All Aboard to Gambier

Welcome to Gambier, a village along the Kokosing Gap Trail and home to Kenyon College. As you visit the area we want you to learn the history of Ohio Railroads and their significance to the growth of these towns. In the late 90’s, Knox County began to explore the idea of taking the abandoned rail beds and converting them to a multi-use recreational trail. This section of the trail is part of the greater rail trail known as the Ohio to Erie Trail consisting of 326 miles from Cincinnati to Cleveland.  We hope that you enjoy our Points of Interest Trail.

At this trailhead of the Kokosing Gap Trail, you will view the Chesapeake and Ohio Caboose and the 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive as well as a Switch Stand. The Kokosing Gap Trail board of trustees purchased the locomotive and moved it to Gambier in April 2001. 

According to the History of Knox County 1876-1976 during the years 1916-17, there were 18 passenger trains daily through Knox County on the Pennsylvania and B&O which were the two main lines. Passenger service declined steadily after World War II and in the last days of 1950, the Pennsylvania Railroad removed its last two passenger trains from Knox County while freight service continued through the late 1970’s. The Kokosing Gap Trail is built on the former Pennsylvania Railroad right-of-way between Mount Vernon and Danville. 

The Chesapeake & Ohio caboose #90776 was built in November 1924 and rode the rails until February 1979. The caboose was part of an order of 100 wood cabooses built for the C&O railroad by the Standard Steel Company of Baltimore Maryland. These cars were numbered 90700 to 90799 and cost $2,728.49 each. These series were unique because of the center cupola window at the top. Less than 35 of the 100 90700 series of cabooses are known to exist today.

All the equipment including locks, stools, lanterns, and tools is authentic Chesapeake & Ohio. Many volunteers worked steadily to restore this caboose to the condition you see today. For more than 100 years, the caboose was a fixture on the end of freight trains. It provided a place for train trainmen to watch the cars ahead, cook and eat their meals and where the conductor could do paperwork. 

The 0-6-0 switcher locomotive and tender were built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) of Schenectady, NY for the Alabama State Docks Commission in November 1940. Road number 63 was used to switch cargo at the docks in Mobile, Alabama. A typical load for a 0-6-0 switcher was about six cars. The driving wheels for a locomotive such as this were 51″ in diameter. The number on the train 0-6-0 refers to wheel arrangements on the locomotive. Depending on the engine size, locomotives have one, two, or three groups of wheels for leading, driving and trailing. Locomotive 0-6-0 #63 has six driving weeks and no leading or training wheels.

You will also notice on the Kokosing Gap Trail some railroad equipment known as a Switch Stand. This was used to make a train change its track as a special mechanical arrangement is made. This arrangement is known as a  railroad switch and it consists of a pair of rails, known as switching rails or points, that are linked to one another. If it is locked the train will change the track. If it is open, it will go straight through. A railroad switch ( AE ), turnout, or [set of] points ( BE ) is a mechanical installation enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another, such as at a railway junction or where a spur or siding branches off.

Did you notice the sign on the roof of the shelter house? It was approximately 94.5 miles to Hudson from Gambier by way of rail. All Aboard as your next stop is Howard!