The Covington, Big Bone and Carrollton Railway

[ The  Route Map is Here. It's the dotted line on the map.]

The Covington, Big Bone & Carrollton Railway, is a Kentucky corporation organized for the purpose of building an electric interurban railway from some point on the Ohio River opposite Cincinnati, Ohio, through the counties of Kenton, Boone, Gallatin, and Carroll Counties [sic] Kentucky, the City of Carrollton located at the junction of the Kentucky and Ohio Rivers.

The principal terminus of the line is at its Northern end, as it is the largest City, the business naturally drifting toward the largest center of population, which is of course, Cincinnati.

The City of Cincinnati has a population of upward of Four Hundred Thousand.  The population of the Kentucky side of the River approximately One Hundred Ten Thousand, of which Covington, the present proposed terminus for the Northern Kentucky end, has a population of Sixty Eight Thousand.

The Loop

It is proposed to build a terminal station near Pike and Madison streets, Covington, a point located about seven squares from the Ohio River. From this terminal station there will be build [sic] two diverging lines; the first one southerly ascending the hills to the rear of Covington at a maximum grade of Four (4) percent, for a distance of about One and One-half miles.  The four percent is the maximum grade on this division, excepting about 250 feet in Covington, which has a grade of about Twelve (12) percent, but subject to some reduction.  This first line is projected toward Erlanger on a private right of way passing Fort Mitchell, a thriving suburb, the Highland and St. Mary's cemetrie s [sic] traversing through several o t her [sic] subdivisio ns [sic] on a plateau of beautiful blue-grass land,  through Crescent Springs, a village with a population of One Thousand, to Erlanger, a village with a population of Fifteen Hundred, a distance of none miles from the Covington terminal.

Starting again at the Covington terminal, the other line is projected throught [sic] the Western part of the City of Covington, a village with a population of Two Thousand, to Ludlow a village with a population of Five Thousand.

Thence the line traverses southerly up the valley of Pleasant Run on a maximum grade of two percent passing through Highland, a stopping place on the Cincinnati Southern Railroad with a contiguous population of about Two Hundred, and thence to Crescent Springs, another station on the Cincinnati Southern Railroad, and here we again reach the beautiful blue grass plateau, thence to Erlanger, a distance from the proaposed [sic] Covington terminal of Ten (10) miles and a distance from the Cincinnati Southern Bridge over the Ohio River of seven (7) miles, over which bridge it is proposed to cross into the City of Cincinnati some future day.

This line in conjunction with the first described line, make a loop of about ten miles in length through Crescent Springs the formost [sic]  point from the Covington terminal which has a total population thereon of about Eighty Thousand peolp le [sic] and which should be operated in the manner of an ordinary street railway system, in addition to interurban traffic.

On to Carrollton, Big Bone

At Erlanger, it is proposed to connect with the Cincinnati Southern Railroad for the transfer of freight handled between Erlanger and Carrollton.

Leaving Erlanger in a southerly direction we reach Florenc e [sic] in a distance of about Two (2) miles and a population of about Five Hundred, then continuing to Union, another village in Boone County Five Miles from Florence, with a population of about Five Hundred.  Just out of Union the descends at a maximum grade and One half (1 1/2) percent to the Ohio River again, a distance of Fourteen (14) miles form [sic] Union passing several county establishments and also Big Bone Springs.  IT is proposed at these Springs to organize a large hotel proposition to be operated on the order of French Lick or West Baden; (further elaboration on these springs will be given later.)

Passing down Big Bone Creek to the Ohio River we pass to with-in a mile of Hamilton with a population of Five Thou-send [!!], a village on the Ohio River opposite a thriving district in Indiana neither of which have any railway facilities within 12 miles.


