Indiana

Nonprofit announces capital campaign to revive one of Indiana’s world-famous interurban railcars 

Nonprofit announces capital campaign to revive one of Indiana’s world-famous interurban railcars 

As of 4:29 p.m. on 4/29/2019, a group of young preservationists are pleased to announce the Electrify 429 capital campaign.  Electrify 429 is a project of the Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. to restore Indiana Union Traction Company No. 429 to operation – one of the last remaining interurbans from Indiana’s world-famous electric railroad system of the early 20th century.

Carrying the Torch Forward – Preserving Our Electric Railway Heritage

Carrying the Torch Forward – Preserving Our Electric Railway Heritage

With the interurban system dissolving in 1941 and streetcar systems converting to buses in the 1950s, many alive today do not remember nor even know the state had one of the world’s greatest transportation networks. In the 1920s, the electric railway system peaked with more than 15,000 operating trolleys and more than 2 million passengers in a year. Cars would depart the traction terminal in Indianapolis (trolley station) nearly every minute for destinations across the state, once passing the steps of the Indiana Statehouse. With the conclusion of the Golden Age of railroading in America, began the railway preservation movement.

Bracing for the future – creation of the Indiana Railroad

Bracing for the future – creation of the Indiana Railroad

Before the traditional steam railroads came along, there were two options for transportation: horse or by foot. The advent of railroads made travel between towns convenient for the first time in Indiana’s history. This level of convenience was increased even further by the services of the interurban railroads. The interurbans wouldn’t only stop in town but could pick up additional passengers at almost any crossing.

-This level of convenience, however, came at a cost to the interurbans.

Sparking a Calling: Our Story - Part 1

Sparking a Calling: Our Story - Part 1

At this point-in-time, our team rolled up our sleeves and entered the scene in crisis mode as part of a serious effort to acquire as many of the remaining electric railway cars as possible. Although beaten and battered, these cars were the last glimpses into an industry that built Indiana into what it is today - a cultural phenomenon that employed thousands, moved millions, and opened Indiana up to economic possibilities never before seen nor contemplated. 

Desiring a Better Life - Sparking Opportunity

Desiring a Better Life - Sparking Opportunity

The level of service delivered by the interurban companies opened up business and educational opportunities to Indiana’s rural citizens during the early 1900s.  Rufus Thomas was one of those Hoosiers - sparking a future of opportunity through the interurban system that had never been an option for him.

Bracing for the Automobile – Electric’s “One Man” Program

Bracing for the Automobile – Electric’s “One Man” Program

In 1935, Indiana Railroad, which was the dominating interurban (high-speed electric train car between cities) route resulting from the acquisition of nearly every interurban line in Central Indiana, was looking for ways to cut costs and standardize equipment.  Competition from automobiles and busses were injuring the interurban line’s finances, as the personalization and ease of these modes of transportation had great appeal. 

Group of young preservationists announces the formation of the nonprofit Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co.

Group of young preservationists announces the formation of the nonprofit  Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co.

A group of historic preservationists is pleased to announce the formation of the Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. The group is a forming nonprofit preservation organization dedicated to the interpretation, preservation, and operation of historic railroad artifacts significant to Indiana’s rich, yet mostly forgotten electric railway history.