B&O West of Decatur

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B&O West of Decatur
Posted by gabe on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 11:57 AM

Does anyone have any pictures/stories/information on the B&O west of Decatur?  When was it pulled up?  I know it went west of Springfield, IL, but where did it go, and what did it connect to?  What was the traffic like?  Why didn't a shortline attempt operation (I imagine the answer to that question could be obvious--but maybe it was something related more to track condition than traffic base)?

Also, I think the B&O had a second line that came from the South into Springfield.  Was it this line or the Decatur line that continued West?  When was this line pulled?

I have always found lines like this--i.e. Railroads where you wouldn't expect them--fascinating--BN in Alabama, IC in South Dakota, NS in Iowa, Amtrak in business.

Hopefully this can spark some discussion.

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Posted by J. Edgar on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 12:05 PM
according to my 1965 RR atlas the line went to Beadrstown IL and connected with the CB&Q and to the east it came out of Indianapolis..seems to be a meandering go no where from no where line....like much of the web of rails thru the Midwest....as far as traffic and abandonment couldnt help ya.....yet
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 12:18 PM

 gabe wrote:

I have always found lines like this--i.e. Railroads where you wouldn't expect them--fascinating--BN in Alabama, IC in South Dakota, NS in Iowa, Amtrak in business.

Hopefully this can spark some discussion.

NS in Iowa = former Wabash

Amtrak in business - let's not bash Amtrak too much.  They've had some problems over the years, sure, but while operating over other companies' rails and not real often gettin a lot of cooperation from those host lines, they've done alright in my book.  Heck the only way I travel between the Twin Cities and Milwaukee is by Amtrak.  Driving I-94 is about as interesting as watchin' mud dry, flying these days is a joke and Greyhound?  It is to laugh. 

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Posted by J. Edgar on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 12:25 PM

 BN in AL= former Frisco

 how about the MILW in KY...NYC in WV...

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 1:35 PM
 gabe wrote:

Also, I think the B&O had a second line that came from the South into Springfield.  Was it this line or the Decatur line that continued West?  When was this line pulled?

The 74 mile line south from Decatur to the Ohio River at Shawneetown was taken over by the Prairie Trunk shortline in 1977 and operated until 1984. Abandonment came in 1985.

The July 2007 Railfan has an informative 8 page article on Decatur, well worth reading.

I'd like to visit the city some day and see the bridge on the east side of town and the refurbished former Wabash Station. The NS St. Louis line splits from the KC line on the west side at a location called Mosser. Could this be named after a relative of Ed's?

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 2:03 PM

Dale:

I have often wondered the origin of the Mosser CP in Decatur.  It seemed to pop up about 10 years ago, or at least that was when I noticed it while driving thru Decatur. 

Yesterday, by chance I was able to snag a NS Illinois Division ETT and sure enough the Mosser CP still exists. 

There are several Mossers in Decatur, including a distant cousin of mine which I met several years ago.  Can anyone suggest who to contact within NS to find the reasoning for naming the control point?

Now, back to B&O...my Official Guides show two lines into Springfield, one from Indy (actually one could say Hamilton, Ohio) and the other from Flora (also continued on down to Shawneetown).  I have no info on traffic patterns on either line.  The CSX line into Decatur handles quite a bit of ADM/Staley traffic.  I believe there is one train each way from Indy.  The track seems to be in pretty good shape.

My 1946 OG lists a daily pair of trains from Beardstown to Flora.  Train 41 left Flora at 530am arriving in Springfield at 930 and Beardstown at 1110am.  Return train was #40, leaving Beardstown at 345pm arriving in Springfield at 520pm and Flora at 915pm.  Connections eastbound at Flora was with train 30 (unnamed and probably a mail train) at 1210am.  It took quite an effort to travel from Beardstown to Cinncinati (arrival at 845am). 

A daily train left Decatur at 715am, arriving in Indy at 1140am with the return train departing at 520pm arriving in Decatur at 935pm.  Both Beardstown-Flora and Indy- Decatur trains had about 20 stops, many flags.  Decatur to Springfield was listed "freight service only" obviously due to the superior service thru the IT.

ed

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 2:32 PM
Gabe:  B&O line west of Decatur was part of the old Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western that B&O took over in stages using CH&D (Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton) between 1912-17. The line was also how Erie got into St. Louis in a roundabout way. It quit being a through route to Cincinnati in 1986 and was pretty well chopped-up by 1994 (Hillsdale-Momtezuma on the IN/IL line being some of the last to go in 2000 with the rail still in place in 2006 along with the massive Wabash River Bridge. (Line now comes off the old Monon at Hillsdale and heads west to Decatur)....CI&W was hardly a branchline.
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Posted by nordique72 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 2:41 PM

The tale of the B&O's two branches in central Illinois is an intriguing one to say the least. The original route from Indianapolis to Springfield was built in the early 1870s, by B&O ancestor Springfield and Illinois Southeastern. After the Panic of 1873 it was sold to the Ohio and Mississippi- which became the B&O's full property in 1900.

