Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Fort Wayne & Eastern’

G&W Plans 2 Ohio Capital Projects in 2022

January 10, 2022

Short line holding company Genesee & Wyoming plans two major capital projects in Ohio this year, Trains magazine reported on its website.

G&W has received a $7.8 million grant that will be used to make improvements in Delta on the Indiana & Ohio.

The work includes installing 40,000 feet of rail, 1,5000 ties, 10 miles of surfacing, 10 turnouts, and a 7,450-foot siding.

In Lima on the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern, G&W will undertake a $9 million project to install 10.85 miles of welded rail at eight locations, and reconfigure a yard.

In all, G&W plans to spend $375 million in North America this year for capital projects, which railroad officials said is the highest capital spending figure in any of the past six years.

Much of that work will involve ties and rail for 900,000 ties and 336 miles of rail.

ORDC Awards Grants to 4 Railroads

November 20, 2020

The Ohio Rail Development Commission announced this week four grants to an equal number of railroads that will provide the state’s share of matching funds for federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program grants.

The grants and projects include: 

Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad: $462,000 to match $4,358,547 of CFER funding and a $4,530,546 CRISI grant to assist with upgrades in the Lima Yard and on 11 miles of track from Lima to north-central Indiana.

Napoleon, Defiance and Western Railroad: $250,000 to match $3,862,452 of NDW funding and a $4,112,452 CRISI grant to assist with significant track upgrades and eliminating speed, train length and height restrictions along the line between Defiance and Woodburn, Indiana.

R. J. Corman Western Ohio & Cleveland Lines: $489,300 to match $709,485 of RJC funding and a $2,226,315 CRISI grant to assist with the installation of more than 20,000 ties of track in and around Massillon, Wooster, Celina and Lima.

Youngstown & Southeastern Railroad: $350,025 to match $350,025 of YSRR funding and a $700,050 CRISI grant to assist with the installation of more than 10,000 ties and perform surfacing along the line between Struthers and Signal in Mahoning and Columbiana counties. Also, five grade crossing surfaces will be repaired.

Short Lines Get Grants for Ohio Projects

September 22, 2020

Five short line railroads will receive federal grants to help pay for infrastructure projects in Ohio.

One of the largest awards, $4.1 million, will be used by the Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railway for rail replacement and track rehabilitation.

The federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant will cover 50 percent of the project’s cost, with nearly $3.9 million matched by the railroad and 3 percent ($250,000) being provided by the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

The railroad plans to replace 10 miles of steel rail and 29,000 ties on 28 miles of rail line.

Other CRISI grants that were awarded this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation include $4.5 million to the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern to replace 10.8 miles of jointed rail with welded rail, install new ballast and ties, replace seven turnouts and rehabilitate another, and rebuild yard tracks between Lima and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

R.J. Corman received $2.2 million for improvements on four routes while the Youngstown & Southeastern received $700,000 to rebuild 25 miles of track, including tie replacement, track resurfacing, switch renewal and grade-crossing improvement.

Central Railroad of Indiana received $1.2 million for an enclosed conveyor belt system to move materials at its Cincinnati Bulk Terminals and another $1.1 million for grade crossing improvements including a new traffic signal and crossing gates at CSX and Central Railroad of Indiana crossings in Cincinnati.

Getting Lucky With the CF&E — Twice

July 11, 2020


Seeing this guy coming prompted me to abandon any idea of catching up with the Norfolk Southern train I was chasing.

In my experience I’m most likely to catch a short line railroad in operation when I’m out looking for something else on a Class 1 railroad.

Such was the case on an early June Sunday when I had driven to Warsaw, Indiana, to photograph the street running on the Marion Branch of Norfolk Southern.

I had been sitting next to the NS tracks for about an hour when I thought I heard a locomotive horn.

A few minutes later I heard it again. I had not heard anything on the NS road channel so I figured I’d better go investigate.

It sounded like it was coming from the east but the Marion Branch here is a north-south railroad.

As I crossed the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern tracks, I saw a headlight to the east belonging to a westbound train.

I had gone to Warsaw knowing the CF&E crosses the Marion Branch just south of the end of the street running.

There was a possibility of catching a CF&E train but I didn’t know how often they ran or when. I would have to get lucky. It would turn out that I would get lucky twice.

