Archived Changes/News: 2000


Note:  Some links may not work anymore, depending on how old they are.

December 26, 2000
  • Christmas shutdown:  An interesting 4-way meet occurred on the west side of town east of Hadley Rd. during the holiday shutdown.  Here's what the scene looked like yesterday.  This would be a nice problem for train dispatcher school.  How would you run this?  230 (I30) was run first, Q356 second, and 60T had to be backed up west past Hadley switch and then run forward to Hill.
4 way meet

  • Canadian Invasion in Fort Wayne:  The above NS 60T had all CN power (probably run-through from the Wisconsin Central) with the following units:  CN 2413 [C40-8M], CN 6000 [SD40-2R], CN 5379 [SD40-2].  Also at East Wayne Yard was CP 8549 [AC4400CW] in red/Beaver logo scheme as well as CN 6265 [SD40-3], an ex-IC repaint.  This year's harsh Winter has made this foreign power feel right at home in Indiana!
With temperatures in the teens and blowing snow, NS 60T rolls south through Bluffton, Indiana on the New Castle District, today about 1:15 pm with a complete CN power consist.
  • map added to NE page.


December 20, 2000
  • More operational stuff:  On Sunday (12/17), NS ran 177 (Chicago-Chattanooga) through Fort Wayne via the Chicago and New Castle Districts in the evening.  On Saturday (12/16) CSX G930 operated to Hamlet, IN.  Early this evening another grain train, G129, went west to Hamlet, as well.
  • Chicago District Signaling:  New signals are sprouting up just east of Thomas Rd. on the NS Chicago District.  It appears they will be set up for bi-directional use.  Also new ones are up at the east and west end of Dunfee siding.

This is looking east at the new signals on the east end of Dunfee Siding at the West County Line Road crossing on the NS Chicago District.  Signal maintainers have been working on these all this week.


December 14, 2000
  • Just as soon as the snowy weather hits and roads are terrible, that's just when the rail scene gets interesting.  Yesterday morning CSX ran a G935 from Decatur, IN to Fort Wayne (via the GR&I) with 4 units, including TFM and GCFX power.  The train went east towards Crestline later in the evening.
  • The weekly NS 60T (unit potash) has been running on Sunday nights the past few weeks.  Interestingly they ran one early this morning.  I've never seen them run 4 days apart.
  • Since the heavy snowfall, I've noticed the Chicago/New Castle District eastbounds (236, 218, etc.) are swapping crews at Thomas Rd. on the Fort Wayne Line instead of at Junction, presumably because the crew vans will get stuck at Junction.


December 10, 2000
  • Jason wrote in and pointed out the new signal bridge just west of Anthony Blvd. on the NS Chicago District.  Also east of Thomas Rd. on the same line it appears that some new signals are soon to rise.

This is the new signal bridge over the Chicago District near Berry St. and Anthony Blvd., which still has the covers on it.  Just beyond on the right is one of the old Nickel Plate style signals which eventually will be replaced.
  • The poll is back.  After having multiple problems with the previous server I finally gave up and switched to a different one.
  • updated Links page; added Government section.


December 2, 2000
  • redid Delphos page; added pictures, map, and additional sections.
  • added CSX 2614 photos and map to Decatur Line page.
  • new poll added to main page; results of previous on Polls page.


November 29, 2000
  • I noticed NS is plowing out a path on the south side of the Huntington District west of Hartzell Rd.  Could it be they are planning to extend the east end of the double track sometime in the future?
  • Rusty sent me a note last week about the $$ figures mentioned in the media recently on Amtrak returning to Fort Wayne.  While this was never mentioned in the paper or TV, that $100 million figure is most likely for a high speed rail system.  Returning conventional service back wouldn't likely cost this much.


