The Lakeside and Marblehead Railroad

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Here is the second edition of our history book about the Lakeside & Marblehead Railroad, a seven mile Ohio short line. While it began life in 1886 as a sparsely traveled passenger hauler, it soon became one of the most profitable and interesting railroads in the country. Using 0-6-0 steam switch locomotives, the L&M consistently hauled more tonnage and earned more revenue per mile than many larger and more boastful roads.

Investors built the Lakeside & Marblehead to serve the burgeoning lime industry of Marblehead and heavy seasonal passenger traffic to Lakeside, the Marblehead Peninsula’s seasonal resort, but it was slow going at first. The railroad had nearly perished when the Kelley Island Lime & Transport Company, a prosperous basic materials company, merged it, along with area stone quarry operations, into one of the world’s largest limestone production facilities. Using the L&M and an extensive narrow-gauge stone transportation system at Marblehead, the company supported steel production by annually sending millions of tons of flux stone to furnaces across the Midwest.

Although the Lakeside & Marblehead closed in 1964 and the owners tore it up in 1997, this book brings nearly every aspect of the line back to life, preserving it for posterity. The whole story in all its variety is here: 0-6-0 switch engines, Fairbanks-Morse and McKeen gasoline motor cars, scores of Shay narrow gauge locomotives, a car ferry, the boat loading dock at Marblehead, all the quarry’s stone production plants, accidents and collisions, and the line’s famed sharing of facilities with the Toledo, Port Clinton & Lakeside Railway electric interurban line.

Created through careful study of the railroad’s original documents, this fascinating book contains over 50,000 words of text, 130 photos from the area’s best-known railroad photographers, 45 schedules and illustrations, 13 custom maps, 11 tables of fascinating statistics, and two unique paintings, making it a decisive portrait of one of the best short railroad lines ever built.

Available as hardback and ebook.
The ebook version contains all content from the printed volume.

Available NOW on Amazon and ebay!

No Amazon Kindle? No problem! See all digital versions.


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