Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal

Above/Below,Switching Activities at Linndale Right, Ohio Brass Advertising Photo of Cleveland Union Terminal (CUT)


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal

Table of Contents
Background ............................................................................................................................ 5 Statement of Thesis................................................................................................................ 5 Cleveland’s Passenger Depot................................................................................................. 5 Development of Electrification .............................................................................................. 7 Grand Central Terminal and Its Inspiration ........................................................................... 8 A New Site, A New Idea, and A New Developer .................................................................. 10 Conclusions ........................................................................................................................... 15 References ............................................................................................................................. 18

Frank Gerlak History 304 9 May 2011

Superior Station, A Part of the Electrification System, 23 Sept 1930 and 10 February 1930 Site Currently Adjacent to the RTA Red Line Superior Station


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal

Grand Central Terminal, the Inspiration for the Cleveland Union Terminal and Its Track Levels Under New York City Upper - Express, Lower - Suburban


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal

Railroads in the Nineteenth Century
By the turn of the nineteenth century, railroads had become a major force in America by entering everyone’s life that needed to travel. As the railroads were the only form of transportation that could move great distances at high speed, they carried almost all traffic in America. Unfortunately, the railroads also affected many other people’s lives but not on so pleasurable a basis as travelling.

cated in the center or edges of downtown areas. By the early twentieth century, the city government of Cleveland was passing legislation to curb railway smoke. By requiring the railways to use smokeless coal (basically anthracite), the air in cities could be cleaner. The railroads; however, opposed these measures as too expensive – citing the need for two types of engines – one that burned anthracite coal for city operations, and one that burned softer coal for distances between cities. 1

Cleveland’s Passenger Depot
Existing Situation
In Cleveland, the railroad passenger depot was adjacent to the downtown area along the lake front. Numerous rail lines passed through Cleveland at this point, some stopping to discharge passengers and freight, and some just passing through on the way to other destinations. But, the common element of all these trains - they left smoke behind. Much of this smoke got into the air in the downtown area fouling the air in an area that served as the “front door” of the city. Numerous neighborhoods leading into the downtown area also experienced fouled air, especially those neighborhoods near railroad marshalling yards. Cleveland’s main railroad station needed replacement. Built in 1866, it was overcrowded by both passengers and trains, and inspired a billboard near the entrance that read, “Don’t Judge This Town By This Depot”.2

Statement of Thesis
Electrification of the approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal made the downtown location of the Terminal Tower possible. This benefited the City of Cleveland in the long term by placing the new railroad station on the Van Sweringen Public Square site rather than the lake front. With the addition of Van Sweringen built “air-right” real estate, again made possible by electrification of the railroads underneath, the development would out-live the project long after the railroad station had been discontinued and would provide an “anchor” for Public Square into the twenty-first century.

With the railroads came smoke. Smoke led to pollution. In the early twentieth century, the only way to propel the longer and longer trains that carried more and more passengers and freight was the steam locomotive. This means of propulsion, developed in the early nineteenth century, had been upgraded to more powerful machines. But they still mostly burned soft coal and produced billows and billows of smoke. Centers of cities already filled with smoke from industries and numerous other burners of wood and coal now had added smoke produced by railroads in freight yards and passenger stations normally lo-


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal Burnham Plan of 1903 and the Union Depot
The 1903 Mall plan, done by Daniel Burnham, had recommended a new railroad station at the head bluff of the mall serving the railroads below. The station was to be the “centerpiece” of the plan. Unfortunately, the location of the railroad station on the lake front was not recognized as a desirable part of the Daniel Burnham Plan of 1903 because of “…a view through smoke and cinders over a maze of tracks would not be particular entrancing.”3 The station was recommended for exclusion from the mall despite its central portion of the plan. By 1911, the location of the station at the north end of the mall become controversial because of the smoke problem and the railroads’ unwillingness to deal with it.4 tral (Cleveland’s major railroad) completed the Cleveland Short Line Railroad, a freight-only belt line around Cleveland. By its opening, it was inadequate because it missed the area of greatest growth south of Cleveland and moved what traffic it did serve towards the lake front creating more congestion.6 Clearly something had to be done to reduce traffic on the lake front. A new passenger station in the same location would just add more traffic to an already congested situation.

