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Beech Grove shops

An open house held in April 1975 to celebrate Amtrak's purchase of the Beech Grove, Ind. maintenance facility from Penn Central. Photo taken from the 1975 Annual Report (p. 21)

Beech Grove shops

In American railroading, the shops at Beech Grove have a storied history that includes service to four railroads. They were erected between 1904 and 1908 by the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis Railway—commonly referred to as the “Big Four”—that ran a network stretching across the heart of the Midwest into Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. The facility served as the company’s major repair shop for steam locomotives and passenger and freight cars, and also contained an extensive freight rail yard. Although acquired by the New York Central Railway (NYC) in 1906, the Big Four operated as an independent entity until it was finally subsumed by its owner in 1922. The shops remained in the hands of the NYC until it merged with the rival Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968 to form Penn Central, whose tenure was short lived as it declared bankruptcy in 1970.

Amtrak purchased the shops from Penn Central in April 1975. It continues to serve as the company's primary heavy maintenance and overhaul facility.