Bridge draws interest

Alex Pohl writes, “I’m a student at Rose-Hulman, working on a senior design project for Hancock County. My team’s project is a five-mile stretch of trail that would be following an existing railroad alignment just south of US 40. Trail portions already exist on the old rail alignment and are named “Pennsy Trail,” if that gives any helpful information.

I’m reaching out because my team is analyzing the possibility of repurposing an existing railroad plate girder bridge. I’ve attached an image of it. If you have any information on the old railroad, specifically the bridge, then that would be really helpful.”

Can anyone help Alex? Let me know!

The Knightstown and Shelbyville railway was completed about 1848 and operated until 1865. According to the Richman history, it crossed the southeast corner of Blue River Township, following the south valley of the Blue River. The old grades are still seen in some areas in the township.

The Bee Line, now known as the branch of the Big Four, which passed through McCordsville and Fortville, was constructed in 1850. In 1831, the Indiana Central Railroad, now known as the Pennsylvania line, was constructed through Hancock County. In 1867, work was begun on the Junction railway, also known as the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton.

In 1881 the Indiana, Bloomington and Western was organized, but trains were not run over the road until 1882 or early 1883. In 1890, the Branch of the Big Four was under construction running through Shirley.

It is interesting to note that prior to the construction of the Indiana Central Railroad, a horse-drawn stagecoach made weekly trips between Dayton, Ohio and Indianapolis.

Enough. I old you everything I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.

You can write to Joe Skvarenina at or in care of the Daily Reporter at 22 W. New Road, Greenfield, Indiana, 46140.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or