“Political” Situation with the Lake front Depot
The controversy continued over the lake front railroad station. Railroads were in the station proposals and railroads were out of the proposals. Because there were a number of railroads involved, no one railroad seemed to be able to take over the situation and work it to a successful completion. The city government continued to “encourage” cooperation, but little was achieved. Thus the obsolete 1866 depot continued to be Cleveland’s “front door” during one of its largest growth periods. And along with the lack of action on a new passenger station, smoke was continuing to billow through downtown.

Technical Problems With the Lake front Depot Site
The railroads using the lake front were experiencing technical problems with the site as well. From 1904 to 1909, industrial establishments grew by 33 percent.5 New industries added more customers and created incredible congestion at the lake front, the marshalling point for railroads. In 1912, the New York Cen-

The Smoke Continues
By 1912, the smoke problem got so bad that the city government began generating “costs” that were borne by the city real estate market.7 At that time, numerous advertisements appeared for real estate cit-

Margaret Bourke White Photograph of Cleveland 6

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal
ing advantages of locations along electric railroads and away from the smoke and cinders of steam railroads.8,9 In the meantime, cities continued to pressure the railroads for smoke abatement – the Smoke Inspector of Cleveland stated that smoke cost the city of Cleveland $6,000,000 per year.10 As opposition to the location of a train station on Cleveland’s lake front grew, another location was informally sought. Unfortunately there were few locations along the prevailing rightsof-way that offered locations where smoke would not be a problem and be central to the city. In addition, the lake front railroad traffic was running at or near capacity.11 By this time, demand for railroad use of anthracite coal had waned in favor of a new technology that could reduce smoke even more. Something needed to be done and now the electrification of railroads could play a large role. But first, the technology of electrification needed to be ready for the railroads. ternative to steam power. Electrically powered engines were found to be more powerful, required less maintenance, did not need to carry fuel on-board, and were projected to last longer than steam engines. Electrification seemed to be the future for America’s railroads. The main disadvantage to electrification, however, was the

Types of Systems
Although there are numerous variations on electrification, the overall systems can be roughly divided into two distribution types: overhead current collection via catenary wire and third rail current collection. Voltages vary by distribution type.

Discoveries in Electric Power Leading To Electrification 12
1821 Michael Faraday – electromagnetic rotation 1831 Joseph Henry – electromagnet 1835 Thomas Davenport – first electric motor 1838 Robert Davidson – Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway – first electric railway 1851 Dr. Charles G. Page – electric locomotive on 5 mile track between Washington, DC, and Bladensburg, Maryland – US Congress funded for $20,000 but lost interest 1879 Dr. Ernst Werner von Siemens – first practical electric railway, Berlin Industrial Exhibition, transported 100,000 people during the exposition

Milwaukee Road Advertisement Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1917 investment needed for current distribution and its supporting equipment – each mile of track needed some form of current collection. And, the railroad’s entire investment in steam equipment would become useless. 7

Development of Electrification
By 1915, development of electrification technology had progressed to the point that electrification was a serious al-

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal
1880 Thomas Edison – 1,400 feet of track in Menlo, NJ, 40 mph with two cars and locomotive 1883 Electric Railway Corporation of the United States, consolidating the patents of Edison and others legally, exhibited The Judge, a locomotive that transported 26,000 people at the Chicago Railway Exposition in 1883 via center third rail contact 1885 Thomas Daft – Electric railway above Ninth Street in NYC from 14th to 53rd Streets 1887 Frank Sprague – first successful electric motor mounting and electrification of the Richmond, Virginia Union Passenger Railway, demonstrating that electric traction could be used to climb hills 1893 General Electric Company, – demonstrated a 30 ton locomotive at the World’s Columbian Exposition pulling 12,000 pounds at 30 mph via a 500 volt DC overhead wire system 1895 Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore 7.2 miles, built by B&O Railroad – first practical application to mainline railway operation

