Transportation History can be understood through the documents and stories of the people and companies that connected industries and communities. Trails and natural waterways have given rise to canals, roads, railroads, highways and airports. They have had a major influence on history of localities and their citizens.

Rails and Trails shares primary source materials and research on the history of transportation in Ohio and North America. Although its emphasis is on railroads, a comprehensive study includes other transportation modes that compete with railroads.

The web can organize and display materials in public and private collections without the need to visit and handle the fragile or restricted access originals. This is transforming the study of history.

Many of the digital representations on this site have high resolution versions that require you to install a free DjVu browser plug-in from Caminova. DjVu provides greater detail and faster viewing than typical web-based images.

Additional resources can be found at Historical Societies and Libraries that preserve and document transportation history.

Rails-To-Trails (no affiliation with this site) spearheads the re-purposing of abandoned railroads as linear parks that can be explored by foot or bike.

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New Additions
Historic Railroad Maps of Ohio March 24
R&LHS Grant
ICC RR Valuation
NMRA Clinics July 2014

Historical Mapping
Google Earth Overlays
Lakeland Google Earth Workshop 2015
Geospatial PDF examples
eTech Ohio 2010 Overlays Presentation

Topographic maps show elevation and land use details. View Northeast Ohio quads from the early and mid 20th Century. Links to other sites.
Transportation maps show routes between cities and towns. Viewing an area over time can identify name changes and construction/abandonment years.
Trains were governed by timetables. Public timetables listed passenger train schedules. Employee timetables.had detailed information necessary to operate a train on that section of railroad.
Railroads published track charts and diagrams showing track details including stations, switches, crossings, bridges, tunnels, signals, elevation and curvature. These are helpful in understanding and modeling specific railroad lines. ICC Railroad Valuation
Transportation histories, route guides and other promotional materials from different time periods provide informative perspectives on events and operations.
Photos and drawings document the details of structures, equipment and operation at specific points in time.


Cleveland, Akron & Columbus Railroad
Euclid Railroad
Lake Erie & Pittsburgh Railway
Lake Erie Terminal

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