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Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Scenic Line

Ohio shortline

Located in the northeastern corner of Ohio, only a dozen miles from Lake Erie, the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Scenic Line is a six mile tourist operation utilizing Alco switchers and an assortment of passenger equipment. The trackage is a surviving segment of a former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway division, later New York Central, connecting Jefferson to points north and south. Begun in 1991, the passenger operation is the sister company to the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Railroad -- a shortline bulk commodity hauler interchanging with the Norfolk Southern.

See also our complete Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson shortline collection


In the fall of 2011 I took my family with me on my third visit to Jefferson, Ohio and the busy little Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson. The weather was terrific, blue skies and puffy clouds. Before we boarded the train for the 12-mile run, my daughter and I were inspecting #7371 when we received an impromptu invitation to ride in the cab. Ours was the second excursion of the day, so the engineer needed to run his yellow S1 around the train to recouple to the north end of the consist. Later, after our excursion, we found the locomotive again for one last round of pictures, only to be welcomed back into the can for a second run-around: this time to put the locomotive up for the night in the storage shed. It was a great day on the AC&J, in large part because it was my daughter's first ride in a locomotive cab. "Daddy, the only thing sad about this day: We can't tell Papa about my first cab ride." Indeed.

Many thanks to the AC&J crewmen for their generous shortline hospitality. Long live the #7371!

October "Pumpkin Train" Ride

That the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson's six mile run in northeast Ohio follows a former New York Central mainline right-of-way becomes obvious with the first ride: straight lines all the way, save one gentle curvature to run due-north to Plymouth. This makes for a smooth excursion ride.

The line crosses two waterways en route, and in the fall of 2011 major work was being done down in the stream to dredge the area surround the turn-of-the-century stone pilings that support the bridge.

The ride runs north, underneath Ohio Route 11, and stops short just south of the interchange with the Norfolk Southern mainline to Ashtabula -- a major rail coal-loading facility for great lakes shipping. Near Plymouth, the AC&J has installed a short double-ended siding for running the locomotive around their tourist trains. The ride returns southward to Jefferson, with the locomotive running cab-first.

The route show signs of track rehabilitation, including bridge repairs and tie replacement. The right-of-way is owned by the State of Ohio and leased to the shortline hauler.

Links / Sources

This page was updated on 2015-10-06