cars with their own motors. Electricity is typically generated in large and relatively efficient generating stations, transmitted to the railway network and distributed to the trains. Some electric railways have their own dedicated generating stations and transmission lines but most purchase power from an electric utility. The railway usually provides its own distribution lines, switches and transformers.

Ohio State of the United States of America

Ohio is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Of the fifty states, it is the 34th largest by area, the seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus.

It was incorporated in 1902, began operating in 1905 and only ceased operations in 1958, much later than most other interurbans. It originally linked Genoa with the resort town of Port Clinton, a distance of 23 miles, and was then extended to Marblehead from Port Clinton, a further 12 miles. Originally, the railway's cars entered Toledo over the Lake Shore Electric Railway's tracks from an interchange at Genoa, but in 1906 the TPC&L constructed its own line into Toledo, connecting with the city's streetcar system at Starr Avenue. The TPC&L ran over streetcar tracks to Toledo's business district. A further three-mile extension to the pier at Bay Point in 1911 gave a ferry connection to Sandusky.

Genoa, Ohio Village in Ohio, United States

Genoa is a village in Ottawa County, Ohio, United States. The population was 2,336 at the 2010 census. Originally settled as Stony Ridge, it took its present name in 1856 and was incorporated as a village in 1868.

Port Clinton, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Port Clinton is a city in and the county seat of Ottawa County, Ohio, United States, located along the Portage River and Lake Erie, about 44 miles east of Toledo. The population was 6,056 at the 2010 census. The city has been nicknamed the "Walleye Capital of the World."

Marblehead, Ohio Village in Ohio, United States

Marblehead is a village in Ottawa County, Ohio, United States. The population was 903 at the 2010 census.

Financing and Construction

The company was founded and initially financed by a group of successful Toledo, Ohio businessmen led by Theodore Schmitt, who became the firm's first president and invested a substantial proportion of his own money into the venture. Additional funds were acquired through the sale of $1.5 million in bonds at 5% interest. The cost of constructing the line was reported as $1,542,586 in 1909, or $30,425 per mile, which was a high cost for an interurban; this reflected high quality construction especially of the bridges on the line. While the line had no problems producing an operating profit, the interest payments made for an overall loss at first.

Toledo, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Toledo is a city in and the county seat of Lucas County, Ohio, United States. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, at the western end of Lake Erie bordering the state of Michigan. The city was founded in 1833 on the west bank of the Maumee River, and originally incorporated as part of Monroe County, Michigan Territory. It was re-founded in 1837, after conclusion of the Toledo War, when it was incorporated in Ohio.

Bond (finance) instrument of indebtedness

In finance, a bond is an instrument of indebtedness of the bond issuer to the holders. The most common types of bonds include municipal bonds and corporate bonds.

Supplying Electricity

Power was provided by the railway's own power-house constructed at Port Clinton, which had a capacity well in excess of that needed for the line. Like many interurban companies, the TPC&L began providing electric power to the on-line communities; the sale of power had become almost a quarter of the company's income by 1912. It was that power business, rather than the railway, which made the company a desirable acquisition target, and in 1912 the company was purchased by W.S. Barstow of New York, who purchased the company and all outstanding bonds, the latter at a rate of 65 cents on the dollar. The new operating company under Barstow's ownership was the Northwestern Ohio Railway and Power Company, a subsidiary of his General Gas and Electric Company.

The new ownership invested to improve the railway's freight business, in new cars, and in building new shops and headquarters in Oak Harbor. The cars were repainted from the TPC&L's plain Pullman green to a livery of bright green and scarlet with gold lettering.

Oak Harbor, Ohio Village in Ohio, United States

Oak Harbor is a village in Ottawa County, Ohio, United States. Oak Harbor is 30 miles east of Downtown Toledo. The population was 2,759 at the 2010 census. It lies a short distance southwest of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, one of two nuclear power plants in Ohio.

Traction Operation

Without the heavy debt load of the original company, the railway turned a regular if small profit in most years. Ridership reached a peak in 1915 and fell steadily thereafter; cost savings through four new lightweight cars and cheaper power kept the company profitable even as the automobile ate into the company's resort traffic. By 1924, ridership was half the 1915 level.

