The Cleveland, Painesville and Ashtabula Railroad (CP&A), also known informally as the Cleveland and Erie Railroad, the Cleveland and Buffalo Railroad, and the Lake Shore Railroad, was a railway which ran from Cleveland, Ohio, to the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. Founded in 1848, the line opened in 1852. The railroad completed the rail link between Buffalo, New York, and Chicago, Illinois.
The CP&A connected at the state line with the Franklin Canal Company (FCC), a Pennsylvania company. The FCC and CP&A shared the same track gauge, and the CP&A operated both rail lines. At Erie, Pennsylvania, the FCC connected with the Erie and North East Railroad. The Erie Gauge War of late 1853 to early 1854 occurred when the Erie & North East, a broad-gauge railway, changed its gauge to match that of the CP&A. The resolution to the conflict led to the CP&A purchasing the FCC outright.
One of the most profitable railroad lines in the United States in the 1860s, the CP&A was renamed the Lake Shore Railway in 1868. It merged with the Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad in 1869 to form the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad.