Posts Tagged ‘Monon Railroad’

Indiana Rail Line May Become Trail

February 15, 2017

The rail line used to host the Indiana State Fair train may be pulled up and converted into a trail.

IndianaHamilton County officials are considering abandoning the former Nickel Plate Road branch line and making the right of way a hike and bike path.

The Fair Train, operated by the Indiana Transportation Museum, last operated in 2015 when it carried more than 10,000 passengers.

However, the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, which owns the rail line, would not allow ITM to operate the Fair Train or any other trains on the line in 2016.

The HHPA says that the line needs $5 million in safety investments before it can be used for rail service again.

The line extends from the fairgrounds along 38th Street in Indianapolis northward through Fishers and Noblesville.

The museum is based in Noblesville but in recent years the Fair Train has originated in Fishers.

If built, the trail would be similar to the Monon Trail, which uses a former Monon Railroad right of way that in the 1980s hosted the Fair Train.

Then and Now on the B&O St. Louis Line

December 22, 2014

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Michell-May 17, 2014-2

Here is a little then and now at Mitchell, Ind. This small town in southern Indiana was the crossing of the Baltimore & Ohio’s line between Cincinnati and St. Louis with the Monon’s line between Chicago and Louisville, Ky. The B&O controlled the interlocking from its passenger depot east of the crossing. The Monon had its own passenger station.

The top photograph was made in July 1992. By now, both the Monon and B&O routes were controlled by CSX, which still had an operator in the depot to operate the interlocking.

Both photographs are looking eastward from the grade crossing just west of the diamond. The local is on the siding heading eastward. It might be getting ready to work the small yard to the east of the station. Note the color position light signal mounted on a cantilever.

If you look past the depot, you’ll see another CPL for eastward movements. At the time, there was a sign by that signal indicating that it was the start of the Medora block. Those CPLs were once ubiquitous on B&O mainlines.

Although not obvious, major changes are coming to the ex-Monon. The last through trains between Chicago and Louisville over this route, R590 and R591, made their last trips through here in late May of 1992, although they continued to operate on the north end.

In less than a year, CSX will abandon the ex-Monon between Bloomington and Bedford, thus severing the line as a through route. Local service was still being maintained to Bedford when the 1992 photograph was made. CSX also had the option of operating trains north out of Louisville across the Mitchell diamonds and then backing onto the ex-B&O to go west to St. Louis. They would indeed do this for a while.

The bottom photo was made last May. The ex-Monon tracks are still in place, yet haven’t been used since 2009 when CSX ceased providing local service on what is called the Hoosier Subdivision except right around New Albany, Ind. That same year the Indiana Rail Road stopped operating trains over the ex-Monon to Louisville. Therefore, the ex-Monon tracks in Mitchell collect rust as they await disposition.

All of the B&O CPL signals are gone, replaced by what appear to be older signal heads placed on modern masts. The CPLs that once stood east of the depot have been removed.

Yet, there is much that has not changed about this scene. The ex-B&O is still double track through town and the old B&O depot is still in place. The siding on the ex-B&O looks rather rusty, suggesting it sees little use. The connection between the ex-Monon and ex-B&O is still in place.

I’m not sure what the traffic count is on the ex-B&O but bits and pieces I’ve seen on railfan chat lists leads me to believe that few trains use this route at this location. I wonder if any Cincinnati-St. Louis trains pass through here. I believe that much of that traffic takes the former Conrail route via Indianapolis to the north.

Whatever the case, the future of both of these rail lines seems murky as best.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Semaphore Blades Stolen in Indiana

September 25, 2014

A report on a chat list devoted to discussing railroads in Indiana says that seven semaphore signal were stolen recently from the fallow CSX Hoosier Subdivision.

The thefts occurred near Orleans and Smedley on a portion of the line that has been out of service since July 2009. CSX ceased freight operations on most of the Hoosier Sub the same year except for a segment in the New Albany area near Louisville, Ky.

The thieves reportedly wore hard hats and were driving a white truck. Police interviewed neighbors in the area where the blades were taken and other residents living near the line were warned to watch out for suspicious activity.

