Status of former PRR main line Crestline, OH-Valparaiso, IN (now Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern)

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Status of former PRR main line Crestline, OH-Valparaiso, IN (now Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern)
Posted by donpevsner on Thursday, August 08, 2019 4:33 PM

This former T1 and K4 raceway was double-tracked with heavy iron in PRR days, and some PRR passerger trains went up to 120mph over it.

Is it still double-tracked? If not, which prior owner removed the second main?What is the current speed limit? Is it CTC or train-order? Any classic PRR signals still working?

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, August 09, 2019 12:05 PM

At least west of Fort Wayne, the line is single-tracked.  I believe that this was done under Conrail management.  The line is currently owned by NS and leased to Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern.

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Posted by SFbrkmn on Friday, August 09, 2019 12:18 PM

Was this the former Amtk route of 29&30 prior to rerouting? Remember being out there in '86 and not much of an impression then

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Posted by Deggesty on Friday, August 09, 2019 1:33 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

At least west of Fort Wayne, the line is single-tracked.  I believe that this was done under Conrail management.  The line is currently owned by NS and leased to Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern.

 

In 1987, I was returning from Washington on #29, and I noticed that the signals on one side of the track were out of service. I did not look to see if there was only one track. I do not remember just what month it was. 

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Posted by Convicted One on Friday, August 09, 2019 6:19 PM

I know that NS at one time purchased the old PRR west of Fort Wayne, but I thought they were required to trade it (ownership of the line) to CSX as part of the shuffling when the two split up Conrail. I believe it is CSX who leases the line to C,F,&E. With NS having a right to move a limited amount of trains over it.

NS was making good use of that right a few years ago, regularly running relief off of the congested water level route....utilizing the former NKP from Chicago to Fort Wayne, and then the PRR route east to Crestline. NS was crewing the later move with crews out of (correction) Mansfield. I believe all most all of this traffic at the time was eastbound, so the crews must have been coming by taxi to pick up the trains. I don't see much of that traffic anymore, and they have since removed the temporary fueling depot they had set up near "Mike" junction. So  it's likely history.

Elsewhere in this forum you'll see a thread about Canadian Pacific routing container traffic on this line east out of Chicago to Lima Ohio, and then into southern Ohio via a different line.

NS uses a short segment of this line between "Junction" junction and the former NKP main in western Fort Wayne  as part of their busy Atlanta-Chicago artery.  

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Posted by MP173 on Monday, August 12, 2019 11:00 AM

I live in Valparaiso and the line is indeed single tracked with I believe 40 mph non signaled operations.  There are a few old PRR signals left - Hanna, Indiana has a couple which protect the crossing of the CKIN (old C&O line) which is a short line operation.

Not sure if the NS runs much on the CFE these days...in the past they would run a couple of trains daily.  The CFE usually runs one train daily into or out of Chicago plus a local as far west as Valpo.

 

There is a new customer in Wanatah which receives inbound loads which are transloaded to truck for delivery to refineries (some sort of product shipped out of Houston area).  Word is there are regular frac sand trains runnign also tho I havent seen or heard one.

The line seems to be slowing growing (from what I have heard).

 

Ed

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, August 12, 2019 3:39 PM

Since it's virtually unused,  this could be bought by the government  and become part of a passenger-only higher speed or full high speed line from Chicago east. 

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, August 12, 2019 3:44 PM

charlie hebdo

Since it's virtually unused,  this could be bought by the government  and become part of a passenger-only higher speed or full high speed line from Chicago east. 

 

It could.  Or the old Erie ROW, too.  But the problem is the route misses all the bigger population centers.

NS was running "directional" petroleum trains on the route a few years ago.  I don't know if that practice has totally stopped or not.  

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

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, August 12, 2019 5:06 PM

oltmannd

 

 
charlie hebdo

Since it's virtually unused,  this could be bought by the government  and become part of a passenger-only higher speed or full high speed line from Chicago east. 

