What is this thing?
The photo above was taken from County Highway 195 where the railroad tracks cross it. The overpass is U.S. 23. Here's another photo taken from the other side of U.S. 23.
The highway crosses the railroad a few miles North North-East of Marion, Ohio, in the general vicinity of the Marion Municipal Airport.
What I'd like to do is find a way over to it and explore the place a little, taking a few photos of the inside and outside that are good enough to publish. Naturally anything this interesting is likely officially off-limits to someone like me, and possibly protected by a secret government agency equipped with secret electronic eavesdropping devices, black helicopters and automatic weapons. That's been enough to deter me so far.
If this place were closer to Toledo I'd likely have taken a day and explored it, but it isn't and I haven't. Instead I'm being slowly driven around the bend by the racket inside my own head - what could this thing be?
So if anyone knows or even has an educated guess, please post it or send me some email and help save my sanity.
I think it's time for a drink.
I posted this question on a local BBS (Toledo Talk) and received an answer - not the kind that you guys are thinking of. You can read the post yourself as you like - ToledoTalk: What's This Thing? - but the long and short of it is that this is a coaling bunker, as provided by ToledoTalk user Brainswell: It's a coaling bunker. At one time there was a structure underneath the tracks that allowed the cars to dump their coal. A lift mechanism would take the coal into the over-track structure to fill other cars.
Here are a couple links validating the answer: Railroad Structures and a photo here. Who knew?