Posts Tagged ‘Warsaw Indiana’

Fall Foliage and Street Running

November 10, 2021

Hickory Street in Warsaw, Indiana, is famous for two blocks of street running on the Marion District of Norfolk Southern, which many railfans still like to call the Marion Branch.

A street project that wrapped up earlier this year changed the traffic patterns on Hickory for vehicles but not for trains. The street is now one lane northbound only with the other lane devoted to on-street parking.

Last Friday I chased the 13Q from Goshen to Warsaw with the objective of getting some fall foliage and street running. There were no colorful trees on Hickory itself, but a pair of tees with gold leaves were visible on Fort Wayne Avenue. The latter comes into Hickory at an angle on the north end of the street running at the crossing of East Main Street.

The 13Q, which was led by a Canadian National unit and had a CN unit on the rear as a DPU, is shown in the top image. However, the first train I saw run down the street was the 14J, whose rear is shown about to clear the street running in the bottom image.

Note that in theory through vehicles are prohibited on the tracks and in the easternmost lane. But during my time waiting for trains I saw a number of vehicles straddle the rails while waiting at the stop light to make a left turn onto Fort Wayne Avenue.

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.

Town Plans Changes to NS Street Running Street

April 15, 2020

The city of Warsaw, Indiana, is planning to make changes to the street running of the Marion Branch of Norfolk Southern.

Plans are to make Hickory Street one way for two blocks on each side of Center Street.

Hickory would be one way north from Center Street and one way south from Center.

The city also wants to install curbs to allow for parking in the direction of traffic on both sides of the street.

The intent of doing this is to stop motor vehicles driving on the rails except crossing them to park across the track.

The city expects this practice to remove opposing vehicle traffic with one car on the rails.

The rails are expected to remain in the street.

The street running begins on Hickory at East Main Street and extends for four blocks south to East Market Street.