Northbound through Indiana
Nov. 14-15

Photos by Dave Ingles

After overnighting in Louisville and dropping Chuck Weinstock off at the airport to catch a flight home to Pittsburgh, Rick Moser and I headed north into Indiana under cloudy skies, our targets being a few depots. We didn't see many trains, so if you want action, you can pretty much skip this file. The first structure we photographed was Watson Tower, which in its day guarded a crossing of B&O and NYC lines. Time: 9:48 a.m.

Watson was also the east end of today's ex-interurban short line, the Southern Indiana Railroad. In the town of Speed, not far to the west, we found their enginehouse, with the diesels locked inside, even on a Monday, and the remnants of an NYC caboose outside.

At Scottsburg, we photographed this old PRR depot; we were following today's Louisville & Indiana, more or less, which operates the old PRR line.

We detoured northeast to the old B&O railroad town of North Vernon, but did not find the expected unit for the short line that operates the old PRR branch down to North Madison. We had to make a nature stop in the north end of town and when we got back downtown by the old B&O depot, there came a westbound CSX train just starting up on the old B&O Cincinnati-St. Louis line. This was a surprise as this line has few trains, and is still guarded by Color Position Light signals. Slides come first, so these are the best digitals I got as he pulled west just as we got to trackside; units are 9028/4777/HCLX 6334, at 11:35 a.m.

This ex-C&O (Pere Marquette style) caboose is lettered B&O; the local police car label leaves no doubt about the town's history!

Since the CSX train had gone, and we figured we could catch up with it (we did), we took a couple more minutes to photograph the B&O depot and the old signal at the diamond. We are looking southeast in both photos.

We overtook the train as it slowed into Seymour, 13 miles west of North Vernon and a town where in the 1960s i'd boarded a B&O daytime passenger train to St. Louis, to go home to Springfield, Ill., after visiting my friend Tom Smart in Louisville; we railfanned up to Seymour in the morning for me to catch the train. (That would be the second of my three trips on this route, the other two covering the entire line, eastbound from St. Louis in 1960 and westbound from Cincy to Carlyle, Ill., in 1971; many of today's mileage collectors need this route, as Amtrak has never detoured on it that I remember, nor did a Chessie Steam Special cover it.) We hung around downtown, where the old B&O crosses the old PRR (today's L&I), while the freight did some work at the east end of town. Finally it came into town, and to our surprise, turned south on the L&I for Louisville; come to learn later this is a regular move, as CSX has rights on the L&I, to replace the old B&O branch out of North Vernon, apparently. He had 45 cars now, and left at 12:20 p.m.

After the train left, we shot the "modern" metal depot that had served B&O, the ex-PRR line looking north thru downtown from the diamond, and then, at 12:30 p.m., an ex-C&O caboose, this time properly lettered, displayed next to the L&I south of the U.S. 50 crossing. We then continued on west.

The next town on our depot list was Brownstown, and we found the railroad at the far north end of town. The depot was about to fall down from neglect, but a CPL signal was handy, as a bonus, with the old elevator as background.

Ten minutes later, at 1:30, we ran across signs for the Medora covered bridge, away from the main highway but not far from the railroad, east of the town on Route 235, and made photos. It is reputed to be the longest "historic" (i.e., old and genuine, pre-20th century) covered bridge, at 460 feet. Built during 9 months in 1875 by Joseph Daniels, it cost $18,142. It spans the east fork of the White River, was closed to road traffic (bypassed) in 1972, and a restoration was finished in early 2011, a few months before we dropped by.

After some wild goose chases on narrow back roads, failing to find a depot or two on our list, we did nail this former interurban substation at Azalia, now at 2:50 p.m.

Sometimes depots that have been put to other uses have been heavily modified, but still, when you look close, are obviously of depot origin. Such was this ex-Pennsy station at Clifford, Ind.

I wouldn't include this very poor train shot, except that it's the only other train we saw this day! We are in Edinburgh, at 3:42, and heard the train from a block or two away. It was L&I GP39 223 with 4 cars; I took a slide "coming on" and tried this digital going away. Oh, well.

On our way into Columbus, where we gassed up, we ran across this vehicle. We don't know what it was testing, or whether they conduct tests for schoolkids in it!

Bad weather or not, I could not pass up this ornate Johnson County courthouse in Franklin, Ind.; it was 4:12 p.m., and getting dark.

Now it was a race against darkness for a few more depots, and we wound up having to forego one or two. This is the nice ex-Big Four (NYC) depot in Franklin, now positioned along the old PRR (L&I now), with an ex-NYC caboose, too. Time: 4:10.

Our next town was Martinsville, where we shot three items shortly after 5 p.m.: the ex-Big Four station, almost indiscernible as a former depot except for the roof, and scant evidnce of track even tho it is on-site; the Morgan County courthouse; and the ex-PRR depot, still trackside.

Desperate lighting calls for desperate photography. Here is the ex-PRR station at Spencer, Ind., at 5:50 p.m. After shooting it, we headed for our overnight at Terre Haute, and en route were forced into a long detour on narrow state roads to conclude a sort of frustrating day.

I had "done" Terre Haute on a trip with Carol a few years earlier, so with another gray morning, we headed out of town, first stop Clinton, Ind., for a depot photo for Rick (I'd done it). This is the ex-C&EI building along CSX's busy Chicago-Evansville main line.

Shortly after making this photo, a northbound CSX freight came, and we set up to shoot it coming off the Wabash River bridge. It had units 4709/7550, and a third whose number I didn't get, with 60 cars at 9:33 a.m. My D70 digital camera wouldn't shoot (I did get a slide), and worse, it suddenly said that my memory card had no images on it! So that was it for my digital work for the day, and the trip. Eventually the wizards in the Kalmbach photo studio retrieved most (but not all) of the "missing" images, but the rest of the day I could shoot only slides.

For the record, we continued north along the CSX, generally, stopping for depot shots in such places as Veedersburg, Ind. (P&E and NKP); shot two CSX trains around Danville, plus the old C&EI depot; the old EJ&E roundhouse out in the field south of Rossville, Ill., which was news to Rick; a CSX train in Rossville; the C&EI depot at Milford; and finally, another CSX train north of Watseka, Ill. From there we headed to Rick's home in Naperville, and I retrieved my van and drove home to conclude a mostly successful, but long, trip.

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