Indiana Northeastern Railroad

Indiana Northeastern Railroad

Indiana Northeastern logo


The Indiana Northeastern Railroad Company (IN) operates in the Tri-State region of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.  Much of the railroad's track is in Michigan, however quite a bit runs across Northeast Indiana.  IN operates on two east-west lines, one north-south line, and a small remnant of another north-south line.  All of the lines are connected.  In Indiana and Ohio the IN operates on the old N&W Gary District (former Wabash) from South Milford to Pergo Junction (near Montpelier, Ohio).  From here they operate on the NS Huntington District to get into Norfolk Southern's Montpelier Yard, the primary interchange point.  The main north-south line is the former New York Central route between Fort Wayne and Jackson, Michigan.  This track is used from Steubenville, Indiana north to Hillsdale, Michigan, the location of IN's primary operating headquarters.  At Hillsdale the line turns to the west and connects with the New York Central "Old Road" which they operate on to Coldwater, Michigan and eventually Sturgis.  At Jonesville, Michigan the line to Litchfield branches off to the north and runs to the Michigan South Central Power Agency Plant in Litchfield.  This line was once part of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern route to Lansing, Michigan.

System Map

Indiana Northeastern map

Historical Aspects

Most of the present Indiana Northeastern system was taken over following the demise of the Hillsdale County Railroad, who operated it for many years prior.  The Branch County Rail Users Association (RUA - a not for profit group) bought the track from Quincy to Sturgis and took title after a lawsuit with Michigan southern in 2003 over what right of way was included. The RUA in 2005 sold the portion from Behnke Road west of Coldwater to Sturgis to INER and used the money to repair tracks from Quincy to Coldwater. Trains run almost daily to serve several customers in the industrial park who are the owners of the RUA with the city of Coldwater. The line westward to Sturgis is almost unusable because of rotten ties The Little River Railroad moved its steam locomotives and cars from White  Pigeon to Coldwater in spring 2005. It ran weekend trips to Quincy from Coldwater plus special fall foliage, Halloween, and Santa trips. There were 4,200 paid customers in 2005. This prompted the owners to purchase land to build a new maintenance storage spur and building plus purchase the old train station. Several of the New York Central depots are still standing on the system, including Pleasant Lake, Angola, Montgomery, Coldwater, and Jonesville.

*Thanks to Don Reid, a reporter for the Coldwater Daily Reporter, for this information

The Pleasant Lake depot still stands and is maintained.  This is facing southeast on the IN and the depot used to be the boarding area for the Little River Railroad's steam excursions.  October 22, 2005.


The Lake Central Railroad runs excursion trains on portions of this line during different parts of the season. In 2005 they ran trains select weekends from May through October with additional runs during the peak of the fall season in October. They also ran several Holiday trains during December. These rides usually take about 2 hours while traveling at 15mph to allow you to see all the beautiful landscapes that north eastern Indiana has to offer.

Lake Central 2006 Excursion Calendar

* All scheduled runs for 2006 have been cancelled!

October 7-8Angola to Hamilton @ 10:00a,12:30p,&3:00p -
October 14-15Angola to Hamilton @ 10:00a,12:30p,&3:00p -
October 21-22Angola to Hamilton @ 10:00a,12:30p,&3:00p -
October 28-29Angola to Hamilton @ 10:00a,12:30p,&3:00p -
December 2-3Santa Express @ 10:00a,12:00p,2:00p,4:00p -
December 9-10Santa Express @ 10:00a,12:00p,2:00p,4:00p -
December 16-17Santa Express @ 10:00a,12:00p,2:00p,4:00p -

Please visit their website for more information on purchasing tickets.



The former Detroit and Toledo Shore Line #47 that had for the better part of the last two decades had been the PGRV (Pigeon River) 47 was recently re-stenciled to IBCX reporting marks keeping its number. On Friday, December 2 it was shipped off to Montpelier, Ohio for interchange with Norfolk Southern. It's ultimate destination is undisclosed at this point.


