New York Central Railroad

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New York Central Railroad

Big Four Route
Cleveland Cincinnati Chicago & St. Louis Railway (1889)
Columbus & Springfield Railroad (1873)
Cleveland Columbus Cincinnati & Indianapolis Railroad (1868)
Cleveland Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad (1851)

Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad
Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad (1893)
Columbus Shawnee & Hocking Railroad (1880*)

         In the 1950s, the New York Central Railroad in Columbus, Ohio, could be thought of as two railroads - the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad (The Big Four Route) and the Toledo and Ohio Central Railroad (T&OC). Both had been pieced together from many smaller railroads starting in 1851 with the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad. The NYC acquired both lines by merger in the 1930's.
         Columbus was on The Big Four's Cleveland - Cincinnati route. In 1954 it saw 9 NYC passenger trains per day, four each way, plus a Cleveland to Columbus only train. The Ohio State Limited, #15 & #16, was the premiere train that traveled between New York/Boston and Cincinnati. Another notable train was The Cincinnati and Cleveland Mercury. The others were also Cleveland - Cincinnati trains except for that one Cleveland - Columbus only train. During the first half of the 1950's steam power was still used on NYC passenger trains through Columbus with the Ohio State Limited being the exception. In 1956 the NYC experimented with the new "modern" Baldwin built Xplorer which showed up on the scene as the Cleveland - Cincinnati Xplorer bringing the number of trains to 12 - 6 each way. This increased count included an additional Columbus - Cleveland run added after 1954.
         The T&OC had passenger trains in the past, but was freight only by the 1950s. The T&OC ran from Toledo to Columbus and on to southern Ohio and West Virginia. It was a heavy coal hauler. When it first provided passenger service it used its own station on West Broad Street. In 1922 when the NYC leased the T&OC lines the passenger trains were moved to the Columbus Union Station on North High Street. That ex-T&OC station remodeled as the Fireman's Union Hall is still standing in 2011.
         By 1952 all the freight and yard engines of both NYC lines were diesel powered. The Big Four's steam powered passenger trains, however, still put on a great show until about 1955 or 56.

* The Columbus Shawnee & Hocking Railroad has a complicated history see the Roots of the NYC for details.