Indiana Northeastern Railroad
|Locale||Indiana, Michigan, Ohio|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Indiana Northeastern Railroad (reporting mark IN) is a short-line railroad operating in northeastern Indiana, northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan. Today's Indiana Northeastern Railroad stretches nearly 130 miles in length. The railroad's traffic interchanges with Norfolk Southern at Montpelier, Ohio.
Commodities moved by Indiana Northeastern Railroad include corn, soybeans, wheat and flour. They also handle plastics, fiberboard, aluminum, copper, coal, perlite, stone, lumber, glass, rendering products, as well as agricultural fertilizers and chemicals. The railroad's traffic base has continued to increase, in spite of occasional downturns in the economy. The railroad's growth in such times is an indicator of its strength and resilience.
For motive power, the IN uses many first-generation diesels. This makes the IN an ideal railroad for railroad photographers to take pictures of how railroads were powered in the first days of diesel traction. The IN's paint scheme is solid black with white lettering along the long hoods that say "INDIANA NORTHEASTERN" and yellow diagonal stripes across the front and rear of the locomotives, similar to the paint scheme of the Nickel Plate Road. Units currently in use are a pair of EMD GP30's, an EMD GP10, four EMD GP9's with high-noses, an EMD GP7, and an EMD GP7u.
The Little River Railroad also offers steam excursions on the line between Coldwater and Quincy, Michigan.
The East - West portion of the line was built by the Wabash Railroad between 1891and 1892 from Montpelier, OH to Clarke Jct. in the outskirts of Chicago, IL and was designated as the Wabash 4th District. It was the shortest direct route from Detroit, MI to Chicago, IL at the time of its construction. The line lost its through-train passenger service in the 1930s when the Pennsylvania Railroad wanted to compete in the Chicago – Detroit passenger market. The two railroads reached an agreement to run trains on the PRR between Chicago and Ft. Wayne, IN and then switch to the Wabash trackage for the Ft. Wayne to Detroit portion of the trip. This eliminated the necessity of the Montpelier, OH to Chicago, IL portion of the line.
Through numerous mergers, the Wabash found itself under the control of the Norfolk Southern Railway. Shortly after the creation of the Norfolk Southern Railway in 1982, the new railroad announced they would be abandoning the line between Gary, IN and Ashley, IN. The South Milford Grain Company, which relied on the rail line for export of its grain, strongly opposed the abandonment and took the railroad to court. The Norfolk Southern Railway offered the entire line from Gary to Ashley to South Milford Grain, however they only accepted the portion from Ashley, IN to Wolcottville, IN some 15 miles to the West. This would allow them to maintain an interchange with the Hillsdale County Railroad at Ashley. The new operation, under the ownership of the South Milford Grain Co. was called the Pigeon River Railroad.
After several years of operation, the Hillsdale County Railroad entered into bankruptcy and the Pigeon River Railroad bought out the HCR assets. Shortly after this, South Milford Grain released their holdings on the rail line and its assets and the newly reorganized rail company became the Indiana Northeastern Railroad in 1992.
In northeastern Indiana, the IN operates a line that runs along the southern edge of Steuben County from South Milford east through Ashley, Steubenville and Hamilton to the Ohio state line. A line also runs north from Steubenville through Pleasant Lake, Angola, Fremont, and finally Ray on the Michigan border.
In Michigan, the IN continues northeast into Hillsdale County through the communities of Montgomery, Reading and Bankers to Hillsdale, then northwest to Jonesville. From here, one branch runs northwest to Litchfield, while the other runs west through the Branch County communities of Quincy and Coldwater. The line ends just east of Batavia. The tracks between Batavia and Sturgis were pulled up in 2012 due to lack of customers and rotted ties, however the IN still owns the right-of-way all the way to Sturgis.
1073 - A chop-nosed GP9 which was rebuilt to GP10 specs and originally worked on the Illinois Central Railroad.
2216 - A chop-nosed GP7u, renumbered from 1500, from the Westmoreland Scenic Railroad which went bankrupt a few years ago. It is formerly a Santa Fe Rebuild and a good solid switch engine which they frequently keep in Reading, MI. The most recent acquisition by INER and the most recent painted in INER colors.
1601 - A vintage GP7 and INER's eldest unit from 1952. This is the EX-Hillsdale County Rail Co (HCRC) 1601, former SJ&LC 606, and originally Reading Railroad #606.
1602 - A GP9 from 1957. Formerly Burlington Northern #1766 and originally Great Northern Railroad #693.
1770 - A chop-nosed GP9 from 1957 Ex-HCRC 1770, formerly BN #1770, and originally Great Northern #697.
2185 - A classic second generation hood unit, a GP30 from 1962. This classic raised-roof unit was originally from the Reading Railroad and later Conrail with the same road number.
2230 - Another very classic later GP30 from 1963. This classic raised-roof unit was originally from the Pennsylvania Railroad and later Conrail. It has the same number on Conrail, and briefly spend time at Larry's Truck & Electric before coming to the INER.
Out of service roster (all stored at Hillsdale, MI)
47 - INER used to roster this classic GP7 from the Detroit Toledo Shoreline Railroad. #47 was recently retired with the arrival of #1500 and sold to IBCX. #47 is still sitting at the Hillsdale Yard, rejected by the NS at the Montpelier, OH interchange for bad wheels (thin flanges).
1603 - Retired from service and a parts source, but still sits at the Hillsdale Yard. Ex-HCRC 1603, former NYC 7303, and originally Cleveland Union Terminal #5903.
4216 - Also resting outside the INER shops in Hillsdale is former C&O GP30M #4216 from the CSXT. This unit is now IBCX and a parts source for the fleet's other two GP30s #2185 and 2230.