From this point we traverse southerly along the banks of the Ohio River passing through a thriving agricultural district thickly populated as such, 9opposite which on the other side of the Ohio river in Indiana there is also a large territory well populated with several villages wholly without railway facilities,) a distance of Fifteen and one half (15 1/2)  miles from Big Bone Springs to Warsaw the county seat of Gallatin county with a population of Fifteen Hundred, opposite Florence a village in Indiana with a population of Five hundred.

Warsaw in addition to being the county seat has several important factories and mercantile establishments.

Continuing from Warsaw we pass Ethridge and Gex, thickly populated country districts, Ten and one quarter (10 1/4) miles to Ghent, a village of One thousand population ;located opposite Vevay, Ind. another important village of Fifteen Hundred population, also wholly without railway facilities.


Leaving Ghent, we traverse a distance of eight (8) miles to Carrollton.  Carrollton has adjoining it, Prestonville on the opposite side of the Kentucky River und [sic] Lamb on the other side of the Ohio River, being wholly without railway facilities.  At Carrollton we connect with the Carrollton and Worthville Railway, a a [sic] small independent steam line running from Carrollton to Worthville, a station on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, ten (10) miles up the Kentucky River.  The Carrollton and Worthville Railroad is now under option with the Covington, Big Bone and Carrollton Railway, at a price which is considered f fairund [sic] it is the purpose of the Covington, Big Bone and Carrollton Railway, part of the proposed lines of foresaid Covington, Big Bone and Carrollton Railway.

Following is a tabulated statement of population and estimated tonnage embraced within a distance of fivemiles [sic] oneither [sic] side of therailway [sic], not counting Cincinnati at the Northern Terminal, but Covington, West Covington and Ludlow should becounted [sic], because they arepart [sic] of the loop system proposed on the early part of this paper.

Population Chart

Covington 68,000   for'd 87,349
West Covington 3,000   Hughes & Hogan School Dist 265
Ludlow 5,000   Steels School District 250
Bromley 500   Jackson School District 250
Highland 500   b/w branch 175
Crescent Springs 1000   Walnut Valley 200
Lebanon District 200   Sugar 175
Kenton Heights 100   Warsaw 1,500
Ft. Mitchell & Lex Pike 1000   Sleet 225
Ellsmere [sic] Vicinity 1000   Union (Gallatin Co) 225
Erlanger & Vicinity 1500   Stone Lick 200
Florence 1672   Gex 225
Burlington District 1485   Ethridge 180
Union (Boone Co. District) 1052   Ghent District 2,000
Beaver District 480   Carrollton and
Carlton District 850   Prestonville 4,500
Hamilton incl Big Bone 1,010   INDIANA SIDE 8500
subtotal 87,349   Including the village of Patriot, York, Florence &Vevay, Switzerland Co
Total Population of area to be served 106219


Population in some cases includes surrounding districts.

Passenger Income

The distance from the Covington terminal to the Carrollton terminal is fifty two (52) miles, therefore, there is a population over Two Thousand per mile.  Population outside of Covington is Forty Thousand and it has been ascertained bygood [sic] authority that over Five percent of the population daily.  Five percent of Forty Thousand equals Two Thousand; if they pay forty cents ($.40) per round trip it would mean a daily earning of Eight Hundred Dollars or yearly earnings of Two Hundred Ninety Two Thousand Dollars ($292,000.00).  The Covington population, plus the excursion travel should conservatively equal XX Hundred Thousand people per annum at an average of Twenty-five (.25) cents per round trip, which would equal Fifty Thousand dollars, making a total of passengers [sic] traffic of Three Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand Dollars ($342,000.00).  No consideration is given to traffic to the Ludlow Lagoon or to Big Bone Springs, even though at present they have some value, as with the loop above referred to should equal 100000 each at 10 cents would add $10000.

