Monticello to Indianapolis

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Map submitted by Mike Fromholt.

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Evidence of the Monon line in Frankfort, IN: looking north, the tracks once ran on the western edge of the road (appropriately named Monon Road) the road was not put in until way after CSX abandoned the Monon south of Delphi to Indianapolis around 1987. Note the Norfolk Southern locomotive heading east in the background. Photo by Jeremy Harris, July 2011.

Built as the Indianapolis, Delphi and Chicago Railroad during the 1880s, this line was part of the storied history of the old Monon Route. Originally built as a narrow gauge line, it was later changed to standard gauge. Once hosting hotshot passenger trains such as the Tippecanoe, the line was slowly downgraded and forgotten during the respective ownership of both the Louisville and Nashville and Seaboard System Railroads in the 1970s.

Line was slowly abandoned from Indy to Monticello over many years, section by section.

Thanks to James Norwood for contributing information about this route.

The Monon track is now a bicyclists and pedestrians trail from Carmel, to Indianapolis known as the The Monon Trail

Gary
Gary, IN
1/18/2013

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The Monticello to Monon segment is being fought over for trail use and CSX may tear it up for this purpose soon. From Monon towards Dyer still is in place and used daily by CSX and Amtrak's Cardinal and Hoosier State. The large viaduct over Deer Creek in Delphi still stands sans rails with part of the old ROW leading up to it in use by the local trail group. Another part in town is still in place and used by Norfolk Southern to access the old Delphi stone quarry via the old Wabash Railroad mainline. Bridge over Tippecanoe River and Wabash River is gone as is now the Wildcat Creek bridge at Owasco which was damaged a few years ago when one of the piers was undercut by high waters. The later removed in 2013. As previously mentioned, Indy to Westfield is now part of the "Monon Trail" which one day hopes to extend out to Sheridan and perhaps Frankfort or further. Other parts have been reclaimed by farmers and totally removed leaving small towns like Radnor, Yoeman, and Sleeth quiet today. It has been reported the Indiana Hi-Rail tried to make a go of it from Indy to Westfield for a short time before the rails were removed. I still remember when it all was in place and it's hard to see how overgrown the row is in places today with trail pavement along other sections. Surreal, very surreal.

James Norwood
Logansport/Kokomo, IN
10/6/2013

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Recently visited part of the Monon from Delphi out to the High Bridge over Deer Creek on one of the Delphi trails. A newly installed large and rebuilt thru truss bridge over the new 4 lane Indiana 25 is at the beginning of the trail with small plazas on either side of the bridge, one featuring a large mural of Nickel Plate Road steam engine 765 which never ran this route but has visited Delphi via the old Wabash many times. There was a large washout of part of the trackbed about halfway between High Bridge and the Indiana 25 bridge that was very concerning and needs immediate attention. The High Bridge itself was amazing, but in need of dire attention with the old bridge deck ties in a very deteriorated condition and Northern most pier being unindated with water runoff from the North/West abutment area. The aforementioned abutment where the row meets it is starting to sink and needs attention. Delphi Trails Association has been working to take over the ownership of this bridge from owner CSX Corporation but I haven't heard any updates on this for some time. More of the ROW from this trailhead back towards Delphi proper looks like it has had some work to lay trail stone but segment stopped just short of the former overpass of the Wabash Valley Traction Company interurban line which will probably require work in its poor condition. Segment from former Wabash Railroad Junction West to gravel quarry that is still in place hasn't had any traffic for some time as witnessed by me on a visit to the Canal Park which features the former Leiters Ford, Indiana Erie Railroad Depot which was moved and rebuilt and is now standing very close to the Monon line on this segment. Rails were very rusty and vegetation was beginning to encroach on the roadbed and rails. This section ends right before the former Wabash River bridge site.

Lastly I noticed a single hopper car sitting at the Monticello Co-op just East of Sixth Street/Shafer Drive on a visit there this past weekend on the Southernmost section of this rail line still intact.

James Norwood
Walton, IN
7/16/2016

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