World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway (1916–88)

Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway
Reporting mark WLE
Locale Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
Dates of operation 1877–1949
Successor Nickel Plate Road
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway (reporting mark WLE) was a Class I railroad mostly within the U.S. state of Ohio. It was leased to the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate Road) in 1949, and merged into the Norfolk and Western Railway in 1988. A new regional railroad reused the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway name in 1990 when it acquired most of the former W&LE from the N&W.

At the end of 1944, W&LE operated 507 miles of road and 1003 miles of track; that year it reported 2371 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 0.002 million passenger-miles.


The original Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway's oldest predecessor rail line began in Carroll County Railroad on March 9, 1850.

The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad was established on April 6, 1871, and was first built as a 3 ft (914 mm) gauge narrow gauge line between Norwalk and Huron, Ohio. Service began on the new line on May 31, 1877. However, the new road was unable to attract regular traffic, or financing for expansion, and had closed within two years.

With investment by railroad financier standard gauge and construction began again. Service from Huron to Massillon, Ohio, was opened on January 9, 1882, and new lines were constructed that eventually reached the Ohio River and Toledo. The W&LE also developed new docks on Lake Erie at Huron that opened May 21, 1884, when the first cargo of iron ore was received.

In 1880, another 3 ft (914 mm) gauge line, the Connotton Valley Railway, was formed, building north from Canton to Cleveland and then south to Coshocton and Zanesville. The Connotton Valley became the Cleveland, Canton & Southern Railroad and was converted to standard gauge in one day on November 18, 1888. The Cleveland, Canton & Southern Railroad joined the W&LE in 1899 after its purchase at foreclosure sale, becoming W&LE's Cleveland Division.

The railroad's Brewster, Ohio, yards in 1910.

At its height, the W&LE ran from Wheeling, West Virginia, (via the Wheeling Terminal Railway) to Lake Erie at Huron and Toledo. However, the main lines of the W&LE never reached outside Ohio's borders. It also ran from Cleveland to Zanesville, with the lines crossing at Harmon, just east of Brewster, Ohio, which became the location of W&LE's corporate headquarters and locomotive shops. With two busy main stems crossing on the map of Ohio; the road's nickname for many years was "The Iron Cross". A branch between Steubenville and Martins Ferry, Ohio, was completed in 1891, which led to an indirect connection to Wheeling via the Ohio River bridge of the Wheeling Terminal Railway.

The W&LE began producing locomotives at its Brewster, Ohio, shops in

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.