November 19, 2000
  • NS W06 has been running on the Fort Wayne Line between Sand and Mike lately and doing their yard work off of the Huntington District yard in New Haven.  This could be to free up congestion on the Chicago District between Four Mile and NE where this train normally is run.
  • Today I caught a Union Pacific SD60M on the front of a southbound NS on the New Castle District, possibly #197.  Also, NS ran a #601 empty coal train this afternoon via the Huntington District/New Castle District - possibly on a detour through here, as this is an Ashtabula, OH-West Virginia train.
  • Below is an article that was in today's Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette which talks about finishing the Baker St. station renovation and getting Amtrak to return.  The new feasibility study is supposed to begin in January.
City station might get Amtrak line running from Cleveland to Chicago

By David Griner
The Journal Gazette 

Although Amtrak recently ruled out one rail path through Fort Wayne, the company is considering a new route to Ohio that could bring passenger service back to the city for the first time in more than a decade.  It could take 10 years and well over $100 million in track upgrades, but advocates of a new passenger line say it would bring growth and convenience to Fort Wayne while alleviating congestion on the Amtrak line through Waterloo.

"The good thing about the news that I'm hearing is that because of the potential for increased passenger and freight traffic, we're not looking at shutting down any lines," said Geoff Paddock, a member of the Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council.  "We're looking at adding lines. I think that's good news for all the parties involved because we don't want to take away from South Bend or Waterloo."

The regional council, made up of nine area public officials, has tried to keep the idea of a new Fort Wayne passenger stop alive by working with Amtrak and transportation planners for Indiana and Ohio.  Last week, the council announced that a bill being considered by the U.S. Senate could provide $1 billion a year for track improvements like those needed to bring high-speed passenger trains to Fort Wayne from Chicago.  Before any costs realistically can be determined, Amtrak must determine whether the plan is realistic.  Amtrak and the transportation departments for Indiana and Ohio plan to begin a feasibility study in January for a Chicago-Cleveland route that would pass through Gary, Fort Wayne and Toledo.

"There's going to be a study done that's basically going to look at the entire Chicago-to-Cleveland corridor," said Tom Beck, rail planner for the Indiana Department of Transportation. "The question is going to be, `What makes the most sense in terms of cost and potential ridership?' "

A similar study for a route through Fort Wayne and Lima ended in August with the announcement that Lima was too far of a stretch for a Chicago-Toledo link.  Calls to Amtrak were referred to national spokesman Kevin Johnson, who said he was unfamiliar with the study but confirmed the Chicago-Cleveland route is on a list of potential new lines.

Since November 1990, many of Fort Wayne's train passengers have had to drive north to Waterloo.  There, they wait in an open, plexiglass hut that looks more like a bus stop than a train station.

Fort Wayne officials already plan to have a posh station waiting for Amtrak, should the company decide to return.  The city's redevelopment commission has worked with private architects and engineers to refurbish the Baker Street Station.  The next phase of the station's $1.7 million renovation will complete the project by bringing back the concourse area, which likely will be used as a spot for caterers to host special events, city redevelopment specialist Loren Kravig said.  Baker Street Station LLP, a cooperative overseeing the depot's redevelopment, has been open to Amtrak's return, Kravig said.

Despite Fort Wayne's available depot, size and convenient location between Chicago and Cleveland, Paddock said the regional council is trying not to be overly optimistic about the proposed passenger route.  The greatest success of city and state officials, he said, has been to show Amtrak that Fort Wayne is ready and waiting for service.  "Because of our efforts," Paddock said, "we've been able to get Fort Wayne on the radar screen."



November 16, 2000
  • I posted a trip report on Waterloo, IN today on  Check it out here.  The Chicago Line can still be busy at times, although it's nothing like it was during the final Conrail years. 
  • Yet another study is underway to determine if Amtrak can return to Fort Wayne.  I caught the segment on NBC33 news last night.  Included, is an idea to route the train between Toledo and Fort Wayne using the Woodburn Branch!!  Supposedly the study will be completed in May 2001.  Below is the story from NBC33's website:
Amtrak service for FW discussed

For years Fort Wayne has been without passenger rail service and recent efforts to bring Amtrak back to Fort Wayne as part of a Chicago route have run out of steam. Two considerations remain on the table.

The first proposal is for service between Chicago and Columbus, which would pass through Fort Wayne and possibly Lima. The second possibility would be a line between Chicago and Toledo involving the Norfolk Southern line through Woodburn.   But there is a line already running through Waterloo and South Bend on the way to Chicago. That’s not a problem, according planners. The study on the two pending routes is to be concluded in May.  INDOT estimates track upgrades would cost $1.2 million per mile, or more than $100 million from Chicago to Fort Wayne.  Some funding could come from a $10 billion federal appropriations bill.  If the study shows potential for ridership, resumed service would still be five to ten years away.


