Cincinnati and the N&W routes into there

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Nov 22 17:02:19 EST 2010

Mr. Lisle: The other routes used by the N&W (and PRR) into Cincinnati were
detailed in the March April 2000 Arrow in “The Cincinnati Story” about the
origins and construction of Cincinnati Union Terminal in three parts. There
is a large 1916 map of downtown and the depots in this March April article.

There were eight different depots in Cincinnati in the early years, the N&W
went to two of them. (The L&N went to three of them!)

To recap, the first railroad into Cincinnati was the Little Miami Railroad
(1841)that ran from Columbus, Ohio down to Cincinnati along the west side of
the Little Miami River. Their mainline ran beside the N&W Clare Yard to-be
(1901) on the east side of town. After the lease of the LM by the PRR
Panhandle Division in 1870, the PRR built a large depot and division office
at Pearl and Butler St. on the Ohio River front on the east side of downtown
Cincinnati. This is at the Ohio end of the L&N bridge from Newport.

The N&W predecessor, 3 foot, Cincinnati & Eastern built across the LM at
Clare (Batavia Junction) in 1876 from Batavia to a place called Idlewild, up
by today’s Xavier University, where it joined with the Cincinnati Lebanon &
Northern (eventually to be a PRR property) to go to downtown Cincinnati (
along today’s I -71) to Court Street Station and Yard. Simplifying
extensively, the C&E tried to go standard gauge a number of times but was
forced by circumstance and finances to return to 3 foot gauge. During its
standard gauge periods, passenger trains went to the Panhandle depot.
Otherwise Court Street.

The Ohio & Northwestern formed in 1887 from the C&E went standard gauge
immediately, so it went to the Panhandle depot and had to force the CL&N to
allow multi-gauge tracks down to Court Street. The trackage agreement with
the PRR/LM was expensive so it was avoided as soon as feasible and trains
used Court Street.

In 1891 the O&NW was refinanced and reformed into the Cincinnati, Portsmouth
& Virginia which was sold to the N&W in October of 1901. The CP&V ran
commuter/local trains into Idlewild and down to Court Street; but trains
with Pullman sleepers went to the Panhandle depot as the cars could be
serviced there.

The N&W continued this arrangement up to the early 1920’s when the
accommodation trains/commuter trains were taken off the schedule and Court
Street was removed as a destination.

The N&W passenger trains connected to the PRR at Clare via a connection
track at the diamond. They then rolled west on the PRR about two miles
where the tracks curved south and headed towards PRR’s Undercliff Yard (next
to Luken Airport). This location was known as Red Bank and the PRR tracks
split into a wye there with the old Little Miami mainline running south to
Rendcomb Junction, the south end of the wye and Undercliff. Swinging north
was the connection to the PRR’s Cincinnati & Richmond (Indiana) line which
went across the top of Cincinnati and Norwood to Hamilton Ohio, Eaton Ohio
and Richmond Indiana. This was Valley Junction. ( The PRR split three ways
at Richmond- Indy and St. Louis; Logansport, IN and Chicago and the GR&I
into Michigan). Following the PRR/ Little Miami line, the tracks went
along the Ohio river bank down river to Cincinnati from Undercliff.

As the eight old depots were frequently flooded out and interchanging
between the eight ( served by the seven railroads in Cincinnati)was
maddening to the passenger, the city got a union terminal built and opened
Cincinnati Union Terminal in March of 1933 (due to the flood of 1933). This
construction took eight years with work on the approaches starting in 1927.
To get to the new terminal, the PRR and N&W, both on the east side of
Cincinnati, had to take trains from Clare Junction westward using the PRR’s
Cincinnati & Richmond Line and swinging north towards Hamilton, Ohio. At
Norwood (about eight miles from Clare) a new connection was built (another
wye) which came off of the PRR C&R at a location now known as OAKLEY which
swings south-west to the B&O Ohio Division (ex- Marietta & Cincinnati) and
joins at East Norwood or GK Tower. The N&W and PRR trains went west on the
B&O to NA Junction which is where the Big Four (NYC) joined the B&O Ohio
Division. Just south about a ½ mile or so was WINTON PLACE. CUT is about
eight-ten miles south of that.

