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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday

Date: 11/27/21 18:06
Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: tq-07fan

Black Friday Nov 26 2021 I picked up my friend Robert and drove the three hours up to Ft Wayne Indiana. We arrived in New Haven a little after 7am. As Robert really likes them I had hoped that NS 255 the westbound RoadRailer might run on a non-scheduled day it did not happen. Instead we did OK in and around Ft Wayne, or at least I though. I drove around Ft Wayne a little and found Mike. Mike is where the Pennsylvania Railroad Ft Wayne Line crossed the Wabash at grade. At one time there would have been four tracks on the PRR crossing two on the Wabash, a total of eight diamonds all controlled by a tower. Today the CFE crosses and connects using switches on it's single track across the still double track NS Huntington District.
1) An NS lead by 8007 came out of the CFE yard with 224 cars (a DPU was 135 back). If you know more about this train I would be interested!
2) Mike can be accessed from the stub end of Monroe Street. The Ft Wayne skyline is across the tracks and would look good with an eastbound.
3) We left Mike hearing 233 on the former Nickle Plate but came back in time for the CFE.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/21 08:18 by tq-07fan.

Date: 11/27/21 18:08
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: tq-07fan

I then heard a CFE train getting a Track Authority from the NS Chicago District Dispatcher and returned to Mike in time for the CFE to come out with 116 cars to go to Warsaw. An NS with a UP unit with a problem in the lead had been waiting to go Eastbound at Mike. We decided to take a bathroom break and of course that is when the UP was released to go east only to stop again at Union. Although Robert wanted to see the UP I made the decision to take off. There was someone operating around Junction after the CFE westbound went past but I could not find them. We also went down to Hugo but found there was a fence blocking good viewing of the diamond there. From Hugo we followed the CFE to Warsaw. If you want to look at [/color]Steel Dynamics in Columbia City it should be noted that Whitley County Rd S 700 E is owned by Steel Dynamics north of Hiler Rd so you cannot get up close to the steel mill. (The guy was nice when he stopped us to let us know). When we got close to Warsaw the NS Chicago District Dispatcher gave CFE [Train] 04 a Track Authority from MP 362 to Warsaw then a few minutes later another one from Warsaw to MP 332. I drove around Warsaw a little but the signal to cross the Marion Branch was red. I though maybe the eastbound had come through and went to the east end of the long siding in Warsaw but then the Disp told the CFE 04 to come on through Marion on signal indication. Not liking the photo possibility of a westbound across the diamond I went to the west end of our train we saw in Ft Wayne to get a picture of a meet on the CFE, kinda. The crew was already off the Westbound.
4) CFE WB with the elusive Union Pacific unit on the left. Downtown Ft Wayne on the right.
5) CFE 04 with CFE 3023 in the lead passing by the WB we saw at Mike.
6) CFE 04 passing the Dalton Corporation with a ex CP unit passing a CP gondola.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/28/21 08:16 by tq-07fan.

Date: 11/27/21 18:09
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: tq-07fan

After the eastbound we got McD's and sat next to Hickory St but no NS trains came down the short street running on the Marion Branch in the short time we were there. I went north to Milford Junction where we caught a sixteen car westbound on CSX. From Milford Junction we went over to Nappanee in time for two westbounds on CSX. The Amtrak sign is still on the platform and there were plenty of Amish buggies around Nappanee which solves the mystery of why Nappanee was chosen as the only Amtrak stop when the Three Rivers first resumed operation.
7) CSX WB at Milford Junction.
8) CSX EB Stack at Nappanee. Also we had a little bit of sun for the day.
9) Nappanee Amtrak sign still stands on the platform.

