Baltimore & Ohio/Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton - CSX, Cincinnati Terminal Subdivision

Former Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton/Baltimore & Ohio to Lima

Standard gauge line opened to Dayton in 1851

Downtown terminal: Baymiller Street Station (5th & Baymiller Streets)

Mostly abandoned south of Ivorydale (St. Bernard), in active use north of Ivorydale

Chartered on March 2, 1846, the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton was the second railroad constructed in Cincinnati, and the first to follow the mostly flat Mill Creek Valley north out of the city.  It opened between Cincinnati and Hamilton in 1846, but did not reach Dayton until the late summer of 1851.  The line ran from its downtown terminal location at 5th and Baymiller Streets a short distance due west to the base of Price Hill before turning north and following the west side of the Mill Creek Valley into Butler County.  The first downtown station building opened on 5th Street west of Baymiller in 1851.  Growing traffic necessitated construction of a new station at the corner of 5th and Baymiller, opening in 1863 at which point the old station was relegated to serving freight.  The railroad's terminal facilities would remain at this location until Union Terminal was opened, and some non-passenger facilities remained until 1963. At that time, with the construction of I-75, the 6th Street Expressway, and the clearing of Queensgate for "urban renewal," Linn Street was rerouted over that section of Baymiller and it was significantly widened, thus destroying any remains of the CH&D terminal. The neighborhood is now a somewhat desolate industrial area, with some older factories and newer warehouses.  Even in the railroad's heyday, when that was a much more bustling mixed-use neighborhood, it was still a discouragingly long way from the heart of downtown.  Most people had to take a horsecar, streetcar, or carriage from Baymiller Street to downtown, making the trip somewhat difficult for commuters and visitors alike.

Industrialization of the Mill Creek Valley and the Great Miami River Valley, as well as new commuter traffic from railroad suburbs like Cumminsville, Winton Place, Carthage, Hartwell, and Glendale caused rapid increases in local traffic through the remainder of the 19th century.  Outside the immediate area, the success of the CH&D was predicated on making connections with other lines in Hamilton and Dayton.  In 1865, a second set of rails was laid along the whole main line between Cincinnati and Dayton at a 6'-0" gauge to provide trackage rights for the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad.  That company planned to connect the New York & Erie Railroad at Salamanca, New York with the Mississippi River at East St. Louis via Dayton, Cincinnati, and along the Ohio River with trackage rights over the Ohio & Mississippi, which utilized the 6'-0" gauge exclusively. Unfortunately, the explosive growth of Chicago and the construction of shorter trunk lines across the flat terrain of northern and central Ohio and Indiana killed this plan.  The expense and difficulty of maintaining and operating the dual-gauge tracks, as well as acquisition of many connecting lines and expensive operating rights over other connecting roads put the CH&D in a precarious financial condition which caused its eventual bankruptcy and reorganization.  

The B&O purchased and subsequently merged with the CH&D in 1917, preserving it as a going concern. Due to its location on the west side of the Mill Creek Valley, no significant modifications to the routing of passenger trains was necessary for service to Union Terminal when it was constructed. Passing through several manufacturing centers, it remains one of the busiest lines into the Cincinnati area, providing access to Toledo, Detroit, and points east and west upon arrival at Sidney and Deshler, Ohio. Today, the line is in two sections; the southern quarter is part of Cincinnati Terminal, with the northern 3/4 (north of Hamilton) called the Toledo Subdivision of the Louisville Division. Consolidation of the north-south lines through the Mill Creek Valley onto the nearby B&O Midland line in 1970 and the replacement of a scattered number of small yards into the huge Queensgate ganglion allowed for the closing of the portion of the CH&D south of Ivorydale in St. Bernard (just east of Mitchell Avenue). The line has been completely abandoned and dismantled from Ivorydale south through Winton Place, Spring Grove Cemetery, and Northside/Cumminsville.  The tracks reappear near Millcreek Road in South Cumminsville, but it has been closed north of the Western Hills Viaduct since December 2003.  The remainder of the line to Queensgate is used to serve a few online industries as the CSX Industrial Track. In 1970 it probably seemed like a good way to economize operations in the face of severely reduced business, and to eliminate many grade crossings throughout Northside, but considering how congested the parallel B&O Midland line has become due to that consolidation (it's already 3 tracks, with talks of adding a 4th), the abandonment of the CH&D south of Ivorydale was at best an unfortunate event, and at worst a huge mistake.


Photographs from Queensgate to Glendale


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