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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Miscellaneous Railroads Through Warren County

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


The Cincinnati and Springfield Railroad or the Big Four Railroad (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis), later to be the New York Central, was projected in 1870, completing a line from eastern cities to Cincinnati. Lebanon citizens and others, providing for the road to be built through Lebanon, made a pledge of $265,000. The consideration offered was not sufficient and the road from Dayton to Middletown was built along the canal, passing through Franklin. It was operated by the Big Four or Vanderbilt Company, and had an almost unlimited passenger and freight business. The line traveled through Franklin from 1872 to 1911.
"The Franklin depot was erected at Fourth Street the summer of 1872. Since Franklin was the midway point between Delaware and Cincinnati, the company built a water tank, coal-bins, and supply shops in Franklin. The facilities for loading and unloading freight were not excelled anywhere on the line. There was more track room, and three shops were constructed for the convenience of business men.
"Patrick Sweeney came to Franklin as agent for the Big Four when it began its operation in Franklin. He had been station agent for the C H & D in Carlisle since 1857. He continued at the Franklin stations until his retirement in 1891." His sons Anthony and Tom both worked for the local railroads, Anthony was agent for the Cincinnati Northern and Tom was agent for the Big Four. John P. Foley worked for the Big Four/New York Central for 54 years. He began in 1900; was a night telegraph operator and progressed to become passenger and freight agent in Franklin in 1939. He retired in 1954.
"In an effort to shorten the tracks, the Big Four built a cut-off through the Carlisle area. They built railroad bridges at Wells north of Middletown, and south of Miamisburg. October 8, 1911, was the first day the cut-off to Carlisle was put into operation. The tracks from Franklin to Miamisburg were taken up. The 1913 Flood washed out the approaches to the bridge at Miamisburg, damaged the tracks and roadbed in the Carlisle area, and lapped the bottom of the CN [Cincinnati Northern] bridge over the Miami River in Franklin. For five days there was no rail service north or west from Cincinnati [?]. Railway officials had to obtain permission from farmers to relay track along the former right of way east of the river between Franklin and Miamisburg. Repair crews took up one track of the double tracks between Wells and Middletown to lay from Franklin to Miamisburg. This repair took about two weeks, so rail service could resume. Then the track was rebuilt on the west side of the river for service sometime in 1914.
"After 1914 a number of passenger trains still went to Franklin from Middletown and made stops at the Sixth Street station until as late as January 1941. Most freights took the Carlisle cut-off. In January 1941, a small station building was moved to the NYC crossing on Lower Carlisle Road. The tracks between Franklin and Middletown were taken up. Steam engines were in use until about 1945 when they gave way to diesel motors.
"By government mandate, the New York Central (which was making a profit) had to merge with the Pennsylvania Railroad (which was on the verge of bankruptcy) to form the Penn Central Railroad. On April 1, 1976, Conrail was formed by an act of Congress. In 1980 Conrail ran five trains each way daily on the Big Four line. In addition the D T & I used those tracks for two trains daily. Only a switching train comes into Franklin about once a week."


The Columbus, Washington & Cincinnati Railroad Company was a part of the narrow gauge system which was projected, about 1877, to extend from Waynesville to Columbus. Starting from a point on a narrow gauge road in Fayette County, it was built as far as the Little Miami, or Pennsylvania road, in Wayne Township, near the Greene County line. Here work was suspended. After a year or two the gauge was changed to standard and the road operated with indifferent success until 1887, when the track was torn up. This road was known as the "Grasshopper." (This road ran through Kingman and New Burlington in Clinton/Greene County.)


The Middletown & Cincinnati railroad was completed from Middletown to a point on the Pennsylvania Railroad near Kings Mills known as Middletown Junction, about 1890, a distance of 14 miles. Hon. Paul J. Sorg, and other Middletown manufacturers built it, for the purpose of tapping the Pennsylvania lines, and thus securing better shipping facilities. In 1902, it was purchased of the Sorg heirs by the Pennsylvania, and became a part of the C. L. & N.


In 1894, the Southern Ohio Company projected a line from a point in Fayette County, on its main line, to Cincinnati, by way of Harveysburg and Lebanon. The grading was completed to Harveysburg, but when track- laying had progressed to Kingman, a point about five miles east of Harveysburg, the company passed into the hands of a receiver and the road was never completed.


