Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis’

Laying Over in Indianapolis

April 3, 2023

Charlie Wilson and I caught Baltimore & Ohio GP30 Nos. 6912, a GP30, and 354, a GP35, in 1 in Indianapolis on Dec. 29, 1972. The B&O served Indianapolis via a line that began at Hamilton, Ohio, and ran to Springfield, Illinois. Most of that route is gone west of Indy, but is still used by CSX and Amtrak east of the city.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

INRD Begins Intermodal Terminal Expansion

September 21, 2021

The Indiana Rail Road said it has started the first phase of a project to expand its intermodal services.

The short line railroad based in Indianapolis recently acquired 12 acres of land to expand its intermodal yard in Indianapolis.

This will allow for additional container parking capacity and flexibility and include an onsite chassis depot.

In a news release, INRD said the initial phase involves ground preparation, installation of concrete inbound-outbound traffic lanes with an innovative kiosk gate system for expedited handling.

Future work will include high security fencing, the establishment of rear access service roads, installation of low energy consumption lighting, and construction of two new loading pad tracks.

INRD said the intermodal expansion project is expected to be completed in 2023.

The intermodal terminal opened in 2013 and handled 1,450 containers in its first year.

This year, the terminal is projected to move more than 40,000 containers and recently began a new grain export operation with International Feed.

Fire Destroys Storage Buildings at Beech Grove Shops

May 3, 2021

Two storage buildings at Amtrak’s Beech Grove Heavy Maintenance Facility in suburban Indianapolis were destroyed by fire on Sunday morning.

Firefighters were called just after 12:30 a.m. and had the blazes under control by 2 a.m. No injuries were reported and no cause of the fire has yet been released.

The corrugated buildings were used to store paint and cleaning supplies.

Lack of a working fire hydrant on the Amtrak property hindered firefighting efforts, forcing firefighters to run hoses from nearby Emerson Avenue and use tanker trucks for water supply.

Video of the scene shows P40 No. 822 in its Phase III livery parked outside the buildings where the fire occurred.

B&O Two for Tuesday

January 26, 2021

The wayback machine has landed us in Indianapolis on Dec. 29, 1972, at the Baltimore & Ohio engine terminal. While there we check out a pair of GP30s, Nos. 6941 and 6912.

The B&O had a secondary branch line operation in Indy. To the east it ran to Hamilton, Ohio, where it joined the mainline between Cincinnati and Toledo. This route is still used today by CSX and hosts Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

To the west the line ran to Springfield, Illinois. That line is abandoned west of Indianapolis and in Hendricks County the right of way has been converted to a hiking and biking trail named after the B&O.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Street Project to Expose Indy Streetcar Tracks

December 13, 2020

A street rehabilitation project in downtown Indianapolis will expose and lead to the removal of streetcar tracks that have been long buried beneath the pavement.

The tracks are beneath Delaware Street between Maryland and Vermont streets.

The project is a joint venture between public transit agency IndyGo and the City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works.

As part of the work, Indygo will install what it describes as super-stops featuring enhanced waiting areas, ticketing vending machines, security cameras, and accessible platforms.

Catching Train SAHW on the Indiana Rail Road

September 25, 2020

Indiana Rail Road train SAHW rounds the curve in Morgantown, Indiana. The railroad’s SD90MACs feature a striking red-based livery.

If you are unfamiliar with the Indiana Rail Road, perhaps the best train to chase is SAHW, a daily except Saturday run from Indianapolis (Senate Avenue Yard) to Jasonville (Hiawatha Yard).

The crew is called at Senate Avenue at 2 p.m. and the train leaves town around 2:30 p.m.

There are numerous locations to photograph the line, including the fabled Tulip Trestle in rural Greene County where the SAHW usually arrives about 5 p.m.

It was on that trestle that I first encountered the SAHW in early August.

I had been out day with two other guys and in true pandemic railfanning fashion we all drove our own vehicles.

One of the guys had a contact at the INRD and had found out what trains would be operating and when.

By the time we got to Tulip Trestle we had already seen four other INRD trains.

The normal operating procedure is for the SAHW to meet its counterpart the HWSA at Switz City.

So if you hang around Tulip Trestle after catching the SAHW, you should get the HWSA an hour or so later.

Both trains are typically pulled by two-unit sets of SD9043MACs painted in an attractive red and white livery.

The trains also carry double-stacked containers that INRD interchanges with Canadian National and which travel between Indianapolis and the Pacific Northwest of British Columbia for export.

The containers are interchanged between INRD and CN in Newton, Illinois. Every time I’ve seen the HWSA there has been a long string of containers so this business must be fairly robust.

The INRD line between Indianapolis and Newton is a former Illinois Central branch line that was in danger of being abandoned before the INRD acquired it in 1986.

Another good place to photograph the SAHW is in Bargersville. The tracks come through the middle of town in a wide swath of right of way and there is public parking on the west side next to the tracks.

