Nickel Plate Road [Norfolk & Western]
August 28, 1970
It seems like every state, somewhere, has a location referred to by railroaders as "puzzle switches." This particular spot is on the Nickel Plate's line to downtown Cleveland, just west of the spot where the Cleveland Rapid Transit and Erie Connector pass overhead, marked by the bridges in the distance with electrification arches.
These slip switches served multiple purposes. They provided a connection (at upper right) with the Erie's 55th Street Yard and the single active remaining Cleveland Union Terminal track at left, just to the right of the embankment. They gave the Baltimore & Ohio access to Cleveland Union Terminal trackage after the B&O moved their passenger trains to CUT when it opened in 1930. They formed part of the route by which the Nickel Plate Road and Wheeling & Lake Erie connected, following the Nickel Plate's acquisition of the W&LE in 1949. And, they were used during the process of swapping steam for electric locomotives (and vice versa) on Nickel Plate passenger trains, at least until dieselization renedered the issue moot.
The CUT line's catenary is gone, rendered obsolete by dieselization and the disappearance of most mainline passenger traffic. The Cleveland Rapid Transit's line into CUT from the east is at the upper left. This view is from the Ohio State Route 43 overpass, looking southeast.
(Many thanks to members of the Cleveland Rails Yahoo Group for clarifying just what went on here.)
This page posted 6/1/2018; revised 7/1/2018. Text and photo ©2018 Lamont Downs.