The story of a forgotten America.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway

The Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad (CH&D), originally chartered to build from Cincinnati to Hamilton, Ohio, and then to Dayton, owned or controlled 640 miles of track by the early 1900s.


Chartered as the Cincinnati & Hamilton Railroad in the state of Ohio on March 2, 1846, the line was intended to connect Cincinnati and Hamilton. 8 15 The company was renamed the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad (CH&D) on February 8, 1847, when it was formalized that the railway be extended to Dayton. 15

Work on the railway began in 1850 and by September, the right-of-way had been obtained and graded between Cincinnati and Hamilton. 16 By May 1851, grading along the entire route had been completed, with the first trains operating between Cincinnati and Dayton on September 18, 1851. 7

The CH&D leased the Dayton & Michigan Railroad in perpetuity on May 1, 1863, and then acquired a controlling interest in the Cincinnati, the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, the Richmond & Chicago Railroad (formerly the Eaton & Hamilton) between Hamilton and Richmond, Indiana in 1869, the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis (formerly the Junction Railroad) in 1872. The CH&D sold the Richmond & Chicago to the Cincinnati & Richmond Railroad in 1886.

It then added the Cincinnati, Dayton & Chicago Railroad in 1891. It acquired the Cincinnati, Dayton & Ironton Railroad in March and then the Cincinnati & Dayton Railway (formerly the Louisville, Cincinnati & Dayton) on July 12, 1895.

By 1902, the CH&D operated over 640 miles of track.

In one of its final purchases, the CH&D acquired most of the stock of the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1904 and controlled it until 1907.

In 1905, the Erie Railroad briefly controlled the CH&D until its stock and bond value collapsed after financial mismanagement was revealed. Ailing, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) agreed in July 1909 to purchase the CH&D within seven years, completing the purchase at auction on June 7, 1917. The CH&D formed B&O’s Toledo Division.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O) took financial control of the B&O in 1963. 26 In 1973, the C&O, B&O, and the Western Maryland Railway (WM) were brought together under one identity, the Chessie System. The WM was formally merged into the B&O in 1976. In 1980, the Chessie and the Seaboard Coast Line, which controlled the Louisville & Nashville, the Clinchfield, and Georgia railroads, merged to form the CSX Corporation. Despite the consolidation, CSX never had its own identity until 1986, when all of the merged entities were renamed CSX Transportation (CSX). In April 1987, the B&O was formally absorbed into the C&O, which merged into CSX in August.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad Map

Divisions and Branches

Bowling Green & North Baltimore Branch

The Bowling Green Railroad (BG) was formed in 1874 with the goal of constructing a line between the CH&D Detroit Division at Tontogany and Bowling Green. 23 The BG was acquired by the CH&D in 1887 and operated as their Bowling Green & North Baltimore Branch. The company acquired the Toledo, Findlay & Springfield Railroad which allowed it to connect to North Baltimore.

The line was operated by the CH&D’s successor, the B&O, until its abandonment in 1978. 23 A rail-to-trail, the Slippery Elm Trail, has since been constructed atop the right-of-way between North Baltimore and Bowling Green.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis Railroad

The Cincinnati & Indianapolis Junction Railroad was incorporated on February 18, 1848, in Ohio, and on March 8, 1849, in Indiana, with the goal of completing a rail line between Hamilton, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. 24 Construction was started in September 1853 on a 19½-mile segment between Hamilton and College Corner at the Ohio and Indiana state line. It included the erection of a 700-foot bridge and a 665-foot, 17-arch viaduct over the Great Miami River.

The Junction opened between Hamilton and Oxford on June 4, 1859, to Connersville, Indiana in 1866, and to Indianapolis in 1869. 24 The Junction was later reorganized as the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis Railroad (CH&I) and then was combined with the Indiana, Decatur & Western Railroad, which extended to Springfield, Illinois, and became the Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western Railroad (CIWN) in 1902.

