Interurban

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.

Sparking Innovation – Electrifying Indiana’s First Traffic Light

Sparking Innovation – Electrifying Indiana’s First Traffic Light

Leslie Haines was born in 1883 in rural Hamilton County, Ind. at Carmel, which numbered less than 400 residents at the time. Following his dream, Haines enlisted in 1906 and circumnavigated the globe in Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, training under Dr. Lee DeForest, a leader in the development of wireless technology. Meanwhile, the Union Traction Company of Indiana had set up shop in Carmel, allowing Carmel residents and storeowners to tap into a valuable new asset: electricity.

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.