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  Railroads of Madison County
Kyle Coble

Re: History of the Marion Branch

From: Kyle Coble
Date: Thursday 18 Nov 2010

The history of the line is a fascinating one, but is too involved to put into one post. Here is the briefest of summary on the history. First tracks built in 1870 between Warsaw and Goshen Indiana by the Warsaw Goshen & White Pigeon Railroad. The railroad operated until 1871 when they consolidated with the Grand Rapids Wabash & Cincinnati Railroad (which had not begun construction of their railroad) to form the Cincinnati Wabash & Michigan Railroad.

The CW&M proceeded to build from Warsaw to Anderson Indiana through Wabash Marion and Fairmount Indiana reaching Anderson in 1876. The line was extended north to Benton Harbor Michigan in 1882 making a valuable connection to Lake Michigan. In 1891 the long planned connection to the Vernon Greensburg & Rushville Railroad was made. Also in 1891, the Cleveland Cincinnati Chicago & St. Louis Railroad (Big Four) took control of the Cincinnati Wabash & Michigan, the CW&M becoming the Michigan Division of the CCC&StL. Rights into Louisville Kentucky were established in 1895.

According to the book "Railroads In Indiana" passenger service south of Anderson was abandoned in 1942 and Anderson to Elkhart ended in 1950. The line was abandoned north of Goshen in 1942 and south of Emporia beginning in 1973. A short section between Knightstown and Carthage remains operated as a tourist line. While known at different times as the Indiana Division, the Michigan Branch, and the Marion Branch. I don't have the dates for the name changes.

Should you be interested in more information, a really nice article titled "The Big Four Railroad In Indiana" appears in the Indiana Magazine Of History June/September 1925. On page 253 the author writes about the Cincinnati Wabash & Michigan. The article I believe is now available for free online, but I don't have the link. You will have to Google it. If you or anyone else have other questions or want to know more, feel free to contact me.

Kyle Coble
Auburn Indiana

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