Akron, Bedford and Cleveland Railroad
The Akron, Bedford and Cleveland Railroad (also known as the Alphabet Railroad) began service between Akron and Cleveland, Ohio on November 9, 1895. At the time of its completion, it was the longest electrified rail line in the world. For 50 cents riders could travel from Akron to Cleveland's Public Square in about 2½ hours. The line ran from Akron through the towns of Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Brandywine, Macedonia, Northfield, Bedford, Warrensville Heights, and Shaker Heights before dropping passengers at Union station (known today as the Terminal Tower). Around 1900 the ABC Railroad merged with several other area railroads to form the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Company (NOT&LCo) which operated the line until 1932.
While the railroad has been gone for almost 80 years and has be widely forgotten, there is still plenty of evidence of its former existence. At the intersection of Route 82 and Route 8 in Macedonia Ohio, a brick building stands at the corner. This was once the Macedonia depot that served the area. This station was constructed in 1905 by the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Company which later became Ohio Edison and is known today as FirstEnergy. It was put into service in 1912 after the completion of the double track through Macedonia. FirstEnergy still owns the building today. The double tracks ran alongside the building almost exactly were the south bound lanes of route 8 are currently located today. The original single track line ran through Northfield center from Fells corner (intersection of Olde 8 and Route 82) to Chittenden's Corner (intersection of Olde 8 and 303) and its use was discontinued in 1916. You can drive this portion of the former line by traveling down Olde Eight road. While much of the former line is buried beneath Route 8, Northfield road, Hudson road, or has been lost forever, parts of the line survive to this day. If you follow Northfield road north, you will see exactly were the transition from the current road to rails begins. This is the remains of the ABC Railroad and is currently in use by the RTA of Cleveland. There is another former station still in existence located along this section of track on Van Aken Blvd which is marked with a historic sign. As mentioned above, a large part of the original line ran through the town of Northfield Center. In 1916 the railroad stop usage of the old route 8 rail line completely. The tracks were removed and old route 8 became the road we all know today. At the intersection of Olde Eight Road and 303 there you will find the remains of the bridge abutments that allowed the ABC RR to pass over the Lake Erie & Pittsburg Railway / New York Central Line that ran through Sagamore Hills at the time. Other portions of the right of way have been turned into bike and hike trails or are used as access roads for utility companies.
The significance of this line should not be ignored or forgotten. It laid out the foundation of future transportation and helped to define the area as it is today. Utilizing today's modern technology and knowledge of the area you can still see the path that this abandoned line once took through satellite imaging. Truly a remarkable feat considering it was last used almost 80 years ago. The ABC railroad continues to live on in our communities today. Its path is marked by paved roads, modern rail lines, historic buildings, overgrown paths, and old stone abutments left behind by an era of rail travel between Akron and Cleveland Ohio.