In that year, the company was sold again, to the Cities Service Corporation, mainly once more for its associated power generating business. The line operated as part of the Ohio Public Service Company, the name the cars would bear for a further 21 years. The new company painted the cars in high-visibility "traction orange". The extension to Bay Point was abandoned in 1926. Service levels were cut to only six departures from Toledo a day from a high of fourteen as the Great Depression hit; only three of these travelled the whole line. Single-man operation was adopted to cut costs in 1932. Ridership continued to fall, until in 1938 only 48,900 passengers rode the line, down from 934,055 in the peak year of 1915.

The Toledo streetcar line decided in 1939 to abandon the Starr Avenue route through which the now OPS's cars entered the city. Rather than cut back service to the edge of town, the company decided that ridership levels were insufficient to continue passenger operation. The last run was on July 11, 1939.

Operation continued as a purely freight carrier. Less-than-carload (LCL) freight had ceased in 1935, but carload traffic interchanged with the railroads continued. The line interchanged with the Toledo Terminal Railroad, the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway, the New York Central Railroad, and the Lakeside and Marblehead Railroad, and did not parallel any of these lines. The majority of traffic was dolomite from a quarry in the area, and coal for a Toledo Edison power plant.

Separating the Power and Traction Businesses

Toledo and Eastern steeplecab No. 80. Click to enlarge. 1958-01 T&E Steeplecab 80.JPG
Toledo and Eastern steeplecab No. 80. Click to enlarge.

In 1944, the Ohio Public Service Company was forced to divest itself of its railway operations under the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act. Local scrap dealer L.P. Kulka purchased the line and began to operate it as the Toledo and Eastern Railroad. He sold it in 1951 to the Standard Slag Company, who in turn sold it in 1953 to Lloyd B. Lyon. The line was highly profitable in these years, but in 1957 the power company began to receive most of its coal by boat and the quarry began shipping via the New York Central. This was 95 percent of the company's traffic.

The company filed for abandonment on January 10, 1958, which was approved on March 13; operations ceased on July 16.

Niles-built passenger car #21 was the first piece of equipment obtained in 1948 by the fledgling Ohio Railway Museum, and is a rare example of a wooden-bodied interurban car still in operating condition. Car #64, a Kuhlman lightweight, is also at that museum.

Related Research Articles

British Columbia Electric Railway

The British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) was an historic railway which operated in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Originally the parent company, and later a division, of BC Electric, the BCER assumed control of existing streetcar and interurban lines in southwestern British Columbia in 1897, and operated the electric railway systems in the region until the last interurban service was discontinued in 1958. During and after the streetcar era, BC Electric also ran bus and trolleybus systems in Greater Vancouver and bus service in Greater Victoria; these systems subsequently became part of BC Transit, and the routes in Greater Vancouver eventually came under the control of TransLink. Trolley buses still run in the City of Vancouver and one line extends into Burnaby.

Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad

The Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad (C&LE) was a short-lived electric interurban railway that operated in 1930–1939 Depression-era Ohio and ran between the major cities of Cincinnati, Dayton, Springfield, Columbus, and Toledo. It had a substantial freight business and interchanged with other interurbans to serve Detroit and Cleveland. Its twenty high-speed "Red Devil" interurban passenger cars operated daily between Cincinnati and Cleveland via Toledo, the longest same equipment run by an interurban in the United States. The C&LE failed because of the weak economy and the loss of essential freight interchange partners. It ceased operating in 1939.

The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railway (CH&DRy) was an electric interurban railway that existed between 1926 and 1930 in the U.S. state of Ohio. It was absorbed in 1930 into the new Cincinnati and Lake Erie interurban railway. In typical interurban fashion, in open country it had its own right of way, although this was often adjacent and parallel to a road. In cities and towns it operated on city streets. This included two and three car freight/express trains as well as passenger cars.

