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.
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
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.
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.
west at Junction interlocking. The overhead bridge in the distance
is Hillegas Rd.
lone whistle post sign stands on the old New Castle District right of way.
This is facing south.
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
1652 has a classic Leslie S5T horn. [MP3 Format, 306K, 37 sec.]
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)
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)
train is now crossing the Conrail Fort Wayne Secondary diamond.
thing you will never hear again is a train whistling for West Jefferson
Blvd. [MP3 Format, 300K, 36 sec]. (3 of 3)
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.
190K, 21 sec.]