Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern Railroad
The Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern Railroad, now defunct, was an American railroad of southwestern Ohio built in the late Nineteenth Century that became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system in the early Twentieth. Built to give Warren County better transportation facilities, the rural areas it operated in never provided much traffic for the road despite its linking two major cities: Cincinnati and Dayton. Always in perilous financial condition, the road went through multiple bankruptcies and scheduled service ended in the 1930s after which much of the route was abandoned and the rails lifted.
The company originated with the Miami Valley Narrow Gauge Railway Company, which was incorporated on November 7 1874, and shortened its name to the Miami Valley Railway on October 16 1876. The company was chartered to provide better transportation for Lebanon, the seat of Warren County, which had failed for decades to attract a railroad to town and had consequently stagnated economically. The Miami Valley road planned a narrow gauge line from Xenia to Cincinnati via Waynesville, Lebanon, Mason, and Sharonville with a three foot (914 mm) gauge.
Construction contracts were signed in August 1876 and the groundbreaking, at Eden Park in Cincinnati, was on September 1 1876. The railroad, severely undercapitalized, went into receivership on April 19 1879, and was sold by the receiver on March 20 1880. It was acquired by the Toledo, Delphos and Burlington (TD&B), another narrow gauge line that had big ambitions. The Miami Valley at the time of the sale had acquired right of way and begun grading the route.
The TD&B reorganized the Miami Valley Railroad as the Cincinnati Northern Railway Company, incorporated on June 8 1880. The new owners decided to abandon the Lebanon to Xenia part of the route and to make the northern terminus Dodds, six miles north of Lebanon. The road was finished and the first train was run from Norwood (the southern end of the line was not yet finished) to Lebanon on February 17, 1881.
In December 1881, the TD&B completed a seventeen mile long branch from Lebanon Junction , about six miles (10 km) east of Dayton on its existing mainline, south to Dodds. This branch was done quickly and cheaply, which caused the railroad many problems in future operations. The entire Cincinnati to Dayton route was 52.6 miles (85 km) long. The first train left Cincinnati on January 9 1882 but didn't make it to Dayton until January 12 because of the inadquate work on the segment north of Dodds. Regular service began on March 6 1882, and much coal from Jackson County, Ohio came to Cincinnati over this line.
The road's Cincinnati terminus was on East Court Street, now the site of the Greyhound Bus depot. From there the line went through Avondale , Norwood, Blue Ash, Brecon , the extreme southeast corner of Butler County in West Chester Township, and into Warren County. From Deerfield Township, it went through Mason, Union Township, Turtlecreek Township, Lebanon, Clearcreek Township, Wayne Township, and back into Clearcreek Township. The road then entered Montgomery County in Washington Township , went through Centerville, and terminated at Lebanon Junction in Van Buren Township. Using trackage rights it proceeded from Lebanon Junction to Dayton on the Toledo, Delphos, and Belmont Railroad (TD&B) and later (as described below) the route was extended directly to Dayton.
Takeover and reorganization
The TD&B in 1881 merged with its subsidiary, the Toledo, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railway Company (TC&StL), and took its name. On March 6 1883, the company, struggling to reorganize, had merged the Cincinnati Northern and the Spring Grove, Avondale, and Cincinnati Railway into the TC&StL. By 1883, the company had a 782 mile (1,259 km) long narrow gauge network that linked the key cities of the east central United States. However, narrow gauge railways were economically uncompetitive with standard gauge roads. That fact, combined with the shoddy construction and mismanagement of the company, forced the TC&StL into receivership in August 1883.
On June 28 1884, the Ohio part of the company was sold at auction. The route from Dodds to Lebanon Junction was sold to trustees for bondholders, while the Cincinnati to Dodds route was reorganized on June 27 1885 as the Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern (CL&N). It began operations on August 1 1885. The trustees of the Dodds-Lebanon Junction line leased the track to the CL&N. Service to Dayton was made possible by obtaining trackage rights from the Dayton and Ironton Railroad (D&I), the reorganized southeastern division of the TC&StL. However, when the D&I converted to standard gauge on April 3 1887, the CL&N suspended operations north of Dodds.
Henry Lewis gains control
Henry Lewis bought the Dodds-Lebanon Junction line in 1888 and incorporated it as the Dayton, Lebanon and Cincinnati Railroad (DL&C) on June 29 1888. The company completely rebuilt the line and then leased it to the Dayton, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad (DFW&C), part of the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad (CH&D) that already served Warren County at Franklin, which ran trains from Dayton to Dodds.