Date: 11/27/21 18:12
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: tq-07fan

From Nappanee we followed the former B&O west to Wellsboro and got pictures of the Southern unit and the BMIR unit in the thread Nice November Day on the Chesapeake and Indiana. From Wellsboro we followed the former Grand Truck to Valparaiso just as the sun set. From Valpo it was to home with a stop at Huddle House in Lebanon Indiana. Then to sleep most of the day today.
10) Nappanee the EB CSX Coke Express. Ironically we saw this four years ago at Wellsboro.
11) CN EB at Haskels.
12) The EB Absoloute signal at the CN crossing at Valparaiso with a beautiful sunset.

Thank you for looking!


Date: 11/28/21 02:37
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: PRR_4859

Great pictures!! Any idea as to why NS still dispatches the CF&E? Perhaps NS us fearfful of losing control of MIKE interlocking and creating an obstacle on the former Wabash main? I am a bit surprised this arrangement still exists.

Thank you for posting these photos.

Date: 11/28/21 10:25
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: ns1000

Thanks for the pics. I like the last one....

Date: 11/28/21 12:47
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: inrdjlg

NS continues to dispatch the CF&E from an agreement they'd made with CSX just prior to the Conrail split in 1999.  Fearful that the re-double tracking of the B&O wouldn't be finished in time, CSX obtained limited trackage rights over the Chicago Line from Chicago to Cleveland (which went to NS after the CR split), in return for allowing NS to dispatch the Fort Wayne Line between Northwest Indiana and Crestline (which went to CSX after the CR split).  In 2004, when CSX leased the Fort Wayne Line to RailAmerica to create the CF&E, NS retained dispatcher control. 

Besides the interlocking at Mike, NS also controls three CTC segments on the CF&E:

1)  Between County and Valparaiso, which NS also can use as a long siding next to its parallel ex-Nickel Plate main,
2)  Between Sand and Mike in the Fort Wayne area, which NS uses to connect the NKP main with both the New Castle District (ex-NKP) and Huntington District (ex-WAB),
3)  Between Colsan and Crestline, which NS still uses for a few trains between Bellevue / Columbus and Alliance. 

Over 15 years ago, RailAmerica had approached NS about RA's taking over dispatching of the CF&E.  At the time, NS was willing to give up dispatching the track warrant segments to RA, but they wanted to retain control of the CTC portions.  With the added cost and little to gain from assuming only the track warrant segments, RA passed on the dispatching takeover.    

Date: 11/28/21 13:49
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: inrdjlg

Enjoyed the write-up and the photos, especially the one of CSXT 3378 passing the Nappanee depot.  

Having grown up in a small town northeast of Muncie, I have fond memories of youthful visits to Fort Wayne.  These days, however, nearly all of my work and spare time is divided between Terre Haute and the Indianapolis area.

Exactly one year ago, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I was able to get away for a somewhat nostalgic visit to the Summit City.  It was a chilly, sun-drenched day, just like today.  I didn't find much moving, but still had a great time reconnecting with the past and exploring the changes that had taken place over time.  

This year finds me working on Thanksgiving Saturday and Sunday.  A coworker had marked off sick, so I was asked to work on Saturday.  When that person also marked off ill for Sunday, a second coworker could have worked for him; however, she was lamenting that Sunday was the last day of deer hunting season for firearms in Indiana.  When the assistant chief left it up to me, I told the second coworker "I'll go ahead and work Sunday.  You go get that buck!"          

Date: 12/01/21 18:06
Re: Visiting Mike and Northern Indiana Friday
Author: tq-07fan

Thank you all for the comments!

Also a special thank you to inrdjlg for help on the unique Dispatching situation. I spent three weeks testing part of the Lake Division while on Sperry in August of 1996. We tested the Chicago District and by then NS has already taken over the Conrail Ft Wayne Line from Mike to Valparaiso. We didn't get to test it unfortunately. 

I have enough seniority now to take Thanksgiving off which I am grateful for as I don't know how many I will have left with my mom and dad. I normally work my Off-Day on Friday but with a Free Fare weekend and being [aggravated] off by a new manager I decided to go out of town for the Friday!


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