Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway

The Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway (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.


The Cincinnati & Hamilton Railroad was established by John Alexander Collins and received its charter from the state of Ohio on March 2, 1846, for the purpose of connecting Cincinnati and Hamilton, Ohio. 8 15 The legislature changed the name to the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway (CH&D) on February 8, 1847, as the line’s reach had been extended to Dayton. 15

Construction on the railroad began in early 1850, with the grading of the right-of-way between Cincinnati and Hamilton completed by September. The right-of-way between Hamilton and Dayton was also secured during this time. 16 By May 1851, the entire right-of-way had been acquired, and grading along the route was completed. 7 The first trains began operating between Cincinnati and Dayton on September 18. To celebrate the occasion, two special inaugural trains from Dayton and two special inaugural trains from Cincinnati met at Hamilton.

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 former CH&D mainline from Cincinnati to Toledo formed B&O’s Toledo Division.

In 1963, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (C&O) gained financial control of the B&O. 26 In 1973, the C&O, B&O, and the Western Maryland Railway were consolidated under the Chessie System identity. In 1980, the Chessie System merged with the Seaboard Coast Line, which controlled the Louisville & Nashville, the Clinchfield, and Georgia railroads, to form the CSX Corporation (CSXT). However, it wasn’t until 1986 that all of the merged entities were brought together under the CSXT banner. Finally, in April 1987, the B&O was formally absorbed into the C&O, which itself merged into CSX in August of the same year.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad Map

Divisions and Branches

Bowling Green & North Baltimore Branch

The Bowling Green Railroad (BG) was established in 1874 to build a railway between the CH&D Detroit Division at Tontogany and Bowling Green. 23 In 1887, the BG was purchased by the CH&D and was run as their Bowling Green & North Baltimore Branch. The company later acquired the Toledo, Findlay & Springfield Railroad, which allowed it to link to North Baltimore.

The line was run by the B&O, the CH&D’s successor, until it was abandoned in 1978. 23 Following its abandonment, the right-of-way was converted into a rail-to-trail known as the Slippery Elm Trail, which now stretches between North Baltimore and Bowling Green.

Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis Railroad

The Cincinnati & Indianapolis Junction Railroad was incorporated in Ohio on February 18, 1848, and in Indiana on March 8, 1849. 24 Its purpose was to construct a rail line between Hamilton, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. In September 1853, construction began on a 19½-mile section between Hamilton and College Corner at the Ohio and Indiana state line. This included building 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, and extended to Connersville, Indiana in 1866, and to Indianapolis in 1869. 24 Later, the Junction was reorganized as the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis Railroad (CH&I) and merged with the Indiana, Decatur & Western Railroad, which extended to Springfield, Illinois, becoming the Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western Railroad (CIWN) in 1902.

In 1927, 25 the CIWN was acquired by the B&O and was eventually integrated into Chessie and then CSXT. The line is still operating today as the Indianapolis Division of CSXT.

Delphos Division

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

The Delphos Division became part 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 established the Dayton, Toledo & Chicago Railroad (DT&C). 22 Operations between Delphos and East Mandale ceased on the same day. The DT&C was closed in 1922 due to financial and infrastructure issues, with only the segment from Stillwater Junction to Dayton remaining operational under the B&O.

All DT&C equipment was moved from its shops in Celina for disposition in August. 22 Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Railroad considered acquiring the DT&C to establish a direct line from Stillwater Junction to Chicago via Delphos and Ft. Wayne, but these efforts were unsuccessful. In September, the Erie Railroad removed the diamonds at Spencerville, and the B&O removed the diamonds at Stillwater Junction. The DT&C was officially abandoned in December and scrapped in March 1923.

Detroit Division

The Dayton & Michigan Railroad was established on March 5, 1851, with the aim of constructing and managing a railway from Dayton to the Ohio and Michigan state line. 21 A total of approximately 141 miles of railway was built in 1859.

