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  • Photo Roster: Monon Route - Part II

    F3 81B accelerates away from State Line interlocking at Hammond. Ind., on June 14, 1958, with a five-car southbound Thoroughbred. The entire train wears the classic red/gray Monon passenger scheme - and also the colors of Indiana University at Bloomington. Eventually Monon's black-and-gold "freight" diesel scheme, honoring the colors of Purdue University at Lafayette, Ind., replaced the red and gray. The 81B represents a small number of Monon F3's that were modified with F7-type grilles. - Photo: Richard J. Wilhelm

    (Above) Monon began dieselization with three EMD NW2's, Nos. 11-13, purchased in 1942; they were delivered in this early "Hoosier Line" scheme of black and yellow-gold, photographed at South Hammond in August 1948. (Below) Also at Hammond, NW2 13 in 1966 wears the black/gold scheme with white lettering.
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    by BY MIKE SCHAFER - Photography from the collection of Louis A. Marre otherwise noted

       In the previous issue we featured Part I of the Monon PhotoRoster, which included a review of the railroad in general and a look at its steam-era locomotive roster. With photography more available to the average American in the second half of this century, the diesel-era Monon was more thoroughly documented on film.

       Monon began dieselization in 1942 and was entirely dieselized by the end of the decade - one of the earliest Class I railroads to do so. CI&L's steam roster was a collection of basic, no frills locomotives that did not always reflect the needs of the railroad; many were quite literally wheezing antiques. But Monon's diesel roster was carefully tailored to suit the system and always well maintained. The roster was updated periodically with new units or older locomotives that had been rebuilt, and Monon never bought secondhand power (although it did lease some Spokane, Portland & Seattle RS2's for a time to ease motive-power shortages).

       As you'll see, the diesel roster contained an interesting variety of power for a relatively small road, as Monon did not seem to have any particular allegiance to one builder - nor necessarily one type of locomotive. After years of repairing Monon's ancient steam power (and in some cases completely rebuilding it), with minimal resources, we're sure Lafayette shop forces found that maintenance of Monon's variety of diesel power was relatively easy.

       We'll probably remember Monon's diesel roster best for its quirks: Plenty of F-units but never any Geeps; a stable of long-lived oddball BL2's; a lone FM H10-44; a short-lived affair with six axle power (C628's); high-nose Century 420's; and the road's first and only sampling of GE products in very nearly the last year of its existence.

    Barriger-era Monon at its classic best: The "new" streamliners were mostly upgraded heavyweight equipment and rebuilt surplus U.S. Army cars. Initially, the red/gray scheme actually consisted of two shades of gray, with the lighter on top. In addition, white striping was edged in gold. Power in this June 1948 scene-location unknown-is F3 pair 83A&B, but note that the "A" and "B" suffixes were not applied to the locomotives; at the time, this was only done on paper for record-keeping.

    Number 18 was the road's only Fairbanks-Morse H10-44, purchased in 1946. Above, the lone FM switcher is at Lafayette in March 1964; note that the MONON lettering appears in gold rather than white. In the rare photo at right, the 18 appears in the early switchers black/yellow gold scheme, working in the Shops area in 1947. The 18's only FM "relatives" were two H15-44's (see page 24).

    Only two of EMD's diminutive SW1's graced the Monon roster, Nos. 5 and 6-the 5 is at Lafayette Shops in 1963. Though absent on some renditions of Monon switcher schemes, the red-and-white Monon herald here is proudly displayed on the cab sides. Note, too, the MONON across the battery box, as well as the locomotive numbers on the underside of the raised gangway and to the right of the front coupler.

    Coupled to what appears to be an EMD demonstrator F3B (possibly EMD No. 754, which became Monon 65C), F3 62 wears the initial black/gold freight scheme, which included a black chevron across the lower headlight, the "lozenge"-style Monon herald and "The Hoosier Line" script on the side panels.

    A later version of the F-unit freight scheme appears on two of the three passenger F3's moving the northbound Thoroughbred out of Hammond in May 1958, which is probably about the time the road started to adopt the freight scheme for all motive power and passenger rolling stock. As compared to the photo above, though, note how the MONON speed lettering has replaced the lozenge herald on the nose and "The Hoosier Line" script on the sides. Also, A. B and C suffixes were now being applied to locomotive numbers in practice and not just on paper.
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    The 46 at Hammond in 1966 represented half of Monon's fleet of FM road-switchers; it and the 45 were and such. - Photo: Mike Schafer

    The 23 was one of nine Alco RS2's, Nos. 21-29, Monon received in 1947.(Below) in the original hood paint scheme. They were rebuilt and renumbered (51-59) in the mid-1960's. The RS2's could be found in all manner of service, from passenger (the 52, 53 and 55 having been equipped with steam generators) to road switching. A common sight was paired RS's on local freights, towing a troop sleeper turned-l.c.l./way car directly behind the units and ahead of the freight consist. Monon RS's, by the way, operated long-hood forward.