Catching the westbound was a good news-bad news situation. The good news is that I had a train to photograph. The bad news is that the lighting was less than ideal for a westbound on the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline that the CF&E leases from CSX.

I made a right turn onto a side street and was driving north toward the tracks when the gates began going down.

I parked, grabbed my camera and got out to make some photographs. The train had all flat cars that I later determined were rigged to carry wind turbine blades.

The former Pennsy in Warsaw has some quasi-street running so I was able to work with that.

There is one track here now yet but during the Pennsy days this was a double-track mainline.

The scene today looks like a short line environment and it is difficult to imagine the PRR’s mighty Broadway Limited raced through here at high speed, its whistle or horn blowing nearly continuously.

That must have been some sight to see and hear.

For that matter it is hard to image that Amtrak’s Broadway Limited did the same although in the Penn Central era the track conditions had deteriorated due to years of deferred maintenance.

I thought about chasing the CF&E train westward but decided against it for two reasons.

First, I had come to Warsaw to photograph NS street running and didn’t want to miss that.

Second, one of the more memorable railfan trip reports I’ve read in recent years involved a prominent Akron Railroad Club member and his brother who one Labor Day weekend gave chase to a westbound CF&E train.

They drove for 40 miles and spent two hours “chasing air” because the train had halted in Warsaw and the crew had tied it down. They went off the clock while the train stayed put.

Rather than risk chasing air and missing something on NS, I went back to the Marion Branch where I waited for more than an hour and a half before an NS train showed up.

After photographing the NS train in the street I began driving southward to see if I could catch it and get more photos.

As I crossed the CF&E, I looked to the west and saw the headlight of an eastbound train.

I went back to the same location where I’d photographed the westbound along Jefferson Street.

The eastbound was a slow-moving manifest freight. If it was continuing on I figured I could get ahead of it.

I made sure the train was, indeed, leaving Warsaw before committing to the chase and was able to easily get ahead of it.

One of the first towns east of Warsaw is Pierceton. I’d never been there but there might have a grain elevator to use as a photo prop.

There was no grain elevator in Pierceton but a former PRR depot was still standing and being used as a restaurant.

Next to it was a former Atlantic Coast Line passenger car. Further investigation revealed this had likely been a freight house and not a passenger station because of the type of doors on the side of the structure facing the tracks.

That didn’t matter because it still looked like a railroad station.

I could see the CF&E train in the distance but it was moving even slower than I expected. There must be a 25-mile per hour or slower slow order for this section of track.

That gave me plenty of time to check the photo angles here.

After the train was through Pieceton I thought about getting it further east. I gave chase but the train had gotten a big jump on me.

I changed my mind and decided to return to Warsaw to try to get one more NS train in the street, which I was able to do.

As best I could determine the flat cars in this train was used to transport wind turbine blades. No blades were being moved on this day, though.

Another look at the motive power for the flat car train.

I presume this train was headed to pick up some wind turbine blades.

Did the best trains of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Chicago and New York really once use these tracks? That is hard to imagine now.

I wish I knew the story behind this former Atlantic Coast Line passenger car sitting next to a former Pennsy station in Pierceton, Indiana.

This eastbound manifest freight was moving slowly through Pierceton.

PUCO Approves 5 Grade Crossing Projects

April 25, 2020

Five grade crossing projects were approved recently by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

PUCO directed Norfolk Southern to upgrade active warning devices at the South Lincoln Avenue/CR 444A crossing in Columbiana County and the South Charleston Street/State Route 41 crossing in Springfield by April 22.

NS will also install traffic interconnection at the Flat Rock/County Road 308 crossing in Bellevue by Oct. 22.

The Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad was directed to lights and gates at the Township Road 60 crossing in Crane Township, while R. J. Corman will complete installations at the St. Anthony Road/County Road 110 crossing in Mercer County.

Both projects are to be completed by Jan. 22, 2021.

PUCO Authorizes Grade Crossing Projects

February 29, 2020

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved the installation of lights, gates and warning devices at grade crossings on Norfolk Southern; Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern; and the Wheeling & Lake Erie in seven counties.

PUCO also directed CSX to install active warning devices at the Ohio Route 7 crossing in Washington County, and the Columbus & Ohio River Railroad to install flashing lights at the Hope Avenue crossing in Franklin County.

