Wabash Central Railroad

Wabash Central Railroad
Bluffton, Indiana
WBCR Caboose 503

Wabash Central logo

Approaching Wells County Road 200S on the Clover Leaf
line is eastbound Wabash Central #6.


The Wabash Central Railroad (WBCR) operates part of the former Nickel Plate "Clover Leaf" line between Craigville and Van Buren, Indiana.  The WBCR line is actually two separate segments which are connected to the NS New Castle District in Bluffton, Indiana.  The track is still in place west of Van Buren but it is no longer in service.  The interchange point is in Bluffton, Indiana with Norfolk Southern.

System Map

Wabash Central map

Historical Aspects

The Toledo, St. Louis and Western Railroad ("The Clover Leaf") was originally a narrow-gauge railroad when it first operated in the late 1870's and at that time was known as the Toledo, Delphos and Indianapolis Railway.  The rudimental idea of this curvy line was a direct connection between Lake Erie and Mexico City and was the conception of Joseph W. Hunt, a pharmacist living in Delphos, Ohio.  The line never really caught on as a through-route and eventually ended up being part of the Nickel Plate system and was basically used to serve local shippers and interchange with other railroads.  Several shortlines have operated the line in recent years.  The Wabash Central is the succesor to the Indiana Hi-Rail.  For more information on this historical line read the book, "Railroads of Indiana" by Simons & Parker on pages 213-216.  See the media section for other articles on the line as well.  No depots are intact on the WBCR.  There are some N&W signs scattered on the system, though.
Cutting the ribbonWabash Central began operations on June 22, 1999.  Channel 15, WANE-TV was in Bluffton that day to cover the opening ceremony.





The main yard for the Wabash Central is on the southwest side of Bluffton at the Bond St. crossing.  This is also their base operations.  Trains are usually put together here for delivery to shippers and interchanging.  Activity on the line is sparse east of Bluffton but they operate fairly regularly west to Warren.  Wabash Central operates a pair of ex-Illinois Central GP10s.  WBCR #6 and MAW (Maumee & Western) #12 are currently assigned to the line.  The Norfolk Southern locals L80 or L88 will deliver and pick up cars to and from WBCR typically during the weekdays.  The largest shipper on the Wabash Central is Weaver Popcorn in Van Buren.  Monitoring the WBCR radio frequency is sometimes helpful but only during switching operations.  You can follow a train fairly easily on the line as speeds are about 10 mph, but plan on driving on a lot of dirt roads if you do.  As with other area shortlines, the line is operated under restricted speed.
Wabash Central's operations are done out of this trailer in Bluffton.



The Helena company in Craigville has service from WBCR.
East of State Road 301 is the end of the track.  A small feed mill is served by WBCR here.



This is looking south at the junction of the Wabash Central and the Norfolk Southern New Castle District in Bluffton.  The WBCR branches off the NS and veers off to the right.  This is the main track used for interchanging.
You'll find the Wabash Central caboose near their operations base in Bluffton.
#6 pulls a string of 2 cars past the office in Bluffton on July 31, 2000.


Liberty Center

On July 31, 2000 eastbound Wabash Central #6 pulls a 2-car train for Bluffton past the County Road 300W (old State Road 303) crossing in Liberty Center, Indiana.

#6 has a Nathan M3 horn.  [MP3 Format, 64K, 32 sec.]



Maumee and Western #12 sits idle in front of the grain elevator at Wells County Road 500E in Buckeye, Indiana.  Buckeye is located about 4 miles west of Liberty Center.
Another view of the GP10 #12 at the above location.



WBCR serves this grain elevator in downtown Warren, Indiana as well as Royster Clark which is just west of the Salamonie River.


Van Buren

In Van Buren, Indiana the tracks are out of service west of the Weaver Popcorn switch.  The tracks are intact towards Marion, but are very grown over with weeds.  In the background is the I-69 bridge.



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