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Eastern Railroad Discussion > NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question


Date: 06/29/20 03:49
NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: PRR_4859

Good Morning:

I noticed on another website that NS train 31Q runs from Elkhart, IN to Calumet Yard in Chicago on the former NKP. What routing does this train take to reach Calumet Yard? I would think if the train ran via CP 509 to the Belt Railway of Chicago that it would need to make a reverse move, and I cannot think of any other connections west of Elkhart to reach Calumet Yard.

Thank you in advance.



Date: 06/29/20 05:22
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: Englewood

I don't know how they do it now but in the past the route via 
CP 509 was used.  Trains used one of the ex RI mains between
RI Jct and Pullman, pulled west of Pullman Jct and shoved in to
Calumet.  Eastbound counterparts used the route in reverse.

There was also an alternate route.  I believe it used the IHB between
Osborn (?) where the NKP crosses the NYC Danville line and the 
IHB-NYC connection at the Lakefront just east of Hick.  Not 100%
sure of that and no current knowledge of how the move is made.

 



Date: 06/29/20 05:48
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: florida581

Between the Chicago Line and Calumet Yard, 30Q and 31Q run on IHB between CP502 and Osborn and then back on NS' Chicago District to Calumet via Burnham.

Andrew



Date: 06/29/20 05:57
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: sums007

Is using the Porter Branch an option to get on the IHB?



Date: 06/29/20 07:32
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: calumet

sums007 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is using the Porter Branch an option to get on the
> IHB?


It could be done that way but NS would have to pay a trackage rights fee to CSX.  The other routes described above are on NS tracks exclusively (they own the Kankakee Line between 502 and Osborn; IHB operates it via a long term lease).




 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/20 07:35 by calumet.



Date: 06/29/20 07:54
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: sums007

calumet Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> sums007 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Is using the Porter Branch an option to get on
> the
> > IHB?
>
>
> It could be done that way but NS would have to pay
> a trackage rights fee to CSX.  The other routes
> described above are on NS tracks exclusively (they
> own the Kankakee Line between 502 and Osborn; IHB
> operates it via a long term lease).
>
>
>
>
>  
Thanks.  I thought NS had the Porter Branch, which is why I asked.



Date: 06/29/20 15:03
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: ironmtn

sums007 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> calumet Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > sums007 Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Is using the Porter Branch an option to get on  the IHB?
> >
> >
> > It could be done that way but NS would have to pay
> > a trackage rights fee to CSX.  The other routes
> > described above are on NS tracks exclusively (they
> > own the Kankakee Line between 502 and Osborn; IHB
> > operates it via a long term lease).
> >
> Thanks.  I thought NS had the Porter Branch,
> which is why I asked.

Which reminds me to ask a question...."calumet", help me / us out here and remind me /us how it was that CSX ended up with the Porter Branch (an ex-NYC / MC route) instead of NS?  It just seems so counter-intuitive. I'm sure I've heard or read a cogent explanation, but I just can't recall it or locate it now. And it's of interest, both to this thread and to some other historical work that I'm doing. CSX really doesn't use it that much, either. I can count on a few fingers the number of trains I have seen on the Porter Branch in many hours at either Willow Creek / Burns Harbor, or at Porter, or watching on ATCS Monitor.

I'm sure there's a reason, probably in the many moves that railroads make in the Chicagoland "turf battles".  Both to enable, and to block or forestall. Such as, both, A) "We're going to use this asset so heavily we'll wear the rails down to the ties", or B) "We may not use this asset much, but we're sure as hell going to keep you from using it....."

Whatever it is, it would be interesting to know.

Thanks in advance.

MC
Muskegon, Michigan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/20 15:06 by ironmtn.