 

 

 

It could.  Or the old Erie ROW, too.  But the problem is the route misses all the bigger population centers.

NS was running "directional" petroleum trains on the route a few years ago.  I don't know if that practice has totally stopped or not.  

 

Perhaps spurs could connect to cities it misses.  Didn't the old PRR have a line into Columbus? 

I seem to recall that the French HSR often missed major cities.  In Germany most routes use older, slower repackage into cities,  which increases time.  But in the case of Kassel,  the fast line station (Kassel-Wilhelmshoehe) was located well outside the city.

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, August 12, 2019 6:45 PM

charlie hebdo
Since it's virtually unused,  this could be bought by the government  and become part of a passenger-only higher speed or full high speed line from Chicago east. 

The line has been used in sort of a nutshell game by people making dubious claims trying to build grass roots support for a HSR line between Chicago and various points east.

Generally they present their idea, saying "we'd like to do this" (which is the former PRR line we are talking about)...then they continue by saying "of course there are options" and then they show another map which depicts the line just mentioned PLUS an alternate  route that just happens to connect Cleveland,Toledo, South Bend, and Chicago.....

The presentation wreaks just a little too much of an effort to stimulate taxpayer support in as broad an area as possible while making no tangible commitment that the line will serve any one area.

When they come around and say they are willing to commit $10 billion of their own money, and will build the line where ever they can get a taxpayer commitment to match them...then I'll start paying attention.

The guys just seem a little too much like hucksters trying to attach a siphon hose to a "public private partnership" where they draw all the pretty pictures  and control the farebox, while the taxpayer gets to do all the heavy lifting.

You need a desirable endpoint on each end of thre line to make it really work, and while I am sure Chicago qualifies, I have serious doubts that either Columbus or Pittsburgh is going to excite many private deep pockets.

So my suspicion would be that the South Bend-Toledo-Cleveland option is the one they really want to build

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, August 12, 2019 7:05 PM

Convicted One

 

 
charlie hebdo
Since it's virtually unused,  this could be bought by the government  and become part of a passenger-only higher speed or full high speed line from Chicago east. 

 

The line has been used in sort of a nutshell game by people making dubious claims trying to build grass roots support for a HSR line between Chicago and various points east.

Generally they present their idea, saying "we'd like to do this" (which is the former PRR line we are talking about)...then they continue by saying "of course there are options" and then they show another map which depicts the line just mentioned PLUS an alternate  route that just happens to connect Cleveland,Toledo, South Bend, and Chicago.....

The presentation wreaks just a little too much of an effort to stimulate taxpayer support in as broad an area as possible while making no tangible commitment that the line will serve any one area.

When they come around and say they are willing to commit $10 billion of their own money, and will build the line where ever they can get a taxpayer commitment to match them...then I'll start paying attention.

The guys just seem a little too much like hucksters trying to attach a siphon hose to a "public private partnership" where they draw all the pretty pictures  and control the farebox, while the taxpayer gets to do all the heavy lifting.

You need a desirable endpoint on each end of thre line to make it really work, and while I am sure Chicago qualifies, I have serious doubts that either Columbus or Pittsburgh is going to excite many private deep pockets.

So my suspicion would be that the South Bend-Toledo-Cleveland option is the one they really want to build

 

Why?  Columbus and Pittsburgh are a lot more viable than South Bend and Toledo. 

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Posted by Deggesty on Monday, August 12, 2019 7:25 PM

The PRR had a line from Pittsburgh to St. Louia that went through Columbus and Indianapolis.

In October of 1971, I rode over it from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis and from Terre Haute to St. Louis--Conrail had already switched the traffic from Indianapolis to Terre Haute to the former NYC; the PRR line here no longer exists west of Davis (just west of Indianapolis).

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, August 12, 2019 7:26 PM

 

charlie hebdo
more viable than South Bend and Toledo. 

I suspect that  Toledo gets extra weight due to it's proximity to Detroit, and (big "and" there) Cleveland/Buffalo could be a good connection point to a complimentary line to the big cities on the east coast.