The Hoosier Sub is the remains of the south end of the former Monon. CSX abandoned the ex-Monon between Bedford and Bloomington in 1993, which effectively severed the line as a Chicago-Louisville route.

CSX separated the ex-Monon into the Hoosier Sub between Bedford and New Albany and the Monon Subdivision between Munster and Cloverdale, Ind. The latter is primarily used north of Crawfordsville by CSX freights and Amtrak’s Cardinal and Hoosier State.

Dead Railroads Walking: The Tale of a Switch

July 1, 2014
Tracks at Bedford 2

The switch controlling the connecting track from the Milwaukee Road to the former Monon in Bedford, Ind., is shown as it appeared in the early 1990s. At the time, the switch was remotely controlled by an operator in the former Monon passenger station shown at right.

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This is how the switch to the connection to the Milwaukee Road looked in May 2014. It is now a hand-thrown switch that hasn’t been thrown in years.

Last of Three Articles

The switch is quiet now. It hasn’t been thrown for at least five years. Who would know by looking at it that a fierce legal battle that went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court was once fought over what that switch made possible.

The story begins in April 1969. The Interstate Commerce Commission was holding hearings on the proposed merger of the Louisville & Nashville, and the Monon.

Appearing at a hearing on April 28, Milwaukee Road President Curtis E. Crippen asked that his railroad be given trackage rights on the soon-to-be former Monon between Bedford, Ind., and Louisville, Ky., so that it could interchange with railroads serving the Southeast, particularly the Southern Railway.

The Milwaukee had operated a branch in Indiana since 1921, but the coal and limestone business that had sustained the line for decades had pretty much dried up.

The CTH&SE has been classified as an eastern railroad, which worked to the advantage of the Milwaukee when it came to interchange traffic. For rate division purposes, it was to the Milwaukee’s advantage to interchange traffic with eastern railroads somewhere along the former CTH&SE rather than in Chicago.

The Milwaukee had some interchange bridge traffic with the Monon at Bedford but the acquisition of the Monon by the L&N likely would end that. Already, Crippen told the ICC, the Milwaukee had lost interchange business in Terre Haute when L&N had taken over the Chicago & Eastern Illinois.

The ICC on Sept. 9, 1970, said it would approve the L&N-Monon merger subject to certain conditions. No. 3 on that list was that the L&N grant the Milwaukee trackage rights between Bedford and Louisville. The L&N was to sell to the Milwaukee a one-quarter interest in the Kentucky & Indiana Terminal, which the Monon used to reach Louisville.

The Milwaukee later decided that it didn’t want to buy an ownership stake in the K&IT, but instead wanted to be a tenant of the L&N and K&IT.

The L&N balked at that and insisted that the Milwaukee’s refusal to buy an ownership stake in the K&IT had nullified Condition 3 of the ICC order.

The L&N-Monon merger was consummated on July 31, 1971, but it would be two years before the Milwaukee could begin using the ex-Monon.

The ICC had left it up to the Milwaukee and L&N to negotiate the terms of the access to Louisville and after the two railroads reached an impasse in November 1971, the Milwaukee went to the ICC and asked it to order the L&N to allow it to use its tracks.

An ICC hearing examiner sided with the Milwaukee in August 1972 as did the Commission, which on Jan. 10, 1973, ordered the trackage rights arrangement become effective on March 1, 1973.

The L&N went to court and a federal judge in Louisville issued a restraining order against implementation of the ICC order as the L&N litigated the ICC’s trackage rights decision.

A federal appeals court on Feb. 26 dissolved the restraining order, which cleared the way for the Milwaukee to begin serving Louisville.

In the meantime, the Milwaukee began construction in late February of a connecting track to the ex-Monon. Otherwise, Milwaukee trains would have to cross the ex-Monon at grade and reach the ex-Monon via an industrial loop track used by both railroads.

That would have meant that a Louisville-bound Milwaukee Road train would cross the Milwaukee-Monon diamond that it had already crossed once because it would have gone in a circle.

On Feb. 27, the L&N asked the federal judge in Louisville who had issued the original restraining order to reinstate it. The judge declined.

The Milwaukee already had plans for the first train to Louisville, which was expected to arrive on March 1. The railroad also would host a dinner and other meetings with shippers and civic officials.

