Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Cuyahoga Valley Preservation and Scenic Railway Association dba Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) was founded in 1972 by a group of concerned citizens who felt that passenger rail should be preserved and enjoyed along the historic Valley Line between Cleveland and Akron.
CVSR began excursion passenger train service through the Cuyahoga Valley between the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Hale Farm and Village. In 1977, the northern terminus of the excursion train service was moved from the Cleveland Zoo to Rockside Road in Independence and service was extended south to Quaker Square in Akron. The Chessie System ran freight trains on the line at night until 1985.
The real turning point in the development of CVSR came in 1987 when the National Park Service (NPS) assumed responsibility for the 26 miles of track within Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Seeing an opportunity to preserve a piece of history and allow for the continuation of passenger rail service in a national park, NPS and CVSR entered into a cooperative agreement in 1989 – with NPS being responsible for owning and maintaining the track and associated infrastructure, and CVSR being responsible for owning and maintaining the rolling stock and providing the rail service. Since that time, CVSR has been continuously operating excursion passenger rail service in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
CVSR’s mission today is to provide educational, recreational, and heritage railroad experiences and offer alternative transportation to and within Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Ohio & Erie Canalway. CVSR trains travel 26 miles south from Independence, just south of Cleveland, passing through the 33,000-acre national park to Akron.
CVSR offers an array of unique programming designed to engage a wide variety of ages and interests. Current programming includes:
year-round National Park Scenic excursion train service through Cuyahoga Valley National Park;
age- and grade-specific Student Explorer Programs for school-age children operated in partnership with the National Park Service with curriculum tied to Common Core Content Standards;
wellness programs such as Bike Aboard! and Hike Aboard! which encourage park visitors to ride, hike, or run the Towpath Trail in one direction and then ride the train back to their point of origin;
theme trains such as The Polar ExpressTM, Thomas the Tank Engine, Steam in the Valley, Grape Escape wine tastings, Ales on Rails beer tastings, Dining Along the Cuyahoga (breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner excursions) and more.
CVSR is proud of its long history of providing area residents and visitors unparalleled experiences traveling the “iron spine” through the National Heritage Corridor comprising both Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Ohio & Erie Canalway – and ultimately providing an alternative way for the public to engage in activities in and immediately adjacent these community and regional assets.