Grand Central Terminal and Its Inspiration
Grand Central Terminal (GCT) in New York City was the “zenith” of electrification projects. It included 58 miles of electrified tracks connecting the cities of Harmon and White Plains to GCT, by under running third rail contact shoe for protection of personnel, 660 Volt DC power, and costing $65,000,000 in 1913, (1.4 billion in 2010 dollars). A short time line of its development follows. 1902 An accident took 15 lives, because underground signals could not be seen due to smoke in the two-mile Park Avenue tunnel then operated by steam. 1908 The State of New York prohibited steam locomotives from operating south of the Harlem River. In 1903, the New York Central began replacement of the old Grand Central Terminal, and built the present Grand Central Terminal from underground up based on complete electrification of all tunnels to the new terminal. The new terminal was opened in 1913. It included two tiers of

tracks, 31 tracks on the upper tier, 17 tracks on the lower tier.

Grand Central Terminal and Its Influence on Electrification
With the completion of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, railroads began to discover the advantages of electrification. In addition to GCT, the electrification of 400 miles of the Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railroad showed that electrification could be done on a large scale. However, these projects were done for the railroad’s benefit – it was difficult at best to run steam locomotives through tunnels, and both GCT and the Milwaukee Road had miles of tunnels. Electrification was not seriously considered for “public relations efforts” when the railroad didn’t directly benefit. However, the New York Central began to realize profits from real estate development made possible only by electrification (and its lack of smoke) along its lines to Grand Central Terminal.13 Soon other railroads began considering electrification in locations all over the United States.


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal

Above Right, Smokey GCT Before; Below and Left, Use of Air-Rights and the Not Smoky GCT Afterwards


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal
As the enthusiasm for electrification increased as the 1910 “high tech” aspect of railroading, many local communities, including Cleveland, suggested electrification as the cure for urban smoke. The City of Cleveland persisted in asking for smoke control.13 All that was needed was for the railroads to electrify. Local electrification would be compatible with main line electrification and would easily “plug in” to the mainline systems when they were eventually electrified. The success of Grand Central Terminal was especially impressive to two frequent New York visitors from Cleveland. As the Van Sweringens were assembling their railroad empire and developing Shaker Heights, something was needed to tie everything together. This included a terminal for their Cleveland Interurban Railroad and office space for the headquarters of railroad companies that were moved to Cleveland as the Vans acquired them. The idea of developing of air-rights over railroad tracks, as practiced by the New York Central adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, appealed to the Vans. This development would only be made possible by elimination of steam power from the railroads underneath and its replacement with electric power. Because the railroad passenger station situation was in such flux, an opportunity availed its self to the Vans for their “new” idea. Initially the Van’s station was to be built as a “stub” station (with no through trains). This was ideal for its first sponsors, the B&O Railroad, the Wheeling & Lake Erie, and the Erie railroads which ran no trains west of Cleveland. However, as the idea progressed, the Nickel Plate Railroad (now owned by the Vans) wanted into the station. As they ran west to Chicago, through trains would need to be accommodated. A stub terminal would not do. Now the “mighty” New York Central wanted in and was being encouraged by its president Alfred H. Smith, a close friend of the Vans. He not only encouraged the Vans but assured them that the New York Central would heavily underwrite the project.14 A small version of Grand Central Terminal, complete with Van Sweringen controlled air-rights for office buildings above was deemed the best solution for the station. And, only electrification would make this possible.

