RIDE THE TRAIN

Trains – those Iron Horses of old – consist of vehicles which run on rails. Although trains generally are thought of as being self-propelled, in the past they were pulled along their rails by horses as well.

In a previous post, I wrote about Collamer, Indiana, and the Collamer Dam. Although the Collamer Dam was the main reason I used to drive the River Road west, an old train route also passed through Collamer. An old Alabama song about trains is one of my favorites. It is set out below along with a brief history of the old railroad which used to run through Collamer.

RIDE THE TRAIN

(Album – “Feels So Right” by Alabama)

Orange Blossom Special, the Wabash Cannonball, the Chattanooga ChooChoo,
this hobo’s seen ’em all.
I’ve watched the Sante Fe lay her smoke against the sky and listen to old number three rollin’ through the night.

Ride the train. Ride the train.
Anywhere I’m going I ride trains.
Sleepin’ in a boxcar when it rains.
Ride the train, ride the train.

Southern Pacific, the Overland Express and up ahead the coal cars of
West Virginia’s best.
And Oklahoma’s Frisco, the biggest one of all.
I’ve listened to the Silver Steed’s lonesome midnight call.

Ride the train. Ride the train.
Anywhere I’m going I ride trains.
Sleepin’ in a boxcar when it rains.
Ride the train, ride the train.

Ride the train.
Trains

Vandalia Railroad

 

The Detroit, Eel River, and Illinois line was a 93-mile outlet for farmers which was completed in 1874. The line was built from Logansport, Indiana, to Butler, Indiana, traversing Whitley County from the southwest to the northeast. The line passed through Collamer, South Whitley, crossed the Pennsylvania at Columbia City, and continued on through Churubusco.

Ownership of the railroad became embroiled in a 10-year legal battle resulting with the original bondholders retaining ownership and control. The railroad was sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1901 and became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Vandalia holdings. It was now known as the Vandalia Railroad.

Traffic diminished over the years and abandonment came piece by piece beginning in 1954 and ending in 1977 with the last section.

Very little of the Vandalia Railroad still exists.In Collamer, only the bridge piers remain, and at the northeast side of South Whitley on 205 a wooden trestle still stands as a marvelous example of early railroading.

Train Trestle at Collamer

 Old Wooden Train Trestle on State Road 205 just northeast of South Whitley, Indiana

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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