Archived Changes/News: 2003


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

December 9, 2003
  • Ex-Spencerville & Elgin trackage:  Willie passed along this link to a recent article in the Lima News about what options are currently being discussed on this ex-Erie line.  Click here for the article.


November 14, 2003
  • Chicago District Derailment:  An unusual accident happened Wednesday (11/12) morning on the NS Chicago District near South Wanatah, IN at the US 421 crossing when 2 dump trucks hit the side of a moving westbound intermodal train during foggy weather.  One dump truck hit the 2nd locomotive and the other truck struck the train itself.  The train derailed resulting in blocking both the mainline and the highway.  One of the dump truck drivers died in the crash.  Several trains were detoured onto the CSX Fort Wayne Secondary (ex-PRR) using the Michigan City District connection at Argos and Plymouth. Click here for the full story from the South Bend Tribune.
  • New Garrett Sub Comms:  On the CSX Garrett Sub I noticed last week that they have a new radio system.  The acknowledgment tone for keying up the dispatcher is different.  Also, the audio quality for the dispatcher is 100% better than before.  Not sure when this new system went in.


October 29, 2003
  • Hugo Update #2:  NS has been placing track panel and new switches east of the Hugo diamond for the past few days.  The foundations for the new signals are being placed, as well.  Both pictures below were taken today.

Looking west at Hugo from Nuttman Ave. where the west
end of double track begins.  In a few months the center track will
be connected to the New Castle District wye.

A  new foundation sits to the right of the northbound
signal at Hugo.  The tri-lights are scheduled to be replaced
along with the realignment project.


September 25, 2003
  • Erie Lackawanna Trackage West Of Elgin, Ohio History?  Willie from Van Wert reports that RJ Corman has a string of empty rail cars parked west of Elgin, Ohio on the former EL mainline.  Corman has not operated to Ohio City in quite some time.
  • Hugo Work Begins:  Last week NS started work on the Hugo project.  So far it looks like they have started some of the basic ground work.
  • NE Update #2:  Most of the new rail is now in place around NE.  Both crossover switches are placed, as well.

This is looking east at Hartzell Rd on the Huntington District 
where the new rail and crossover switch have been placed recently.
 The east crossover will allow a train to go either east to Bellevue or
northeast towards Butler.


September 12, 2003
  • NE Update:  I drove by NE on Wednesday (9/10) and the ties are in place on the south side west of Hartzell Rd.  Also there was a new switch near the end of the double, not yet installed.
  • Office Cars:  Also at East Wayne Yard on Wednesday were NS Powhattan Arrow cars #28 and 29 with GP59 4633 in the lead.  The train was parked near the turntable area.  This might have been an Operation Lifesaver train.
  • updated Wabash Central page; new pictures added and several sections have been revised.
  • replaced logo/picture on main page.


August 28, 2003
  • NE Reconstruction Begins:  If you have driven across Hartzell Rd. in New Haven lately you probably noticed a new track across the Huntington District road crossing.  This was recently put in place and will be part of the extension of the south track (main 1) to the southeast wye.  Rail is laid out west of Hartzell Rd. and construction is well underway.
  • Mail Train No More?  It appears that NS has stopped running the 21T on the Fort Wayne Line on Thursdays.  For the past month or so, I've noticed that this train is running via the Butler routing every day.


August 8, 2003
  • Hugo Will Get Makeover Soon:  Much in the same fashion as the upcoming NE realignment, Hugo interlocking will see some changes in the near future.  NS plans to connect the New Castle District wye to the south Huntington District track (main 1) and install dual crossovers west of Nuttman Ave.  This will allow a train to go on or off the New Castle District and another one to run east-west on the Huntington District (on main 2) simultaneously.
  • Olympic Unit Appearance:  A surprise was leading NS 215 last Sunday night (August 3).  The blue Union Pacific Salt Lake Olympics commemorative SD70M #2002 was in the lead of this train.  Unfortunately, it was just after midnight when he went south out of Fort Wayne.


July 16, 2003
  • NE Interlocking Realignment Project:  Evidence is present of the upcoming realignment of NE interlocking in New Haven, IN.  I believe the plans are to extend the Huntington District double track east past Hartzell Rd. and connect the Fostoria District wye to the south track  I think a set of crossovers are to be placed here as well.  The foundations have already been placed for the repositioning of the south crossing gates at Hartzell Rd.

Looking west today on the Huntington District at Hartzell Rd.,
The stakes indicate the upcoming redesign of NE Interlocking.
  • Another New Train:  NS 28K has been showing up in Fort Wayne coming from the Peru side and going up towards Butler, IN on the Huntington District.  From what I've seen, it is an empty auto rack train.  Don't know much else about it.
  • You will probably notice a change in the message board and guestbook formats.  Bravenet did some upgrading to their software last week.  The message board will now hold more messages.  There are some other additional features to it, as well.
  • The "Amtrak's Return" page is now the Passenger Rail Return page.  This page has been significantly revised.
  • updated Links page; Ohio section.
  • fixed broken links on Safety and Fort Wayne Reroute pages.


July 4, 2003
  • New Chicago District Train:  For the past two weeks or so NS has been operating an eastbound 280 auto rack train on the Chicago District (ex-NKP).  Arrival time in Fort Wayne is usually in the evening.  It seems to be running almost every day and usually has some work at East Wayne Yard.  I think it's going east to Bellevue.  The old Burnham-Lorain 280/281 pair was dropped a few years back.  Maybe this is a reincarnation of the old 280?


