Last Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2000

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Cincinnati Southern

Cincinnati Southern

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Owner: Adam C. Gase

Routes: The main line of the CNSR runs from Cincinnati, OH south to Chattanooga, TN, with a line from Harriman Junction, TN to Knoxville and a line from Louisville, KY to Lexington, KY. The Eastern Kentucky Sub runs east from Lexington into the coal fields, over what in the real world is the L&N. The Cumberland Valley Sub runs north and east from the Harriman Jct.-Knoxville line paralleling - but not replacing - much of the L&N's Cumberland Valley Sub. There are also various other coal branches along the Cincinnati-Chattanooga mainline. Railroad headquarters are in Cincinnati with major locomotive shops just across the Ohio River in Ludlow, KY and in Chattanooga. The C&LE is very simple - Cincinnati north to Dayton, OH (C&LE's main shops are just south of Dayton in Moraine), Springfield, OH, then north to Toledo. The line to Columbus, OH from Springfield sees occasional service. There is also a short branch in a suburb of Cincinnati called Mt. Healthy.

History: The Cincinnati Southern Railway (CNSR) was incorporated in 1869, the same year the Cincinnati Reds began play as the first Professional baseball club. Proud of its two new enterprises, the city borrowed the wishbone C of the Reds as the corporate logo for the railroad. The red and black colors of the University of Cincinnati are the railroad's colors, with white or gold trim, depending upon freight or passenger service. The railroad runs from Cincinnati, OH south to Chattanooga, TN through hilly terrain often called the "Rathole" because of the numerous tunnels, most of which were daylighted or bypassed in the 1960's.

Operations were initially leased out to the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific. However, the road remained independent, and when the CNO&TP was taken over by the Southern Ry., the CNSR remained independent, with some support from the Baltimore & Ohio. In 1932, the railroad took over operations on the Cincinnati & Lake Erie, a former interurban, in order to use it as a northern gateway for coal traffic. Cheap labor allowed CNSR to rehab the line for heavy coal trains and heavy electric locomotives, ala the Virginian. With all the tunnels on the Rathole, electrification was always around the corner. Since the C&LE was already electrified, it was a cheap and easy experiment. Bypasses were built around city congestion, especially Lima, OH. The city was especially dirty in their tactics against C&LE. CNSR responded to this by removing all trackage (and taxability) from Lima.

The experiement lasted until 1941. With WWII traffic, there was no time to build more electric locomotives. Superpower on the Southern District had stored many older locos. Those stored engines were revived tohelp with northward coal. Dieselization was late, starting in the late 40's. All those new 4-6-6-4's and 4-8-4's didn't have to be replaced, but the usual demands pushed to road to buy switchers, then E-units, and finally road switchers. Dieselization was completed with purchases of GP9's and SD9's in 1954-55, and RSD12's in 1956. SD24's were added in about 1960 or so. CNSR recognized early on the six axles were better than four in the mountains. Being "The Fast Freight Route" demanded lots of power. The C&LE was dieselized, too, with F-units and GP7's plus Alco's competitive models. Four axles dominate north of the Queen City.

The Queen City Limited was the flagship passenger train. A southward local from Cincinnati was called the Wildcat in honor of UK, and a northward local was the Bearcat, in honor of UC.

Today, the CNSR still hauls fast freight and coal, first with SD45's, SD40-2s, GP and SD50's, and later with 70MACs and AC44CW's.

The C&LE was made a subsidiary of the CNSR in 1973 ala Chessie System, complete with initials on the cab side and unit numbers on the battery boxes. Later C&LE was merged into Cincinnati Southern Corp. and renamed the Lake Erie District like the C&O did with the PM. The original CNSR is the Southern District.

Paint Scheme: Early diesels wore a B&O-like scheme, with red replacing blue. The newest wide-bodies will wear a scheme similar to the B&O-passenger scheme variation but applied as C&NW did to their "lightening stripe" CW44-9's.

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Joshua Moldover, Webmaster