The Iron Railroad was built when Ironton was founded to transport pig iron made at the furnaces. If you look at the GPS map on the main page you’ll see the general route of the railroad, which coincides (approximately) with present day St Rt 93. The railroad started in Ironton at the river bank and Railroad Street and ended at Center Station in Decatur Township. The Royersville Tunnel (formerly called Vesuvius Station) was carved out for the Iron Railroad locomotives. It is still there but in poor condition. Eventually the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton (DT&I) Railroad took over the Iron Railroad, utilizing the tracks and tunnel. 

The “Essex” locomotive

Excerpt from “A Standard History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio” by Eugene Willard. Available at Briggs Library in Ironton and viewable online HERE


Iron Railroad Round House Number 113…..there were several of these in Lawrence County including along the riverbank close to Big Etna Furnace and at Center Station, which was the end point of the Iron Railroad (present day State Route 93 between County Road 41 North and South in Decatur Township). 

THIS ARTICLE by the Forest Service says the Iron Railroad ended at Center Furnace, which is incorrect. Look at the map below.  

1887 Map of Decatur Township section 33 shows where the Iron Railroad ended….in Center Station NOT Center Furnace as some sources claim. 

Ironton Register, March 3, 1887 – Sunday, April 3, is the time fixed now for widening the Narrow Gauge. This is, also, said to be reliable. Also same date: It is time to widen the Narrow Gauge. We heard a furnaceman remark that it was dangerous to ship pig iron over it.



Detroit, Toledo & Ironton (DT&I)

DT&I train coming out of the Royersville Tunnel
DT&I tracks on Lawrence Street
DT&I on Lawrence Street
DT&I pass from 1905
DT&I office in Ironton
DT&I crossing Storms Creek bridge
Last train leaving the Royersville tunnel

Train Tunnel GPS Coordinates:

  1. Royersville Tunnel (Twp Rd 218 at Twp Rd 270): 38.603697, -82.671922
  2. CH&D Tunnel at Telegraph: 38.775949, -82.587114
  3. CH&D Hoadley Tunnel: 38.779009, -82.580711

More info and pictures, CLICK HERE {external link}

DT&I Railroad


Special Assessment Bonds Are Also Approved

Submitted by Peggy A. Wells

An ordinance granting the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad Company the right to remove tracks from the Second and Vesuvius street crossing, was passed by City Council Friday evening and it is expected this work will be started in the immediate future.

In granting the company the right of removal council stipulated that the crossing must be put back in shape. The railway concern reserved the right to replace the tracks should industrial development of the future demand such service. The ordinance was passed under suspension of the rules on motion by Goldcamp and second by Mayne.

In connection with the ordinance City Manager L. G. Howell said that he had been advised all D. T. & I. Crossings in the city would be put in shape. This information came after Councilman Elmer Mayne had complained regarding those maintained on Railroad St.

An ordinance approving expenditure of $125 in the sale of refunding bonds in the of $40,000 recently was passed under suspension of the rules and an ordinance providing for the issuance of bonds for $903.08 to cover special assessments for the paving of Sugar Alley from Chestnut to Mulberry was passed under suspension of the rules, on motion by Wileman and second by McNary. The bonds are to be issued in the sums of $100, payable, yearly with interest at 6 per cent.

A report on the water distribution system inspection made last week by representatives of the insurance underwriters association was submitted by Manager Howell.

All council members were present except C. E. Bales and he was excused because of absence from the city.

Ironton Tribune, 25 June 1932, Saturday, Page 2.

D. T. & I. Passenger Trains To Be Discontinued Soon  Joint Passenger-Freights to Be Operated

The two passenger trains now operated by the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad Company between Ironton and Springfield, are to be discontinued on September 19, it has been learned. Under the present schedule one train leaves Ironton during the morning and returns at 9 p. m. There is no passenger service whatever north of Springfield, the utilities commission giving the company the right, recently to take off trains.

A joint passenger-freight service will be offered after September 19. A passenger coach will be carried by an afternoon freight entering Ironton and by an evening freight going north to Jackson. It is improbable passenger service will be offered north of Jackson.

No mail will be carried under the new passenger-freight arrangement and postal officials are arranging for star routes and other service to patrons in the north end of the county.

Ironton Tribune, 7 September 1932, Wednesday, Page 3.


The tunnel, pictured above, is shown on the 1885 map when it was used for the Iron Railroad. You can see the map HERE and you’ll see that the lands around it were owned by the Belfont and Lawrence Mills and Hecla Iron and Mining Co. Back then this area was called Vesuvius Station and later was called the Royersville Tunnel when the DT&I used it. 

Awesome video of the DT&I going through Ironton and the Royersville Tunnel (Thank you Dr. Dave Lucas!)

Lawrence county Ohio genealogy and historical website