November 15, 2000
  • The Norfolk Southern track inspection train has been lurking in the area this week.  Initially it came north on the New Castle District on Monday afternoon.  It is NS #905/906 and today was pulled by NS 2759.
  • No sooner did I mention that 217/218 ran on the Fostoria District, they have now returned to the New Castle District routing.  One thing to note is that on the weekends these trains run on a later schedule and that's when you can usually catch 217 in daylight.
  • It's hard to believe, but as of yesterday this site has been up for a whole year!  Thanks for all of your comments and visits to the site.


November 10, 2000
  • NS train routings:  Last night and this morning NS 217/218 did not run on the New Castle District and ran on their normal routes via the Chicago/Fostoria Districts.  Maybe the experimental test route for these trains is over.  Also, NS now is down to 2 trains running on the Fort Wayne Line east of Mike;  21A (westbound - mornings) and 20T (eastbound - late evening) are still running regularly this way.  20A and 21T appear to be running via their old routes on the Huntington District.  CSX has been running eastbound C726 much later in the afternoons, usually after 21A goes through.


November 4, 2000
  • New poll added to main page; previous poll results are on Pollspage.


October 30, 2000
  • NS trains now running on the CSX Fort Wayne Line east of Fort Wayne are:  20A, 20T, 21A, and 21T.  Not sure if CSX has adjusted their schedules any to accomodate them.  Trains usually stop at either Mike or Piqua Yd. to pickup/drop off the CSX pilots.


October 24, 2000
  • CSX Fort Wayne Line:  Norfolk Southern has initiated an experiment with a new route for some trains.  Tonight they ran a 20T east on the Fort Wayne Line.  Normally this train runs over the Huntington District to Butler and then east. It was dark and foggy but I caught him here in Monroeville.  By the transmissions on the radio, this seems to be the first one.  Look for more of these NS hot shot trains on the line in the coming days.

At 9:00pm, NS 20T with NS 9463 in the lead races through Monroeville, IN towards Crestline and Mansfield, OH.

AudioWhen was the last time you heard double-stacks over jointed-rail?!  [Real Audio, 58K, 29 sec.]



October 21, 2000
  • A LOT of foreign power has been showing up on NS this past week.  Here are some that I caught in the past few days:
10/17/00 NS Y3N UP 8669 [CNW]
UP 9190
10/18/00 NS 197 UP 9597
NS 3602 [CR]
NS 276 BNSF 4408
10/19/00 NS 276 UP 9099
UP 7383 [SP]
NS 15E NS 8041
WC 6601
  NS 176 BNSF 6796 [BN]
BNSF 6880
NS 3563
  • It appears that NS 217/218 will be running Chicago/New Castle Districtfor awhile.  217 northbound so far has been running in the wee hours of the morning (i.e. 2am) and 218 runs through mostly between 6 and 8am.


October 13, 2000
  • Wabash Central is now using a Norfolk Southern GP38-2, #5210 in addition to their other two engines.  Don't know whether or not they leased or purchased it.  Looking into late afternoon sun, here the 5210 is pulling the other two engines (#6 and #3) and a short train eastward into the Bluffton yard on Oct.11, 2000.
  • Yesterday I saw NS 218 (trailer train to Greensboro, NC) run south on the New Castle District.  Normally this train and 217 run Chicago/Fostoria District all the way to Bellevue.  This could've been another detour or NS might be experimenting with a new route for this train.
  • New logo added to main page; new format to main page.  Please let me know of any viewing difficulties with the new format.
  • Removed pull-down menus from main page and all Fort Wayne pages.


October 8, 2000
  • CSX grains:  Last week CSX operated a G754 westbound and G342 eastbound on the Fort Wayne Line. (Hamlet, IN - Locust Point, MD trains).
  • Norfolk Southern - detours:  NS has been rerouting some trains off of the Sandusky District through Fort Wayne due to trackwork on that line.  Trains have been using the New Castle District to Cincinnati and then the Peavine to reach Portsmouth, OH.  Most that I've seen have been empty coal trains.  Train numbers 875 and 861 were spotted this weekend.
  • updated Fort Wayne Railroad Frequencies page;  corrected some errors and added Notes section.
  • updated Links page;  if you watch All Aboard on Ch.39 it looks like it's on hold for a while.


