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Northern Ohio Railway Museum Information

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Preserving the Past, Building for the Future

NORM from the air      The Museum can trace its roots back to 1965 when three railfans wanted to acquire and restore a caboose. NORM was formally incorporated on February 20, 1976 as a not-for-profit educational and historical organization. In June of the following year NORM purchased two miles of former Cleveland, Southwestern and Columbus Railway right-of-way south of Chippewa Lake which had been abandoned in 1932. Over the next few years an assortment of interurban cars and other equipment started to arrive.

NORM Bennett Carhouse      From this simple beginning our collection has grown to over forty pieces including streetcars, interurbans, work equipment and other railroad cars from the trolley era. In 1984 an additional 30+ acres of land was purchased on Buffham Road adjacent to the right-of-way. Since that time we have constructed one carhouse for restoration work and another for preservation, as well as a maintenance building for our service vehicles. An addional 8.5 acres of land was purchased in 2013, extending the Museum property north to Kennard Road and bringing the total to about forty acres.

NORM west loop track 2014      To date over a mile of track has been laid, much of it in the carhouse area as yard leads and storage tracks. In 2011 work began to bring our west loop track up to operating condition. By the end of 2015 our first line poles were set and the overhead wire was installed. In August of 2016 Shaker Heights Rapid Transit Car 12 became the first car to operate under its own power at NORM. The Summer of 2017 will see our first public operations and planning is underway for the construction of a new electrical sub-station.

North end of NORM right-of-way      The photo to the left shows the northern most end of the NORM right-of-way at Lake Road. This end of the line will have a loop to turn the cars for the return trip to the Museum grounds. Directly behind the photographer the line crossed the road and entered the now-abandoned Chippewa Lake Park, which closed its doors in the late 1970's. From this view,you can clearly see the old telephone poles faithfully marking the Southwesterns' "Green Line".

     In the future visitors will board cars from our collection, restored to their original elegant condition, for a trip back in time along the route of the Cleveland, Southwestern and Columbus as it heads north for Chippewa Lake. Join us in our journey to preserve the past for the generations to come.

    For the latest Museum news visit us at  Facebook  and visit our  News Archives  to view our past Museum News pages. To learn more about Northern Ohio Railway Museum's rail collection visit the  Our Rail Collection  page.

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To Continue This Growth, NORM Needs Your Support

     As we begin 2017, your support is still needed to keep the museum going, paying its bills, and planning for its future. This year, we will again be asking for your support of the three funds that do just that: The General Fund, the Carbarn Fund and the Endowment Fund. Learn more about each and how you can help below.

General Fund

     The General Fund is used to meet the operating costs of the Museum. Any expenses not covered by one of the special funds are paid from this fund. Besides expenses like utilities and insurance and the upkeep to our buildings and grounds, shortfalls in other funds are are also covered by this fund. The General Fund is supported by membership dues, contributions from both our memebers and the general public and profits from the Museum Store. During 2016, over $30,000 was paid out of this fund. Contributioning to the General Fund allows the Museum's directors to use your donations where they are needed the most.

Carbarn Fund

     Contributions to the Carbarn Fundare used to pay down the loan on the John F. McCarthy Carhouse. We are in the home stretch on this debt with about $33,000 left to pay off. The goal for 2017 is $13,716 to cover the twelve monthly loan payments of $1,143 each. Please send your contribution to the Carbarn Fund today or consider making a small monthly contribution as several of our members now do.

Endowment Fund

     You can also contribute to the future of the Museum by making a donation to the Northern Ohio Railway Museum Endowment Fund at the Akron Community Foundation. The fund welcomes gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, closely held stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets. Gifts can be made directly through the ACF Secure Web Site or you can send uor donation by mail. Make checks out to ACF/Northern Ohio Railway Museum Endowment Fund and mail to:

Northern Ohio Railway Museum Endowment Fund
Akron Community Foundation
345 W. Cedar St., Akron, OH 44307

     If you wish to select a gift for your donation visit our Thank You Gifts page to view our list and use our printable donation form.
     When you contribute to the Endowment Fund you are contributing to the future of the Museum. The folks at ACF will be happy to answer your questions about the many opportunities available to NORM through the fund.

Other Funds

     In addition to the three funds above, you may also direct your contributions to one of the specific function funds: the Track Fund, the Overhead Fund, the Car Fund, or the Operations Fund. Please support these vital funds - all contributions are tax deductible.

For a printable donation form and a list of our Thank You Gifts please  Click Here .

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While in Ohio

     Railway Museum would like to acknowledge the following local museums/groups that have helped us in our work:

  • The first is the now defunct Trolleyville USA or, the Gerald E Brookins Museum of Electric Railways. They helped NORM store streetcars prior to the acquisition of our current right of way and Museum grounds. Trolleyville itself owned and operated a large collection of trolleys at their Olmstead Township location for several decades. Sadly, the Museum closed it's doors forever in 2005.
  • The second is the Ohio Railway Museum. They have a collection of Traction, Mainline Railroad Equipment, a Gas Electric and 2 Steam Locomotives. They have been in operation since 1948 on the roadbed of the former Columbus, Delaware & Marion Interurban. They can be reached at: Ohio Railway Museum, PO Box 171, Worthington, Ohio 43085
  • The third is The Cleveland & Eastern Interurban Historical Society. This group's area of interest is the interurban lines that traveled east out of Cleveland into Lake & Geauga Counties:  Cleveland, Painesville & Eastern; Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtabula; Cleveland & Eastern; Cleveland & Chagrin Falls. The Museum located at the Chesterland Historical Foundation at the corner of Caves and Mayfield Road in Chesterland, Ohio in the basement of the historic 1850 Town Hall. Regular monthly meetings are held at 7:00 P.M. on the first Thursday of each month at the Museum. Guests are always welcome. They can be reached at The Cleveland & Eastern Interurban Historical Society & Museum, P.O. Box 34, Chardon, Ohio 44024.
  • Last but not least is the Midwest Railway Preservation Society (MRPS). The group has a collection of vintage railway equipment currently under restoration and they are working to rebuild and preserve the former B&O Railroad Roundhouse at 2800 West 3rd Street in Cleveland's Industrial Flats. They also run public excursions from June through October in cooperation with the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad. Several NORM members are also members of this group.

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For a list of other Museum Links and Internet Resources please  Click Here .

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Northern Ohio Railway Museum is a Proud Member of the Association of Tourist Railroads & Railway Museums

Museum Information Museum Events Our Collection Museum Store Become A Member Get Directions

For questions or comments about N.O.R.M. please contact:
Walt Stoner
For questions or comments about this website please contact:
Brian Gage

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Last updated 03/14/2017