New York Central [Penn Central]
Ashtabula, Ohio (NYC Station)
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." Conversion of the Cleveland to Buffalo mainline to two tracks under Centralized Traffic Control was completed in October of 1956 under then-New York Central president Alfred Perlman, and the characteristic tri-light signal brackets date from that time. 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.