But that was in jeopardy as the L&N asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an emergency stay of the ICC order granting the Milwaukee access to Louisville via the L&N.

The high court declined to do so, issuing its decision 16 hours before the scheduled arrival of the first Milwaukee Road train.

That train arrived at the K&IT Youngtown Yard at 10:30 a.m. on March 1. The Milwaukee thus created a 2,886-mile single-line freight haul between Portland, Ore., and Louisville.

By one account, the Milwaukee did not develop the Louisville gateway as much as it could have even though the Southern was willing for provide interchange traffic. The Milwaukee was hamstrung by the poor condition of its tracks in Indiana, a legacy of the years of neglect after the coal and limestone business largely evaporated.

The Milwaukee had made some track repairs of its Indiana branch in preparation for opening the Louisville service and this enabled it to switch from four-axle to six-axle motive power. To gain money to further rehab the line, the Milwaukee abandoned its own track north of Terre Haute in 1979 in favor of trackage rights on the former New York Central’s “Egyptian” line that ran parallel to the Illinois-Indiana border to deep Southern Illinois.

The “Egyptian” line was itself a secondary route in so-so condition, but Conrail and the Milwaukee could split the maintenance expenses. The Milwaukee rebuilt the line between Bedford and Terre Haute.

The Southern wanted to start a 48-hour service between Chicago and Atlanta, using the Milwaukee Road north of Louisville. But tracks conditions were such that it took the Milwaukee 48 hours just to operate over the 343 miles between Chicago and Bedford.

One story from the era is that the Milwaukee refused to handle a circus train that originated on the Southern because the Milwaukee was afraid of what the animals might do if the train derailed.

Nonetheless, the Milwaukee’s Louisville trains continued to operate over the ex-Monon for the next three decades. The Milwaukee Road was absorbed by the Soo Line in 1986. Eventually the Soo Line disappeared into Canadian Pacific.

The Indiana Rail Road acquired the former Milwaukee Road trackage in Indiana on May 28, 2006. At the time, the INRD envisioned developing a Chicago-Louisville market.

For three years, the INRD operated trains to Louisville. But the business was a shadow of what the Milwaukee Road and Soo Line had enjoyed.

When CSX won regulatory approval in early 2009 to cease freight service on the Hoosier Sub, it meant that the INRD would be responsible for the 62-mile route’s maintenance.

Many of those ancient semaphore signals that railfan phototgraphers loved had been rendered inoperative when thieves stole the copper wiring. This forced INRD trains to limp along at 10 mph. INRD service to Louisville fell to once a week.

INRD management arranged a trackage rights arrangement between Indianapolis and Louisville over a former Pennsylvania Railroad route now owned by the Louisville & Indiana.

That was implemented in early 2010. Internet reports indicate that the last INRD train on the Hoosier Sub operated in July 2009.  The INRD won regulatory approval to abandon 23 miles of the ex-Milwaukee Road trackage between Bedford and the Crane U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in spring 2010.

The stretch passes through some scenic, but desolate, territory and includes a tunnel. At one time a resort hotel was located along the line at Spring Hill.

It left the switch between the Milwaukee and Monon in place in the event that a plan talked about by Lawrence County officials to acquire the Hoosier Sub to Mitchell and a connection with the former St. Louis line of the Baltimore & Ohio ever materializes.

Trains would need to use this switch to access the former Milwaukee Road trackage in order to reach Bedford’s industrial loop track.

Many of those who fought the long battle to establish this switch are either retired or deceased. What might they think about the sight of a tree growing through it today?

More than likely they would note that the needs of railroads are never static. It made sense in the 1970s to establish the Louisville gateway, but things have changed and it isn’t needed anymore.

So the connecting track, the switch to the Hoosier Sub and even the rails of the Hoosier Sub itself lie dormant, waiting for another wind to sweep in change that will either result in these tracks seeing service again or being removed.

 Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

 

Dead Railroads Walking: All Quiet in Beford

June 29, 2014
The CSX Hoosier Sub doesn't extend much further than this station identification sign and pair of mileposts. The milepost at the far left is the original Monon milepost.

