The W&LE Railroad began standard gauge operations under investor Jay Gould in 1880. Its mainline ran from Wheeling to Zanesville to Cleveland, and it ran freight and passenger trains primarily between those cities. Passenger service ended in 1940 just before the start of WW2. In 1949, the New York, Chicago, & St. Louis Railroad, or Nickel Plate Road as it was known, leased the W&LE. In 1964, the Nickel Plate combined with the Norfolk and Western RR.