Update: another posting concerning the Panhandle detailing junctions, passenger stations, and track elevations.
Unless noted otherwise, the source is Wikipedia.
Note that the PRR had two different routes west of Pittsburgh. The northern route was the PFW&C. This southern route was the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, commonly called the Panhandle Route. The PFW&C was a rather methodical march west. I'm going into the construction details of this route because it might be a better example of local towns building railroads to prosper and then later bigger railroads snarfing them up to create a bigger system to compete with peers. In the case of the Pennsy, it was in a railroad grab war with NYC. And the NKP grew by grabbing railroads in the north-central part of Indiana.
|Wikipedia: Western Pennsylvania RR, Circa 1874|
In 1848, the Steubenville and Indiana Railroad was charted to build west from Steubenville (on the Ohio River next to West Virginia) to Indiana via Mt. Vernon. But before it got to Newark on April 11, 1855, it had made an agreement with Central Ohio Railroad, which was opened Nov 1854 from Bellaire (across the Ohio River from Wheeling) via Zanesville and Newark to Columbus, to use its tracks to Columbus. On April 16, 1857, connectivity was obtained between Steubenville and Columbus, and the Columbus and Xenia Railroad provided connectivity through to Cincinnati.
Note that railroads were originally not viewed as a means of transport across the country. They were still viewed as a means to reach a river or canal town. Thus Ohio's choice of 4' 10" for the gauge instead of 4' 8.5" was not considered a problem. But it soon became a problem with Indian and Ohio railroads both building to the border to meet each other.
The routes between Columbus and Indianapolis is a classic example of a bunch of little railroads connecting and reconnecting as other railroads are built. And some of the railroads changed to 4' 10" so that they could interconnect with Ohio railroads. I wrote my own explanation, but my eyes glazed over it as I read it just as they do when I read any other account of dates and towns. So I threw away what I wrote and created a map. To get a scale that would fit on this map, I had to add some dots for some towns:
- black: Bellefonte
- blue: Union City, IN
- purple: Bradford
- orange: Piqua
- red: Xenia
|Google plus paint|
- yellow: Little Miami (LM): 1836; 1841; 1846.
- dark blue: Indianapolis and Bellefontain (I&B): 1848; ?; 1850?.
- red: Columbus and Xenia (C&X): March 12, 1844; 1848; 1850.
- black: Dayton and Western (D&W): 1851; ?; 1854.
- purple: Indiana Central (IC): 1851; ?; 1853.
- light blue: Columbus, Piqua and Indiana (CP&I), on Aug. 6, 1863, it was reorganized as the Columbus and Indianapolis (C&I): Feb. 23, 1849; 1853, 1859.
- green: Richmond and Covington (R&C): March 12, 1862; 1862; 1863.
|Columbus and Indianapolis Central Railway, Google plus paint|
On January 10, 1864 the IC, C&I and R&C signed an agreement for joint operation as the Great Central Line between Columbus and Indianapolis, headed by the Indiana Central. The C&I bought the R&C on September 5, 1864. The Indiana Central Railway and Columbus and Indianapolis Railroad merged October 19 to form the Columbus and Indianapolis Central Railway, with a main line from Columbus, Ohio to Indianapolis, Indiana and a branch from Bradford, Ohio to Union City, Indiana.I started mapping the railroads between Richmond and Logansport. It is worth noting that Logansport was another town on the Wabash and Erie Canal. Those railroads were involved with railroads between Richmond and Cincinnati. Because of railroads building next to each other, mergers, reorganizations, etc., I count 11 railroads. So I'm going to cut to the chase, the Cincinnati and Chicago Railroad was formed on Oct. 10, 1854 by merging lines between Cincinnati & Richmond and between Richmond & Logansport. It completed the route on July 4, 1857. But the Panic of 1857 caused it to be sold at foreclosure and reorganized July 10, 1860, as the Cincinnati and Chicago Air-Line Railroad.
On Sept. 25, 1857 the Chicago and Cincinnati Railroad was charted to build from Logansport northwest to Valparaiso. It opened in 1861 with a connection at Valparaiso with the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway to gain access to Chicago. The Cincinnati and Chicago Air-Line opened a bridge over the Wabash River at Logansport on Sept. 25, 1861. Joint operation between Richmond and Chicago began July 1, 1862 and ended Jan. 29, 1865.In 1857 the Galena and Illinois River Railroad (G&IR) was chartered to build from Galena through Chicago to the Indiana state line towards Lansing, MI. The Chicago and Great Eastern Railway (C&GE) was incorporated in 1863 to build from Logansport northwest to the Illinois state line towards Chicago; and it acquired, then absorbed, the G&IR charter.
The line from Chicago (12th Street) south and southeast to the Chicago and Cincinnati at La Crosse, Indiana opened March 6, 1865, and the old line northwest from La Crosse to Valparaiso was abandoned. On May 15, 1865 the C&GE absorbed the Cincinnati and Chicago Air–Line Railroad and Chicago and Cincinnati Railroad.Evidently the G&IR organizers never built anything. The charter's actual use was for an Indiana railroad to gain its own access to Chicago. The access continued north and then went east to approach the Union Station from the north. Most of Pennsy's trains used the much more direct route of the PFW&C to the south side of Union Station.
Remember the branch of the Columbus and Indianapolis Central Railway to Union City described above? In 1852 the Marion and Mississineaw Valley Railroad was incorporated in Indiana to build from Union City northwest to Marion. And in 1853 the Marion and Logansport Railroad was incorporated to continue northwest from Marion to Logansport. The Union and Logansport Railroad (U&L) was incorporated in 1863 with the M&WV and M&L routes. We will see below that the route was finished in 1867.
In 1853 the Logansport and Pacific Railroad was formed. It got reorganized a couple of times and finally made it to the Illinois state line near Effner in 1859 as the Toledo, Logansport and Burlington Railroad (TL&B). This segment is now part of the current Toledo, Peoria & Western.
The Columbus and Indiana Central Railway was formed in Sept. 11, 1867 as the merger of the C&IC, U&L, and TL&B. The main line, formerly being built by the U&L was finished in 1867.
|Wikipedia, CC&IC circa 1868|
The rest of the new main line, from Marion northwest to Anoka, on the old main line east of Logansport, was completed March 15, 1868, making the old route via New Castle and Richmond into a branch. The CC&IC now had main lines from Columbus, Ohio to Chicago and Indianapolis, Indiana, with branches from near Logansport, Indiana southeast to Richmond, Indiana (on the Indianapolis line) and west to Effner, Indiana. The Erie Railway offered in late 1868 to lease the CC&IC, but the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis Railway made a better offer on January 22, 1869, leasing it on February 1.(I could not find Anoka on Google Map.)
Since the motivation for studying the Panhandle Route was its entry into Chicago, I include an enlargement of the 1868 map so that I can reference it later. Update: see Chicago and Great Eastern Railway for the details.
In 1891 the PCC&StL acquired stock ownership of the Little Miami Railroad. On December 21, 1916 (taking effect January 1, 1917), the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway merged with the Vandalia Railroad, Pittsburgh, Wheeling and Kentucky Railroad, Anderson Belt Railway and Chicago, Indiana and Eastern Railway, forming the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad.
The PCC&StL was leased by the PRR on January 1, 1921, and finally was merged into the PRR's Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad on April 2, 1956.
Richard Parks has a summary of timetables that shows, of the 15 trains that ran between Chicago and Pittsburgh, only 3 of them took the 504.2 mile route via Columbus. (The others were on the PFW&C route.) The passengers on this route would be those that were traveling to an intermediate stop.