    Variety is the spice of the southbound midday mainline time freight at Bainbridge, Ind. (highest point on the railroad): Monon's newest power-a GE U23B - leads two Alco Century 420's and a pair of RS2's, the latter some of the oldest diesel power on the railroad. Date: June 1971, shortly before merger with Louisville & Nashville. - Photo: Mike Schafer

    This string of F3's recorded at Lafayette in 1963 show the final scheme worn by them. The MONON speed lettering appeared in black on the nose and gold on the sides. Locomotive numbers - and the F3's had been renumbered by this time - appeared very small at the bottom rear of the sides, in gold, Handrails and grabirons are yellow on the 205, though they appear black on the F3B. Note the 202 with the F7-type grilles; it is the ex-81B, which is the locomotive in the color shot on page 21.
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    RS2m 57 at South Hammond in 1968 wears a somewhat unusual black-and-gold scheme that included white dashes along the side sills and the Monon "teepees and arrowhead" emblem.

    Steam-generator-equipped RS2 22 (the former 52) departs Chicago's Dearborn Station with the Thoroughbred on Oct. 12, 1963. The baggage car and RPO are still clad in the red/gray scheme, while the second baggage car and the coach appear in black and gold. The 22 shows still another scheme worn by the RS's, with MONON in white under the cab windows and white numbers on cab sides and nose. MONON does not appear on the nose, although on some versions it did.

    (Above) Locomotive-wise, Monon was perhaps best remembered for its nine EMD BL2's, Nos. 30-38. This model prestaged the EMD GP7/9 and had some of the advantages of both "covered wagons" and "hood" locomotives. As with cab units, some engine components could be accessed from inside; yet the sloping sides allowed for maximum visibility fore and aft from the cab-important for switching. Monon often m.u.'ed BL's with other road power, usually the F's as in the above scene. But their appearance in passenger duty (below on the northbound Thoroughbred at South Hammond on July 29, 1967) happened more than once, though the BL's were not equipped with steam generators.

    (Left) The 35 at Lafayette in 1948 carries the new Monon emblem and "The Hoosier Line" in script on the sides. Barely visible are the CI&L initials at the top rear of the hood.
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    Largest diesel power to hit Monon rails were nine six-axle Alco Century 628's, Nos. 400-408, delivered in 1964. Unfortunately, they hit Monon rails a little too hard, almost literally. The big units proved unsuitable for Monon's relatively light mainline track and they were returned to Alco in 1967 as part of a trade-in deal for new Century 420's. Alco sold the C628's to Lehigh Valley. The 407 (left) has been on the property only about two months when photographed in May 1964 at LaCrosse, Ind., on the Michigan City branch with a local (in typical Monon fashion, with an ex-troop sleeper-turned waycar behind the locomotive). Broadside of the 403 (below left) amplifies the girth of the C628.

    Monon's initial order of six C420's delivered from Alco in August 1966 included two high-nose units, the 501 and 502, assigned to passenger service; their high noses accommodated steam generators. The pair bumped aging F's and RS2's from the Thoroughbred and worked on that train until its demise in September 1967 (ironically, though, the last northbound run was hauled by low-nose C420 No. 410 north of Lafayette). The 501 is at Hammond in November 1968.

    (Right) C420 pair 512 and 518 represent part of the second order of this locomotive type for Monon. Numbers 507-518 were delivered in 1967, bringing the total of C420's to 18 (501-518). Flying white flags, the 512 and 518 are switching at Delphi, Ind., on the Indianapolis branch in June 1971. - Photo: Mike Schafer

    (Below) The 35 at Lafayette in 1948 carries the new Monon emblem and "The Hoosier Line" in script on the sides. Barely visible are the CI&L initials at the top rear of the hood.
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      5-6 5-6 SW1 600 2 EMD 1949  
      11-13 11-13 NW2 1000 3 EMD 1942  
      14-17 14-17 NW2 1000 4 EMD 1947  
      18 18 H10-44 1000 1 FM 1946 Re-engined 1961 w/EMD 567
      30-35 30-35 BL2 1500 6 EMD 1948  
      36-38 36-38 BL2 1500 3 EMD 1949  
      45-46 45-46 H15-44 1500 2 FM 1947 Re-engined 1960 w/EMD 567
      51-59 21-29 RS2 1500 9 Alco 1947 Rebuilt 1964-65 at Lafayette
      62B, 64A 62B, 64A F3A 1500 2 EMD 1947 Wrecked, Ash Grove 6/3/47; replaced by 62B(2nd), 64A(2nd)
      64C 64C F3B 1500 1 EMD 1947 Wrecked, Ash Grove 6/3/47; replaced by 64C(2nd)
      101-112 51A&B, 61A&B, 62A&B(2nd), 63A&B, 64A(2nd)&B, 65A&B F3A 1500 12 EMD 1946-47  
      201-208 81A&B-84A&B F3A 1500 8 EMD 1947 All have steam gen.; 202, 203, 208 reworked with F7-type grilles
      209-210 85A&B F3A 1500 2 EMD 1946 Both have steam gen.; ex-EMD demos 754-A1 &A2
      301-304 61C, 62C, 63C, 64C(2nd) F3B 1500 4 EMD 1946-47  
      305 65C F3B 1500 1 EMD 1945 Ex-EMD demo 754-B1
      400-408 400-408 C628 2750 9 Alco 1964 To Alco June 1967 in trade for C420's 507-518
      501-506 501- 506 C420 2000 6 Alco 1966 501-502 equipped with steam gen. and have high noses
      507-518 507-518 C420 2000 12 Alco 1967 Acquired through trade on C628's
      601-608 601 -608 U23B 2300 8 GE 1970  

    Article Details

    • Original Author Mike Schafer
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date June 1986

    Article Album (1 photo)

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