Baltimore & Ohio to Columbus - Indiana & Ohio, Midland Subdivision
Former Marietta & Cincinnati/Cincinnati Washington & Baltimore/Baltimore & Ohio to Columbus
Standard gauge line opened in stages from 1855 to 1872
Downtown terminal: Central Union Depot (3rd Street & Central Avenue)
The Marietta & Cincinnati was the third railroad built in Cincinnati, chartered in 1845 but not placed under construction until 1851. Significant financial assistance from the completely isolated rural towns and counties along its route helped the road finish its initial construction from Marietta to Loveland in 1857. At that time, the road reached downtown via trackage rights from Loveland to the Little Miami Railroad's downtown terminal, but at a discouragingly high rental cost to the fledgling railroad. Reorganization in 1860 made the funds available to continue construction into the city, when the line through Indian Hill, Madeira, and Norwood was completed. Money ran out upon reaching St. Bernard, but in 1861 a connection was built to the CH&D at what would later become Ivorydale Junction, allowing the Marietta to use the CH&D's Baymiller Street Station over much shorter trackage rights than they had over the Little Miami. When the Indianapolis & Cincinnati opened their new Plum Street Station in December of 1865, the Marietta arranged to use their station, but still operated over the CH&D to reach downtown until they finally completed their own line down the Mill Creek Valley in 1872. In the same year, they got their own tenant, the CCC & St. L (Big Four/NYC) to Columbus, who used the newly opened extension from Ivorydale to reach the Plum Street Station. Financial troubles from the outset, a reliance on connecting traffic, and few online customers in the Cincinnati area (as Norwood and St. Bernard were only just starting to industrialize) gave the new road little hope for the future. Acquisition by the B&O in 1882 to create a through route to Columbus via other purchased lines saved the road from a premature death.
Suburban traffic increased from the growth of Norwood, Madeira, and Loveland, but this paled in comparison to the local passenger traffic generated by the CH&D and Big Four lines up the Mill Creek Valley. Increasing industrialization in Norwood also provided a good amount of freight traffic, especially after the turn of the 20th century. The B&O served the large Cincinnati Machine Tools (later Milacron) facility and other factories in Oakley and Madisonville. Beyond Madisonville there was little local passenger traffic aside from commuters to Madeira and Loveland, and beyond that the countryside is pretty sparsely populated even today, so the connection between Cincinnati and Columbus is the only reason for the line to remain in existence. While many factories in Norwood, Oakley, and Madisonville have closed, the double-track line through Norwood proper is still relatively busy. From Oakley east, the line is single-track but with fairly consistent traffic. The section of road from St. Bernard south has been heavily modified over time, with the addition of massive classification yards serving multiple railroads, replacing the Midland sub's main yard and roundhouse near Brashears Street. New approaches to Union Terminal were built and all north-south railroad traffic from St. Bernard south was funneled onto this route. As part of that consolidation in 1970, the route south of Ivorydale Junction was grade-separated to eliminate road crossings at Mitchell and Clifton Avenues, and in 1995 a third track was added to handle additional traffic, as the former Marietta, Big Four, and CH&D lines all funnel through this one location. Due to congestion in this area, there are talks of possibly adding a fourth main track, which would be especially necessary for any future passenger rail plans in Mill Creek Valley. CSX owns the line now, but starting on October 15, 2004 it is leased to Indiana & Ohio east of Ivorydale. Norfolk Southern has trackage rights south of Ivorydale Junction as well, as NS is the successor to the aforementioned Big Four/NYC line to Columbus.
Photographs from Downtown through Loveland
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