The Hocking Valley

I thought I'd put up a page dealing with the role of the railroad that paralleled the trolley line from Pomeroy to Hobson.

Some of the maps below came from the C&O Railroad Historical Society, and some from Ed Miller who just published a remarkably interesting and detailed book "The Hocking Valley Railway."  The HV and allied railroads made up quite a piece of the midwest transportation infrastructure and seems to be generally unknown by most of the public. It's available in most book stores but if you want an autographed copy, send Ed $29.95 + $5.00 shipping to 389 Pocono Rd., Columbus, OH 43235. Ohio residents add sales tax. (Disclaimer: I'm not getting a cut of this!)

The 1.3 mile line in Pomeroy was actually built by the city between 1890 and 1892 and was known as the Pomeroy Belt Railway. Apparently one of the HV predecessor companies took control of it in 1893. By 1909 the HV purchased the railroad from the city for $100,000. In 1912 the HV had an a mile-long extension built to serve the coal mines that were along Kerr's Run. In 1914 the line was extended another 1.5 miles to serve the Peacock Coal mines. The Pomeroy yard (located where the Mason City bridge now stands) was enlarged to handle the coal traffic.

The book indicates the Hobson Yard [MP 127.9] (where I got the first information on the car line many years ago) was open from 1882 to 1981. The track from Hobson to Pomeroy was taken out of service in June, 1979.

Hobson Yard.

The Middleport station [MP 130.4] was built in 1903, closed in 1953 and retired in 1956. It's still standing, and is used as some type of park building/community center.

Pomeoy [MP 132.2] had a freight station, built in 1905 and closed in 1969. Other facilities included a passenger station, a 4 stall (?) engine house, retired in 1954, a nine track yard and a water tower. 

The C&O acquired an industrial track from the Ohio River Railway and Power Co. on May 27, 1932. It's interesting to note that "Electric" isn't part of the name, and that the takeover date is several years after trolley service supposedly stopped.  The end of the track was at [MP 135.9] although there was a Y at MP 134.3. The Forrest Run extension was retired in 1943. The book also indicated that the HV shared trackage rights with the ORER on Forrest Run.

It's difficult to look at the town today and realize the extent of trackage that existed in a relatively short space. When you look at the maps, try to recall that most of the railroad sidings had to cross the trolley line as well as the main street through town!

Now, on to the maps!

This is from 1943 and shows the Pomeroy Belt, or HV13 as the railroad called it. The A, B and C should help you to orient the other maps to this overall scene. It's interesting that neither the Y at Kerr's Run nor the yard and engine house are shown on any of the maps.

Rotate this 90 degrees clockwise to make it match the other maps that follow. My best guess is that from the "A" up to the end of ownership (notice that it doesn't say end of track) at 81+01 would have all been the trolley line. The siding marked #2762 is probably the location of the still-standing (as of 2004)  Pomeroy Salt building. These three maps are track records dated in 1939.


This shows Kerr's Run and the mines that were up in the valley. According to Ed Miller, the carline had trackage rights on parts of this, so there must have been overhead here?

Match the "B" to the "B" and continue downriver toward Middleport and "C". The car line would have crossed all of the industrial sidings. My only orientation on this is based on #1927 having been the siding into what was later SouthWest Steel. That existed back in the 1960s when I was down there, and it appears to be the only siding that with a facing point switch when you were headed south (or west at that point). How I wish I had been more observant and had a camera at that point!