This abandoned railway line began in Ohio as the Celina, Van Wert and State Line Railroad, in 1878. A narrow gauge line, it was converted to standard gauge in 1881. At some point, it became the Cincinnati, Van Wert and Michigan Railroad, and eventually connected Jackson, Michigan to Franklin, Ohio. In 1886, it became part of the Cincinnati, Jackson, and Mackinaw Railway. In the early 1890s, it merged with several other lines to become the Cincinnati Northern Railroad, under which the line was extended to Carlisle. It was purchased by the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and Saint Louis Railway (the "Big 4") in 1897, itself becoming part of the New York Central System, and later, the Penn Central in 1968.
In 1975, the portion from Cement City, Michigan, to Bryan, Ohio was abandoned. The segment from Van Wert to North Paulding was abandoned by Conrail in 1977. It is unclear when the rest of the line was abandoned, though much of it was gone by 1979 (based on railroad maps). Some portions of the line were torn up in the 1980s.
Today, only a few portions of the ROW are in use, used to connect various industries with other rail lines. Otherwise, the rest of the line remains undeveloped while other parts have been demolished due to agriculture.
Jim Peterman reports that the line between Carlisle and Germantown is owned and used by the Dupps Company, which builds commercial rendering equipment. They interchange with the CSX at Carlisle, and utilize a small GE 40-tonner for switching.