Indianapolis Union Station: How the Tracks Came to Be

Originally posted 17 October 2016.

Someone in another group posted a picture of Indianapolis Union Station, but gave no information about it. Just a picture. So in doing some research this morning, I have a rough timeline of the railroads that came to use Indianapolis Union Station.

But I also found this, as well:

DEVELOPMENT OF FIXED PHYSICAL PROPERTY

The owned property, consisting of the union station, together with appurtenances and 1.769 miles of main line, located at Indianapolis, Ind., was acquired by purchase and construction. In the year 1850, there was turned over to the predecessor of this company for operation 1.60 miles of main line, of which 0.64 mile had been constructed by the Peru and Indianapolis Railroad Company as a part of its road, and 0.96 mile of road had been constructed through the cooperation of the Terre Haute and Richmond Railroad Company, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad Company, and Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad Company. As of March 14, 1884, there was deeded to the Indianapolis Union by the proprietary companies a union station and 1.11 miles of main line, of which 0.87 mile was constructed through cooperation of the Terre Haute and Richmond Railroad Company, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad Company, and Indianapolis and Bellefontaine Railroad Company, and 0.24 mile was constructed by the Peru and Indianapolis Railroad Company.

By joint deed of March 14, 1884, Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad Company, The Terre Haute and Indianapolis Rail Road Company, Chicago, St. Louis Railway Company, and Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Chicago Railway Company, the proprietary companies at that date, conveyed to the carrier certain portions of their respective properties in Indianapolis, which, in accordance with an agreement of November 19, 1872, had been known and used as the latter’s property, but not before conveyed to it by deed.

Beginning in November 1886, additional station facilities were provided consisting of a rearranged and enlarged track system, renewed and additional retaining walls, new bridges, head house and office building, train shed, under grade crossings for street railway and pedestrians at Illinois Street, and other features.
During the period 1915 to 1922 the entire track layout was elevated approximately 18 feet by the construction of earth embankments, retaining walls, and bridges carrying tracks over the streets. The old train shed and baggage, mail, and express buildings were replaced with elevated structures having tracks and train shed on the upper deck, station facilities at street level, and a baggage tunnel under one street. Undergrade bridges were constructed to replace 11 grade and 1 overhead crossing. The head house and office buildings were retained but were extensively remodeled. Thus the principal items of property existing prior to July 1915, and remaining unchanged on December 31, 1922, the date of completion of the general track-elevation project, were certain parcels of land, embankment for the old tracks, and the remodeled head house and office buildings.

3 thoughts on “Indianapolis Union Station: How the Tracks Came to Be

    1. Can you imagine trying to raise the tracks, keep traffic moving on the streets, and trying to maintain hundreds of arrivals and departures a day? Wow. Then realizing that the track elevation included the Louisville Line south of the station as far as Terrace Ave., the B-Line/Nickel Plate/Monon as far as new York St., and everything west of the station to a point on the west bank of White River. A couple of miles of track, a new train shed, removal of a large viaduct and tunnel. Given the way construction is done today, I can’t see that it would take any less time than it did then.

      Liked by 1 person

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