The Miami Valley Railroad was organized about 1876 for the purpose of building a narrow gauge railroad from Jeffersonville, Fayette County, to Cincinnati, through Kingman (Clinton County), Harveysburg, Waynesville and Lebanon, Ohio. After the securing of the right-of-way, work was begun in 1877 with the beginnings starting from each end of the railroad. The road bed was completed to Harveysburg and the track laid as far as Kingman. With this northern section started its counterpart from Cincinnati was also begun. Through legality, the uncompleted railroad bed was purchased in 1879 by the Cincinnati & Northern Railway Company at judicial sale for $61,000. The acquired portion was the road bed between Cincinnati and Waynesville. The railway was never completed from Lebanon to Waynesville.


The Cincinnati Northern Railway Company, in 1879, purchased at judicial sale, the uncompleted roadbed and right-of-way of the Miami Valley Narrow Gauge Railroad Company from Cincinnati to Waynesville, for $61,000, and constructed the first narrow, or three-foot gauge railroad in Warren County. On May 30, 1881, the road was completed to Lebanon and on that day the county seat saw its first locomotive. The road was never completed to Waynesville although much of the grading and bridge work had been done. Later the name of this road became the Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern, and in 1894, was widened to a standard gauge. About 1897, the road was purchased by the Pennsylvania Company. Passenger service on this line was discontinued the first week of February 1938.


The Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad was the second railroad to enter into Cincinnati, the Little Miami being the first. This was also the first railroad to enter Franklin Township, Warren County, Ohio. The company was chartered March 2, 1846, assuming the name of the "Cincinnati & Hamilton Railroad Company." Its altered name, to the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad, was by an act passed February 8, 1847. This road was built without the aid of township subscriptions to its capital stock; its stocks and bonds sold at par, without cost of brokerage, in New York or elsewhere. In less than a month, in Cincinnati, three- quarters of a million dollars, in cash subscriptions, were placed at its service while the capitalists of New York City were to take the rest of the stock and the first issue of the bonds of the road at par. This was the first case of its kind.
The railroad ran over a three-mile course through Carlisle Station situated in the northwestern portion of the county. The first excursion train ran over the road from Cincinnati to Hamilton September 13, 1851; trains began running regularly between Cincinnati and Dayton on September 22, 1851.
The Dayton and Michigan Railroad Company was incorporated March 5, 1851, the road to extend from Dayton to Toledo. On May 1, 1863, this road was leased to The Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton (C. H. & D.) Railroad Company, and on February 18, 1869, the latter company leased the road of the Cincinnati, Richmond & Chicago, and the lease of the latter of the Richmond & Miami Railway, extending to Richmond, Indiana. On November 26, 1872, this company purchased the line of the Junction Railway Company, from Hamilton to Indianapolis, the purchasers soon afterward organizing the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis Railroad Company.
"Mr. George Carlisle, the vice-president of the C H & D purchased about 150 acres from Benjamin DuBois and Benjamin and George Conover which he platted into 30 lots. This area had been known as the Jersey Settlement. George Carlisle offered the villagers a triangle of land to build a literary society-meeting house if they would call the community "Carlisle." The building is the old section of Carlisle's town hall. With the coming of the railroad a freight depot, warehouses, a post office in a general store, stockyards, livery stable, and a boarding house were established.
"In 1917 the Baltimore & Ohio obtained the C H & D Railway. Later it merged with the Chesapeake and Ohio. In 1980 both trains from the Chessie System and the B & O were running through Carlisle. An average of twenty trains per days (ten each way) used the line. Some coal trains have five motors pulling about 120 hopper cars. There are trains carrying new automobiles and trucks, and piggy-back trailers of trucks already loaded with merchandise for delivery."


The "Mackinaw" railroad was the second railroad to enter Franklin. It had at its northern destination at different points located in Michigan. Heading south it paralleled the Indiana line, the distance being approximately fifteen miles on the Ohio side as far as Darke County and then proceeded to Franklin. The fall season of 1886 saw this road completed from Van Wert to the river at Franklin and the following spring saw the crossing of the river. The entrance into Cincinnati from Franklin was by using the Big Four, M. & C., and C. L. & N. tracks. The Big Four later secured complete control of the road. Later the C. J. & M. (Cincinnati, Jackson & Mackinaw) became the Cincinnati Northern which in turn became the New York Central.
"There was a railroad round house (but it was square) to service the Cincinnati Northern engines and equipment for their return trip north. It was located southwest of south Avenue and Pine streets on the west side of the Miami River."
The construction of the Mackinaw R.R. across the river from Franklin seemed at the time to be a boom to the building trade. Land purchased from L.G. Anderson was subdivided and improved: with the lots platted it seemed for a time that this section across the river would rival the present site of Franklin. However, many of the lots were never improved and the section stood at a standstill. Many of the homes that were built on the improved section were selected as the "Mackinaw Historical District."

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This page created 7 September 2004 and last updated 28 September, 2008
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