N&W in 1908 -- Cincinnati line

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Sep 10 16:08:12 EDT 2008

One should remember that the PRR did not own the Sandusky Line until 1902 (
or was it 1905?) and the line was a pretty rough construction as the
original owners started out poor and stayed that way. So, the PRR had to
invest money in upgrading the line to handle the tonnage. And make a coal
loading pier at Sandusky too!

>From Cincinnati, the PRR had a line to Richmond Indiana that was constructed

in 1847. This split off of the PRR's Little Miami tracks (leased in 1870)
at Red Bank/Valley Junction just to the west of Clare yard on the east side
of Cincinnati. At Richmond, IN the line split three ways, one route to
Indianapolis and St Louis, one to Anderson, IN, La Porte IN and Chicago via
Hammond IN and the GR&I line up the IN/OH border to western Michigan. (Some
of the route is the N&W/NS New Castle District today.)

So, it wasn't too irrational for the PRR to propose a Chicago routing
through Indiana. The reality was that this route was fairly hilly over the
Peavine and the PRR's tracks. This would limit train length and cause
operating costs to be high.

The C&O of Indiana was a more direct route than the PRR route as it was
supposed to be the shortest 'airline' distance between Cincinnati and
Chicago. But, its ups-and-downs were pretty bad and the C&O, with a C&O of
Kentucky to C&O of Indiana routing for coal, never competed well with the
coal routed over smoother territory and loaded on to lake boats. If I
recall correctly, Lambie talked about costs 20% higher using the C&O of
Indiana compared to coal taken to Lake Erie and loaded on to lakers.

As a comparison, today's NS route Portsmouth to Bellevue and over to Chicago
on the ex-NKP mainline is only eight miles different than Portsmouth-to
Cincinnati over the Peavine, thence over the New Castle District to New
Castle, IN on ex-PRR then north out of New Castle to the NKP up to Ft Wayne
and the NKP mainline. The Peavine- New Castle routing was useful due to the
relatively low level of traffic on that route. The NS 217/218 TOFC trains
were roughly 8 hours faster Greensboro to Calumet Yard going the Peavine way
compared to the Bellevue way. The Peavine had the problem that the number
of trains over the line didn't pay for the line maintenance cost, taxes and
so on.

The PRR's diagonal route across Indiana disappeared in Conrail times when
Conrail did away with the PRR Pan Handle tracks. Traffic could be rerouted
to the Big Four/NYC tracks.

Gary Rolih



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Subject: N&W in 1908 -- Cincinnati line

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
May 14, 1908



Coke Trains on Norfolk and Western May Be Routed in Near Future


The Cincinnati Division of the Norfolk and Western may in the near
future become the most popular along the entire system. It is a well known
fact in railroad circles that the coke trade is a big part of the Norfolk
and Western freight business. This coke comes from the Pocahontas field and
is sent to the big steel mills out near Chicago. The Pennsylvania railroad
sends the coke to the Norfolk and Western [ ??] and they relay it to
Chicago. It has been the custom of the Norfolk and Western to send these
trains over to Columbus and from there to Chicago, because a larger train
can be hauled on the route.

But now the Pennsylvania people tell the Norfolk and Western to send it
by way of Cincinnati because they claim that way is 70 miles nearer to
Chicago. They also cite an interstate law which is to the effect that goods
must be shipped by the nearest route. They expect to carry this into court
and compel the Norfolk and Western to take the large coke trains through by
way of Cincinnati.

If this plan is carried out a large number of trainmen would be would be
given employment, as the heavy trains can not be carried over that division
with out the assistance of many more workmen.


Gordon Hamilton

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