The CSX Hoosier Sub doesn’t extend much further than this station identification sign and pair of mileposts. The milepost at the far left is the original Monon milepost.

First of Three Articles

Drive around Bedford, Ind., a city of 13,000 in Southern Indiana and you’ll see a lot of railroad tracks. One of them even runs right down J Street on the west side of the town square that holds the Lawrence County Courthouse.

But you won’t hear any locomotive horns. Take a closer look at those tracks and you’ll see plenty of rust.

The last train to Bedford ran on May 9, 2010, but it was a special hosted by the Indiana Rail Road to make a last run over track it was about to abandon and rip up. It had been several months since the INRD or CSX had run a train to Bedford to haul freight.

Bedford is home to two dead railroads walking, the remains of the Monon and Milwaukee Road lines that passed through town.

There has been talk about a local government entity purchasing the ex-Monon between Bedford and Mitchell to preserve a rail link to CSX at the latter city. The Bedford industrial loop track served by both the Monon and Milwaukee remains in place.

But little, if any, tangible progress has been made toward that end. Weeds and trees grow through the ties as Bedford appears destined to join a growing list of cities where the railroad has left town.

In mid-May, I visited Bedford on a sunny Saturday morning to see what was left of its railroads. Actually, there is quite a bit to see.

At one time, Bedford was a thriving railroad community with tracks extending in every direction to serve the many limestone quarries located here.

Aside from the Monon and Milwaukee Road, Bedford had a branch of the Baltimore & Ohio that came off the Cincinnati-St. Louis line at Rivervale.

The limestone in the Oolitic limestone belt between Bedford and Bloomington is used for building construction. Many great structures, including the Empire State Building and Pentagon, were built with limestone quarried in this region. Many of the buildings on the campus of nearby Indiana University were built with this limestone.

But the limestone business isn’t want it used to be and the stone is now shipped by truck. As the limestone quarries closed, the tracks that served them were abandoned.

The decline of the former Monon route through Bedford, which linked Chicago and Louisville, can be traced to its July 31, 1971, merger with the Louisville & Nashville.

Yes, the L&N wanted the Monon’s access to Chicago but it especially coveted the Monon’s ownership share of the Chicago & Western Indiana and the Belt Railway of Chicago. Those would enable L&N to reap lower user fees in Chicago.

The L&N already had a route to Chicago having acquired the Chicago & Eastern Illinois line north of Evansville, Ind. That route was straighter and had fewer grades than the Monon and the L&N gradually moved the through Chicago-Louisville traffic away from the ex-Monon and onto the ex-C&EI route.

By the middle 1980s when I moved to Bloomington, Ind., to attend graduate school at IU, the former Monon was down to a pair of manifest freights that operated between Chicago and Louisville, some locals and, for a time, a pair of Chicago-Jacksonville, Fla., intermodal train. On occasion, the Milwaukee Road’s Louisville trains would detour through Bloomington and CSX would run the occasional extra.

The intermodal trains were moved to the ex-C&EI route via Terre Haute, Ind., and most of the locals ended aside from a switch job that worked industries in Bloomington, primarily a General Electric plant on the west side of town that made refrigerators.

That left R590 and R591 as the last through freights on the south end of the ex-Monon. CSX didn’t want to use the ex-Monon as a through route and those trains made their last runs on the south end through Bedford on May 31, 1992.

CSX abandoned 23 miles of the ex-Monon between Bedford and the south side of Bloomington on March 19, 1993, and rail removal began later that year.

After R590 and R91 stopped operating on the south end, CSX operations shrunk to periodic local service. Only the now Soo Line trains to and from Louisville regularly traveled the south end of the ex-Monon, which CSX in 1994 would rename the Hoosier Subdivision. The track was in poor condition with much of the line covered by 10 mph slow orders.

But in the latter half of 1993 traffic began rising on CSX and Howell Yard in Evansville on the ex-C&EI route began suffering congestion. To alleviate that, CSX began rerouting Louisville-East St. Louis, Ill., traffic on the ex-Monon to Mitchell and thence west on the ex-B&O St. Louis line. CSX rebuilt the line between Mitchell and New Albany.

