In 1938, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway took over one of two rail lines that connected Evansville to Terre Haute. That rail line was the Evansville, Indianapolis & Terre Haute Railway. Along the way, many different consolidations took place to create that company. Also, operating agreements had to be thrown out the window as they went. This is a brief summary of that history.
The EI&TH was the 1920 reorganization of a long line of consolidations over the previous 60 years.
The first consolidation took place in 1869, when the Evansville & Indianapolis, the Indianapolis & Evansville, and the Evansville, Indianapolis & Cleveland Straight Line Railroad were merged to create the second Evansville & Indianapolis. The latter company was created to build a line as described in the title. The consolidation allowed the competitors to build one line instead of three. The Indianapolis & Evansville, however, had been born as the Evansville, Washington & Worthington.
The trackage for the future EI&TH was built by three companies that would be consolidated in 1884. The (second) Evansville & Indianapolis built from a point north of Evansville called Straight Line Junction to Maysville, a total of 51 miles.
The second company part of the merger was the Terre Haute & Southeastern. It was created in 1878, and soon after bought two railroads: the Cincinnati & Terre Haute Railway, which had built a 26 mile line from Terre Haute to Clay City; and the Terre Haute, Worthington & Bloomfield, which had acquired the right of way of the old Wabash & Erie Canal to build their railroad. The Terre Haute & Southeastern would continue the C&TH line for 14 miles from Clay City to Worthington.
The third company was the Evansville, Washington & Brazil, which had built a 43 mile line connecting the two lines above from Worthington to Maysville.
The consolidation of 1885 was put in place in the interests of another railroad that connected Evansville to Terre Haute. That route, called the Evansville & Terre Haute, had a much straighter line between the two cities. It also owned the tracks from Evansville to Straight Line Junction that was used by the Evansville & Indianapolis to enter the southern Indiana city. Both companies were under the operation of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad Company.
The C&EI bought the E&I in order to eliminate any competition to their mainline that was the Evansville & Terre Haute. But in the early 20th century, the age of anti-trust and anti-monopolies was dawning. The C&EI held off as long as they could. The company would sell the Evansville, Indianapolis & Terre Haute to the Big Four in 1920, shortly after that company had been created.