Current News Around the Depot

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!

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.

Rebuilding Hugo Crossing

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.

September 25, 2021

The Gandydancers Are Still At It
Due to a few heavy storms this summer, this section of track had gotten a bit out of cross level. Here we see the guys replacing ties, surfacing (adjusting the vertical alignment) and leveling the track. New stone will be applied and tamped and this stretch will be back in service quickly.

Track Raising and Leveling

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.

Brake Grid Replacement

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 Cabin

"Shale" before its move to ORHS

Vintage Block Station Shale

"Shale" in service (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

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.

Caboose #330

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.

Tightening joint bars.

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.

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.

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:

Part 2:

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.

New deck looking east.

View of the completed deck looking east.

New deck looking west.

Overall view of the new bridge deck looking west.

New Roster Addition

ORHS recently received a donation of additional motor cars. Among them was this interesting gem. This is what we believe to be a '70s vintage MTM200 diesel and hydrostatic drive motorcar built by Modern Track Machinery. A bit of brake and fuel line work has restored the unit to operation. Our track crew is especially appreciative of this donation as the weather gets colder since it is our only operating, fully enclosed motorcar that has a heater. Due to its size and weight (about 3,500 lbs), it has been nicknamed "Tank". 

The "Tank" motorcar

August 15, 2020

Track Crew Reaches the Bridge

Our crew working to put track back in service has gotten the stretch between Hugo Junction and the Sugar Creek bridge in a passable condition which will enable us to start work on the bridge. The approaches and embankments have been cleared of trees and brush which will go a long way towards preventing the accumulation of debris that can cause deterioration. This roughly 50' long through deck girder bridge has been inspected and will soon get replacement bridge ties and rail enabling us to extend our runs a bit further.

As with everything in railroading, track rehabilitaion is an expensive project. Please consider donating so we can continue adding additional available track for use during our events.

Sugar Creek Bridge

A westbound view if our crew cleaning off the deck of the Sugar Creek bridge. The bridge long ago had been filled in with gravel and dirt to facilitate access for construction equipment. This caused severe deterioration of the deck timbers over the years.

Sugar Creek Bridge looking east

Here's the same view of the bridge looking eastbound.

July 5, 2020

Trackwork Still Going Strong

Our ongoing track rehab project is still going strong. Some of the latest work completed includes:

Cleaning off the fill from the Sugar Creek Bridge to make inspection easier. We know the bridge will need new timber decking and some steel work. We'll need to have the bridge inspected by a structural engineer to determine what repairs are necessary to put the bridge back in service and enable us to eventually add another 700' of track - our fingers are crossed.... Please consider donating towards the bridge inspection to speed this project along.

To go along with the bridge project, ties have been replaced leading up to the bridge to make it passable for equipment larger than a motorcar.

The crossing over the South Siding by the yard office as well as the switch have recieved new relay ties. The crossing now includes guard timbers instead of solid fill.

The Through Track (the one that also connects to NS) has received a lot of new ties and surfacing to raise a low spot in the stretch from what we call "Scotts Crossing" to the "RIP Track" switch. Alignment, ballast and tamping comes next.

Ongoing vegitation control of all track and storage areas continues.

Ties being replaced at the south siding switch

The South Siding crossing has been dug out and new ties are being inserted in the siding lead and switch..

Spiking ties at the South Siding Crossing

Spiking the new ties.

Guard timbers installed

Guard timbers are now installed at the crossing.

Crossing Signal

Thanks to another donation, ORHS recieved a complete crossing signal mast and light assembly. The plans are to install the signal at the Crossover Track crossing, convert it to from incandescent bulbs to LEDs, add optical sensors along the track, a timer and flasher circuts and power it with a 12 volt battery and solar charger.

New Motorcars Arrive  

ORHS recieved a generous donation of three new (new to us) motocars. Two motorcars were complete and one was missing the engine. The two complete motorcars were gone over, repaired and put into service helping with the ongoing track rehab project by pulling trailers of tools and track materials. We're looking to put an engine in the third so that will give us a total of four motorcars to use for events. One car was originally from the Canadian National Railway. We're not sure yet where the others originated yet.

The plans for these cars include a complete refurbishing and paint schemes to honor our armed sevices in the same theme as our as our original car honoring the US Army.