October 3, 2000
  • New poll added to main page.  Previous poll results are on  Polls page.
  • Different Train GIF and photo added to main page.
  • Added NS at Bluffton, IN audio clip to Audio Files page.
  • Updated Links page.  Added Calumet Area Junctions page link.
  • Updated Media page.  Added Broadway Limited video.


September 28, 2000
  • In today's Journal Gazette there was an article about the City of New Haven trying to solve the problem of trains constantly blocking the city streets.
New Haven acts to clear crossings 
By Ryan Werbeck
The Journal Gazette 

NEW HAVEN - Officials announced a task force Wednesday to explore solutions to Norfolk Southern trains blocking city crossings.  New Haven police cited Norfolk Southern crews 27 times between Jan. 30 and Sept. 17 for blocking crossings. Indiana law states trains are not allowed to block crossings for more than 10 minutes unless there is some type of malfunction.  If they do, local police have the authority to issue citations.  Officials from the city, Norfolk Southern and area businesses along with residents are teaming up to find solutions, Mayor Terry McDonald said.   "It can get really bad," McDonald said of the delays. "Sometimes it's as bad as 45 minutes to an hour."  The mayor cited safety and environmental concerns as the main reasons for the probe.  Blocked crossings can impede ambulances and other emergency vehicles and cause idling tractor-trailer-rigs to emit more exhaust, he said.  In some cases, two or three tickets have been written in one day.  Each citation carries a $175.50 fine, Police Chief Michael Sweet said.

Residents have called in complaints, Sweet said, but officers also come across blocked crossings during patrols.  Sweet said he began noticing trains blocking more crossings after Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation expanded their networks by absorbing Conrail into their systems in June 1999.  In recent months, however, police have come across fewer blocked crossings, partly because of better communication between the city and Norfolk Southern, Sweet said.  By calling railroad dispatchers, he said, police can learn whether a train is having mechanical problems.

Norfolk Southern Division Superintendent John Irwin said his interest in the task force has nothing to do with the number of tickets.  "I'm more interested in finding a solution so the public isn't mad at the railroad," he said. "We want to try and minimize the effects (of the trains)." 

Robert Roehm, a task force member and employee of Signature Products near the Norfolk Southern yard on Nelson Road in New Haven, said slow-moving trains can adversely affect his business.  Aside from causing delivery trucks to be delayed, trains could make employees late for work and customers tardy for appointments.

One of the first items on the task force's agenda is to find some short-term solutions, McDonald said.  He said placing video cameras at some crossings may help alert city and railroad authorities to problems. Irwin said his company has already taken steps to ease the delays by adding more workers to speed trains along. 

But short-term fixes aren't enough for some, including New Haven resident Rose Adams.  Adams, who lives near the Main Street crossing, said the trains have been a problem for years.  "It seems like they're putting more cars on now," she said. "The more things are built up around here, you realize more needs done."  She said the best option may be to build overpasses over some of the key crossings so traffic, especially emergency vehicles, isn't disrupted.  "Definitely, New Haven needs one," she said. "Every road that goes out has a railroad crossing."


September 27, 2000
  • Amtrak has sold the crew building (house) in Waterloo, Indiana and apparently they won't be doing crew changes there anymore.  Could this mean Amtrak will pull the Waterloo stop from some of their trains in the future???  I sure hope not.
  • If you didn't catch it, the segment on NBC 33 last week went over the interurban crash in Kingsland, Indiana.  It was 90 years ago and is still the largest railroad-related fatality in Indiana.  Fourty people died in that crash.


September 19, 2000
  • NBC33 (WKJG-TV, Channel 33) is supposed to have a segment this Thursday night (9/21) on the Indiana Railroad interurban, including the big collision near Bluffton.  It is supposed to be on the Nightbeat News, which has been airing 11pm this week due to the Olympics coverage.


