Jim Would Have Wanted to Have Been There

Train SAHW chargest through Bargersville, Indiana, on former Illinois Central tracks
Here comes Santa Claus. The 2021 Indiana Rail Road Santa train is arriving in Bargersville, Indiana.

As I was driving to Bargersville, Indiana, on Friday, Dec. 3, I thought about the late Jim Mastromatteo.

He had developed an interest in the Indiana Rail Road and as far as I know never had the opportunity to see its operations in person.

Jim had planned to travel with Ron McElrath to Indiana in 2020 to railfan the INRD but that trip never came about.

My purpose in going to Bargersville was to see two INRD trains. The regular daily except Saturday SAHW (Senate Avenue yard Indianapolis to Hiawatha Yard in Jasonville) train was operating about two hours earlier on this day because following it that afternoon would be the annual Santa train.

INRD has run a Santa train since 1989 although it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bargersville, an exurb of Indianapolis, would be the first stop for the 2021 Santa train, which make 12 stops in communities in Indiana and Illinois along the INRD system.

The SAHW showed up just before 1 p.m. with its usual consist of double-stacked containers and manifest freight. On the point was INRD’s 25th anniversary tribute SD9043MAC No. 9025.

The Santa train showed up shortly after its scheduled 4:15 p.m. arrival time It had SD40-2 Nos. 4005 – INRD’s tribute to veterans unit – and No. 4002, the tribute to first responders unit.

The train had two passenger cars lettered for the Santa Fe and a caboose from which Santa and Mrs. Claus greeted and waved to the hundreds of children and their parents who had turned out.

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