Nickel Plate Road Magazine
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IN A TINY wooden office atop a hill east of Cleveland sits a railroad executive who has his share of problems but the usual ones concerning personnel and road equipment are not included.
John A. McCarthy serves as everything from general manager to traffic solicitor for the 1.8-mile long Euclid Railroad, for he is the road's only employee. Other than its track and right-of-way, the road's most prized possession is its Interstate Commerce Commission certificate as a common carrier.
Few of the thousands of Clevelanders who daily drive across the railroad at one of its two grade crossings are aware of the line's existence. Most believe that the tracks are abandoned.
But several times a week a Nickel Plate switcher from Ivanhoe Yard in Cleveland brings several cars up the steep grade cut through a forest and gorge to make deliveries and pickups. The Euclid Railroad serves a small industrial belt in South Euclid, a Cleveland suburb, and busies itself with the movement of stone, cement, lumber, cinders, peat moss, slag, salt and other commodities.
The railroad was built in 1882 and diamond-stack locomotives began chugging up the Euclid Creek valley to service the bluestone quarries. Mr. McCarthy entered the railroad picture in 1946. He was a bookkeeper for two small industries in this area when the owners of one decided that the railroad would be useful in shipping their products. They bought the line and placed Mr. McCarthy in charge.
"When we have a shipment, we call the Nickel Plate," Mr. McCarthy says. "They send a diesel up the hill to handle our freight. I am dispatcher in addition to being general manager. I walk the track twice a week and try to drum up some new freight business too. "
The railroad now has 18 customers, including the cities of South Euclid and Cleveland Heights which receive their coal at the road's Green Road terminal. In recent years this area has enjoyed considerable industrial growth and for the first time since the bluestone industry went into decline, the railroad has a promising future.
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