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Ohio Rail Exprience Cincinnati, Ohio to Greensburg, Indiana 5/15/2021

by Chris Guenzler

This morning we slept in before we met Dave Smetko and Randy Jackson at Bob Evans where I had my usual of French Toast and sausage and Elizabeth enjoyed French Toast and strawberries. I drove Elizabeth across the Ohio River to the Ohio Rail Experience parking lot and we joined the people in line. There were four trips offered in May and we chose the one that went the greatest distance. This was our first time taking an Ohio Rail Experience excursion and this particular trip had not been run for thirteen years.

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway History

The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, also known as the Big Four Railroad and commonly abbreviated CCC&StL, was a railroad company in the Midwestern United States. It operated in affiliation with the New York Central system.

Its primary routes were in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. At the end of 1925 it reported 2,391 route-miles and 4,608 track-miles; that year it carried 8180 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 488 million passenger-miles.

Gold Bond of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway Company, issued 15. May 1893

The railroad was formed on June 30, 1889, by the merger of the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway, the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago Railway and the Indianapolis and St. Louis Railway. The following year, the company gained control of the former Indiana, Bloomington and Western Railway (through the foreclosed Ohio, Indiana and Western Railway and through an operating agreement with the Peoria and Eastern Railway).

In 1906, the Big Four was acquired by the New York Central Railroad, which operated it as a separate entity until around 1930. The Big Four's lines were later incorporated into Penn Central in 1968 with the merger of New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Penn Central declared bankruptcy in 1970, and in 1976 many of Big Four's lines were included in the government-sponsored Conrail. Conrail was privatized in 1987 and in 1997 was jointly acquired by CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Ohio Rail Exprience Background.

The Ohio Rail Experience is a part of Cincinnati Scenic Railway. CSR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and the operator of the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad in Lebanon, Ohio. ORE excursions are operated in partnership with local historical societies, the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, and the Cincinnati Railway Company.

These trips are a unique opportunity to experience the golden age of rail right in your backyard and feature a casual family friendly atmosphere. ORE trains will travel on railroad tracks that do not regularly host passenger trains. Some lines ORE will traverse have not seen a passenger train in over 40 years.

Passengers will ride in vintage railcars pulled by a historic diesel electric locomotive. ORE trains will feature open window coaches from the 1930s. Climate controlled deluxe coaches from the 1940s and 50s will also be offered at a higher fare. Passengers can enjoy the breeze from one of our two open air baggage cars. A small selection of food and drink, including alcoholic beverages, will be available in our tavern car.

Our Trip

Elizabeth and I stood in line and we waited to get our car number.

This card had a car number but we could choose any seats.

We moved up to the crossing where we waited to board. A safety briefing was given before we boarded and masks were required on board.

Views both ways before boarding. The consist was Chesapeake and Ohio GP7 5704, power car 1376, Santa Fe 10-6 sleeper 2512 "Pine King", Baltimore and Ohio 10-6 sleeper 7046 "Shenango", Nickel Plate bedroom-diner-lounge 151 "City of Chicago", Louisville and Nashville coach 3200 "Montgomery", Pennsylvania Railroad coach 1491 "Mingo County", United States Army Kitchen car 1379 "Queen City Tavern" concession car, Canadian Pacific commuter coach 830, Nickel Plate Road coach 90, Union Pacific 4806 "City of Bellevue" and Nickel Plate Road GP30 901. All cars are owned by Cincinnati Rail Car except NKP 90, B&O 7046, NKP 151 and Santa Fe 2512. Each passenger was given a booklet with a route guide, timetable page, concession prices and histories of the passenger cars.

The trip started at 9:18 AM and we passed a tank car facility on the way out of the area.

The parking lot where everyone parked.

The end of our coach had this interesting design. This car had undergone extensive restoration and was making its first trip.

Passengers including my beautiful wife Elizabeth enjoying the trip.

Gasoline tanks along the Ohio River.

The Ohio River.

Growmark's Cincinnati Terminal trackmobiles.

You could enjoy riding the vestibules on Ohio Rail Experience trips.

Industry along the Ohio River.

This material was barged into this site.

The Ohio River will be in our view most of the way until North Bend.

CSX has an active main that follows our route as North Bend.

Barge on the Ohio River.

I really enjoy vestibule riding by a concrete whistle sign.

The CSX bridge over Muddy Creek.

Two views of the train curving up the grade.

The last clear view of the Ohio River.

Being so far back, it was difficult to see the engine on the front end.

The last view of the Ohio River.

Passing through an industry.

You have to be aware of trees when riding in the vestibule.

The bridge across the Great Miami River.

The Great Miami River.

Tank cars at Valley Junction.

Indiana and Ohio GP50 5007. This is the railroad our excursion is operating over today.

The bridge over the Whitewater River.

The Whitewater River.

A view looking back over Nickel Plate GP30 901.