The CIWN was acquired by the B&O in 1927, 25 which was folded into Chessie and then CSX with the line still operating as its Indianapolis Division.

Delphos Division

The narrow-gauge Toledo, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad was constructed between Dayton and Delphos between 1879 and 1883. 22 It was acquired by the CH&D for their Delphos Division and converted to standard-gauge. An extension from the Findlay & Ft. Wayne Branch at East Mandale to the northern terminus of the Delphos Division at Delphos was completed in 1904. 18

The Delphos Division fell under the control of the B&O in 1917. On January 4, 1918, the line from Stillwater Junction to East Mandale was sold to John Ringling, a CH&D trustee, who formed the Dayton, Toledo & Chicago Railroad (DT&C). 22 On the same day, operations were discontinued from Delphos to the CH&D connection in East Mandale. On July 31, 1922, courts in Miami County ordered the entire DT&C closed from Delphos to Stillwater Junction because of the poor condition of its finances and infrastructure. The only portion remaining in operation was the segment from Stillwater Junction and Dayton by the B&O.

All equipment was moved from the DT&C’s shops in Celina for disposition in August. 22

At the same time, the Pennsylvania Railroad explored the possibility of acquiring the DT&C and transforming it into a direct line between a new connection at Stillwater Junction north of Dayton and Chicago via Delphos and Ft. Wayne. 22 It would have about the same mileage as the then-existing trackage rights on the B&O into Dayton. Those efforts were for naught as in September, the Erie Railroad removed the diamonds at Spencerville while the B&O removed the diamonds at Stillwater Junction. The DT&C was formally abandoned in December and scrapped in March 1923.

Detroit Division

The Dayton & Michigan Railroad was incorporated on March 5, 1851, for the purpose of constructing and operating a railroad from Dayton to the Ohio and Michigan state line in the direction of Detroit, Michigan. 21 Approximately 141 miles of line were constructed in 1859.

From the date of its completion to July 2, 1914, the D&M was operated by the CH&D as its Detroit Division. 21 The D&M went into receivership afterward until it was acquired by the B&O on July 18, 1917.

Findlay Branch

The McComb, Deshler & Toledo Railroad (MD&T) was incorporated on June 2, 1879, with the purpose of building an 8.8-mile line from Deshler and McComb. 9 10 19 The MD&T agreed to allow the Dayton & Michigan Railroad, controlled by the CH&D, to operate over its line. 11 Grading for the railroad began in early 1880 and the first train arrived in McComb on November 24. It was sold under foreclosure and conveyed by deed on May 26, 1887, to the Columbus, Findlay & Northern Railroad (CF&N). 19

The CF&N was incorporated on April 18, 1887, with the purpose of building or otherwise acquiring a railroad to extend from Columbus to a point on the Ohio and Michigan state line. 19 It constructed 8.8 miles of line from McComb and Findlay in 1888, giving the CF&N a total of 17.75 miles which was operated by the CH&D as its Findlay Branch.

In August 1968, CH&D’s successor B&O requested authorization from the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to abandon 8.4 miles of the railroad from Deshler and McComb, and from McComb to about two miles northwest of Findlay. 20 The tracks were dismantled by 1970 with the remaining segment in Findlay being operated by the Findlay Northwestern Railroad.

Findlay & Ft. Wayne Branch

The American Midland Railroad was chartered in May 1888 17 and reorganized as the Findlay, Fort Wayne & Western (FFW&W) in June 1890. A segment between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Findlay, Ohio opened on January 1, 1895, 10 and served a region that was seeing a brief economic boom because of the discovery of natural gas. 12

The CH&D acquired the FWW&W on November 1, 1901, and operated it as its Findlay & Ft. Wayne Branch, but it was sold at foreclosure to the Cincinnati, Findlay & Fort Wayne Railway on July 7, 1903. 12 The CH&D obtained a lease on the line on November 1, but the FFW&W once again went into receivership on July 2, 1914, and the CH&D lease was canceled.

