Browns, IL to Poseyville, IN

Picture Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Note: This right-of-way is not technically abandoned; as of 2009, it is being rebuilt and will see regular rail traffic again in the near future.

Showing of

The rail-trail northwest of Poseyville, IN, is open, but hasn't seen many improvements. Photo by Howard E. Espravnik, March 2009.

In 1857 two charters were granted for railroad lines. They were, in Illinois, between Grayville and Mattoon and between Grayville and Mount Vernon, in Indiana. Both of these charters were met by the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railway, and it is from these two charters that the mainline between Browns, IL and Poseyville, IN came to pass. In 1900, ownership was transferred to Illinois Central; at a later point in time, the Owensville Terminal Company took over operation.

On April 15th, 1997, Owensville Terminal Co. applied to the Surface Transportation Board to abandon about 22.5 miles of the line from near Browns, IL to near Poseyville, IN. In Illinois it included Edwards and White Counties. In Indiana it crossed Gibson and Posey Counties. On February 3rd, 1998, STB decided that Owensville Terminal Company could remove the rails from Browns to Poseyville, but not abandon it.

On July 1st, 1999, most of the line from Browns to Poseyville was sold for scrap and thereafter some portions began use as trails. On the night of January 12/13, 2005, record flooding took out the line's first bridge span that crossed the Wabash River on the Illinois side.

Around this time, Edward M. Bailey, a retired farmer and agri-businessman, decided to build an ethanol plant near his grain elevators in Browns. However, upon investigation, he determined that there was not enough water and other services in Browns to sustain the plant. Bailey then decided that Grayville, ten miles south of Browns, would be a better location. On September 20, 2005 the Surface Transportation Board gave Bailey permission for his newly formed Browns, Grayville & Poseyville Railway to acquire the line, gain it back from trail use, re-lay the track and operate it. Bailey has since purchased the line from Ownesville Terminal Company and various individuals. He has begun laying rail and repairing grade crossings in Illinois.

Indiana Southwestern Railroad operates the line from Poseyville beyond to Evansville, with a small spur north from Poseyville to Cynthiana (see the Evansville, Mount Carmel and Northern Railroad).

Thanks to Howard E. Espravnik for contributing information about this route.

The rail car in the photo appears to be an open top hopper not a gondola as the photo's caption indicates

Evansville, IN


Is the bridge span still in the river? If so, isn't it a hindrance to barge traffic?

Joel M.
Springfield, IL


Most of the structure has been pulled from the river. There has not been barge traffic on the Wabash River for decades.

Eric L.
Wadesville, IN


That hopper is quite famous. Come on over to the Indiana Railroad Bull Sessions for more info:

George B.
Evansville, IN


Sad news: As of early November, 2011, all the Indiana Southwestern Railroad in Poseyville and the route to Cynthiana is being ripped up. I'm not sure about the line from Poseyville through Armstrong and on to Evansville. As there is nothing of shipping value along that route, I'm afraid it is doomed, too. I will scout it soon and post later. Also, the "famous" B&O/CSX hopper that sat on the siding in Poseyville for many years is also gone. It was probably taken to Howell Yard in Evansville to await it's fate. I would have loved to see it move...

Eric L.
Wadesville, IN


What I'm wondering is that the line was pulled up in 1999 but it couldn't yet be abandoned.What gives?

Brian Gray
Cannelton, IN


I was told by a friend that was originally from that area, that the reason for not abandoning the r-o-w in that area had something to do with all of the Southern Illinois coal deposits in the area. I have heard that the locals were not real receptive to the original rail removal on the line.

Jason R. Jordan
Star City, IN


I was through Poseyville recently and the rails have been removed.

Michael Hayes
O Falon , IL


The line from Browns northwards is abandoned as well. The track has been taken up all the way to the grain elevator on the south side of Olney next to Hwy 130

John Saniel-Banrey
Ostrander, OH


I took a few pictures Friday, 8-14-2015, of the abandoned ROW next to Illinois Highway 1 south of Grayville. Part of the old ROW is being reworked, bulldozed, something--can't mistake the gray/black fill in an old roadbed. Other sections are more or less visible up to a couple miles south of the I-64 interchange.

The former depot in Griffin, IN, is still standing and still has a business (convenience store?) operating. I took one photo of the abandoned ROW on the west edge of town.

Question: forgive me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this line part of the Indiana Rail Road system once upon a time?

If I can post my photos here, I'll do so; otherwise, wait a few days and look on the RR Picture Archives list.

Rev. Jonathan Spurlock
Holts Summit, MO


Used to see this line from the cab of my 18 wheeler traveling to Louisville on I64, always wondered about it now I know.

Tom Koller
Denver, CO


Have seen thie bridges from 64 a few times, most recently a few days ago. Sad to see the line gone when there is a picture on rrpicturearchives showing an engine with grain cars on the next track at Poseyville. Guess there wasn't enough traffic on the line to maintain it.

Joel Spitzer
Harrisonburg, VA


Does anyone have a picture of the train that ran through Browns in 1950s? As a child I visited my grandparents in Browns and I recall hearing the train whistle at night. I wonder which train and how close to Browns it ran.

Sandra Frye
Madison, WI


Sandra, which way was the train going, north/south, or east/west? The Illinois Central had a line running north/south that went through Browns, and the Southern Railway had a line that went east/west.

It's hard to say what train would be going through at night, could've been a freight train or passenger train. You'd have to get a railroad timetable from that era to tell what train it was. There are very few photos of scheduled trains running at night.

Ostrander, OH


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Do you have any pictures or information about Browns, IL to Poseyville, IN? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.