Indiana & Ohio Ry. in Cincinnati
Formed in 1978 to operate the former CCC&St.L branch from Valley Junction, Ohio to Brookville, Indiana, the Indiana & Ohio Rail System steadily acquired new lines over twenty years to become one of the most expansive regionals in the Midwest. Starting with two Baldwin switchers, the railroad has become known for its colorful stable of EMD GP50's, GP40-1, SD40-2, and SD70M's.
The first line acquired after the original Brookville Line was the former PRR (nee-Cincinnati Lebanon & Northern and Middletown & Cincinnati) line between Mason and Monroe, Ohio in 1984. A branch to Lebanon was reopened in 1985. I&O operated a tourist passenger train under subsidiary Indiana & Ohio Scenic Railway on this line, known as the Mason Subdivision. A third line was acquired in 1986, from Norwood to Brecon, Ohio, known as the Blue Ash Subdivision. This was the southern portion of the Mason sub, which had been separated by Penn Central's abandonment of a 3 mile segment between South Mason and Brecon (Fields Ertel Road). I&O planned to rebuild the abandoned section and operate the lines together, providing better customer service opportunities and savings in operational expenses. Online community opposition ended I&O's plan of reuniting the two lines before the Interstate Commerce Commission. Since I&O acquired all of these lines from Conrail, that was their primary interchange partner.
I&O then turned to CSX Transportation for additional acquisitions in the late 1980's. Former C&O and B&O rails were acquired in eastern Ohio. The Logan, Ohio Line, which began operations on September 1, 1987, became the center for I&O operations in the eastern part of the state. The Indiana & Ohio Eastern property was conveyed (actual track ownership was held by local port authorities) to Great Miami & Scioto Valley on January 1, 1994. The former B&O from Greenfield, Ohio to Midland City was acquired in 1990. Former DT&I trackage from Springfield, Ohio to Washington Court House was acquired from Grand Trunk Western on January 18, 1991. Trackage in these operations is owned by the Clark County - Fayette County Port Authority (CFPA) with I&O being the designated operator. I&O also assumed operations of more Conrail trackage in the Springfield, Ohio area on January 15, 1994. Two lines, one from Springfield to Bellefontaine and a branch to Mechanicsburg from Springfield are owned by the West Central Ohio Port Authority with IOCR the designated operator. The Cincinnati Terminal Railway was founded in 1995 when I&O acquired the former PRR trackage in Cincinnati from Conrail. This trackage is from CP Mill in Reading to CP Oasis in downtown Cincinnati on the riverfront. With Norfolk Southern being the primary user of this line, dispatching was transferred to the NS dispatcher in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
By far the most historic change in I&O's history occurred in 1996, when the remaining original owners of I&O sold their interest to RailTex, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas. RailTex, a short line conglomerate, acquired the line in an aggressive expansion program. A major reason for the sale, was to facilitate the most ambitious line acquisition in I&O's history: the purchase of the former DT&I from Springfield to the Detroit, Michigan area from Grand Trunk Western successor, Canadian National. The new RailTex owned I&O assumed control of the line on February 15, 1997. This acquisition placed I&O squarely on the big time regional railroad map. The next major acquisition was from Central Properties in August, 1998. Central Properties was the owner of two short line railroads: Central Railroad of Indianapolis (CERA) and Central Railroad of Indiana (CIND). This gave I&O direct access to Indianapolis and a connection with sister RailTex road, Indiana Southern.
On October 15, 1999, RailAmerica, Inc. announced it was acquiring I&O parent company RailTex. Today the I&O operates as a subsidiary of RailAmerica and has become a major player in the Cincinnati rail scene. I&O expanded yet again on October 15, 2004, when the former B&O from Cincinnati to Columbus was leased from CSX. This is now the I&O Midland Subdivision.
I&O's focal point of operations in Cincinnati are located at McCullough Yard in Norwood off Highland Avenue. There are 3 ways of rail access to McCullough: The B&O/CSX connection at East Norwood, the CL&N to Blue Ash, and the connection to the former PRR Richmond - Cincinnati line at Norwood Heights. All are currently in use. A locomotive shop is located at the yard as well. For detailed information on I&O lines into the Cincinnati area, click on the links below. Lines are organized by subdivision name.
Blue Ash Subdivision
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