Chesapeake & Ohio to Russell, KY - CSX, Cincinnati Terminal Subdivision

Former Chesapeake & Ohio to Russell, KY

Standard gauge line opened to Cincinnati in 1889

Downtown terminal: 4th Street Station (4th Street between Smith and John)

In active use

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway mainline to Cincinnati was completed in 1889 after their bridge over the Ohio River was finished. Running along the Ohio River for almost the entire route to Russell, the line sees a substantial mix of manifest, steel and coal traffic, averaging 12 to 16 trains per day. It is also the route of Amtrak's train into Cincinnati, the "Cardinal". The line begins south of Union Terminal and proceeds along the C&O Viaduct to the C&O/Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and Covington. At 16th Street in Covington (KC Junction), the line veers east while the former L&N to Corbin, KY proceeds south. The line travels east through Newport, Bellevue, and Dayton, then parallels the Ohio River to points east.


Though the north end of the C&O bridge was almost directly over top of Central Union Depot, getting the trains down to the level of that terminal and turned in the proper direction ended up being a nearly insurmountable problem. The result was the conversion of an old house on 4th Street (which is at approximately the same height as the bridge) into a passenger station, with small freight handling facilities to the side. Most freight traffic was handled farther west in the tangle of yards in the Mill Creek Valley, which the C&O reached by the area's only steel railroad viaduct. When the bridge over the Ohio River was replaced in 1928, the viaduct was reconstructed and new sections were built to connect with Union Terminal. Most of this viaduct remains today, and it has much the same character as the elevated rapid transit lines in Chicago and New York, especially along Mehring Way west of Freeman Avenue. The old station location on 4th street was obliterated by the I-75/Ft. Washington Way interchange. The C&O's local classification yard was Stevens in Silver Grove, Kentucky, now the location of the massive Lafarge Gypsum plant.


Photographs from Downtown & Queensgate


Return to Index