Date: 06/29/20 21:04
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: calumet

Frankly, I don't know.  But here are a couple of related hypotheses:

1. IHB does not own its mainline from Calumet Park east to Gibson/Ivanhoe (they operate it on a long term lease).  Originally, the owner was NYC, so when Conrail was divvied up, CSX got it and NS got the north-south Kankakee Line.  Since the Porter Branch can be looked at as an eastern extension of the IHB, CSX's ownership of the IHB main made them the most natural candidate.
2. I recall hearing a rumor at the time of the CR breakup that CSX was considering installing diamonds at Porter that would connect the Porter Branch with their ex-PM Grand Rapids route.  Obviously that never happened, but CSX might have been considering it at the time. 

It's not widely known but IHB actjually owns very little of their mainline.  They own the segment from Cal Park west to Blue Island, and the segment from Superior (near McCook) north to Franklin Park.  Everything else is owned by someone else.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/20 07:50 by calumet.



Date: 06/29/20 23:35
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: zchcsse

The Porter Branch did come in handy for CSX when they derailed that train in East Chicago, IN some months back.  It was a pretty effective detour route.



Date: 06/30/20 00:25
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: justalurker66

ironmtn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm sure there's a reason, probably in the many moves that railroads make in the Chicagoland "turf
> battles".  Both to enable, and to block or forestall. Such as, both, A) "We're going to use this asset
> so heavily we'll wear the rails down to the ties", or B) "We may not use this asset much, but we're
> sure as hell going to keep you from using it....."

Nothing so dramatic. The Porter Branch was Conrail (along with the Chicago Line). NS and CSX did a decent job of working together to carve up the Conrail assets and work out a plan where both railroads could "win". Trackage rights help keep much of the former Conrail system connected.



Date: 06/30/20 08:31
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: ironmtn

calumet Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Frankly, I don't know.  But here are a couple of
> related hypotheses:
>
> 1. IHB does not own its mainline from Calumet
> Park east to Gibson/Ivanhoe (they operate it on a
> long term lease).  Originally, the owner was
> NYC, so when Conrail was divvied up, CSX got
> it and NS got the north-south Kankakee Line. 
> Since the Porter Branch can be looked at as an
> eastern extension of the IHB, CSX's ownership of
> the IHB main made them the most natural
> candidate.

This makes sense. I had surmised that the reason might be involved with issues of competitive balance when Conrail was carved up, and this hypothesis would support that. NS got the Kankakee Line, CSX got the Porter Branch for some balance of routes within the important northwest Indiana service area. Each fits with other pieces that each road already owned or controlled: the former NYC Kankakee Belt (shortened up as it is) paired with the Kankakee Line, and the Porter Branch paired with CSX's ownership of the IHB main.

> 2. I recall hearing a rumor at the time of the CR
> breakup that CSX was considering installing
> diamonds at Porter that would connect the Porter
> Branch with their ex-PM Grand Rapids route. 
> Obviously that never happened, but CSX might have
> been considering it at the time. 

I have heard this too. Connecting the Porter Branch across NS via a diamond at Porter Jct. to CSX's Grand Rapids Subdivision (former C&O, nee-PM) would further extend a CSX route from the IHB to the Porter Branch to the Grand Rapids Sub. Again, some "balancing" as it were: a continuous route east for CSX (should they choose to use it) as NS has a continuous route west via the Kankakee Line and Kankakee Belt to connect with BNSF at Streator (should they and BNSF choose to use it).

> It's not widely known but IHB actually owns very
> little of their own mainline.  They own the
> segment from Cal Park west to Blue Island, and the
> segment from Superior (near McCook) north to
> Franklin Park.  Everything else is owned by
> someone else.

Thanks for reminding me. I was vaguely aware of this, but had some of the ownership pieces wrong in my understanding. I appreciate the clarification.

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ironmtn Wrote:
> > I'm sure there's a reason, probably in the many
> > moves that railroads make in the Chicagoland "turf
> > battles".  Both to enable, and to block or
> > forestall. Such as, both, A) "We're going to use this asset
> > so heavily we'll wear the rails down to the
> > ties", or B) "We may not use this asset much, but
> > we're sure as hell going to keep you from using
> it.....

