Railroads & Locomotives Railroad Profiles Short Lines Louisville and Indiana Railroad profile

Louisville and Indiana Railroad profile

By | January 24, 2023

The Louisville and Indiana Railroad is a short line railroad operating between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky.

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Louisville and Indiana Railroad logoLouisville and Indiana Railroad summary

The Louisville and Indiana Railroad (LIRC) is a Class III short line railroad that operates in Indiana and Kentucky. It’s owned by Anacostia Rail Holdings, a privately held firm that manages multiple short lines throughout the United States. Headquartered out of Jeffersonville, Ind., a 106-mile standard-gauge main line connects Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky., with a 5.5-mile spur heading east towards Watson, Ind.


Opened in 1850, the Louisville and Indiana Railroad was originally part of the Jefferson Railroad. It was later absorbed into the former Pennsylvania Railroad as a major component to the railroad’s west territory. Serving as a main line to Louisville, the once “Panhandles Route” carried named passenger trains including the Chicago-Louisville Kentuckian, and the Chicago-Miami South Wind. In March 1994, the Indianapolis-Louisville section was sold by PRR successor, Conrail to the growing Anacostia Rail Holdings Company. Operations resumed shortly afterwards as the Louisville and Indiana. The defunct Southern Indiana Railway was acquired by the LIRC in 2022.


In partnership with CSX Transportation, the Louisville and Indiana Railroad received a complete revitalization to accommodate heavier trains at higher speeds, while ultimately serving as through traffic for the Class I railroad. This included upgrading both dispatching, and the main line to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Class 4 standards. The short line serves numerous major companies with plastic, steel and grain as principal commodities. Kokomo Grain in Edinburgh, Ind., is a major customer in the shipment of grain and other agricultural products. The plastic and steel traffic are mainly sent to the Port of Indiana in Jeffersonville on the Ohio River, with the port itself serving the steel processors and automotive suppliers. In addition to freight traffic, the LIRC provides transloading, railcar repair, monthly track inspections, and storage.

Maroon locomotives in switching yard
A number of Louisville and Indiana GP38-3s pass through the Jeffersonville, Indiana yard facilities. Steve Smedley

The Louisville and Indiana rosters 11 diesel locomotives. They range mostly in the EMD GP38 series while carrying the Tuscan red color scheme of the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad as a tribute to the line’s heritage.

Interchanges with both CSX and Norfolk Southern are made at both ends of the railroad in Indianapolis and Louisville. A third connection with CSX is located at the midpoint of the main line in Seymour, Ind. Shortline interchanges are also made with the LIRC, connecting to the Indiana Rail Road and Indiana Southern Railroad in Indianapolis; and the Paducah & Louisville Railway in Louisville.

Read more about the Louisville and Indiana Railroad in Trains’ August 2017 issue.

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