An extension from the Findlay & Ft. Wayne Branch at East Mandale to the northern terminus of the Delphos Division at Delphos was completed in 1904. 18

After the B&O purchased the CH&D in 1916, the Findlay Division connection was removed. 18 Most of the line was abandoned in 1919 12 with the exception of the Cincinnati Northern at Haviland to Grover Hill which was dismantled in 1920. 18

Ironton Branch

The Toledo, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad (TC&StL) was completed in 1882 as a narrow-gauge line between the CH&D at Ironton Junction south of Wellston to the DT&I at Bartles/Dean Junction. 6 The route south of Ironton Junction included two tunnels at Hoadley, another at Dean, and a fourth at Royersville, the latter which was constructed by the Iron Railroad in 1851.

2Hoadley693 feet18821916

A lack of originating traffic, notably coal reserves, led to an early decline of the line. The TC&StL was split at foreclosure in 1884-85 after the company entered into receivership in 1883, with the Ironton Junction to Dean Junction segment becoming the Iron Division of the Iron Railway. The line was standard gauged in 1887 and absorbed by the CH&D in 1891 which became their Ironton Branch. 5

Improvements were begun on the Ironton Branch in 1915 which included lining Tunnel No. 2 with concrete. After extensive flooding in 1916 washed out substantial portions of the line, the CH&D abandoned the Ironton Branch. 1 4

Middletown Branch

The Louisville, Cincinnati & Dayton Railroad (LC&D) was chartered to connect Hamilton and Middletown but never reached either destination. 27 On July 12, 1895, the Cincinnati & Dayton Railway became part of the CH&D, with the Middletown Junction to Middletown line comprising its Middletown Branch.

Wellston Division

As early as December 1870, the Dayton & Mineral Region Railroad Company was incorporated to secure abundant coal from the southeast region of the state. 3 14 The Dayton & Southeastern Railroad (D&SE) was incorporated on December 16, 1871, with the purpose of constructing a 144-mile narrow-gauge line from Dayton to Gallipolis. It was finished to Washington Court House by July 1877 and by June 1880, 17 114 miles were finished and in operation from Dayton to West Junction and Byers Junction to Wellston. D&SE utilized trackage rights with the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad between West Junction and Byers Junction.

In Jackson County, the D&SE followed Pigeon Creek from Vinton County to Byer and arrived at Coalton from the northwest. 3 At Coalton, the railroad overlapped with the Springfield, Jackson & Pomeroy Railroad (SJ&P), which later became part of the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad (DT&I).

The D&SE opened up Coalton to significant coalfields, with the first mines opening in the vicinity of Glen Neil with spurs going to the east and west of the railroad. 3 At the northern edge of Coalton was the Patterson Mine which was owned by the Southern Ohio Coal & Iron Company. It was remarkable in that its company store was where John Patterson introduced the world’s first cash register which led to the founding of the National Cash Register Company in Dayton. In 1893, the Superior Coal Company purchased the mine and enlarged it to become the largest underground mine in the county. 3

For the D&SE, the entity was merged into the Toledo, Delphos & Burlington Railroad (TC&StL) in 1881. It was split at foreclosure in 1884-85 after the company entered into receivership in 1883, with the Dayton to Wellston segment becoming the Southeastern Division of the Dayton & Ironton Railroad. It was then acquired by CH&D in March 1891 before becoming a part of the B&O’s Wellston Division in 1917.

The once abundant coal reserves in the southeastern part of the state began to wane by the 1950s. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Wellston Division hosted only two regular trains that provided a connection with the B&O St. Louis mainline at Chillicothe, which helped relieve congestion out of the congested yards in Cincinnati.

The CH&D roundhouse and yard in Wellston were discontinued on January 18, 1961, and the freight station closed on February 3, 1976, with all freight movements handled in Oak Hill. Combined with the opening of Queensgate Terminal to replace the antiquated Cincinnati Terminal in Cincinnati, and the loss of originating traffic in Dayton, Hamilton, and elsewhere, the B&O’s successor Chessie opted to abandon the Wellston Subdivision between Dayton and Wellston in 1981. The only exceptions included local segments in Washington Court House and Chillicothe to serve local industries and a portion from Richmond Dale and Byer Junction that was retained to provide railroad access via the former B&O St. Louis mainline to the city of Jackson.


