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The Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad (CG&P) was a railroad that extended from Cincinnati, Ohio east to Russellville, although it was never completed to its original destination of Portsmouth along the Ohio River due to a lack of funding. INcorporated as the

Cincinnati and Portsmouth Railway Company

At the time of incorporation of Mt. Washington as a village in 1867, there were several investors interested in large tracts of land.1 Located just east of Cincinnati, the investors were interested in developing the land as a commuter suburb accessible by railroad. Henry Brachmann, who owned much land on both sides of Beechmont Avenue from Beacon to Birney, had a desire to develop a narrow gauge railroad through Mt. Washington 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.

On March 1, 1873, the Cincinnati and Portsmouth Railway Company (C&P) was incorporated 1 2 with a projected route from Cincinnati east to Bethel, Georgetown and West Union.2 In the fall of 1876, a contract was awarded to John W. Rutherford of Columbus for the grading and construction of a railroad. The line could not exceed 4% in grade and had a fixed cost of $8,000 per mile.

Work began at its western terminus on the Little Miami Railroad at Carrel Street in Columbia, today’s Cincinnati Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood.2 By October 1877, 11 miles had been completed to Mt. Carmel, which included a station in Mt. Washington at Sutton and Benneville roads.1 By June 1878, it had reached Hamley, beyond Amelia.

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,” in addition to a claim that he had not been paid $67,087 for his work.2 He levied a lien against the railroad but the state supreme court ruled that railroads were not subject to the Ohio lien law. Rutherford pursued the claim and eventually secured a judgment of $55,000 against the company in 1880. With this and other debts, the C&P went into bankruptcy.2

The railroad was sold to its creditors on September 11, 1880, and it was reorganized as the Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad (CG&P) on March 21, 1881.2 Work resumed shortly after and by July 4, 1881, the CG&P had been built out to Bethel.1 Just before the railroad approached Hamersville in 1882, Henry Brachmann passed away.

East of Hammersville, the terrain became more hilly and complex. A 110-foot-high, 1,410-foot-long trestle was constructed over the deep White Oak Creek gorge and on February 5, 1886, the first train arrived in Georgetown.2 East of Georgetown was the Appalachian highlands, which held potential for timber and mineral resources. The directors authorized an extension to West Union, 24 miles east of Georgetown, in 1894 and financing was agreed upon four years after.

In 1900, the CG&P was mortgaged for $500,000 and the proceeds were initially 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 completed in 1902. The electriciation included a power house, along with the building of Lake Allyn and park, at Olive Branch. The first electric car arrived in Georgetown on December 1.2

As part of the electrification of the line, the CG&P was converted to standard gauge.2 Third rail had 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′ 2.5″, which allowed their cars to operate in central Cincinnati.2 For a period in 1902, the Carrel Street yard had tracks for all three gauges: narrow, standard and CTC. In 1903, a branch to Batavia was completed and in 1904, the long awaited eastern extension of the CG&P mainline to Portsmouth was completed to Russellville, only eight miles east of Georgetown. The Felicity branch was completed in 1906.

Decline

A competing traction line, Interurban Railway & Terminal’s Suburban Traction Company, constructed in 1902 from Cincinnati to Bethel caused a drop in passengers, and the rise in the automobile in the 1920s caused a further drop in numbers. In 1927, the Coney Island branch was abandoned,1 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.

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