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Central Indiana Trip
By Wade Frasch
My college years were spent getting more than just an academic education. Meeting people of different walks in life in manufacturing and railroading shaped my life as much as book learning. The father of a friend of mine in the Purdue Model Railroad Club was a personal friend of Ike Duffey; the President of the Central Indiana Railroad. My friend arranged for our group to ride on one of Mr. Duffey's private cars. So on April 25, 1959 four of us drove to Anderson, Indiana for a most unusual fan trip.
The Central Indiana Railroad (once named the Midland) had been built from Anderson thru Lebanon to Brazil with trackage rights from Waveland Junction to Sand Creek on the Pennsylvania Railroad. A line was also built to Muncie. By 1959, the line had been abandoned west of Lebanon and east to Muncie. The Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads had purchased the Central Indiana and the story goes that Mr. Duffey offered to buy the CI from the two larger railroads. The offer was rejected; however, Mr. Duffey was named President of the Central Indiana and prosperity came to the CI from new industries located along the line. On the day of our arrival at the Central Indiana, we met Mr. Duffey in the new office building. He Informed us that it would be a while before the train was assembled, so we watched switching operations and photographed Mr. Duffey's two private cars.
Wade's photos were taken with a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye
No. 90, the Dutchess. Ike Duffey poses before boarding.
Anderson Indiana Office. CI #1 switching, Dutchess observation end
Shortly before departure, Mr. Duffey invited us to a tour of his favorite car; the Dutchess #90 named for his dog. It was built by Jackson and Sharp in 1899 for Henry Flagler, the colorful President/builder of the Florida East Coast Railroad. Originally built as a wooden car, it had been steel sheathed and rebuilt with a steel underframe. Mr. Duffey had the car air-conditioned at considerable expense to retain the carved an inlaid mahogany interior of the car. The original silver service was intact in the dining room and the car had just been recarpeted.
Remaining seated in the observation lounge of the Dutchess; Mr. Duffey related the history of the car that we were to ride on. The Maude Walker (named for his grandmother I believe) #100 was built in 1912 by Pullman for the Burlington. Like #90 it was a steel sheathed wooden car with a steel underframe. The steel covering was corrugated to simulate wood and both cars retained their truss rods for esthetics rather than function. The Maude Walker also had a mahogany interior, but it was paneling rather than hand crafted. After relating the history of the cars; Mr. Duffey told us of the trips he and his family and friends had made to the Kentucky Derby over parent Pennsy; to the west and even into Canada. It was customary to lease the cars to the host railroad and couple them to the rear of the designated passenger train.
Interior shots of the Dutchess
Finally it was time for us to go, but not coupled to the rear of a passenger train. Car #100 was coupled to the rear of the caboose of the Central Indiana's daily freight. Motive power was the CI's EMD SW-1 600 H.P. switcher. Train no. 51's destination was Westfield, the CI's interchange with the Monon. The freight switched customers along the line, most located on the CI since Ike Duffey had become president.
At Noblesville, the Firestone factory was on strike, and when the idled workers saw the Maude Walker they thought scabs were being brought in. The train crew explained our mission, but we were not allowed off the car until we left the plant. Mr. Duffey had asked his personal house servants to accompany us and we were served lunch on board. The crew was likewise served lunch upon our arrival in Westfield; this being Ike Duffey's policy for his employees when one of his private cars was on the CI. All switching done, the train returned to Anderson as No. 52. The switcher was spotted in the new engine house and we said our good-byes to the crew and Mr. Duffey.
We returned for another ride on the Central Indiana in April 1960. The CI had purchased a newer caboose and Mr. Duffey didn't think four people warranted a private car with porters so we rode in the caboose to Noblesville and return. I felt more at home wearing casual clothes on a caboose.
All photos by Wade Frasch
Lee Yoder also took the trip. Click here for Lee's photos.
To tour the Dutchess (Flagler Car) as it is today!
Roger Hensley Photos