A New Site, A New Idea, and A New Developer
In 1915, the Ohio Legislature authorized the combination of railroad and city interests that launched the Cleveland Union Terminals Company.15 The Van Sweringens took over and provided a single focus to the railroad station controversy, eliminating the confusion that existed between the City of Cleveland and all of the participating railroads. Development began for a terminal at a new site adjacent to Cleveland’s Public Square led by the Van Sweringen brothers and backed by the New York Central Railroad. This site raised multiple objections, a major one being smoke. As city legislation would be necessary for much of the project, Cleveland City Council asked for a promise that the station be served by electrically-powered trains. This would also eliminate the “railroad smoke nuisance on our lake front", thus eliminating the lake front station from consideration.16 As plans progressed, the City of Cleveland decided to submit an ordinance to the voters authorizing the City of Cleveland to enter into an agreement with the Cleveland Union Terminals Company. Passage of this ordnance would permit construction of the station adjacent to


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal
Public Square. The ordinance was passed by a 3:2 margin on January 6, 1919.16 As plans developed, the B&O dropped out of the station plan and the equally “mighty” Pennsylvania Railroad decided not to join. But then, the “P” Company (Pennsylvania RR) never wanted into developments that it didn’t control and, was a “minor” railroad in Cleveland because it only operated a stub line to Pittsburgh and beyond. Because it involved few tunnels, the Cleveland Union Terminal electrification was the only railway electrification project in the United States that was built purely for smoke control.17 However, there was another reason for electrification that was far more interesting (and profitable) to the Vans and this reason ensured that the line would be electrified. minal reached by long ramps rather than stairways, with the property overhead developed for commercial and residential use under air-right arrangements. To O.P. Van Sweringen, the airrights idea was especially appealing. In Grand Central’s case, it was already leading to the creation of the legendary Park Avenue “Gold Coast” north of 45th Street as well as three hotels clustered around the terminal. Soon it became a financial mother lode for the railroad.18 Air-rights served the dual purpose of hiding (and sheltering) the railroad tracks while providing real estate investment opportunities for the created "land" above - land that otherwise would be undeveloped and only useful as a railroad. Without air-rights, a large valuable space would be wasted in the center of the city. This was the Van Sweringens' model for the Cleveland Union Terminal. And, electrification of the railroad was key to its execution. Development of air-rights was the Van Sweringens' major incentive for building the entire Cleveland Union Terminal project, but was met with much “public scrutiny” By 1924, the issue of air-rights progressed to the courts. In March 1924, the use of air-rights by the Van Sweringens was affirmed by the courts.19 They 11 proceeded in their planning for the station complex with this ruling in mind. At an Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) hearing in 1925 the Van Sweringens estimated the value of air-rights over the Union Terminal at a minimum of $15,000,000. "Air-rights over an additional seven acres of right-of-way abutting Ontario Street have been reserved and have a large but unestimated value," stated the Vans. The counsel for the minority shareholders of the C&O Railway, by then part of the Van Sweringen empire, disputed the figure and stated instead that they were worth $20,000,000 - $26,000,000. They stated that the air-rights should not be assigned to the Cleveland Terminals Building Company exclusively. But they were.20 In typical Van Sweringen fashion, they “crafted” an intricate financial plan to make sure that the “right” money got to the “right” places. What might appear to the average viewer as a set of somewhat uniform appearing buildings in a large multi-use complex, actually represents an incredibly complicated web of financing that made the complex possible and attractive financially to the Van Sweringens. All of this was made possible by the use of railroads electrification beneath the airright developed real estate.

The development of air-rights real estate over the railroad tracks was a major incentive for the Van Sweringens in their plan for the Union Terminal project. This was a new concept, used to great advantage by the New York Central Railroad at Grand Central Terminal. At Grand Central Terminal, William J. Wilgus, chief engineer for the New York Central Railroad, developed the underground electrified ter-

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal
The railroad terminal below was built by the Cleveland Union Terminal Company as the operating portion of the project. The profitable air-rights portion above was developed (and owned) by the Cleveland Terminals Building Company (CTBC). Therefore the anticipated highly profitable portion of the project would go to the Cleveland Terminals Building Company. CTBC got the best portion of the project at only nominal cost.21 plans such as the Cleveland Union terminal. After a somewhat “checkered” review by a sub-committee of the ICC where opponents and proponents made their respective cases, 23 the full Commission finally approved the Public Square location. 24 Work again began in earnest after ICC approval. By 1925, the public was informed in an article that the new station would include electrically operated trains.25 This article also stated the advantages of electric operation and their increasing use around the United States. By 1926, the details of the electrification became known. 26 Work on the electrification became part of the daily news output as the vastness of the project became known.27 By 1928, somewhat “truncated” pictures of the electric engines were published in the newspaper.28 After last minute opposition from the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad and their owners the Taplins, the ICC gave the Cleveland Union Terminal “High Iron” for completion by allowing demolition of the only remaining obstacle, the Wheeling & Lake Erie depot.29 By late 1929, work on the actual electrification began.30

