Posts Tagged ‘Tulip Trestle’

There Goes Santa Claus

December 4, 2022

The 2022 Santa Train of the Indiana Rail Road is shown above crossing Tulip Trestle in Greene County, Indiana, between Solsberry and Bloomfield on Saturday morning. Santa had earlier received children in Solsberry as part of a three-day, 12-stop journey over the INRD in Indiana and Illinois.

The locomotive engineer of SD40-2 No. 4002 played a short rendition of Jingle Bells on the locomotive’s horn as the train crossed the bridge, which was built between 1905 and 1906 by the Indianapolis Southern Railway, which soon became part of the Illinois Central Railroad.

Below the bridge was a crowd of railfans, and parents and children.

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.

Tulip Trestle Observation Deck Opened

July 14, 2015

Tulip Trestle is one of the most impressive looking railroad bridges in Indiana, but has always been difficult to find and observe due to its rural location.

However, Greene County residents have made it a little easier by opening an observation deck below the 2,295-foot trestle that stands 157 feet above ground at its highest point.

The trestle was built by the Indianapolis Southern with funding provided by the Illinois Central. Today the Indiana Rail Road uses the bridge, which crosses Richland Creek.

The observation deck is located on Viaduct Road. To reach the site, take Indiana Route 43 to Solsberry. Turn onto Tulip Road by the Yoho General Store and go west. Viaduct Road intersects Tulip Road.

Rail traffic on the INRD is not heavy so you could spend hours at the site and note see a train. The line carries coal and general merchandise.

Crossing Tulip Trestle on the Indiana Rail Road

May 20, 2014

The excursion train is about ready for boarding.

The excursion train is about ready for boarding.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to ride a VIP train to the famed Tulip Trestle on the Indiana Rail Road. The bridge is 2,295 feet in length and 157 feet above the ground at its highest point, making it one of the largest such railroad structures in the United States.

INRD operated the train for Indiana University Press, which used the occasion to honor its authors, friends and the contributions of recent retirees from the Press.

The guest of honor was the founding series editor for the Railroads Past and Present series, George M. Smerk.

I was invited because IU Press has published two of my books and I’ve reviewed manuscripts and proposals for the Press.

Smerk is a retired professor at Indiana University who has been a tireless advocate of rail transportation. He continues to be a co-editor of the railroad book series and to write a column for Railfan and Railroad on mass transit topics.

H. Roger Grant, a history professor at Clemson University as well as a long-time Akron Railroad Club member, recently was named as co-editor of the railroad book series.

Grant, a former professor at the University of Akron, has published numerous railroad history books.

We boarded the four-car train in Bloomington at a crossing on the IU campus. All of the cars were of Santa Fe heritage and still look much the same as they did in their Santa Fe days.

Included in the consist was Santa Fe business car No. 56, which is now owned by Thomas G. Hoback and his wife. Hoback, the president and CEO of the INRD, was one of the railroad’s founders in 1986.

Also in the consist was ex-Santa Fe lounge car 1389 and coach 2820. Both had their original interiors although No. 2820 now has former Amtrak coach seats.

The train traveled 20 miles west to Tulip Trestle, located in Greene County near Solsberry. It was built in 1905-1906 by the Indianapolis Southern with funding from the Illinois Central Railroad. The IC took over the Indianapolis Southern in 1911.

The route, which linked Indianapolis and Effingham, Ill., was known as the “hi and dry” because of its many bridges and fills.

Hoback, a former coal marketing executive at the IC, was part of an investor group that purchased 110 miles of the line in 1986 from the Illinois Central Gulf.

The primary purpose of the line was to haul coal to a power plant in Indianapolis, but the route had and continues to have some merchandise freight.

The IU Press excursion ambled along at a leisurely pace as passengers feasted on cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

I positioned myself on the observation platform of AT&SF No. 56. The train had a locomotive at each end, which kept me from getting the view and images I had hoped to get from the rear of No. 56 as the train crossed Tulip Trestle. Nonetheless, the view still was spectacular and the hospitality was first rate.

Soon we were crossing the Tulip Trestle, a structure that I had seen once from the ground and it located in a remote location. It spans a broad valley that includes Richland Creek.

There has been at least one public excursion over the trestle during INRD ownership. That trip was pulled by Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 587. Some have ridden across the trestle on the annual Santa Claus trains operated by INRD.

After crossing the trestle, the train halted, the head-end crew changed ends and it was back across again. On the second crossing of the trestle, I stood at an open Dutch door.

All too soon we were back in Bloomington. It had been an impressive trip that I was fortunate to have been invited to ride.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

George Smerk (center to the right of the man with the white striped shirt) enjoys the excursion to Tulip Trestle aboard Santa Fe lounge car 1389.

George Smerk (center to the right of the man with the white striped shirt) enjoys the excursion to Tulip Trestle aboard Santa Fe lounge car 1389.

Rolling along through the Southern Indiana countryside, which can be rugged in these parts.

Rolling along through the Southern Indiana countryside, which can be rugged in these parts.

Approaching Tulip Trestle from the east end. At the time of its construction, it was the third largest bridge of its type in the world.

Approaching Tulip Trestle from the east end. At the time of its construction, it was the third largest bridge of its type in the world.

The panoramic view. Tulip trestle cost $246,504 to build in the early 20th century. The laborers were paid 30 cents an hour. A number of them were killed during construction, but no definitive number has been identified.

The panoramic view. Tulip trestle cost $246,504 to build in the early 20th century. The laborers were paid 30 cents an hour. A number of them were killed during construction, but no definitive number has been identified.

Yes, it's a long ways down, 157 feet at one point. The view was taken from the observation platform of Santa Fe No. 56.

Yes, it’s a long ways down, 157 feet at one point. The view was taken from the observation platform of Santa Fe No. 56.

You can see through the ties in this image of the ditch lights of GP38 No. 3803 and Santa Fe No. 56.

You can see through the ties in this image of the ditch lights of GP38 No. 3803 and Santa Fe No. 56.

Crossing Richland Creek. Look carefully and you'll see a reflecting of the footing and tower on the side of Santa Fe 56, which gives the illusion of seeing a complete support tower.

Crossing Richland Creek. Look carefully and you’ll see a reflection of the footing and tower on the side of Santa Fe 56, which gives the illusion of seeing a complete support tower.

The west end of the trestle is in sight. The bridge does not have a walkway at track level, but that hasn't stopped some from walking out onto it.

The west end of the trestle is in sight. The bridge does not have a walkway at track level, but that hasn’t stopped some from walking out onto it.

Looking out onto the trestle from the west side from the observation platform of Santa Fe No. 56. Some sources say the bridge is 2,307 feet in length.

Looking out onto the trestle from the west side from the observation platform of Santa Fe No. 56. Some sources say the bridge is 2,307 feet in length.

A ground-level view at the west end on the fireman's side out toward the trestle.

A ground-level view at the west end on the fireman’s side out toward the trestle.

Late afternoon lighting casts shadows on the north side of the trestle. The structure has 38 upright steel structures, most of which are in pairs.

Late afternoon lighting casts shadows on the north side of the trestle. The structure has 38 upright steel structures, most of which are in pairs.

Aside from the installation of two 45-sections in 1916, Tulip Trestle is "as built" in 1906.

Aside from the installation of two 45-sections in 1916, Tulip Trestle is “as built” in 1906.

High-level eats on the trestle.

High-level eats on the trestle.

A passenger views the valley from the lounge car as the excursion train crosses back over Tulip Trestle en route back to Bloomington.

A passenger views the valley from the lounge car as the excursion train crosses back over Tulip Trestle en route back to Bloomington.