I have a pretty good lead that one of those mammoth  tunnel boring machines is going to be available for sale used in a couple years. A pet fantasy of mine would be to buy that, and tunnel through  Pennsylvania to link Pittburgh to Philly with a  low slope tangent, and then lease the tunnel to a HSR operator....Making Chicago to Pittburgh more attractive.

Unfortunately in addition to all the obvious reasons why I'll never do that, I just wouldn't live long enough to see it ever bear fruit.

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, August 12, 2019 9:09 PM

charlie hebdo

 

 
oltmannd

 

 
charlie hebdo

Since it's virtually unused,  this could be bought by the government  and become part of a passenger-only higher speed or full high speed line from Chicago east. 

 

 

 

It could.  Or the old Erie ROW, too.  But the problem is the route misses all the bigger population centers.

NS was running "directional" petroleum trains on the route a few years ago.  I don't know if that practice has totally stopped or not.  

 

 

 

Perhaps spurs could connect to cities it misses.  Didn't the old PRR have a line into Columbus? 

I seem to recall that the French HSR often missed major cities.  In Germany most routes use older, slower repackage into cities,  which increases time.  But in the case of Kassel,  the fast line station (Kassel-Wilhelmshoehe) was located well outside the city.

 

If you were looking to do a good "connect the dots" with available ROW, you could use the old PRR panhandle from Pittsburgh through Columbus to Indy.  From Indy to Chicago...not sure what you could grab.  I think there is a group thinking about this stuff and pushing out plans.  It might be worth hunting for.  Maybe a few years back...

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

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, August 12, 2019 9:14 PM

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

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 6:57 AM

Now that the former Big Four route has been abandoned in part, the former Monon route is about all that's left between Indianapolis and Chicago and that's not even close to being the basis of a high-speed route.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by SFbrkmn on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:44 AM

Looks like its yes

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 10:48 AM

CSSHEGEWISCH

Now that the former Big Four route has been abandoned in part, the former Monon route is about all that's left between Indianapolis and Chicago and that's not even close to being the basis of a high-speed route.

 

Yes, there is now only one route left between Indianapolis and Chicago--but it is composed of bits and pieces of several roads,icluding the former NYC, PRR, Monon (this is the longest stretch), GTW, C&EI,  C&WI, and PRR (I think I got them all; the entrance into CHicago is quite involved--and slow.) This what SPV shows in its Great Lakes atlases.

 

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 7:20 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH

Now that the former Big Four route has been abandoned in part, the former Monon route is about all that's left between Indianapolis and Chicago and that's not even close to being the basis of a high-speed route.

 

Yes, there is now only one route left between Indianapolis and Chicago--but it is composed of bits and pieces of several roads,icluding the former NYC, PRR, Monon (this is the longest stretch), GTW, C&EI,  C&WI, and PRR (I think I got them all; the entrance into CHicago is quite involved--and slow.) This what SPV shows in its Great Lakes atlases.

 

Johnny

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Posted by Los Angeles Rams Guy on Tuesday, August 13, 2019 8:07 PM

As someone who's been very interested in the former PRR Chicago - New York mainline (particularly the segment from Crestline, OH westward), I thought it was an utter travesty how CR was able to get away with downgrading the mainline west of Crestline that resulted in the elimination of the Broadway Limited.  Call me nostalgic but for me, the only way from Chicago to New York is the PRR.   

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Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 6:39 AM

Los Angeles Rams Guy
I thought it was an utter travesty how CR was able to get away with downgrading the mainline west of Crestline that resulted in the elimination of the Broadway Limited

Walking through the areas where previously there were 4 mains (two freight, two passenger) plus sidings, and now seeing only one rickety main remaining, is a solemn experience.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 7:23 AM

Convicted One
 
Los Angeles Rams Guy
I thought it was an utter travesty how CR was able to get away with downgrading the mainline west of Crestline that resulted in the elimination of the Broadway Limited 

Walking through the areas where previously there were 4 mains (two freight, two passenger) plus sidings, and now seeing only one rickety main remaining, is a solemn experience.

