A false step.

This former segment of the Nickel Plate Road Michigan City line, Indianapolis to Tipton, is an interesting segment in INRD history. The impetus for the line coming to the INRD was the NS Thoroughbred Shortline Program. In this program the NS spun off low density secondary and branch lines to lower cost operators that were not saddled by the Class One union agreements that made these lines not profitable to them. It made sense at the start because the coal for the major shipper on the line came from the INRD.

From the start, it did not go well. Kokomo Grain, long and since known for causing no end of problems for the railroads that serve or attempt to serve them, Objected to the INRD petition to the NS to operate the line north of Tipton. NS caved into this pressure and only gave the INRD a lease to operate the line from its southern end of Indianapolis at Tenth Street to the diamond in Tipton. While this would still give the INRD the overhead traffic from the NS to Indianapolis, it drastically shortened the extra reach the INRD perhaps was looking for.

Another huge problem was another Class One railroad, Conrail. The ex NKP does not directly connect to the former IC lines owned by the INRD. They were at the mercy of Conrail trackage rights and their cost to even access the line to Tipton. Not only this, but there were some significant operating challenges between the two lines. No less then five Conrail controlled junctions stood between the two lines, and at one of them the extremely busy Conrail Indianapolis Line had to be crossed. Delays mounted quickly.

In the end both Class Ones proved to be the undoing of this line. Conrail and NS decided to route the bridge traffic around the INRD to a connection at Muncie Indiana. Online traffic was weak at best with the exception of the PSI Riverwood generator, itself on borrowed time. Facing the costs and the lack of traffic, INRD threw in the towel and NS sold the line to a port authority concern. At the end there were no online customers left outside the PSI Riverwood generator. This does not end the INRD chapter on this line however, as the ITMZ museum took over operation of the line, INRD retained trackage rights to deliver what coal PSI Riverwood needed until it itself closed. INRD made one or two more runs to interchange to the ITMZ before CSXT removed the diamonds at the Indianapolis Line crossing, severing access. INRD still claims to have trackage rights on the ITMZ however, but the prospects are extremely dim of seeing them ever used again.

The line itself is very unremarkable, with the exception of the Noblesville street running.

Noblesville IN

INRD Coal Train in the street in Nobilesville.

Indianapolis IN

Short lived HLCX 3624 heads north near 22nd street in Indianapolis

Questions? Comments? E-MAIL ME! alcochaser@ameritech.net