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M.P. 261.5 - 5th Subdivision - Ns

The starting point for the French Lick Branch. Although trains for the French Lick Branch, post war era, originated at Bedford, it was here at Orleans that the French Lick mainline departed from the Fifth Subdivision. After the war, Bloomington served as the point of origin.

Named for Andrew Jackson’s victory in the battle of New Orleans and located in the northern section of the county, Orleans is the oldest town in Orange County. It was established in 1815, the same year in which the county was created. Just two years prior, Orleans claimed another first in being the initial community to build a school. Less than a half-century later, as the transportation needs of Orange County grew, Orleans again claimed a county first. In 1851, the New Albany and Salem Railroad completed the first rail line into the county via Orleans. The tie to Jackson is not the only link between this town and a military history. Orleans produced General William T. Spicely, and his 24th Indiana Regiment, assisted General Uylsses S. Grant in the capture of Vicksburg during the Civil War. Orleans claims the distinction of the “Dogwood Capital of Indiana” and received a significant endorsement for that claim from a former governor. In 1970, Edgar D. Whitcomb penned a resolution declaring from that time on Orleans would be entitled to that claim to fame.

At the north edge of Orleans, on the east side of State Road 37, stands the Freeman’s Corner historical marker. This point, 250 feet east, signifies the junction of three important Indian land cessions: the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1803): the Treaty of Grouseland (1805): and the Treaty of Fort Wayne (1809). The point was established by surveyor Thomas Freeman and the marker was placed in 1966, during Indiana’s 150th year celebration. The centerpiece of Orleans is its downtown Congress Square. This grassy park was on the original town plat, drawn in March of 1815. Set aside for whatever the territorial government, or town might deemed as right or needed, except a burial ground.

-Courtesy Orange County, Indiana Website-

Southbound freight on the north side of Orleans, circa June 1971.





Alco C-628 on southbound, Orleans, Indiana 1966. -Linton Moss Photograph-


Click here to view aerial of Orleans depot area with overlay of Valuation Plan. -Courtesy of Google and Joe Land-

The back of the ? depot. Oh wait, the roof tells it all. This was a common practice. -Lloyd Kimble Collection-







Orleans Depot. This depot was one of the last New Albany & Salem Railroad's brick depots. As the junction point with the French Lick branch, it was an important transfer point when passenger traffic was heavy on the Monon.




Steam locomotive #82 at Orleans. Date unknown. It does indicate that at one time the Orleans depot may have been a "run through" type like Gosport.






Derailment near Orleans. June 21, 1951. Left: Sideswipe derailment at Orleans -Steve Dolzall Collection- Right: Another shot of the wreck at Orleans. -Lloyd Kimble Photograph-


Left and Right, Above and Below: More photos from the 1951 Orleans wreck. -Lloyd Kimble Photographs-




Left: A pair of RS 2's coming off one leg of the wye at Orleans, January 1959. Right: View of a local landmark, the Depot Tavern. The front of the establishment as seen through a locomotive window.


Left: Another view of local freight coming off the French Lick branch. Right: End of train at Orleans coming off the French Lick Branch.


Two views of the Orleans depot. -Dick Fontaine Photographs-

French Lick passenger at Orleans. August 3, 1949. RS2 #24 on Train #23 is backing up to head around the wye. The train is on the main and headed south.  Train #23  would come in from Bloomington, stop at the depot to load and unload, then back up a little bit and head through the crossover down the French Lick branch. -Charles Herley Photograph, MRHTS Photo Archives Collection-



Northbound making a station stop at Orleans. No date listed. -Mahlon Eberhard Collection-





Local freight arriving at Orleans, circa early 1950's. Looking railroad south.






From time to time I get images that have become unknown as to where and when the original photograph was taken. The photo on the left is a good example. There was no information. We now know that is indeed Orleans, Indiana and was taken during the mid to late 1950's. Right: The same area, circa 2006. Minus some trees, a siding and a signal, it is obvious this is the same location. In both pictures, you are looking towards the railroad north, from just west of the former depot location.


Southbound freight coming around the curve towards the Orleans depot, May 1971.







Left: Orleans Indiana, date unknown. For many years, during the late 1940's before rail service was re-established, the Monon offered bus service between French Lick, Orleans and Mitchell. According to a 1947 timetable, the bus ran there round trips daily. Bus Number 2 meets the northbound Thoroughbred at Orleans. Exact date unknown.


Left and Right: Two more views of the Orleans depot, circa 1970.


Two additional pictures of the Orleans Depot. Left: The depot sits in the sunlight with some brand new Monon Hoosier Line boxcars in the background. Right: L&N on the former Monon. This picture, taken in 1977, shows four L&N locomotives working the mainline through Orleans. It is passing the brick depot. The French Lick branch is by the base of the water tower pictured.

Paoli Chair Company, Orleans, circa 1940's.





Left: Right of way shot and siding at the Wheeler-Foutch factory at Orleans. Unknown date. -Mahlon Eberhard Collection-

Right: Traveler Radio Corporation and mainline at Orleans, Indiana. Date unknown.







Orleans 1970. Looking south down the French Lick branch. The switch in the foreground is the south switch of the wye.Monon at where the French Lick Branch trackage begins. Trains originated in (pre war era) Bedford and (post war era) Bloomington, however it was at Orleans where they left the mainline.







Northbound freight coming off the French Lick Branch onto the mainline at Orleans.





French Lick Branch trackage at Orleans. You are looking north. This switch is on the south side of the town.






Orleans, circa 1979. Left: Looking at the mainline. Redi-Mix plant in the background. Right: The depot had been torn down by the time this photo was taken in 1979.


Another shot along the former mainline around town.





Orleans 2004 and 2006


Former mainline, north or town. Looking to the north along the former mainline.






Left and Right: May 2004. The Orleans depot is gone. Looking to the south at the spot where the depot once stood. The picture on the right would be approximately the same area where Lloyd Kimble took his photo (above) from.



Left: Looking back to the north from the area around the location of the former depot. Right: Area south of the depot where one leg of a "wye" and connection with the French Lick branch once was.



Left: Looking down what once was the right of way for the French Lick branch. Although the tracks and depot are no longer there, their locations are still visible. Right: Another look, from east of the depot location at the what was once a leg of a "wye" that connected with the French Lick Branch.


Looking along the former French Lick Branch. You are looking towards the north toward the depot location. The truck pictured is parked on the old right of way.




Looking to the south along the former French Lick Branch.






May 2003. Canadian National Kentucky Derby Special splitting the semaphores at Orleans, Indiana. Former Canadian Pacific F units on the point.






Left and Right: Southbound action at Orleans. Southbound with UP colors in the leads starts around the curve near where the depot once stood.

Extra to bring cars from St Louis Car Company for the 2003 Kentucky Derby Train at Orleans, April 30, 2003. Dean Francisco Photograph.






Freight action south of Orleans at County Road 100E. This road is also known as Harmon Road. The train is southbound.




Ex-Conrail GE C40-8W on lead of an Indiana Railroad southbound potash train at Orleans, February 2007.




Orleans area 2019

Pictures by Nathan Miles
click on map to view all pictures by number

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