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Bluffton's railroad Golden Age

It's nearly 115 years ago at the National Quarry

north of Jefferson Street - the year is 1910-11

Can't you just hear the whistle? The sound of the engine breathing? The tug of the freight cars as the locomotive leaves the siding? This is Bluffton in 1910 or '11. It's our railroad Golden Age.

Today the quarry is known as the National Quarry where it sits quietly and in spots as deep past 60 feet, between Jefferson and Lake streets in Bluffton.

The Mogul (wheel arrangement 2-6-0) steam locomotive and its freight cars face Jefferson Street, heading westbound toward Lima. The locomotive is Number 1 of a company called C. Company.

The freight cars also belong to C. Company. There's a passing track between the rail spur, where the train sits, and the main line, The passing track enabled slower trains to wait on the siding enabling faster trains to pass by.

Neither the spur nor passing track exist today. The rails in the photo have no tie plates. The ballast is gravel. One of the men standing on a freight car is Frank McElroy, a stone company employee.

Today the Triplett Bike Path is in place of the side track. We can only imagine that this photo was taken because of the rather large order of limestone that is loaded in the freight cars.

The quarry was closed as a result of a fire to its building in 1929. When this photo was taken the railroad was called Lake Erie and Western. It eventually became the Nickel Plate Road and today is part of the Norfolk Southern system.

Today its' part of forgotten Bluffton.


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