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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

First Railroad Trip Over Little Miami

Dallas Bogan on 7 September 2004
original article by Dallas Bogan
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

"Fifteen miles of this road were opened yesterday. The company had invited the city council and a large number of citizens to make a trip upon it, and a delightful one it was. The day, it is true, was overcast, but the excitement of the occasion, the conviction that now a work was commenced which would bind the extremes of the State together and give a new impulse to its prosperity, made all hearts glad and rendered the trip joyous in the extreme.
"No accident whatever occurred during the excursion. At 11 o'clock we left the bridge at Fulton and in an hour and a half were at Milford. We were delayed some time at the first ascent. In consequence of the earth falling upon the track, but this only served to try and prove the power of the engine, for not withstanding the obstructions, it bore us safely through on an ascent of 125 feet to the mile. At Milford we tarried near an hour and while there, such of the citizens of that flourishing town as chose, were taken on a short excursion, while those of us who had gone up, rested awhile on terra firma. After this, we started on our return home, and reached Fulton in a little over an hour in safety.
"We have not time to go into detail, or to speak at length of this railroad. We can not forever, however, to thank those who, through good and evil report, persevered in urging this enterprise forward. They have acted nobly and well; and the day is not far distant when all will admit, as we believe, that this is one of the most important works which have been undertaken for Cincinnati and Ohio.
"We felt strongly, as we were whirled along at a rapid pace, what a change a few years had caused in the glorious West. There were men with us who could tell tales of Indian warfare, of the hardships of our pioneer fathers, of the isolated condition of the new settlement, with all its dangers and difficulties and trials, and yet in their day they had lived to see the power of science turning this wilderness into a garden, and bringing distant points together as they were one neighborhood. All honor to the enterprise and energy of that people who can work such wonderful changes."
The total length of the Little Miami Railroad was within the boundaries of the Little Miami River from Cincinnati to Springfield, a distance of about 84 miles. It was, in 1851, the only railroad in operation exiting Cincinnati. This year also showed that the railroad was very profitable. The records show that it carried 52,288 through passengers, and a total of 144,486, and collected $204,589. Freight was carried mainly between the towns of the valley; through freight for 1851 brought $35,000 and its way freight $157,607.
Daily schedules consisted of two trains "at five o'clock and twenty minutes a.m." and "two o'clock and thirty minutes p.m." The early morning train was the Flyer, as it was chosen as "the Express," and did not run on Sunday.

The connection for Columbus was made at Xenia by the Columbus & Xenia Railroad, which was, however, not constructed until 1848-49, the first passenger train traversing it February 20, 1850. Soon afterwards the members of the general assembly made an excursion over this and the Little Miami roads to Cincinnati. On November 30, 1853, the two companies operating each its own road entered into an arrangement by which both were operated as a single line. January 1, 1865, they came into possession, by lease, of the Dayton and Western and the Richmond & Miami Railways, and, later in the same year, by purchase, of the division of the Dayton, Xenia & Belpre road between the two places first named. The partnership arrangement of 1853 was dissolved November 30, 1868, when the Little Miami company took a lease for ninety-nine years of the Columbus & Xenia road, and all the rights and interests of that corporation in the Dayton & Western, Xenia & Belpre, and Richmond & Miami roads. Just one year and one day thereafter the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis (Pan-Handle) railroad company leased of the Little Miami Company its own road, the branch owned by it from Xenia to Dayton, and all its rights in the Columbus & Xenia and other roads. The lease is for ninety years, renewable forever, and brings an annual rental of eight per cent to the Little Miami company on its capital stock, besides interest on the funded debt, five thousand dollars yearly for expenses of organization, and the fulfillment of lease obligations to its own leased lines. The road is operated by the Pennsylvania company, which was a party to the contract, and by whom its faithful performance was guaranteed. The total length of its lines is one hundred and ninety-five and nine-tenths miles, eighty-four on the main line, Cincinnati to Springfield; sixteen on its branch, Xenia to Dayton; fifty-four and seventy-four hundredths on its leased line from Xenia to Columbus; thirty-seven on that from Dayton to the Indiana State line (Dayton & Western), and four and sixteen-hundredths thence to Richmond, Indiana (Richmond & Miami). It is one of the most profitable roads in the United States, its earnings per mile in 1879 being six thousand eight hundred and one dollars and ninety-two cents, and its expenses but four thousand four hundred and fifty-eight dollars and fifty three cents per mile.
"The trip to New York was made in 48 hours by the following schedule--leaving Cincinnati at five o'clock and twenty minutes a.m., and Columbus at 11 o'clock and thirty minutes a.m., arriving at Cleveland at six o'clock that evening. From this point passengers took the boat for Buffalo, arriving the next morning, and thence by express train at Albany, at which point they again embarked by boat for New York and there was no charge for meals or staterooms on the boats. The sleeping accommodations of the trip were on the boats, as sleeping cars were then an unheard of luxury. The total cost of the trip from Cincinnati to New York was $17.50. It is hardly likely that traveling was an unmixed pleasure, in those days, as much remained to be desired in the way of construction and equipment, such as are now required, even in the least highly developed lines.
"The first passenger coaches were extremely crude and followed closely the design of stage coaches, with a double deck arrangement, in all seating about twenty-four persons. "The first engines were similar in design to those used for threshing machines and weighed only ten tons, including fuel and water. The speed of the early engines was about ten miles per hour for passenger and half of that for freight, while transportation charges ran as high as 25 cents per ton mile."

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This page created 7 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
© 2004 Arne H Trelvik  All rights reserved