I offer this brief post as an initial notice that a piece of Notre Dame history has been lost. And it seems to be a permanent loss.
Last week I drove down Douglas Road on the north side of campus and noticed that the rail line into campus is in the process of being removed. This caught me by surprise as there was no discussion to my knowledge with the campus regarding this removal. It seems that the removal was to be done as fast as possible. An article from the South Bend Tribune is available by clicking here.
For some time a few years ago the renaissance of rail service of both freight and possibly passenger service would return to Notre Dame. However, the University took a position in line with the City of South Bend seeking abandonment. That is the University’s prerogative.
What is forgotten in this process is the loss of a sense of history and the appreciation of the railway heritage of the University. I have mentioned numerous times that the railroads are responsible for the building of Notre Dame as a national university. The path to national prominence began in the early part of the twentieth century and that path was on the nation’s rail right-of-ways.
So for now, I can only say good bye to our railroad: the ND&W, the Notre Dame and Western. That wonderful anme and reporting mark that Brother Borromeo Malley, C.S.C. always took pride in. When asked why that name was given to our rail line, he would reply with a smile, “Sounds like a railroad.”