Construction of the New Passenger Station and Approaches
With passage of the referendum, work began in the spring of 1919.22 It was halted after passage of the Esch-Cummins Act (Transportation Act of 1920). This act required ICC review of railroad expansion

Cleveland Union Terminal Richard J. Cook 12

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal Cleveland Union Terminal Electrification
It is interesting to note that the Cleveland Union Terminal approaches would be served by overhead catenary wire distribution – 3,000 Volt DC. This was completely different than the system used by the New York Central at Grand Central Terminal – 600 Volt DC third rail. In basic electrical terms, power is equal to voltage multiplied by amperage or current. The number, length, and weight of trains determine the power needed. In the 1920’s, voltage could either be low (500-600 Volts) or high (1000-3000 Volts). Current needs to be matched to the voltage system to provide the needed power. Thus, to accommodate the higher current needed for low voltage systems, a third rail made of a thick shielded rail of iron was needed to accommodate the high current flow catenary wire could not be used because it was too small. A current collection “shoe” ran over or under the third rail. Conversely, a high voltage system needed lower current. Thus a wire suspended above the train could accommodate the lower current making a third rail unnecessary. A pantograph on top of the engine brushed the wire for the electrical contact. By the late 1920s, 13 most new systems included catenary wire running 3000 Volt DC systems. This was the system promoted by General Electric, a NYC customer that was located along the NYC, and provided much of their electrical “support.”31 As the New York Central was planning to electrify its main lines in the 1920s, their electrification would take this form and be done by General Electric. Thus the CUT would just “plug into” eventual New York Central mainline electrification. Obviously, Grand Central Terminal would be an anomaly in the system serving the single purpose of getting in and out of New York City – legally.

The Grand Opening
When it was all finished, Cleveland had a facility that was quite possibly, the best passenger facility in the nation. Few

Advertisement Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1930

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal
cities, then and now, could boast of a public or private improvement project costing $179,000,000 (of which $60,000,000 was spent on the station, approaches, and electrification). This is $2,257,000,000 and $756,000,000 respectively in 2010 dollars! 32. Approximately 500 people were employed at the new station.33 The CUT became the symbol of Cleveland and "graced" many post cards that were sent throughout the nation. On May 19, 1930 the first train to enter the Cleveland Union Terminal under electric power arrived at 7:30 AM. The Norwalk “Plug,” a commuter train from Norwalk, arrived beginning 23 years of operation. 34 On June 29, 1930, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a special supplement to its Sunday edition extolling the virtues of the now completed civic achievement. 35 The previous day, a civic celebration was held with free rides on the electrified lines for public officials. The developers of the Cleveland Union Terminal, the Van Sweringen Brothers, did not attend but spent the afternoon on their farm.36 By 1930, the holding company organized to control the terminal group of buildings showed at net loss of $1,000,000. The Cleveland Terminals Building Company however, showed a net profit of $93,000 14

