Alternate routes to Chicago ?

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Posted by n012944 on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 3:00 PM


Don't forget CSX and CN traded their B&OCT and GTW routes into Chicago from the East.  



Not quite.  CSX took over the ex GTW from Munster Indiana to the end of track at the south end of Corwith Yard.  CN still has trackage rights over it.   CSX gave them some trackage in the Memphis area in trade.  

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 5:16 PM



3.  I always considered the Chicago and Eastern Illinois a major route and the merger into L&N with the western route to MoPac a critical piece in the Chicago routings from the Southeast and Texas/Louisiana.  Woodland Jct south of Watseka, Il is where the C&EI split for Evansville (to L&N) and St Louis (to Mopac).  Further south at Findlay, Il the line split again - to St. Louis and to deep Southern Il.  This split to Thebes, Il allowed MoPac and ultimately UP to bypass St. Louis.  This line is important today for Chicago - Texas/Louisiana/Mexico traffic.

The C&EI merger to L&N saw a diminished amount of traffic thru my hometown of Dundas, Il on the IC branchline from Evansville to Mattoon.  Now L&N had direct access to Chicago and interchange with IC dried up.  The IC branch line, 100 yards from my boyhood home, dried up and eventually went away.  




Hindsight maybe 20/20, but one can't help but think about a Cotton Belt+C&EI combination. Which was actually proposed at one time. Here I think SP, missed on a great, and major addition that would've gotten them to Chicago much earlier. Utilizing Eagle Pass, funneling Midwest-Mexican traffic to Chicago for I/C to; GTW, CR, CSX, and NS. This was especially important during the 80's, when the Big 3 were moving assembly south of the border. What a lost opportunity for SP..

The other lost opportunity not acquring all of the CM&W, when it went bankrupt. This would have given SP, it's own route from KC into CHI, without the need for extensive trackage rights..

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 6:26 PM

2.  I didnt see comments on Cincinnati to Chicago (Southern).  With the NS merger that became a pretty important route.  Today Chicago to Southeast intermodal is routed on the ex Nickle Plate to Ft Wayne and then south on the ex NKP line thru Muncie.  A gap existed to Cincinnati which was filled on Conrail Day (1976) when NW purchased ex PC line from New Castle, In to Cincinnati, giving them a shorter route to Chicago.  It also opened up an important route when the NS merger occured.

Ed, good to see you, thanks for the comments. I was thinking NS would send this traffic to Elkhart, and then south. Thanks for the clarification.

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Posted by Ed Kyle on Thursday, February 8, 2024 5:15 PM


It's hard to get a uniform count, I'm inclined to use what crosses all or part of Iowa, especially on the west side, that part west of Nevada.  With the exCNW south of Nelson, the exRI north and south of Nevada and the exM&StL north of Grand Jct, a lot of trains only use a portion of the Overland Route. 

And there are some that go past the Rochelle webcam that either won't make it to Iowa or just barely make it and terminate at Clinton.  I wouldn't disagree with a 30 train count.


As a follow-up, I counted UP trains on the Steel Highway railcams at Belle Plaine, IA (east of the Spine Line) and Carroll, IA (west of the Spine Line) during a 37-38 hour span early this week.  I counted an average of 29 per day at Carroll and about 28 per day at Belle Plaine.  I imagine the counts can go slightly higher later in the week.  Roughly one-third manifest, one-third intermodal, one-third coal on these counts.  A few years ago the counts would have been more than 40 per day.

 - Ed Kyle

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 8, 2024 8:16 PM

Each line segment will tend to have its own train counts depending upon what if any on line industires are involved.

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