Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad

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Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad
Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad and connecting lines.jpg
The Indianapolis & Bellefontaine as completed in 1852
LocaleIndiana, United States
Dates of operationFebruary 17, 1848 (1848-02-17)–December 22, 1864 (1864-12-22)
SuccessorBellefontaine Railway
Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length83 miles (134 km)
HeadquartersIndianapolis, Indiana, U.S.

The Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad (I&B) was an American railroad founded in 1848. It changed its name to the Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Cleveland Railroad in 1854. Its counterpart in Ohio was named the Bellefontaine and Indiana Railroad (B&I). The B&I ceased to exist as an independent company when it merged into the Bellefontaine Railway in September 1864. The IP&C merged into the Bellefontaine Railway in December 1864.

I&B history[edit]

The I&B was incorporated in the U.S. state of Indiana on February 17, 1848.[1] Though the I&B once used the 4-foot-10-inch (1.47 m) Ohio gauge, it was quickly converted to standard gauge (4 feet 8.5 inches (1.435 m)).[2] Its counterpart, the B&I was chartered on February 25, 1848, in the U.S. state of Ohio.[3] A construction firm owned by Amasa Stone, Frederick Harbach, and Stillman Witt contracted to build the Ohio line. Construction began in 1849 in Indiana, and the portion of the line from Indianapolis to the Indiana-Ohio border (the I&B) was largely complete by 1851. Construction from the border east to Cleveland (the B&I) began in 1852,[4][5][6] and the line was complete in July 1853.[7]

The Indianapolis & Bellefontaine changed its name to the Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Cleveland Railroad (IP&C) on December 19, 1854.[8] On March 14, 1856, the B&I entered into a joint operating agreement with the IP&C.[1]

John Brough, a newspaper publisher and president of the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, was elected the B&I's president in 1862.[9] Stillman Witt, one of the directors of the B&I, urged Brough to run for Governor of Ohio in 1864. Knowing that Brough could not afford the large reduction in pay, Witt agreed to become president of the B&I and forward his salary to Brough. Brough agreed, and Brough continued to receive the income from Witt until Brough's death on August 29, 1865.[10]

On September 27, 1864, the B&I and the IPCR merged to form the Bellefontaine Railway.[1] Just three months later, on December 22, the Bellefontaine Railway absorbed the I&B, retaining the Bellefontaine Railway name.[1]

On May 16, 1868, the Bellefontaine Railway was purchased by the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway.[1]

Involvement in the Union Track Railway[edit]

On May 31, 1850, the I&B co-founded the Union Track Railway Company with the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad and the Terre Haute and Richmond Railroad.[11]

The Union Track changed its name to the Indianapolis Union Railway (IUR) in 1853.[12] The IUR opened the world's first union station in Indianapolis, Indiana, on September 20, 1853.[13][14] The three parent companies formally entered into a controlling agreement for the IU on November 19, 1872. The company was incorporated on March 25, 1885.[12]

Route description[edit]

The I&B's main line runs from the IU tracks east of Union Station northeast to Lawrence, Pendleton, and Anderson. Just west of Muncie, it turns to the east to pass through that city, then continues on through Winchester before reaching the Ohio state line at Union City, Indiana. Continuing eastward from Union City, Ohio, it passes through Versailles and Sidney before reaching its other namesake, Bellefontaine. This Indianapolis-Bellefontaine main line remains an important rail corridor into the early 21st Century, where it is now owned and operated by CSX Transportation.


  1. ^ a b c d e Ohio Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs 1901, p. 56.
  2. ^ Murphy, Ared Maurice (September 1925). "The Big Four Railroad in Indiana". Indiana Magazine of History: 120. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Ohio Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs 1901, p. 75.
  4. ^ Orth 1910, p. 957.
  5. ^ "Railroads in Indiana". American Railroad Journal. October 6, 1849. p. 626. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Hover 1919, p. 224.
  7. ^ Ohio Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs 1868, p. 6.
  8. ^ Ohio Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs 1874, p. 69.
  9. ^ Low 1862, p. 97.
  10. ^ Biographic Cyclopaedia of the State of Ohio 1883, p. 179.
  11. ^ Interstate Commerce Commission 1933, p. 735.
  12. ^ a b Moody's Investors Service 1931, p. 67.
  13. ^ Amato 2013, p. 177.
  14. ^ Hunter & Jarzen 2011, p. 37.