A Midwest Regional Electric Railway- 1930's - 1940's
Winona Railroad


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The Winona Railroad (WIN) was an interurban electric freight and passenger railroad operating in the state of Indiana. It had a main line extending from Goshen, through Warsaw to Peru, Indiana. It also had a branch line from Warsaw to the Wnona Assembly, a religious camp at Winona Lake. The WIN was an important link line between the Northern Indiana, at Goshen, that served South Bend and Michigan City in Indiana and St. Joseph, Michigan, and Peru, where it connected with the massive Indiana-Ohio interurban systems. The WIN enjoyed a brief period of passenger service in the teens and twenties, and into the early thirties carrying many folks to and from Winona Lake, but when it's connections north and south were discontinued it did not have enough local traffic to sustain it's passenger business so all services were ended by 1938. It managed to carry freight traffic, primarily coal until final shutdown in 1951-52.
Short history of the Winona Railroad (WIN)
1903 - The Winona and Warsaw Railway Company is formed to build a 3 mile line from Warsaw, Indiana to the Winona Assembly religious camp at Winona Lake.
1904 - The Winona Interurban Railway was incorporated to build an interurban electric railway from Goshen, Indiana south to a point on the Wabash River. Both companies were controlled by the Winona Assembly and the purpose was to bring people to the camp.
1906 - Goshen-Warsaw portion, 25 miles, opened.
1907 - Joint service with the Northern Indiana to Michigan City is established.
1907 - Peru is chosen as southern terminus and Winona leases and electrified an unsuccessful steam railroad the Eel River, and electrifies a 7 mile stretch from Peru to Chili.
1907 - The Winona Interurban leased the Winona & Warsaw.
1907-09 - The Winona did not operate on Sundays since its primary supporters, H.J.Heinz of Pittsburgh and J.M.Studebaker from South Bend, opposed it on religious grounds.


Winona - The "W| " from
Goshen south to Peru
and branch from
Warsaw to Winona Lake
1909 - A creditor, the Electrical Installation Company of Chicago filed suit and the Winona then started to run on Sundays.
1910 - Line finished from Warsaw to Chili and now a continuous line from Goshen through Warsaw to Peru us established;.
1910-16 - Winona generated much interchange traffic both freight and passenger with Northern Indiana, and the Union Traction Companies of Indiana and Ohio but local traffic was light.
1916 - Line in receivership emerges as Winona Service Company.
1926 - The Winona Service Company becomes the Winona Railroad (WIN), with offices and directors shared with Insull's Interstate Public Service Company.
1926 - Interline service between Goshen and Indianapolis discontinued, reducing WIN traffic.
1931 - Passenger service limited to four trips between Goshen and Warsaw, three trips between Warsaw and Peru and two cars Warsaw and Winona Lake.
1930\s - New lightweight cars introduced but traffic is insufficient.
1934 - Northern Indiana abandoned so WIN connections north to South Bend, Michigan City and St. Joseph are severed and access to Goshen city streets lost.
1934 - Mainline passenger service discontinued.
1938 - Last Birney car runs Warsaw to Winona Lake.
1938 _ WIN is de-electrified. Line survives on interchange traffic, mainly coal, using a combination of Diesel, gasoline and propane power.
1947 - Line south of Warsaw abandoned.
1947-51 - Line from New Paris (south of Goshen) to Warsaw continues freight traffic.
1952 - All lines abandoned and tracks torn up.


Winona Railroad - 1930
Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Official Guides- Various editions
The Electric Interurban Railways in America-Hilton & Due- pp 277
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Copyright Richard Parks, May 2, 2009