Fort Wayne - Junction



Junction interlocking is where the NS New Castle District joins the RailAmerica Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad (CFER).  This is the former Pennsy mainline.  Junction is located on the south side of Jefferson Blvd. just southwest of Swinney Park.  In the above photo we are looking east on the CFER.  The turnout is the NS New Castle District coming in from the south.  The CFER line curves off in the distance towards downtown Fort Wayne.  The red brick building in the background used to be the General Electric power plant.

Junction sign


For a single switch interlocking, Junction has quite a diverse mix of traffic through it.  Trains that transfer between the Chicago and New Castle Districts travel through the Hadley Cutoff via Sand and Hill, then use the CFER between Sand and Junction.  Crew changes for eastbound trains are typically done here.  NS routes the Chicago roadrailers through Junction and sometimes they will run other trains via the CFER between Mike and Sand, depending on traffic.  CFER operates a pair of freights to Chicago.  NS also operates to and from the Whitley County SDI plant using the CFER.  One of the interesting things that can happen at Junction is "head to head meets."  Often an eastbound NS train waiting to turn south will hold up at the eastward signal for either a crew change or traffic, while a westbound (NS or CFER) may be sitting at the westbound signal waiting to proceed towards Sand.
Junction interlocking is private property.  If you haven't already, please review the Railfanning Tips page.

Historical Aspects

Junction today is unrecognizable from its glory days.  This used to be a fairly busy location on the Pennsylvania Railroad's mainline where the GR&I joined in from the north, in addition to the Nickel Plate crossing at grade.  The Pennsy tower stood on the south side of the tracks adjacent to the General Electric power plant, which has since been decommissioned.  Junction Tower was closed and razed in the late 1980s.  Conrail single tracked the Pennsy through here shortly thereafter.  The New Castle District used to cross here at grade and ran north to Runnion until August 1999 when the loop track to the Fort Wayne Secondary was finished.  The New Castle District rails were then removed north Junction as well as much of the former GR&I track.  A small remnant of the GR&I still exists just west of the St. Marys River bridge.  It is pretty tough to pick out either of the old right of ways north of here.

The above capture is taken from Railroad Video's tape 20B, which is a cab ride from Fort Wayne to Valparaiso on Amtrak #41.  Here we are westbound approaching Junction. The track veering off to the right is the Grand Rapids & Indiana (later Pennsy) line that ran to Mackinaw City - it was taken out of service at Junction in August 1999.  This was taken in August 1985 and today the tower is gone and so is the track we are riding on.  The New Castle District is past the tower in this view out of sight.
Before the loop track was installed the Fort Wayne Secondary was run dark west of the diamond at Junction.  The dark portion now begins west of Sand.



Looking west at Junction interlocking.  The overhead bridge in the distance is Hillegas Rd.

One lone whistle post sign stands on the old New Castle District right of way.  This is facing south.

Looking north from Taylor St. the New Castle District makes a sweeping curve around to join up with the CFER.  The black box to the left of the track is a wheel flange lubricator.


Not the sunniest day of the year, but this shows how the loop track works.  We are looking north at Junction from the Taylor St. crossing and NS X65 is running east on the Fort Wayne Secondary and then enters the connecting loop track to go south (east) on the New Castle District.  Once across Taylor St. the engines are nearly perpendicular to the train behind.  This train no longer exists.  November 12, 2000

AudioNS 1652 has a classic Leslie S5T horn.  [MP3 Format, 306K, 37 sec.]

NS 6162 crossing PARKNS train M43 weaves southbound on the old meandering trackage from Runnion to Junction on June 13, 1993.  The lead unit is about to cross PARK diamond which was the diamond with the Conrail (former GR&I) trackage that ran to Kendallville.  PARK Interlocking, named after the adjacent Swinney Park,  is no more and Norfolk Southern has torn up this portion of the GR&I north to Runnion as well as the tracks this train is riding on. The tall building in the background, which used to be a mill,  has also been torn down.  (1 of 3)
NS 6162 crossing Jefferson Blvd. In this picture the train is crossing Jefferson Blvd. passing, at the time, Allen County Motors.   NS removed this track in August 1999.  (2 of 3)
NS 6162 crossing PRRThe train is now crossing the Conrail Fort Wayne Secondary diamond.

AudioOne thing you will never hear again is a train whistling for West Jefferson Blvd. [MP3 Format, 300K, 36 sec]. (3 of 3)


The Conrail GR&I local turns northbound on the GR&I at Junction and crosses W. Jefferson Blvd.  June 13, 1993.  Part of this track at Junction still remains today.
Audio[MP3 Format, 190K, 21 sec.]


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© Original Content Copyright 1999-2007 David Safdy
© Design and Updates Copyright 2005-2007 Greg Lavoie