The CH&D Buckeye Branch departed Wellston southeast and followed Little Raccoon Creek for several miles until it split into two branches at Doward. 2 The south fork served coal mines in the vicinity of Buckeye Furnace while the north fork followed Rich Run. The line was dismantled from the former Stone Wall Jackson Mine to No. 17 on the Buckeye Branch on February 23, 1942, while the remainder of the line from McNally Pittsburg to No. 17 was closed on February 2, 1969. 1

Another spur from the Ironton Branch at Berlin Crossroads served the McKell Mine. 2 The B&O would later parallel the dismantled McKell spur with tracks to serve the Broken Aro strip mine. Another spur at Gee Town several miles south of Berlin Crossroads served two coal mines.



  1. “B &O Railroad Era.” Wellston Forum. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2010. Article.
  2. Ohio Genealogical So Jackson County, Ohio Genealogical Society. “Mines of the Eastern Hill Coals.” History & Families of Jackson County, Ohio. Paducah: Turner, 1991. 35. Google Books. Web. 23 Aug. 2010. Article.
  3. Ohio Genealogical So Jackson County, Ohio Genealogical Society. “Mines of the Famous 2 ‘Quakertown Coal.'”I History & Families of Jackson County, Ohio. Paducah: Turner, 1991. 33-34. Google Books. Web. 23 Aug. 2010. Article.
  4. PDF.
  5. “Transportation and Communication: Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton.” A Standard History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio. Ed. Eugene B. Willard et al. Vol. 1. 1916. Marceline, MO: Walsworth,, n.d. 99. Print.
  6. Davis, Evan Edward. “Iron Horses.” Industrial History of Oak Hill, Ohio. N.p.: n.p., 1973. 19-21. Print.
  7. “Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad.” Ohio History Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2014. Article.
  8. Drury, Augustus Waldo. “Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad.” History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio. Vol. 1. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1909. 367. Print.
  9. “Internal Improvements.” History of Hancock County, Ohio. Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co., 1886. 316. Print.
  10. Kimmell, J.A. “Steam Railroads.” Twentieth Century History of Findlay and Hancock County and Representative Citizens. Chicago: Richmond-Arnold, 1910. 93. Print.
  11. Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs of Ohio. Columbus: Myers Brothers, 1883. 1086. Print.
  12. Sanders, Craig. “Findlay, Fort Wayne & Western.” Limiteds, Locals, and Expresses in Indiana, 1838-1971. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003. 247. Print.
  13. Simons, Richard S. and Francis H. Parker. “Cincinnati, Findlay and Fort Wayne.” Railroads of Indiana. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997. 174. Print.
  14. Drury, Augustus Waldo. “The Dayton and Wellston Division.” History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio. Vol. 1. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1909. 568-569. Print.
  15. Speller, John. “Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad.” John Speller’s Web Pages – US Railroads, n.d. Article.
  16. “Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton Railroad.” The Portsmouth Inquirer, 9 Sept. 1850, p. 1.
  17. “New Railroad in Indiana.” Ann Arbor Register, 10 May. 1888.
  18. Findlay, Ft. Wayne & Western Railroad History.”
  19. “Columbus, Findlay and Northern Railroad.” Interstate Commerce Commission, 1934.
  20. Miller, Bryan. “Findlay to Deshler, OH.” Abandoned Rails.
  21. “Dayton and Michigan Railroad.” Interstate Commerce Commission, 1934.
  22. M. Aaron. “Delphos to Dayton, OH.” Abandoned Rails.
  23. M. Aaron. “Tontogany to North Baltimore, OH.” Abandoned Rails.
  24. Junction Railroad.” The Lane Libraries.
  25. Baltimore & Ohio / Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh / Cincinnati, Indianapolis, & Western 2-8-2 “Mikado” Locomotives.”
  26. Volin, Rudy. “Perryville and Havre De Grace, Md.” Trains, 6 July 2006.
  27. The Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad History.”