Freight Income

The following is the anticipated freight traffic for one year, given in tonnage value:

Town Tons Value
Ludlow/W Covington 8,425  $ 1,000,000
Bromley /Crescent Springs 900 $ 38,000
Lebanon School Distr 700  $  29,000.00
Florence 1100  $  105,000.00
Burlington School Distr 1610  $  130,000.00
Union 1230  $  120,000.00
Sleet    $  40,000
Union    $  30,000
Beaver School District 870  $  90,000.00
Carlton School District 900  $  83,000.00
Hamilton School Distr 1000  $  100,000.00
Hughes & Hogan School Distr 600  $  60,000.00
Sugar School Distr.   400  $  40,000
Steels School District   500  $  50,000
Jackson School District 250  $  25,000.00
Warsaw   8,800  $ 1,000,000
Florence and Markland Ind 1000  $  100,000.00
Walnut Valley   500  $  50,000
Gex 350  $  35,000.00
Cow Branch School Distr.   400  $  40,000
Stone Lick School Distr.   400  $  40,000
Etheridge School Distr.   200  $  20,000
Vevay & Other Switzerland   1,000  $ 1,250,000
Carrollton 25000  $  3,000,000

There is also another item of earning in the form of mail, [page torn] express, which we have estimated at Twenty Thousand Dollars per [torn]. Adding passengers, freight, mail and express the total is Four Hundred Twenty-Seven Thousand Dollars (427,000.000) estimated gross annual receipts; to off-set these receipts we have estimated an operating expense as follows:

Operating Expenses

Power House 35,000
Tracks 18,000
Trains 18,000
Sundries 10,000
Depreciation & 20,000
Maintenance 100,000
Total 201,000
Receipts at 427,000
Disbursements 201,000

From $226,000 take interest five (5%) percent ontwo [sic] million equals $100,000 leaving a balance of $126,000 for dividends, sinking fund, and surplus.

A sinking fund is not provided for  as the principal of the bonds is guaranteed. The forgoing estimate is based entirely on the present condition; no doubt, the traffic would be considerably increased after two or three years of operation, We have, in the opinion of several capable and responsible residents, made a very small estimate of the business, which the road will actually receive from the Indiana side.

The above passenger rates are based on the average interurban rates however, it is proposed to ordinarily charge on this line the regular steam railroad rates, which would increase the passenger earnings 20 to 40 percent.

The line between Ludlow and Covington traverses the river bank where it has been proposed for years to build a connection track between the C. N. O. & T. P. Railway [Cincinnati, New Orleans, Texas and Pacific - you know it as the Southern] and the Covington Railways, viz: the C. & O. and the L. & N.  Our track would displace this switch and consequently we  s hould[sic] receive from the railways a sum which is greater than Ten Thousand Dollars as annum for trackage, as the business reached by this switch amounts to 200,000 tons per annum.  It is also proposed that our railway company furnish electric current for street lighting in Carrollton, Prestonville, Ghent, Warsaw, Union, Florence, Erlanger and Ellsmere [sic].  Contracts in these villages can be shortly arranged for, with the exception of Carrollton.  The revenues from this lighting services [sic] should practically pay for the power house maintenance.

Big Bone Proposition

The "Big Bone Springs" proposition mentioned in the forgoing is, to build a first-class watering place.  Persons connected with the promotion of this railway company are now in possession of optionson [sic] about Six Hundred acres of land, which embraces these springs.  It is the intention to erect a large, first-class hotel, to beautify the grounds and to conduct the same on a high class plane. Business to and from this place and property has not been calculated in the above estimate but should - if the hotel scheme is properly carried out - amount to a very considerable sum, as Big Bone Springs is located within twenty miles of Cincinnati and vicinity, a population of Six Hundred Thousand people within one hour's ride.  Business and professional mean can live at the hotel and do business in Cincinnati.  If a reputation for this place can be secured equal to French Lick or West Baden Indiana its success is assured.  This should easily be accomplished, as the waters of Big Bone Springs are superior to any other water in the United States.  Big Bone Springs is located within two and one half miles (2 1/2) of the Ohio River in a picturesque valley and is subject to improvement to in a manner, which will make it attractive as any other place in the world.  This proposition is intended to be floated as an independent scheme. 

