Conrail Panhandle Route Abandonment

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Conrail Panhandle Route Abandonment

  • Recently I heard a rumor that the reason Conrail abandoned the Panhandle between Columbus, Ohio and Ridgeville, Indiana was because the Santa Fe was attempted to buy the route to gain access to Columbus. I personally am highly suspicious of this. The track was gone before I was born. Has anyone else heard anything like this?

    Cheers and Happy Chasing, Steven
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  • Santa Fe did show interest in buying all of Conrail (a move which would probably not have been approved by Federal regulators)but I don't understand why they would have wanted that single route. Did any part of the Panhandle line connect with the Toledo, Peoria & Western?

    "I Often Dream of Trains"-From the Album of the Same Name by Robyn Hitchcock

  • carnej1

    Santa Fe did show interest in buying all of Conrail (a move which would probably not have been approved by Federal regulators)but I don't understand why they would have wanted that single route. Did any part of the Panhandle line connect with the Toledo, Peoria & Western?

    Bear with me on this,

     I think I can lay it out a possible scenario:

    Not sure what the Panhandle line was unless it was the former PRR line between Columbus and Chicago(?)

    Not really sure in the lists I found of PRR divisions and branches, no reference to a Panhandle Line.

    Was it part of the former B&ORR (?) not sure about that either. (linked below B&O Route map) :   

     http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Baltimore_and_Ohio_RR_in_1961.jpg

    Rail America route map of TP&Wrwy (linked below):

     http://www.american-rails.com/toledo-peoria-and-western-railway.html

    In 1983 ATSF RR bought the TP&WRwy [of this purchase  part ownership was also the PRR, which would utilize the TP&W Rwy as a by-pass for the congestion of Chicago] 

    In the late 1970's and early 80;s ATSF constructed  close to Remington, In the 'Hoosier Lift' to try and capture some TOFC business from the Chicago,Il./Gary,In. areas]

    TP&W Rwy was later sold to a private company which sold it to RailAmerica (date?) Which still operates theTP&WRwt as a bridge line between the Peoria,Il. area and Logansport,In. areas

    Near as I can figure it; B&O RR had a line that stubbed at Union City,In and went to Columbus,Oh. the distance was about 21 miles between these two points. THAT might have been one place for ATSF to get to Columbus, Oh. or possibly from Logansport, In on former PRR  via Muncie, In. and in to Columbus,Oh.

    The last is pure speculation on my part,

    but possibly Modelcar(Quentin) might be able to add something to that?

    EDIT NOTE:   While looking about I found some information from a Forum Thread, referencing the "Hoosier Lift"

    http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/t/58271.aspx?PageIndex=2

    FTL: 

    QUOTE: Originally posted by rrnut282

    There was a "Hoosier Lift" in Reynolds, IN on the Toledo, Peoria, & Western track just east of I-65. TP&W ran them west to BN allowing trucks to avoid Chicago. I drove by last October and it was VERY QUIET for an intermodal facility. I don't know if BN lost interest after merging with ATSF (which at one time owned the TP&W), or what happened. So if a short line wants to succeed, it needs a lot of truck traffic with a good connection and routings to various destinations.


    Note, added:

     from BNFAN
    The Hoosierlift is actually a bit further west, located between Remington and Wolcott.Smile

    BNSF and TP&W ended their joint intermodal service to the Hoosierlift in October 2003 and then discontinued their East Peoria operation in late January 2004. Canadian National, however, continues to make use of TP&W's East Peoria facility for mostly Caterpillar business moving through the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Some business moves through Vancouver, BC.

    Since November, the Hoosierlift has been mostly used to load autoracks for GM with most destined for California.

    Sam

     

     


     

  • [quote user="samfp19

    Near as I can figure it; B&O RR had a line that stubbed at Union City,In and went to Columbus,Oh. the distance was about 21 miles between these two points. THAT might have been one place for ATSF to get to Columbus, Oh. or possibly from Logansport, In on former PRR  via Muncie, In. and in to Columbus,Oh.

    The last is pure speculation on my part,

    but possibly Modelcar(Quentin) might be able to add something to that?

