Current News Around the Depot and Rail Yard

Fundraising Has Begun for Diner #8008

To expand our offerings to the public, our next big project is refurbishing our diner and ORHS needs your help. The #8008 has been out of service for many years and we'd like to change that. This will enable us to offer rides and special events in a vintage dining car. The good news is, the car is in pretty good shape all things considered. However, this is a big project - window replacement, two new wheel sets, electrical upgrade, brake work, miscellaneous mechanical and structural component work, cosmetics - the whole ball of wax.

How can you help? Everything in railroading is big, heavy and expensive. Monetary donations to this project will be a huge help. Go to our Donate page for more information. You can also become a member and donate your time. If you're good with your hands, we have mechanical, cosmetic and cleaning to be done. Electricians can help with the conversion from the existing 32V DC system to AC. We'll also need services from contractors such as hauling and hoisting. The list goes on...

If you'd like to get involved and help make this project succeed, contact us today!

June 28, 2023

In the days before radios on the railroad, any deviations to the timetable along a segment of track were handled by written train orders. The dispatcher would contact a block operator and dictate the new orders who would then write them on a thin, onionskin, multiple-copy order form. These order sheets were commonly called flimsies. 

The block operator would hand the orders up to a passing train using a "hoop" or yoke on a pole. Handing off the orders was known as "hooping up". The engineer would receive one copy in the locomotive and the conductor would receive his copy in the caboose. The video below shows how it was done.

Hooping Up Orders

June 21, 2023

Horace Greeley or possibly John Soule or more likely some currently unknown person once said "Go west young man...." So we are. We're slowly filling in the old road bed washed out by the big flood of 1969 and installing track from the current end of the line toward our property line, eventually adding about 700 ft. of track.

Loading fill for the roadbed

Loading fill into the hi-rail dump truck.

Play the video to see how we do it:

Dumping fill for our track extension project.

Block Cabin Shale is looking good.

"Shale Shack"

Block Station "Shale" Improvements

Progress is being made on the "Shale Shack" as we refer to it. So far: Scraped, primed and painted in PRR colors from the top of the windows down with some touch-ups and second coat of maroon still needed on a few areas like the window sashes (next is the tedious scraping and repair of the ginger bread above the windows); metal roof; electrical installed; interior lighting; we're working on an old station platform lamp for outside; and Wi-Fi. We're getting there...

March 11, 2023

We've been working our way down the main line over the winter, replacing ties, tightening bolts and replacing a broken rail that fractured in the cold due to an old rail burn.

Spiking Ties

Spiking ties.

Part of our dedicated track crew.

Part of our dedicated track crew.

February 26, 2023

It's been a quite a while since we've posted an update. Our excuse is that we've been busy. Here's a brief synopsis of what you've missed if you haven't been hanging around with us lately:

2022 was our first regularly scheduled train ride season at our rail yard and it was successful enabling us to continue to operate for this year. Take a look at our Events page for our expanded 2023 schedule. If you can't ride or volunteer with us, consider making a donation. Information on volunteering and donating can be found  on our Volunteer and Support pages. Every little bit helps.

The Depot in downtown Orrville has been undergoing repair including painting inside and out to historically correct PRR colors. Stop by on one of our event days and check out the progress.

The "Shale Shack" at our rail yard, actually the PRR Block Station Shale cabin, has been getting attention - a new door, windows repaired, electrical installed and a new roof. The exterior is being painted to PRR colors as we go along. It should be complete this spring.

We also recently welcomed a new car to our consist, RPCX #208, a 66-seat, open window, heavy weight coach. More info is on our Equipment page.

Work at the rail yard has continued through the winter, most of it with our continuing tie replacement program. We've replaced over 2,200 ties so far, changed out some rails and placed many tons of ballast. We've also been cleaning up the right of way after this winter's work. Check it out below.

Loading the side dump truck

Loading the rotating bed, hi-rail dump truck with removed brush and chunks of removed ties.

Video: Using a tie crane to pick up removed ties and debris.

May 14, 2022

First Day of Train Rides 

ORHS opened our first regularly scheduled season of train rides this year. Even though the weather forecast was dicey, we had a decent turnout. A big thank you to those who rode with us! We'll be running every other weekend throughout the summer so check out our Event page for our running  schedule. We still have open dates for our Throttle Time program, too.

Check out the short video below:

2022 Train Ride Video

December 11, 2021

Access Road Crossing Renewed
It may be getting cold outside but facility maintenance never ends. When we're shut down for the winter, we tackle the larger projects. Here, part of our crew rebuilds the road crossing at Hugo Junction.

