C&H - Cincinnati & Hamilton Traction Company

(Ohio Traction Company, Mill Creek Valley Line)


Hartwell - Hamilton


Broad Gauge

Constructed by the Cincinnati & Hamilton Traction Co., 1901

Leased to the Cincinnati Interurban Co., 1902

Reorganized as the Ohio Traction Co., 1905

Purchased by Cincinnati Street Railway, Service Cut Back to Springdale, 1926

Streetcar Service Suspended, 1932

The lesser of the two interurbans connecting Cincinnati and Hamilton was this 5'-2 1/2" line through Wyoming and Glendale. It was built by predecessor companies between 1897 and 1901, and brought together by merger as the Cincinnati and Hamilton Traction Company in 1902. This road had great difficulty securing a franchise in Hamilton in 1901, but did so after threatening to run motor vehicles from the city limits to the business district as train connections. In 1902 the property was leased to the Cincinnati Interurban Company, which in 1905 became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ohio Traction Company, a Schoeph-McGowan corporation that controlled the street railway in Cincinnati. It operated as the Mill Creek Valley Line of the Ohio Traction Company until 1926, when it became part of the Cincinnati Street Railway itself. The Street Railway cut the line back to Glendale in 1926, and discontinued it in 1932. (From: Hilton, George W. and John F. Due, The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press, 1960)

This is the second interurban to connect Cincinnati with Hamilton, although over a much different route. The line was pretty heavily traveled, with 4.4 million passengers in 1912, due to the dense industrial and residential development in the river valleys between Cincinnati, Hamilton, and Dayton. As already mentioned, the city of Hamilton caused some problems for this line, but Springdale depended on, and actively supported the interurban. This was most apparent after the Cincinnati Street Railway took over the line and ended interurban operations on July 15, 1926. Streetcar service was introduced on the line to Glendale, ending at a loop at the corner of Sharon Road and Springfield Pike. The citizens of Springdale wanted to keep transit service, and they funded the construction of a loop in front of the city municipal building (a short distance north of Kemper Road). The loop was put in service on April 12, 1928, and service was restored to downtown Cincinnati from Springdale. All operations north of Wyoming were abandoned in June 1930 however, and by August 11, 1931, a loop was built at Springfield Pike and Bonham Road in Wyoming.  All streetcar service on the line was abandoned on November 9, 1932, due to repaving of Springfield Pike south to DeCamp Avenue in Hartwell. There's some more information about this line in a site detailing the history of Glendale, as well as in another page on the history of Springdale (PDF file).


The route basically stayed on streets in Hamilton County, although there was a small private right-of-way in Hartwell at Woodbine and DeCamp. Because of the broad gauge tracks, and the fact that the Schoeph-McGowan syndicate owned the line, it was able to operate to downtown on the streetcar tracks. The double track route north of Hartwell followed Springfield Pike to Glendale, where it continued north along Princeton Pike, then became single track and turned west on Sharon Road to re-join Springfield Pike. One USGS topographic map, as well as data from the Ohio Department of Transportation (formerly from the Public Utitilies Commission of Ohio), show the line bypassing Glendale, following Springfield Pike the whole way without entering Glendale along Princeton Pike and Sharon Road. This is one of several instances where errors on old USGS maps were copied into newer maps. The routing of the tracks within Glendale are well-documented however, as there was a somewhat complicated wye track for short-turning cars at the intersection of Princeton Pike and Sharon Road before the line was converted to streetcar use and the loop was built at Sharon and Springfield Pike.


Photographs from Hartwell to Springdale


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