The CL&N leased the six miles of track between Lebanon and Dodds on June 1 1892 for a term of ninety-nine years and proceeded to convert it to standard gauge. On September 16 1894, the entire CL&N switched to standard gauge, which made interconnection possible with the Middletown and Cincinnati Railroad (M&C). The M&C crossed the CL&N at Hagemans Crossing in Union Township between Lebanon and Mason.
Bargaining chip for others
In December 1895, the Cincinnati, Jackson and Mackinaw Railroad (CJ&M) obtained trackage rights over the CL&N. Its track ran from Addison, Michigan to Carlisle, Ohio. From there, it had trackage rights over the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton and the Middletown and Cincinnati, which brought its trains to Hagemans Crossing where they could proceed to Cincinnati. The CJ&N engaged in merger talks with the CL&N for years as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with the CH&D. Seeing its own interests threatened, the Pennsylvania Railroad (Pennsy) then acquired the majority of the stock of the CL&N and integrated it into its system, though the company continued its separate existence.
The DL&C, which owned the line north of Lebanon, was sold at a foreclosure auction in December 1905 and reorgnized as the Dayton, Lebanon and Cincinnati Railroad and Terminal Company (DL&C). The new company proceded to construct a new line from Hampstead, south of Lebanon Junction, into downtown Dayton, creating a 25.29 mile (41 km) line from Lebanon to Washington Street. The Washington Street station, the site of which is now buried under Route 35, was opened in 1912. During the great flood of March 1913, this line was the only one not inundated by the Great Miami and Mad Rivers and was Dayton's lifeline to the world.
The Middletown and Cincinnati was purchased by the CL&N on June 3 1902, for US$400,000 and was merged into the CL&N, thus adding 14.23 miles from Middletown to Middletown Junction on the Pennsylvania's Little Miami Railroad. The DL&C was purchased on July 1 1915, the Pennsy seeking a secure route to Dayton in the event of another flood. That gave the CL&N system 76.17 miles (123 km) of mainline and 115.72 miles (186 km) of track.
Consolidated with other roads
The Pennsy consolidated the CL&N with several of its other Ohio subsidiaries to form the Pennsylvania, Ohio and Detroit Railroad (PO&D) effective December 10 1925. During World War I, passenger service on the former Middletown and Cincinnati line ended. Because there was little business on the line, a condition made worse by the proliferation of automobiles, passenger service to Lebanon was suspended on March 31 1928, and all scheduled service there ended as of February 1 1934. Despite its connection between the large cities of Cincinnati and Dayton, most of the traffic between them flowed through Butler County over the CH&D and other roads.
End of the line
The eleven miles between Lebanon and Lytle were torn up in 1952. Following the merger of the Pennsylvania and the New York Central in 1968 that formed the Penn Central company, the segment between Brecon and Mason was abandoned in 1972 and service between Hageman's Crossing and Middletown Junction ended.
Conrail, the company organized to pick up the pieces after the failure of the Penn Central, took over the line between Brecon and Norwood and from Mason south of Snider Road north to Hageman and out the former M&C mainline to Middletown. The line from Hageman to Lebanon was retained by the bankruptcy trustees but limited service was provided over it by Conrail under a subsidy supplied by Lebanon businesses. In 1981, the line from Hageman to Lebanon was purchased by the City of Lebanon in order to provide right-of-way for a sewer line and (in the 1990s) electric lines. The section from Hageman to Lebanon was annexed into the city limits in 1986. As of 2005, the City is building a bike path on part of the former M&C mainline from Columbia Road to Middletown Junction.
In 1985, the Indiana and Ohio Railway purchased the track from Mason to Hageman to Middletown from Conrail, and from that year operated an excursion train from Mason to Monroe and later from Mason to Lebanon. Later, the Turtle Creek Valley Railroad and then the Cincinnati Railway Company took over operations of the excursion trains. The I&O attempted to gain permission to reconnect Mason to Brecon but was opposed, thus forcing trains to make a long detour through Middletown to reach Cincinnati.
- Hobo's Guide to the Pennsy
- Corporate history of the CL&N
- Current I&O trackage
- I&O trackage map on company's site
- An account of traveling on the excursion train, with photos
- Information on the excursion train
- Dallas Bogan's articles on Warren County railroads: , , 
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details