Railroad:   Toledo, Angola & Western Railway Co.

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Above and below, Toledo Angola & Western No. 101 switches in the yard along the Toledo Terminal Railroad south of Vulcan on the west side of Toledo.  Vulcan was their interchange with the Toledo Terminal and the NYC.  July, 1978  [Doug Leffler]

Above, TA&W 101 approaches Vulcan.  Below, the 101 navigates the weeds as the brakeman throws a switch.  July, 1978  [Doug Leffler].

Above, more weeds!  This was taken in 1978 near the end of the road's existence.  Below, at Medusa Cement on the west edge of the line.  [Doug Leffler]

Additional photographs in 1978 at Medusa Cement's plant.  [Doug Leffler]

Above, a map of the TA&W.  The road paralleled the New York Central's "Old Road" west of Vulcan for about 5 miles.  Below, a USGS map of the road at its western terminus in Silica.  [Dale Berry]



     The Toledo, Angola & Western Railway Company operated a 10 mile long railroad from Vulcan (a connection on the Toledo Terminal Railroad and the New York Central Old Road).   In 1910, Offices for the railroad were in the Ohio Building in Toledo.


     According to a 1910 Official Guide of the Railways, stations on the TA&W were at Vulcan, Richards, Parnoe and Silica, the end of the line.



Brief history from the University of Toledo website:


On July 11th, 1902, The Toledo, Angola and Western Railway with its 8 1/4 miles of track, was officially incorporated. Originating as a spur of off the much larger New York Central Line at Central Avenue in Toledo, Ohio, the Railway linked the Silica Stone Quarries to the world. Largely the quarry funded its construction and the construction supplies were shared with the Toledo Terminal Railroad, which was also forming at this time.


In 1913 Toledo, Angola and Western bought out the Silica Northern Railway, increasing its track length 2 1/4 miles to the northwest, connecting it with Centennial, Ohio.


Throughout 1910's, the Railway began to expand beyond its Stone Quarry roots, serving a variety of industries that popped up around it including an Oil Refinery (Hickock Oil), a Bottling Plant (Owens Bottling Plant), and a Fertilizer Plant (Stadler Fertilizer Company).


In 1922, A.C. Dustin was hired as president of the company. Dustin had previously served, since 1906, as President of the Forth Smith and Western Railroad in Arkansas, and his experience led the TA&W through a period of prosperity which peaked in 1929 with the company showing a profit of over $55,000. The crash of the stock market and the subsequent Great Depression hit TA&W fairly hard, forcing them to lay off several employees and turn down many applications for employment. However within 5 years, Dustin's Railroad was again showing a sizeable profit.


An interesting side note from this period involves the formation of the Employee's Mutual Aid Society, an autonomous organization created by and for the employees of the Railroad. The Mutual Aid Society was formed in 1927 after the death of an employee left a widow unable to make payments on her mortgage. This Society eventually transformed into a form of group insurance sponsored by the Railway and it disbanded as an independent organization in 1937.


Industries continued to open along Toledo Angola and Western Railway throughout the 30's, including the France Stone Company (which operated in Silica Ohio) and the Medusa Portland Cement Company which opened a mill at Silica, utilizing the crushed stone from the quarry. Upon the death of A.C. Dustin in 1938, the reigns of the company were passed to J.B. John who ran the company through the 1940's.


The bulk of the Toledo Angola and Western Railway's records date from before 1950, so the details on the companies' history after this point are sketchy until 1979 when the Railway was bought out by the Waterfront Electric Railway. Not a real railroad in the traditional sense of the term, the Waterfront Electric operated in International Park in downtown Toledo, marketing themselves as a tourist attraction. They sold various souvenirs and memorabilia, some items bearing the Toledo Angola and Western name. However by the end of the 1980's, Waterfront Electric Railway shut its doors as well, closing a chapter on Toledo railroading history.


For further information, go to:  http://www.cl.utoledo.edu/canaday/mssguide/mss-102.html



Dale J. Berry and contributing photographers, all rights reserved.