The Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad

June 21, 2018

The Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad

The Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth Railroad was more accurately the Cincinnati & Georgetown Railroad (which it did become officially in 1927), as it never reached its intended terminus in Eastern Ohio.

The line was started in the 1870s as a small gauge standard railroad using steam locomotives but changed to electric engines just after 1900 and became what was known as an interurban railroad. As the name suggests, these lines connected communities within and around a metropolitan area as opposed to carrying passengers and freight across great distances. These interurban lines were very popular for a time, especially in Ohio which boasted more miles of track than any other state.

Henry Bachman, though, had bigger plans at first. Choosing to go with a narrow gauge (3 feet between tracks as opposed to 4 feet 8 and a half inches) to save money, he started his railroad in 1873 with a line running from Cincinnati's east side to Georgetown. By 1877 he was bankrupt. However, the operation was quickly reorganized and service resumed.

Andrew Comstock bought it in 1901 and began a huge modernization effort which included a switch to standard gauge track, straightening out curves, and electrifying the line. He built a power plant at Olive Branch in Clermont County, which not only powered the trains but several communities on the C, G & P route. This marked the railroad's transformation into an interurban line which only made it a few miles past Georgetown into Russellville.

The line started at Carrel and Dumont Streets in Columbia-Tusculum. Today this spot is a trailhead for the Ohio River Trail which slices right through the old C, G & P railyard and follows the line's path toward Lunken Airport.

Just south of the Lunken terminal building, on Wilmer Road, you can see the remnants of an old trestle. The hiking trail deviates for a bit here but rejoins the old track bed along the flood wall that runs south of the airfield. Just past the hanger for Ultimate Air Shuttle, the trail makes a right angle turn toward the Ohio River, where the railroad continued straight toward the Little Miami River.

Reportedly, you can still see the remains of the bridge that carried the C, G & P over the Little Miami in the woods east of the airport. After crossing the river, the track split off just south of what is today the Salem Ave./Kellogg interchange. A short line ran to Coney Island, through California, OH, while the main line headed up into Mt. Washington through what is now the California Woods Nature Preserve.

The Mt. Washington station was located where the American Legion Hall stands today on Sutton Road across from Benneville Street. From there it continued into Anderson Township. Running through Beech Acres Park, the old right of way is the park’s back access road.

Heading due east, paralleling Beechmont Ave., the line went across Five Mile Road before it was extended north, behind old Anderson High School, now the north side of the current Anderson High, before crossing Beechmont a few yards east of the Frisch’s restaurant across from McDonald’s.

From there it cut a diagonal path up to Clough Pike, entering Clermont County at that junction. Stops from there included Mt. Carmel and Olive Branch. At the latter, a branch ran east to Batavia, while the main line went due south to Braziers (the junction of Clough Pike and Amelia/Olive Branch Road), then Amelia, Bethel, Hamersville, Georgetown, and finally the end of the line in Russellville.

The figurative end of the line came in 1936 as competition from the automobile saw ridership fall significantly.


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