Johnstown's Train History
Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad Timeline:
1880 - First Toledo & Ohio Central (T. and O.C.) train arrived
1935 - Passenger service terminated
1972 - Only freight and coal cars on the railroad
1977 - Clearing of ties and rails began
1987 - The old rail bed became the TJ Evans Bike Path
An 1875 map says a proposed railroad line through Johnstown was to be known as the Atlantic & Lake Erie, but, the company over extended their efforts, withdrew construction, and later declared bankruptcy.
However, a local entrepreneur and senior citizen named Eli Pratt decided to spearhead the need to continue the train project by selling subscriptions to finish the trunk line. In the late 1870’s another railroad resumed building the line through Johnstown and would be used for carrying coal. Next came a train station was built and signs added to each end of the building with Johnstown spelled out.
The train station, sometimes called a depot, housed a ticket and waiting room, telegraph facilities, areas for baggage and parcels, as well as extra storage areas. The entrance on the northwest allowed for those in buggies to enter and buy their tickets. The double doors made it easy for loading and unloading wagon goods.
On July 4, 1880 the Toledo & Ohio Central (T. and O.C.) train passed through Johnstown and was the first train to do so. Four trains would travel through Johnstown each day: 2 northbound, 2 southbound. The trains were primarily used to carry freight but they also had a few passenger cars. The first railroad agent was M. W. Fisher; the second was Ed Harding.
Johnstown became drawn into the new century because of the train. Along Track Street building supply businesses and lumber as well as mills to service farm goods sprung up.
In the 1920’s the New York Central (NYC), ran south from Thurston [with connections to the Ohio River] and north to Galion [with connections to Lake Erie] and elsewhere. The engine became a diesel one in 1949.
April 27, 1935 was the day that the last passenger service traveled through the Johnstown Depot. However, the railroad continued to use the Johnstown tracks primarily for freight and coal until it was abandoned in 1972. In February 1976 the railroad was legally abandoned and in 1977 the clearing of ties and rails began.