    I'm a transplant to Muncie about 50 years ago.

    First off, I've not heard of the "Panhandle Route", in this area.

    As for the main Pennys line thru Logansport...That did not swing down this far south {Muncie}, on it's way to Columbus, Oh.

    If you mean being able to get from Logansport and down thru Muncie on {other} routes, and again, using other routes, to get to Columbus, that would have been possible, but  I'm unaware of any Pennsy line ever passing down thru here from logansport

    We did have a little Pennsy activity several decades ago in this area, but that was trackage rights over from Anderson on {then}, NYC line to Muncie, and then I believe Pennsy owned a line, a short way northwest to Mathews....just 10 or 12 miles or so from here.

    Under stand that line was to extend to Chicago area as planned, but never did.

    Sorry, can't be much help on above thoughts on "Panhandle Route".

    My above statements are as I remember learning of such things many years ago....

    Quentin

  • Thanks, Quentin!

         I appreciate your input!

                                    Possibly someone eles who has lived in that area can add some more.     As previously stated, I was purely guessing and speculating, while looking at the B&O and Pennsy maps.     At one time or another there were railroads all over that country.     Who would have ever thought that the Santa Fe (at one time,.ever  got as far as Logansport,In?        For that matter, the N&W RR would get to Kansas City! Cowboy

    Sam

     

     


     

  • The Panhandle is the long-standing nickname for the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, a PRR affiliate.  A map of the PRR showed two lines coming into Chicago--the one to the south was the PCC&St.L.  It went from Chicago to Logansport, Indiana, where it divided into lines to Cincinnati, Columbus, and Louisville.  All of these lines intersected the other main line, running from Pittsburgh to St.Louis (via Columbus).  Another line went from Xenia, Ohio, to Cincinnati.  Another line went from Logansport to Effner, Illinois, where it connected with the Toledo, Peoria & Western.


    Now to the TP&W:  It was already a subsidiary of both ATSF and PRR (later PC) in the 1960s.  In 1976, when Conrail was formed, the TP&W received the former Panhandle line from Effner to Logansport.  The line continued to operate as a CR/ATSF subsidiary until 1981, when ownership was purchased by ATSF.  The TP&W was actually merged into ATSF in 1984, but that only lasted until 1988 or 1989, when the TP&W became independent (sort of) again.


    Hoosierlift was east of Remington, and easily visible from I-65.  I'll have to accept the dates given for its operation; last time I was through there it was virtually a vacant lot--nothing intermodal was left, anyway.


    Now, back to the original question about the ATSF's eastward intentions:  I seem to recall stories about portions of Conrail being offered for sale (perhaps before CSX offered to buy it all--and you know the rest of this story!).  I don't remember the whole story, but I also recall SSW connected with the route from St. Louis.  (Don't kill me here--I don't remember exactly what lines were involved, how far, or what exactly was discussed and when.)  There isn't much of the Panhandle left nowadays (which probably explains the AT&SF's lack of interest in keeping TP&W).


    I'm not sure exactly why the line was called the Panhandle (we still referred to one PC transfer run as the train from the Panhandle, practically until the formation of Conrail, when everything changed).  But maybe it was because "Big Four" was already taken.  Those two railroads had the same name except for the first city--Cleveland or Pittsburgh.

    Carl

    Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

    CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

  • CShaveRR


    I'm not sure exactly why the line was called the Panhandle (we still referred to one PC transfer run as the train from the Panhandle, practically until the formation of Conrail, when everything changed).  But maybe it was because "Big Four" was already taken.  Those two railroads had the same name except for the first city--Cleveland or Pittsburgh.

     

    It was called "The Panhandle" because one of the predecessor lines that ultimately made up a part of it, passed through the panhandle of  West Virginia

     

    The  1927 Logansport division accounting map available here shows the relationship with the T,P&W nicely.  Scroll down to map #36

    http://kc.pennsyrr.com/maps/dm_1927.php

    Also shows Quentin's Matthews branch as it originally tied in at Converse

  • I think the Panhandle nickname came from the fact that its original mainline crossed the Panhandle of West Virginia, certainly its bridge across the Ohio River is still called the Panhandle Bridge. That bridge became less important once passenger traffic faded away and Conway Yard replaced Pitcairn Yard as the primary carload yard.

