Posts Tagged ‘Monon Railroad’

Museum Won’t Repaint BL2s Into Monon Colors

August 12, 2021

The Monon Railroad was among a handful of operators of EMD’s BL2 locomotive.

Although an Indiana railroad museum has acquired a pair of the units it has no plans to repaint them into Monon colors.

Instead the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum plans to keep them in their Bangor & Aroostook livery because the locomotives were originally delivered to that road.

The units, Nos. 52 and 56, arrived in North Judson, Indiana, in June. They had most recently operated on the Saratoga & North Creek, a New York State tourist railroad.

No. 52 was fired up on July 14 and reportedly ran pretty well despite having sat dead for three years. The unit has a few water leads that need to be fixed.

No. 56 has electrical problems that need to be resolved but that work is not expected to begin until No. 52 is operating and gains a Federal Railroad Administration blue card.

Museum officials have received many requests that No. 52 and 56 be repainted in Monon black and gold, but they say they want to maintain the historical accuracy of the locomotives.

One Monon BL2 has survived and is in the collection of the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, Kentucky. The Monon once had nine BL2 in service.

The Hoosier Valley Museum does have three pieces of former Monon equipment.

They include an SW1 switcher, steel transfer caboose 81551 and a 40-foot steel boxcar built in 1941.

Museum to Add New Cab to Switcher

April 19, 2021

An Indiana railroad museum plans to restore a badly damaged SW1 switch engine that lost its cab after a truck carrying it struck a low bridge in 2018.

The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has found a replacement cab that will be mounted on former Monon DS-50.

The locomotive’s original cab was destroyed after striking the bridge in Logansport, Indiana, in December 2018.

The DS-50 was recently moved to the museum in North Judson after sitting in Logansport for more than two years.

“We’ve been working on saving this locomotive for almost a year now,” museum president Todd Flanigan said in a statement.

 “There’s no way for me to fully express my gratitude to everyone involved in making this project a reality.”

The locomotive is not owned by the museum but its owner has agreed to the rebuild project.

The museum also plans to restore a former Monon transfer caboose, No. 81551, which was built in the railroad’s Lafayette, Indiana, shops in 1946.

Permanent Stop Indication at Milepost 272

October 3, 2020

The Monon Railroad was known for its semaphore signals, some of which lasted well into the 21st century.

CSX replaced the last working semaphores on the north end of the ex-Monon north of Crawfrodsville, Indiana, with modern signals in December 2010.

But semaphores remained in place on the south end of the ex-Monon on the CSX Hoosier Subdivision.

However, CSX stopped using the Hoosier Sub in 2009 aside from a short segment of track in New Albany, Indiana, just north of Louisville.

In December 2017 CSX filed with the Surface Transportation Board for authority to abandon most of the Hoosier Sub and that request was granted.

In the meantime, some of the semaphore blades on the Hoosier Sub had been stolen.

Online reports indicate that the last pair of blades still intact on their masts were located in Campbellsburg, Indiana.

On a recent Sunday during an expedition to see what is left of the Hoosier Sub I found those blades still set to a stop indication in both direction in Campbellsburg.

The tracks are still in place, although passing sidings had been removed.

Indiana Trail Funds has indicated its interest in converting the former Monon right of way into a trail.

At some point a salvage company will pull up these rails and take down these signals which over the years saw trains of the Monon, Louisville & Nashville, Amtrak, Seaboard System, Milwaukee Road, Soo Line and the Indiana Rail Road pass by.

Today they stand displaying in essence a permanent stop indication.

Indiana Monon Station at Risk

September 2, 2020

The former Monon depot in Bedford, Indiana, in July 1992. The track in the foreground connected the former Milwaukee Road with the former Monon. At the time, Soo Line operated two trains a day over this connection.

The former Monon passenger station in Bedford, Indiana, is at risk of demolition due to its dilapidated condition a preservation group has warned.

The station was built in 1926 of Indiana limestone. Bedford is the self-style “Limestone Capital of the World” and the Monon over the years shipped tons of the stone that was used to build numerous buildings across the country.

Passenger service at the depot ended in 1967, but the building housed an operator for several years afterwards.