The installations and upgrades must be completed by Nov. 26.

Federal funding will be provided for the projects through the State Grade Crossing Safety with funding of up to $5,000 per project.

Ohio Intermodal Service Gets Funding Boost

August 20, 2018

An intermodal service lane that will use a terminal in Jeffersonville, Ohio, has received seed money from Canadian Pacific and Genesee & Wyoming.

The service links Southwest Ohio and Vancouver, British Columbia, six days a week and began in July.

The 90-acre terminal receives containers from Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton. Owned and operated by corn and soybean producer Bluegrass Farms of Ohio, it located near Interstate 71.

The containers are routed to Chicago by the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern (Chicago-Lima) and the Indiana & Ohio (Lima-Jeffersonville).

“The new service is an ideal end-to-end supply-chain offering for auto parts shippers, as it bypasses Chicago interchanges, offers flexible destinations, and creates compelling round-trip economics, including opportunities for the backhaul of agricultural products,” said CP spokesman Andy Cummings.

Chasing NS and Air

October 16, 2017

The remnants of Hurricane Harvey made our plans for Labor Day Weekend easy; go west or get wet.

The brother and I decided to head for Indiana for the weekend on the Thursday prior. Kind of a late decision, but we wanted to be sure that the weather was going to be sunny wherever we went.

Our main goal was to catch some action on the Norfolk Southern’s Marion Branch. We did this a couple of years ago and had a good day.

The only catch was that besides the holiday weekend the Notre Dame football team was home on Saturday and hotels within 100 miles of South Bend were either booked or majorly expensive.

I started the hotel search at Goshen. They showed a half dozen chain motels. The first five I tried were either booked or they only had a single room.

The Hampton Inn had a single room for only $299 plus tax. For that much it better come with a hooker.

The last place in town was the Super 8. They, to my surprise, had rooms available. They were a bit more pricey than I’m used to at an “Eight Ball,” but I took it.

* * * * *

We arrived there Saturday night and were up and out the door after breakfast just after sunrise.

The first spot we staked out was the cemetery at CP 412 on the Chicago Line in Goshen. This is where the Marion Branch begins. It runs alongside the Chicago Line for 0.3 miles until it turns south through a residential neighborhood in Goshen.

The first train we saw was Amtrak No. 29. It sailed past us shortly after we arrived at the cemetery. It was followed by an empty DEEX coal train. Intermodal trains were coming east so we had plenty of action to watch and shoot.

We noticed a green signal at CP 412 for a northbound to come off the Marion Branch. The Toledo West dispatcher called the train and said it was OK to head his way.

We relocated to the residential neighborhood to shoot it. While it’s not street running, there are houses on either side that face the tracks that you can use as photo props.

After shooting the northbound, we went back to the cemetery. Amtrak No. 49 made an appearance upon our return.

Horns to the west, but not like the fast moving horns we had gotten used to, caught our attention. Could this be a Marion Branch train?

It was. A single BNSF GE was leading about 75 auto racks. They were going to make the turn south and head into the wilds of Indiana.

So were we. We shot it at the cemetery and headed out of town. Our next spot was the grain elevator at New Paris. This sits right next to Indiana Route 15; you can’t miss it.

Neither of us could understand what the crew member of the rack train was saying when calling signals. It did not get stabbed at the CSX diamonds at Milford Junction so we were off to the farm fields between Milford and Leesburg.

We shot it here with a red barn in the shot and again at the elevator at Leesburg. A northbound was in the siding here awaiting the arrival of the rack train.

But the rack train did not have a signal to proceed south. Could there be another train coming north?

There was, a junk freight led by Canadian National power showed up about an hour later. By the time the northbound came by we were firmly planted along Hickory Street in Warsaw. This is actual street running for two city blocks. Houses front the east side of the tracks while a bank and a drug store occupy the other side of the street.

After the northbound went by, we headed to a Subway about three blocks away to grab something for lunch. We figured we had time for the northbound to get to Leesburg and our southbound then had to come to us.

We saved lunch for after the passage of the rack train. We would end our chase here and wait for more action on the Marion Branch this afternoon.

We didn’t have to wait long before our quarry made its way past us.