There are even grain facilities to use as photo backdrops.

I’m still getting to know the INRD and where there are good photo locations, but things are off to a promising start.

Of course I wasn’t thinking that the first time I tried to catch the SAHW in Bargersville.

I arrived by 2:30 p.m. and had been told that the train should pass through around 3:15 p.m. I waited, and waited and waited, finally giving up at 4 p.m.

I would later learn that something had gone wrong that day and the SAHW didn’t get out of Senate Avenue Yard until 5 p.m.

My luck with the train since then has been much better.

If you just want to see the SAHW you can always enjoy a brew or two along with a meal on the deck of Taxman Brewing Company in Bargerville in mid afternoon next to the INRD tracks. Expect the train to arrive shortly after 3 p.m.

Crossing on Tulip Trestle in Greene County.

Passing through Morgantown, Indiana, located 30 miles south of Indianapolis.


Getting a bonus in Bargersville. The SAHW passes a work train with an SD40-2 and a CSX Jordan spreader that is sitting on a siding for the weekend.

Bargersville features a grain elevator to use as a backdrop.

$100M Grant to Benefit South Shore

May 30, 2020

A $100 million federal grant is expected to be given to the Northern Indiana Commuter District for development of the West Lake Corridor.

The 8-mile line between Hammond and Dyer would enable the South Shore Line to provide rail commuter service on a new route using in part a former Monon Railroad right of way.

South Shore President Michael Noland  expressed gratitude for the support of the Federal Transit Administration for the project.

FTA is also expected to award a small starts grant for construction of a bus rapid transit line in Indianapolis. That project is expected to cost $155 million.

Jingle Rails

December 24, 2019

I have long associated Christmas with model railroad displays. That association goes back to my early childhood when my mom would take my sister and I to St. Louis on a New York Central passenger train for a visit with our grandparents.

Aside from the train ride, a highlight of the visit was riding the bus downtown and looking at the holiday displays at the department stores, one of which was a large model railroad layout.

I had a chance recently to somewhat recreate that tradition by paying a visit to the Jingle Rails exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis.

This annual event features a G scale model railroad layout with nine trains snaking past such Western icons as grand railway lodges, Northwest Coast Native villages, and wonders both natural and human-made—Mt. Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Yosemite Falls, Old Faithful, the Las Vegas Strip and Hoover Dam.

Of course the trains also pass such Indianapolis institutions as Monument Circle, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis Union Station, Lucas Oil Stadium, and Sales Force Tower. The latter is the tallest building in Indy.

Some of the railroads plying the rails are fictitious, but two of the trains feature the Santa Fe. The exhibit will be running through Jan. 20.

Train Show, Model RR Open House set in Indy, Michigan

December 4, 2019

If you looking to get out of the house for a road trip this weekend and don’t mind doing some driving, there will be railfan events in Indiana and Michigan to visit.

The Naptown & White River Train Show and December Open House will be held in Indianapolis between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Emmerich Manual High School, 2405 S. Madison Ave.

There will be more than 100 tables of merchandise from Z to G scale, plus operating layouts and diorama exhibits.

The clubhouse layout will also be open to the public at 1115 McDougal St. in Indianapolis.

There will be door prizes and refreshments available. The event is wheelchair accessible and has free parking.

Admission is $5 to the train show but the open house is free. For more information visit

In Blissfield, Michigan, the Blissfield Model Railroad will hold an open house on Saturday at the club’s facility at 109 E. Adrian St.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no admission charge but donations are appreciated.

The HO scale layout is set in the Appalachian Mountain region of Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. The layout features centralized traffic control and working block signals.

The club models the Chesapeake & Ohio and Clinchfield railroads in the 1950s and 1960s, featuring Centralized Traffic Control and working signals.

The open house will be repeated on Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22. For more information visit

One December Day on the B&O in Indianapolis

October 13, 2019

Indianapolis was a small but not insignificant terminal on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

The B&O’s route to the capital and largest city in Indiana extended from Hamilton, Ohio, where it connected with the Cincinnati-Toledo mainline, to Springfield, Illinois, on the west.

The line had some significant industrial traffic in Indianapolis and at the Illinois cities of Decatur and Springfield. There also was substantial agricultural traffic.

The B&O’s yard and engine terminal in Indy was located on the east side of town where the scene above was made there on Dec. 29, 1972.

The view is pure B&O and has a timeless quality to it. But nothing on the railroad ever stays exactly the same.

CSX still operates the former B&O route from Indianapolis to Hamilton, which is also used by Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal.

But the ex-B&O west of the city has been abandoned with portions of it in Hendricks County having been converted to a hike and bike trail.

Some segments of the B&O line that served Indianapolis are still in place in Illinois east of Decatur and in far western Indiana. Today they are served by short line Decatur & Eastern Illinois.

CSX also operates a small portion of the former B&O at Rochdale, Indiana, to serve a grain elevator complex with unit trains.

Photograph by Robert Farkas