Flats Industrial Railroad

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Flats Industrial Railroad
Reporting mark FIR
Locale Cleveland,
Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Dates of operation 1996[1]
Predecessor Conrail[1]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 4 miles (6 km)[1][2]
Headquarters 1757 Columbus Road, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio 44113

The Flats Industrial Railroad (reporting mark FIR) is a Class III railroad that provides short-line commercial/industrial switching service in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, primarily with CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway.


Trains have run in the Cuyahoga Valley since the 1880s. In 1880, the Valley Railway began operations, transporting coal to Cleveland, Akron, and Canton from the Tuscarawas River Valley and providing passenger service along the way. After a decade of operation, the Valley Railway became part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. In the 20th century, competition from automobiles, trucks, and buses caused the decline of both freight and passenger service.

Right-of-way ownership shifted over the years from Valley Railway to the Cleveland Terminal & Valley Railway (CT&V), to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, to the Chessie System.


Flats Industrial Railroad acquired its rails and right-of-way within the Flats District (Cleveland) from former Conrail. As of 2009, the Class III Short Line railroad operates as the Flats Industrial Railroad Company (FIR/FIRS). . The railroad operates on weekdays, reportedly around 7:00 to 10:00AM in the morning. At one time, they used to have a sand trans-loading business to keep themselves busy while not switching at Cleveland's Cereal Food Processors elevator.They also used to serve fatty oils and synthetic esters producer, "Werner G. Smith." They interchange with the Norfolk Southern in a yard between Fulton Road and W.41 Street in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cloggsville Line, operated by Norfolk Southern, serves that yard. Company (FIR/FIRS).

As recently as 2014, FIR had only two employees.[3]


Flats Industrial Railroad initially operated one switching locomotive, later adding a second locomotive.B[›]


Flats Industrial Railroad - Locomotives
1202 EMD SW1200 Diesel-Electric Switcher
1222 EMD SW1500 Diesel-Electric Switcher

Images and media[edit]


Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap · Google Maps
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX
Flats Industrial Railroad
vertical lift bridge
Flats Industrial Railroad.jpg
Flats Industrial Railroad vertical lift bridge
Coordinates 41°29′31.5″N 81°41′59.25″W / 41.492083°N 81.6997917°W / 41.492083; -81.6997917 (FIR vertical lift bridge)
Carries Flats Industrial Railroad
Crosses Cuyahoga River
Locale Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Maintained by Flats Industrial Railroad
Design Metal Riveted Warren Through Truss, Stationary, Vertical lift bridge
Material Steel
Total length 260 feet (79.2 m)
Longest span 260 feet (79.2 m)
No. of spans 1
Piers in water 0
Opened 1953

All locations are in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio:

