Indiana interurbans

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Indiana interurbans

  • So when do we get the results of the research?


    Or should I spill the beans?

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  • We'll start with the post-IRR "service" to Seymour IN. 

    The Indiana Railroad operated but did not own the line from Indianapolis to Seymour, Ind. that had been part of the Interstate Publc Service, laster Public Service of Indiana.  The line had been built as the Indianapolis, Columbus and Southeastern, and leased to Interstate for 999 years.  The underlying IC&SE was owned by several Columbus Ind. families.  The cost of breaking the lease was considered to be prohibitive, so PSofI sought a way to get around doing so.

    On the last day of IRR service to Seymour (Jan. 18, 1941), 16 round trips were operated.  The Trustee of the IRR, Bowman Elder, arranged to leave "high-speeds" 77 and 78 for Seymour operation of one train a day by PSI to comply with the lease terms - this was not a "franchise run".  Along with the passenger equipment, a line car was left.  All equipment was to be housed at Columbus, more or less the midway point between Indianapolis and Seymour.  One "train" a day was operated between the end of Indianapolis Railways' track in Indianapolis and the former IRR loop at Seymour, with the cars being changed out at Columbus as necessary.  In a last minute quirk, car 77 went north to IRRs Anderson shops, replaced by car 65.

    All went along without incident until Sept. 8, 1941, with occasional passengers carried.  On that day the northbound car, #78, dewired and lost its pole between Seymour and Columbus.  The operator changed out the pole for the spare one, but needed a new retriever.  Since he had two young ladies riding to Indianapolis, he decided to continue, leaving the rope dangling, to Columbus where he could either fix it or swap cars.  He called the Coulmbus barn on the IRR phone box so they would be ready when he got there.

    The shop apparently messed up his message and assumed he was stuck.  The line car was sent south, and the cars met head on on a curve not far from Columbus.  Both cars were destroyed, the operator of #78 was killed, and one of the young ladies injured enough so she died a few days later.

    PSofI made no attempt to resume service.  The IC&SE owners were eventually paid the astonishing sum of $1.2 million to buy the property and terminate the lease.  Car 65 was sold to the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, where it ran until the mid 1950s.

    Does that cover it, Dave? The next installment will be on the Traction Terminal.

  • OK.   Note that the end of track did not involve going into the Traction Terminal, which became all-bus upon the end of official Indiana Railroad operation.


    Don't forget to be certain which interurban, not yet mentioned on this thread, did not go into the terminal.

  • The Traction Terminal in Indianapolis hosted nearly all of the Indianapolis interurbans - in particular those with power company connections but at least one company was mainly a railroad.

    The interurbans which did use the Traction Terminal:

    Terre Haute Indianapoils and Eastern

    Indianapolis Columbus and Southern (Leased to Interstate Public Service/Public Service Co. of Indiana)

    Union Traction Company of Indiana

    Northern Indiana Power Co.

    PSC of Indiana also had lines formerly:

     Indianapolis and Northwestern Traction

     Ind. Crawfordsville and Danville Electric Railway

     Indianapolis and Martinsvuille Transit Co.

    By August 1 1930, all of these had been included in the Indiana Railroad system.


    As far as I can tell the holdout is:

    Indianapolis and Southeastern (lines to Beech Grove, Greensburg and Connersville)

  • The trains to Greensburg and Connersville did us the Terminal according to the CERA "Magic Interurban"  book on the Indiana Railroad.   Beach Grove was a separate operation and the only one not using the Terminal as "Beach Grove Traction Co."  "Almost half the line was on Indianapolis streetcar trackage."  I wonder what kind of equipment they used and the date of bus substitution?   I would guess the route is now operated by the Indianapolis transit system.

  • That would explain the inconsistent info I found elsewhere on the I&SE.

    The track plan for the Traction Terminal was laid out north-south so that tracks 1-4 were entered from Market St., with tracks 5-9 entering from Ohio St.  Cars arrived or left from Capitol Ave using the double track wye directly in front of the Indiana Statehouse.  Ohio St had a double track wye, and there was a double track wye at Ohio and Capitol.  Union Traction used the low numbered tracks, THI&E the high numbered, and the others shared the middle ones, Interstate using the southbound tracks.

    On the Ohio St. side there were a couple of pair of interlaced switches arranged almost like double slips giving access to a couple of pocket tracks. 

    There's an excellent article on Traction terminal in the spring 2010 issue of First and Fastest including a track diagram that looks like a berserk model railroader drew it.

  • Beech Grove used curved-siders at the end.  Not-so-lovingly-maintained ones, IIRC.  Don't have the conversion date in front of me, but CERA B-101 should have it.  Art

  • thanks.