Initially, the Atlantic & Western Railway was laid through North Lewisburg in 1864. Later it became the Erie Railroad.
The Erie Railroad through Champaign County linked North Lewisburg, Mingo, Kennard, and Urbana. The first photo (#A2321) ca. 1900 shows a passenger train at the Erie depot in North Lewisburg. Note that the steam locomotive is taking on water. The second photo (#10934.93 – 5) taken in 1911 is of the same Erie Depot in North Lewisburg with employees Ben Curl and Jess McCully. Note the posting of the schedule on the side of the depot. The Erie Railroad through North Lewisburg also provided freight service for local businesses such as Stout’s Poultry giving it access to the New York City market.
The North Lewisburg depot closed in 1961. The Erie Railroad was abandoned in 1976. Later the Erie Railroad bed became the SKPF bike trail south from Urbana. Along the bike trail are two stone RR mileage markers (356 & 357) which indicate the miles from Salamanca, NY, a town in western New York at which the south spur of the Erie Railroad began. Look for these mileage markers the next time you’re on the trail.
The Champaign County Historical Society thanks Janice and Max Coates for providing photos and information regarding the Erie RR through North Lewisburg.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Info from CCHS