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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Shortline Railroading in Illinois


Date: 04/13/19 19:55
Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: mtzctrain

Today was a nice day in central Illinois, and I happened to have the day free with the wife busy, so my dad and I decided to spend the day railfanning a couple shortlines in the state. Being from Decatur, we see the Decatur and Eastern Illinois RR a lot, but their base of operations is in Paris, IL and neither of us had been over there since CSX sold the line. So we started the morning heading east to Paris. I had gotten word that the road train to Decatur (train 101) was going to head west in the morning, so we anticipated intercepting it on the way. However, we followed the line all the way to Paris with no sign of the train. 

1. Pulling into Paris, we found the road train to Terre Haute (train 301) getting ready to depart. After about 5 minutes, they took off headed east. 

2. Here, we see the power for the 101 train waiting for 301 to clear the line so they could go tie onto their train. 
Not pictured, we also found 1 unit waiting behind the 101 power to begin local work around Paris (there's a mill and some other industries that get rail service in town). There was also an additional unit parked in the yard on the west side of town. Between all these units, we caught the entire roster of the DREI with the exeption of the SD40 in Decatur, and the GP stationed in Tuscola.

3. We observed the crew getting ready to tie onto their train, but before taking off, they told us they were going to go eat before heading west. So instead of waiting around and slowly following the train out of Paris (there's 5 miles of 10mph track North out of Paris), we decided to head back west to Charleston to see if we could find anything moving on the Eastern Illinois RR. In this photo, two lease units are sitting at the small yard office in Charleston.

more to follow...








Date: 04/13/19 20:06
Re: Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: mtzctrain

4. EIRC #4541, a gp16 sits dead at the end of a track with the lease units behind.

5. With no movement and no one around, we headed north with hopes of catching a crew working the ADM grain elevator in Oakland, IL. We arrived in Oakland with no luck. However, there's still an old signal standing along the main.

6. We were at least able to catch sight of a single GP-? sitting on the main waiting for its next assignment.
The EIRC line runs from Neoga IL (south of Charleston) where it connects to the CN line, on up north to Metcalf, IL where it crosses the DREI line. I believe the railroad has a couple more units than the ones we saw, so they may have been stationed further south of Charleston.

more....








Date: 04/13/19 20:15
Re: Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: mtzctrain

7. After our stop in Oakland, we continued north, then back east along the DREI line in hopes of intercepting the 101 train. We had just pulled into Chrisman IL when the train showed up; 3 geeps towing a single covered hopper.

8. The bridge over the highway in Chrisman is still lettered for it's original owner, the New York Central. (This photo shows an ex-SP geep on ex-NYC tracks)
At Chrisman, the ex-NYC line ends a couple miles north of Chrisman, so the line connects to the east-west line. This line continues further east past Chrisman to a large grain elevator complex across the border in Dana, IN. I believe the line continues east and connects to the CSX in Hillsdale IN, but I don't think the DREI operates any further east than Dana.

9. Once the train hops on the east west line, it continues west to Decatur. The next place we caught up to the train was in Metcalf, at the diamond with the EIRC. The diamond still has signals protecting it, but they are long dark. To the right is an old grain elevator complex that's been abandoned. This abandoned complex was the largest attraction in Metcalf.


one more set...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/19 20:17 by mtzctrain.








Date: 04/13/19 20:22
Re: Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: mtzctrain

10-11. The train is just hitting the diamond here. Track speed on this line all the way to Decatur is around 25mph. CSX used to have the line up to 40mph.

12. The final spot we photographed the train was in Newman, IL passing the ADM grain elevator. From there, we continued west to Tuscola to grab some lunch. We finished lunch in time to see the train crossing the CN diamond, but didn't have time to setup for photos. After sitting in Tuscola for about an hour after that without seeing any train traffic, we decided to call it a day and head home.

[EDIT: as I am posting this, the train just went by east out of Decatur, with 64 cars in tow. Normally we see 25-45 car trains on this DREI line, so this train with a single revenue car was quite unusual.]

Thanks for looking!
  -Caleb



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/19 20:24 by mtzctrain.








Date: 04/14/19 05:34
Re: Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: WLE2679

Nice phtoos.   Like the flag on the first unit. 



Date: 04/14/19 15:47
Re: Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: inCHI

Neat images, especially of all those endless diamonds that are around Illinois. That shot of a signal on a line where they now just park the power on the main is really curious too.



Date: 04/15/19 15:32
Re: Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: jtar463

Hello Caleb -
That's some nice coverage of the DREI.  Just to add a bit of info for you and others who are interested:  the DREI does operate over to Hillsdale, IN.  It's actually their "heavy duty" railroad.  They interchange unit grain trains with CSX there instead of Terre Haute.  The trains go to Dana, IN and also south of Chrisman to the feed mill / elevator at Horace, IL.  As far as I know, the trains always operate with CSX power.  Attached is a shot of a loaded DREI train at Hillsdale waiting for the CSX crew to pick it up that I took in December.  As the interchange only goes north on CSX, the crew will run north up to a siding known as WRO and run around the train to head back south (same thing with the empty northbound trains when pulling onto the DREI).

Have you seen the 4234 SD40 moving yet?  It is my understanding that DREI is building an inspection pit at Midland Yard (the yard on the northwest edge of Paris, IL) and they will do all their engine service at Paris.  So the 4234 may venture down to Paris for maintence or inspection.  There is a 6 axle restriction on the Wabash River bridge where they enter Terre Haute, so it won't be able to go that far.
jtar463




Date: 04/15/19 16:20
Re: Shortline Railroading in Illinois
Author: mtzctrain

Thanks for the additional info! Makes sense that they would get the unit trains there. I've caught one unit train into the Tuscola elevator with CSX power since DREI took over.
We drove by the elevator at Horace on our way to Paris, the track looked pretty bad south of there, so CSX must have only kept up maintenance as far south as that customer.

I've only caught the SD-40 working once, along with 4002 (the widecab geep). Although I think they are starting to use it a little more often. 
I assumed they must have added an inspection pit somewhere there, because one of the engineers told me last week they took the 4002 to Paris for its 92 day inspection. It's interesting to me that they don't do the inspections in Decatur. I would have thought that the Decatur yard already had something installed for that, but I could be wrong. 
   -Caleb

jtar463 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hello Caleb -
> That's some nice coverage of the DREI.  Just to
> add a bit of info for you and others who are
> interested:  the DREI does operate over to
> Hillsdale, IN.  It's actually their "heavy duty"
> railroad.  They interchange unit grain trains
> with CSX there instead of Terre Haute.  The
> trains go to Dana, IN and also south of Chrisman
> to the feed mill / elevator at Horace, IL.  As
> far as I know, the trains always operate with CSX
> power.  Attached is a shot of a loaded DREI train
> at Hillsdale waiting for the CSX crew to pick it
> up that I took in December.  As the interchange
> only goes north on CSX, the crew will run north up
> to a siding known as WRO and run around the train
> to head back south (same thing with the empty
> northbound trains when pulling onto the DREI).
>
> Have you seen the 4234 SD40 moving yet?  It is my
> understanding that DREI is building an inspection
> pit at Midland Yard (the yard on the northwest
> edge of Paris, IL) and they will do all their
> engine service at Paris.  So the 4234 may venture
> down to Paris for maintence or inspection.  There
> is a 6 axle restriction on the Wabash River bridge
> where they enter Terre Haute, so it won't be able
> to go that far.
> jtar463



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/19 16:23 by mtzctrain.



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