Which only goes to prove just how much traffic is required to make any individual rail line profitable as single track, let alone 4 tracks.

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Posted by Deggesty on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 8:06 AM

I wonder just how much traffic the CN has between Jackson and New Orleans now. When I lived beside the main, 55 miles south of Jackson, in the early sixties, the line was double track with ABS. Now, it is single track, with CTC--and only one, instead of four, passenger trains a day each way. There were three through daily freights scheduled each day, running about 180 cars each.

Johnny

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Posted by rrnut282 on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 11:30 AM

Deggesty

The PRR had a line from Pittsburgh to St. Louia that went through Columbus and Indianapolis.

In October of 1971, I rode over it from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis and from Terre Haute to St. Louis--Conrail had already switched the traffic from Indianapolis to Terre Haute to the former NYC; the PRR line here no longer exists west of Davis (just west of Indianapolis).

 

IINM, PC used half of the NYC Indy-STL route and half of the PRR Indy-STL route when they consolodated the two lines into one.  

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Posted by JOHN PRIVARA on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 11:39 AM

I've always liked playing "connect the dots" with historic routes, but the Europeans, Japanese, and Chinese don't do HSR this way. It's all new, due to curves and grade-crossings.

But, if you want to adjust your fantasy machine a bit, you can play "connect the dots" with historic routes and simply assume a maximum speed of around 110 (this would be roughly what European regional services run at on their historic routes). Then, mix in new HSR routes into your fantasy and you've got a nice modern passenger rail system.

Of course, you can always tweak the fantasy with the assumption of increased gravity which renders air travel more expensive (impossible!) plus something which renders automobiles unusable and THEN you can start running the Broadway and 20th Century on the 110 mph historic routes (complete with new Budd built stainless steel equipment, and even the Riley - assuming that route still exists). Yeah, the ol' fantasy machine can be used for lots of purposes...)

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Posted by timz on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:26 PM

[

Convicted One
there were 4 mains (two freight, two passenger) plus sidings, and now seeing only one rickety main
East end of four tracks was ... Hobart? Tolleston? (Whiting, it turns out. Two mains from there to Bucyrus; two mains to Crestline in the 1939 timetable, which says the extra tracks in Ft Wayne were sidings.)

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 1:51 PM

They may have continued to near Englewood.  There were four parallel double track vertical lift bridges over the Calumet River at one time.  One has since been removed and two are out of service.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 2:24 PM

I believe the B&O had a bascule bridge north of and adjcent to the four PRR/NYC lift bridges. 

Also the former PRR main line east of Inianapolis IN was double track cab signaled all the way to Pittsburgh. Except for the passenger route through Dayton from East of Richmond IN to Xenia OH which was single track and freight mostly went via Urbana OH. This also had heavy (156#) rail. Almost all gone except for Ohio Cemtal East of Columbus. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 2:36 PM

The Deutsche Bahn uses a mixture of existing stretches, rebuilt stretches, new high speed track next to existing track and totally new stretches, such as from Frankfurt Airport to Koeln. Seems to work well enough for their ICEs. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 14, 2019 3:26 PM

Electroliner 1935
I believe the B&O had a bascule bridge north of and adjcent to the four PRR/NYC lift bridges. 

Also the former PRR main line east of Inianapolis IN was double track cab signaled all the way to Pittsburgh. Except for the passenger route through Dayton from East of Richmond IN to Xenia OH which was single track and freight mostly went via Urbana OH. This also had heavy (156#) rail. Almost all gone except for Ohio Cemtal East of Columbus. 

From my experiences of riding the B&O into and out of Chicago and seeing the drawbridges in the area, as well as working in Cleveland and all the various bridges over the Cuyahoga River - when I went South and saw what were being used as drawbridge along the ACL & SCL routes - they looked like 'Tinkertoys'. 

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