Indiana’s Madison Railroad dedicates ‘Memorial Fleet’

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The Madison Railroad's three locomotives were lined up for Monday's "Memorial Fleet" ceremony.
Two photos, Steve Smedley
MADISON, Ind. – Southern Indiana’s Madison Railroad dedicated its “Memorial Fleet,” three specially decorated locomotives that honor the U.S. Armed Forces and NASA.

During a ceremony on Memorial Day in Madison, the three locomotives sat at the stub end of a track once used to bring coal loads into the power plant at the Madison State Hospital.

Two former Baldwin Locomotive Works-built units dating to 1943 stole the show. No. 4, built for the Atlantic Coast Line as its No. 15, was rebuilt in the 1980s for the nearby Crane Naval Weapons Support Center, now known as Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, as No. 65-00620. Sister unit No. 5, built for the Nashville Chattanooga & St. Louis as its No. 30, was also rebuilt in the 1980s for the Navy as No. 65-00530. The two units, designated model VO-1000M were rebuilt with EMD 567-type prime movers, but retain the Baldwin operating cabs.

Also present was former NASA Railroad SW1500 No. 3, built for the Toledo, Peoria & Western as its No. 306. The locomotive served NASA for decades at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

Each locomotive has a quote and emblems beneath the cab, which were unveiled Monday. The 22.7-mile, city-owned Madison Railroad operates between Madison and North Vernon with seven employees. The railroad is famous for its hill from the Ohio River in Madison to North Madison, a distance of 7,012 feet with a grade of 5.89 percent. While the grade is no longer operated, track still exists between the two towns.

During Pennsylvania Railroad ownership, two specially geared SD7s were used on the grade.
No. 4 features a U.S. Navy ship on its cab. The unit once served at the nearby Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division munitions facility.
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