Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) is one of the oldest, longest and most scenic tourist excursion railways in the country - and is a key travel component through the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area. CVSR provides residents and visitors unparalleled experiences traveling through the Ohio & Erie Canalway and Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and it has been named one of the “Top 10” excursion railways in the USA for the fifth consecutive year.
A Spectacular Journey
Take a seat aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and watch the Ohio & Erie Canalway unfold. From river floodplain and steep cut valley walls to ancient stands of evergreen, you'll journey through a world of historic sites and timeless natural processes. A world that still enchants, even after 12,000 years.From the comfort of vintage cars, you’ll see meadowland, pinery, marsh, river, ravine and wood. Beaver, fox, deer and owl. A working 19th century farm. You can access miles of smooth Towpath Trail to bike and hike. Amble through small towns. Explore a fascinating canal museum. Find big city shopping and more. There's a wealth of natural and human history in the Cuyahoga Valley. A world where time slows, and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is your ticket in.
CVSR, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, operates more than 51 miles of the historic line, providing excursion passenger rail service between Rockside Road in Independence, Howard Street in Akron, and Tuscarawas Street in Canton. Each year, thousands passengers enjoy the scenery and hospitality offered via a ride on the historic Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
With 189,000 riders in 2010, CVSR carried more passengers than any other railway in Ohio, including Amtrak. And it continues to expand its partnerships and its regional impact for education, tourism, business development and recreation.
History of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
For thousands of years, Indians used the Cuyahoga River and Valley in northern Ohio as a north-south transportation corridor. Later the historic Ohio & Erie Canal provided the early settlers a slow, but easy way to move bulk goods and people.
In 1880, the first steam engine chugged its way down the new Valley Railway, signaling an era of progress and prosperity for the Cuyahoga Valley residents. Primarily built to transport coal from south of Canton to Cleveland's growing industries, the Valley Railway also served the farmers, merchants and factories along its route. Depots piled high with farm produce dotted the valley section of the railroad line.
In 1894, financial difficulties led to the Valley Railway's acquisition by the Cleveland Terminal & Valley Railroad (CT&V). The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bought the CT&V in 1915 and continued to provide freight and passenger service between Akron and Cleveland. However, the popularity of the automobile caused a decline in passenger traffic on the line. Passenger service ended in 1963.
In 1972, the Valley Line saw a rebirth when a group of citizens banded together, feeling that passenger rail should be preserved and enjoyed – and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad was reborn. The dream became a reality with scheduled runs from Cleveland to Hale Farm and Akron. The Chessie System ran freight trains on the line at night. The last freight train operated by the Chessie System ran in 1985.
The real turning point in the development of CVSR came in 1987, when the National Park Service assumed responsibility for the 26 miles of track and roadbed within Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Today, the train operates trips from Independence through historic Cuyahoga Valley National Park with stops at the Canal Visitor Center, Hale Farm and Village, downtown Akron and downtown Canton. School field trips, special $3 one-way fares for cyclists, nature trains and fall foliage tours make up a partial list of the widely varied schedule.
Today, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates trains 12 months of the year, offering alternative transportation in the National Park as well as Bike Aboard! service for bicyclists on the Towpath Trail. In addition to regularly scheduled excursions to the Canal Visitor Center, the Canal-era Village of Peninsula, Akron and Canton, CVSR also presents popular special events throughout the year including: “Grape Escape” wine-tasting trains, A Day Out With Thomas™, The Polar Express™, and more.
Visit www.cvsr.com to learn more!
Special Note - July 2011: As frequent Canalway visitors may know, the CVSR National Scenic Rail line - traveling between Independence and Akron - has temporarily suspended service to address construction issues. Current plans call for a return to service in August. In the interim - the Canton-Akron Explorer line make twice daily runs Wednesday through Sunday. Keep track at www.cvsr.com.