The Central Indiana & Ohio Railroad is what some may call a "Mega Regional" that stretches from the Steel Mills and Coal fields around Pittsburgh through the corn fields and into Kansas City. With a mainline spine running from Pittsburgh to Kansas City and mainlines that reach Cincinnati and Chicago, Decatur to Louisville. The CIOR consists of many fallen flag routes, from the Pennsylvania and New York Central, Milwaukee Road and Rock Island, Erie and Chesapeake & Ohio, the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie and Missouri Kansas & Texas.
The CIOR began life as a shortline with rails acquired from the Penn Central in 1968, the line ran from Bradford, Ohio to New Paris, Ohio. Operations began with a ALCo S2 Switcher and rented office space in dowtown Greenville, Ohio. Soon the CIOR was acquiring more rail from the likes of the failing Penn Central. By the early 1980ís the CIOR had purchased a complete mainline from Pittsburgh to St.Louis from the PC and now Conrail. Then came the St. Louis to Kansas City main.
When the Rock Island finally went under, It was parceled out to various railroads, the CIOR used this opportunity to reach westward. The CIOR in partnership with the Cotton Belt purchased the former St.Louis to Kansas City mainline. The Cotton Belt would supply the rail and manpower to rebuild the line, the CIOR would provide crews and dispatch the line and make all signal applications as needed on the line. Since the line was in very bad shape and 10mph over the entire route, it took over 2 years to complete the rebuild. After several millions of dollars, the Rock mainline was up, top speed was only 50mph, but work would continue and by the late 80ís the line was a 60mph racetrack with state of the art Traffic Control inside ABS territory. The town of Eldon Missouri was kept as the crew point on the line, saving many jobs and creating new ones! When the Cotton Belt was finally pulled into the SP empire, the CIOR purchased the line outright by allowing SP trackage right trains.
The CIOR had followed the ideology of working to upgrade their infrastructure, and the modeled segment was just like the rest. This was a former PRR double track mainline that the PC had tried with all its might to kill. The PC had reduced the biggest part of it to single track and left the signal system to fade away. When the CIOR took control of the line it was nothing more then a weedgrown branch. The first goal was to rebuild the line making it for current use a single track mainline, then over time start to restore the second main as needed. By the late 1980's the railroad from CP-Thorne to CP-Newman was double tracked once again, except for a small segment from CP-Dunreith to CP-Dublin Jct. Finally the track work was complete and a race track became a super speedway. 79mph top speeds except the single track segment from Dublin Junction to Dunreith, which is 69mph. Amtrak's "National Limited" would remain on the line (and be the only train seeing the 79mph, intermodal top speed is 69mph, freight is 59mph).
The CIOR has several yards on the system, the largest being the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erieís Gateway yard facility. Gateway is the only hump yard on the CIOR system and mainly classifies trains heading east and pre-blocks trains heading west. Thanks to the new "Beaver Creek Connection" that allows CIOR trains to come off the River Line and onto the former P&LE mainline, trains can directly move to and from the yards at Youngstown. Conrail direct interchange trains run straight through to Conway yards.
The major shop facility on the CIOR system is the former PRRís Logansport shops. Logansport Shops maintain all locomotives for the CIOR system, plus system lease units. Logansport is also home to the CIOR excursion steam fleet, housed in a newly erected backshop building on the site of the former RIP house. Both Logansport and Youngstown maintain car shop heavy repair facilities.
Indianapolis is the headquarters of the CIOR, home to the centralized dispatching center and main offices. Indianapolis is also home to 3 of the CIORís yards. The largest being Hawthorne, located on the east side of Indianapolis, it boasts a 30 track class yard that handles currently 20 trains per day. The "Hill" yard is a former NYC property that was conveyed to the CIOR for use as a joint CIOR/Conrail Intermodal terminal. The Hill yard is just south of Hawthorne and has access to all mainlines radiating from Indianapolis, with direct connection to the CIOR's Dunreith District and Cincinnati District, as well as mainline connection to Conrail's Indianapolis and St.Louis Lines. Hill Yard is currently being enlarged to handle a direct trailering ramp on the Intermodal side of the yard, on the west side of the mainline 3 new siding tracks are being constructed for holding of unit coal trains in transfer.
The final CIOR property and smallest is "Transfer" yard. This is a former PRR property conveyed by Conrail to the CIOR as a joint facility for General Motors and also a forward block swap for any Ford Motors traffic from the west. Transfer has IUBelt access and can reach all CIOR and foreign line roads via the belt.
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