Add Yours →

Looking for information on the railway stations of Bartels station and Dean station of the old ch&i rr back about 1850-1880. There was a tunnel near Dean Station in Lawrence county Ohio

>John Thompson

The CH&D was built before the C&O line. I don't know what sort of arrangement they made, but the C&O was definitely the dominant railroad in the joint use area. I'd be interested to know if they sold the right of way to C&O.

CSX bases a local (H-798) in the former Ohio Div yard in Chillicothe. Almost all of their work now is to switch the Glatfelter paper mill. The former Paint St yard on the east side of the mill is mainly used for storage of off lease pulpwood cars at the moment. H-798 will once a week or so head east on the former B&O Parkersburg Sub main to switch the former Mead warehouse complex at Schooleys. There's some sort of tank car transload operation and scrap paper business. The warehouse is owned by a local trucking company. The large ADM grain operation next to the old B&O yard is quite busy shipping unit grain trains. Their tracks were recently rebuilt along with the B&O tracks to handle six axle locos. For some reason almost all of the grain traffic for the 2010 harvest has moved via NS and the interchange track by the old depot. NS has trackage rights over CSX to access ADM.

Dayton to Washington CH (Fayne) on the Wellston was abandoned and removed in 1982. The line saw a quick burst of detour traffic in it's last couple of years as Queensgate was built in Cincinnati. Since your visit to Washington CH, the I&O has rebuilt the 2 remaining B&O tracks at Fayne (Luray pic) along with relaying the old DT&I-B&O Fayne interchange track. The 2 B&O tracks were tied into each other at the west (north) end and a new connection built onto the DT&I at Bush Rd. The new Konrad yard was finished in late November and new office being installed for the I&O as their Washington CH hub. The I&O has rerouted their DT&I traffic off of the NS trackage rights via Dayton and traffic is swapped at the yard each night between a Springfield and Cincinnati based crews.

knew the dayton to chillicothe line well mark as i grew up with it running through my back yard from “64” until i moved to florida with my parents in “80” . . . short sighted of the Chicken S#*t Xpress to abandon that line along with the washington to St Louis main when just about a decade later it would have made an excellent bypass around the congestion at queensgate about a decade later in the early nineties . . .

Have researched former CH&D around Chillicothe. Just east of Mead paper mill, on route 753 south, are remains of yard once used by railroad to service mill. Railroad continued west, however, beyond the remains of the yard, there is virtually nothing left of notewortyiness. Understand there was a bridge in place south of Chillicothe, until late 1990s when it was washed out by flood, that carryed former CH&D over Scioto River. After crossing river, CH&D linked up to C&O to Richmondale, via trackage rights, then, went back to own rails to gain access to coal fields in Jackson County. Just for matter of record, I was born and spent some childhood years in Jackson, Ohio. Rember the idiling DT&I locos at sanding facility, just west of railroad crossing of main road leading into town.. Also, still visit Chillicothe every now and then to see relatives there, still find time to do a little "research". Thanks for opportunity to share some storys on this site. *Bridges that carried former B&O Parkersburg line east from Chillicothe to Parkersburg are still in place, although line has been removed through Chillicothe. However, just south of town, line does remain in place beyond river crossing to a point undetermined. Transfer track between present day CSX and present day NS still remains in place near former joint B&O-N&W depot on southeast edge of town. Can only assume present day CSX track remains in place to service rural elevator. Have been told CSX does still serve Mead Paper Mill, although most of dutys now executed by NS. Famous folklore Moonville Tunnel, near Athens, Ohio is on former Parkersburg line.

Leave your comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Grab a copy of the Abandoned Kentucky hardcover book, available in stores and on Amazon.