  • Huelsy's Train Blog

    Recently I heard a rumor that the reason Conrail abandoned the Panhandle between Columbus, Ohio and Ridgeville, Indiana was because the Santa Fe was attempted to buy the route to gain access to Columbus.

    That makes an interesting theory, but my guess is that abandonment came for all the usual reasons in such affairs.

    The acquiring road moves all the bridge traffic off the line onto a parallel trunk, then presents it's case to the regulating bodies that the line is unviable/unable to support itself from local revenue alone, and then once the  approval comes to pass, the abandoning RR pulls up the hardware  and doles out the right of way to make  it more difficult for any future potential competition to re use the line.

    I know that there was a big push to get rid of maintenance costs ASAP, so any duplicate line having lots of deferred maintenance and little traffic generating ability was prime for the axe

    Also, just speculating, but didn't Conrail opt to use the former NYC line east of Terre Haute for the mainline to St Louis?  Resulting in the segment betweenTerre Haute and Columbus becoming expendable. Absent that use,  the Columbus division west of Columbus likewise would be of very marginal value..Everything else could be moved to the water level route... just MHO

  • The line through Illinois to St. Louis is in fact the ex-NYC line (Big Four, no doubt).  On our recent trip down that way we saw a CSX intermodal train moving at a decent clip through Highland, Illinois.


    Thank you both for your plausible explanation of the origin of the "Panhandle" nickname.  Incredible as it may seem, that nickname might even predate West Virginia, were the railroad built when it was still Virginia's panhandle.

     

    I'd have to dig out my railroad atlas to check, but does anything go through Logansport any more?  I know the line to Chicago is long gone.

    Carl

    Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

    CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

  • CShaveRR

    I'd have to dig out my railroad atlas to check, but does anything go through Logansport any more?  I know the line to Chicago is long gone.

    NS's former wabash main passes through Logansport. .

    Correct me if I'm wrong (I often am) but wasn't the line through Highland Il the same line that went through VANDALIA (<--hint hint) and Effingham, while the former Big 4 used to go through Mattoon ?

    Somehow I came under the impression that when Conrail resolved the former PC lines to St Louis, they used the former PRR west of Terre Haute, and the former NYC east of Terre Haute? AM I confuzzled on this one?

     

  • Norfolk&Southern runs thru Logansport.

    south of the Rathole
  • CShaveRR

    The line through Illinois to St. Louis is in fact the ex-NYC line (Big Four, no doubt).  On our recent trip down that way we saw a CSX intermodal train moving at a decent clip through Highland, Illinois.

    Sorry Carl, this is wrong. The ex-Big Four across Illinois is now part of the UP's Pana Sub between Granite City and Pana- beyond Pana to Paris the line is abandoned, and Paris to Terre Haute is part of a CSX secondary route to Danville.

    The line you saw the the CSX intermodal on was the ex-PRR main line from St. Louis- the line runs as far as Terre Haute, where east of there the CSX trains switch over to the old NYC alignment to Indianapolis (and Avon Yard)- while the ex-PRR east of Terre Haute is abandoned.

  • Thanks again, this time for correcting me.  I saw either searchlight or tricolor signals in Highland, which had evidently been put there by Conrail to replace PRR position-light signals.

    Carl

    Railroader Emeritus (practiced railroading for 46 years--and in 2010 I finally got it right!)

    CAACSCOCOM--I don't want to behave improperly, so I just won't behave at all. (SM)

  • My recollection of why the PRR panhandle west of Columbus was abandoned was that it was simply about line rationalization.  The Big Four was the best fit line for the traffic to and from St. Louis on Conrail with traffic to and from Columbus and Cincinnati being supported as a "branch" off the Big Four.

    The trick was trying to keep the least amount of trackage and routes that would support the greatest amount of revenue.  The panhandle was a loser in this game.

    BTW, the PRR panhandle was kept west of Indy in favor over the NYC Big Four route.

    -Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/