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Vandalia Railroad (PRR) Wildcat Creek bridge

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Brief History 

Written by James Norwood

This rail line was constructed in the 1870's to connect Terre Haute to South Bend via Frankfort, Logansport, and Plymouth. This bridge location however wasn't part of the original route. When the line was constructed here, it turned off the current route heading Northwest as it approached Cutler and crossed the Creek via an unknown bridge and then followed an oxbow of the old channel of the Wildcat up and around the West side of town as it turned back towards the current abandoned right of way on quite the incline. It crossed CR 375 South just East of present day State Road 75 before rejoining the now current abandoned line.
Later the Vandalia(then part of the great Pennsylvania Railroad empire)straightened out the route through town via a new grade and bridge over the Wildcat Creek. This was in the 1913 to 1918 era. That bridge may perhaps be the same one that stand there abandoned today.

After many corporate successors and government involvement, Conrail(Consolidated Rail) took ownership of the railroad in 1976 and quickly took to making itself smaller. Logansport took a direct hit when lines to Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio were abandoned. Earlier, the line past Kokomo and the most of the Logansport to South Bend Vandalia route were eliminated under Penn Central. With limited connections and diminished service Conrail was quick to look for an "out" on this route between Indy and Logansport. Only servicing limited customers between Avon Yard(West of Indy) to Kokomo via Logansport wasn't paying the bills so the line was quickly abandoned.

The official statement from Conrail was that THIS bridge at Cutler was damaged and repairs were not financially feasible with low tonnage moving over this route. So Conrail cut it at the State Road 75 crossing North of Frankfort and up to the South end of Bringhurst including 13.8 miles in or about 1993. The bridge is located in a remote area and nearby road access includes fencing and No Trespassing signs. Perhaps a canoe trip would be needed to view this bridge today.
Edit July 1, 2014, More information suggests thare was nothing wrong with this bridge, and it actually had recent work by MOW forces to update it before the rail was lifted. Some have suggested Conrail was trying to keep others from building a Midwest to South bridge route for rail traffic that could hurt Conrail's financial future. It was also said that this section was offered to Winamac Southern Railway(WSRY) who at that time was not interested in a purchase as their operator Central Railroad of Indianapolis (CERA)had rights to traverse the old Nickel Plate Cloverleaf Norfolk Southern line from Kokomo to Frankfort. Later after CERA's purchase by Railtex, Norfolk Southern pulled it's lease of the Cloverleaf line thus forcing CERA/WSRY to access the outside world via NS only in Logansport or Marion. Frankfort afforded the possibility of access to CSX Transportation as they run another section of the old I&F line from just North of Frankfort to Indy.

Facts 

Overview
Abandoned bridge over Wildcat Creek on former Conrail (ex- Penn Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Pittsburg Cincinnati Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, Vandalia, Terre Haute and Logansport Railroads) in Cutler
Location
Cutler, Carroll County, Indiana
Status
Abandoned
History
Part of a rail line from Terre Haute to South Bend. Conrail abandoned route through here in 1993 citing damage to this bridge as reason. Amtrak ran their Southwind and Floridian trains on this bridge in 1970's.
Railroad
- Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
Also called
Cutler railroad bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.48160, -86.52235   (decimal degrees)
40°28'54" N, 86°31'20" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/540484/4481322 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Rossville
Inventory number
BH 42654 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 10, 2012: Updated by J.P.: Added category "Railroad"
  • June 4, 2009: Essay added by James Norwood
  • June 3, 2009: Added by James Norwood

Sources 

  • James Norwood