New York Central [Penn Central]
Ashtabula, Ohio
April 4, 1971

Looking east from the platform of the New York Central's Ashtabula, Ohio station one sees one of the remaining segments of the Central's famous "four-track way," though it will soon narrow to two. This line was originally part of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.

Between the two signals, though not visible, is the bridge over Ashtabula Creek which was the site of the "Ashtabula Horror," one of the nineteenth-century's worst rail disasters when the bridge collapsed under a passenger train due to poor design and many of the surviving passengers were incinerated in the wreckage of the wooden, stove-heated coaches. The bridge's engineer, Charles Collins, was found dead a few days later after testifying for the Ohio Legislature, a death originally considered suicide but long afterwards determined to be murder. The president of the LS&MS railroad, Amasa Stone, who had pushed through the controversial bridge design despite warnings, committed suicide several years later.

Last updated 1/1/2018. Text and photo ©2018 Lamont Downs.