A Midwest Regional Interurban Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Indiana Railroad System

Click on an open link below or go to the Railroad Index to Locate another Railroad
Chicago Chicago
Eastern Midwest
Southeast Southern Southwest Western

Illinois Traction
Ft. Wayne &
Northern Indiana
March 1916

The Indiana Railroad (IR) was the last of the typical Midwestern United States interurban lines. It was formed in 1930 by combining the operations of the five major interurban systems in central Indiana into one entity. The predecessor companies had all previously come under the control of Midland Utilities, owned by Samuel Insull. It was Insull's plan to consolidate the Indiana interurban network, modernizing the profitable routes and abandoning the unprofitable ones. With the onset of the Great Depression, the Insull empire collapsed and the Indiana Railroad was left with a decaying infrastructure and little hope for overcoming the competition of the automobile. During the 1930s the Indiana Railroad's lines were all abandoned one by one until a wreck in 1941 put an end to the last operation of typical interurban lines in Indiana.(wik)

Short history of the Indiana Railroad System The Indiana Railroad was created on July 2, 1930 when Midland Utilities purchased the Union Traction Company of Indiana and transferred ownership to IR.

Union Traction Company

Indiana Railroad
January 11, 1940
The Union Traction (UTC) was the largest interurban system in Indiana with 410 miles of interurban trackage and 44 miles (71 km) of streetcar lines in
Anderson, Elwood, Marion and Muncie.
1897 - UTC was created to operate an initial line between Anderson and Alexandria,
1902 - UTC comes under the control of the Schoepf-McGowan Syndicate.
post 1902 - UTC purchased or leased several neighboring interurban lines in short order as follows:
1903 - Elwood and Indiana.
1905 - Indiana Northern.
1906 - Indiana Muncie Hartford and Fort Wayne leased.
1906 - All Indiana trackage of the Dayton and Muncie.
1912 - Indianapolis New Castle and Toledo absorbed, and trackage extended from New Castle to Muncie.
1920's - UTC went into decline.
1925 - UTC in bankruptcy.
1930 - All of UTC passes to the Indiana Railroad (IR).

Interstate Public Service (IPS)
1897-1907 - Line from Indianapolis to Louisville, Kentucky built under a variety of small independent lines.
1908 - Through service between Indianapolis and Louisville was inaugurated over these separate lines.
1912 - IPS ownership of these lines is consolidated.
1920's - IPS modernized cars and operates suburban service out of Louisville.
1930 - IPS is one of the strongest of the Indiana interurban lines.
1930 - IPS lines, already owned by Midland Utilities, were put under the control of IR.

Indiana Service Corporation
Indiana Map 1930
Indiana Railroad System
cir 1930
1902 - Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Traction Company had been assembled from smaller predecessors.
cir 1910 - The FW&WV involved in a terrible Kingsland wreck, the worst interurban disaster ever, which killed 41 people.
cir 1910 - FW&WV reorganized as the Fort Wayne and Northern Indiana.
1919 - FW&NI failed and was purchased by ISC.
1924 - ISC acquired the Fort Wayne and Northwestern.
1926 - ISC acquired the Marion and Bluffton Traction Company.
1930 - ISC absorbed into Indiana Railroad.

Northern Indiana Power Company
1930 - The NIPC, the successor to the old Kokomo Marion and Western Traction Company is folded into the IR.. This line was the smallest and weakest of the companies that were absorbed by the IR.

Terre Haute Indianapolis and Eastern (THI&E)
cir 1919-1930 - This second largest interurban system in Indiana had operated over 400 miles of interurban and street car lines in several western Indiana cities with branches out of Indianapolis to Terre Haute, Lafayette, Richmond and Brazil, and stretched nearly from the eastern to the western boundary of the state. It had never really modernized and was financially among the weakest of the large interurban lines. It had been losing money for a decade.
1930 - THI&E falls into receivership.
cir 1930 - Several major branches of the THI&E, including lines to Danville, Martinsville, Lafayette, Crawfordsville, Sullivan and Clinton were abandoned.
1931 - THI&E purchased at auction by IR.

Indiana Railroad System
1930-1940 - Depression years, the fall of Samuel Insull';s empire and auto competition force IR to abandon lines on at a time.
1940 - The timetable of 1940 shows only lines remaining with interurban service are the old UTC line from Fort Wayne to Muncie and New Castle, and from Muncie to Indianapolis, as well as the old IPS line south from Indianapolis to Seymour, Indiana. All others had been abandoned or were bus routes.
1941 - Wreck puts end to IR interurban service.

Indiana Map
Indiana Railroad System Map - 1940

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April various editions
Illinois Terminal Historical Society (ITHS)
To contact our contributors please make a request by Email to: Richard Parks


Your source for 1930's - 1940's Passenger Railroad Information

Railroad Index Back to Top Contact Us

Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 27, 2009, revised June 9, 2001