Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Find an old ROW or want to know what the name of that one tower along the EL was? Post any historical questions or comments here. Open to any era from around the Ft Wayne area. Interurbans welcome!

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fredmcain
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by fredmcain » Sat Sep 06, 2008 10:20 am

Mike,

That could very well be. Also, I once saw that there is a nature trail or something at the Bonneyville Mill park between Middlebury and Bristol called "The Valley Line". I would presume that some of the old right of way was used for the trail but I have never really had the oppurtunity to check this out. Does anybody know?

Regards,
Fred M. Cain

cjberndt
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by cjberndt » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:18 am

There were two companies: StJV Traction Co., which owned the track from Elkhart to LaGrange, and the StJV Ry. Co., which owned the track from LaGrange to Columbia, Ohio. The first company was leased to and operated by the second company in 1909.

The line was originally to have been electric from a connection with the Northern Indiana interurban at Elkhart to a connection with the Toledo & Western interurban in Pioneer, Ohio. However, the owner, Mr. H. E. Bucklen did not favor electric power, and in the end only the Elkhart-Bristol section was electric; the Bristol-Columbia, Ohio, section used steam and a variety of gas and weird-powered doodlebugs.

The roadbed running east from Columbia to Pioneer was graded, but the disagreement about steam v. electric power obviated a connection. A short section of roadbed was also graded from Columbia toward Bryan, Ohio, for a possible connection with the Toledo & Indiana interurban there. Either connection would have provided an Elkhart-Toledo thru-line. All but Mr. Bucklen wanted it all to be electric.

In addition to Ghost Railroads of Indiana, look for The St. Joseph Valley Railway by Galloway and Buckley, 1955. It’s not well organized, but it contains a lot of valuable information. A copy is in the Angola library, and elsewhere I’m certain. It shows up occasionally on eBay and at railfan meets. If you can find their manuscript, copy it: for some reason it has information that was not included in the book.

Jerry Marlette’s Electric Railroads of Indiana has a good chronology of the electric part of the line.

Craig Sanders’ Limiteds, Locals, and Expresses in Indiana, 1838-1971, has a great write-up on the passenger service on both the electric and steam sections.

As always, you must review official documents and annual reports at the state archives in Indianapolis, must review documents filed in all the courthouses along the line, and have to read all the local newspapers to get the full picture.

The StJV was an unprofitable mess its entire life. Although it showed after-tax income of 40 cents in 1910, $1,330 in 1911, and $6,607 in 1914, it was not true. In a later year the state ordered the company to include in its annual reports the funds that Mr. Bucklen was giving the line as loans, which resulted in even bigger income losses in subsequent reports. In reality, there was no positive income in 1910, 1911, and 1914, because those reports did not show his loans for those years.

Mr. Bucklen simply poured money into the line because he was wealthy and wanted to own a railroad. Documents filed in the Elkhart (County) Superior Court in Feb. 1918 to settle Mr. Bucklen’s estate showed that the railroad owed him almost $1.5 million at the time of his death ($20.5 million today). His heirs abandoned the line and sold it for scrap about 10 minutes after his passing.

Craig Berndt
Craig Berndt

SylvanLakeJohn
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by SylvanLakeJohn » Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:21 pm

Good Day All,
There is an old adage that good things come to those that wait, and after over 2 years from my initial post, we now have a lively discussion on the Saint Joseph Valley Railway.
Thanks to all and keep the posts coming.
Sylvan Lake John

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Michael Meisener
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Michael Meisener » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:10 pm

Valley Line 1 of 3
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Michael Meisener
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Michael Meisener » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:11 pm

2 of 3
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Michael Meisener
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Michael Meisener » Mon Sep 08, 2008 3:13 pm

3 of 3
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Howard
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Howard » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:40 pm

Notch 8 wrote:There appears to be an old ROW west of Bristol on the south side of St Rd. 120 was this part of the StJVRR ?


Mike
The StJV ran on the north side of the NYC from Elkhart most of the way to Bristol, jogging over to SR-120 a short distance west of town so that is likely what you are seeing there. The ROW along the NYC can be seen at CR-17.

Grading for the ROW can be seen between CR-8 and the road along the south edge of Bonneyville Park with a trail on it as mentioned. The RR appears to have followed CR-8 into Middlebury and I recall seeing a number of small culverts along CR-8 back in the 1960s and 70s, but all seem to be gone now.

From Middlebury, the RR ran east along Warren St/CR-16 with pilings still visible at the Elkhart River crossing many years ago, but also gone now. Once across the river, the StJV angled over to follow the NYC line into Shipshewana.

