Cleveland, Southwest and Columbus Railway Company Interurban

The Crestline "Trolley"



Interurban Tressel South of Crestline.

(Photo property of Crestline Shunk Museum)



 Columnist Tells of Interurban Line of Many Years Ago

By Dr. Ernest G. Hesser


Crestline Advocate

The history of the community as well as that of a nation advances by its means of transportation.

There was a time in the history of Crestline when street cars running on rails through the town and the countryside were of utmost importance. to people living in the area. Railroads did not touch many of the small communities because the cost of so doing was beyond the recompense that could be demanded for its service to is passengers. So a network of iron rails and electric power lines and light weight cars for carrying the traveling public were constructed to fill this need.

Many of those living in Crestline at the present time (July 1959) are unaware that an Interurban Electric Line was at one time a feature of the village life.

Mrs. Albert McJunkin is one that does remember, mainly because her father was a maintenance man as well as a motorman employed by the Ohio Central Traction Company. She has given the Museum two pictures which show her father Willis O. Swartz, standing on top of a car in one and at the right of a wrecked car. These pictures were taken in 1907. Ships on the sea, horse drawn vehicles, railroad engines and trains, automobiles, planes and jets all means of transportation have their wrecks.

On November 12, 1891, the commissioners of the county granted a franchise for the building of an electric road from Galion to Bucyrus, to be known as the Suburban Electric Railway Company. The financial depression of 1893 put a stop to all improvement investments, but later the matter was taken up, and the work of building commenced at Galion and gradually extended to Bucyrus.

On August 26, 1899, a regular train service was started from Galion and ran as far as the T & O.C. tracks in Bucyrus. On September 11 the track had been completed to the public square and half-hourly service was established. Although the two cities had a combined population of about 14,000 the business did not justify so frequent service and it was soon reduced to hourly trains.

Later the road was extended to Crestline and the following year to Mansfield. It became the Cleveland, Southwest and Columbus Railway Company, with through trains from Cleveland to Bucyrus. The headquarters of the motive power and the car barns were located in Galion.

There was "a tempest in the teapot" in our town when the planned route of the Interurban through Crestline became known. The Interurban officials wanted their line to run through the center of Crestline. The Crestline Council objected to that and the P.R.R, officials would not allow the line which was coming from South Thoman Street to cross their tracks. So the station was built at the corner of S. Thoman and Lincoln Ave. The building which was the station is now occupied as a dwelling.

Later an electric road was incorporated which was known as the Columbus, Marion and Bucyrus Elec., Ry. On August 10, 1908 regular interurban trains started from Bucyrus to Columbus which made which made the connecting link at Bucyrus of and electric Interurban line from Cleveland through Crestline, Bucyrus, Columbus and Cincinnati. At first the road bed was rather rough and bumpy and there were many grades and fills. Young passengers were thrilled when they crossed "Shafer's Hollow" east of Crestline on their way to Mansfield and the big overhead bridge south of town above the Big 4 tracks (now the N.Y.C.) on their way to Galion.

Now this thrilling road of 50 years ago is gone. The only landmarks remaining to tell the story of Interurban Street Car days consists of two scarred and battered cement abutments on either side of South Wiley Street, and two larger and higher ones near by on either side of the N.Y.C. tracks. A large earth incline covered with trees and shrubs as well as poison ivy leads to one of these. When the road was in operation steel girders joined these two abutments and wooden tressels supported the longer bridge span between the pairs. The Albert Spanglers who live on South Wiley Street have these interesting landmarks as interesting background to their home with its beautiful lawn and orchard. Mr. Spangler grew up with the interurban and has a wonderful fund of stories concerning its development, its operation and its decline.

Abstracted from the July 2, 1959 Crestline Advocate-Crestline Public Library.


Car used by the

Cleveland, Southwest and Columbus Railway

(stock photo)


Car used by the

Cleveland, Southwest and Columbus Railway

(stock photo)