Friday, November 4, 2016

Big Four Trestle over Blue River near Carthage, IN

(Bridge Hunter (BTW, there are a lot of covered wood bridges in Rush County), Satellite)

Carl Venzke posted
Rebuilding a trestle on the C I & S after a flood - Near Carthage, IN March 24, 1913

If you do a Google search for CI&S, you will find one of the corporate names for the Indiana, Illinois & Iowa. My 2005 railroad map shows that Big Four ran north to Knightstown and southeast to Boyd, which now is just a farm homestead. And Knightstown & Shelbyville (KSV) ran to the southwest to Morristown. The Big Four and KSV shared the route north, including the bridge over Blue River.

KSV was abandoned by KSV. You can tell that KSV was abandoned a long time ago because I can't find any land scars or tree lines for it southwest of town nor near Morristown. I suspect that S. Henley Avenue was built on the KSV RoW.

Big Four south of Carthage was abandoned by NYC.

Big Four north of Carthage became the Carthage, Knightstown & Shirley (CKSI) and it used to operate all the way to Anderson. ("I rode the CKS back in I believe the late 80's when the line was still intact to Anderson, but only serviced to Shirley I believe.  It wasn't anything fancy and well, a nice little trip." [IndianaRailroads]) Initially, it ran freight and tourist traffic. Then it cut back to Knightstown and was an isolated tourist railroad. But even that was abandoned in 2005. [RYPN]

Image from Indiana Railroads, also in Madison Rails
Closed in the mid 60s.
The best I can tell is that CI&S would have been a branch of the Cincinnati, Indianapolis, & St. Louis (then Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis & Chicago) that connected Big Four's Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan with Vernon, Greensburg & Rushville to provide a connection from Elkhart to Louisville as well as to Cincinnati. [Scholar Works IU, 1925]


  1. Nice post. I have lived in Carthage most of my life and still live there now. I stumbled across this page trying to find the distance from Knightstown to Carthage on the river. I went under the trestle that was being rebuilt in the picture in a kayak this afternoon. Unfortunately it's slowly falling apart now. I loved that railroad when I was a kid. I can get you a screenshot from a go pro video if you're interested.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. The Knightstown-Shelbyville RR was completed in 1850, it ended in 1855. It was shut down by the major stockholder who lived in Cincinnati because it kept losing money. One of the reason for that was they owned no equipment (engines, cars etc) it was leased.