[Richmond, IN Depot & Yard (L), & Main Line (R)]
This article discusses the C&O Cincinnati to Chicago Line & Removal. The C&O had their main line that ran from Cincinnati, OH to Chicago, IL, which they obtained in 1910. It was the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville Railroad in 1907, & other railroads built sections of the line before 1907. It was considered the shortest route between Cinci & Chicago, but had many grades and curves. Per 1987 CSX timetables, the line was broken down into 2 parts: the Wabash Sub (from Hammond, IN to Peru, IN), & the Miami Sub (from Peru, IN to Cincinnati, OH). From Cinci, OH to Peru, IN it was under the Cinci Division, & from Peru, IN to Malden, IN it was under the Chicago Division. By 2005, CSX timetables listed the line from Richmond, IN to Fernald, OH as the Richmond Sub, under the Louisville Div.
The nickname for the line was “The Crooked Road to Muncie”, because it had many curves, and followed an old Indian trail. C&O would run about 6 trains a day on the line, and also Amtrak’s Cardinal from Cinci to Chicago. CSX would run a lot of grain trains as well, between Richmond and Santa Fe, IN. On this line, CSX had a connection with, and ran along side the NS (ex-NKP/N&W) in Muncie, IN. There was also a yard in Muncie near the NS, close to N. Hackley St. The yard consisted of a few tracks, and was still in tact as of 1991, but not used much.
In Richmond, the C&O line had a connection with the ex-PRR, that went uphill on the north end past the station. The connection was used to bring coal in from Indianapolis off the PRR, and onto the C&O, where the C&O local would then take the loaded coal trains to south of Richmond to a power plant. When CR took out the PRR from Indianapolis, the power plant switched to transporting the coal to the plant by truck. Later CSX used the connection for a few cars with CR. Also north of the station is where the PRR/CR & NS crossed the C&O, and the bridge over the Whitewater River Gorge.
The C&O also had a small yard used for local industry in Richmond, just south/southeast of the depot, that could hold about 30 or so cars, about 3 city blocks long. The yard had about 5 stub ended tracks, with 2 runaround tracks, and a track to park the engines by the depot.
The C&O Chicago line was also plagued with other problems and setbacks, such as having low overpasses in Muncie and Richmond, IN that were not high enough for auto racks, and the rails would tend to wear a lot on curves, due to the steep grades. CSX had the habit of flipping the rails around instead of replacing the rail. Due to the steep grades, it was common for Chessie and CSX to use at least 4 units such as, GP40-2s, U30Bs, U25Bs, etc., to move freights.
Due to some of the setbacks of the line, and improvements of others, its days were numbered, and by 1993, CSX tore up the rail from Richmond to Losantville, IN. Presently the track is still in from Richmond to south of Fernald, OH, and is run by the Indiana North Eastern shortline (since 2005). There are bike trails now in place of the track section that was removed. Also the Richmond depot is still standing, and the small yard has been taken out.
There was a section of the line with a steep grade between Cinci and south of Fernald, that Chessie tore out in the 70s or 80s (by 1978, Chessie retired the line from Cinci to Fernald, OH), and they would re-route the trains using the ex-B&O line to Hamilton, OH. Having the C&O line from Richmond to Losantville ripped up, CSX re-routed the trains with high clearance using the B&O Cinci line to Deshler, OH, and the connection at Deshler to get on the B&O Chicago-Baltimore line, to head west to Chicago, IL. The trains with lower clearance would be re-routed From Cinci to Hamilton, OH, then Hamilton to Cottage Grove, IN, get on the connection at Muncie, IN, through Richmond, IN and onto Chicago.
Here are the list of towns along the line starting from Cinci, OH, going NB towards Chicago, IL:
(Beginning of Miami Sub)
-Cincinnati (aband. 1978 by Chessie btwn. Cinci & Fernald)
-Fernald (leased 2005 to IN Eastern RR btwn. Fernald & Richmond)
-Richmond (d/c service 1989 +/- between Richmond & Marion)
–Muncie (small yard at N. Hackley St.)
-Marion (aband./sold to Kokomo Rail 1992 btwn. Marion & Amboy)
-Santa Fe (aband. 1987 between Santa Fe & 12 Mile)
-Peru (end of Miami sub, begin. of Wabash Sub)
-12 Mile (aband. 1987 +/- between 12 Mile & N. Judson)
-N. Judson (aband. 2003 beteen N. Judson & Malden)
-La Crosse (C&O got on the La Crosse Sub-ex-PM-to the B&O at Wellsboro, & west to get to Chicago 1976+)
-Malden (aband. 1982 between Malden & Hammond)
-Griffith (orig. C&O got on the EL here with trackage rights to Hammond, & to Chicago, until the EL line was aband. in 1976.)
-Highlands (EL with C&O trackage rights)
-Hammond (EL with C&O trackage rights, then C&O onto the C&IW & BRC into Chicago, IL, until 1976. Then C&O used LaCrosse Sub at LaCrosse to the B&O at Wellsboro, & west to get to Chicago);
In the following Keith’s Trains Series™ Railroad DVD Titles:
#1 CONRAIL, NS, CSX EAST CENTRAL IN (& HAMILTON, OH)- LATE 80s VOL. 1 , we can see the depot, and parts of the line from the ground.
#9 CONRAIL, NS, & CSX EAST CENTRAL IN- EARLY 90s VOL. 3 shows parts of CSX/ex-C&O Muncie Yard near N. Hackley St., in Muncie, IN. This has since been removed and ispart of the bike trail.
On DVD Title #14 CAB RIDE CSX LOSANTVILLE-RICHMOND, IN SOU 4501 STEAM, WITH CR & NS IN FREIGHTS 90s, we can see the line from a cab ride view.
Finally in DVDs #24 CONRAIL, NS, CSX EAST CENTRAL IN EARLY 90s VOL. 14, #25 CONRAIL, NS, CSX EAST CENTRAL IN EARLY 90s VOL. 15, & #26 CONRAIL, NS, CSX EAST CENTRAL IN EARLY 90s VOL. 16, we see the dismantling and after shots of the torn up tracks.
As railroads improve their plant, they make changes in order to help keep things profitable and to save costs. Even though changes are made today, history is kept preserved in films and photographs for tomorrow. Also a lot of abandoned railroad ROWs are being made into bike trails, which can also help preserve its history. But sometimes railroads change history by bringing back to life a downgraded or abandoned line or ROW. Presently NS and CSX are working to bring back to life the ex-PRR/PC/CR Pittsburgh to Chicago line, in order for NS to be able to relieve traffic congestion on the ex-NYC/PC/CR Water Level route. Also there is talk that NS will be purchasing and re-using the ex-NKP/N&W line to Lima because of congestion problems on other NS lines.
[All photos are screenshots taken from the Keith’s Trains Series™, by 1-West Productions™ (from the camera of Keith Lehman). Sources used for this article/blog information are: Chessie/C&O/CSX timetables, K. Lehman, P. Jordan.]
Article & Photos © Copyright 2015, 2017, 2018 1-West Productions™/PJ, Duplication Prohibited.