Above, CUT Electric Change Over - Below, CUT right-of-way Construction

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal
- a result of the “right” money going to the “right” places.37 Later that year, the New York Central Railroad sold the only airrights they got out of the deal, over the station itself, to the Federal Government for $1,150,000. The US Government built the main Post Office on that site.38 From 1930, through World War II, and for years beyond, CUT electrics hauled the majority of New York Central, Big Four (part of the New York Central), Erie, B&O, and Nickel Plate passenger trains through the Cleveland Union Terminal. One notable exception was the “Most Famous Train in the World,” the feature train of the New York Central, The Twentieth Century Limited. This train made no regular stops in Cleveland because of its fast schedule and because it passed through Cleveland during the middle of the night. Its RPO (railway post office) section with mail bound for Cleveland did go to the Cleveland Union Terminal, after being detached as a local at Collinwood or Linndale, so that the mail could be worked at the new Post Office at the Cleveland Union Terminal. This postal local then rejoined The Twentieth Century Limited as it passed the respective stations in the electrification zone down the line so that originating mail from Cleveland could be placed onto The Twentieth Century Limited. The Union Terminal electrification operated until November 15, 1953 a victim of declining railroad use and diesel powered engines. 39 For all practical purposes, the CUT electrification “gave a good accounting of itself” and was considered to be a successful operation.40

Electrification of the railways under the Terminal Tower made its creation possible. Electrification also made possible the use of air-rights, the profits of which more than offset the cost of electrification. With electrification making the Public Square site possible, rents from the air-rights developed real estate were much higher and provided a greater return to the Vans than if the project had been built anywhere else. This in turn, made the Cleveland Union Terminal a better, more “high end,” and, most importantly to us today, a lasting project. Although the office space in the tower is about 20% vacant as of May 2011, a victim of the recent economic downturn, asking rents per square foot are about $17 which compares with an average of $14.50 for its neighbor buildings.41

What Remains Today, Hayden Substation, Traction Towers at Superior


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal
The Cleveland Union Terminal and its electrification gave Cleveland a “State of the Art” railroad passenger facility that was the envy of the nation. It made Cleveland a major city and “changed” the Cleveland railroad station sign to “Do Judge this Town by this Depot.” U n f o r t u n a t e l y, the Union Terminal and its electrification arrived about twenty years too late. If the Cleveland Union Terminal had been finished in 1910, it would have opened during the peak of the railroads. Rail passenger levels would have been intense creating a greater use of the building than in 1930. More importantly, more time would have been available to create more opportunities to build on air-rights in a part of Cleveland that was under-developed. It would have focused Cleveland development on Public Square during the period of Cleveland’s greatest growth. The five interurban lines serving Cleveland in 1910 would have been able to enough local transit patterns to make the interurbans survival more possible by intensifying their operations for higher passenger levels while supporting more development adjacent to their lines. Thus, as part of the CUT, the stronger interurban lines might have survived as branch railroad lines serving large areas of transit dependent people and development such as in Shaker Heights or as with Grand Central Terminal in New York City. These transit patterns might have been so firmly established by the 1930’s that they would have been more resistant to changes brought about later by the automobile. It is possible that these travel patterns could still have been a part of today’s life.

Air-rights, Cleveland Style “buy in” to the CUT traction concourse during their time of greatest prosperity. This would have strengthened the CUT and the interurban lines by giving the interurban lines off-street access to downtown Cleveland. This could have established strong 16