New York State Railways

New York State Railways was a subsidiary of the New York Central Railroad that controlled several large city streetcar and electric interurban systems in upstate New York. It included the city transit lines in Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Oneida and Rome, plus various interurban lines connecting those cities. New York State Railways also held a 50% interest in the Schenectady Railway Company, but it remained a separate independent operation. The New York Central took control of the Rochester Railway Company, the Rochester and Eastern Rapid Railway and the Rochester and Sodus Bay Railway in 1905, and the Mohawk Valley Company was formed by the railroad to manage these new acquisitions. New York State Railways was formed in 1909 when the properties controlled by the Mohawk Valley Company were merged. In 1912 it added the Rochester and Suburban Railway, the Syracuse Rapid Transit Railway, the Oneida Railway, and the Utica and Mohawk Valley Railway. The New York Central Railroad was interested in acquiring these lines in an effort to control the competition and to gain control of the lucrative electric utility companies that were behind many of these streetcar and interurban railways. Ridership across the system dropped through the 1920s as operating costs continued to rise, coupled with competition from better highways and private automobile use. New York Central sold New York State Railways in 1928 to a consortium led by investor E. L. Phillips, who was looking to gain control of the upstate utilities. Phillips sold his stake to Associated Gas & Electric in 1929, and the new owners allowed the railway bonds to default. New York State Railways entered receivership on December 30, 1929. The company emerged from receivership in 1934, and local operations were sold off to new private operators between 1938 and 1948.

Illinois Terminal Railroad

The Illinois Terminal Railroad Company, known as the Illinois Traction System until 1937, was a heavy duty interurban electric railroad with extensive passenger and freight business in central and southern Illinois from 1896 to 1982. When Depression era Illinois Traction was in financial distress and had to reorganize, the Illinois Terminal name was adopted to reflect the line's primary money making role as a freight interchange link to major steam railroads at its terminal ends, Peoria, Danville, and St. Louis. Interurban passenger service slowly was reduced, and it ended in 1956. Freight operation continued but was hobbled by tight street running in some towns requiring very sharp radius turns. In 1956, ITC was absorbed by a consortium of connecting railroads.

Yakima Valley Transportation Company

The Yakima Valley Transportation Company was an interurban electric railroad headquartered in Yakima, Washington. It was operator of the city's streetcar system from 1907–1947, and it also provided the local bus service from the 1920s until 1957.

Lake Shore Electric Railway

The Lake Shore Electric Railway (LSE) was an interurban electric railway that ran primarily between Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio by way of Sandusky and Fremont. Through arrangements with connecting interurban lines, it also offered service from Fremont to Fostoria and Lima, Ohio, and at Toledo to Detroit and Cincinnati.

Detroit and Toledo Shore Line Railroad

The Detroit and Toledo Shore Line Railroad is a historic railroad that operated in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan.

The Indiana Railroad (IR) was the last of the typical Midwestern United States interurban lines. It was formed in 1930-31 by combining the operations of the five major interurban systems in central Indiana into one entity. The predecessor companies came under the control of Midland Utilities, owned by Samuel Insull. It was Insull's plan to transform the Indiana interurban network into a new Indiana Railroad by modernizing the profitable routes and abandoning the unprofitable ones. With the onset of the Great Depression, the Insull empire collapsed and the Indiana Railroad was left with a decaying infrastructure and little hope for overcoming the growing competition of the automobile for passenger business and the truck for freight business. The IR faced bankruptcy in 1933, and receiver Bowman Elder was designated to run the company. Payments on bonded debt were suspended. Elder was able to keep the system virtually intact for four years, and IR operated about 600 miles (970 km) of interurban lines throughout Indiana during this period. During the late 1930s, the routes were abandoned one by one until a 1941 wreck with fatalities south of Indianapolis put an abrupt end to the last operation of interurbans in Indiana.

The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company

The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company, also referred to as the Milwaukee Interurban Lines or the TMER&L is a defunct railroad in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Co. was the largest electric railway and electric utility system in Wisconsin. It combined several of the earlier horsecar, steam dummy and streetcar lines into one system. Its Milwaukee streetcar lines soon ran on most major streets and served most areas of the city. The interurban lines reached throughout southeastern Wisconsin. TMER&L also operated the streetcar lines in Appleton, Kenosha and Racine, as well as its own switching operations at the Port Washington and Lakeside power plants.

