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Fast east-bound freight through Ada

You may reconize this photo from an earlier Icon posting. It was shared on the Facebook group Old Photos of Forgotten Ohio. In this article the original Iconoclast, Fred Steiner, illuminates us on the early 20th century railroad in Ada.

By Fred Steiner

Here’s a Pennsylvania Railroad freight train traveling from Lima, passing eastbound through Ada in 1938. Unlike the Nickel Plate Road through Bluffton, the Pennsylvania Railroad was double-tracked and carried many more trains each day.

It’s difficult to identify this locomotive, however, it resembled a 4-8-2 “Mountain” type steam locomotive built in the early 1930s. It that's the case, this locomotive might have served the PRR through 1957.

Several changes are evident in Ada today when looking at this photo.

• There is no longer double track through Ada. • The tower along the track no longer exists. It was used as a manual way to lower crossing gates. This was necessary in communities like Ada where vehicular traffic on a state route crossed a very heavy-used railroad track.

• The Pennsylvania Railroad no longer exists, but a railroad still passes through Ada. It is the Chicago, Ft. Wayne and Eastern Railroad (CFE). 

In the 1930s Ada was served by countless freight and up to a dozen passenger trains daily, as it was on the Pennsylvania Railroad’s mainline from New York to Chicago.

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