The Monon, the shortest line between Indianapolis and Chicago, has a rich history that is captured in this release from Heimburger House Publishing Company.
This 8 ½" x 11" 323-page hardbound book is full of informative text and more than 400 captivating black and white photos, maps, drawings and illustrations. A locomotive roster, bibliography and index also highlight this excellent resource.
Though it was originally envisioned as a facility for interchange with steam boats at New Albany on the Ohio River and at Michigan City on Lake Michigan, the railroad’s principal function proved to be northbound freight haulage from southern rail connections at Louisville.
From its early origins in 1847, the Monon had a difficult time due to its poor physical plant when compared to other railroads of the day. In addition, a mysterious stockholder’s coup in 1890 prevented it from reaching the coal fields of eastern Kentucky, and the possibility of becoming an important regional coal hauler never materialized. It subsequently became dependent on its connection at Louisville.
In 1946, these controlling, southern connections ended after a long period of stagnancy. At that time, one of the most able and colorful of modern railroad men, John W. Barriger III, became the Monon’s president. During his leadership, the railroad was dieselized, its passenger trains became streamlined and attempts were made to upgrade the physical plant. These improvements helped the Monon survive the difficult postwar period until it merged into the Louisville & Nashville in 1971.
The Monon’s pioneer history, its high quality of passenger service, and its long association with higher education in Indiana are all combined in this exceptional volume of enthusiast interest.
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