Tuesday, November 21, 2017

B&O's O&M: Ohio & Mississippi Railroad

(Facebook Group, Book .pdf)
The Ohio & Mississippi was charted in 1848 and constructed between Cincinnati and East St. Louis by 1857. They built parallel to the Cincinnati and Whitewater Canals, which reduced their expense for grading the route. It was originally built with Erie's 6-foot gauge and connected with a series of railroads across the midwest to use Erie as their access to the east coast. But in 1871 they switched to standard gauge in anticipation of replacing ferries with the Eads Bridge to access St. Louis when it was completed in 1874. When it switchted to standard gauge, it switched to using the B&O to access the east coast. This gave them access to New York, Washington and Baltimore. In 1875 the O&M acquired the Springfield & Illinois South Eastern Railway. B&O aquired full control of the O&M and Springfiled & Illinois South Eastern Railway in 1900. [OhioHistoryCentral, SpellerWeb] Since it ran across southern Indiana and Illinois, it also served several coal mines. This was the first railroad line to reach the Mississippi River from the eastern United States; running west from Grafton, West Virginia to Cincinnati, Ohio, through the Southern half of Indiana, into Southern Illinois and finally ending in St. Louis. [ILsubdivision]

Map from SpellerWeb

INDOT's data shows the route still exists, but the data is at least as old as 2005.
So I checked a CSX map. It correctly shows that they have dumped the L&N route west of Evansville. It is now operated by the Evansville Western Railway. But the map does not indicate that the middle of the route across Illinois is out-of-service. Please consult ILsubdivision for the recent history and current status of service on this route in Illinois.  The towns along that line wish CSX would sell it to a shortline so that they could get service again like CSX did with the former L&N route. Given the error concerning the route in Illinois, we can not trust that the map's indication that service is intact across Indiana is accurate.
Fans of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad posted three images with the comment:
The B&O straightened the track between Pierceville and Osgood. The old alignment which became a "wagon road" is now HWY 350. I have actually driven on 350 without a clue as to it being a former right of way. The significant construction item is the high bridge shown in the photo. Also, east of Milan they double tracked Moores hill. Note the train photo at Delaware dated 1912. If the original track was converted to a road in 1902 why is a train at Delaware 10 years later? I will surmise it is a typo and guess the photo was taken commemorating the last train.



Three .pdf files concerning the railroad: Robert F Smith book, North Vernon, and Washington Shops.

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