CSX still ran a local to Bedford on occasion, but most of the action occurred from Mitchell southward. In time, CSX shifted its New Albany-Mitchell trains to another routing and the Hoosier Sub began to languish.

CSX still serves at least one customer in New Albany, but in early 2009 CSX won Surface Transportation Board approval to cease offering service on most of the Hoosier Sub. Whatever freight business that the ex-Monon route had was either gone or the shippers had ceased to ship by rail.

Today, the rails of the Hoosier Sub end abruptly just north of the switch to the connection to the former Milwaukee Road in Bedford.

The limestone Monon passenger station has been recycled for another use – literally. The station is the home of a recycling operation and on the Saturday morning that I was there a steady stream of area residents pulled up to drop off items they were discarding.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the building may still resemble a railroad station, but barely. Wooden siding has been placed over the some of the limestone façade and the facility has a “trashed” appearance. Perhaps that is to be expected at a recycling facility.

Vestiges of the platform remain in place, including a faded yellow line, although a scheduled passenger train hasn’t stopped in Bedford since Sept. 30, 1967, when the northbound Thoroughbred made its last trek from Louisville to Chicago’s Dearborn Station.

Amtrak’s Floridian used the former Monon between Chicago and Louisville between March 1975 and October 1979, but Amtrak never established a station stop in Bedford.

The rails are still in place on J Street, one of three places where the Monon had street running between Chicago and Louisville. The others were in Lafayette and New Albany.

The Hoosier Sub is still in place all the way to New Albany and the iconic semaphore signals used on the line still stand. But much of the Hoosier Sub is rusting rails. It is a wonder that CSX hasn’t pulled up the rails yet.

Next: The Former Milwaukee Road in Bedford.

 

The south end of the former Monon passenger station. The tracks used to be to the left of the building. The photograph was taken from the driveway leading to the structure.

The south end of the former Monon passenger station. The tracks used to be to the left of the building. The photograph was taken from the driveway leading to the structure.

The north end of the ex-Monon station.

The north end of the ex-Monon station.

The former Monon station in a view on the platform looking toward downtown Bedford.

The former Monon station in a view on the platform looking toward downtown Bedford.

The Hoosier Sub still runs down J Street in Bedford. A farmers market was in progress when this image was made.

The Hoosier Sub still runs down J Street in Bedford. A farmers market was in progress when this image was made.

The Hoosier Sub ends here. The track to the left is the former connecting track to the Milwaukee Road.

The Hoosier Sub ends here. The track to the left is the former connecting track to the Milwaukee Road.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The Differences That 52 Years Can Make

June 13, 2014
Monon No. 6 makes is station stop in late morning in Bloomington, Ind., in 1962. The station sat on the east side of the tracks between Fourth and Fifth streets.

Monon No. 6 makes is station stop in late morning in Bloomington, Ind., in 1962. The station sat on the east side of the tracks between Fourth and Fifth streets.

On a visit to Indiana last month I set out to try to recreate scenes that mirrors those made by Ron Stuckey in 1962 and 1963.

In both of Mr. Stuckey’s images, No. 6, the Monon’s northbound Thoroughbred, is making a station stop in Bloomington.

At the time, the Thoroughbred was the Monon’s last passenger train. The Chicago-Louisville trains (Nos. 5 and 6) would continue to race up and down the Monon until making their last trips in late September 1967.

A June 1962 Official Guide shows that No. 6 was scheduled to stop in Bloomington at 11:18 a.m.

Now move ahead 52 years. In the intervening five decades, the Monon was absorbed by the Louisville & Nashville, which eventually became part of the Seaboard and then CSX.

The Bloomington passenger station was torn down to make way for a parking lot and drive-up teller stations for a bank.

The Thoroughbred would not be the last passenger train to use these rails. Between 1975 and 1979 Amtrak’s Floridian used this route on a “temporary” basis.

In the 1990s, CSX abandoned the former Monon through Bloomington and much of the right of way was converted to today’s popular B Line Trail.

Land devoted to parking lots in downtown Bloomington is too valuable for that purpose and the one time site of the Monon passenger station has been sold to a developer who is constructing an apartment building. Many of those have sprouted in recent years.

Note that during the days when Amtrak served Bloomington, the asphalt platform was on the left side of the tracks at this location.