The line from Springfield to Decatur and eventually Indianapolis was built by the Indianapolis, Decatur and Springfield in the 1870s as well. The line became a part of the B&O system in 1927 and was only a moderately successful line, as was the southeastern branch, even when the B&O controlled the Chicago and Alton through Springfield. After the B&O sold the Alton to the GM&O the lines became even weaker.  

The first segement put up for abandonment was the Beardstown-Shawneetown line in the early 70s- which the Prairie Trunk began operation on from Flora (the B&O main line to St. Louis connection) to Shawneetown in 1979. The line was purchased by Craig Burroughs- who had just shut down his Erie Western operation in Indiana- using an ICC "feeder line" provision. The B&O itself still utilized the Beardstown-Springfield line until 1979, and the Springfield-Flora portion until 1983. It was then that Burroughs extended the Prairie Trunk by acquiring the line from Flora-Springfield. To add to the confusion- Burroughs then started up the Prairie Central, which ran on the ex-PRR Decatur-Paris, IL line and the former NYC Paris-Mt.Carmel "Egyptian" line in 1981 (taking over the failed Wabash Valley RR- of Morrison Knudsen ownership).

When the B&O announced their plans to abandon the Springfield-Decatur (Boody) segment of the Beardstown line- Burroughs wanted to use that to connect his two shortlines. But Burroughs couldn't afford the terminal fees on the Prairie Central line in Decatur- owed to the IC, so the sale fell through and the B&O yanked the line in 1984. Of the Burroughs lines- the Prairie Trunk (the B&O to Flora and Shawneetown) was abandoned first in 1985- but the line was not torn out until 1989. (I remember driving along the ROW east Pana on ILL 16 and seeing the freshly ripped out roadbed, and the remains of the NKP diamond at Cowden that year). Prairie Central soon followed suit and shut down in late 1984 as well.  So as a quick recap of the abandonements is as follows-

Beardstown-Springfield 1979 (B&O)

Springfield-Flora-Shawneetown- 1985 (PARY)

Springfield-Decatur (Boody)- 1984 (B&O)

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Posted by nordique72 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 2:52 PM

 mudchicken wrote:
Gabe:  B&O line west of Decatur was part of the old Cincinnati, Indianapolis & Western that B&O took over in stages using CH&D (Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton) between 1912-17. The line was also how Erie got into St. Louis in a roundabout way. It quit being a through route to Cincinnati in 1986 and was pretty well chopped-up by 1994 (Hillsdale-Momtezuma on the IN/IL line being some of the last to go in 2000 with the rail still in place in 2006 along with the massive Wabash River Bridge. (Line now comes off the old Monon at Hillsdale and heads west to Decatur)....CI&W was hardly a branchline.

To clarify the above abandonment note- Hillsdale, IN is on the ex-C&EI/L&N. The Monon interlocker with the old C&IW was further east at Bainbridge, IN.

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 3:10 PM

Here is a memory from the early 90's regarding the line.  Fuzzy details, but I think it is accurate.

 

I was driving thru Taylorsville, Il. and crossed the abandoned B&O track.  It was near the NS crossing as there was a B&O signal in place.  The tracks were gone, but my memory seems to be that the signal was not only there, but the signal was lit....red of course. 

Is that possible the signal could still be on, even tho the rails were removed, or is my memory fading quicker than I thought?  I might have a picture somewhere of it. 

Off topic to Gabe...I just picked up a book called Illinois Central North of the Ohio River.  It is all color with considerable written content.  There is a great looking chapter entitled Secondary Mainlines north of the Ohio River.  The Peoria-Evansville and Effingham-Indy lines are generously labeled "secondary mainlines."

Lots of pictures of black geeps.

ed

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Posted by gabe on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 4:13 PM

Alas, the Prarie Central's failure as well as inability to buy the Springfiled-Decatur line has deprived me of hours of enjoyment, as I think I would have really enjoyed railfanning that operation. 

Ed,

(1) I had a similar experience on the ex-IC in Litchfield.  They left the signal in long after the tracks were torn out.  My Dad and I were checking things out, and saw the red light on some 10+ years after the tracks were gone.  We thought we were in the twilight zone or something.  As it turns out, the sun was reflecting off of something to make it appear as though it was on.

(2) I am pretty sure there is a video that accompanies that book.  I have to get it sometime.  I wish you and I had the time to try to put together an article on your line--or if I could just convince you to submit your article to Trains with some of your pictures.  I really liked it.

Gabe

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Posted by inch53 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 8:11 PM

The B&O [CSX] tracks from Montezuma thru Tuscola to Decatur are intake and in use, but could really use some repairs and upgrading. You can still see B&O signals and such along highway 36, from Chisman to Tuscola.

The tracks from Springfield, Taylorville to Pana [along IL-29] are a walking trail with most the bridges and trestles is use for it.

East of Pana on IL-16 the B&O bridge, NYC trestle and grades [where the two ran side by side from Pana to Tower Hill] are still there, but over grown with brush n poison ivy.