June 21, 2003
  • Local Operations Notes:  Due to the recent closure of the Cincinnati District (Peavine), NS 84A has been running through Fort Wayne on occasion.  This is a West Virginia coal train that runs to Indianapolis.  84A's new routing is Portsmouth OH-Bellevue-Fort Wayne-Muncie.  NS 186 is now an Elkhart train and is currently turning north at Wabash, Indiana.  CSX Q357 has recently become a pretty good sized train out of Fort Wayne.  A few days ago I saw four 6-axle units on it.  21T continues to run on the Fort Wayne Line exclusively on Thursdays, although there was one week were it didn't for some reason.


May 28, 2003


May 1, 2003
  • Trackwork in Fort Wayne:  NS has been doing some tie-replacement projects in the Fort Wayne area.  The Huntington District from Fort Wayne west is one of the current projects.
  • NS Intermodals On CSX:  NS is still running 1-2 trains a week on the CSX Fort Wayne Line east of Fort Wayne.  I've been trying to pin down a pattern to it.  It seems that they usually run a westbound on Thursdays and an eastbound on Fridays.  Also, I think the crews are based at Mansfield and not Peru.


April 9, 2003
  • NCD Lowest Traffic Level in Years:  The New Castle District between Fort Wayne and Muncie now only sees 13 regular trains, including the locals.  179, 180, and 287 have been assigned to their previous routing through Bellevue.  TOFCs 217 & 218 are running via the NKP and this will probably be permanent with the downgrading of the Cincinnati District between Portsmouth OH and Cincinnati.  This may also spell the end of the occasional empty coal trains 883 & 885 on the New Castle District, as well.  This is quite a contrast to the 25+ trains that were running on the New Castle District before the Conrail merger.


March 13, 2003
  • New Castle District traffic changes:  As mentioned below, 218 & 217 continue to operate via Bellevue.  This could turn into a permanent route.  They have flip-flopped between the two routings at least 3 times in the last 3 years so you never know what might happen.  Last week 287 returned back to the old routing through Columbus on the Sandusky & Dayton Districts, but has appeared a couple of times in Fort Wayne since then.  175 continues to operate on the New Castle District.  This is a good train for spotting Wisconsin Central power (SD45s), but unfortunately it normally passes through Fort Wayne late at night (11pm-12am).
  • NS Intermodals On CSX:  NS is definitely still running one or two intermodal trains a week on the CSX Fort Wayne Line (ex-PRR) to Mansfield.  Last week I caught an I1T on Thursday operating this way and they also ran another one today.  It would seem like they are using the CSX routing as an overflow route.


February 25, 2003
  • NS Mail Trains Discontinued On The PRR?  For the past few weeks I've noticed that NS 20A has not been running on the CSX Fort Wayne Line (ex-PRR) east of Mike Tower and instead has been running through Butler and Toledo.  The only train I've heard operating on the PRR east of Fort Wayne was an I1T once or twice last week.  This past week there haven't been any as far as I know.  Both 20T and 21T continue to operate via the Toledo-Butler-Fort Wayne-Peru route.  21A evidently does not operate west of Harrisburg PA anymore.
  • NS 218/217 Routing:  This past week these two trains have not been using the New Castle District routing.  Possibly this is due to storm outages in southern Ohio.
  • archived Changes/News December 26, 2002 and earlier.
  • updated Links page
  • replaced main page logo.
  • You might notice the disappearance of the ads from the message board and from the guestbook.  I've decided to try out the Bravenet "premium" service and see how it works out.


February 11, 2003
  • Upcoming Eel River RR Presentation:  There will be presentation on the Eel River Railroad (Butler to Logansport) given by Craig Berndt at the Peabody Library in Columbia City this Saturday, February 15, 2003 at 1pm.  It is open to the public.  Thanks for the heads up, Craig and Victor!
  • New Roadrailer Train?:  I've been hearing a 266 in the evenings recently coming in from Peru.  The train seems to terminate here in Fort Wayne.
  • Pennsylvanian Gone:  Amtrak has now discontinued running Amtrak #43 and 44 west of Pittsburgh.


January 28, 2003
  • Additional Chicago/New Castle District Train:  NS 175 began operating through Fort Wayne sometime last week.  This is formerly a Marion Branch train (Chicago - Elkhart - Goshen - Alexandria - Muncie - Cincy) , but now is running on the Chicago District/New Castle District routing.  Operating times seem to be mostly early in the morning.  This train looks a lot like the old 465 with the high cubes up front and the mixed freight in trail.  Some WC power has been spotted on it, as well.  Additional M75s (extra) are running quite often, too.


January 17, 2003
  • Huntington District Fatality:  About 2pm this afternoon a woman in a mini van was killed near New Haven, IN at the Ricker Rd. crossing.  The train involved was 27V and evidently the driver of the vehicle did not stop at the railroad crossing as the train approached.
  • Interesting Foreign Power Lately:  NS ran a 60T on Saturday evening (1/11).  This was a loaded potash train to Alabama and ran on the Chicago & New Castle District.  Power was a CP AC4400CW and a Soo Line SD60.  Today, a 61N was run south on the New Castle District with 3 Wisconsin Central SD45s.  61N is a loaded molten sulfur train that goes to northeastern Florida.  Also today, NS 177 had a UP SD60M in the lead and 197 a BNSF red/silver warbonnet leading.
  • updated Links page; added The Blue Comet site to the area EL links section.
  • added Hadley Cutoff/Junction Loop construction photos to the Contributor page.  Thanks Bob!  Also, added photo of CR5833 at Van Wert.  Thanks Willie!


January 5, 2003
  • replaced main page picture/logo.
  • archived Changes/News November 22, 2002 and earlier.
  • updated Runnion page/interlocking map to reflect disconnected New Castle District.
  • added Bob D's photos to Contributor page; Mike interlocking diamond removal, N&W 611 at Lumbard St. and Hadley Cutoff construction.  Thanks Bob!
  • deleted Amtrak Meet at Kendallville page.

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