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Railroads of Madison County - CCC&StL

Anderson - Madison County Railroads


NYC E Unit

Indianapolis & Bellefontaine
Indianapolis, Pittsburgh & Cleveland
(The 'Bee Line')
Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati &
Indianapolis Railway
Cleveland Cincinnati Chicago and St Louis Railway

(The Big Four)
New York Central
(Cleveland Division)
Penn Central
(Southwest Division)
[Indianapolis Line]

Click to see Ticket The line that is now a double tracked main line was originally built in 1852. The road entered from the Southwest running through Ingalls, Pendleton, Anderson and Chesterfield on its way to Muncie and Union City at the Indiana and Ohio state line. The next 12 years saw a period of expansion and changes including a name change, joint operations and mergers. Through a merger with its Ohio partner in 1864, the Bellefontaine was created and the line became known as 'The Bee Line', a nickname that was still used by some older residents even into the 1980's.

Big 4 Station 1955 Another merger in 1868 opened the line from Indianapolis to Cleveland. The main line was completed from Cleveland to St. Louis when the road was consolidated in 1889 with the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago and the Indianapolis & St. Louis RR to form the CCC&StL, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway, the road that was to be known as the Big Four. The line that was an important part of the CCC&StL, increased in importance as a part of the NYC Cleveland Division when control of the road passed to New York Central Lines in 1922. CR TV Train By 1930, it was a part of the New York Central System and with the NYC and PRR (Pennsylvania Railroad) merger on Feb. 1, 1968, ownership passed to the newly formed Penn Central RR; following their bankruptcy, it became a part of Conrail on April 1, 1976. The line has since been upgraded with continuously welded rail and now carries a very heavy traffic load of mixed freights, Trail Vans and Mail Trains.  


1954 Ron Stuckey Photo
Anderson NYC Passenger

NYC Niagara 4-8-4 6005(?) leads a passenger train downtown Anderson
We are headed west and crossing Main St. Notice the crossing gate watchman's bulding and the water tank. There were several of these type crossing towers in Anderson plus crossing watchmen at the ground level. This was an example of normal, if there was such a thing, water tanks on the Big 4 in this aera. Steel frame with a wooden tub. The depot sits on the left out of the picture.

On June 1, 1999, CSX and NS split Conrail between them (see the Breakup Of Conrail) resulting in the Bee Line, South Anderson Yard, Emporia Secondary and Gridley Yard going to CSX and the DOW and Marion Branch going to NS. The traffic flow on this double tracked main is changing with the new owners attempting to assimilate their portions of Conrail's traffic.

For those who may wish information about ABS, CTC and TCS signaling on the Bee Line today, Click Here.

No historical discussion of the Big Four rail lines would be
complete without a sampling of the motive power used.
- NYC Power -

Big Four Depot

After the first station was burnt, this one was proposed.

If you look closely, you can see the current station in the drawing.

  Well this is the station that was actually built.

In 1886 They were constructing the actual station.

Big Four Station The Big Four Station on Dillon Street in downtown Anderson served Big Four (NYC) and later Penn Central passenger trains on both the Cleveland to St. Louis Main Line and the Michigan Division (the DOW and now the NS Marion Branch) from 1887 to the discontinuance of passenger service in 1972. Main Line trains would stop directly at the station on either side of the water column (1940s picture to the left) while the service to and from the north would board and detrain across the tracks at the concrete platform to the south (picture foreground). RPO (mail cars) and baggage cars would be set out just to the east of the station at Pearl Street to await loading and/or pick up. During winter, the RPO/Baggage cars would become enveloped in clouds of steam from the steam connections used to heat the cars. This created an almost mystic sight for many a young boy or girl who happened to pass by and glimpse the cars through the swirling mist in the early light of dawn. Big 4 Station 1955

Although all but one track and all of the loading and boarding platforms have now been removed, the station still exists and is currently in use as a dance studio by the Anderson Young Ballet Theater (1997). Exterior renovation and restoration has now begun to ready the station to face another century. Additional Historical Information and Architectual Sketches

This is a Poem about the Big Four Station written in 1980 by Jerry Barrett
It's worth reading 

October 2003
It's finished!! The remodeling of the "Big Four" Depot (like it never was).

