President John Barriger was a true deciple of passenger service. He believed that passenger service could be profitable on the CI&L, and that its high visibility kept a railroad in the public mind and thus would produce freight revenues. The passenger equipment and service that Barriger's Monon assumed in May of 1946 were far from good assets.
Upon taking control, Barriger envinsioned a resumption of Monon service in a traditional form, two trains a day in each direction Indianapolis to Chicago and night trains in each direction between Chicago and Louisville and a sleeper connection to French Lick on the Chicago to Louisville trains. Barriger's first moves had to use the existing CI&L equipment, aged passenger cars and steam.
In less than five months Bariger had changed the structure of passenger service to match his vision. His biggest challenge , equipment renewal, remained. Barriger had two factors to consider, cost and delivery. Despite his zeal for passenger service, the Hoosie Line couldnot afford to spend millions of dollars to revitalize its passenger conveyances and the delivery schedules of the major passenger carbuilders. It was the midst of the American railroads great post war race to streamline their trains. It was well into 1946 that Berriger found his solution, in surplus U.S. Army hospital cars.These cars were made by American Car and Foundry in 1944-45 and with the war's end, were considered surplus and being stored.
U.S. Army Hospital Cars under reovation and rebuilding at the Lafayette Shops
On September 25, 1946, Bariger brought before the Board his proposal to purchase the Army hospital cars. He sought to purchase 23 cars to be converted into coaches, dining-lounge-parlor, parlor cars and one business car. The Board approved the purchase of 20 cars and indicated that costs, including conversion at the Lafayette Shops not exceed $500,000.00. Barriger projected the rebuilding process would run into the summer of 1947. Financing was arranged for the cars by December and in early January 1947 the purchase was made. At the same time, Barriger convinced the Board that eight more ex-hospital cars should be purchased. This purchase was completed in April 1947, bringing the total to 28 cars acquired.
Brand new F-3A's and new streamlined passenger cars at Hammond, Indiana. 1947
In late July 1947, in time for the Monon Centennial Celebration the first set of the new equipment was ready. During the last week of July and into August, Monon's new Hoosier toured the line. With F3's 81/A 81/B, mail-baggage car 11, three delux coaches, 21-23, dining-bar-lounge 51 and parlor observation 71 toured the railroad, from New Albany to French Lick, from Lafayette to Michigan City.
Touring the Michigan City Branch (Left) Arriving at South Wanatah and (Right) Sitting at LaCrosse
On August 17, 1947 the Tippecanoe was christened at Indianapolis by Mrs. Emil Schramm, wife of the President of the New York Stock Exchange, and the train made its first revenue run to Chicago. That evening, in a more publicized ceremony at Dearborn Station, the same train was christened Hoosier by noted cartoonist John T. Mcutcheon and made its forst southbound run.
(Left) Exhibition Train in Downtown Lafayette. (Right) Train #5 the Throughbred entering the Shops Yard.
With the Hoosier, Tippecanoe, Thoroughbred and Bluegrass in its red and gray public timetables, with eight new F-3As and 28 new passenger cars in service, the Hoosier Line's post-war passenger service was at its zenith.
-Excerpts from Monon, the Hoosier Line, by Steve and Gary Dolzall-
@2012 Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society, Inc.