The streamlined steam Cincinnatian in 1956. Click to enlarge.

(Audio-Visual Designs, New Providence, NJ. Photographer: Don Wood, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)


Cincinnatian drumhead.


The Cincinnatian was a named passenger train operated by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O). The B&O inaugurated service on January 19, 1947, with service between Baltimore, Maryland and Cincinnati, Ohio, carrying the number 75 westbound and 76 eastbound, essentially a truncated route of the National Limited which operated between Jersey City, New Jersey and St. Louis.

This route was unsuccessful due to the thin population along the line, and the route was changed on June 25, 1950, from a Baltimore–Cincinnati daylight schedule to a Detroit–Cincinnati daylight schedule where it would remain until the creation of Amtrak. On this new routing, originating from the New York Central's Michigan Central Station, the train sets became successful almost from the beginning. This replaced the Great Lakes Limited, which southbound, ran from Detroit to Cincinnati. Passengers wishing to travel all the way to Louisville had to take an unnamed night train counterpart, No. 57. The northbound night train counterpart was No. 58. The 57/58 became named the Night Express in 1960. The Cincinnatian on this route used lots of mail cars, which contributed to the route's success.


Cincinnati Union Terminal (CUT), the Cincinnatian's southern terminus, in 1947. Click to enlarge.

(U.S. Government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



The Cincinnatian is most famed for its original dedicated equipment, rebuilt in the B&O Mount Clare Shops. The design work was done by Olive Dennis, a pioneering civil engineer employed by the railroad and appointed by Daniel Willard to special position in charge of such work for passenger service. Four P-7 "president" class Pacific locomotives (5301-5304) were rebuilt and shrouded as class P-7d, with roller bearings on all axles and larger six-axle tenders. Older heavyweight passenger cars were completely stripped and rebuilt as streamliners. The livery used the blue and gray scheme designed by Otto Kuhler, which Dennis laid on the engine and tender in a pattern of horizontal stripes and angled lines. The train's stop in Lima, Ohio was at the Pennsylvania Railroad's Lima station, so passengers were able to transfer to the PRR's east-west trains there.

By fall, 1966, the train switched over to the Fort Street Union Depot for its travel to and from Detroit. In 1970 and 1971, the Cincinnatian was the only B&O train on the Cincinnati-Detroit route. The trains no longer offered checked baggage, as passengers had to carry their own luggage on and off the coaches. Service ended on April 30, 1971. When Amtrak took over service on May 1, 1971, it did not continue operating any of B&O's remaining passenger routes.


The eastbound Cincinnatian at Winton Place depot in 1948. Click to enlarge.

(Photographer unknown, W. Lenheim Collection)


Station list


Detroit - Fort St. Depot


Winton Place


B&O E9A No. 1455 with train No. 54, the Cincinnatian, waiting to depart Cincinnati Union Terminal on April 11, 1963. Click to enlarge.

(Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Image cropped.)



The original 1947 Cincinnatian consisted of rebuilt heavyweight cars:

First consist
No. 1307 Eden Park baggage-crew's room-buffet-lounge
No. 3565 Indian Hill coach (60 seats)
No. 3572 Oakley coach (56 seats)
No. 3567 College Hill coach (60 seats)
No. 3304 Peebles Corner cafe-observation

Second consist
No. 1308 Hyde Park baggage-crew's room-buffet-lounge
No. 3566 Winton Place coach (60 seats)
No. 3573 Norwood coach (56 seats)
No. 3568 Walnut Hills coach (60 seats)
No. 3305 Fountain Square cafe-observation
There were stewardess' rooms in the Oakley and Norwood. Two 52-seat coaches, the Avondale (No. 3574) and Price Hill (No. 3575), replaced the College Hill and Walnut Hill.


The Cincinnatian's Observation Lounge car, facing rear. Click to enlarge. (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Public domain via W. Lenheim Collection)

The Cincinnatian's Observation Lounge car, with passengers, facing forward. Click to enlarge. (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Public domain via W. Lenheim Collection)



From Detroit to Toledo, the trains ran with trackage rights on the Pere Marquette Railway and the Wabash Railroad. From Toledo south, the tracks were Baltimore and Ohio owned. The route was straight south Toledo to Deshler (junction with B&O's Washington–Chicago main line), Lima, Piqua, Dayton, Hamilton, then Cincinnati.


The Cincinnatian's Timetable from 1948. Click to enlarge.

(Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Public domain)



Status: Discontinued
Locale: Midwestern United States
First service: January 19, 1947
Last service: April 30, 1971
Former operator: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Route Termini: Detroit, Michigan (1950–1971) / Cincinnati, Ohio (1950–1971)
Stops: 14 (incl. Toledo, Lima, Dayton) (1950–1971)
Distance traveled: 258.1 miles (415.4 km) 1950, southbound from Detroit to Cincinnati
Average journey time: 6 hours, 35 minutes (southbound and northbound)
Service frequency: Daily
Train numbers: 75: westbound (To 1950); 76: eastbound; 53: southbound (From 1950); 54: northbound
On-board services
Seating arrangements: Reclining seat coaches
Catering facilities: Observation-lounge diner, with radio; Stewardess service
Observation facilities: "Fiesta car," with radio (1955)
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)


A Gallery of Cincinnatian Postcards


The Coffee Shoppe Car on the Cincinnatian. Click to enlarge. (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)

Reclining Seat Coach on the Cincinnatian. Click to enlarge. (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)


The Dining Car on the Cincinnatian. Click to enlarge. (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)

Postcard depiction of the Baltimore and Ohio train The Cincinnatian. The train's beautiful paint scheme can be seen on the observation car. Click to enlarge. (Balitmore and Ohio Railroad, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Postcard depiction of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad's "The Cincinnatian". From the route's beginning in 1947 to 1950, the train traveled between Baltimore and Cincinnati. In 1950, its route was changed to travel between Detroit and Cincinnati; the train kept this route until 1971, when Amtrak assumed passenger rail service. Click to enlarge. (Union News Company, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


The Cincinnatian's Observation-Lounge car. Click to enlarge. (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Public domain, via W. Lenheim Collection)