Canadian National motorcar
Second complete motorcar
Motorcar without the engine
Southeastern Equipment Company

February 16, 2020

ORHS to Receive New Loader/Backhoe
Through a generous donation from Southeastern Equipment Company to help offset the cost, ORHS will have a new (new to us) loader/backhoe. Our two older 46 year old tractors have both finally bit the dust - one to a loss of engine compression and leaking internal seals, the other leaks hydraulic fluid as fast as you can put it in from every conceivable place and then some. Neither are worth the cost of repairing them. We can now resume our track project as well as doing everything else that needs to be lifted, scooped, dug, spread or moved.

Thank you Southeastern! 

November 6, 2019

Winter Approaches

With cooling water drained, stacks covered and a new carbody tarp installed, the 471 was put to bed for the winter to sleep peacefully until next spring when we'll wake her up and put her back to work. Any light moves over the winter can be performed by the Little Red Engine if needed.

Other work at the yard will continue as weather permits, however. We have scrap bins to fill, parts to strip, equipment to repair, materials to sort, ties to replace and ballast to be spread just to name a few (we have an almost endless list).

If you'd like to volunteer to help at DABO or the Depot, give us a call.

October 13, 2019

First Event Held at DABO

ORHS held its first event, "Speeders n' Spikes", on October 12 at the DABO rail yard in honor of the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike on the transcontinental railroad link and to showcase the work achieved in bringing the facility up to operational status.

Despite the cold rain and wind early in the morning, the sun came out and warmed things a bit for the event and it was very well attended despite the early bluster. Kids young and old enjoyed rides in the speeders, the caboose pulled by the Little Red Engine and cab rides in the 471. Gift shop items were also on display and for sale. The Wayne County Humane Society was there with dogs and kittens for adoption and the Kitty Poo Club displayed their litter options.

Thanks goes to the Swensons Food Truck for keeping bellies full for the event.

Also, in lieu of labor, any donations you'd like to make towards the project would be greatly appreciated as we may run out of ties and spikes soon depending on how many more ties need replaced.

Video below courtesy of Jim Simons.

The Little Red Engine and cabboose #330

The "Little Red Engine" and caboose #330 back past the crossover

Speeders head towards the crossover

Speeders getting ready to enter the crossover.

September 24, 2019

ORHS Loses Longtime Member

Long time member and Head Locomotive Engineer Lynn Butts passed away on September 21. Lynn was always willing to help with any project at the Depot or rail yard. He was also known for his light touch and accuracy at the throttle when switching passenger cars which made working with him an enjoyable experience. While Lynn would be serious when need be, he was usually smiling and we'll definitely miss his sense of humor.

Lynn was also very involved with the Buckeye Council Boy Scout Troup #25 in Canton.

Calling hours will be at Wackerly Funeral Home in Canton from 4:00PM to 7:00PM on September 25.

Donations can be made in his name to the Buckeye Council Boy Scouts of America, 3154 13 St NW, Canton, OH 44708

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Becky as well as Lynn's entire family.

High Green, Lynn. You now have the Main....

April 4, 2019

Work Begins at DABO

Spring 'as sprung. The grass is riz. I wonder where th' railroad is? Come to DABO to find out.

The track rehabilitation project has resumed in earnest replacing ties and broken rails with ballasting and surfacing after.

The #471 will be put back in service on April 9. If you want to learn how to service a diesel locomotive, stop by.

Vegetation control will start soon.

We have projects large and small. If you'd like to volunteer to lend a hand, let us know by calling the Depot. We're working most mornings except Sundays.

You must be a member to actively volunteer at DABO.

November 11, 2018
DABO Track Rehab Season Coming to a Close

Track rehabilitation at our DABO facility is winding down for the winter. We just about reached our goal of 1,000 feet with roughly another 300' ready to be spiked and ballasted as weather permits. The completed work enabled us to spot the two 250T steam cranes and the RSD1 #805 on the rehabbed section of the "Through Track" and push the 250T diesel crane back 50' to rehabbed track on the "North Siding". Next spring, we'll realign the north siding to remove a jog around power poles that have now been removed. This realignment will improve drainage on the north side of the property.

To facilitate the track work, our gasoline powered compressor has been repaired and put back in service. The compressor is much more cost efficient than using the #471 as a giant air compressor. The #471 is now winterized and out of service until next spring.

If you'd like to contribute to the work at DABO in any way, please contact the Depot.

Steam cranes on rebuilt stable track
Tamping with a jack hammer

August 23, 2018
Track Work Update

Track rehabilitation continues at DABO. In this portion, we had to raise it significantly to remove an 80’ long sag. Necessity being the mother of invention, we modified the jackhammer and clamped it to the trenching bucket to use as a tamper since we broke the bit in the smaller hand tamper – twice. We’ll go back to the smaller tamper once the new parts arrive.

