For thousands of years Native Americans used the Cuyahoga River and Valley in northern Ohio as a north-south transportation corridor. Later the Ohio and 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.
Financial difficulties in 1894 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. The last freight train operated by the Chessie System ran in 1985.
Today, the historic rails are owned by the National Park Service as part of its goal to preserve the significant cultural resources in the Cuyahoga Valley. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad operates the excursion train through Cuyahoga Valley National Park in cooperation with the National Park Service.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is 33,000 acres of land that is part of our National Park system. 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.
Take a seat and watch it unfold. Meadowland, pinery, marsh, river, ravine and wood. Beaver, fox, deer and owl. Amble through small towns. A working 19th century farm. Miles of smooth Towpath Trail to bike and hike. A fascinating canal museum. Big city shopping and more. There's a wealth of natural and human history in the Valley. A world where time slows, and Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is your ticket in.