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The Drive back to Chicago and the Monon Connection Museum 7/22/2013

by Chris Guenzler

Dave Smetko and I awoke to a rainy Ohio morning and I checked the Doppler radar to see where the rain was heading. It looked as though by the time we planned to reach Lima that the rain should have finished. So first we drove to Marion Union Station and waited under cover, hoping a train would arrive.

On this visit all I photographed was AC tower as I covered Marion in a previous recent visit. After 45 minutes we headed west towards Lima but stopped at Kenton to pick up our usual McDonald's breakfast.

The John H. Keller Lima Lincoln Park Railroad Exhibit is maintained by the Lima Parks, Recreation and Forestry Division and volunteers from the Allen County Historical Society. The display is the result of the dream of John H. Keller, Sr. to provide a permanent home for part of Lima's railroad heritage.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 779 built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1949. It was displayed at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1949 and in its nine-year operating life, 677,095 miles. Retired in 1958, it was placed in storage at Nickel Plate's Conneaut shops until five years later when it was moved to the City of Lima and placed on display.

Nickel Plate Road caboose 1091 built by Lafayette Car Works in 1888. It was renumbered 559091 when the NKP merged into the Norfolk and Western in 1964.

Lake Erie and Western wooden business car 5 built by Pullman in 1883. It later became Nickel Plate Road 5.

The Ohio Southern Railroad station, from Uniopolis, built in 1883 and moved ten miles north, is on display here.

Lima Locomotive Works Historical Marker.

S 89 stone milepost. From here we drove over to the first station we knew was here in Lima.

This station was used by both the Detroit, Lima & Northern and Ohio Southern Railroads built in 1896 and had a freight section added in 1923. This station was demolished in 2015. Next we went to the other station.

The Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago station built in 1887. This was a major part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system, extending the railroad west from Pittsburgh via Fort Wayne to Chicago. It included the current Norfolk Southern-owned Fort Wayne Line east of Crestline, Ohio, to Pittsburgh and the Fort Wayne Secondary, owned by CSX, from Crestline west to Tolleston in Gary, Indiana. CSX leased its entire portion in 2004 to the Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad. The remaining portion of the line from Tolleston into Chicago is now part of the Norfolk Southern's Chicago District, with a small portion of the original PFW&C trackage abandoned in favor of the parallel lines of former competitors which are now part of the modern Norfolk Southern system.

Lima Stone Company two-truck Shay 10, built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1925. It became National Lime and Stone 10 in a 1947 corporate sale then in 1953, was donated to the Allen County Historical & Archeological Society. The Allen County Museum was closed so this is this was the best I could do under, the circumstances. We headed west towards Lima but made another stop before leaving town.

We found a Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern train switching their yard in West Lima.

Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern GP38-2 3886, ex. Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern 2098, nee Chicago and North Western 4620 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1979.

Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern GP38-2 3883, ex. National Railway Equpiment 3883, exx. Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern 2097, nee Chicago and North Western 4616 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1979.

Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern GP38-2 3882, ex. National Railway Equpiment 3882, ex. Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern 2096, nee Chicago and North Western 4614 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1979.

From here we drove to Indiana and stopped at the Two EE's Winery so Dave could do some wine tasting in order to buy his wife a bottle that she would like. We then made our way to Monon, Indiana and came upon Caboose Park at North Market and East 3rd Street.

A Monon Railroad baggage cart.

The Monon Railroad historical marker.

Reading Railroad caboose, nee Elgin, Joliet and Eastern 179 built by International Car in 1956, painted as Monon 81579.

A Monon semaphore signal. From here we went over a block to our next stop.

The Monon Railroad crossed itself. It went north to Michigan City, west to Chicago, south to Louisville and east to Indianapolis.

The Monon Station in Monon built in 1953 and is a stop on Amtrak's Cardinal route. We drove north to our next stop.

Monon Connection Museum

This museum and connected Whistle Stop Restaurant features the largest collection of Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville (Monon) rolling stock in the country and has thousands of items on display inside the museum. It is the largest private collection of railroad items shared with the public in the United States.

We pulled in to the parking lot and I started my picture taking. First, Monon crane 80005, built by Bucyrus, was in front.

A crossing signal.

Monon crossing signals and unique plant display.

A Monon concrete milepost.

A Monon wig wag crossing signal.

A crossing gate.

Maintenance equipment.

A smaller semaphore.

A slow sign.

Railroad Crossing Stop Look and Listen.

Yard Limit sign.

Sign for the restaurant at the Monon Connection Museum.

Ballast hopper.

Museum scenes.

Crossbuck with flashers.


Brownsburg station light post.

Warning Structure will not clear man on side of car.

Look Out For Cars crossing sign.

Monon 40 foot flat car 32258 built by the railroad in 1926 and was on display in Linden, Indiana.


Greencastle station light post.

Freight car trucks.

Semaphore signal.


Maintenance dumper.

Morton station light post.

Yard Limit.

Monon 50 foot box car 1620 built in 1951 and was on display in Linden.

Fort Wayne station light post.

Minneapolis and St. Louis outside-braced box car 51646 built by the railroad.

Railroad Crossing Danger.

Kingan wooden refrigerator car 3045 built by General American in 1939.

Wabash caboose 2822 built by the railroad in 1949.

Semaphore signal.

Position light signal.

Museum scene.

Railroad Crossing Danger.

Semaphore signal.

RR Crossing sign.

Lineside signal.

Do Not Walk nor Trespass on the Bridge.

Museum scene.


Click here for Part 2 of this story!