Hugo crossing is rebuilt

2021 Pumpkin Hayride Video

October 24, 2021

Fall Rides a Success
Our popular caboose rides ran into November this year along with the debut of our open air passenger car #501 during our Pumpkin Hayrides. Check out the video below. The Hayrides were also the start of online ticketing for us which made ticket purchases much easier for our patrons. Thanks for riding everyone! Stay tuned for next spring when we resume offering rides rides again. 

Installing a new grid resistor

September 4, 2021

#471 Gets a New Grid Resistor
Our mechanical crew installed a new dynamic brake grid resistor in our main locomotive. The new resistor replaces one that failed during a self load test which is done to help determine how well the locomotive is performing. When investigating the cause of the failure, it was determined that sometime during #471's long career, the wrong resistor was installed by a previous owner causing it to overheat and burn out. The 471 is back in service ready to go to work.

September 1, 2021

Block Station Cabin Saved
ORHS successfully moved an original Pennsylvania Railroad block station cabin to our rail yard. The cabin was originally built at block station “Shale” at Summitville, Ohio on the old Cleveland & Pittsburgh Division of the PRR. Manned block stations controlled the switches and signals at junctions and other important areas before the invention and installation of remote interlocking. Judging by the architecture, it appears to be of late 1800s or early 1900s vintage before PRR removed the fancier details from their standard plans. It had been purchased from Conrail by a private owner and moved to their property. The owners have donated the cabin to us along with an Erie (their hometown road) concrete phone booth, other line side items and quite a few antique railroad related artifacts.

It’s in very good condition for its age though it needs a few minor repairs and a thorough scraping and painting back to standard PRR colors. 

Block Station Shale at DABO in 2022

Block Station Shale at our yard awaiting final repairs and painting.

Block Station Shale in Service

Block Station Shale in service at Summitville, Ohio. Photo courtesy  of the Chip Syme Collection

July 1, 2021

Open Air Car Completed
Our open air passenger car has been placed into service. This car was formerly CSX #940062, a 50' boom idler flat car that was refurbished to carry passengers. It comfortably seats 28 guests on benches that face to the sides of the car.

Open Air Car #501
Caboose #330

May 1, 2021

Caboose #330 Gets a Makeover.
Our red caboose has gotten a complete makeover this spring both inside and out with new paint and graphics. Sure does look much more spiffy for our Caboose Rides.

Tightening track bolts

April 28, 2021

The Never-ending Project
Trackwork continues, something that will be an on-going project with any rail operation. Our crew spent a few days replacing and tightening track bolts at rail joints.

Nesting killdeer in the ballast

April 24, 2021

Our Newest Railfans
One of the more interesting sites in the spring at our rail yard are nesting Killdeer. They don't build nests pre se, but make depressions in open ground in which to lay their eggs. Our ballast is very popular with Killdeer as it's a perfect match to their speckled eggs. Can you spot them in the image?
Our smallest member. 

Caboose Ride Over the Bridge
Here's an interesting video of Saturday's caboose ride shot from a low level at the Sugar Creek bridge. If you want to reserve a caboose ride for you and your friends, visit our Events page to find out more.

Train Ride Over the Bridge Video.

Working on the diner interior

May 5, 2021

Diner Cleaning Begins
Work has started on the #8008 Diner. At this stage, it's mostly cleaning to ascertain the amount of work needed to put it back in service for potential dinner events. We know the car needs new windows and some other exterior work. The big ticket item is likely to be electrical work to convert it to AC power. We'll keep you posted on our progress.
Interior cleaning of the diner. 

Tightening track Joints

April 3, 2021

More Track Repairs
Our track crew continues to improve our right of way. Here we're replacing defective ties at a rail joint. Joints are one of the weakest parts of the track structure that need attention often. Firm support under the joints make for a smoother ride.
Tie replacement at a low joint. 

February 26, 2021

Track Rebuild Story Videos

Rather than offer a couple snapshots of what's been going on at our DABO facility, our CMO, RC Connor has put together a couple videos explaining what has been done up to this point and what remains to be done. Below are Parts 1 and 2. We'll follow up with Part 3 in the near future.

Part 1:

Rebuilding of DABO Video, Part 1

Part 2

Rebuilding of DABO Video, Part 2

A new deck on Sugar Creek bridge

November 12, 2020

New Deck on Sugar Creek Bridge
Our track crew has finally completed the redecking of the Sugar Creek bridge. The work consisted of new deck timbers, all new hardware and relaying the rails. Work still to be done includes ballasting the approaches after which will allow us to run onto the bridge. Completion of this work will enable us to continue rehabilitation and extension of the the track another 1/4 mile westward to our property line. 


145 Depot Street
PO Box 11
Orrville, Ohio 44667

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