Some 25 miles to the south in Bedford, much has changed, but much hasn’t.

The tracks are still in the street and the prominent building to the left fronting 14th Street in the 1963 view is still there. The Bedford depot also still stands. But the bus station and the hotel are gone.

These tracks have not been used for a few years. The ex-Monon has been removed from a point just south of the passenger station northward.

Mr. Stuckey’s photographs are now part of the collection of John Fuller, a Terre Haute, Ind., photo dealer who can be found selling his wares are train shows in the Midwest. Mr. Stuckey is still alive and photographing and remains an active member of the Railfans of Indianapolis.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

This is my attempt to record today the same approximate view as shown in the top photo. The tracks would have been between the trees to the left and the building under construction to the right. The bars painted in the street mark the “crossing” of the B Line trail with Fourth Street.

This is my attempt to record today the same approximate view as shown in the top photo. The tracks would have been between the trees to the left and the building under construction to the right. The bars painted in the street mark the “crossing” of the B Line trail with Fourth Street.

A seating structure erected along the trail that pays homage to the sites railroad past. The sign to the far left of the view contains information about the Monon and notes that this was the one time location of the Monon passenger station in Bloomington.

A seating structure erected along the trail that pays homage to the sites railroad past. The sign to the far left of the view contains information about the Monon and notes that this was the one time location of the Monon passenger station in Bloomington.

In this 1963 view by Ron Stuckey, No. 6 is at the far north end of the street running on J Street in Bedford, Ind. It is about to stop at the Bedford passenger station.

In this 1963 view by Ron Stuckey, No. 6 is at the far north end of the street running on J Street in Bedford, Ind. It is about to stop at the Bedford passenger station.

The view looking northward on J Street looks much the same today as it did 51 years ago.

The view looking northward on J Street looks much the same today as it did 51 years ago.

Silent Sentinels Still Standing on Ex-Monon

June 11, 2014
All is quiet at the north end of the siding at Orleans, Ind., on the former Monon. If you look carefully in the distance, you can see a search light style signal that is shown in more detail below.

All is quiet at the north end of the siding at Orleans, Ind., on the former Monon. If you look carefully in the distance, you can see a search light style signal that is shown in more detail below.

Back in mid May I spent a weekend visiting in Bloomington, Ind. I have lived there in the 1980s while attending graduate school at Indiana University.

At the time, Seaboard Systems and later CSX operated the former Monon route between Chicago and Louisville.

Bloomington was a crew change point for some trainmen and a yard on the south side of town handled some local freight.

When I moved to Bloomington in 1983, the line saw a pair of manifest freights, a pair of intermodal trains and a local that worked out of Lafayette. On occasion, a Milwaukee Road train bound to or from Louisville would detour through town.

By the time I left Indiana in the early 1990s, the intermodal and local trains were long gone and the route saw only a daily pair of manifest freights, R590 and R591.

During the 1990s CSX abandoned the ex-Monon through Bloomington, saving only a small stretch that the Indiana Rail Road could use to serve industries on the west side of town.

The right of way has since been converted to a trail that I’ve walked whenever I get back to visit, which isn’t often.

On a mostly sunny Saturday, I drove to check out what is left of the ex-Monon in Bedford, Mitchell and Orleans. I wanted to photograph the semaphore signals that still stand along the line and knew of a pair just north of Orleans at the north end of a siding.

The signals were still there looking as they had when I had last seen them in early July 2011.

Reports I’ve seen indicated that CSX no longer uses this line except around New Albany.

The well-rusted rails were a testament to that. I wondered if these signals would work even if a train came along or even they have been decommissioned.

Chances are trains will never roll over these rails again and it is a matter of time before the line is scrapped. I’m surprised that it has not happened already.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

A close-up view of the northbound semaphore signal at Orleans.

A close-up view of the northbound semaphore signal at Orleans.

The lamp for the southbound signal appears to have been removed or stolen.

The lamp for the southbound signal appears to have been removed or stolen.

Rusty rails and weeds are all you see in this view looking toward Orleans. At one time, the Monon branch to French Lick diverged in Orleans.

