• Xenia

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.

Moderator: railohio

  by MR77100
This large town east of Dayton is famous for a killer tornado in April, 1974, but it also had a big mess of tracks. Four railroads passed through here, the PRR St. Louis main, the PRR Springfield Branch, the PRR Cincinnati branch, and a B&O main. There also were a few electric lines. Sadly, eveything in this town is gone. I need more information from the area. I will be purchasing a book on Xenia soon, but can use all the help I can get.

  by nycrick
MR77100 - If you ever get to Xenia check out the Greene Co. Historical Society they have a HO layout depicting Xenia in the '50s.
  by RailMike
MR77100 wrote:This large town east of Dayton is famous for a killer tornado in April, 1974... Four railroads passed through here.
This same tornado also derailed a 57-car Penn Central freight as it was crossing US-35.

Of the four railroads, only 3 were freight lines. They were:
  • - PRR Panhandle line (Pittsburgh-St. Louis)
    - PRR Little Miami line (Springfield-Cincinnati)
    - B&ampO line (Dayton-Washington Court House)
The fourth was a traction line called the "Dayton and Xenia Railway". That must have been discontinued in the 1920s or 30s.

Amtrak's National Limited used the Panhandle line until September 1979.

Part of the Little Miami line was street-running on US-68. That was the first section to be abandoned, in 1962. The last track to be removed was the Panhandle section between Xenia and an industrial spur east of Dayton.

  by MR77100
I remember reading that the abandonment notice had the PRR main being severed east of Clement Yard in Dayton. Do the tracks still stop there? Does anyone know when the last Conrail freight ran through Xenia?
  by Tom Pulsifer
Just a few info updates on Xenia: Over the years we actually had FOUR traction lines serving Xenia. The Rapid Transit Company (to Dayton) 1899-1909, Dayton & Xenia 1900-1937, Springfield & Xenia 1902-1934, and finally the city line (known affectionately as the "Dinky") 1900-1926. Most of these traction lines went through different ownerships, and names, and the detailed history gets a bit complex.

Freight service on the PRR "Little Miami" Springfield Branch line between Xenia and Yellow Springs was actually cut in 1967. Through freight service on the B&O Wellston Subdivision through Xenia ended in 1981 and local service between Dayton and Jamestown ended one year later. Those tracks were pulled in 1983.

The last through Conrail freight between Dayton & Columbus via Xenia ran December 27th, 1984. Local service between Dayton and Xenia continued until 1986. The last run September 15th, 1986 ended 141 years of rail service to Xenia. The CR rails were pulled in 1988. NS still uses the Dayton to Clement track along with part of the old PRR / CL&N to access the large Delphi plant in Kettering.

Tom Pulsifer

  by MR77100
I remember reading that the signals on the PRR were still lit up until track removal in 1988. An individual by the name of Colonal George Elwood offered to purchase the line from Clement to London through Xenia in 1987. He needed 2 million to buy it. If he came up with 1 million, banks and loans were supposed to pay for the rest. Conrail set a deadline at 8/31/87. Elwood could not cme up with the money in time, and Conrail went right out there and tore up the tracks without giving him a second chance.
  by Tom Pulsifer
George Elwood's plan to save the line between Clement, Xenia and London was ambitious, even including passenger excursions and a dinner-train; but by 1984 the remaining on-line freight traffic base had eroded to the point that even if he, or anyone else, had managed to purchase and save the line, the cost of operations and maintenance would have been prohibitive.

Tom McOwen and The Indiana & Ohio also took a look at the line in 1984 and quickly determined that a shortline operation was just not feasible. Too bad. Up through the 1970s Xenia had industry that actively used rail. A large tract southwest of Xenia on the former "Little Miami" C&X Branch was even considered for the Honda Plant that eventually wound up being built north of Marysville in the late 1970s.

Conrail kept the Dayton-London via Xenia route in pretty good shape until Amtrak's #30 and #31 came off on October 1st, 1979. Around that time I recall clocking a westbound CR grain train rolling at a good, smooth 65mph clip one evening near Selma! From 1980 on, the line's upkeep went downhill and CR generally ran freight over it only if the Springfield (ex-NYC) route was busy. Once the through traffic was eliminated by the end of 1984, even CR found little reason to maintain local freight service to Xenia, and in September 1986 it all came to an end.

  by MR77100
When was the tower at Xenia closed and what did the alignment look like?
  by Tom Pulsifer
"Xenia" Tower, which occupied the upper floor of the original telegraph, baggage, and post-1955 passenger station building that stood just west of S. Detroit St. (US 68) was closed by early 1979. I regret I don't have a specific date on this. The interlocking signals were removed and the lone connecting switch to what remained of the Roxanna Industrial Track (former "Little Miami" C&X line) had to be thrown by hand. The "Xenia" Tower building was one of the last structures to be demolished by Conrail in 1986.

James H. Shell's illustrated book Next Stop! XENIA has an excellent Xenia track diagram in its "centerfold". This is a small book, but filled with many b&w photos and much information about the history of the railroads and the traction lines which served Xenia. The book is still available from the Greene County Historical Society, 74 West Church Street, Xenia, OH 45385 or call (937) 372-4606. I believe the cost is still $10 per copy plus $2.50 for shipping. A veritable bargain for all the historic info within!

  by MR77100
So the signals at the junction were removed, but the signals along the main line remained until total abandonment? Could Amtrak run at 79 mph along this stretch of line?
  by Tom Pulsifer
To my knowledge, Conrail always had a 60mph limit for passenger trains on the Dayton to London via Xenia route. Soon after #30 and #31 came off in 1979, they placed a 50mph maximum on that route.

  by MR77100
Does anyone know if there were any large signal bridges for the interlocking? When was the remains of the Roxanna branch removed? A 1979 map shows it as still being there.
  by Tom Pulsifer
There were never any signal bridges at "Xenia", nor at "Greene" (0.3 miles west of "Xenia" where the B&O Wellston Subdivision crossed the C&X line). Single mast signals only, plus dwarf signals.

If memory serves me right, the rail was not pulled from what was left of the Roxanna Industrial Track until all the remaining Xenia-area trackage was pulled in 1988. By 1986 barely one mile of the Roxanna track, within the city, was in use. The last Xenia business to use rail (Hooven-Allison) was on this segment and the track conditions were horribly decrepit. I recall the last local freight (September 15, 1986) was delayed leaving town because an empty boxcar derailed on the H-A spur.

  by MR77100
I don't believe Amtrak stopped at Xenia, did they? What about Penn Central?
  by Tom Pulsifer
Xenia had passenger service right up to the birth of Amtrak on May 1, 1971. Although Amtrak's National Limited (#30 & #31) operated through Xenia, it was never a scheduled stop. When scheduled through this part of Ohio in the wee hours of morning, #30 & #31 would usually meet at the long controlled siding between South Charleston and CP-Chuck. But sometimes the meet would take place at Xenia. Since there was no passing siding at Xenia, one of the passenger trains would head down, or back down, the Roxanna line (ex-PRR Cincinnati line) to wait for the other to pass on the single-track Dayton line. This procedure took place when "Xenia" tower was still open.