The IN operates sporadically throughout the week.  I usually will monitor their frequency when I'm in the area.  If they are switching nearby, most of the time they'll be on the radio. Once they are enroute someplace, the radio is fairly quiet.  The trains usually will check in with the railroad's dispatcher over the radio to advise of their progress throughout the day.  Speeds on the line in Indiana are about 10 mph.   In Michigan the speeds are slightly higher, especially south of Hillsdale.  Pretty much all of system's rail is jointed, except for the branch up to Litchfield which is continuous welded rail.  To the enjoyment of railfans, the IN operates a fleet of older diesels.  The Nickel Plate-like paint scheme applied to their locomotives can help create some "remember when" photos.  The IN operates the entire railroad under Rule 93, which is Yard Limit Authority.  There are no block limits and trains operate at restricted speed.  Coal trains operate between Montpelier, Ohio and Litchfield, Michigan.  The railroad also ships a lot of grain, as well as coiled wire, glass, and other goods.

Locomotive Roster

Number Type Color Scheme
47 GP7 black, PGRV gold lettering w/end stripes Sold and shipped to IBCX 12/05
1073 GP10 Indiana Northeastern
1601 GP7 Indiana Northeastern
1602 GP7 Indiana Northeastern
1603 GP7 Indiana Northeastern
1770 GP9 Indiana Northeastern
2185 GP30 Indiana Northeastern
2230 GP30 Indiana Northeastern Lifesaver


Locomotive Photos

GP9  #1770, repainted in Summer 2002.  This is in Hamilton, IN on August 18, 2002. Photo by Jay Williams.


GP30 #2185, repainted September 2002 is with PGRV #47 at South Milford, Indiana.  Photo by Troy Strane.



GP30 #2230 is seen here at Hillsdale, Michigan on June 25, 2001.  Photo by Jay Williams.


GP30 #2230 seen in the process of being repainted on August 27, 2005. Photo by John Holman. 



    GP30 #2230 in a brand new coat of paint. Photo courtesy of Howard Pletcher.




On June 22, 2000 an eastbound Indiana Northeastern train rounds the curve at CR 200W,  just east of Ashley, IN.

It's kind of spooky seeing the train pop out of the weedy right-of-way.  Here the same eastbound IN train seen at Ashley above is now approaching Hamilton right near Ball Lake on June 22, 2000.

IN 1602 accelerates westward past the first crossing west of Hamilton, IN with a mile long train on July 17, 2000.

Classic 1st generation diesel acceleration - one of the highlights of railfanning the IN.  [MP3 Format, 316K, 38 sec.]

Two of Indiana Northeastern's GP7s, Nos. 1602 and 1603 pass just west of Hamilton, Indiana taking a train eastbound to Montpelier, Ohio.

Indiana Northeastern 1770 sits idle in Pleasant Lake, IN on May 10, 2000.  At this time 1770 was still painted in Hillsdale County yellow and green.

Another interesting engine the Indiana Northeastern used to operate was Pigeon River (PGRV) 47, a GP7.   This is at the State Road 327 crossing in Helmer, Indiana on July 17, 2000.

[MP3 Format, 318K, 40 sec.]


IN 1602 and 1603 lead a long westbound train across the State Road 427 crossing in Hamilton, IN on July 17, 2000.

On August 7, 2003 the 1601 leads a weed sprayer westbound across the County Road 575W crossing west of Hudson, Indiana.

 Montpelier, Ohio
 Pergo Junction

At Montpelier, Ohio, Indiana Northeastern runs on part of the Norfolk Southern Huntington District to get into Montpelier Yard.  Pergo Junction is about 3/4 mile west of Williams County Road 10.  Here on June 22, 2001, IN GP9 #1770 and GP7 #1601 pull a short eastbound off their line through Pergo and then run east to the yard.

AudioThe 1770 is probably my favorite loco that IN operates.  It has a pleasant horn, as well. [MP3 Format, 222K, 27 sec.]




© Original Content Copyright 1999-2007 David Safdy
© Design and Updates Copyright 2005-2007 Greg Lavoie