Abandoned Southern Indiana coal branch

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I am in need of documentation and/or details on an abandoned Southern Railway coal branch in southern Indiana

The railroad branch in question left the Southern's mainline at Hartwell Junction, between Velpen and Winslow, and angled southwest to within about a mile or so of present day Indiana Hwy 64 before turning west and skirting the now abandoned and obliterated town of Hartwell to its north. The branch then passed through Augusta--where the ROW is discernable through the north and northwest side of the village, then deflected slightly to the northwest towards Arthur. Amazingly, the ROW is preserved partly as a trail and partlay as a gravel lane/road westwardly through the Patoka Fish & Wildline Area, crossing Indiana 61 just above Arthur, and then curving North-Northwest to intersect the mainline just east of Muren.

Unfortunately, I do not have any data to suggest when the branch was built, nor when it was abandoned--although I have suspicions. I can find no record of this line of railroad in my (admittedly) limited resources, or online for that matter. The 1916 "Official Guide" entry for the Southern gives no real details on the existence of the line, but does list Hartwell Jct on the former LE&StLC main. Mines served by the branch operated mainly during the first twenty-five years of the 20th century, and all of them were closed by the mid-1920s. I would be grateful to hear from anyone who can shed light on the branch's existence, or who has old ETT's which list the line.


Richard Wallis Wheaton, IL.

-- Richard Wallis (rwallis1@earthlink.net), July 26, 2004

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