Fostoria, Ohio Iron Triangle


We spent an afternoon in Fostoria, Ohio at the Iron Triangle.

The Iron Triangle is where the Norfolk Southern (NS-NKP from Bellevue to Lima), the CSX (B&O from Chicago to the East Coast), and the CSX (C&O from Toledo to Cincinnati) all meet and cross over one another. 

Coming through town at 60mph, these trains are hard to catch by themselves. At an average of 80-100 trains every 24-hours, most of the time trains are side-by-side while racing through Fostoria in route to their destination.

It all started in the 1850s with The Lake Erie & Western, which then became the New York Central in 1899, then became the Nickel Plate in 1922, before being taken over by Norfolk Southern. 

The C&O added their line in 1872. They ran coal trains from Toledo to Columbus, Ohio. The photograph above is of an empty CSX coal train entering the Iron Triangle during our visit.

The B&O line was added a year later in 1873, completing the Iron Triangle.

From 1873 until 1927 when the centralized traffic control (CTC) system was invented, the Iron Triangle was notorious for its numerous crashes. Trains frequently ran into one another due to one or the other being off schedule. However, today, it is not uncommon to see three or four trains in the triangle at one time, all able to communicate and pass without a crash.