New York Central

Previous and Subsequent Lines

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Elkhart and Western Railroad

Left, Right and below left: Great series of photos taken by Sandy Goodrick, September 20, 1953, on the Twin Branch Railroad. Pictured is NYC Engine #1894, operating north of the St. Joseph River, in the vicinity of U.S. 20, east of Mishawka. Right Below: NYC steam locomotive working the Elkhart and Western at Cedar Street in Mishawka, September 20, 1952.

Elkhart and Western Railroad Company, also called "The Pleasant Valley Line" named for a development location some five miles west of Elkhart. The "E & W" was the brainchild of a highly successful Elkhart Businessman, Dr. Herbert Bucklen. The volume of freight on the E&W was astounding and revenues made the short line one of the most profitable in the world. Until the very end, it was difficult to find a skipped dividend. The E&W was Uniroyal's and Ball Bands freight door to the world. It also hauled thousands of tons of coal to the Twin Branch Steam Power Plant as well as other coal operations in town. In 1912 the New York Central bought the Elkhart and Western. Left: E&W under New York Central ownership in the 1940's, running through downtown Mishawaka. Right: The Elkhart & Western Station about 1900, later known as building 45 at the Uniroyal plant, now demolished. Photo and background information courtsey of Pioneer Railcorp .

Another shot of the former Elkhart and Western Mishawaka depot. At the time this picture was taken, it was Building 45 at Uniroyal. Right: Postcard of depot, date unknown, but it appears to be early 1900's. Ball Band is in the background.


Left: Conrail line (former Elkhart & Western) looking west towards the Uniroyal (former Ball Band Works) in Mishawaka, Indiana. Building to right is the warehouse. The street in the middle of the picture is Main Street. Right: Turn of the century, 1902, steam engine moving freight cars at Ball Band in Mishawka.

NYC SW9#8928 leading a westbound freight across Jefferson Blvd at Byrkit Street, on the Elkhart & Western, 4-4-1959.





Left: Feburary 11, 1976. Penn Central bringing a cut of empty hopper cars across the St. Joseph River, east of Ball Band. Right: Elkhart and Western (Conrail) line, US Highway 20 crossing east of Mishawaka, Indiana. April 1, 1984. Today, the old right of way is still visible, but all the tracks have been removed.

New York Central

Left: The way it once was. A New York Central passenger speeds towards South Bend, Indiana. This picture was taken west of Lydick, Indiana. Date of the photo unknown. The bridge in the background is the called the "Pumpkin Vine", otherwise known as St. Joseph, South Bend and Southern. It followed the alignment west of the Studebaker corridor crossing the NYC Kankakee Line the GTW and NJI&I on the west side of South Bend. You can still see the remnant of the line along the US 20 Bypass West of Mayflower Rd. An electric line follows the old right of way for a while. Harry Zillmer photo. Right: Westbound NYC passenger taking on water "on the fly" at Lydick, Indiana. Date of the photo is unknown. Bob Schell photo.

Left: NYC #7532, November 5, 1951, South Bend, Indiana. Right: October 31, 1953. NYC steam locomotive passing a GTW tower at South Bend, Indiana. This GTW tower stood at the Harris Street grade crossing between the NYC Kankakee Belt and the GTW mainline. This interlocking tower protected the crossing of the former Michigan Central Niles Branch. -Additional information courtesy Dan Lawecki-

New York Central Action west of South Bend, October 11, 1952. Left: Locomotive 1857 on the lead of this eastbound freight at New Carlisle, Indiana. Right: Locomotive 1854 on freight west of Lydick, Indiana close to the old Pumpkin Vine bridge site. By 1952 the bridge had been removed. Sandy Goodrick photos.


Left: May 2003, what remains of the SJSB&S and the bridge. Removed many years prior, this is the abutment north of the South Shore tracks. The hand painted sign caught my attention and I just had to get a closer look. Right: And, when I say closer look, I mean reach out and touch it. I was standing where the steel bridge girders once sat. None of my railroad experts that I have spoke with can explain the name "Rugby Junction" that has been painted on the concrete. Update 2-10-2005: Upon looking at a Indiana Railroad map, dated 1896, at the Library Of Congrss, the area where the line crosses the South Shore and New York Central was labeled "Rugby". There was no town, or community, named Lydick on this map. Could Rugby be the original name of Lydick? Will have to do some research and investigation.


Left: One more picture. This is the south abutment. It too required a closer look and while on top the Norfork Southern ran a train past. That was very nice of them. Right: Being an adventurous type, once on top of the old Pumpkin Vine right of way, I decided to try and walk the line. About 50 yards north of the north abutment, as I stepped around a thicket, I was surprised to find another set of bridge abutments. I believe that this was an interchange between the Northern Indiana Railroad or the South Shore. I'm still trying to locate a good map to know for sure.

More great photos from Sandy Goodrick. Left: Double headed steam locomotives 5303 and 5442 on NYC passenger train #46, May 9, 1953, South Bend, Indiana. Unknown exact location, but appears to be east of Union Depot. Right: Fall in South Bend, Indiana means just one thing: Football, or specifically, Notre Dame Football. NYC "Specials", November 27, 1954 await the game's conclusion. I wonder who won?

New York Central Aerotrain

August 1956, Union Depot, South Bend. New York Central's "Great Lakes Aerotrain" makes a station stop. Judging by the crowd gathered, it was not a big revenue generator.

Excerpts taken from Live Discover Steam , written by Toby Roan. "By the mid-Fifties, passenger rail in the United States was a mess. The publicís increased use of automobiles and stiff competition from airlines and bus service had sent medium-distance passenger revenues into a tailspin. The plan was to develop a stylish, comfortable, high-speed train (top speed: 100 miles per hour) with low fares to lure passengers back onto the tracks. And with this new train being lightweight and fuel-efficient, the railroads should be able to return to profitable passenger service. General Motors was approached to create such a train. And its Electro-Motive Division came back with the Aerotrain. A futuristic blending of Fifties highway and railway technology (with maybe a little Buck Rogers thrown in for good measure), the Aerotrain fits right in with the GM concept cars of the period."


The Aerotrain at South Bend, August 1956. Left: After making an appearance at Union Station, the Aerotrain is westbound near Arnold Street. Right: West of South Bend. This picture may have been taken west of Lydick, at Rugby Junction. These pictures are courtesy of George Elwoods Fallen Flags web site. The photographs were taken by Louis Rague and were donated to the Railroad Historical Society of North West Michigan.

"Called the LWT-12, for "light weight 1,200 horsepower," each Aerotrain was powered by a single GM 1,200-horsepower Diesel electric propulsion unit. Thanks to its light weight and low center of gravity, it was felt that 1,200 was enough horsepower. It wasnít. Each of the Aerotrainís 10 passenger cars was basically a modified bus body from GMís Motor Coach Division. Two Aerotrain prototypes were built. One went to Pennsylvania Railroad; the second became New York Centralís "Great Lakes Aerotrain," providing nonstop service between Chicago and Detroit. GMís ads promised "an entirely new concept of speed, comfort, safety and economy." New York Centralís copywriters werenít as restrained in their ads for the "dream train," calling it "a fast, lightweight new train that can revolutionize rail travel, increase employment, and strengthen our national defense."

"It didnít take long for the trouble to start. It quickly became apparent that the Aerotrains were underpowered and prone to mechanical problems. Passengers missed the spacious comfort of standard streamlined trains, finding the downsized Aerotrain "buses" confining. And with the shortened wheelbase and air suspension, the ride was terrible at anything close to top speed. After only a year or so, Pennsy and New York Central returned their Aerotrains to GM. Thanks, but no thanks."


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