Ex-Monon Segment May Become Trail

The south end of the former Monon Railroad in Southern Indiana might become a trail.

Indiana Trail Funds has asked the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to order CSX to do nothing more to a 62-mile segment of the ex-Monon other than remove the rails, ties and signal systems.

CSX last month filed a letter of exemption with the STB to abandon the ex-Monon between milepost 251.7 (about midway between Bedford and Mitchell) and milepost 314 (Vernia) near New Albany.

In response to the Indiana Trail petition, CSX said it was willing to negotiate with the group for possible interim trail use/rail banking.

In a report to the STB, CSX said no trains have moved over the line for more than two years and its only activity has been car storage.

CSX said it was unlikely any rail-oriented businesses would locate on the line, which it said it does not need for operational purposes.

The line in question is the Hoosier Subdivision, which has been abandoned north of Bedford.

It is not clear why CSX is not seeking to abandon any track within Bedford. The only other railroad to serve Bedford, a branch of the former Milwaukee Road that extended to Terre Haute, Indiana, has been abandoned and converted into a trail.

If the abandonment of the Hoosier Subdivision is approved, Bedford would be cut off from the nation’s rail system.

The STB had in May 2010 gave CSX approval to cease providing rail service on the Hoosier Sub. It had been used under trackage rights granted to the Indiana Rail Road to reach Louisville, Kentucky, but that company has since ceased exercising those rights.

CSX would continue to own 3.7 miles of the ex-Monon in New Albany that connects to Norfolk Southern and the former Kentucky & Indiana Terminal.

In its report to the STB, CSX said its records show there are 21 railroad-owned structures on the line more that are more than 50 years old and may be eligible for listing on the National Register. All of them are bridges.

Records show the main track was rebuilt in the 1980s. At one time the Monon extended between Louisville and Chicago with branches to Michigan City, Indiana, and Indianapolis that diverged at the town of Monon.

CSX continues to use the ex-Monon between Cloverdale and Munster, Indiana. Amtrak’s Cardinal and Hoosier State use the line between Crawfordsville and Munster.

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