Photo by Bill Knepp - MCHS, 2017

Railway Express Agency
The Railway Express Agency was located across the tracks to the south and diagonally across Main Street on the east and numerous other commercial businesses including plumbing supply houses and lumber yards were located nearby. All of this produced heavy street and rail traffic throughout the area of the station with passengers, merchants and trains coming and going.

South Anderson Sign

South Anderson Yard

Even though the Coaling Tower, Ash Pit, Roundhouse and Turntable are gone, the South Anderson Yard, once near abandonment, has again grown in stature with set offs and pickups from East and Westbounds as well as the Indianapolis/ Elkhart runs. This continues to create work for Yard Switchers and the Locals (WSANxx) that work out of South Anderson running to Muncie and New Castle (using trackage rights on the NS after the dismantlement of the Honey Creek) and to Fortville. The seasonal traffic of grain loads and empties to and from Frankton on the Indian Creek and the Emporia secondary and the pickups and setoffs brought in from the Central Indiana & Western (CIW) by their engine #88 all add to keeping the South Anderson Yard a busy place weekdays.

South Anderson circa 1955 With the gradual slowing of industrial loadings, the third shift Yardmaster was discontinued late in 1995 and weekend Yardmaster work was transferred to control of Hawthorne Yard at Avon in 1996. And with the closing of Delphi Interior (Guide Lamp) Plants 6 and 7 in 1996/97, the Yardmaster position was cut to first shift with Hawthorne operating South Anderson as a transfer yard the remainder of the time. However, late in 1997, the second shift YM was restored do to the increased workload from transfers north and south to and from Elkhart and east and west (Indianapolis, Cleveland, Muncie, etc.). Even with the coming merger/breakup of Conrail, South Anderson remains busy with car transfers and Work and Ballast trains as main line tie replacement and re-ballasting continued through the summer of 1997 into the Fall.

With the breakup of Conrail in 1999, the status of South Anderson is once again changing as the Elkhart runs are no longer coming though here. Much of that traffic has now been diverted through the NS connector at Alexandria and travels the old Frankfort main to Muncie and back. Periodically, a NS freight is supposed to come into SA, but the patterns still have not firmed as of this writing. - 7/9/99

It's 1952 and the last changes have been made to the CCC&StL Mechanical Drawing of South Anderson Yard. For those who would like to have an idea of the facilities that were there, here is the drawing from the files of the New York Central System Historical Society (NYCSHS).

On August 19, 2002, Maurice Lewman and I toured the CSX Big Four Avon Yard with permission. For the photo essay, Click Here


Picture Credits:
NYC E7 #4017 photo copyright 1966, 1996 by Jerry Appleman.
NYC Southwestern Limited the premier passenger train on the New York-St. Louis run, seen eastbound in Anderson between 1931 and 1936 led by Big Four J1d Hudson number 6609. Next stop, Muncie. - Francis H. Parker Collection.
CR TrailVan train eastbound on Number 1 main near Chesterfield, Indiana, June 1996 - Photo by Roger P. Hensley.
NYC Station in the early 1940s - Postcard Photo - Marvin Crim Collection
NYC Station in the 'teens' - Postcard Photo - Roger Hensley Collection
NYC Station in 1955 - photo by C. C. Staley, NYC Conductor, retired
CR South Anderson Yard Sign near yard office, March 1997 - photo by Roger P. Hensley
South Anderson Yard circa 1955 with NYC L4A Mohawk - Photo by M.D.McCarter - Ron Buser Collection.
South Anderson Yard Mechanical Drawing - NYCSHS files

Last updated august 4, 2017.
This "Railroads of Madision County" page is written, maintained and hosted by: Roger P. Hensley
Copyright 1997-2018 by Roger P. Hensley. Taken from the original work by Roger P. Hensley