Lebanon, Mason, and Monroe Railroad The Little Railroad that Could

Lebanon, Mason, and Monroe Railroad

The Little Railroad that Could

By Giles Kennedy

Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 027 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 028 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 029 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 030 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 031 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 032 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 033 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 034 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 035 Cincinnati Route 42 Adventure 2015 036

Chief Editor The Ohio Railroader Website

Founder The Ohio Valley Railroad Gang Facebook Page


Upon leaving Cincinnati one late July Saturday; I stopped in a familiar stomping ground.

The Lebanon, Mason and Monroe Railroad and I have extremely fond memories.

A few of my wife and I’s first dates were spent on that rail line.

Spring rides, Apple Fest Express just to name a few.


Recently, the dust has settled on disagreements between city government and the railroad.

The Cincinnati Scenic Railway (DBA as LM&M Railroad) is now the principal owner of the line is looking to develop its existing scenic and excursion business.

The railroad has some much storied motive power and equipment.

From the website on their history


“Locomotive CNRY 55: one of the oldest GP7 locomotives still operating. The locomotive was ordered by the Pere Marquette (PM) Railroad from General Motors Electro Motive Division (EMD) in 1947, but was delivered to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) as a result of the takeover of the PM via a merger. The locomotive’s original number was 5704, and ran in general freight service all over the C&O, and subsequently the Chessie System, until it was retired, then purchased by the I&O around 1987. The 1500 horsepower locomotive was built in May of 1950 and was ballasted to 248,000 lbs., the heaviest GP-7’s on the C&O. The 55 is a dual service locomotive, capable of moving both passenger and freight cars, and was originally equipped with a steam generator to provide heat for passenger cars in cold weather. A conservative estimate is that the 55 has traveled well over 2.5 million miles to date.

Coaches CNRY 101 – 104: Four open-window commuter coaches built in 1930 by the Pullman Company in Chicago, and by the Harlan & Hollingsworth division of Bethlehem Shipbuilding for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&W) Railroad. These coaches did not require a locomotive because each car was self-propelled by four 3000 Volt DC, 230 horsepower electric motors receiving electricity from overhead catenary wires. Though each car was equipped with individual engineer’s controls, two or more cars could be coupled together as a train and operated by a single engineer in the lead car.

The coaches operated in commuter service in the eastern New Jersey suburbs of New York City. for the (DL&W) Railroad until 1960, when the Lackawanna Railroad was merged with the Erie Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna (EL) and continued to serve until 1976, and finally New Jersey Transit (NJT) until 1984, when they were purchased for use in Lebanon.

At that time the cars were named after historic and significant places along the current LM&M line: Cars 101 Mason, 102 Hageman and 103 Turtle Creek each hold 72 passengers, and  Car  104 Lebanon holds 54 passengers and features a snack bar.”

Speaking of the cars and locomotive;  I spoke to a few volunteers, employees and Carolyn Abbott as they finished up for the day.

The LM&M is operating as a non-profit. They are in dire need of fans. Not railfans. Not fans of the railroad on their Facebook page (By all means; you can like them, please, updates on operations are there as well)


Real honest to goodness cooling fans.

Keeping the crew, passengers, and equipment cool is a major need.

Fans that can be placed upon the passenger cars for their summer operations are in great need.

There are other equipment needs as well. Please; if a business, rail contractor or generous individual; contact Carolyn at 513-933-8022 Ext 103 or cabott@lebanonrr.com.

This scenic line travels along the former Pennsylvania branch line Cincinnati, Lebanon, and Northern.

The City of Lebanon owns the line from the city to Hageman Junction. The Indiana and Ohio (now part of the Genesee and Wyoming family of railroads) has been kind enough to grant trackage rights. The line winds through the heart of Warren County, in Southwest Ohio.

The railroad runs operations the majority of the year.

Please feel free to visit their website for schedule and information.


It is nationally known by scenic rail buffs. But it is still regarded as one of Southwestern Ohio’s best kept secrets.

Lebanon is home to the historic Golden Lamb Restaurant and Inn, several antique shops, and much more. Nearby the line’s depot; there is even a local favorite. The Turtle Creek Chocolate Company.

Lebanon is near Kings Island, Caesar Creek State Park, Great Wolf Lodge, Ohio Renaissance Fair and more area attractions.

I highly recommend taking this train ride if not once, but many times.

I think you will find the Lebanon, Mason and Monroe Railroad a great train ride and a great family experience.




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