Wabash Fourth District

on the

Railroading

by Victor A. Baird

on the

Wabash Fourth District

by Victor A. Baird

Railroading

Built as the Wabash Railroad's "Chicago Extension" and an integral part of the shortest railroad between Detroit and Chicago, the Fourth District through Northwest Ohio and Northern Indiana has a colorful history. It was also the first Wabash District dieselized (1950) and home of the last mixed train in Indiana (1962). In addition to an illustrated, researched history, dating back to 1891, Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District tells the story in the words of railroaders that worked the line and folks that remember it. This 314 page, hardcover, Smythe-Sewn book includes hundreds of photographs, maps, illustrations, diagrams, timetables, track charts, grade profile, color section, end notes, bibliography and index. As a bonus, the postscript chapter provides an up-date on what happened to the railroad after the 1964 Wabash lease to Norfolk & Western. This includes operations and preservation efforts into the Norfolk Southern era. In addition to the eleven chapters, four appendices cover motive power and other rolling stock, B&B, operating employee lists (with photos) and a 1930 profile with track diagrams and infrastructure details. 2013 marks the one hundred twentieth anniversary of the official opening of this line in 1893. Look for more detailed histories of bygone railroads in the Every Railroad has a Story to Tell Series    from Erstwhile Publications. 

TM

"The Stroh Branch took off there at Helmer, off the passing track and went north to Stroh. When we went up the branch at Helmer, John Keel, the agent at Helmer had to wait for us until we came back out..."

"Therefore, in addition to its ex-New York Central Lines, Indiana Northeastern operates the largest remaining chunk of the Old Wabash Fourth District at 34.35 miles. And the former Wabash line has experienced a rebirth with the personalized service that the short line  railroad offers." 

"Harlo was the signal maintainer at Wolcottville. He had built a retirement home on one of the small lakes west of Wolcottville. And Harlo had the section men install a set-off for his motor car near the location for his convenience."

"The route surveyed by the Chicago & Canada Southern was a good, low grade route. But according to an internal report published in 1890, the Wabash was willing to make moderate concessions on the grade for cost reductions and also avoid at-grade crossings of at least some of the railroads encountered along the way."

"October 3, 1935. A derailment at State Line Tower, Illinois, killed Engineer Charles A. Houser. Mr. Houser was burned and scalded when the Wabash locomotive in which he was piloting overturned..."

"About 1900, we began to get larger engines. In passenger service, Atlantic type engines numbered in the 600 Series and freight Moguls numbered 700 and 800. However, many small engines remained."

"My first impression of dad was as a locomotive fireman on the railroad. His name was Arthur Montgomery. They called him "A.C". He would take my brother and me into Chicago on a passenger train once in a while." 

"Passenger trains on the Fourth turned their last wheels April 1, 1933. It was "Hard Times" and this was bad news for Montpelier railroaders and their families for it meant more furloughed railroaders in addition to freight crews already lost."

"The dispatcher would tell the yardmasters up there at East Chicago to get their switch engines off the track or someplace in the clear, because either Bill or Chuck Ferguson was coming through. When they had the railroad, they would run it--and they did too."

"Clayton then told the head brakeman to give him the gun. It surprised the brakeman as he did not know that Clayton knew about him having a gun..."