We’ve almost completed about 100 yards of track working mostly weekday mornings. After final adjustments in alignment, we'll be ready to start on the adjacent siding to enable us to move the equipment parked there.

If any additional members would like to get good and dirty with us, contact the Depot to find out when and come on down.

Donations of materials and cash are also welcome.

July 27, 2018

Track Work Begins at the DABO Facility

Track at DABO has needed some attention for quite some time. This month, we've started working in earnest to do much needed repairs and "upgrades". We'd like to get 1,000' complete this summer if we can. This work will enable us to move the heavy equipment off the adjacent siding and onto the repaired track to facilitate repairs to the siding. The heavy equipment is causing the siding track to sink.

The repairs include digging the track out of the foundry sand that was placed over it many years ago, replacing bad ties and a broken rail, new ballast and raising and leveling the track. The longer range grand plan is to refurbish all two miles of track and be able to run events there. How fast we accomplish this depends on donations of materials and money.

This is hard but rewarding work for us older guys and some of the younger ones, too, so if you'd like to help with the labor, please contact the Depot and we'll quickly get back to you so you can come out and get dirty with us. Most work is done Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Also, in lieu of labor, any donations you'd like to make towards the project would be greatly appreciated as we may run out of ties and spikes soon depending on how many more ties need replaced.

March 13, 2018

Boxcar #30" Gets a New Life

You may have seen something a bit odd leaving Orrville this week - a boxcar rolling down the highway! Actually, it wasn't rolling by itself. It was loaded onto dollies and being trucked to its new home in Chesterton, Indiana. Boxcar #30, ex-D&RGW #60608, will be refurbished and converted into a restroom facility at Thomas Centennial Park in Chesterton. Schlatter's, Inc. of Francesville, IN did the move by jacking the car up off its trucks and setting it back down on dollies custom made for hauling railcars.

Below shows how to move a boxcar over the highway.

February 24, 2018

Meeting Dates to Change

The Board of Directors’ meeting and the General Membership meetings have been combined. One monthly meeting will now be held on the LAST Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm.

The Board meeting will be the first order of business, and then we will go into the general membership portion of the month’s business. Hopefully this will streamline our process and get items of importance processed more quickly.

The February combined meeting will be held Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00pm, thereafter the meetings will be on the last Tuesday of each month.

ORHS Sesquicentennial

February 4, 2018
Happy Birthday!

The year 2018 is a special year for ORHS. Not only is it the 40th anniversary of our founding in 1978, but it also marks the 150th birthday of the Orrville Union Depot. The depot was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) in 1868 at the junction of its Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad (PFW&C) mainline with the Cleveland, Akron & Columbus Railroad (CA&C) mainline. This depot replaced an earlier wooden structure located east of the junction which was destroyed by fire. At the time the "new" depot was built, Orrville was becoming an important junction and transfer point for passengers and goods.

Come celebrate with us this year at one of our events. Check out our Schedule page or Facebook to find out what's going on. We'll be releasing our 2018 schedule soon so stay tuned.

And be sure to pick up one of our limited edition HO scale boxcars (see below) commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Orrville Union Depot.

November 29, 2017

Excess Equipment Available for Purchase

When ORHS acquired the DABO facility back in 2015, vintage rail cars, locomotives, materials and miscellaneous equipment were included with the purchase. Much of this equipment does not fit with our current mission. In lieu of scrapping, which happens all too often, we prefer that it be preserved where possible and it is now offered for sale to others interested in preserving railroading history. If you have an interest, please make an offer. We are happy to report that some pieces have already found good homes in the preservation community and are being put to good use.

In order to help facilitate the sale of equipment, we've added web pages with descriptions and photos. Please note that some of this initial listing is not yet complete in the descriptions and we have a lot of miscellaneous bits, pieces and parts yet to be listed. More will be added as we go along.

Please take a look. The inventory can be accessed here: ORHS Inventory or under the Equipment tab from any page.

2018 Commemorative Boxcar

November 5, 2017
Orrville Union Depot Sesquiscentennial Commemorative Car
The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society is proud to announce the Orrville Union Depot sesquicentennial in 2018. To celebrate this milestone, we are offering a limited edition HO scale 40’ AAR boxcar kit produced by Accurail, custom decorated to commemorate the Orrville Union Depot Sesquicentennial.

Get one for your railroad or your favorite railfan!

$47.95 each by mail order
$39.95 each at the Depot Gift Shop
Click here to download the order form.


145 Depot Street                    
Orrville, Ohio 44667


Phone: (330) 683-2426         Fax: (330) 682-2426