After May 1971 and AMTRAK, the East Norwood Connection was not needed so the
rails were pulled up after a while. The N&W pulled freight trains ‘up the
hill’ into north Cincinnati to Idlewild where they performed a switch back
move and took the freights down to BERRY ( or Berrys) Yard which was the
marshalling yard for traffic into and out of Proctor & Gamble’s Ivorydale
plant or the industrialized ROSS Estate and interchanges with the B&O Toledo
Division and Big Four/NYC Ohio Division.

The N&W did take freights down into Court Street but this traffic dried up
in the late 1960’s. The new construction of I-71 in 1969 covered over a
good deal of the old yard. Today the depot stood just south of the
Greyhound bus depot on Gilbert Avenue.

After the merger of the Southern and N&W, N&W freights bypassed the closed
Clare yard and used the passenger traffic rights to take trains on the
PRR/Conrail down past Undercliff yard (essentially closed by PC) and
downriver to the location of the old Panhandle depot where the N&W got on to
the Cincinnati Street Connecting which took the trains past Sawyer Point
Park on the riverfront and under Riverfront Stadium. They then went over to
Smith Street and the old Southern Ry tracks that accessed the riverfront and
the Southern’s freight house (now the football stadium). This track ran
west along Mehring Way to the ‘loop’ track that allowed trains to pull up
over the Southern Bridge into Ludlow Kentucky, then back into Gest Street
Yard which is just due west of Cincinnati Union Terminal. ( This is the
south end of CSX’s Queensgate Yard today.)

NS ran freights about two years this way, but they became justifiably
terrified at hitting the about one thousand pedestrians a day that crossed
the street level tracks along Sawyer Point Park. Cincinnati City government
wasn’t too thrilled with this either. So, NS acquired the East Norwood
connection, re-railed it and reopened the trackage rights agreement on the
B&O Ohio Division except they run to Gest Street Yard rather than CUT. This
arrangement is still in use today for local trains that use Clare Yard or
the Peavine although CSX leases the Ohio Division to the RailTex’s Indiana &
Ohio. Some trains, like unit grain trains ran directly from Richmond, IN
down through Hamilton, Ohio and New River Junction then down the Cincinnati
& Richmond past the PRR McCullough Yard to RIDGE at the west end of the East
Norwood wye then down to Clare and eastward. This traffic ran until
February of 2003 when the Peavine lost its through freight traffic and just
had a local.

The reason that Winton Place was so popular for railfans was that it was the
last stop/first stop for all B&O Ohio Division passenger trains , all PRR
(east and west) all eastward NYC trains and all N&W passenger trains. In
addition all B&O freights and NYC Ohio freights went past. One final oddity
was the reverse move necessary for B&O trains out of CUT to come off of the
B&O Ohio Division and back down off of the Ohio Division mainline just south
of NA Tower to get on to the Toledo Division tracks. This reverse move was
not eliminated until the early 1960’s when the ‘head-on’ connection was put
in when the B&O tracks were raised up through this area.

Winton Place station was on the north side of Ludlow Avenue, which now is an
underpass, and the KING Machine Tool Company; then Buschmann Conveyor, was
to the east with the Cincinnati Street Railway car barns east of them. West
was the Formica plant and west of that the shops of the Cincinnati Car
Company part of the Cincinnati Street Railway Co. Today a Kroger grocery
store and its parking lot cover this area south of Mitchell Avenue and I

Earlier, Winton Place was known as Chester Park and was the site of a large,
electrically driven amusement park established by the Cincinnati Street
Railway Company to use their excess generating capacity and showcase the
new-fangled technology of electric lighting and electric motors.

Also see the “END of the End” article covering Berry Yard and the trestle
bridge over into the Ross Estate and Ivorydale written in 2003 in the ARROW
as well as the “NARROW Gauge in Ohio” book by John Hauck in our library or
the “PRR in Cincinnati” book by Rick Tipton/PRRT&HS. I know I gave the
Archives the John Hauck book some years ago and we carry the Rick Tipton
book in the Commissary so the library probably has one, too.

Yeah, I know, I need to write more Cincinnati articles


Gary Rolih


From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at
[mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 2010 9:02 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Cincinnati & Bonsack

In the latest issue of "Classic Trains" there is an article about Winton
Place in Cincinnati. The article alludes to an earlier route by N&W and PRR
into the main station at Cincinnati before the new CUT. What all do we know
about this connection and the newer one into CUT?

"Classic Trains" also noted the correction of the Link photo from Boaz
to Bonsack as was discussed here on the mailing list.

Jimmy Lisle


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