Madison & Indianapolis Railroad
Tho the Madison, Indianapolis, and Lafayette Rail-Road Company, never reached Uniontown -
one wonders what the outcome would of been if the area had become a bustling place in
the 1840's and 1850's instead of after 30 June 1883 - when the
Vandalia Railroad arrivied.
The Madison, Indianapolis, and Lafayette Rail-Road Company, later the Indianapolis & Madison,
was chartered on 3 February 1832 and was one of the first roads incorporated.
From 1832 to 1836 little was accomplished in building the line except engineering surveys.
Indiana's first railroad was created on June 20, 1836, by act of the Indiana General Assembly as the
state-owned Madison and Indianapolis Railroad. Construction began on September 16, 1836
Just why the State took Madison under its wing is a story lost to history now, unless it might be dug up
from contemporary newspaper files.
Mr. Milton Stapp, a lawyer of prominence in those days, argued for the building of the road before
several sessions of the legislature, but without success until the Internal Improvement Act was
passed, January 27, 1836, and the Indiana Legislature identified the railroad as a state project, and
construction of the Madison and Indianapolis railroad was commenced by the State in September
To try to minimize cost and expedite construction, the state leased the operation of the railroad
to private contractors–first Bran-hams & Co., then Sering & Burt–who ran it for a percentage of the earnings.
The arrangements were unsatisfactory, so the state was forced to resume operation.
Since the public was paying for the railroad, it naturally wanted it finished as soon as possible at minimum cost.
In 1841 public concern over the railroad’s cost led to a state investigation that discovered $2,000,000 had
been embezzled by Madison Indianapolis & Lafayette employees and state officials.
The idea of a privately-owned railroad was gaining support, so in January 1843 the Indiana Legislature
provided for continued construction of the Madison Indianapolis & Lafayette by a private company
instead of the state. The railroad was transferred to a private corporation, the Madison and
Indianapolis Railroad Company, which took effect on 18 February 1843.
One of the first railroads built west of the Alleghenies was the Madison and Indianapolis railroad. Actual
construction of the Madison & Indianapolis Railroad began in September 1837. and the first iron was laid,
||The road was completed to the different points on the line as follows:
Graham, 17 miles from Madison, Nov. 29, 1838.
Vernon, 22 miles from Madison, June 6, 1839.
Queensville, 27.8 miles from Madison, June 1, 1841.
Scipio, 30.3 miles from Madison, June 1, 1843.
Elizabethtown, 37.3 miles from Madison, September, 1843.
Columbus, 44.9 miles from Madison, July, 1844.
Edinburg, 55.4 miles from Madison, Sept. 8, 1845.
Franklin, 65.5 miles from Madison, Sept. 1, 1846.
Indianapolis, 86 miles from Madison, Oct. 1, 1847.
The completed Madison line provided an important lessons to inexperienced American railroad builders:
the grades were too steep for standard locomotives, necessitating the use of 8-horse hitches to haul
cars up the grade. Down-grade trips were even more problematic, the grade allowing a dangerous build
up of speed which often resulted in derailment, injury and death
Due to their monopoly for Indianapolis traffic, Madison & Indianapolis’s most profitable years were
from 1847 to 1852. The boom times might have lasted longer but for several factors:
The State sold out its interests to the company at a sacrifice, withdrew its protection, and at
once proceeded to the passage of a general railroad law that opened the way to those rival lines
that had been previously handicapped by the denial of fair charters.
the Jeffersonville Railroad was becoming a strong competitor,
a new line from Indianapolis to Lawrenceburg had begun to divert traffic and revenue from the Madison &
By the end of 1853, Indianapolis had three competitive rail routes to the Ohio River: the railroad from
Indianapolis to Lawrenceburg, the Madison & Indianapolis, and the Jeffersonville Railroad.
In January 1854 the M&I was consolidated with the Peru & Indianapolis Railroad Company, later a part
of the Nickel Plate Railroad. The Peru & Indianapolis Railroad had then been completed from Indianapolis
fifty-four miles northeast to Kokomo. The arrangement was attacked by some stockholders of the Peru
and Indianapolis, and the consolidation was terminated under court injunction September 1854.
Due to its deteriorating financial condition, the Madison & Indianapolis went into receivership and was
was sold out by the United States marshal, at foreclosure in March 1862. Its assets were conveyed to
the Indianapolis and Madison Railroad Company which issued its securities, in reduced amounts, to creditors
and stockholders of the former company.
It became the The Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad (JM&I) which was organized on April 30,
1866, for the purpose of uniting the two lines, the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad Company
(JM&I) absorbed the Indianapolis & Madison the next day, with the Jeffersonville Railroad being officially
merged in on June 1 of that same year, upon the filing of the Articles of Consolidation
By Lanier's autobiograpy - he was employed by the railroad as an agent and was buying up land in
speculation of a railroad line being established by the Madison and Indianapolis Railroad Company.
||Property of Lake Maxinkuckee was sold by J. F. D. and Elizabeth G. Lanier to The Madison &
Indianapolis Railroad and then the The Madison & Indianapolis Railroad sold to George Plant|
There is probably more of these enteries in abstracts on the west side. James F. D. Lanier had purchased all
the Lake property
[Sections part of 15, 17, 20, 21, 28 & 24]
except the Indian reservations on the East side which were Sections 22 & 27, Section 16 and the other part of
Section 15 which was purchased by William Thompson
Sappington, C. G. - The Madison and Indianapolis Railroad
Anderson, Paul - Pioneer Railroad of the Northwest: History of the Jeffersonville, Madison and Indianapolis
Railroad [cited 20 January 2005].
Available from World Wide Web