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal
Unfortunately, reality now tells us that by 1930, the development “model” of Grand Central Terminal, so admired by the Van Sweringens, was out-of-date. While this development model was still useable in major cities like New York, it was not workable in lower tiered cities like Cleveland where there was not sufficient population for its support. The Cleveland Union Terminal was envisioned around 1915. It took approximately 15 years to develop its concepts, put the ownership coalition together, secure financing (possibly the most time consuming and weighty part of the project) seek approvals, design the facilities, and build them. By 1930, the world had changed and history now tells us that the railroads were beginning their period of decline brought about by the development of alternative forms of transportation such as airplanes and automobiles (with their government built highway system). Unfortunately, electrification of the railroads could not stop this decline but, if accomplished, would have added millions of dollars of debt to the already cash poor railroads. Declining passenger traffic shows that in 1922, Clevelanders could choose from among 94 daily passenger trains; in 1930, that choice narrowed to 85; and by 1932, to 78. During World War II, 63 daily passenger trains passed through Cleveland. By the early 1970s, before Amtrak, eight daily trains served the city.42 Currently only four passenger trains serve Cleveland, and they don’t use the Public Square facility. Ironically, they load passengers along Cleveland’s lake front, almost in the same area as the old passenger station. The undoing of the CUT electrics and electrification of the railroads was largely due to the diesel electric engine. This engine includes an electric power plant that is run by a diesel generator carried within the engine. Advantages of electric power are combined with a selfpowered (fuel must be carried on-board) diesel generator in the engine that avoids the large costs of electrifying the entire railroad. After World War II, the railroads were facing extensive replacement of equipment worn out by the heavy traffic demands of the war. They had little capital to provide replacements. The path of “least” resistance was chosen - that path was to dieselize 43. In the late 1940’s, fuel was cheap so the choice quite easy. If a union depot had been built along the lake front, it would never have 17 been electrified. Too many railroads were involved and most were minor “players” in the Cleveland railroad “game.” These minor railroads would never have paid for electrification because there were only advantages to the public in smoke control. There was no developer interested in air-rights over the station that would have been an incentive to electrify. Thus smoke would have continued along the waterfront for 40 more years until diesel-electric locomotives were adopted by the railroads. As railroad usage declined, the lake front station could have deteriorated unless some non-railroad tenant or user could be found to occupy the facility. Quite possibly, the mall could have had a deteriorating useless ex-railroad passenger station at its edge by the lake. By contrast, the Union Terminal at Public Square was 90% a New York Central facility. Management of the New York Central, friendly to the Van Sweringens and their vision, saw the advantages of a first class facility in downtown Cleveland. Because the Union Terminal included many different uses beyond railroads (a City Within a City), the facility is still useful and a community asset long after passenger railroad service ended. Today, I assume that the railroads regret not electrifying. The cost of fuel has

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal
increased so dramatically that cost-benefit analyses would now favor electrification. In addition, railroads are carrying more freight and are prospering. The railroads’ money-losing passenger service has been passed to Amtrak and is no longer a factor. Several years ago, the Federal Government spent considerable sums of money to electrify the Northeast Corridor rail service. They expanded the 1930’s built electrification from Washington, DC to New Haven, northwards to Boston. Today’s major railway high-speed service in China, Japan, through Europe, to the East Coast of America is all electrified. All of these countries have discovered that electrification is the most economical way to run high-speed trains. Now the railroads, “freed” from propulsion by locally generated electric power from locally mined coal fuel, have joined the “petroleum age.” They must burn fuel extracted from half a world away, increase the country’s dependence on foreign oil, and become pawns of the petroleum companies along with the rest of the nation. How ultimate electrification of the railroads, aided by the electrification of the CUT, might have changed that!

Cleveland Union Terminal Western Approach


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal

Invisible Giants, The Empire of Cleveland’s Van Sweringen Brothers, Herbert H. Harwood, Indiana University Press, 2003 The Van Sweringens of Cleveland, The Biography of an Empire, Ian S. Haberman, Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979 When the Steam Railroads Electrified, William D. Middleton, Indiana University Press; 2nd Revised edition (May 15, 2002) Railway Age Magazine, June 28, 1930, Cleveland Union Terminals Cleveland: The Making of a City, William Ganson Rose, World Publishing Company, 1950 The Architectural Forum, Part One: Architectural Design, December 1930, pages 669672 The Union Station, A Description of the New Passenger Facilities and Surrounding Improvements, The Cleveland Union Terminals Co. and The Cleveland Terminals Building Co., 1930 Central Electric Railfans Association, Electric Railways of Northeastern Ohio, 1965, pg. 110 Life Magazine, 7 November 1949 Cleveland Memories Numerous Photographs Cleveland Public Library, Photograph Collection Cleveland Plain Dealer, various issues as follows