September 17, 2000


September 4, 2000
  • Labor Day 2000 - who would've thought CSX C721 would be operating today?  And with a huge train - 50 cars!  I caught him southbound here at County Road 100W, just north of Decatur, IN about 1:30pm today.  It was pretty gloomy outside.  Power is CSX 4443 and 2732.



September 2, 2000


August 30, 2000


     * On Monday, WANE-TV Channel 15 had a small segment on the Fort Wayne-Amtrak feasibility
       study.   Here is a link to the story on their website.  I don't know how long this link
       will be good, though.


     * added Maumee & Western #16 picture to Woodburn Branch page.
     * updated Fort Wayne Hotbox Detectors page; 135.3 and 161.7 detectors are listed.
     * updated Links page; added Train Gifs Station link.
     * changed St. Joe page.
     * updated Railfanning in the Fort Wayne area page.

August 26, 2000


     *  Michael passed along this article from today's Lima News.  It looks pretty bleak for
        any future rail-passenger service in Fort Wayne.

Amtrak upgrade not feasible

By Jim Sabin, The Lima News

Upgrades to the railroad tracks between Crestline and Chicago, including Lima, will cost too
much to make a return of Amtrak passenger service feasible, a study showed.

The 200-mile stretch of track would require more than $100 million to properly upgrade for
passenger service, effectively ending a bid to bring a passenger line back to Lima. The city
will instead focus on a high-speed rail initiative, Mayor David Berger said.

"I think it is fair to say that all of us are surprised and disappointed," Berger said.

Officials from Lima, Fort Wayne, Ind., the Ohio Rail Development Commission and the Indiana
Department of Transportation commissioned the study. They had expected the upgrades to cost
closer to $10 million or $20 million, Berger said.

"With the estimate at roughly five times that, it makes it hard to see any immediate prospects
for the project," Berger said.

He stopped short of calling the issue dead, however. He cited a new initiative to include several
Great Lakes states, including Ohio, in a new high-speed rail system. Currently, that system would
bypass Lima in favor of a lakeside route around Lake Michigan and another that would connect
Indianapolis to Cincinnati.

But Columbus remains the largest city without Amtrak service, and a line connecting Columbus
to Chicago could be petitioned for, Berger said.

"It's a long-term effort. This is not something that's going to happen next month, next year,"
he said. "It's probably a decade away."

It would also cost a lot more.

"The working estimates that they're using are $1 million per mile," he said. Berger added that
he does not know who is in charge of the high-speed rail effort, but he intends to find out in
the coming months and begin lobbying.

The high-speed rail effort, called the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, is working to plan a
110-mile-per-hour passenger service linking major Midwest population centers, according to Tom
Beck, rail coordinator for the Indiana transportation department.

"Perhaps the cities of Fort Wayne and Lima could take steps to becoming a part of that plan,"
Beck said.

Amtrak once had a pair of trains running through Lima and Fort Wayne, but both moved farther to
the north about 10 years ago after Conrail, the track owner, decided to lower its maintenance on
the tracks. Passenger rails require a higher quality standard than lower-speed freight trains
that now use the track.

August 23, 2000


      * Norfolk Southern 4610, the Southern-painted GP59 was on L80 (the New Castle District
        local) today.  Look for it around Fort Wayne this week.
      * There is a bright yellow switch engine sitting at East Wayne Yard.  I couldn't make
        out the name.  Reliant?


      * added WBCR #3 and Van Buren pictures to Wabash Central page.
      * added graphical illustration to Fort Wayne Railroad Frequencies page.
      * this site is now part of the Norfolk Southern Webring!

August 13, 2000


      * A special thanks goes to my fellow co-worker, Eric Hitchcock who took me up
        in his Ercoupe last week where we followed the Erie Lackawanna right-of-way through
        Wells and Huntington counties.  Not much can be seen from the air after 15+ years of
        shrubbery growth!  I posted a few pictures on the EL Wells and Huntington County pages.
      * updated Fort Wayne Historical Aspects page.  This page has needed a face-lift for quite
        some time.  Wabash, Pennsy, NYC, and FF&W added.
      * rearranged Conrail's Last Day page.
      * NS trains 38T/31E are now reflected on Fort Wayne Rail Operations and Conrail's Last
        Day pages.
      * Main page changed;  different Fort Wayne photo and train GIF consist shown.
      * updated Links page.  Added GR&I page link.

