Saint Louis, MO to Frankfort, IN

The Cloverleaf Division

Point of Interest

Map submitted by Jim Dodds.

This abandoned railway ran from St. Louis to Frankfort, Indiana. The orginal portion of the line, from St. Louis into Edwardsville, Illinois was built as a narrow gauge line in 1882, then later, rebuilt as a standard gauge line in 1889 and built the rest of the way to Frankfort, Indiana. Beginning in 1922, the line was run by the Nickel Plate Railroad until the entire NKP company was absorbed by the Norfolk & Western in 1964. The NW abandoned the section of the line between Frankfort, Indiana and Metcalf, Illinois in the 1960s. The Norfolk & Western merged with the Southern Railway in 1982 to form the railroad Norfolk Southern, which chose to abandon the majority of the rest of the line in early 2001; the sections abandoned in 2001 were between Neoga, Illinois to Coffeen, Illinois, and also between Sorento, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. The only sections of the line still open today include the section connecting to BNSF railway at Sorento serving a mine in Coffeen, and is still operated by NS. Another section of the line from Neoga to Metcalf, Illinois is owned by the Eastern Illinois Railroad Company (EIRC).

See also Part 1 of the Cloverleaf Division.

Thanks to Jim Dodds for contributing information about this route.

The Nickel Plate utilized the Cloverleaf to access St. Louis. The Cloverleaf provided the NKP access from its still-active mainline (now used by NS) to St. Louis, and to Toledo. The Cloverleaf was not built by the NKP as the article states, but was purchased by the NKP in 1922.

The portion from Sandusky and all throughout Ohio that this article references is the Lake Erie and Western, abandoned between Sandusky and Fostoria. This line was used by the NKP to access Peoria, IL, and Sandusky, OH from its still-active mainline. Like the Cloverleaf, this line was purchased by the NKP in 1922. Norfolk Southern does not operate the line from Fostoria to Sandusky via this route like the article states -- it is obviously abandoned.

Aaron M.
Cleveland, OH


Actually, this was not one line, but part of two. The line from St. Louis went via Frankfort Northeast through Kokomo, Marion, Bluffton, Continental(Ohio), and eventually Toledo. This was once a narrow gauge line and was later know as the Toledo St Louis and Western Railroad aka the "Cloverleaf". It was later a NKP line and even later N&W and NS abandoned portions of it. Small segments still in use in Indiana include areas East of Kokomo to Marion's Belt line, and Van Buran through Bluffton to about Craigville. A segment in between these two is mostly still there but overgrown and mostly unconnected. Another section from Kokomo to Frankfort is mostly intact but again is unconnected do to some bridge and crossing removals on Kokomo's West side.

The other line was at one time a Lake Erie and Western Railroad line from Peoria, Illinois via Frankfort to Sandusky, Ohio or thereabout. This was later a part of the Nickel Plate as well. I am not familiar with the line in Ohio, so please excuse me. This line is abandoned in part of Ohio, and Illinois. Part of it is still used by NS between Lafayette, Indiana and Muncie, Indiana. From Lafayette on West towards Illinois the current operator is Kankakee Beaverville and Southern Railroad. NS uses some trackage rights to get to Peoria today. RJ Corman may use some of the trackage in Ohio and a bit into Indiana. The Nickel Plate used the route described by Mr. Dodds for their trains indeed, basically to get from St. Louis to Cleveland, Buffalo, and points East via the Erie, but it was two separate routes that only segments of either were used for this routing. It is to be noted that both routes started out with many different corporations that were cobbled together to make the routes we know or have known today. The TSL&W for example has a colorful corporate history of many receiverships and sales up until it's purchase by the Nickel Plate. Hope this helps.

Logansport, IN


OK, thanks. I just put information of the line in my area (in Illinois), and then the other information I put, about Indiana, was just based on maps and stuff I found online, and the Ohio portion, I did based on the fact that my grandparents live in that area and I know that RJ Corman rebuilt some lines in western Ohio. I will deifnitely have to ask to edit this. :)

He still needs to edit the map that was posted as well, as I accidentally sent him the wrong map.

Jim Dodds
Glen Carbon, IL


Just a quick note -- the article has changed to only reflect the line between Saint Louis, MO and Frankfort, IN. Sorry for any confusion!

Your Abandoned Rails Moderator,

Greg Harrison
Haslet, TX


Thanks Mr. Dodds. I wrote the original piece on the Cloverleaf between Toledo and Indiana, but did not know much about the line past that point; thanks for your research!

Aaron M.
Cleveland, OH


You're welcome. It's a good thing that more railfans live on the portion of the Cloverleaf route west of Frankfort, Indiana...I honestly don't know about the line past Frankfort, so I'm glad you made that other article. Now the entire line's length is complete. Oh, and the pictures of the abandoned line were taken by me.

Thanks for the help Aaron and Jay :)

Jim Dodds
Glen Carbon, IL


A couple last bits of information: A large portion of the line is still used to this day--between Craigville and Frankfort, Indiana (Craigville is in the eastern part of Indiana). From Craigville to Marion, Indiana it is used by the Wabash Central Railway(WBCR), from Marion to Kokomo, Indiana it is used by the Central Railway of Indianapolis(CERA), and between Kokomo and Frankfort, Indiana it is still used to this day by NS.

