SALEM Reopened railway sees first train
More repairs and renovations to the tracks are planned.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- Trains are now rolling along the 35 miles of the former Youngstown & amp; Southern Railway, which has been undergoing renovations and repairs for months.
Last week marked the first time a train traveled the entire length of the newly reopened railroad. It hauled cars from Darlington, Pa., to Youngstown, passing through Columbiana County, said Bud Gane, railroad supervisor.
The railroad is owned by the Columbiana County Port Authority, which bought it in January and has guided its restoration for use as an economic development tool, serving businesses along its path.
Reopening: The line reopened in June as the Central Columbiana & amp; Pennsylvania Railway, with trains operating on its northern section from North Lima to Youngstown.
This summer, crews have been ridding the Columbiana County section of brush and making other repairs to allow trains to pass. Much of the restoration work has been funded through a $500,000 state grant.
Although it's now safe for trains to use the track, renovation work is continuing, Gane said. Rotted and worn ties on the Columbiana County stretch will be replaced.
Safety measures: In coming weeks, the railroad will begin installing new warning lights and gates at many of the railroad's street and road crossings.
Gane said all the affected crossings have older lights, but only a few had gates.
The new lights will be more visible and gates at the affected crossings will further enhance safety.
Crossings to get new lights and gates in Youngstown and Boardman are at Indianola Avenue, Midlothian Boulevard, Indianola Road, Meadow Brook Avenue, Western Reserve Road and U.S. Route 224.
Crossing at state Routes 7 and 164 in North Lima will get new lights, as will Park Avenue in Columbiana and the state Route 7 crossing in Rogers.
Gane said he's uncertain how much the light and gate upgrades will cost, but the project will be paid for with state funding.