History of Ernst Trail
The Meadville-Linesville Railroad was built from 1880-1892 by a group of Meadville entrepreneurs to gain access to the Pennsylvania Railroad at Linesville. Despite the involvement of some of Meadville’s best-known citizens, the railroad did not flourish.
In 1891, the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Co. leased the right-of-way and for a time it’s most profitable use was as a passenger line, transporting visitors to Exposition Park (renamed Conneaut Lake Park in 1920). With the rise of the automobile, passenger service declined, and in 1934, rail service to the park was discontinued. The Bessemer abandoned the line in 1976. In 1996, Calvin Ernst, the right-of-way’s owner, donated the property to French Creek Recreational Trails and the Ernst Bike Trail was born.