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Youngstown & Southeastern

Ohio shortline

The Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad is a shortline subsidiary of the Indiana Boxcar Corporation (IBCX), providing freight service and railcar storage between Youngstown, Ohio and Darlington, Pennsylvania. The line is owned by the Columbiana County Port Authority and is leased to the Eastern States Railroad, which is owned by the line's primary shipper. Service on the line is contracted to the Youngstown & Southeastern. Interchange is with CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern in Youngstown. Today the primary business is railcar storage. Active locomotives are stored and serviced at North Lima; a locomotive dead line is stored east of Negley, Ohio.

This trackage was originally owned by the Youngstown & Southern Railway (YS), which existed from 1904 to 1993, including a period as an electric interurban passenger railway between 1907 and 1948. It was later jointly owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad and Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.

YSRR company map / web

See more #77 roster photos in our New Castle Industrial shortline collection
January 2016

I enjoyed a wonderful Saturday afternoon solo railfanning across the state line over in Ohio, tracking the Youngstown & Southeastern from end to beginning, from Darlington northwest to Youngstown. The line is in rough shape throughout, particularly on the southern end -- lightweight and rusted jointed rail with lots of kinks and dips. If they still make it down that far, they must take their time along the way. I began to get a sense of the line's chief income, and perhaps its dim future, as I found more and more long cuts of stored unit hopper cars in every siding -- railcar storage, that last gasp of shortline income. Beyond that, it was tough to spot an active shipper. Still, the old Youngstown & Southern route is a lovely one -- exponentially so in autumn, I'm sure. The line meanders through coarse woods and passes through tiny villages on its way north to Columbiana and an impressive tunneling under the old Pennsylvania (now Norfolk Southern) mainline. North Lima and the small motive power stable made the entire trek worthwhile. I was lucky to catch an employee in the office late on a Saturday afternoon. He confirmed my hunches: They only run a few days a week now, rarely go all the way to the end, and are making money on storage and not much else. Still, he was kind enough to grant me permission to walk the property and take my roster shots before the sun set over the county and the day grew old. I'm glad I made the trip to get to know this little pike, as one wonders just how long it will be before the sun sets completely on the old Y&S right of way.

Links / Sources

This page was updated on 2016-01-31