Incorporated on April 17, 1886, at Marblehead, Ohio, the Lakeside and Marblehead Railroad (L&M) was a short standard gauge railroad that spanned about seven miles (11.3 km) in length. It extended from Marblehead through Lakeside to a connection with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway at Danbury. A common carrier, it carried both freight and passengers. It was abandoned as a common carrier railroad July 31, 1964, operated for the last time as a private industrial railroad in Summer 1978, and its tracks were removed in Fall 1997.

Terre Haute, Indianapolis and Eastern Traction Company

The Terre Haute, Indianapolis and Eastern Traction Company, or THI&E, was the second largest interurban in the U.S. state of Indiana at the 1920s height of the "interurban era." This system included over 400 miles of track, with lines radiating from Indianapolis to the east, northwest, west and southwest as well as streetcar lines in several major cities. The THI&E was formed in 1907 by the Schoepf-McGowan Syndicate as a combination of several predecessor interurban and street car companies and was operated independently until incorporation into the Indiana Railroad in 1931. The THI&E served a wide range of territory, including farmlands in central Indiana, the mining region around Brazil, and numerous urban centers. Eventually it slowly succumbed, like all of the other central Indiana interurban lines, to competition from automobiles and trucks and improved paralleling highways.

One of the smaller interurban railways in the state of Ohio was the Youngstown and Ohio River Railroad, or Y&OR. Along with the Youngstown and Southern Railway, the Y&OR formed a traction link between Youngstown, Ohio and the Ohio River at East Liverpool. It served several coal mines in the area and was distinguished by the unusual feat of electrifying a section of a steam railroad, the Pittsburgh, Lisbon and Western Railroad, as part of a trackage rights agreement. The Y&OR operated for 24 years.

The Lee County Central Electric Railway, or LCC, was an electric interurban railway linking the small prairie town of Lee Center with nearby Amboy and Middlebury in northern Illinois. The line was conceived as an electric railway link between the cities of Steward, south of Rochelle, and Dixon, but was never able to raise enough capital to reach either destination. The LCC was one of the smallest and shortest-lived electric operations in the entire national interurban network, and yet despite its notorious operational problems it survived as a de-electrified freight carrier far longer than most larger interurban railways.

Jewett Car Company

The Jewett Car Company was an early 20th-century American industrial company that manufactured streetcars and interurban cars.

Interurban Bridge bridge in United States of America

The Interurban Bridge, also known as the Ohio Electric Railroad Bridge. is a historic interurban railway reinforced concrete multiple arch bridge built in 1908 to span the Maumee River joining Lucas and Wood counties near Waterville, Ohio. The span was once the world's largest earth-filled reinforced concrete bridge.One of the bridge's supports rests on the Roche de Boeuf, a historic Indian council rock, which was partially destroyed by the bridge's construction. The bridge, which is no longer in use, is a popular subject for photographers and painters, who view it from Farnsworth Metropark.

Interurban and streetcar railways in Syracuse, New York

Interurban and streetcar railways flourished in Syracuse, New York until the automobile, airplane and bus took their place.

Chartered in 1886, the Canandaigua Street Railroad was a local streetcar line serving the lakeside city of Canandaigua, New York beginning in 1887. The railroad was sold to the Canandaigua Electric Light and Railroad which rebuilt and electrified the line in 1892. The Ontario Light and Traction Company purchased it in 1900, and leased the line to the Rochester and Eastern Rapid Railway in 1903. In 1905, the line came under the control of the Mohawk Valley Company, and in turn, New York State Railways in 1909. Operation was converted to bus operation some time in the 1920s, but this service ended when the Rochester and Eastern Rapid Railway shut down on July 31, 1930. The lease of the former Canandaiua lines was allowed to lapse.

Portland–Lewiston Interurban transport company

The Portland–Lewiston Interurban (PLI) was an electric railroad subsidiary of the Androscoggin Electric Company operating from 1914 to 1933 between Monument Square in Portland and Union Square in Lewiston, Maine. Hourly service was offered over the 40-mile (64 km) route between the two cities. Express trains stopping only at West Falmouth, Gray, New Gloucester, Upper Gloucester and Danville made the trip in 80 minutes, while trains making other local stops upon request required 20 minutes more. The line was considered the finest interurban railroad in the state of Maine.