Entering Indiana.

Looking back into Ohio.

The only remaining signal bridge on this railroad is at Lawrenceburg Junction.

The bridge over South Hogan Creek.

South Hogan Creek.

Crossing one of the concrete arch bridges.

Crossing the concrete arch bridge over Tanner Creek.

Tanner Creek.

You have to be vigilant about trees next to the line when riding a vestibule. We had reached the top of the climb out of the Ohio River at Guildford and would be riding on the plains of southeast Indiana.

A view through the trees.

Many farms were passed on our way to Greensburg.

A large church and graveyard.

The GP30 will lead the train east on the return trip.

We saw many ties that had been replaced along the line.

Another farm view.

You always wonder who lives down at the end of the road.

Some fields are waiting to be planted.

Others have wildflowers growing in them. The train arrived in Greensburg at 1:35 PM and we were given until 4:00 to return to the train. Elizabeth and I detrained immediately and took a couple of pictures before going to lunch.

This was the car Elizabeth and I rode in and the vestibules we took pictures from.

The engineer waiting for everyone to detrain so he could have his lunch.

Elizabeth looked on her phone and found what looked like a good place for lunch. She picked Storie's Restaurant where we both had the pork tenderloin which was excellent. I had ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert while Elizabeth had a piece of homemade butterscotch pie with lemon meringue topping. Both were delicious and hit the spot. This restaurant was a hopping spot in Greensburg and served anyone and everyone who walked in. They were prepared for a big crowd from the train.

The Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction station in Greensburg. We walked back to the train and started photographing the consist.

The front of the train for the return trip.

Nickel Plate Road GP30 901.

Union Pacific coach 5467 built in 1954, sold to Grand Trunk Western as 4806 in 1969, then to Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority in 1978, to the Mad River and Nickel Plate Railroad Society, to Lake Central Rail Tours, to Tennessee Central Railroad Museum and finally purchased by Cincinnati Scenic Railwya in 2019.

Nickel Plate Road coach 90 built in 1930 and leased from the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

Canadian Pacific Railway commuter car 830 built in 1953 and used in Montreal commuter service until 2005.

United States Army kitchen car 89687 "Queen City Tavern" built in 1950. Amtrak acquired it and re-configured it as baggage car 1379, operating it until the late 1990's.

Norfolk and Western 10-6 sleeper "Mingo County" built in 1949 and sold to Maryland Area Regional Commuter and converted to a coach.

Louisville and Nashville coach 3200 which was sold to Pittsburgh and Lake Erie in the 1960's then to Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Friends of 261, Lake Central Rail Tours and the Cincinnati Dinner Train. It is painted to honor the Milwaukee Road and named "Montgomery" to honor both the Louisville and Nashville, which stopped at Montgomery, Alabama and the Cincinnati, Lebanon and Northern, which stopped in Montgomery, Ohio.

Pullman bedroom-diner-lounge 151 "City of Chicago" built in 1950, sold to Amtrak in 1971 for charter service, then Austin Steam Train, then Rail Ventures in Maryland.

Baltimore and Ohio 10-6 sleeper 7046 "Shenango" built in 1950. It was sold to Ringling Brothers in 1969 until 1993, when they sold it to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. AMC Rail purchased the car in 2018 and leased it to Cincinnatti Scenic Railway.

Santa Fe 10-6 sleeper 1634 "Pine King" built in 1950. It became Amtrak crew-dormitory 2512 then AMC Rail purchased it in 2020 and it is currently leased.

United States Army kitchen car 1376 built in 1950. Amtrak converted it to baggage car 1376 and sold it to the Indiana and Ohio Railway, who sold it to the Cincinnati Railway Company. It has been leased to the Cincinnatti Scenic Railway since 2008.

Chesapeake and Ohio GP7 5704.

The Chesapeake and Ohio emblem on the nose of this unit.

A local police officer brought a vintage police car out.

One last view before the train was ready to leave. Due to a medical emergency, we departed Greensburg at 4:35 PM.

The Union Pacific emblem on the floor of our car.

While Elizabeth napped, I found Dave Smetko and Randy Jackson who shared railroad tales with me from the days of them working for the railroad. This was fascinating and I heard some new stories from them.

The signal bridge at Lawrenceburg.

The GP30 leading the train back to Cincinnati. Elizabeth spent some more time in the vestibule and enjoyed her trip.

The Whitewater River.

The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway station in North Bend.

CSX SD40-2 2412 with its slug was the third unit of a CSX train that paced us all the way back to the boarding spot. It cleared our train just as we approached the boarding location and Elizabeth and I were the first two people off the train. Using our heads, we had searched another way out so as to avoid waiting for the train to clear the crossing they were using to unload the passengers. We drove that route and crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky, returning to our hotel for the night. It had been an excellent trip aboard the Ohio Rail Experience and I would recommend any other trips to anyone at any time.