One of the Baltimore & Ohio’s most exotic passenger trains (but perhaps one that is often forgotten) was the Cincinnatian. This train, while being shrouded in marvelous streamlining and
matching 4-6-2 Pacific at first served a market
rather devoid of passengers (between Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati,
Ohio) when it first debuted to the public a few years after World War II. The railroad spent a great deal publicizing the new train but was unable to attract enough ridership to sustain its original route. As a result the train was soon changed to serve the region north of Cincinnati, terminating at Detroit.
The Cincy, while never terribly profitable remained on the B&O's timetable for nearly 25 years and survived until Amtrak took over intercity passenger rail operations in 1971.
Baltimore & Ohio, commonly known as the B&O, holds the
distinction of being this country’s very first common-carrier railroad
(meaning a railroad chartered specifically for public use) being
officially incorporated and organized on April 24th, 1827. As the
country’s first common carrier it was instrumental in helping
to build and grow not only our economy but also the country itself when
the "west" meant the Ohio River. Despite its marginal financial
situation the B&O holds many "firsts"; it was quick to
adopt the more efficient mode of diesel power in 1930s and was the
first to offer air-conditioning on its trains. Other
accomplishments include being one of the first railroads to operate electric locomotives (through its Howard Street tunnel in Baltimore), streamlining its passenger trains to make them more visually appealing, and equipping dome cars (in the east).
The route the train was selected to cover already featured one premier B&O passenger train, the National Limited
operating between New York (terminating at the Jersey Central's, Jersey City Terminal) and St. Louis. In a sense, the Cincy was a truncated version of the National serving the cities of Baltimore and Cincinnati (hence the train’s name). However, like the problem faced by the National Limited the Cincinnatian
served a region that was lightly populated, not allowing for much
online revenue. The cities along the Cincy’s
route included relatively small communities like Martinsburg, Clarksburg, and Parkersburg,
West Virginia while in Ohio (east of Cincinnati) this included
Athens and Chillicothe. Aside from Cumberland, Maryland the largest of
these cities was Parkersburg with a population under 50,000 residents.
(The below Cincinnatian timetable is dated to early 1947.)
|Time/Leave (Train #75)
||Time/Arrive (Train #76)
|8:00 AM||Baltimore (Mt. Royal Station)||9:15 PM|
|8:05 AM||Baltimore (Camden Station)||9:08 PM|
|9:00 AM||Washington, D.C. (Union Station)||8:15 PM|
|9:13 AM||Silver Spring, MD||8:00 PM|
|10:23 AM||Martinsburg, WV||6:51 PM (Dp)|
|12:03 PM||Keyser, WV||5:12 PM (Dp)|
|2:18 PM||Grafton, WV||2:58 PM (Dp)|
|2:53 PM||Clarksburg, WV||2:20 PM (Dp)|
|4:45 PM||Parkersburg, WV||12:30 PM (Dp)|
|5:27 PM||Athens, OH||11:45 AM (Dp)|
|6:33 PM||Chillicothe, OH||10:39 AM (Dp)|
|8:07 PM (Ar)||Oakley, OH||9:04 AM (Dp)|
|8:16 PM (Ar)||Winton Place, OH||8:55 AM (Dp)|
|8:30 PM (Ar)||Cincinnati (Union Terminal)||8:45 AM (Dp)|
The train debuted on January 19, 1947 but due to its sparse market the B&O quickly switched its routing to the Detroit/Cincinnati market after only a few years during June of 1950. Despite this setback, wherever the train went it sure got your attention. The Cincy
was built entirely from heavyweight equipment but one would never have
known this as the B&O’s Mount Clare shop forces turned the old cars
into something quite beautiful. The cars were built completely from the ground up and arguably as finely crafted as anything constructed by Budd,
Pullman-Standard, or American Car & Foundry.
The train itself was clad in a two-tone version of the
B&O’s regal dark blue with silver trim.
The livery was a version of the railroad's standard passenger livery and the streamlining was provided by the company's own Olive Dennis, a female engineer. Even the Cincy’s lead locomotives were bedecked
in a matching scheme with proper streamling; they certainly could not be missed out on the main line (it
definitely would catch your eye!). The steamers were part of the B&O's handsome Class P-7d's and four, in all, #5301-5304 received the streamlined equipment. To complete the train's look it was
given silver pinstriping with "The Cincinnatian"
flanking the rear observation car. On the Cincinnati – Detroit corridor
the train was renumbered by the B&O listed as #53 southbound and #54 northbound.
Right up until the end the train continued to provide beverage and food service between Cincinnati
and Lima, Ohio along with reclining-seat coach
service (by this point the train had mostly lost its
streamlined status, using solid blue EMD E series diesels for power).
While the Cincy, along with most other B&O passenger trains
have been discontinued under Amtrak one is still in operation today, the
Capitol Limited, the railroad's one-time flagship. Amtrak had initially canceled all of the former B&O trains, including the Capitol Limited. However, ten years after making its final run under its original creator, the national carrier brought back the Cap
in 1981, operating the train between Washington, D.C.
and Chicago along its original route where it remains today.
(The below Cincinnatian timetable is dated effective, October 26, 1969.)
|Time/Leave (Train #53)
||Time/Arrive (Train #54)
|11:00 AM||0||Detroit (C&O Railway, Fort Street Station)||5:40 PM|
|11:35 AM||25||Plymouth, MI||4:54 PM|
|12:55 PM (Ar) 1:05 PM (Dp)||82||Toledo, OH||3:45 PM (Dp) 3:30 (Ar)|
|1:47 PM (Ar) 2:05 PM (Dp)||119||Deshler, OH||2:30 PM (Dp) 2:10 (Ar)|
|2:58 PM||153||Lima, OH||1:16 PM|
|3:16 PM||166||Wapakoneta, OH||12:59 PM|
|3:45 PM||186||Sidney, OH||12:39 PM|
|3:58 PM||196||Piqua, OH||12:18 PM|
|4:10 PM||204||Troy, OH||12:07 PM|
|4:37 PM (Ar) 4:47 PM (Dp)||224||Dayton, OH||11:40 AM (Dp) 11:25 (Ar)|
|5:11 PM||246||Middletown, OH||11:02 AM|
|5:29 PM||258||Hamilton, OH||10:47 AM|
|6:20 PM||282||Cincinnati (Union Terminal)||10:00 AM|
For more reading on the subject you may want to consider the book Baltimore & Ohio's Cincinnatian
by author Tom Dixon, the only book fully dedicated to the railroad's
exotic Midwestern streamliner. Dixon's book, filled with historic photographs,
details the history of the shortlived train from its earliest
beginnings in the late 1940s to final days at the beginning of the
1970s. You might also be interested in Baltimore & Ohio's Capitol Limited and National Limited
from author Joe Welsh details both trains from their inception to final
runs under the B&O featuring 160 pages of color and black &
white photography. It's an excellent historical look at both trains and
any B&O fan or historian would likely very much enjoy it!
Baltimore & Ohio