> Nothing so dramatic. The Porter Branch was Conrail
> (along with the Chicago Line). NS and CSX did a
> decent job of working together to carve up the
> Conrail assets and work out a plan where both
> railroads could "win". Trackage rights help keep
> much of the former Conrail system connected.

Understood, and agreed. I did not expect the answer / hypothesis to be "dramatic", and to probably be along the lines that emerged. I was stating a more "dramatic" case at the broadest "geopolitical" level, more to state the maximum case to frame things up rather than expecting that the response would be at that level. And I agree that overall a good job was generally done in carving up Conrail's assets, and using trackage rights. As I have considered various routings, traffic corridors and service lanes at different times, I have often been reminded and been impressed at the degree to which a reasonable structure, and reasonable degree of competitive and service balance, was achieved overall.

Thanks to you both for your responses.

MC



Date: 06/30/20 10:03
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: justalurker66

I try to remain positive and hope that most decisions are made from the perspective of a railroad making their own system better instead of trying to make another railroad's system worse. Getting in to the blocking game ends up hurting everyone.



Date: 06/30/20 10:41
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: ironmtn

justalurker66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I try to remain positive and hope that most
> decisions are made from the perspective of a
> railroad making their own system better instead of
> trying to make another railroad's system worse.
> Getting in to the blocking game ends up hurting
> everyone.

Could not agree more. Those are and have been my values in my career and my personal life as well. I posited a situation that was different, and involved asking about "blocking", only to ask a question. Not because I favor such actions. I have seen "blocking" tactics used outside of railroading, and did not like them. In the cases I'm thinking of, they were not initially helpful, and ultimately were harmful. It was very unfortunate that such tactics were used.

I'm glad that in the case of the Porter Branch that it appears, so far as we on the outside can discern, not to have been done.

MC



Date: 06/30/20 16:17
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: DivergingClear

I'm going ask a "tenuously" related question. Further down the Porter Branch, at Tolleston, is the crossing of the former PRR Fort Wayne Line, which gets limited usage by the CF&E, but is also a CSX property.  Well, it's no longer a crossing, as the diamond is sitting in the weeds (perhaps to be reinstalled in the future).  However there IS a wye there for trains to come westbound off the Porter Branch, and proceed westward on the former PRR. Which now almost immediately cuts over to the former Wabash, and from there dumps trains into Kirk Yard.

The tenuous question is: does NS own this combination of former PRR/Wabash west of Tolleston, or does CSX? I ask because it would not be much of a stretch to connect that line with CSX's former B&OCT near Clark Junction (a connection which I believe did historically exist).



Date: 06/30/20 19:44
Re: NS Elkhart to Calumet Yard Question
Author: calumet

DivergingClear Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm going ask a "tenuously" related question.
> Further down the Porter Branch, at Tolleston, is
> the crossing of the former PRR Fort Wayne Line,
> which gets limited usage by the CF&E, but is also
> a CSX property.  Well, it's no longer a crossing,
> as the diamond is sitting in the weeds (perhaps to
> be reinstalled in the future).  However there IS
> a wye there for trains to come westbound off the
> Porter Branch, and proceed westward on the former
> PRR. Which now almost immediately cuts over to the
> former Wabash, and from there dumps trains into
> Kirk Yard.
>
> The tenuous question is: does NS own this
> combination of former PRR/Wabash west of
> Tolleston, or does CSX? I ask because it would not
> be much of a stretch to connect that line with
> CSX's former B&OCT near Clark Junction (a
> connection which I believe did historically
> exist).

Yes, it is owned by NS who did the trackwork west of Tolleston.  I can't be certain but I have heard that since NS has trackage rights on the Porter Branch, it provides an easier way for their WB trains  to access CN/EJE's Kirk Yard.  They usually do that via the Chicago Line, but it's awkward and ties up one of the mains for a considerable amount of time..   

If the diamond was in place, they could do the same for WB trains on NKP, who would transfer to CF&E at a point further east and run to Tolleston.  Rumors float around that CSX doesn't like the idea and so are dragging their feet on allowing the diamond to be installed.  Again, those are rumors.



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