Saturday, June 9, 2012
The 1840s drew a flurry of proposals for new railroads as towns began to understand the power of the new form of transportation. The Madison & Indianapolis Railroad brought prosperity to Madison, which was lost when the big cities were connected by tracks, is extremely well known.. But there was interested by smaller towns throughout the 1800s. And few probably involved a shorter line than the one discussed by the Indiana House of Representatives on Jan.11, 1849 The record shows that the house approved a petition by residents of Jefferson and Jennings County for a charter from Paris to Dupont. This is a distance of less than 15 miles and yet it was seriously considered by the legislature. What is shows, and what petitions continued to show throughout the 1800s, was how little was understand about the economics of the developing railroad industry. The House passed the bill on three readings and sent it to the state Senate, where it must have died quietly. Railroads were a hot topic. During the same sessions, the assembly considered the Munsie [sic], Jonesboro, Marion and Peru Railroad and to authorize the Shelbyville Lateral Branch to dispose of property. On Feb. 28, 1848, there was a bill to amend the incorporation of the Mount Vernon and New Harmony Railroad, which was originally passed on Feb. 16, 1848. The assembly defeated a bill to incorporate the Evansville and Terra Haute Railroad on Feb. 29, 1848. There must have been a political element involved. This line was defeated by a vote of 29 to 50, yet the much smaller Paris and Dupont line was approved the next year.