Rusty rails and weeds are all you see in this view looking toward Orleans. At one time, the Monon branch to French Lick diverged in Orleans.

About a mile north of the semaphore signals snow above, is a search-light signal for northbound trains. It probably is a distance signal for the interlocking in Mitchell where the Monon crossed the Baltimore & Ohio’s St. Louis line.

About a mile north of the semaphore signals snow above, is a search-light signal for northbound trains. It probably is a distance signal for the interlocking in Mitchell where the Monon crossed the Baltimore & Ohio’s St. Louis line.

Looking northward toward Mitchell. Trains of the Monon, Louisville & Nashville, Milwaukee Road, Seaboard System, CSX, Indiana Rail Road rolled over these rails as did for a time Amtrak’s Floridian.

Looking northward toward Mitchell. Trains of the Monon, Louisville & Nashville, Milwaukee Road, Seaboard System, CSX, Indiana Rail Road rolled over these rails as did for a time Amtrak’s Floridian.

 

Linden Depot Museum Open for the Season

April 20, 2014

The Linden (Ind.) Depot Museum has opened for the 2014 season. The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through October.

New this year is opening the building on the south side of the property. The main attraction in this new space is a new HO model railroad that depot volunteers have been working on throughout the winter.

One of the features of this model railroad is an animated circus display. The layout room features connections between trains and the circus. Trains played an important role in transporting circuses from town to town across the United States.

The museum has on display an original eight-seat Star-Back circus bench from the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. The display also features an original 16-foot sign from the Allen C. Hill Great American Circus.

A number of special events are planned for 2014. Saturday, June 28 will be Nickel Plate Day at the museum. Saturday, July 26 will be Circus Day, featuring a sword swallower and juggler, and Pat Kelly, the clown who is a son of Emmett Kelly.

On Sunday, Aug. 31, the Purdue Boilermaker Express will provide narrated rides through Linden.

Admission to the museum is $4 for adults and $1 for children ages 12 and under. Admission is good for both buildings. The museum is located on U.S. Route 231.

Linden is located between Crawfordsville and Lafayette and at one time was the junction of the Monon and Clover Leaf railroads. The former Clover Leaf, which eventually became part of the Nickel Plate Road, has been abandoned through Linden, but the ex-Monon is still operated by CSX. The route sees Amtrak’s tri-weekly Cardinal and quad weekly Hoosier State.

 

The Monon’s ‘Lynne’ Before it was Restored

March 18, 2014

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Upon reading the post on the Akron Railroad Club blog about how the ex-Monon Railroad business car Lynne has now been restored, I recalled having photographs of it from several years ago. This car has long sat on a unused siding near Chesterton, Ind. It had taken on the myth of an urban legend except it was real. Here are some pictures from then. I hope to visit it in a few months to see how it has progressed.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Ex-Monon Business Car Restored

March 14, 2014

A former Monon business car has been restored by the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society.

Pullman built Monon business car No. 2, Lynne, in 1924 as an open platform observation.

The Monon acquired the car in 1953 and rebuilt it into a business car with a kitchen, dining room, drawing room, two compartments and a large observation room.

It was named Lynne after Monon President Warren Brown’s 2-year-old granddaughter Lynne Chambers. The car would visit French Lick, Ind., at least once a year when the railroad ran specials to the Kentucky Derby in nearby Louisville.

The car was retired in 1971 and sold to construction company Brown Inc. of Michigan City, Ind., which used it as an office.

When the owner of the company died, the family donated the car to the society, which spent $30,000 for brake and structural work to move the car to the Indiana Railway Museum at French Lick in December 2011.

Interior and exterior work was done in the restoration process with cabinetry remanufactured, plumbing repaired, head end power work done, and furniture acquired.

The Jasper Group, a French Lick custom furniture manufacturer, donated furniture for the dining room.

Society President Pete Pedigo was found the original brass script logos that carried the car’s name from Lynne’s family, which was invited to an inaugural celebration to mount the plates back on the car.

The Lynne is used on occasional excursion runs by the museum, which operates the French Lick Scenic Railway over 25 miles of track from French Lick to Jasper.
Restoration of the Lynne was funded in part by a grant from the National Railway Historical Society National Heritage Grant program.