Northern Indiana Railroad

Chicago, South Bend and Northern Indiana Railway Company, or Northern Indiana Railroad was one of several electric inturburban railways that once serviced South Bend and other communities.

Northern Indiana Railway birney car passing a South Shore train on LaSalle Street, circa 1937.

 

 

 

 

Chartered January 18, 1885, the South Bend Railway Company began operation. Similiar to the South Shore, the railroad operated under several names between 1885 and June 15, 1940 when the remaining five lines ceased operation. Once known as the Chicago, South Bend and Northern Indiana Railway Company, then simply the Northern Indiana Railway, the lines serviced many Indiana communities. Besides South Bend and Mishawaka, the Northern Indiana Railway served Michigan City, LaPorte, The University of Notre Dame, Elkhart, Goshen and Bristol in Indiana. The line also ran north into Michigan to provide service to Benton Harbor, St. Joseph and Niles.

Very little remains of the Northern Indiana Railway today. Between Lydick and South Bend, traces of the old right of way are still visible. East of Lydick the Edison Street crossing and former right of way can be seen. The former right of way is still visable through Lydick, if you know where to look. The former Lydick substation and passenger depot is still standing. West of Lydick the former right of way is also visable almost all the way into New Carlisle. Old track that were once visable in Meade Street, north of Bertrand Street in South Bend, were removed during the Bendix Drive relocation during the summer of 2005.

Meade Street. Right and left, former tracks of the Northern Indiana Railway, circa 2003. The line once ran down Meade Street, in what was known as the Bendix Loop. In May 2004 the street was finally repaved and the tracks removed.

 

Then and Now on the Northern Indiana Railroad

 

Left: Northern Indiana Railroad, Bendix Line, August 18, 1938. Car 215 is approaching the South Shore line at Meade and Orange Streets. This car is southbound. M.D. McCarter Photograph. Right: Same location, circa 2003.

 

Left: Downtown South Bend, date unknown. NIRR Bendix line. This picture is looking west from Michigan Street and down Washington Street. Building in the background on the left is the Tower Building. On the right, the Oliver Hotel. Right: Downtown circa 2003.

Left: Northern Indiana Railroad, Bendix Line, August 18, 1938. This car is westbound on Washington Street. In the background is the former Oliver Hotel, which was once the "best place in town." Also in the background, across the street is the JMS (John M. Studebaker) Building. M.D. McCarter Photograph. Right: Same location, circa 2003. Today City Center occupies the corner.

 

Left: Northern Indiana Railroad, Bendix Line, August 13, 1938. This car is eastbound on Washington Street. In the background is the O'Brien Varnish Company, later known as Fuller O'Brien Paint Company. M.D. McCarter Photograph. Right: Same location, circa 2003. Uniroyal Sealants calls the former O'Brien Varnish Company home.

 

Left: Northern Indiana Railroad, Bendix Line, August 13, 1938. This car is northbound on Meade Street at Rogers. M.D. McCarter Photograph. Right: Same location, circa 2003. Today Kennedy Academy occupies the area to the east of the old right of way.

 

Left: Northern Indiana Railroad, Bendix Line, August 13, 1938. This car is westbound on Circle Street. M.D. McCarter Photograph. Right: Same location, circa 2003. Today as back then Adams Engineering is on the west side of the street.

 

Left: Northern Indiana Railroad, Lincolnway West Line, August 13, 1938. This car is eastbound on Lincolnway West, just about to cross the New York Central line which passed St. Mary's College and The University of Notre Dame. In the background is the Hoosier Brewery. M.D. McCarter Photograph. Right: Same location, circa 2003. Lincolnway West is still a busy street.

Left: Car Shops and Yard facility on Notre Dame Avenue. April 1937. In 2004 the location is home to the Transpo Bus Maintenance Facility

  

Left: Mishawaka Avenue and 32nd Street. Motor Unit 802, November 1938. Right: Same location, December 2004.

Left: The caption on this picture says this picture was taken June 1940 on Lincolnway West. The sign on the car says "Miami Street." It is obvious that the car is just starting the return trip. Olive street was the end of the route. The church visible in the background is the Epworth Methodist Church, Lincolnway and Olive Street. Right: 2004 Photo coming soon.

Hoosier Beer wooden case on display at the Studebaker National Museum. Once a popular local brew.

 

#811 at Michigan and Washington Streets, June 20, 1937. Bill Volkmer collection.

 

Left: Northern Indiana Railroad, crossing the St. Joseph River, June 15, 1940. This car is westbound crossing the old Grand Trunk bridge. This was the last run of this line. The next day, bus service was initiated in South Bend, by Transpo. Right: Same bridge, slightly different angle. Now it is part of the East Race walking trail. Note the concrete bridge piers. They were built for a double track bridge, however, it appears that the GTW never built the second bridge.

 

Northern Indiana Railroad, abandoned sub-stations. Left: Lydick Indiana sub-station and depot, circa 1934 after the line was abandoned and the tracks removed. Right: Rolling Prairie sub-station and depot, looking down the abandoned right of way. Both, M.D. McCarter Photographs.

  

Left: Looking southest down the former NIRR right of way from the Edison Road crossing east of Lydick, Indiana. Right: The Edison Road crossing. The right of way ran along the lake, then west, north of Edison Road through Lydick.

  

The Lydick NIRR depot and electrical substation, circa 2005. This is the same building pictured above. Left: Standing on the former right of way looking southeast. Just beyond the hedges pictured was the door to the depot part of the building. Right: Looking northwest. Vehicle in picture would be on the right of way. This building is now a private residence. Please respect the rights of others and ask permission before tresspassing on private property.

  

Left: Looking west along the former NIRR right of way west of the sub-station location. This was the location of a passing track. Right: Former right of way west of Pear Road in Lydick, Indiana. -A special "Thank You" to the Nickerson Family of Lydick for allowing me to photograph on their property.-

 

Left and Right: The old Northern Indiana Railway, west of Lydick, Indiana. Pictured on the left are all that remains of a former bridge along the NIRR. Bridge abutment on the east bank and old pilings in the creek. From this point the line ran parallel to the South Shore through New Carlisle, turned south and ended up in LaPorte.

This picture . These abutments are between the creek pictured above and Lydick. The old Michigan Central line, or St. Joseph, South Bend and Southern Railroad, crossed the NYC and South Shore south of this set of bridge abutments. The NIRR right of way passed under the SJSB&S and continued west to New Carlisle, Indiana.

 

 

 

 

Left: These two photos were taken in the spring of 2004. In the photo to the left you are looking towards the east down the old NIRR right of way and the bridge abutments. Right: The abandoned bridge abutments. You are looking towards the southwest.

  

Left: Standing on the old Michigan Central right of way at the top of the south abutment. The former NIRR right of way is below. You are looking northwest toward U.S. Highway 20. Right: The south abutment. You are looking towards the southeast.

More Northern Indiana Railways Pictures

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