Home Open Account Help 257 users online

Eastern Railroad Discussion > PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch in 2021


Date: 09/13/21 15:01
PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch in 2021
Author: retlaw121

In the first half of this year, I found myself lucky on numerous occasions catching trains on what is left of the once might Pennsylvania Railroad's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch line in Southern Indiana. The branch used to run all the way between its namesake cities. It survived mostly intact through Penn Central and Conrail. In 1983 Conrail abandoned part of the line from Vincennes to Sandborn, however a short segment of it was resurrected in 2010 with the construction of a power plant in Edwardsport. In 1992, the Indiana Southern Railroad took over the line under RailTex, then Rail America in 2000, and finally under the G&W empire in 2012. At Beehuner (just south of Lyons), INRD's Chicago Subdivision splits the line in twain. South of INRD it's known as the Hawthorn Sub while north of INRD it's known as the Spencer Sub. While the line used to see daily ISRR coal trains to Indy, those trains have since disappeared on the north end. While there is likely to be some movement somewhere on the line on any given day, catching these movements can be tricky. The entire line is rated only from 10mph. As of now, three trains regularly use the line. 

WL-1 is the north end local. It serves 3 customers between Martinsville and Indianapolis M-F, taking a trip once per week south to Swtiz City to swap cars with PW-1
PW-1 is the INRD interchange train. It runs north from Petersburg to Elnora on a former NYC line, then skirts west on the INRD's Chicago Sub until Beehunter (just south of Lyons), where it turns back north on to the Spencer Sub to Switz City to interchange with INRD and WL-1. Normally they run Tuesdays and Fridays. 
The Duke Train (idk the symbol) is a coal train running the length Hawthorn Sub from Beehunter to Duke Energy's Edwardsport Power Plant. The coal comes from Bear Run Mine on the INRD, whose crews run it back and forth between the mine and Bear Run. It runs as needed, but I estimate this is about 2 or 3 times per week. 

1. WL-1 wakes up Spencer, IN with over 14 crossings in a one-mile stretch through town.
2. The Duke Train is tied down at Marco where the INRD crew departs for home. An ISRR crew will take it to Edwardsport in a few hours. 
Video. Raindrops kept falling on my head and the lens as WL-1 passed through Martinsville. 

More Coming
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/21 15:53 by retlaw121.



You must be a registered subscriber to watch videos. Join Today!




Date: 09/13/21 15:12
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

I have been able to catch PW-1 twice in 2021, once in March going south, and once in May going north.

3. In order to drop cars off for WL-1 to pick up later, PW-1 must cross INRD's Indianapolis Subdivision. An old fashion smash board protects the diamond. No dispatcher permission is needed as far as I know. So long as the coast is clear, trains can move the board and cross. Trains on both lines approach at restricted speed so actually smashing the board isn't likely to happen. 

4. PW-1 leaves the cars for WL-1 on the north connector between ISRR and INRD. 

5, Overflow interchange cars are often left on the south connector between the railroads, making SD40 sandwiches a common occurrence.  

More Coming








Date: 09/13/21 15:23
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

6. The town of Paragon has a somewhat odd crossing install. A bell-only crossing with a modern electronic bell. The rain persisted throughout much of my WL-1 chase in May.

7. PW-1 heads home. This is the first crossing south of Switz City.

8. A now uncommon yet always awesome sight, the Duke train often consists of 3 or 4 SD40-2s and 100 loaded cars. 

More Coming








Date: 09/13/21 15:26
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: rev66vette

Great post on an interesting operation. Thanks for sharing.



Date: 09/13/21 15:30
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

9. The Duke Train is what keeps the lights on for many small towns in Southern Indiana, such as the town of Sandborn. 

10. A quiet line and a quiet bridge come to life for a brief moment as the 5-car WL-1 crosses overhead. I have no idea where this was taken. 

11. The entire line is dark territory, spare for one signal at Elnora and two at Beehunter where ISRR meets up with INRD's Chicago Subdivision. 

A few more coming








Date: 09/13/21 15:42
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

12. I have never really liked G&W's paint scheme, but I must say it does pop out against a snowy background. This is in Westphalia on resurrected rails. The speed limit is still 10mph despite welded rail and concrete ties, probably to reduce maintenance costs and save fuel. 

13. The only dry part of my WL-1 chase was around Worthington, where the crew has their office. 

14. Most of ISRR's property looks something like this. Flat fields and the occasional tree. The northern half of the Spencer Sub is quite a different story however.

One more set coming








Date: 09/13/21 15:52
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

15. Near the yard office in Worthington, WL-1 makes it's way north having just grabbed the cars PW-1 left for it in Switz City. A short segment of former NYC tracks in the forground are occasionally used for storage here. 

16. WL-1 passes through Lyons, yet another small dot on the map. 

Thanks for Looking!






Date: 09/13/21 16:47
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: webmaster

Why did they bother installing a single bell and no other warning devices?  Seems a lot of work to go through with a track circuit to sound a bell.

Todd Clark
Canyon Country, CA
Trainorders.com



Date: 09/13/21 17:38
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: ironmtn

Excellent coverage of an interesting and seldom discussed ex-PRR line -- thank you. Especially neat to see it all seasons, and get some idea of the photo opportunities throughout the year. It's always been fair to associate the PRR with Indianapolis, especially for this guy, who grew up in St. Louis. But Vincennes? That was a B&O and C&EI town! And the B&O - C&EI junction there had some fame among railfans in southern Indiana and Illinois, and even as far west as St. Louis.

But Vincennes as a Pennsy town? Really?  C'mon! We of the PRR persuasion had to remind ourselves of that fact. And that the Penn had seen fit to horn in on the B&O's and C&EI's territory. Even though it was never shy about doing that anywhere else.

