Railroads of Madison County|
>Date: Mon, 09 Jan 1995
>From: "CRAIG SANDERS
>Subject: Follow-up to earlier message
> I'm not quite sure what is meant by "fully absorb." I have two timetables, one dated 4-2-33 and another dated 3-15-33 that were both issued by the Big 4. The cover also sports the New York Central Lines logo and the words: "C.C.C. & St.L. Ry. The NYCRR Co. lessee."
The New York Central leased the railroad from the CCC&StL. This was a common way for one railroad to acquire another connection and/or operation. Another reason fro the leasing of a property was the financial obligations of the leased line. The CCC&StL and THE BANKS owned a lot of property and equipment. Even when the equipment carrier the name of the leasing RR (ie. NYC Lines) there would be a small tag somewhere stating that the owner was the CCC&StL.
> I think what this all means is that on paper the Big 4 remained something of a separate entity. It probably still had its own charter and so forth. And for economic and regulatory purposes, had to maintain.
It did remain so until the '30s when it was rolled over into the NYC.
>It's interesting, though, how railroad names linger. I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in Mattoon, Ill, located on the Big Four mainline to St.Louis. During that time -- including after the formation of Penn Central, people would continue to refer to the railroad as the Big Four. That name would on occasion appear on city maps. This was long after the Big 4 name ceased to appear on timetables, rolling stock, etc.
It's still referred to as the Big Four by the NS Dispatchers where the Big Four (Conrail) main crosses the old N&W at Muncie, Indiana.
> At one time, the Big 4 was headquartered in Indianapolis. Its HQ building still stands, I believe, on the SE corner of Meridian and Maryland. That's across from the new Circle City downtown mall. The Big 4 began construction in 1906 of a new shops complex in Beech Grove. This is the same shop that Amtrak owns today. Previously, the Big 4 had a shops complex in Brightwood (an east side Indianapolis neighborhood) along the Bee Line, which is still used by Conrail.
And the Avon yards to the west of Indy is still very active.
> The Big 4 also had a route from Louisville, Ky. to Benton Harbor, Mich. which ran through Anderson. There were also numerous other Big 4 branches in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In total, the Big 4 once had more than 2,000 miles of track.
Actually, the line ran from Benton Harbor, Michigan to North Vernon, Indiana. It went to Louisville by using trackage rights on the B&O Southwestern lines and part of this line was acquired by the CCC&StL through a lease.
>I wonder how many of these lines still exist today? Perhaps that could be a project we could work on it you're interested.
Quite a number of these lines are still in operation today, at least in relation to the PRR throughout this area. The CCC&StL has good routes.
I have picked up a quite a bit of information on some of these lines and I'll send you a copy of what I have written so far. I do intend to pursue more of this history to fill in some of the details on the corporate lives of the owners of the St. Louis to Cleveland main line.
The CCC&StL (as near as I can tell) was a home grown product. It started with the Bee line connecting to it's counterpart in Ohio and the railroad begin to build around that main line. They leased and bought and built and they were THE power from Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati to Indianapolis to Chicago to St. Louis and Peoria.
No wonder the New York Central Lines wanted them.Oh, BTW, the line from Anderson to Benton Harbor is still intact as far as Elkhart, but it has been severed just south of Anderson at Emporia and large parts of the sothern portion has been sold or abandoned by PC and CR.
> I hope this information has been helpful and interesting.
It has been, Craig. I will send you some more information and we'll see where that takes us.