After the last car passed, we dug our sandwiches out of the bag and began to enjoy them.

The brother said out of the blue, “wouldn’t it be great to see a train on the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern now?”

They run on the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline that the Marion Branch crosses just south of the street running.

It wasn’t a minute after he said that that we heard horns to the east. A CF&E train was approaching the diamonds.

“Holy cow?”

I was only two bites into my sandwich so I kept on eating. We were not in position to photograph the CF&E train so I settled on watching it.

The brother eats 100 times faster than I do, so he was done long before me.

“Wanna chase the CF&E?”

By now he had about a 10 minute head start on us. I glanced at the map and noticed U.S. 30 roughly follows the tracks to the west.

“If you drive so I can finish my lunch.”

We quickly changed seats and were off. I guided Robert out of town using a county road that parallels the tracks to the south for a couple of miles west to the town of Atwood. Here we would cross the tracks and pick up U.S. 30. Hopefully, it would be a quick way to get caught up to the train.

The road I picked up to get across the CF&E tracks goes under them. There was no sign of our train above as we continued on.

We accessed new U.S. 30, a four-lane divided highway, and began rolling west.

We did not see any signs of our train nor did we hear any radio chatter. But we continued on convinced that we were still behind it.

By the time we got to Grovertown, about 40 miles west of Warsaw, I had to make a pit stop. So we pulled off onto a side road that crossed the tracks to check for any signs of life.

It was obvious that nothing had been across the tracks here. The light coating of rust on the rail from rain showers on Saturday had not been disturbed.

Armed with this knowledge that we were, indeed, ahead, we began to track back. This time we used old U.S. 30, which stayed closer to the tracks, but goes through all the towns along the way.

This allowed us to check out potential photo spots just in case we did encounter the train. We saw several promising spots and made mental notes as to their whereabouts.

We found the former PRR depot in Plymouth still standing but much the worse for wear. I thought they may have stopped to switch here or to work an interchange with NS. The CF&E crosses the former Nickel Plate Road’s Michigan City branch here.

Sill no signs of a train so we continued back east, checking at Inwood, Bourbon, Etna Green and finally back at Atwood. Nothing.

“Where the heck did they go?”

We found them. After crossing the Marion Branch in Warsaw, they went about another three-quarter of a mile and pulled into a siding. The power was now shut down and the crew was long gone. We had been out chasing air. Almost two hours of chasing air. Now what?

“Back to the Marion Branch; maybe we can get something moving there.”

As bad luck would have it, nothing was moving there, either, at least for now. We trolled north looking for something moving.

At Millford Junction we stopped for a leg stretch at the first crossing west of the diamonds on CSX.

Here you can shoot a westbound with the old grain elevator in the photo.

We killed some time. Robert called home to check in, scanned the news wires for what players the Browns were cutting and signing for the upcoming season opener with Pittsburgh, and checked in case any were in the area.

“Lehigh Valley at Goshen a little over two hours ago on 19K. Trailing.”

Wonderful. While we were chasing air the 19K had slipped by us.

About now an EOT on the radio got our attention back to the business at hand.

A headlight to the east on CSX heralded the approach of the westbound. It was a K182 coke train.

We shot it with the old elevator here at Milford Junction and began to head north toward Goshen.

“Hey! There’s an NS sitting at the home signal waiting to go south.”

The power was behind a stand of trees but we saw freight cars standing on single track. As the road got closer to the tracks, the southbound began to move.

I quickly turned around and the chase was on. When the power cleared the trees, we got a good look. A CSX dark future, an NS and the Lehigh Valley. This was the 19K.

We headed to the farm fields north of Leesburg. Since the road is on the west side of the tracks, we were able to get two views of the 19K before it reached the siding at Leesburg.

“Clear, Leesburg.”

No meets this time; they were heading right through.

We were off to Warsaw and the street running. We would make it with time to spare. The train  must be down to restricted speed before it enters the street. Even in moderate city traffic you can make it into town before the train.

After shooting the 19K here, we were still in hot pursuit. We got right out of town and after getting far enough ahead we began to look for another photo spot.

Not finding anything we liked in the countryside, we headed into Claypool. Here the Marion Branch crosses the former NKP main to Chicago. Since we weren’t sure where the 19K was headed, we could also check its routing through town. There are connections at Claypool that are used by some trains.

