Thursday, July 27, 2017

EI&TH: Evansville, Indianapolis & Terre Haute Railroad

I learned about this railroad while researching which railroad a coal mine near Somerville, IN, is connected to (currently Indiana Southern Railroad, ISRR). The EI&TH is the original name indicated on the 2005 SPV Map. My original goal for this blog was to find the original railroad name that built a route. I've learned that is not realistic because the same route would go through many corporate names in the 1800s. And the name that got the charter was many times not the name that actually graded the route. And there may be a third name for the railroad that completed the grade and laid the track. So now I'm using the SPV Map's original name. If you want to know the history before the EI&TH, you can buy a book by Kenneth Reed or you can study an Evansville & Indianapolis summary.

Of note, is that much of the right-of-way reused the Wabash and Erie Canal. The extension of the canal from LaFayette to Evansville was finished in 1853, but the stretch from Terre Haute was abandoned less than 10 years later --- 1861. The Evansville & Indianpolis was formed on Novemeber 7, 1885 by C&EI from three railroads that created a route that paralleled their Terre Haute to Evansville mainline. This was the era of rail barons where railroads would buy competing routes to eleminate the competition. The NYC buying the Nickle Plate is the classic example. The C&EI sold the route to the Big Four in 1920 as the EI&TH. This was the era of anti-trust. So my 1928 RR Atlas labels this route as Big Four.

As with many railroad names, the name reflects the desire of the owners instead of the reality. The route actually goes between Evansville and Terre Haute. You had to use another railroad to get to Indianapolis. By 2005, the part south of Elnora, IN was part of the Indiana Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of RailAmerica. Genesee & Wyoming acquired it in 2012. The towns and/or junctions listed for the route on the 1928 RR Atlas are Evansville, Oakland City (Southern), Washington (B&O), Elmora (Milwaukee), Ellison (IC), Worthington (Pennsy), Clay City, Spring Hill, Terre Haute.

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