Norfolk Southern Rerouting



On August 16, 1999 Norfolk Southern began a new route for its New Castle District trains that transfer to and from the Chicago District.

The Project

One of the biggest traffic tie-ups when driving through Fort Wayne was at the Jefferson Blvd. crossing where the NS New Castle District used to cross just west of Swinney Park.  Trains traveling the New Castle District between Runnion and Junction were slow due to the winding route.  Unfortunately, often times trains would have to make unexpected stops for various reasons while still on this segment of the line.  When this happened massive traffic backups were common on Jefferson Blvd. in both directions, impeding police, fire, and EMS traffic in and out of the city.  Main St. was also another hangup.

In order to solve this problem a project was undertaken between the City of Fort Wayne and Norfolk Southern.  The solution was to reroute the New Castle District trains onto the Fort Wayne Line (at the time still NS owned) at Junction and then build one long connecting track to the Chicago District just west of town.  In addition to the New Castle District, NS would also remove the GR&I track between Park and Junction.

The End Result

It goes without saying that the vehicular traffic is 100% better on Jefferson Blvd. since the reroute commenced.  NS trains travel much quicker now between the Chicago and New Castle Districts and they also have a few more places for crew changes on transferring trains.  Another benefit is NS has 3 less grade crossings to maintain now (including Main St.).  The only remaining portion of the old New Castle District north of Junction is a very short remnant several hundred feet north of Main St.

One of the problems this reroute has created for NS is running bi-directional traffic transferring from the New Castle to the Chicago District and vice versa. Since the Fort Wayne Line is single track between Sand and Junction, trains coming north up the New Castle District must now wait at Kingsland siding for southbound traffic off the Chicago District. Likewise, Chicago District traffic going south on the New Castle District must wait at Dunfee siding for northbound New Castle trains. This problem could be alleviated by installing a crossover just west of Hill and extending the west end of double track west of Hadley switch. Double-tracking the Fort Wayne Line from Junction to Sand would be an option, as well.


This shows up close what the area looks like today.  New Castle District trains used to transition to and from the Chicago District via Junction and Runnion, blocking Jefferson Blvd. and Main St. for long periods of time.   Today the new rail at Junction and between Sand and Hill is used and trains avoid these streets altogether.  Trains actually travel about the same distance as they did traveling through Runnion but do so much faster.


Construction Photos

The loop track begins just north of the Taylor St. crossing about 1/4 mile south of Junction.  This is looking north and the building to the left is Slater Steel.  The track past the switch on the left is now removed.

Looking southeast at the loop track.  In the background is the GE employee parking lot, which part of was used to construct this route.

The track curves east for quite a bit before it loops back into the ex-Pennsy at Junction.

Looking west before the loop track was connected to the Fort Wayne Line at Junction.  The diamond (now removed) is 10 feet or so to the right of the new track in this photo.


The Final Act - Track Removal

Looking south on the old New Castle District at W. Jefferson Blvd. as Norfolk Southern began the removal process.

This is the GR&I track looking southeast across Jefferson Blvd.  Removing this track was the first part of the rail removal process.


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