John Speller's Web Pages Ohio & Mississippi Railroad

John Speller's Web Pages

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The Ohio & Mississippi Railroad was a 6' 0" broad gauge line which was chartered in 1848 and completed from Cincinnati, Ohio to East St. Louis, Illinois (with ferry connection across the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri) in 1857. The first President was Judge Abner T. Ellis of Vincennes, Indiana, the city in which the company's locomotive workshops were situated. There was through connection on the 6' 0" gauge from New York to East St. Louis making use of the Erie Railroad from New York to Salamanca, the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad from Salamanca to Dayton, the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad to Cincinnati, and the Ohio & Mississippi to East St. Louis.

In 1871 Oxford & Mississippi line was converted to 4' 8" gauge in anticipation of the completion of the Eads Bridge over the Mississipi, which on compeletion in 1874 finally gave the Ohio & Mississippi access to St. Louis without the need for a ferry. Thereafter the O&MRR worked with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, rather than with the other broad gauge companies, for access to New York, Washington and Baltimore.

The famous Civil War General, George B. McClellan (1826-1885) was noteworthy for having been appointed President of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad in 1860. He resigned a year later on the outbreak of the Civil War, and the rest is history.

Another of the line's claims to fame, albeit a somewhat dubious one, was that the first ever train robbery in the USA took place on the Ohio & Mississippi at North Bend, Ohio, on 5 May 1865. A gang of twenty outlaws derailed the train by removing a rail and held up the passengers at gunpoint, getting away with over $1,000 in cash and jewelry.

The O&MRR had a branch line from North Vernon, Indiana to Jeffersonville, Indiana (with ferry connection to Louisville, Kentucky until a railroad bridge was constructed across the Ohio River in 1870). In 1875 the O&MRR also acquired the Springfield & Illinois South Eastern Railway, which ran from Havana, Illinois, through Springfield and Flora to Shawneetown.

The Ohio & Mississippi Railroad became part of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1893, and now forms part of the CSX System.
Map of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad in 1876. To enlarge, right click and select "view image"
O&MRR 4-4-0 Locomotive No. 118. This appears to be a standard Baldwin 8-wheeler of around 1871, although the inverted leaf springs on the tender bogies may be a distinctively O&MRR touch. It was probably built for the changeover to 4' 8" gauge.
General George Brinton McClellan, President of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, 1860-1861. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress
25 Union Soldiers were killed and more than 100 injured when a broken rail caused an O&MRR troop train to land in the Beaver Creek near Vincennes on 17 September 1861
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