Interstate Public Service From Edinburgh to Seymour

I have, over the past 18 months, done several articles about the Interstate Public Service electric traction line that would run south from Indianapolis, ultimately connecting to Louisville. From the Indianapolis end, it would follow what is now Shelby Street south to connect to the old Madison State Road (Madison Avenue) on its way to Greenwood. From there, it followed either the Madison Road right of way, or that of the old Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis (later Panhandle and Pennsylvania Railroad) right of way. With slight detours in towns, it would hold true to those rights of way.

Historical Topographic Map Collection

While doing other research, I found a 1942 USGS topo map showing the route of the old IPS route from north of Edinburgh to north of Seymour. What I found was interesting. Yes, the Interstate Public Service line followed the Pennsylvania Railroad to a point south of Columbus. From there, it blazed its own trail across the Bartholomew County landscape on its way to Azalia, where it shared the right of way with the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific, familiarly known as the Milwaukee Road.

It would follow the Milwaukee into Seymour, where it would split again for its southbound journey to the Ohio River.

The only map of the route that I have found, so far, is the one to the left. This is a section of that 1942 USGS map with the interurban route highlighted in red.

It should be noted here that this map was released the year after the last train would run along the line, as mentioned in this article: Interstate Public Service.

Thanks to other available resources online, especially that of http://www.railwaystationlists.co.uk/pdfusaiu/indianainterurbanrlys.pdf, it is possible to not only follow the route more closely, but to get an idea of what stops there were between Edinburgh and Seymour.

Edinburgh itself was .3 miles south of Stop 42, known as Irwin Siding. Irwin Siding was 31.5 rail miles south of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal. The next numbered stop, Stop 43, also known as Elk Siding, was .7 miles south of that. This put Elk Siding at milepost 32.5, along the Bartholomew/Johnson County line. Stop 44 was located at the intersection of the traction line and what is now Bartholomew County Road 900 North.

Another stop, King Siding, was located halfway between County Roads 900N and 800N. The list of stops shows that there was possibly a passenger stop here. This siding would have been at what is now the south end of Edinburgh, near where there is a private drive coming from Walnut Street towards the railroad tracks. The above topo map shows no farmhouses in the area, so I lean toward it being just a passing siding.

From there, south to Columbus included:
Stop 45 (34.5) at CR 800 N
Stop 46 (35.6) at CR 700 N
Taylorsville, 36.1 miles from Indianapolis, at Tannehill Road
Stop 47 (37.1) at CR 550 N
Stop 48 (37.6), CR 500 N
Stop 49, CR 450N
Perry Siding (Stop 50) at CR 400N
Lowell (Stop 52) at Lowell Road
Washington and 10th Streets, also known as Corn Brook Siding
Columbus, located at Washington and Third Streets, 42.9 track miles from Indianapolis.

Google Maps image, taken 11 October 2020, of the crossings, at Columbus, of the Flat Rock River. The lower crossing is that of the old Pennsylvania, now Louisville & Indiana, Railroad. The upper crossing is that of the Duke Energy electrical lines.

It is not hard to find the location where the interurban tracks crossed the Flat Rock River to enter Columbus. Keep in mind that electric power service entered the city via the power lines that served the interurban. It was kind of a two for one deal. The lines that supplied power to both the city and the electric traction now belong to Duke Energy. Those lines were once part of the Public Service Indiana company before being purchased by Duke Energy. They started as part of the Interstate Public Service company, serving the electric traction lines that crossed at that location.

One of the things that makes interurban lines so generally easy to follow, especially in rural areas, is the remnants of the power feed lines. Many of those lines are still there because the electric company that put them there still has the right of way. When the interurbans were built, the electricity that was provided to run them was a bonus to the company. Or so it was thought. Turned out, the electric traction roads were always losing money by themselves, and staying afloat by selling electricity. When the Federal Government ordered the separation of the traction lines from the electric utilities, the choice for the companies was easy. Bye-bye traction lines.

In places southeast of Columbus, where the electric lines no longer exist, the remnants of the traction lines do still stand out. Some property lines along the way still exist, and can be easily seen in both Google Map’s satellite imaging, and in the closer up views of the regular maps.

From Columbus to Azalia, while the traction line went cross country, there were eight stops: Stop 53; Stop 54 (Troy Siding); Stop 56; Stop 57 (Newsom Siding); Mineral Spring; Stop 58; Stop 59 (Morris Siding) and Azalia. Azalia is unique (sort of) in that before the town was Stop 59 and after was Stop 61. Most of the time, towns were not counted in stop numbers.

The Interstate Public Service lines joined the Milwaukee Road at what is not County Road 800 South, which the IPS considered Stop 61, which was 52.3 miles south of the Indianapolis Traction Terminal. The next town along the way was Reddington. It was after Stop 62 (Gravel Pit), Stop 63, Stop 64 (Gibbons Siding), and Stop 65. The line crossed the Bartholomew-Jackson County line at Gibbons Siding. Reddington was not Stop 66, that was nearly a mile south of the town.

At some point, between Stop 66 and Stop 67 (57.4 and 58.5 miles south of Indianapolis respectively), a stop was added half way between the two. This was known as Stop 66 1/2. This was done occasionally, as sometimes roads and/or farms were added between the original locations. Most stops were at county roads in the rural sections. If a new road or farm was built along the line, then adding a stop at that location was often done.

After Stop 67, there were only four more before reaching Seymour. They were Stop 68, Stop 69, Tople and Seymour. The last two would also be considered numbered stops, strangely. Stop 71, called Seymour, was 62 miles from the Indianapolis Traction Terminal. This would put that station almost half way to the Louisville Terminal, which was 116.8 rail miles from Indianapolis. The last stop number used, Stop 106, was 14.4 miles north of Louisville. From that point, stops were named, and rather close together…being that there were 24 stops in that 14.4 miles.

This is a brief overview of the Interstate Public Service from Edinburgh to Seymour. As more maps become available, I plan to cover this further.

One thought on “Interstate Public Service From Edinburgh to Seymour

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