The New Albany and Salem Railroad Company was founded in 1847 and the first train reached Bloomington in October, 1853. The company was reorganized in 1859 as the Louisville, New Albany, and Chicago and again in 1897 as the Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville Railway Company. It was commonly known as the Monon Route, although locals also called it the "College Road", the "jerk water", and the "twin rust streak".
In 1956 the name was officially changed to Monon Railroad. At its peak, the Monon ran 45 daily trains over a rail system of more than 600 miles.
Its two main routes were Chicago-Indianapolis and Michigan City-Louisville; the two routes crossed in Monon, Indiana, earning the line its popular nickname.
The Monon merged with the Louisville & Nashville (L&N) in 1971, and most of its routes are now owned by CSX.
Bloomington was on the Louisville route, which came through Gosport, Stinesville and Ellettsville north of town, and on into Bedford before turning southeast through Orleans towards Louisville.
The Bedford, Springville, Owensburg & Bloomfield Railroad, originally a 34 mile, earth ballasted, three-foot narrow-gauge line was completed in 1877, running from Bedford all the way to Switz City, passing through a 1,362 foot tunnel at Owensburg and crossing the White River on a covered bridge. Its single passenger locomotive (the No. 6), a seemingly off-balance 2-4-0 known as "Old Nellie," was built by Porter Locomotive of Pittsburgh. In an attempt to stave off financial hardships, it was reorganized in 1883 as the Bedford & Bloomfield Railroad. In 1886, the Monon purchased the line from its creditors and operated it as its Bedford And Bloomfield Branch. By 1895 the line was converted to standard gauge, but was abandoned west of Avoca in 1935.
Freight and passenger depots stood on Morton Street between 4th Street and Kirkwood Avenue. There is a historical marker on the B-Line Trail at the spot, behind the Chase Bank.
- http://www.monon.monon.org/bygone/bloomington.html (Some great pictures on this site)