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Notch 8
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Notch 8 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:46 pm

Is the Grain Elavator in Orland IN on or adjadcent of the ROW ?

Iwent to the library in Orland to see if they had anything on the
StJVRR but they were closed ! some other day........

I have read that the depot in Angola IN exsist as well on Martha Street anyone know ?

Mike
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Orland Mural @ St Rd 120 and 327

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Howard
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Howard » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:32 pm

A clue to the location of the RR is the fact that the street north of the mill is Railroad Street. I think the line ran where the street is now located.

The station in Angola was the brick building on the NW corner of Martha and US-20. As I recall, there was a one track carbarn at the rear of the building and the location of the door for this can still be seen.

Mark
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Mark » Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:47 pm

fredmcain wrote:Mark,

I'd love to see your book but there is only one thing. I found out while "Googling" for St Joseph Valley Railway that there were actually *TWO* of them that were completely unrelated. There was evidently a short-lived line that ran north from South Bend into Michigan in the 1880's and '90's.

Regards,
Fred M. Cain
The George Bradly book is about the line
to Michigan.I still haven't climbed into my
attic.So ,check your rare book source.

Mark

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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by wheeler » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:40 pm

***neat, new info***
the other night at the auction of train stuff in lagrange, I was looking thru a 1918 magazine called "Engineering"(?)
It was a trade magazine for civil construction, and had cement mixers, REAL steam shovels, etc.
In the rear of the mag were ads with used equipment for sale. There were barges, cranes, etc listed.....
Listed in a 1/4 page ad was "ST joeseph Valley Railroad" equipment for sale! :shock:
it listed cars, MOW equipment, rail, and engines. No price, and of course no phone number, but as I recall the address was elkhart, In for the contact info.

Sadly I never thought to snap a pic of it with my cell phone until I got home,(sorry) I wanted to buy the magazine, but someone really wanted the pile and paid like 65$ for them :?
probably a once in a lifetime sighting 90 years late

Thought you'd like to know....

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Notch 8
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Notch 8 » Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:16 pm

The Depot that is still in Lagrange IN was that for the GRI or St Joseph Valley RR ? and by the way it is on the market.

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Howard
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Howard » Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:32 pm

That was the StJV Depot. The GR&I was east of there and it's depot was to the south several blocks.

MFromholt
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by MFromholt » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:56 pm

I recently became interested in this line, and using google earth to find traces if it, I see two bridges in Steuben County still intact. One is west of S 200E north of US 20. GPS co-ordinates are N41.63873 W84.957384.
The other is located south of E 40S and west of S 935E, GPS co-ordinates are N41.637768 W84.817986
Also in Steuben County, southwest of Orland, there is a causeway for this railroad, GPS coordinates N41.723038 W85.181660

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Notch 8
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Re: Saint Joseph Valley Railway

Post by Notch 8 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:14 am

Lagrange, Indiana
St. Joe Valley Car Shops
November 11, 1911
Lagrange, Ind., Nov. 11 -- The St. Joe Valley car barns and machine shops, in the northwest part of Lagrange, were destroyed by fire tonight with a total loss estimated at $30,000. The origin of the flames is a mystery. The night watchman was some distance away when he discovered fire coming from the roof of the building and by the time the fire department could respond the entire building was a mass of flames, which fanned by heavy wind, spread quickly to all parts of the large structure.

Within the barns and shops the flames destroyed two motor cars and one locomotive, which could not be saved. This leaves the Valley company but two motor cars and two locomotives, which were saved from destruction as a result of being out on the line at the time.

The loss is a heavy one to the St. Joe company and to the city of Lagrange. The shops, which were 200 feet long by 10 [?] feet wide, and were constructed partly of brick and partly of frame, it is learned may not be rebuilt here. They were constructed seven years ago and the company recently completed its line through from Elkhart to Angola. Extensive further improvements and extensions had been planned. These, however, will probably be completed. The St. Joe line is owned by A.G. Bucklen of Elkhart. He was in Chicago to-night and could not be located on the telephone.

The flames started mysteriously. The watchman was in the yards coaling up an engine which was to be sent out on its run. He was some distance from the building, when he saw the flames start from the roof. He hastened to spread the alarm, but the wind fanned the fire which rendered the building [illegible] furnace within a few minutes. Nothing could be done to save any of the contents and the fire department and people who turned out en masse to aid the men found themselves powerless.

The fire started at 8:18 o'clock and in a short time the building and cars were a mass of ashes. The St. Joe Valley Railway Company was one of the few to power a line with gasoline motor cars. ...
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Lagrange Depot of the St Joe Valley RR
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