Orrville Railroad Heritage Society is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational entity. Our organization consists of all volunteers.
The Orrville Railroad Heritage Committee was founded by a small group of railroad enthusiasts in 1978 to promote the preservation of our Ohio railroad heritage in Orrville, Ohio, a town that owes its very existence and development to the railroad industry.
In 1981, membership was opened to the general public and there are currently about 200 paid members in the organization. Membership is open to anyone interested in preserving the railroad heritage of the area. Also in 1981, the first Depot Days were held, an annual event that continues today as Orrville Railroad Day.
The committee purchased and restored the former 1868 Pennsylvania Railroad Union Station in 1982. The station is a well-known historical landmark. The signal tower was also purchased in 1982 and was moved across the tracks to its current location adjacent to the station.
The committee started operating passenger excursions using both steam and diesel locomotives to support our restoration projects. There have been over 130 excursions carrying over 90,000 passengers. These trips have been powered by such famous steam locomotives as Nickel Plate 765, Chesapeake & Ohio 2765, Norfolk and Western 611 and 1218, Ohio Central 1551, 1293 and 6325 and various diesel locomotives of Conrail, Norfolk Southern, Ohio Central, and Wheeling & Lake Erie.
The committee purchases its own locomotives in 1984, an F9 A-unit and two F7 B-units of Milwaukee Road and Burlington Northern heritage.
The Committee purchases and refurbishes passenger cars for excursion use. The cars enter service as RPCX numbers 101, 102, 103 and 104.
Diner #8008 was also purchased but was not restored.
In 1992, the Committee adopted its current name of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society. The change was adopted to more accurately reflect the growth of the organization since its beginning.
The Society purchases ex-Amtrak "shorty" baggage car in 1993 and converts it for use as a concession car.
The three F-units were by now in need of an expensive rebuilding. The F-units are sold and our GP7u was purchased to replace them in 2000.
Fairmont A-4 motor car M-2180 "Millie" was purchased and restored in 2008.
Long time excursion regular RPCX 3850 was purchased in 2013 and added to the ORHS fleet as a First Class Parlor car.
In 2014, RPCX 101, 102, 103, 104 and 106 were derailed in transit and suffered varying degrees of damage. Nos. 103, 104 and 106 were subsequently sold. Nos. 101 and 102 were repaired and returned to service.
In 2015, ORHS ended its long tradition of excursions around Ohio and Pennsylvania. ORHS purchases DABO, Inc. and moves all rail equipment to this facility. RPCX 101, 102, 105 and 3850 are sold to the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in 2017 and continue their excursion duties.
ORHS now returns its focus to expanding and updating the Depot complex, rebuilding the rail yard and restoring historic equipment. Join us as we start writing a new chapter in our story.