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Monon Business Car & Caboose Donated to Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Monon business car no. 2 has been donated by the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana, along with Monon caboose no. 81532. Photo by Bob Wheeler.

The Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society has donated two historic pieces of railroad equipment to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana.

NORTH JUDSON, INDIANA – The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum and the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society are jointly announcing the donation of two historic pieces of Indiana’s railroad heritage. Monon business car no. 2, also known as Lynne, and Monon wide vision caboose no. 81532 have been donated by the society to the museum.

The donation culminates months of work and planning and ensures that the Monon equipment is preserved while achieving the goals of both organizations. The plan includes operating the business car in excursion service as an upscale experience with portions of the ticket sales supporting the society. The deal is viewed as a “win-win” for both organizations.

“The museum is excited to see these historic cars come to North Judson since they have such a solid tie to Indiana’s railroad history,” stated Todd Flanigan, President of the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum. “We’re grateful that we have been given this opportunity and are ready to take our excursion operations to the next level.”

“Donating the business car and 81532 to The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum ensures that they will be maintained and used on an active railroad,” stated Jim Craig, President of the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society. “You will be able to, once again, actually ride in the caboose or the business car!”

The donation will bring together a growing collection of Monon equipment at the museum in North Judson. The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum already houses three pieces of Monon equipment: EMD SW-1 DS-50, boxcar no. 1220, and transfer caboose no. 81551.

Both cars will be moved by rail from their current location in southern Indiana to the museum in the coming weeks. The museum has established a fund to help pay for the move and any future restoration efforts. Donations can be made on the museum’s website at hoosiervalley.org/monon or via check.

About the Lynne

Monon business car No. 2 was originally built by Pullman Standard and was used by the Great Northern Railway on their flagship train, The Oriental Limited. By 1949, the car was stored in the Calumet Shops storage yard. In 1953, the Monon needed another business car and purchased it from the Pullman Corporation. Warren Brown, President of the Monon Railroad, was pleased with the updated changes to the car and named it Lynne after his two-year-old granddaughter, Lynne Marie Chambers. In 1958, Lynne was removed from the car, and it became the number 2 car, used primarily by the law department. Just prior to the Monon’s merger with the Louisville & Nashville, the car was sold to businessman Leonard Brown of Michigan City, Indiana. In November 2011, the Leonard Brown family donated the car to the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society.

About the Caboose

Monon caboose no. 81532 was built in 1956 by the Monon in their shops in Lafayette, Indiana. It was one of 8 such wide vision cabooses constructed by the railroad. The caboose eventually joined the Louisville & Nashville roster and later the Seaboard System. The Seaboard donated the caboose to the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society in 1985.

About the Museum

Founded in 1988, the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation of railroad history in northwest Indiana. The museum educates the public through interpretive displays and its tourist railroad operations. Additional information about the museum can be found online at hoosiervalley.org or on the museum’s Facebook page at @hoosiervalley.

About the Society

Founded in 1975, the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the Monon Railroad. The society collects and preserves items of historic interest pertaining to the Monon. Additional information about the society can be found online at monon.org.