Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad

by Mike Brotzman

Scioto tower, Columbus
Photograph 2002, by Roger Marler

Scioto tower controls the crossing of the crossing of the former Conrail Columbus Line/Cincinnati Line (the name changes just before the interlocking at CP-138), the CSX Columbus Subdivision and the former Conrail Western Branch. The Columbus line runs from Crestline OH to Columbus. The Cincinnati Line runs from Columbus to Cincinnati. The CSX Columbus Sub runs from Columbus to Toledo and the Western Branch runs from the CSX Toledo Branch to the NS West Va. Secondary through Columbus.

Currently, after the CSX/Norfolk Southern acqiusition of Conrail, the Columbus Line and Western Branch fell under the jurisdiction of CSX while NS gained control of the Cincinnati Line and trackage rights over the Western Branch. The tower was built in the 1920's jointly by the C&O and the NYC (lines that later became CSX and CR) and operation was later taken over by Conrail and finally by either NS or CSX. The interlocking contains no fewer than 8 diamonds, two connecting tracks b/t the crossing lines and the end of a double track segment on the Western Branch.

The tower houses a GRS pistol grip electric machine popular on both the C&O and NYC at the time. The tower and interlocking was named by Conrail for the nearby Scotio river, but the original name was LM Cabin. The crossings are very busy and see upwards of 50 trains per day and the tower operators are fairly tolerant of rail enthusiasts.

SCOTIO was was involved in an incident many years ago where a rail buff was invited up into the lever room by the operator. He then slipped on the stairs on his way out injuring himself. He then promptly sued the railroad for damages and won. After this tower operators were barred from ever inviting anyone up for a visit again.

Freight passing Scotio tower
Photograph 2002, by Roger Marler

With thanks to Roger Marler for providing the photographs, and to mike Brotzman for putting together the accompanying text.

Comments about this article should be addressed to John Hinson