The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is very pleased to announce its plans to restore one of Indiana’s most famed diesel locomotives. Monon DS-50 has officially joined the museum’s roster with plans to bring the locomotive back to life.
The locomotive is a 600-horsepower SW1 diesel switcher that was built in 1942 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. It was the very first diesel locomotive on the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railway, lending to the unit’s historic significance. It eventually found its way into private ownership with a long career in tourist railroad operations in the Hoosier State.
The locomotive was infamously “decapitated” in December 2018 while being transported by truck. The cab was completely destroyed after hitting a low bridge in Logansport, Indiana, where it sat for over two years awaiting disposition.
The switcher was safely moved from Logansport to the museum’s shops by Schlatter Brothers Transportation of Francesville, Indiana. The museum has entered into an agreement with the private owner to restore and operate the locomotive. A replacement cab has been secured in the St. Louis area and will be transported to the museum at a later date.
“We’ve been working on saving this locomotive for almost a year now,” said museum president Todd Flanigan. “There’s no way for me to fully express my gratitude to everyone involved in making this project a reality.” He went on to say, “This is an exciting time for the museum and I think you’re going to be hearing a lot more from Hoosier Valley in the near future.”
In addition to the Monon switcher, the museum has also secured a caboose as part of the same agreement. Monon transfer caboose no. 81551 was safely transported to the museum in late March for its planned restoration. The steel caboose was built by the Monon in their Lafayette, Indiana, shops in 1956. The caboose later served the Louisville & Nashville.
“We are thrilled to keep both of these historic pieces of Indiana railroading in the Hoosier State where they belong,” said museum secretary Kyle Flanigan. “We look forward to the day when both pieces of equipment can be enjoyed by the public once more.”
The museum plans to announce fundraising efforts for the Monon equipment in the near future. Volunteers are also needed to assist the restoration team with various aspects of the project. If you would like to help, please visit the museum’s website.
About the Museum: Founded in 1988, the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation of railroad history in northwest Indiana. The museum educates the public through interpretive displays and its tourist railroad operations. Additional information about the museum can be found online at hoosiervalley.org or on the museum’s Facebook page at @hoosiervalley.
Image Caption: Monon DS-50 has moved to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson. The museum plans to bring the historic locomotive back into service. The locomotive’s cab was destroyed after striking a bridge in Logansport. Photo by Don Nickel.