The Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville Railroad (CC&L) was the shortest railroad route between Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.

The first segment to be completed by the CC&L was a 66 mile segment from Cottage Grove, Indiana at the Ohio state line to Muncie in 1901.2 6 The Beatrice to Griffith alignment was built from 1902-04, followed by the Griffith to Hammond segment near the Illinois state line in 1906-07.

The Cincinnati & Indiana Western Railroad (C&IW) was incorporated on March 7, 1902 in Ohio and Indiana to construct a railroad from Cincinnati, Ohio to Cottage Grove, Indiana. At Cottage Grove, the C&IW connected to the Cincinnati, Richmond & Muncie Railroad. The line was opened on June 2, 1903.2

The Cincinnati, Richmond & Muncie Railroad (CR&M) was chartered in 1900 to construct a line from Cincinnati to Chicago, Illinois.3 It merged with the Chicago & Cincinnati in 1902 6 and then absorbed by the CC&L in 1903.

[accordion title=”Timeline”]
  • Cottage Grove, Indiana (Ohio state line) to Muncie, 66 miles, constructed in 1901 by the CC&L.2 6
  • Muncie to North Judson, constructed from 1900-02.
  • North Judson to Beatrice, constructed in 1902.
  • Cincinnati, Ohio to Cottage Grove, Indiana constructed from 1902-03 by the C&IW.
  • Beatrice to Griffith, constructed by the CC&L from 1902-04.
  • Griffith to Hammond near the Illinois state line was built from 1906-07 by the CC&L.

The entire line between Cincinnati and Chicago was completed on April 7, 1907 at which point the CC&L became the shortest route between the two cities at 284.5 miles.1 A planned extension to Louisville, Kentucky via Madison, Indiana along the north shore of the Ohio River was never realized.

The Pere Marquette Railroad obtained control of the CC&L in July 1904,6 which was leased to the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad (CH&D) in 1905.3 A lack of traffic led to the CC&L going into receivership in 1908.3 After more than two years, the CC&L was sold to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad of Indiana on June 23, 1910, becoming effective on July 2.1 The railroad was then transferred to the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O) on October 1, 1934.1 Passenger service by the C&O was discontinued in 1948, although Amtrak utilized the route for its tri-weekly Cardinal in 1974.4

  • The Miami Subdivision between Cincinnati and Peru, Indiana, a distance of 156 miles.7 It included the crossing with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad’s (B&O) Hamilton Subdivision at Cottage Grove, Indiana, the richmond Yard and Muncie. It was a single track that was controlled by dispatch at Peru, Indiana.
  • The Wabash Subdivision between Peru and Hammond, Indiana, a distance of 99 miles.

At LaCrosse, Indiana, the Wabash Subdivision connected with the LaCrosse Subdivision, which extended from LaCrosse to New Buffalo, Michigan.7

At Griffith, the C&O crossed the Grand Trunk Western (GTW), Penn Central (PC), Erie Lackawanna (EL) and the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern (EJ&E).7 In order to access the Chicago market, the C&O operated over the EL under a paired trackage agreement to Hammond, Indiana, and then over the Chicago & Indiana Western (C&IW) and Belt Railway of Chicago (BRC) to the Rockwell Street Yard. In 1976, the EL route into Chicago was abandoned, and all C&O trains used the LaCrosse Subdivision from LaCrosse to Wellsboro, Indiana and westward via a B&O alignment into Chicago.

In 1973, the C&O was merged into the Chessie System.1


Owing to sharp curves, 1.9% grades and numerous trestles, the Chessie abandoned the line from Cincinnati, Ohio north to New Haven Road in Fernald in 1978, and the trestles from the Mill Creek valley north to Cheviot Hill were dismantled.1 7 Trains were rerouted via the B&O’s Hamilton Subdivision via Hamilton to Cottage Grove.7

The line remained intact from Richmond, Indiana south to Fernald, Ohio, serving a Department of Energy (DOE) facility that manufactured uranium fuel cores for the United States nuclear weapons production complex. A daily from Richmond to Fernald, based out of Cottage Grove, Indiana served the remaining customers. In 1990, Congress approved closure of Fernald and cleanup work began in 1992. Due to the weight of materials being transported to and from Fernald during the process, the DOE paid to have a large timber trestle partially reconstructed with steel in 1998. Cleanup work was not completed until October 2006, 12 years ahead of schedule.

In Indiana, the Malden to Hammond segment was abandoned in 1982, removing 30 miles from the roster.6 In 1987, the Twelve Mile to Santa Fe segment, 21 miles in length, was taken out of service, followed by the 38 mile Twelve Mile to North Judson alignment. In 1989, the 71 mile Richmond to Marion alignment was discontinued. The Marion to Amboy segment was sold to the Kokomo Rail Corporation in 1992.

On August 29, 2005, CSX, Chessie’s successor, leased its Richmond, Indiana to Fernald, Ohio alignment to the Indiana Eastern.7 On November 3, 2003, CSX filed to abandon their line from North Judson, Indiana to Malden, although it was saved through the efforts of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum.5 The railroad, now owned by the town of North Judson, is operated by the Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad.

[/stag_one_half] [stag_one_half_last] [/stag_one_half_last] [/stag_columns]