Cincinnati’s Abandoned ‘Ghost’ Subway System

Unbelievable Pictures Of Cincinnati’s Abandoned ‘Ghost’ Subway System

Deep beneath the streets and sidewalks of Cincinnati, lies the derelict, rotting and ghostly remains of an unfinished Subway system, now empty and abandoned for almost a century!

The project was started in the early 1900’s as an upgrade to the Cincinnati Streetcar System, but was left incomplete when policy decisions prevented the undertaking from receiving adequate funding due to the inflation which followed WW1 and the Great Depression.


The project was resurrected on a few occasions but never managed to drum up adequate funding, even leaving the empty shells of carriages, parked for ever frozen in time outside dilapidated and unfinished depots. Construction of the system started before WW1 and an allocation of $6 million was set aside for the project, but the unforeseen expense of WW1 starved the project of it’s promised cash.

Strangely, although by the end of the war in 1918 the estimated cost of the system had doubled to $12 million, work started on the project again on January 28th 1920 however, somewhat unexpectedly, work stopped again in 1927 when the bond of funding ran out. At this point only 7 miles of the subway system had been graded (dug) and no track had been laid at all.



More political problems caused by the stock market crash of 1929 stalled the project further to the point where the idea of a rapid transport system was abandoned and the project began being referred to as “Cincinnati’s White Elephant”.

In 1936, the city commissioned the ‘Engineer’s Club Of Cincinnati’ to produce a report on the viability of the system and report on what, if anything could be done to re-start the project. However, the report stated that as the cities needs had changed in the 20 years since the project was first started and recommended that it ‘should be forgotten’.

In 1939 the City looked at using the tunnels for automobile traffic, but it was found that they were unsuitable as they were too narrow. It was even argued that the cities street car traffic be sent under ground using the tunnels but before this option could be properly explored, the financial burden of WW2 once again stalled the subway project.

During the war, even though there were many plans to include the redundant subway system in the cities war effort, including mass air raid shelters or hidden munition path ways, none were ever implemented and once again the subway remained desolate and abandoned.



This happened here in Rochester but the only difference is that we had a Subway for a few short years and it was abandoned. You really have to have a serious population to support metro or light rail systems or else it doesnt' work. I did some database here locally for our transit system and they explained it to me. Great post!

Any more? Phone Post 3.0

In 1966 the original subway bonds were paid off, meaning that they could be used for other commercial uses. Meier’s Wine Cellars Inc proposed a plan to use them as huge wine cellars with a tourist inviting bottling plant, but the tunnels did not pass the required building regulations. Again in the1970s Nick Clooney wanted to turn parts of the tunnel into an underground mall and a night club, but that fell through early on due to insurance issues.

In 2002 the subway tunnels were proposed as a route for a regional light railway system that would cost $2.6 billion and take thirty years to build. The tunnels were favored because as they were in an ideal location, they could easily be used to connect the east side and the west sides of Cincinnati, and they would have saved the city at least $100 million in construction costs at the time. However, once again the plan was voted down and the tunnel system remained unused

he uncompleted subway tunnels and stations have been described as “strikingly well preserved and in good shape” which is due to the original build quality and also because the city of Cincinnati must use tax revenues to maintain the tunnel because Central Parkway is situated on top of it.

Twice a year, citizens can explore the abandoned subway, via tours operated by the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Over-the-Rhine Foundation

Seven stations were completed along Central Parkway. Underground locations are at Race Street, Liberty Street, Linn Street, and Brighton Place. Above-ground locations were at Marshall Street, Ludlow Avenue, and Clifton Avenue. Whilst the underground stations remain intact, the above-ground stations were demolished in the 1960’s.

There were many details of the unfinished subway system, such as a provision for a station at Mohawk Corner, where the wall has been set back and at Walnut Street the lines begin to curve south to go downtown, but they are now stopped short by a brick wall.

The subway tunnel is double-tracked throughout its entire length, with a concrete wall separating the two tracks which has openings which enable people to step from one track to another. The tunnels are well ventilated and are provided with much natural light until Liberty Street is reached.


The one thing that stands out in those pictures is there's no garbage. I would have thought they would be full of it but none to speak of.

Budget $6MM changes to $12MM

then nothing really is completed... someone had deep pockets.

Fuck a tour. How do you get in without the museum accompanying you. Phone Post 3.0

TheTurtle - Fuck a tour. How do you get in without the museum accompanying you. Phone Post 3.0
This. I must know. Phone Post 3.0

Amos Moses - 
TheTurtle - Fuck a tour. How do you get in without the museum accompanying you. Phone Post 3.0
This. I must know. Phone Post 3.0

yep, gotta be a way

I love going to those Urban exploring web sites

We should use them as refugee camps. Help take the strain off of Germany. Phone Post 3.0

I almost posted this :)

Berserker - 

Budget $6MM changes to $12MM

then nothing really is completed... someone had deep pockets.


It's crazy how much stuff like that happens, spend all kinds of money thn have nothing to shwo for it


Awesome! I sorta kinda grew up in Cincy and had no idea this existed.