Carrollton & Worthville Railroad

The Carrollton and Worthville Railroad Compagny[sic]  was incorporated in May, 1905 under the law of the State of Kentucky with an authorized bond issue of Ninety-Five Thousand Dollars (50,000)[sic], all bonds and stock outstanding.

This road is ten (ten) miles in length exclusive ofsidings [sic] and spurs, and is constructed according to plans and specifications of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.  It has two trestles, 200 feet in length, and one smaller one, rails are fifty-six (56) pounds, ties 2640 per mile.  It owns private right-of-way from fifty to one-hundred feet wide all the way from Carrollton to Worthville, except in Carrollton, it occupies Rine Street.

It is equipped with one forty-six ton engine, one combination coach & two gasoline motor cars.  The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company furnish all cars free of charge under an agreement; subject however to special car service arrangement.

Basing ourestimates [sic] of cost of construction of the Covington, Big Bone, and Carrollton Railway und [sic] the purchase of the Carrollton and Worthville Railway is within a bond issue of Thirty Thousand Dollars per mile, therefore, our interest charges may be a sum less than the figure given above.

Tech Specs for the C, BB, & C

The equipment of the Covington, Big Bone, and Carrollton Railway will consist of Twenty-five hundred (2500) K. W. at the power house, two six hundred horsepower electic engines, eight fifty-foot traction cars equipped with power sufficient to create a maximum speed of forty to forty five miles per hour and four thirty-six (36) foot street railway cars.

The track construction will consist of seventy pound "T" rail, standard railroad ties twenty six hundred (2600) to the mile with twelve inches of ballast under the ties, with steel or wood construction for trestles bridges, depending on the permancy[sic] desired, t that [sic] is, wood or pile trestles will be placed, where we contemplate later to make fills.  The track will be constructed with a view of maintaining moderately high speed on the traction of passenger service.


Estimate >

of the Cost of Construction of the

Covington, Big Bone and Carrollton Railway

2 miles 100 lb groove rail at $35 per ton 12,250
58 miles of 70 lb. "T" rail at $30 per ton 217,500
Ties fo 60 miles of track 80,000
Grading 600,000 cubic yards at 25 cents 150,000
Splices, spikes, etc for 60 miles of track 42,000
Track laying 60 miles at $350 per mile 21,000
Ballast 60 miles gravel at $1,250 per mile 75,000
Overhead and Pole line construction at $1800 per mile 108,000
Bonding at $600 per mile 36,000
Culverts, drains, etc. 24,000
Concrete Masonry 5000 yards at $6 per yd. 30,000
Trestles, Wood 75,000
Trestles and bridges, steel 100,000
Power House Building, stations, car houses, etc 100,000
Power House and substation equipment 200,000
Rolling Stock:
6 56 foot cars $50,000  
1 Locomotive,$15,000  
4 35 ft cars, $24,000 99,000
Telephone Signals 30,000
Special Work 15,000
Engineering and Legal services 100,000
Incidentals 300,000
Commissions, etc., 185,000
Total 1,999,750


A Note on the text:  I've reproduced this from a negative photo copy: white print on a black background. The copy I copied it from is in The Covington Library (K R621.33 C873b) The pictures in it, which show the route are super images, but are simply not of the quality that will reproduce. 

I can only hope that the backers of the C, BB, & CR would have been better at running railroads than they were at typing proposals.  I've noted typo's that they didn't try to correct.  If they tried to correct them - and they frequently did - I've noted here what was usually obvious that they intended.  Because they were so sloppy with their text, I thought double checking their addition would also be appropriate.  The very last number above overstates the amount by $10,000 - it should be $1,989,750.  They rolled up the rolling stock value incorrectly. The capitalization idiosyncrasies are in the original.

I've added some headings, not in the original, to break up the long stretches of text.