After railroad use of the depot ended, Lawrence County officials began using it as a recycling center.

That use has since ended and the station has become a target for vandals. Deteriorating soffits are endangering the tile roof.

Community leaders and trail advocates have expressed interest in transforming the station into as a trail head for the Milwaukee Road Transportation Trailway, which is built on the former right of way of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul branch that once served Bedford.

The former Milwaukee Road passenger station has been preserved and converted into an information center, gathering space, and trail head for the Limestone Trail System.

Officials hope that saving the Monon Station could spur similar investment in the north edge of Downtown Bedford.

They have cautioned that preservation of the depot needs to occur soon before further deterioration makes preservation of the structure even more difficult and expensive.

Railroad Photo Exhibit Set at Indiana Library

December 13, 2019

An exhibit of railroad photographs is being hosted by the Frankfort, Indiana, public library Jan 4 to 29th.

Titled Workin’ on the Railroad, the exhibit will feature 30 images. A reception to celebrate the exhibit will be held on Jan. 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The library is in downtown Frankfort at 208 W Clinton St., about a five minute drive from Interstate 65.

Frankfort once hosted a substantial yard and shops operated by the Nickel Plate Road, which intersected in town the Pennsylvania Railroad line between Chicago and Indianapolis.

The Monon route between Chicago and Indianapolis also once passed through Frankfort but has been abandoned.

Both rail lines are still in place although the former PRR line is a CSX industrial track that is abandoned a few miles north of town.

Norfolk Southern operates the former NKP line.

Ghost of the Monon Meets Ghost of the Pennsy

September 21, 2019

For a fleeting moment in Linden, Indiana, the ghost of the Monon met the ghost of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The occasion was the passage of the final trip of Amtrak’s Hoosier State from Indianapolis to Chicago.

Two former PRR passenger cars were chartered to operate on the final trip including the Frank Thomson, a blunt end observation car. Thomson was the sixth president of the Pennsy.

I didn’t plan to get a reflection of a retired Monon semaphore signal in the window of the Thomson as the Hoosier State passed this railroad museum located at the restored joint Monon-Nickel Plate road passenger station.

But sometimes you get lucky.

Up and Down the Monon

September 17, 2018

The Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railroad — better known as the Monon — once operated 603 miles of track before it was merged into the Louisville & Nashville in 1971.

It’s primary route was between Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky, with branches extended to Indianapolis, French Lick, Indiana, and Michigan City, Indiana.

However, all of the track it owned was entirely in Indiana with the Monon relying on terminal railroads to reach Chicago and Louisville.

The Monon had a circular herald of red and white, which were the colors used in the post World War II era for passenger train equipment. The logo featured the railroad’s name and slogan “The Hoosier Line” as well as the letter M and an arrowhead.

The latter was a nod to the belief that Monon was a Potowatomi Indian word meaning “swift running.”

The CSX locomotive with the Monon herald on the side of its nose came westward last week on the New Castle Subdivision.

Akron Railroad Club Vice President Todd Dillon caught up with it in Kent.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

INRD Seeks to Give up Trackage Rights

June 28, 2017

In what may be the first step toward abandonment of the CSX Hoosier Subdivision in Southern Indiana, the Indiana Rail Road is seeking regulatory approval to end its trackage rights on the line.

INRD was the last user of the route, but has not moved traffic over for more than two years.

In is filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, INRD said its network has been physically disconnected from the Hoosier Sub after it abandoned 22.8 miles of a former Milwaukee Road line in 2011 between Bedford and Crane, Indiana.

The Hoosier Sub, which was once part of the Chicago-Louisville, Kentucky, route of the Monon, extends for 72 miles between Bedford and New Albany, Indiana.

Most of the Hoosier Sub is out of service except for a portion of it in the New Albany region.

If the STB grants the INRD’s petition, the trackage rights would be discontinued on July 27.

CSX decommissioned the Hoosier Sub in November 2010 after a trestle over the White River south of Bedford burned, in what officials reported to be a suspicious blaze.

There were plans for the State of Indiana to buy the line but a local port authority was unable to raise enough money for that purpose.

The ex-Monon has been abandoned and the track removed between Bedford and Cloverdale, Indiana.

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

mitchell2-2

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