Clark branch and DK yard
Type Industrial Freight Short-line railroad
System Flats Industrial Railroad
Locale Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Termini CP Knob switch connection with CSX/NS
1. Train Avenue and Willey Road
2. Carter and Scranton road
3. Carter and Old River road
4. FIR siding, Fall and French street
5. FIR siding, Fall and French street
6. FIR siding, Fall and French street
7. flour mill, Merwin street
8. flour mill, Merwin street
9. flour mill, Cuyahoga River
10. flour mill, Cuyahoga River
Opened 1996
Owner Flats Industrial Railroad
Operator(s) Flats Industrial Railroad
Character Class III railroad
Line length 4 miles (6.4 km)[1]
Track length 4 miles (6.4 km)[1]
Number of tracks 1 to 3
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Highest elevation 571 feet (174.0 m)
Flats Industrial Railroad - Facilities
41°29′30.75″N 81°42′0.5″W / 41.4918750°N 81.700139°W / 41.4918750; -81.700139 (FIR HQ)Coordinates: 41°29′30.75″N 81°42′0.5″W / 41.4918750°N 81.700139°W / 41.4918750; -81.700139 (FIR HQ) Head Quarters 1757 Columbus Road, 44113
41°29′31.5″N 81°41′59.25″W / 41.492083°N 81.6997917°W / 41.492083; -81.6997917 (FIR lift bridge) Vertical Lift bridge over Cuyahoga River
41°29′31″N 81°42′1″W / 41.49194°N 81.70028°W / 41.49194; -81.70028 (FIR locomotive parking) Locomotive parking 1757 Columbus Road, 44113 model ?
41°29′30.75″N 81°42′1.25″W / 41.4918750°N 81.7003472°W / 41.4918750; -81.7003472 (FIR W switch) W Switch 1757 Columbus Road, 44113
41°29′27″N 81°41′45″W / 41.49083°N 81.69583°W / 41.49083; -81.69583 (FIR E switch) E Switch Carter Road, Scranton Road
41°29′25.5″N 81°41′44.25″W / 41.490417°N 81.6956250°W / 41.490417; -81.6956250 (FIR EE switch) EE Switch Carter Road, Scranton Road
41°29′20.25″N 81°41′42.75″W / 41.4889583°N 81.6952083°W / 41.4889583; -81.6952083 (FIR EEE switch) EEE Switch Lorain-Carnegie, Scranton Road
41°29′25.5″N 81°41′43.75″W / 41.490417°N 81.6954861°W / 41.490417; -81.6954861 (FIR EEEN switch) EEEN Switch Carter Road, Scranton Road
41°29′28.75″N 81°41′45″W / 41.4913194°N 81.69583°W / 41.4913194; -81.69583 (FIR EEENW EOL) EEENW EOL Carter Road and Old River Road ruins to former Old River Road rail lift bridge and GCRTA W.10th tracks
41°29′34.5″N 81°41′42.75″W / 41.492917°N 81.6952083°W / 41.492917; -81.6952083 (FIR EEENE EOL) EEENE EOL Carter Road and Scranton Road rear of Carter and Scranton Road businesses
41°29′15.25″N 81°41′42.25″W / 41.4875694°N 81.6950694°W / 41.4875694; -81.6950694 (FIR ES switch) ES Switch Scranton Road, University Road
41°29′13″N 81°41′41.75″W / 41.48694°N 81.6949306°W / 41.48694; -81.6949306 (FIR ESS switch) ESS Switch Scranton Road and University Road
41°29′3.5″N 81°41′45.25″W / 41.484306°N 81.6959028°W / 41.484306; -81.6959028 (FIR ESSS switch) ESSS Switch Scranton Road, Abbey Avenue
41°28′53.25″N 81°41′52″W / 41.4814583°N 81.69778°W / 41.4814583; -81.69778 (FIR ESSSE EOL) ESSSE EOL Willey Road, Train Avenue
41°28′53″N 81°41′53″W / 41.48139°N 81.69806°W / 41.48139; -81.69806 (FIR Willey Crossing) Willey Switch Willey Road, Train Avenue
41°28′37.75″N 81°42′13″W / 41.4771528°N 81.70361°W / 41.4771528; -81.70361 (FIR ESSSS switch) ESSSS Switch Train Avenue, West 30th. Street
41°28′37″N 81°42′14.5″W / 41.47694°N 81.704028°W / 41.47694; -81.704028 (FIR ESSSSN switch) ESSSSN Switch Train Avenue, Richner Avenue
41°28′26″N 81°42′42.25″W / 41.47389°N 81.7117361°W / 41.47389; -81.7117361 (FIR ESSSSNS switch) ESSSSNS Switch Train Avenue and Richner Avenue
41°28′25.25″N 81°42′44.25″W / 41.4736806°N 81.7122917°W / 41.4736806; -81.7122917 (FIR ESSSSS switch) ESSSSS Switch Train Avenue and Richner Avenue
41°28′23.5″N 81°42′47.75″W / 41.473194°N 81.7132639°W / 41.473194; -81.7132639 (FIR ESSSSSM switch) ESSSSSM Switch Train Avenue, Richner Avenue CP Knob connection to (NS/NSR?) main line
41°29′32″N 81°42′5.75″W / 41.49222°N 81.7015972°W / 41.49222; -81.7015972 (FIR WN switch) WN Switch Fall Street and Leonard Street
41°29′33.5″N 81°42′8″W / 41.492639°N 81.70222°W / 41.492639; -81.70222 (FIR WNN switch) WNN Switch Fall Street and Leonard Street
41°29′35.5″N 81°42′12.5″W / 41.493194°N 81.703472°W / 41.493194; -81.703472 (FIR WNNN EOL) WNNN EOL Cuyahoga River flour mill
41°29′35.25″N 81°42′12.5″W / 41.4931250°N 81.703472°W / 41.4931250; -81.703472 (FIR WNNS EOL) WNNS EOL Cuyahoga River flour mill
41°29′32.75″N 81°42′9.25″W / 41.4924306°N 81.7025694°W / 41.4924306; -81.7025694 (FIR WNS switch) WNS Switch Fall Street
41°29′33.25″N 81°42′11″W / 41.4925694°N 81.70306°W / 41.4925694; -81.70306 (FIR WNSN EOL) WNSN EOL Merwin Street flour mill
41°29′33″N 81°42′11″W / 41.49250°N 81.70306°W / 41.49250; -81.70306 (FIR WNSS EOL) WNSS EOL Merwin Street flour mill
41°29′29.75″N 81°42′3.75″W / 41.4915972°N 81.7010417°W / 41.4915972; -81.7010417 (FIR WS switch) WS Switch French Street and Columbus Road
41°29′29.25″N 81°42′5.5″W / 41.4914583°N 81.701528°W / 41.4914583; -81.701528 (FIR WSN switch) WSN Switch Fall Street and French Street
41°29′27″N 81°42′8.5″W / 41.49083°N 81.702361°W / 41.49083; -81.702361 (FIR WSNN EOL) WSNN EOL Fall Street and French Street FIR siding
41°29′26.75″N 81°42′8.5″W / 41.4907639°N 81.702361°W / 41.4907639; -81.702361 (FIR WSNS EOL) WSNS EOL Fall Street and French Street FIR siding
41°29′27.25″N 81°42′7.25″W / 41.4909028°N 81.7020139°W / 41.4909028; -81.7020139 (FIR WSS EOL) WSS EOL Fall Street and French Street ? spare parts locomotive ?


