The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad that served Indianapolis is a composite of several short coal roads extending from southeastern Illinois through southwestern Indiana to Indianapolis. Completed to Indianapolis in 1907, the line enters the city from the southwest, follows the east side of, and continues almost due north along the bed of to its Wisconsin Street yards.
Although during the early years trains on this line hauled passengers and many other commodities besides coal, it was and remains essentially a coal road. An early Indianapolis city ordinance stipulated that the predecessor of this line was obliged to deliver Indiana-mined coal to Indianapolis at a rate not to exceed one-half cent per ton-mile.
Canadian National acquired Illinois Central Gulf Railroad in 1998. In Indiana, the Illinois Central Line became the Indiana Rail Road. Along with coal, grain has been a principal commodity hauled into Indianapolis over this line. The Indiana Rail Road is headquartered in Indianapolis and operates on a 250-mile rail network through central and southwest Indiana and Central Illinois.