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.
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
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.
Central began operations on June 22, 1999. Channel
15, WANE-TV was in Bluffton that day to cover the opening ceremony.
160.695 MHz - Wabash Central
160.440 MHz - Norfolk Southern, New Castle District (used to access Craigville
side and for interchanging)
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
Central's operations are done out of this trailer in Bluffton.
Helena company in Craigville has service from WBCR.
of State Road 301 is the end of the track. A small feed mill is served
by WBCR here.
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.
find the Wabash Central caboose near their operations base in Bluffton.
pulls a string of 2 cars past the office in Bluffton on July 31, 2000.
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,
has a Nathan M3 horn. [MP3 Format, 64K, 32 sec.]
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.
view of the GP10 #12 at the above location.
serves this grain elevator in downtown Warren, Indiana as well as Royster
Clark which is just west of the Salamonie River.
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.