In 2005, FIR reported a single Highway-Rail Crossing incident, no other accidents, and no one killed or injured.[4] In 2004, FIR did not report any accidents (train, highway-rail crossing, other incidents).[5]

See also[edit]


^ A: Switch names are HQ-relative, should be Main-line relative.
^ B: Both locomotives are visible on Google Earth and Maps imagery, there are many (copyrighted) pictures of each posted on other web sites.
^ C: CP as in CP Knob refers to "control point". FIR operates on what used to be the Clark Branch and the DK Yard. The other bridge across the Cuyahoga River (OX/Flats Tower/Carter-Old River) in no longer used. FIR's interchange connection at CP Knob is to the CUT branch/main line.[6]
^ D: Department of Transportation, Surface Transportation Board, STB Finance Docket No. 33044
Flats Industrial Railroad Company--Acquisition and Operation Exemption--Consolidated Rail Corporation
Flats Industrial Railroad Company, a noncarrier, has filed a verified notice of exemption under 49 CFR 1150.31 to acquire by purchase, and to operate, approximately 4 miles (6 km) of rail lines owned by Consolidated Rail Corporation between M.P. 14 at Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH, and M.P. 10 at Carter Road, Cuyahoga County, OH, including the industrial lead to Cereal Food Processors, Inc. The proposed transaction was to have been consummated on or after October 1, 1996.
Decided: October 3, 1996.[7]


General References[edit]