Other Ohio Interurban Railways


L&F - Lebanon & Franklin Traction Company

Lebanon - Franklin


Standard Gauge

Constructed by the Lebanon & Franklin Traction Company in 1904

Abandoned, 1919

This interurban was opened on May 28, 1904, between the towns of its name, which were 11 miles apart.  It connected at Lebanon with the broad-gauge Interurban Railway and Terminal Company and at Franklin with the Ohio Electric's Cincinnati-Dayton line, from which it purchased power.  It carried passengers in a coach and combine.  Short interurbans that served no important center of population were the weakest in the industry, and thus it is not surprising that this company was among the first to be abandoned.  On December 11, 1918, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission granted it permission to abandon, effective January 1, 1919. (From: Hilton, George W. and John F. Due, The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press, 1960)

After construction of the nearby Miamisburg & Germantown Traction Company was completed in 1901, Robert E. Kline, heading up a group of Dayton investors, was looking for another traction line to build. After a number of proposed interurbans through Lebanon failed to materialize, the promoters secured a right-of-way mostly along Ohio Route 123, and grading began in earnest in July of 1903. Warren County Commissioners would not grant a franchise to use the public highway between Franklin and Lebanon, so the bulk of the right-of-way was purchased or gifted by farmers next to the road. A difficult winter slowed construction, and a major rainstorm in March 1904 washed out the company's bridge over Clear Creek in Franklin. The first car ran to Lebanon on May 28, 1904, and regular service began shortly thereafter. Dreams of large freight hauls and throngs of passengers never materialized. The L&F limped along carrying the usual assortment of infrequent travellers and school children. Modest amounts of farm produce were carried to Lebanon for further shipment to Cincinnati, or to Franklin heading for Dayton. Miscellaneous merchanidise bound for a general store in Red Lion, at the half way point between Lebanon and Franklin, rounded out the freight hauling business. With the approach of World War I, ridership and finances were dwindling, and raising fares and attempting to economize operations didn't help. The last run was made on December 31, 1918, after which point the line was scrapped and the land reverted back to its original owners.


Two cars ran on the Lebanon & Franklin, purchased from Barney & Smith Car Company in Dayton. They were double-ended cars as there were no loops or turnarounds at either end of the line. After abandonment the cars were sold to locals. The company office and carbarn was at 6th and Main in Franklin, shared with the Southern Ohio Traction Company. The power plant for the Southern Ohio in Franklin was on Main Street a few blocks south of 6th, where the Lebanon & Franklin connected. The building survived into the 1970s but appears to have been demolished since. With a weak power system, the Lebanon & Franklin cars had difficulty climbing to the high point of the line around Red Lion, as grading was fairly minimal.


Due to this line's short life, and route across relatively flat terrain, there is very little left of it to see anymore.  The main artifacts are a stone bridge abutment along state route 123, and some telephone poles in Red Lion.  Street widening near Lebanon and Franklin has obliterated most other traces of the line near its terminal cities. 


Photographs from Lebanon to Franklin


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