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Adena is located two miles north of U.S. Route 250, 14 miles west of Martins Ferry and it's primary railroad was the Wheeling and Lake Erie.
The Railway express agency operated transportation service twice daily to connect with express trains on the B & O and NYC railroads. Some even made daily connections to Pittsburgh, PA.
A branch line to Harrisville, Maynard, St. Clairsville, and Neffs produced more traffic.
Eastern Ohio has the richest coal vein in the nation and in those days, the railways were a facilitating freight factor.
Adena's old water tank was located left of the railroad crossing on the north side. It was removed when diesel engines took place
of the steam engines. The train station is presently dismantled and was once a lively place in town. [Photos left] Most
of our population used to watch trains arrive and depart there. Today, most of the tracks have been removed and trains no longer travel through a once busy railyard,- Adena.
THEY are working on the railroad!
W. & L.E./Iron Cross Chapter (of the Nickel Plate Historical Technical Society ;)Left to Right:
DENNIS SNYDER (kneeling), BOB VENSEL, RUSS SHILLING, ALAN NAGY,
JOHN SNYDER (seated), BRENDAN ELLIS, TIM MORAN, CHRIS ELLIS,
JOE IMMLER, JOHN BEACH, MIKE SPINELLI & CHUCK PETSCHER.GARY BUSBY is also part of the group but wasn't available for this photo.
These devoted railroad enthusiasts met at one of their favorite railroad yards in Adena, Ohio. They are The Wheeling & Lake Erie/ Iron Cross Chapter of the Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society. (http://www.nkphts.org/home.html)Their goal is dedicated to preserving, protecting, and promoting history of the "OLD" Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway and the New Wheeling railway, and they really miss the area railroads.
The history of the Adena railroad began in 1890, with a branch built to Robyville in 1900. Adena was an agricultural community until the coming of the railroad, then it began to boom. By 1939, there was no handicap as the train schedules were arranged to meet
other lines for prompt movement of freight. The former yard was located at railroad milepost 192.8 on Mill Street near the center of Adena. Eleven million tons of coal passed through Eastern Ohio and ninety percent of it traveled through the Adena yards.
Coal trains ran loaded and the railroads transported raw coal to prep plants and finished coal moved to markets in all directions. Freight and mail weren't the only type of trains that traveled through the once prosperous Adena, passenger trains made connections
Surging full steam ahead, the W & L E Iron Cross group have visited Adena thrice and the facts they have found are fascinating. W L & E is the largest railroad based in Ohio and prevalent among all railroads in the USA. It centered in Ohio and western Pennsylvania with 840 miles of track from Toledo, Ohio, to Hagerstown, Maryland. Geographically, the entire Wheeling system as it existed prior to the merger with the Nickel Plate was the Toledo to Wheeling mainline and the Cleveland to Zanesville mainline as primary routes. In the early to mid-1900 this piece of Wheeling railway was referred to as the "IRON CROSS." W & LE opened the Adena line in 1889, and operated it for nearly 60 years. In late 1949, it merged with the Nickel Plate that operated until 1965 then merging into Norfolk & Western. Continuing to operate until 1989, N & W merged that year becoming Norfolk & Southern. Federal regulations closed many railroads following the merger and the Adena line was railroaded. Today, W & L. E. claim to have contracts in an array of commodities with Marcellus and Utica Shale operation.
Denny Snyder, tour conductor, of the W & LE's Iron Cross division reported that ten percent of the United States' coal was transported through the Adena, Ohio rail yard. The Adena wye was the interface of the Nickel Plate Railroads. He shared a fact sheet about Adena: From 1900 until 1927 Adena housed seventeen deep coal mines and five strip mines producing 17,000 tons of coal daily. Wheeling was a leader in coal hopper design which was one of the first to have a steel hopper in 1904 and in 1936 it ordered 1000 hoppers. Of the 61,000 series of hoppers, 996 of them were transported to the Nickel Plate division. By the mid 1950's the Wheeling District shipped eleven million tons of coal of which 90 percent was mined within 20 miles of Adena. In May of 1965, the Norfolk & Western reported 9200 load shifts, (that is a loaded car of coal) and Adena handled 5000 of them. Ten percent of all coal shipped on the N & W line nationwide came through Adena.
The group meets five or six times a year touring rail facilities that still exist from the steam days. Sometimes, they just sit back and watch today's trains as they roll along the original W. & L. E. Right-Of-Way. During the winter, they enthusiastically conglomerate to view layouts of the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad. In doing so, their research and fact tracking keep Ohio's railroads ephemeral so there will always be light at the end of the tunnel.
For more information about The Wheeling & Lake Erie/ Iron Cross Chapter of the Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society log onto: http://www.nkphts.org/ironcrossinfo.html.
Railroad historians stay on track. The Wheeling & Lake Erie Iron Cross historians visit Adena in 2007