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MONON STATION

BEDFORD

Timeline:

April 18, 1853

New Albany and Salem Railroad (soon to be Monon Railroad) extends to Bedford.  First station is built on city square.

1903

Wooden station burns.  Rebuilt with brick on city square.

1923

Third station built of locally quarried limestone at 1221 J Street.

1966

Last run of Thoroughbred passenger train.

1971

Louisville and Nashville Railroad takes over Monon Railroad.

1983

CSX takes over L&N RR.

1992

CSX ends freight service at Bedford Station.

Station becomes vacant.

2010

City of Bedford purchases Station.

Station used by recycling company.

2016

Recycling ends.  Indiana Trails uses station for storage.

Chris Light Photographer

Indiana Trails is proposing a project that will transform the historic Monon Station and adjacent former rail hub area (Monon Plaza) into a destination major public space on the near-Northside of Bedford.

 

This development is part of a community effort to designate Bedford as a “Trail Town”, making the city particularly friendly and inviting to bicyclists and hikers reaching the area not only from points in Indiana, but also from the Midwest and locations beyond.  (“Trail Towns” nationally seek to achieve a threshold set of requirements--including the provision of important services and amenities for trail-using visitors--to achieve Trail Town designation, based upon the model pioneered along the Great Allegheny Passage trail in Pennsylvania.)

Courtesy of Monon Railroad Historical Technical Society, Inc.

Indiana Trails as an organization has, for years, advocated for the development of a network of Trail Towns in our state.

 

The land and former railroad corridors in Bedford’s Monon Plaza site is currently undeveloped, and the historic Monon Station is used only for storage in anticipation of future renovation and transformation into a regional attraction that can include retail, housing, offices, entertainment or a combination thereof.

 

This will include the construction of a bike/walk/jog/run pathway that will present a very visually-obvious positive, proactive incursion into a now-ignored industrial portion of Bedford’s historic near-Northside.  This area played a key role in the marriage of famed Bedford limestone and the multiple railroads that transported the valuable natural resource that was used nationally in such famed structures as the Empire State Building in New York.

 

The pathway will form an approximately half-mile connector between the east end of the Milwaukee Road Transportation Trailway--a ten-mile trail in Bedford and Lawrence County (with an additional eight miles planned)--tying it to J Street, a major north-south surface street leading to Downtown Bedford’s attractions, which include the Lawrence County Historical Museum, multiple restaurants, the revamped Courthouse Square, Ivy Tech, the Milwaukee Road Depot meeting facility, Bedford Library, professional offices, retailers and U.S. 50.

 

The pathway will re-introduce citizens of South Central Indiana to the history of the Monon and Milwaukee Road railroads, and will open up a fresh walkway that bridges the glaring gap in the area’s pedestrian facilities between Downtown and the adjacent neighborhoods to the northwest, where there is a new trailhead, and a planned accessible trailhead for wheelchair users and citizens with disabilities.  This connector will complete one of several conceived pedestrian “loops” winding their way through Central Bedford neighborhoods, and can be used for library “story walks”, which are gaining popularity among the nation’s readers and library patrons, and promote exercise by library users.