The Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad (CG&P) is an abandoned railroad between Cincinnati and Russellville, Ohio It was intended to extend as far east as Portsmouth.
Cincinnati and Portsmouth Railway Company
Located east of Cincinnati, several investors were interested in developing Mt. Washington as a suburb accessible by a railroad. 1 The village, incorporated in 1867, was mostly owned by Henry Brachmann who desired the development of a narrow gauge railroad through Mt. Washington and eastward through Clermont, Brown, Adams, and Scioto counties. Other residents from the village were interested in the venture, including Stephen J. Sutton, who once had a line operating between Cincinnati and Amelia.
The Cincinnati & Portsmouth Railway Company (C&P) was incorporated on March 1, 1873, 1 2 with a proposed route from Cincinnati east to Bethel, Georgetown, and West Union. 2 A contract was awarded to John W. Rutherford of Columbus was awarded a contract for the grading and construction of the C&P in the fall of 1876. The line could not exceed 4% in grade and had a fixed cost of $8,000 per mile.
Work began at its western terminus at Carrel Street in Columbia (today, Cincinnati’s Columbia-Tusculum neighbourhood) on the Little Miami Railroad. 2 By October 1877, 11 miles had been completed east to Mt. Carmel, which included a station at Sutton and Benneville roads in Mt. Washington. 1 By June 1878, it had reached Hamley.
Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad
Rutherford filed suit against the company shortly after the completion to Mt. Washington, claiming that the railroad was being operated in an “extravagant and wasteful manner.” 2 Additionally, Rutherford contended that he had not been paid $67,087 for his work. He levied a lien against the railroad, but the state supreme court ruled that railroads were not subject to the state lien law. Rutherford pursued the claim, and in 1880, secured a judgment of $55,000 against the C&P. With this and other debts, the railroad went into bankruptcy.
The C&P was sold to its creditors on September 11, 1880, and reorganised as the Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad (CG&P) on March 21, 1881. 2 Construction on the line resumed shortly after and by July 4, 1881, the CG&P had been built east to Bethel. 1
East of Hammersville, the terrain became more hilly and complicated. A 110-foot high, 1,410-foot long trestle was constructed over the deep White Oak Creek gorge. 2 On February 5, 1886, the first train arrived in Georgetown. East of the town was the Appalachian highlands, which held potential for timber and mineral resources. The CG&P directors authorised an extension to West Union in 1894, and financing was agreed upon in 1898.
In 1900, the CG&P was mortgaged for $500,000, and the proceeds were earmarked for the extension. The CG&P received a much-needed investment in 1902 when A.W. Comstock purchased the CG&P and invested $1 million into the line. 1 Using the funds for the eastern extension, Comstock contracted with the Tennis Railway Company for electrification of the line as an interurban, which was finished in 1902. The electrification included the erection of a powerhouse. The first electric car arrived in Georgetown on December 1. 2
As part of the electrification project, the CG&P was converted to standard gauge. 2 Third rail had previously been laid in the Carrel Street yard in 1899 when the Little Miami needed to move standard gauge cars from their line to the Cincinnati Water Works along the CG&P near Lunken Airport.
In July 1902, a branch of the CG&P was built to Coney Island, but to the Cincinnati Traction Company’s (CTC) gauge of 5-feet, 2½-inches, which allowed their cars to operate in central Cincinnati. 2 For a brief period, the Carrel Street yard had tracks for all three gauges: narrow, standard, and CTC. A branch to Batavia was completed in 1903, and in 1904, the long-awaited eastern extension of the CG&P mainline to Portsmouth was completed to Russellville, eight miles east of Georgetown. The Felicity branch was built in 1906.
A competing traction line, Interurban Railway & Terminal’s Suburban Traction Company, was built in 1902 from Cincinnati to Bethel. 1 It caused a drop in passengers along the CG&P. The rise in the automobile in the 1920’s caused a further drop in ridership, and in 1927, the Coney Island branch was abandoned, followed by the Felicity branch and the Georgetown to Russellville segment in 1933. By 1934, only four daily round trips from Columbia to Georgetown were listed. The CG&P made its last run on October 1, 1935.