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Conrail Panhandle Route Abandonment

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Conrail Panhandle Route Abandonment
Posted by Huelsy's Train Blog on Friday, November 26, 2010 11:51 PM

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?

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Posted by carnej1 on Saturday, November 27, 2010 11:27 AM

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?

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, November 27, 2010 1:58 PM

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

 

 


 

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Posted by Modelcar on Saturday, November 27, 2010 6:19 PM

[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

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, November 27, 2010 7:15 PM

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

 

 


 

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Posted by CShaveRR on Saturday, November 27, 2010 7:57 PM

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

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Posted by Convicted One on Saturday, November 27, 2010 8:28 PM

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

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Posted by beaulieu on Saturday, November 27, 2010 8:35 PM

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.

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Posted by Convicted One on Saturday, November 27, 2010 10:30 PM

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

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Posted by CShaveRR on Sunday, November 28, 2010 9:16 AM

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

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, November 28, 2010 11:25 AM

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?

 

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Posted by poneykeg on Sunday, November 28, 2010 12:14 PM

Norfolk&Southern runs thru Logansport.

south of the Rathole
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Posted by nordique72 on Sunday, November 28, 2010 5:31 PM

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.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Sunday, November 28, 2010 5:34 PM

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

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, November 29, 2010 8:21 AM

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/

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, November 29, 2010 1:12 PM

oltmannd

 

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

 

 Specific as the portion of the  main through route to St Louis that lies between Terre Haute and indianapolis?....would you mind substantiating that?  I see where bits and pieces were kept, but if you look at USGS maps (terraserver being easiest to access) they show in 1974 the former PRR line between Greencastle and Brazil as abandoned, so it's hard to envision this as a through main. 

 

Especially since the former PRR main through Plainfield is no where to be found today.  Perhaps what you meant  was "'west of Indianapolis but east of Avon yard"  ? That story I'll buy.


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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, November 29, 2010 2:11 PM

I grew up near the Bernice connector which tied to the Pan Handle route to Logansport at its south end.  Traffic on this line was already pretty thin in the late 1960's so I wasn't too surprised that much of it was abandoned by Conrail.

Paul The commute to work may be part of the daily grind, but I get two train rides a day out of it.
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Posted by schlimm on Monday, November 29, 2010 5:09 PM

I wonder if abandoned lines or parts of lines, such as the Panhandle line (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad), couldn't be put to good use as RoW for passenger rail networks where the lines serve a reasonably short corridor with large populations and where current freight lines are too heavily used to handle passenger trains?

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Posted by rrnut282 on Monday, November 29, 2010 5:28 PM

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.

As others have stated the ex Wabash (NS) runs through Logansport. 

TP&W comes into Logan from the West on a former Pennsy route and uses a former Pennsy yard to interchange with NS. 

Winamac Southern comes in from the Southeast from Kokomo then uses a portion of the Panhandle Main from Anoka into another former Pennsy yard on the South side of  Logansport.  They also operate another Pennsy line that goes West, then turns SouthWest  to Flora, IN. 

Back in the day, Logansport was a heck of a railroad town with Pennsy lines radiating in 7 directions, 3 yards and the shops.  The former car shops for the Panhandle were located in Logansport between the Wabash River and the Wabash RR, and are still in use today by Transco.

Mike (2-8-2)
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Posted by rrnut282 on Monday, November 29, 2010 5:45 PM

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. I personally am highly suspicious of this. The track was gone before I was born. Has anyone else heard anything like this?

The were other rumors about Santa Fe buying their way East of (or bypassing) Chicago.  One prime candidate was Erie-Lackawanna.   Supposedly, they actually toured the line, but the deferred maintenence made ATSF look elsewhere. 

Another was the Cloverleaf line that went to Toledo, bypassing Chicago with a connection onto the former Waterlevel Route.  That rumor never made sense to me as ATSF didn't go to St Loius and the Cloverleaf only went as far as St Louis.  Furthermore, the Cloverleaf was a former narrow-gage line with sharp curves and roller-coaster profile that would not be conducive to the high-speed intermodal traffic Santa Fe wanted to run on it.

 

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Posted by inch53 on Monday, November 29, 2010 5:59 PM

Convicted One

 oltmannd:

 

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

 

 

 Specific as the portion of the  main through route to St Louis that lies between Terre Haute and indianapolis?....would you mind substantiating that?  I see where bits and pieces were kept, but if you look at USGS maps (terraserver being easiest to access) they show in 1974 the former PRR line between Greencastle and Brazil as abandoned, so it's hard to envision this as a through main. 

 

Especially since the former PRR main through Plainfield is no where to be found today.  Perhaps what you meant  was "'west of Indianapolis but east of Avon yard"  ? That story I'll buy.


http://msrmaps.com/image.aspx?T=2&S=17&Z=16&X=18&Y=170&W=1&qs=|greencastle|IN|

 

 

 From Indy to Terre Haute was the Big 4 [NYC]. This was kept because it was in better shape over all and faster than the Pennsy through Plainfield n Brazil.

