Hunter's Ridge & Miller
Punctuated by a farmstead in the middle of nowhere, Hunter's Ridge is an important milepost to not one, but three railroads. To the Naptown and White River, its the end of the siding (doubletrack) from Cementville, and the last good place for a Dispatcher to hold Southbounds for Northbound traffic coming upgrade, as there has long been concern over Uphill traffic stopping and being unable to restart their train, or whether they can do so without straight-lining on the curves. It's also the juncture of the MIller Branch going back to Miller Mine #2, and the point where the current Monon Branch dovetails into the NWR mainline bound for East Bend. Besides the Hunter Homestead, the only other notable landmark is the Dew Drop Inn.
The Dew Drop Inn started life as a Trackside eatery. Before the advent of Dining Cars, Passengers would dismebark partway through a trip to get something to eat. Next to the Dew Drop are the remains to a Water Tower, used by early Steam Engines.
There were actually two mainlines through the area. The branchline to Miller #2 was the original mainline built as the Bedford & East Bend, backed by the then-New Albany & Salem Railroad as a play to control river traffic and where it gets on and off at. It wound its way up and over hills into Miller, cutting through town and seperating the mine from the village proper. The only problem, was that NWR predeccesor Bloomington & Ohio River had already cornered a somewhat more direct route by coming up a steep and winding clifftop, and around the bottom edge of the Miller community. The grade was and is the ruling grade for all NWR trains. It was workable, but locomotive horsepower of the day meant even moderate trains had to be doubled and tripled to get uphill. On the other hand, the B&EB chose to cut across on a variety of trestles and fill. The Fill Route was easier to operate, but much more labor intensive to maintain and built from realtively weak wooden bridges. By the 1920s, the Monon was facing a future where the B&EB was either going to have to be radically overhauled, or abandoned. About the same time, the NWR was facing traffic trouble in Chcago, and offered a trade; Cash
The old Monon Main, now used by Miller Mining Co. The white building to the left is the Dew Drop Inn . Immediately in front of there is the remnants of an NWR Water tank, which replenished Northbound engines after tackling the worst grade on the Subdivision.
money and minor partial ownership of the B&OR for a piece of the Chicago and Western Indiana. The arrangement was agreeable, although in hindsight many wonder if it was more about the money than retaining customers in a port city. The old interchange in Hunter's Ridge granting the NWR access to the mine was reworked into a full-fledged diamond; an awkward track arrangement but one that served its purpose. The two roads split the cost of the grade maintenence ad the Monon abandoned the old main and sold the ROW up to and through Miller to the Miller Mining Company, establishing a small switcher operation for shuffling cars underneath the coal chutes. The old B&EB is now used as an Outbound Loads Siding for the Mine. The trestle over the NWR still stands and is a popular place to watch NWR and Monon traffic tackle the hill at Davis Siding
The Original Hunter's Ridge confguration was a switchback format built and superdetailed by Jim Hunter. In 2011, the club, spearheaded by Steve Handly, chose to pull the swichback around and along the far wall to connect into the Staging Yard, to create a place for through traffic to originate from. A second switch into the mine was added in, creating its current format.