The Ferdinand Railroad
This 6.5 mile branch line was completed and placed in operation in 1909. During its existence, it went through six changes of ownership, and was operated under various names:
The Ferdinand's line terminated at a connection to Southern Railway's Evansville Branch, just south of Huntingburg. The Ferdinand had trackage rights on Southern's mainline to Huntingburg, and paid rent for the use of Southern's facilities there.
One of the main sources of revenue for the Ferdinand RR was the Evans Transportation Company, which used the Ferdinand RR as the base for a large freight car leasing operation. In 1986 there were 897 freight cars with the FRDN reporting mark, and in 1987 it grew to 1068 cars, more than could have been stored on the Ferdinand Railroad's track. (See a picture of a Ferdinand boxcar.) When the lease fleet era closed and the Ferdinand returned to local freight operations, it could not survive. By 1990-91 it was down to moving 18 cars per year. The last carload of freight was moved in March 1991. The line was abandoned in June 1991 and dismantled in 1991-92.
Thanks to Craig Berndt for contributing information.
Another interesting/classic short line now gone! Visited this operation many times, but never caught the train working. Interesting track arrangement in Ferdinand.
Just a note for correctness. The Ferdinand Railroads reporting marks were: FRDN not FRR. These reporting marks are still in use by the current equipment owner Chatttahoochee & Gulf Railroad Company (CHAT)
There are 3 photos of the Ferdinand RR from the 1940's at:
I remember seeing a picture of the "Betty Sue", the (only?) diesel owned by the Ferdinand. The line was so well known, even the desk clerk at a Corydon, IN, motel knew about it. Whatever happened to "Betty Sue"? IIRC, that unit was a GE 45-tonner with working side rods.
"Betty Sue" was the name of the GE 45 ton used on the nearby Louisville New Albany & Corydon Railroad (LNAC). The FRDN 45 ton was numbered 101 but not named to my knowledge. Both the LNAC and FRDN 45 ton GE's were chain drive and did not have side rods to connect the un-powered axle on each truck. The roller chain used on these is surprisingly small in size.
In l946 I lived in Jasper, IN and often visited Ferdinand, IN At that time the high students rode the Ferdinand Railroad daily to attend school in Huntingburg. The engine was a steam locomotive number 3. There was no turntable and it daily went to Huntingburg facing forward and returned to Ferdinand backing up.