August 1, 2000


     * added Wabash Central Railroad page; this is in lieu of the Bluffton page which
       is now removed.
     * test your Fort Wayne area rail knowledge on the new Quiz page.
     * updated Links page; added "Things that make this site possible"
     * added pictures to Erie Lackawanna Adams County and Wells County pages.
     * reformated all of the pictures on the pages;  this should make viewing somewhat
       more unified with any screen resolution.
     * new poll added to main page.

July 27, 2000


      * updated Links page:  mostly in the EL-related section.
      * updated Related Media page:  added more books

July 23, 2000


      updated Related Media page: added 2 articles to magazine section.
      rearranged this page.


      Look for the article on the Clover Leaf line in the new Fall 2000 issue of Classic Trains

      Norfolk Southern appears to have completed the installation of its new dispatching radio system
      in the Fort Wayne area.  The base "key up" tones are different and there are no more beeps at
      the end of dispatchers' transmissions.  This change does not include the NS-Fort Wayne
      Dearborn Division side, who currently dispatches the CSX Fort Wayne and Decatur
      Secondaries, or the NS Pittsburgh West dispatcher for the CSX Fort Wayne Line west of

July 19, 2000


       added picture to Waterloo page.
       updated  Erie Lackawanna Adams County page; C721 pictures.
       updated  Indiana Northeastern Railroad page; pictures/audio clips.

July 17, 2000


       added Related Media page.
       removed TRF banner/link from main page.
       added Linking to this site in Other Section on main page.

July 14, 2000


       added banner to bottom of Links page

July 12, 2000


       added pictures to Woodburn and Amtrak pages.
       updated Links page.

July 10, 2000


       added Woodburn Branch page.
       added guestbook to main page.

July 9, 2000

      Skyline Connection reflected on Amtrak Fort Wayne & Waterloo pages.
      Added Three Rivers Festival link/banner to main page.
      updated links page.

June 26, 2000

      added pictures & 382.7 hotbox detector recording to Kendallville page.
      added more photos to Indiana Northeastern page.
      added more photos and edited Erie Lackawanna Wells County page to reflect Meridian Rd bridge removal.

June 21, 2000

      added Amtrak: Northeast Indiana Service poll to main page.

June 20, 2000

      rearranged a few things on Safety page.

June 18, 2000

      updated Fort Wayne Historical Aspects page.

June 17, 2000

      updated some of my ideas on the Will Amtrak Ever Return To Fort Wayne?  page.

June 12, 2000

      added "Amtrak meet at Kendallville" to Kendallville page.

June 7, 2000

      added Links page, removed "Related Links" from main page.

May 31, 2000

      added pictures to Waterloo & Kendallville pages.
      updated "Other" section on St. Joe page.
      new picture at Butler added to Safety page.

May 19, 2000

      added Amtrak 49 & BNSF pictures & audio to Butler page.
      replaced NS 360.5 detector audio with clearer recording on Butler page.
      added silent AVI movie at Goshen to Safety page.

May 14, 2000

      added Kendallville page.
      removed South Whitley page.

May 13, 2000

      added Indiana Northeastern Railroad page.
      updated CSX trains on Fort Wayne Rail Operations page.
      added Amtrak Waterloo train arrival times to Waterloo page.

May 5, 2000

      added Amtrak Service  page.
      added individual county maps to EL county pages.

April 30, 2000

      added picture & movie taken at Monroeville to the Railroad Safety page.
      added new pictures to the Decatur Line page.
      added Amtrak #43 at Kendallville to the Audio Files page.

April 5, 2000

      added Railfanning In The Fort Wayne Area page.

March 24, 2000

      rearranged the EL page and added Fulton and Wabash Counties.

February 20, 2000

      added new CSX train symbols to Fort Wayne Rail Operations page.
      added Amtrak 48 recording from 2/12/00 to Audio Files page.

January 22, 2000

      added reprogrammed NS detector to Butler page.

January 11, 2000

      redid Amtrak trains at Waterloo section.

January 2, 2000

      added SDI page.
      added CSX 8241 picture to St. Joe page.

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