abandoned railroads in Ohio

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  • Member since
    September, 2008
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abandoned railroads in Ohio
Posted by Hank67 on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 8:27 PM

I am trying to find information on a long abandoned railroad in Eastern Ohio called the B,Z & C or Possibly the B,C, & Q. It went out of business and was abandoned I believe in the 1920's. It was a narrow guage that ran from Bellaire Ohio or Benwood WVA ( I think) to Zanesville Ohio. I think it went through or at least very near Cumberland ohio. It came into zanesville at a Train Order tower called, apropriatly, BZ Tower. It ran on the B&O tracks using a third rail from there to the B&O depot.

It would be greatly appriciated if any one could give me any information or direct me to a history or this short lived Railroad.

thanks , Hank

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Posted by JonathanS on Friday, September 19, 2008 8:04 AM

It was the B, C & Z and ran from Bellaire through Caldwell to Zanesville.  It was reorganized to the Ohio River and Western and ended up being part of the Pennsylvania Railroad which operated a number of 3 foot lines.

There is an excellent book on the railroad called "Hidden Treasures, the Story of the Ohio River & Western" written by Edward Cass.  It was published by Timber Times in 1997.  Additionally there is a book available from time to time published by the county Historical Society in Woodsfield Ohio.  (They have, or used to have, one of the BC&Z/OR&W coaches in back of thier building) It is more of a compillation of historical documents and news articles relating to the company.  The historical society also has a number of photographs available.

Quite a bit of the ROW is easily found.  And there are a few cars still around in parks, on private property used as sheds, etc.

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Posted by rogruth on Sunday, September 28, 2008 11:36 PM

Most of the above is correct except it was theB,Z&C.Bellaire,Zanesville and Cincinnati more commonly known in the area as the Bent,Zigzag and Crooked.When it became the Ohio River and Western it was called the Old,Rickety and Wobbly.


I am originally from Bellaire and my grandmother rode the last passenger train.Later trains were only for removal of track and equipment.

 Two other books that cover the above were written by Daniel L Frizzi Jr.He is an attorney in Bellaire."An American Railroad Portrait:People,Places and Pultney" covers all railroads in the township and"Honoring Our Father" which is a biography of one of the founders of the B,Z&C and of the city of Bellaire.

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Posted by Anderphoto on Wednesday, October 01, 2008 9:47 PM

The SPV RR Atlas lists a B&StC 3' gauge in SE Ohio, so I did a quick Google search for BELLAIRE & ST. CLAIRSVILLE NARROW GAUGE RAILWAY and came up with a few items that may be of interest to you.

BELLAIRE & ST. CLAIRSVILLE NARROW GAUGE RAILWAY is also mentioned on this site...  http://wheeling.weirton.lib.wv.us/bus/transp86.htm

Or this may be what closer to what you're looking for;

OHIO RIVER AND WESTERN RAILROAD (Bellaire and Southwestern) The O. R. and W. was originally called the Bellaire and Southwestern Railway Company. The first spike on the B. and S.W. was driven on November 27, 1877 at Bellaire. It was to be a narrow gauge railroad (three feet wide, while standard is four foot eight and one-half inches wide). Formal opening was December 2, 1879. On December 5 the main office was moved from Bellaire to Woodsfield. Soon westward expansion from Woodsfield began.

On January 20, 1882 the Bellaire and Southwestern and the Zanesville and Southeastern were consolidated. The new railroad became known as the Bellaire, Zanesville and Cincinnati, thinking it would be eventually be connected with the narrow gauge network in the southwestern part of the state. Bellaire and Zanesville were then connected by narrow gauge line 112 miles long and a yard wide. This railroad was soon called the Bent, Zig-Zag, and Crooked because of all of the curves and turns. The railroad had a little more than six miles of trestles. There were three tunnels on the line, the St. Clair, the Perryopolis, and the Standing Stone.

In 1902 the name was changed to the Ohio River and Western Railroad (O. R. and W.). It was later called by some people the Old Rusty and Wobbly.

Derailments and wrecks were quite numerous. Three trains were wrecked in just one afternoon, one falling into a stream and two in a collision. Model "T" Fords would sometimes get into the way too. Law suits were also quite frequent. Trainsmen and passengers sued for burning of their rail fences and hay stacks caused by sparks from the locomotives and the killing of their livestock. The company also got into the act by suing the stockholders for non-payment of their subscriptions, and for right of way.

The final run between Zanesville and Woodsfield was in 1928. Three years later the run between Woodsfield and Bellaire was also discontinued. On May 30, 1931 taps were sounded for the railroad.

Historical Pictures of St. Clairsville, Ohio, Shadyside, Ohio & Bellaire, Ohio (may have some RR buildings)  http://news.webshots.com/album/548532032eNdGnU?start=60

There's probably more, but this was just a quick search to get started. Hope this helps your research.

Glenn Anderson


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Posted by ahuffman on Thursday, October 02, 2008 9:29 AM

The B, Z, & C or Bellaire, Zanesville, and Cincinnati ran from Bellaire to Zanesville via Woodsfield and Caldwell according to an 1895 Ohio railroad map I have.  This narrow gauge line continued to run under the name of Ohio River & Western.  It came under control of the PRR.

I think there is now a book concerning this line, but I'm uncertain of author or title.

Al Huffman


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