Sunday, January 7, 2018

NJI&I: New Jersey, Indiana & Illinois Railroad

(Update: Substreet took photos of the roundhouse)

The Singer Sewing Machine Company did not like its rail service in South Bend, IN. (It appears Grand Trunk Western and a subsidiary of NYC ran by the south side of their plants.) So they built an 11.4 mile railroad south to the Wabash Railroad at Pine Junction. In 1926, they sold the line to Wabash, but Wabash managed it as the NJI&I subsidiary. NS abandoned it soon after they acquired the line in 1982. [Monon]

It is easy to find the treelines of the two Wabash lines, and follow the NJI&I up to South Bend. I could not trace it through South Bend until I saw the posting about its office and depot.
Looking at old topo maps and a 1967 aerial photo, it crossed the NYC and GTW and curved east and paralleled on the north side of GTW to Ford Street where it turned north to its shops and office-depot. We can still see a treeline where it curved.

After it curved east, several industrial spurs branched out into the buildings south of Sample Street. In fact, we can see the treeline of the western industrial branch along the top of the satellite image. I assume some or all of that land used to be the location of the Singer plant.

(Update: in this map of abandoned railroads, the NJI&I is the light green line along the left and the Wabash mainline is the blue line along the bottom.) Norfolk Southern uses the tracks in the urban area to service industries.
AbanMap (posted)

Josh Lemier updated
Here we see the Wabash Railroad 486 and 485 leading a local on the NJI&I branch at South Bend, Indiana in 1958.
Photo Credit To Louis Rague.
Rick La Fever New Jersey, Indiana and Illinois Railroad. Long name for a shortline owned by a sewing machine company!
Dennis DeBruler It was for the three states that Singer had plants in. Originally the South Bend plant was built for cabinet making to take advantage of the hardwood trees still standing in Indiana.

1 comment:

  1. My great-grandfather and namesake Benjamin Emmanuel Van Dusen was an Engineer on that Singer line for the NJ,IN & Il RR. He started with the railroad as a Fireman and during the early 20th century, until 1940, he was an Engineer. I have one photo of him standing in the rail yard wearing his work clothes.