The Rise and Fall of River and Rail transportation in Madison, Indiana.

Through Hill and Dell

Madison Railroad CutAs Madison grew in size it also grew in economic importance. By the 19th century, Madison was one of Indiana’s largest trade centers where goods and produce were carted in from all over Indiana by rail and then shipped out all across the country by steamer. To help facilitate rail access to the north, Madisonians had to construct a rail line up the beautiful but incredibly steep hills that serve as the city’s lovely backdrop. This was only accomplished with the excavation of a slope flat and gentle enough for a pulling engine of the day to handle. The incline, as Madison’s railroad track came to be called, was famous not only for being among the steepest in the country but also for the fact that it was carved straight through the solid rock of Madison’s hills, to connect to the rail depot in North Madison. From there the Madison & Indianapolis railroad conveyed people and goods to locations all over the state.