The B&O tracks from St Louis thru Salem to Vincennes is in use and a busy CSX line

 nordique72 wrote:

The first segement put up for abandonment was the Beardstown-Shawneetown line in the early 70s- which the Prairie Trunk began operation on from Flora (the B&O main line to St. Louis connection) to Shawneetown in 1979. The line was purchased by Craig Burroughs- who had just shut down his Erie Western operation in Indiana- using an ICC "feeder line" provision. The B&O itself still utilized the Beardstown-Springfield line until 1979, and the Springfield-Flora portion until 1983. It was then that Burroughs extended the Prairie Trunk by acquiring the line from Flora-Springfield. To add to the confusion- Burroughs then started up the Prairie Central, which ran on the ex-PRR Decatur-Paris, IL line and the former NYC Paris-Mt.Carmel "Egyptian" line in 1981 (taking over the failed Wabash Valley RR- of Morrison Knudsen ownership).

 I have a correction; the NYC tracks Paris thru to Mt Carmel was the Cairo line not the Egyptian. The Egyptian line was on the IC thru Centralia.

The section of track from Paris south to West Union IL was leased for 2 years from Conrail after they filed for abandonment. I don't who, but there was some farmers and a couple elevators involved with it. It last about a year [as I remember].

Inch

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 9:14 PM

inch:

I have to disagree with you.  The ex NYC line thru Paris, Mt. Carmel, Harrisburg and Cairo had a train 462/63 and 62/463 which ran from Harrisburg to Chicago.  It was "The Egyptian".  It left Harrisburg at 850pm with arrival at 720am in Chicago.  The Chicago departure was 1015pm with Harrisburg arrival at 825am.  A 10section, 2 drawing room sleeper was available at 945pm at Chicago.  Coach also were on the train.

Southbound, it had 42 scheduled or flag stops in it's 319 mile trek or one every 7.6 miles.  That would have been quite an overnight ride.

Gabe...I submitted the article, it was rejected...."too dark".  When I have a little more time, I will write another "lighter" article. 

 

ed

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Posted by inch53 on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 7:47 AM

ED,

Where I disagreed with you was on the Egyptian line. The NYC did have a passenger train called the Egyptian [I forgot about it] that ran the Cairo line. The Egyptian's last run was in 1957, 50 years ago, when I was a kid.

The line was never referred to as the Egyptian by anyone I can remember, including a couple hoboes' I got to know. Here's a web site to help back up my failing memory. 

http://madisonrails.railfan.net/big4memories2.html

I can't really dispute what you have on hand saying other wise without seeing it

Inch

Sorry to the rest of you I didn't mean to highjack this thread.

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Posted by J. Edgar on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 12:34 PM
 nordique72 wrote:

The line from Springfield to Decatur and eventually Indianapolis was built by the Indianapolis, Decatur and Springfield in the 1870s as well.

 i have a Railroad Map of Indiana Prepared for the Indiana Tax commissioner dated 1898 that shows the line in question as the Indiana Decatur & Western...I have a simular map dated 1894 titled Map of ILL Rail-Lines for the ILL State Railroad & Warehouse Commission that shows the line from Decatur to Beardstown as the Balto & Ohio Southwestern...these maps and others are available for viewing at the Library of Congress website

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Posted by nordique72 on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 1:54 PM
 J. Edgar wrote:
 nordique72 wrote:

The line from Springfield to Decatur and eventually Indianapolis was built by the Indianapolis, Decatur and Springfield in the 1870s as well.

 i have a Railroad Map of Indiana Prepared for the Indiana Tax commissioner dated 1898 that shows the line in question as the Indiana Decatur & Western...I have a simular map dated 1894 titled Map of ILL Rail-Lines for the ILL State Railroad & Warehouse Commission that shows the line from Decatur to Beardstown as the Balto & Ohio Southwestern...these maps and others are available for viewing at the Library of Congress website

 

The B&O line from Springfield to Decatur and Indianapolis was constructed by
the Indianapolis, Decatur & Springfield in the 1870s and was completed in
1880. Shortly thereafter the line was renamed the Indiana, Decatur & Western until it was merged with the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Indianapolis (running between the latter two cities) as the 321-mile- which is why it shows as such on your map.

The Springfield & Illinois Southeastern, chartered in March 1871. Like so many other railroads it was forced into receivership by the Panic of 1873. It was sold to the Ohio &
Mississippi at foreclosure for $1.7 million in 1875. The O&M became B&OSW in 1893, and B&O proper in 1900.

I have a correction; the NYC tracks Paris thru to Mt Carmel was the Cairo line not the Egyptian. The Egyptian line was on the IC thru Centralia.

I have seen several publications that have noted the nickname of the Cairo Line (or "the Danville Secondary") to be the "Egyptian" line (Classic Trains- Winter 2003 in their article on Sheff, IN to note one)- in reference to the line's passing through the heart of what was considered "Little Egypt" in Southern Illinois.   Site references to this online can be found here at the following links-

http://www.dhke.com/CRJ/others-in.html

http://www.monon.monon.org/rr/nyc5b.html

Likewise I should also note that I have never heard the Illinois Central's Charter line (or Gruber line- depending on where you're from in IL) called the "Egyptian"- but since it doesn't really have anything to do with the B&O I'd say more discussion on that matter could be held in a seperate thread on "Little Egypt" and it's railroads.

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