Could Trains Ever Run on Cincinnati’s Secret Subway?


Publication:
Date: 
April 9, 2016
A hundred years after construction began, the shell of a subway tunnel still lies beneath the Ohio city’s streets, empty and unfinished.

One hundred years ago this month, the Ohio city of Cincinnati made a fateful decision.

The city’s voters, by a majority of almost six-to-one, approved a bond issue to provide about $6 million of public money toward the construction of a two-track, 16-mile loop subway system.

It would be one of the first subway systems in the U.S., and would help connect a booming residential population south to the thriving downtown of what was then one of the 15 biggest cities in the country.

This decision would come to haunt the city for decades, indeed up to the present day. Despite the initial enthusiasm behind the project, it soon faltered under financial strains, political counter-pressures, and even the trickle-down effects of World War I.

A dozen years after it was originally approved, the project was abandoned. One hundred years later, the shell of a subway tunnel still lies beneath the city’s streets, empty and unfinished. ...