 Terre Haute to St. Lou was the Vandalia [PRR], chosen because it was a shorter route over the Big 4 and in better shape at the time.

 

inch

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, November 29, 2010 6:57 PM

Thanks inch,  that was the way I remember it.

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, November 29, 2010 7:05 PM

schlimm

I wonder if abandoned lines or parts of lines, such as the Panhandle line (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad), couldn't be put to good use as RoW for passenger rail networks where the lines serve a reasonably short corridor with large populations and where current freight lines are too heavily used to handle passenger trains?

 

You know? it's kinda funny as it pertains to the route between Richmond and Indy, but following that along you bump into such typical overdone infrastructure like the Pennsey was famous for...sitting there abandoned but fenced in as a part of some rundown shack's side lot, and it just makes you wonder if the shack's owners actually gained ownership thru legit channels, or if they just decided to fence it in one day, to see if anybody would object?

Would that qualify as "adverse possession"?

 

There is this huge cement arch bridge in Cambridge City that is a prime example of this.

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Posted by ValleyX on Monday, November 29, 2010 7:28 PM

Is the concrete structure in Cambridge City still there?  I thought that the overhead, passing over the city streets and the Nickel Plate, was demolished several years ago.  OTOH, I've not been there in several years.

It's interesting to note (and I digress) that the PRR depot in Richmond, IN, is being restored. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZufIE_IunX4

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, November 29, 2010 7:56 PM

ValleyX

Is the concrete structure in Cambridge City still there?  I thought that the overhead, passing over the city streets and the Nickel Plate, was demolished several years ago.  OTOH, I've not been there in several years.

 

 

I was last there in 2006 and (at least some of) it was still there.  Haven't been back since

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Posted by inch53 on Monday, November 29, 2010 9:04 PM

The last I knew the Richmond- Indy line was still in use and maybe on into Dayton Oh.

I was reading a study some time ago promoting, the rebuilding the Columbus- Richmond part of the line for passenger service, from Columbus, Indy, St Lou to Kansas City. That was regular service, not HSR. 

The traffic between Terre Haute and St Louis, that I see, is probably running close to 20 a day +or-.  Now how much is through traffic to Indy, I don't know, but I don't see much of a problem tween freight and passenger.

VALLEY X,,, I'm glad to here their restoring the Richmond depot. There was some work being done to the Effingham staion. Sadly tho I heard the Vandalia depot burnt down a month or so ago

inch

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Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 4:14 PM

inch53

The last I knew the Richmond- Indy line was still in use and maybe on into Dayton Oh.

 

inch

 

According to INDOT:

Cambridge City (MP 136.63) to Charlottesville (MP 157.89)  was abandoned in 1976

Centerville (MP 126.5) to W. Cambridge City (MP 136.6) was Abandoned in 1982

Richmond (MP 126.5) to Centerville (MP 121.3) was abandoned in 1992

Richmond (MP 117.2) to New Paris, OH (MP 113.8) was abandoned in 1982

Charlottesville (MP 158.0) to Indianapolis ( MP 179.8) was abandoned in 1982

 

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Posted by beans&onions on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 9:37 PM

I grew up in Bellaire,Ohio and our family would frequently go to Jewett and Scio to watch Pennsy & NKP freights race side by side from about 1967 til 1975 when I moved to Joliet,Illinois.  Those tracks were smoking as well as the B&O thru Bellaire to both Columbus and Cleveland and Pittsburgh. After the merger madness started, all of a sudden there was no business and traffic dried up to the point that now all is left is traffic from fairmont to benwood,  W&LE owns the stone bridge in Bellaire,and W&LE and Ohio Central share one track thru Jewett and Scio.  I think the powers that be are trying to kill OHIO and the voters are too stupid to see it because they keep voting in the Republicans. There won't be much left of it when they get done.   Beans & Onions

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Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 9:46 PM

what is this, an attempt to get the thread locked? Nice that we could squeeze your first post out of you after 11 long months of waiting, but why this?

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Posted by oltmannd on Wednesday, December 01, 2010 8:35 AM

Convicted One

 

 oltmannd:

 

 

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

 

 

 

 Specific as the portion of the  main through route to St Louis that lies between Terre Haute and indianapolis?....would you mind substantiating that?  I see where bits and pieces were kept, but if you look at USGS maps (terraserver being easiest to access) they show in 1974 the former PRR line between Greencastle and Brazil as abandoned, so it's hard to envision this as a through main. 

 

Especially since the former PRR main through Plainfield is no where to be found today.  Perhaps what you meant  was "'west of Indianapolis but east of Avon yard"  ? That story I'll buy.


http://msrmaps.com/image.aspx?T=2&S=17&Z=16&X=18&Y=170&W=1&qs=|greencastle|IN|

Oops.  "west of Terre Haute" would be correct.  The SPV atlas is more accurate than my memory.  (most things are!)

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

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