Like you, I am kinda so-so about G&W's livery....and I live in a G&W town and region (Muskegon, Michigan). As a result, I don't particularly go out of my way to check out their lines. But for some of them, there are other railroad historical and photographic reasons to do so. This line certainly warrants a visit next time I head south to visit family in St. Louis, and I take the long way there through Indiana. With of course a stop in Terre Haute for Square Donuts (yes, they really are square, and are the best). And to visit Vincennes once again. Thanks for putting this line on the list with this fine post.

MC



Date: 09/13/21 17:59
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

Thanks. I got lucky this winter with plenty of snow, which is never guaranteed in Southern Indiana. I hopefully will be able to take off work during the peak colors in the middle of October to capture mainly INRD, but also ISRR if I can. I'm not sure the orange will work too well in fall colors but there's only one way to find out. ISRR is a bit of an elusive railroad despite having up to 5 crews working in a 24 hour period, so there's no guarantee you'll see anything.

I'm from Bloomington, IN and we too have a square doughnuts (same company as Terre Haute's), and I concur that they are both square and delicious.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/13/21 18:01
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

webmaster Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why did they bother installing a single bell and
> no other warning devices?  Seems a lot of work to
> go through with a track circuit to sound a bell.


That's what puzzles me about bell-only crossings. Indiana has a handful still left. This one in particular looks like it maybe had lights at one point and they just decided not to bother replacing them, but I can't confirm if that's the case.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/13/21 18:55
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: vern

I belive #10 is between Spencer and Gosport.

Vernon Sargent
Greencastle, IN



Date: 09/13/21 19:44
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: FiveChime

Nice video - that IS NOT how a Nathan P5 horn is suppose to sound!

Regards, Jim Evans



Date: 09/13/21 19:53
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

vern Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I belive #10 is between Spencer and Gosport.

Thanks. That makes it easier to find on Google. I believe this is closer to Gosport on Ramona Rd.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/13/21 19:56
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: retlaw121

FiveChime Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Nice video - that IS NOT how a Nathan P5 horn is
> suppose to sound!
>
> Regards, Jim Evans

Thanks! Sounds pretty normal to me, for a new cast P5 anyway. I like them better when they are a bit worn and more hollow sounding though.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/14/21 05:44
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: jbohdan2

Interesting post.  Ironic, because just two weeks ago, I caught the northbound coal train on the former NYC portion of the run.  I attended a conference in French Lick, and took the opportunity to explore a part of the state I rarely get to as I live in Fort Wayne.  I was poking around the pretty-much vacant remains of the B&O yard in Washington when I looked up at the interlocking to my west and saw coal cars slowly trundling through the junction.  I took off to get ahead of the train, which was much harder than anticipated given the back country roads I was forced to use.  I would estimate the train exceeded ten miles an hour multiple times.  I finally caught it just south of the junction at Elenora, where it turned northwest on the former Milwaukee.  I did not realize at the time it was such a rare move.  I count myself lucky.




Date: 09/14/21 14:01
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: vern

Yes it is, and don't you wish Romona Rd. still went through?

Vernon Sargent
Greencastle, IN



Date: 09/14/21 19:00
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: IC1038west

ironmtn Wrote:

> But Vincennes as a Pennsy town? Really?  C'mon!
> We of the PRR persuasion had to remind ourselves
> of that fact. And that the Penn had seen fit to
> horn in on the B&O's and C&EI's territory. Even
> though it was never shy about doing that anywhere
> else.

Let's make Vincennes even more interesting with this thought. Remember when Vincennes, Indiana was a location on the Wabash RR map? At one time the Gould empire had what became the Big 4 Egyptian line from Danville, Illinois to Cairo, Illinois in their camp. Vincennes was served off of a branch at St. Francisville, Illinois, crossed the Wabash river and headed in a northeasternly direction for Vincennes. So when you Google your satellite maps for St. Francisville Illinois and see Cannon Ball Road, Cannonball bridge, and Big 4 road between the Egyptian line junction at St. F and Vincennes, you'll know some of the background on the 'Bash and the Big 4 in the Knox county seat. Enjoy!



Date: 09/15/21 09:16
Re: PRR's Indianapolis and Vincennes Branch Today
Author: ironmtn

IC1038west Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ironmtn Wrote:
>
> > But Vincennes as a Pennsy town? Really?  C'mon!
> > We of the PRR persuasion had to remind ourselves
> > of that fact. And that the Penn had seen fit to
> > horn in on the B&O's and C&EI's territory. Even
> > though it was never shy about doing that anywhere
> > else.
>
> Let's make Vincennes even more interesting with
> this thought. Remember when Vincennes, Indiana
> was a location on the Wabash RR map? At one time
> the Gould empire had what became the Big 4
> Egyptian line from Danville, Illinois to Cairo,
> Illinois in their camp. Vincennes was served off
> of a branch at St. Francisville, Illinois, crossed
> the Wabash river and headed in a northeasterly
> direction for Vincennes. So when you Google your
> satellite maps for St. Francisville Illinois and
> see Cannon Ball Road, Cannonball bridge, and Big 4
> road between the Egyptian line junction at St. F
> and Vincennes, you'll know some of the background
> on the 'Bash and the Big 4 in the Knox county
> seat. Enjoy!

Switch thrown, light bulb turned on! I had totally forgotten about that Wabash / Gould / Big Four connection to Vincennes. Your comments were read, and it all flooded back into memory. Thanks for the memory jog, and for "turning the light bulb on". That said, I didn't know about the roads and bridges named for those railroads, so that's a very interesting new piece of information.  Thanks!

MC



[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.096 seconds