Oh, and you ought to add in this link to the page (pictures of the Eastern Illinois Railroad):

Jim Dodds
Glen Carbon, IL


For further information on the rail-trail between Glen Carbon and Edwardsville, Illinois, see

St. Louis, MO


You note in your page on the Cloverleaf Division, Part 2 that "The NW abandoned the section of the line between Frankfort, Indiana and Metcalf, Illinois in the 1960s." I believe this is incorrect. I grew up in Mellott, Indiana which was on this stretch of the old Nickel Plate Road/Norfolk and Western line that ran from Frankfort to Charleston, IL.

To verify whether we are talking about the same line, the route ran westward from Mellott to Veedersburg and then angled southwest toward Cayuga, Indiana and on toward Charleston, Illinois and beyond. It ran eastward from Mellott to Wingate and New Richmond, Indiana on to Frankfort. I believe it also ran at least to Lima, Ohio because up until the 1960s, when passenger service was still running, my Dad would ride the train from Mellott to Lima, Ohio to pick up his new school buses at the Superior Coach Company there.

At any rate, Norfolk and Southern trains were still running through Mellott into the mid 1980s. I believe Norfolk Southern got permission to abandon the line around 1982 or 83, although short trains were still running through town sporadically at least until 1986 or 87 (I have video of trains passing through Mellott during that time period). The tracks were taken up and removed by Norfolk Southern in September of 1988, as I have photos and video of the rails being removed by equipment being pulled by Norfolk Southern engines.

Just wanted to clarify this.

Jerry A.
Mellott, IN


Jerry is correct. NS operated trains on the section between Linden and I believe the state line until at least 1986. There are photos on the Indiana bull session of NS power on the line east of New Richmond in 1985. I grew up just north of the line on the west side of New Richmond and recall when the line was tore out by NS. A sad day for many of us.

Crawfordsville, IN


I live in Newtown, Indiana, about 10 miles north of Mellott. I have family in Mellott and visit there often. I often times sit on my grandmas front porch and wonder what it was like to see trains roll through Mellott.

Jerry(or anyone else) , I'd like to see those photos of trains in Mellott. I'm an avid railfan and have been on a quest to learn more about this line. Please help me!

If you'd like to contact me, please E-mail me at:


Justin S.
Newtown, IN


I have a picture of my grandfather on the back of a train and it is called the Cloverleaf route from st.louis, mo. to frankfort, In.

anita frazier
frankfort , IN


Does anyone have information about a spur line that ran from Mellott, Indiana, to Newtown. My dad used to tell stories about this railroad ... following SR 341 ... but never got any details. In the "History of Fountain County, Indiana" books there are mentions that there was fierce competition between Mellott and Newtown for the railroad ... but no details.

Sunnyvale, CA


Re: Daniel's inquiry about a spur route from Mellott to Newtown-- I have quite a few articles on the history of Mellott and Newtown and have never seen anything about it. There is a story about James Whitcomb Riley coming for a visit to Newtown and rode a "hack" from the depot in Mellott to Newtown. There was a bit of animosity in the early days between Newtown and Mellott because the railroad went through the area which is now Mellott in the early 1880s and bypassed the already existent town of Newtown.

Jerry A.
Mellott, IN


Ramsdey tower still exists as a museum. The tower protected the crossing of the Illinois Central Gruber Line and the Cloverleaf Division of the Nickel Plant, at Ramsey. There are a boxcar and caboose beside the tower, but otherwise no tracks survive. The tower was the pattern for a new replica tower, the Dick Stair Memorial tower at Monticello railway Museum, Monticello, IL That tower contains the interlocking machiones from Gibson City and Smithshire, Illinois, and when completed, will operate nearby switches near the station at the museum. Dick Stair was a longtime operator for Illinois Central Cahmpaign Interlocking, once the sixth largest interlocking plant on the railroad. It controlled several station tracks as well as crossings iof Illinis Central, Peoria and Eastern, Wabash and Illinois Terminal.

George R. Carlisle
Urbana, IL


The section between Neoga and Coffeen was abandoned before 2001. I'm 18 and I dont remember it at all. It was already gone when my family built my house in '97 or '98. My grandpa actually bought a section of it and we use it for farm work.

Jacob M.
Herrick, IL


Always wondered what became of the missing link between the northeastern end and Neoga. Was there any specific reason for the break or was it just for unknown purposes? Like so many folks out there I had a grandfather who was an Engineer with NPRR and worked out of the Mattoon/Charleston yards/facilities. His usual route was to the St. Louis area end and back.

Sal Paradise
Back East, CT


I was in Ramsey IL today (between Vandalia and Pana) and noticed a restored, freshly painted Nickel Plate caboose near the old right of way and, on sitting on tracks on the right of way, a box car. In addition, the tower still stands where a junction once stood with the Nickel Plate and another railroad.

Oakford , IL


Shortened Link:

Do you have any pictures or information about The Cloverleaf Division? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.