1. “Roads Opposed to Smoke Law”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2 August 1905, pg 42 2. Herbert Harwood, Invisible Giants, The Empires of Cleveland’s Van Sweringen Brothers (Indiana University Press, 2003) pg 30 3. Cleveland Is Recognized as a Great Civic Center, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 14 June 1909, pg 14 4. Cleveland’s Group Plan Draws World’s Attention To This City, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 15 January 1911, pg 13 5. Ian S. Haberman, The Van Sweringens of Cleveland, (Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979) pg 22 6. ibid. pg 22 7. Millions Lost Every Year To City Reality By Smoke In Atmosphere, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 21 April 1912, pg 39 8. A Large Lot for $75, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Advertisement, 13 May 1911, pg 15 9. Mount Pleasant View, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Advertisement, 11 August 1912, pg 266 10. Says Smoke Costs City Six Millions, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 4 May 1913, pg 14 11. Terminals Co. Tells Why Union Station Should Be On Square, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 20 October 1918, pg 33 12. When the Steam Railroads Electrified, William D. Middleton, Indiana University Press; 2nd Revised edition (May 15, 2002), Ch. 1 13. “Spotless Town’s Only Year Away, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 28 May 1908, pg 14 14. Invisible Giants, The Empire of Cleveland’s Van Sweringen Brothers, Herbert H. Harwood, Indiana University Press, 2003, pg 58 15. Cleveland, The Making of a City, William Ganson Rose, (World Publishing Company, Cleveland, Ohio, 1950), pg 730 16. Union Station Carries 3 to 2, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7 January 1919, pg 1 17. When the Steam Railroads Electrified, William D. Middleton, Indiana University Press; 2nd Revised edition (May 15, 2002), pg 375 18. ibid, pg 47 19. Van Sweringens Win Air Rights, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 30 March 1924, pg 10 20. Depot Air Rights Put at 15 Million, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 21 July 1925, pg 1 21. Invisible Giants, The Empire of Cleveland’s Van Sweringen Brothers, Herbert H. Harwood, Indiana University Press, 2003, pg 68 22. Work On Station To Begin By April, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8 January 1919, pg 22 23. Ian S. Haberman, The Van Sweringens of Cleveland, (Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979) pg 41 24. Depot on Square Wins US Approval, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 8 December 1921, pg 7 25. Roads Plan to Electrify Terminals To New Station, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 16 July 1925, pg 13 26. All Steam Lines Into Union Depot To Be Electrified, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3 October 1926, pg 31 27. The By Product, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2 May 1928, pg 31 28. Advertisement Cleveland Union Terminal…The Locomotives, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 25 September, 1930 pg 4 29. Win Out In Fight Over Terminal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 24 July 1929, pg 1 30. Dirt Grubbing Over For Terminal, Vans To Turn On Voltage, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7 September 1929, pg 1 31. email from herbhar@yahoo.com Apr 26, 2011 05:14:36 PM - Herb Harwood 32. The Inflation Calculator, http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi 33. More Than 500 Men and Women on Job at Station, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 29 June 1930, pg 7 34. 57 Named To Run electric Haulers, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 20 May 1930, pg 8 35. Operation of The Terminal Is A Gigantic Business, Cleveland Plain Dealer Supplement, 29 June 1930, pg 80 36. Thousands View New City Station, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 29 June 1930, pg 6-7 37. Terminal Buildings Show Small Profit for Part of 1930, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7 July 1931, pg 11 38. An Air Rights Post Office, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 27 June 1931, pg 9 39. Terminal’s Electrics Bid Adieu; Diesels Take Over Cleveland Plain Dealer, 16 November 1953, pg 112 40. When the Steam Railroads Electrified, William D. Middleton, Indiana University Press; 2nd Revised edition (May 15, 2002) pg 377 41. Loopnet.com, Cleveland Real Estate Statistics 42. Ian S. Haberman, The Van Sweringens of Cleveland, (Western Reserve Historical Society, 1979) pg 48 43. When the Steam Railroads Electrified, William D. Middleton, Indiana University Press; 2nd Revised edition (May 15, 2002) pg 420-422


Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal

Cleveland Union Terminal in 1941 Showing Electrified Approaches on the Left 20

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Clevland Union Terminal

CUT 1058, 10 March 1930

CUT Crews, 14 March 1930

CUT Electrification Zone, Courtesy Central Electric Railfans Association Bulletin 108, Electric Railways of Northeastern Ohio, 1965 21

Early Environmental Protection in Cleveland, The Electrified Approaches to the Cleveland Union Terminal