The city of Cincinnati has agreed to sell the railroad it owns that runs 360 miles to a terminus at Chattanooga for $1.62 billion in cash.
The deal with Norfolk Southern is subject to a vote by Cincinnati residents and approval by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.
Chattanooga and some Chattanoogans made some contributions to the construction of the line in 1880, but the city of Cincinnati wound up with the ownership after Cincinnati voters in June 1869 agreed to issue $10 million in bonds. It was another decade before the last rail was in place.
The line, that enters Chattanooga through Soddy Daisy, Hixson and East Chattanooga, has been leased to the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway since 1881. That lease is set to expire in 2026.
The deal has proven a boon to the city of Cincinnati through the years.
Funds from the cash sale will go toward ongoing transportation, infrastructure and park needs for the city of Cincinnati so the largesse will continue.
The sale includes some 9,500 acres of land along the rail line.