After its construction was completed, the D&M was operated by the CH&D as its Detroit Division until July 2, 1914. The D&M then went into receivership 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 between Deshler and McComb in Ohio. 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 started in early 1880, and the first train arrived in McComb on November 24 of the same year. The MD&T 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 In 1888, the CF&N constructed 8.8 miles of line from McComb and Findlay, giving it 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. On January 1, 1895, a segment between Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Findlay, Ohio, was opened, 10 serving a region that was experiencing a brief economic boom due to the discovery of natural gas. 12

The FFW&W was acquired by the CH&D on November 1, 1901, and operated as its Findlay & Ft. Wayne Branch. However, 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 connection of the Findlay Division 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 a narrow-gauge line that ran between the CH&D at Ironton Junction (south of Wellston) and the DT&I at Bartles/Dean Junction. 6 The line was completed in 1882 and included four tunnels, two at Hoadley, one at Dean, and one at Royersville which was built in 1851 by the Iron Railroad.

The lack of coal reserves and originating traffic caused the line to decline early on. In 1883, the company went into receivership and was split at foreclosure in 1884-85. The segment from Ironton Junction to Dean Junction became the Iron Division of the Iron Railway. The line was standard gauged in 1887 and was absorbed by the CH&D in 1891, which became their Ironton Branch. 5

Improvements on the Ironton Branch began in 1915, which included the lining of Tunnel No. 2 with concrete. However, after significant flooding in 1916, which caused substantial damage to the line, the CH&D abandoned the Ironton Branch. 1 4

2Hoadley693 feet18821916

Middletown Branch

The Louisville, Cincinnati & Dayton Railroad (LC&D) was established to connect Hamilton and Middletown in Ohio. However, it failed to reach either of these destinations. 27 On July 12, 1895, the Cincinnati & Dayton Railway merged with the CH&D. As part of this merger, the Middletown Junction to Middletown line was designated as the Middletown Branch.

Wellston Division

The Dayton & Mineral Region Railroad Company was incorporated in December 1870 to obtain coal from southeast Ohio. 3 14 On December 16, 1871, the Dayton & Southeastern Railroad (D&SE) was established to build a 144-mile narrow-gauge line from Dayton to Gallipolis. By July 1877, the railway was completed to Washington Court House, and by June 1880, 114 miles from Dayton to West Junction and Byers Junction to Wellston were operational. 17 The D&SE used 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 reached Coalton from the northwest. 3 At Coalton, it overlapped with the Springfield, Jackson & Pomeroy Railroad (SJ&P), which later became part of the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad.

The D&SE opened up Coalton to significant coalfields, with the first mines opening in the vicinity of Glen Neil, with spurs going east and west of the railroad. 3 At the northern edge of Coalton was the Patterson Mine, owned by the Southern Ohio Coal & Iron Company. It was remarkable that its company store was where John Patterson introduced the world’s first cash register, leading 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.

The D&SE was merged into the Toledo, Delphos & Burlington Railroad (TC&StL) in 1881, which was foreclosed in 1884-85. The Dayton to Wellston segment became the Southeastern Division of the Dayton & Ironton Railroad and was acquired by CH&D in 1891. It became a part of the B&O’s Wellston Division in 1917.

The coal reserves in southeast Ohio began to decline by the 1950s. The Wellston Division hosted only two regular trains that connected to the B&O St. Louis mainline at Chillicothe during the 1960s and 1970s. The CH&D roundhouse and yard in Wellston ceased operations on January 18, 1961, and the freight station closed on February 3, 1976, with all freight movements handled in Oak Hill. 1 In 1981, the B&O’s successor Chessie abandoned the Wellston Subdivision between Dayton and Wellston, except for local segments in Washington Court House and Chillicothe and a portion from Richmond Dale and Byer Junction to Jackson.


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

There was another spur from the Ironton Branch at Berlin Crossroads that served the McKell Mine. 2 The B&O later built tracks parallel to the dismantled McKell spur to serve the Broken Aro strip mine. Additionally, there was another spur at Gee Town, located several miles south of Berlin Crossroads, that 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.