Claypool is not overly photogenic and the 19K was running on clear signals so we assumed, correctly, that it was heading straight through town.

We were off toward Silver Lake, the last place where you can easily follow the Marion Branch in this area.

After Silver Lake, the tracks head in a southeast direction. The road grid is north-south, east-west. You can lose some time along this stretch unless you hustle.

We made it to North Manchester ahead of the 19K. We saw a spot in town that looked good and only had to wait a minute until the train showed up.

Indiana Route 13 follows the tracks south of North Manchester to Wabash, but there was a bridge out just outside of town. We detoured around the bridge using side roads and got back to the tracks in time to see the last cars passing by.

Getting ahead was easy as the train’s speed was about 40 mph and the state highway was 55 mph. We ended up getting a shot north of Speicherville across a farm field.

The 19K is an Elkhart, Indiana, to Decatur, Illinois, manifest freight. It would use the connecting track at Wabash to access the former mainline of the Wabash Railroad for the remainder of the trip to Decatur.

We arrived at the over/under where the Marion Branch goes under the Wabash and found it shadowed in. The connection is just to the east where the two lines come up side by side.

I thought we were ahead and I still to this day think we were ahead. But we could not find the 19K anywhere. It’s like it was swallowed by a sink hole.

I have since found out that the former Wabash has a radio channel that I was not aware of that they use: 161.380. We did not have that in the scanner so we missed an important radio conversation.

Following the tracks through town to the west, we found a rural crossing and waited for a few minutes. The sun would soon be gone for the day.

We discussed what to do tomorrow. I threw out the idea of heading to Fort Wayne. Or we could head back to Goshen. The forecast for the Monday holiday was sunny in the morning with some showers moving through in the afternoon.

Back to Goshen it was. We would hang around the Marion Branch until the weather arrived then we would head home.

We arrived back at the Super 8 in Goshen to find the same gal working the desk. She gave us the same room as we had had last night.

* * * * *

I hopped out of bed when the alarm went off and looked out the window. Oh no, the weather was already upon us with dark skies to the west and blue skies to the east.

This made it easy to decide what to do today. We would head east along the Chicago Line trying to stay ahead of the weather.

Our first stop was at Ligonier, Indiana. Here a grain elevator sits on the outside of the curve that takes the tracks from an east-west alignment to a northwest-southeast alignment. The lighting was good for an eastbound.

We waited awhile and were rewarded with an eastbound mixed freight that we thought was a Canadian Pacific train. It had a CSX leading a CP.

After it passed, we continued on, our next stop being Waterloo where the former New York Central depot has been moved farther west and used as a waiting area for Amtrak passengers. We found no passengers or trains in Waterloo this morning.

Our next stop was for lunch in Stryker, Ohio. A Subway restaurant sits right next to the Main Street crossing with the Chicago Line one block east of the grain elevator and depot.

We could get NS to run only two westbounds while we were there. The shot is OK, but not as good as for the eastbound.

Our last stop for the day was at Swanton. NS is installing a staging yard for Detroit Edison coal trains here. It looks like a four-track intermodal facility because of the distance between the tracks. But it is for coal trains.

A new control point will be in service at the west end to be called CP 309.

We walked around the park that includes a former Wheeling & Lake Erie caboose before calling it a weekend and hitting the Ohio Turnpike for the miles back to Cleveland.

It was an enjoyable trip in spite of our misadventure with the CF&E. Next time it may pay to check for signs of life a little sooner before you go running off into the Indiana countryside.

Article by Marty Surdyk

PUCO OKs Van Wert Crossing Improvements

June 18, 2016

The Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern has won approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio of a plan that will affect 14 grade crossings in Van Wert.

PUCOIThe plan, which was put forth in cooperation with the city of Van Wert, involves closing some crossings and upgrading others with light and gates installations, surface improvements, and warning devices modifications.

The breakdown is that five crossings will be closed, four will receive lights and gates, nine will receive surface improvements, three will get warning device modification and one crossing will receive traffic signal preemption.

The plan has been approved by the Ohio Rail Development Commission, which will share the costs along with, PUCO and the railroad.

The work must be completed by June 15, 2017. Nine crossings in Van Wert were upgraded in 2015.