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Bedford Memories

Vacation to Southern Indiana

Inspires a Railroad Modeler

I did grow up at the north end, just a quarter mile south of the South Hammond yards, so I like the north end of course, but my previous experience operating on others' model railroads has made me want to avoid modeling a large yard like South Hammond. Also, the terrain in the north is boring, flat with little changes in elevation.

In 1955, when I was 14, my family took a vacation to southern Indiana and I liked the scenery there much better than northern Indiana, all the rock outcroppings and dense woods, etc. I was also fascinated with the stone quarries and the trains switching them.

Then, we were in downtown Bedford having lunch at a place on J Street named "Al's" I think it was, when a long train pulled by an A-B-A F3 lash up trundled by, right in the middle of the street. I ran outside on the sidewalk to watch and listen. I was really impressed.

Years later, in 1970 I was on leave from the Army driving home to Wisconsin through southern Indiana and visited Bedford again. Got to watch another long freight coming down J Street, this time pulled by a number of C420's, this time from a small hill directly across the street from the Lawrence County Sheriffs Office and Jail. By the time the caboose rolled by, the train was going downhill and was really rolling. Those memories of Bedford have never left me.

My previous MONON model railroad depicted several fictitious places "somewhere in Indiana" so I could include some street running, a PRR crossing, the South Hammond roundhouse and turntable, etc. all in one area. But now, having seen what others have done with the so-called "prototype model railroading", I determined when we moved several years ago to model the Bedford area as close as I could. Bedford also has no "yard" as we normally think of one, yet was operated as one by the MONON, using various sidings and spurs there, plus the old B&B wye for sorting cars. This is how I will be operating. I intend to model every siding and spur the MONON had in Bedford in 1948!

Plus, having lived up here in Wisconsin for decades now, I like the Milwaukee Road, which had a heavy presence in Bedford.

By Tim Swan, Madison Wisconsin


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