This article will discuss a section of the PRR/PC/CR Logan Side-Bradford Line, Panhandle Line, that ran from Bradford, OH to Logansport, IN, called the Logan Side. The PRR railroaders gave the section that ran from Bradford & Logansport the “Logan Side” name. The Panhandle Line ran from Pittsburgh, PA to Chicago, IL and St. Louis, MO, splitting at Bradford, with Bradford being a major yard, halfway, and crew change point of the line.
The line was first part of the Columbus, Chicago, & Indiana Central- leased by PRR subsidiary Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis (formed in 1868), that was formed extend the PRR’s westward expansion.
In Ohio, the Panhandle also ran through towns such as Dennison, Columbus, etc. This line gave the PRR a westward expansion in the States. The name “Panhandle” came from a section of WV where the line passed through years earlier, with the Panhandle Ry., and the name stuck years later.
The line was double track, until the 1950s, when PRR downgraded it to a single line, at least between Union City & Logansport, IN. PRR would use J1 steam engines, and later GP7s and 9s to pull 100-car coal hoppers from the N&W via this line from Columbus, OH. They hauled coal to power plants in Fort Wayne, IN and Chicago, IL. PRR also hauled coal from the L&N Railway. Marion, IN had a GM plant that depended on this line for service as well.
The Logan Side was downgraded by PRR after the yards at Bradford, OH were not being used as much anymore, and because the Richmond, IN yard was phased out. Also when the N&W merged with the NKP & WAB in 1964, this gave the N&W other routes to use for their coal transport to Chicago (such as the ex-NKP Chicago Line). Penn Central used the line however for some traffic, with Bradford, OH becoming an important part of the PC. Most of the traffic however was eventually run on the Panhandle from Columbus, OH to Indianapolis, IN when PC reconfigured the crossover-connection with the ex-NYC Bee Line at Logansposrt, IN, in the early 1970s.
When CR came into existence, they increased traffic again between Columbus & Indianapolis through Bradford, OH, via the crossover-connection at Union City. Most of the downgrading came with CR later in the early 1980s. CR diverted a lot of the traffic onto other more feasible lines, such as the ex-NYC/PC Bee Line, as they were doing with a lot of lines throughout the CR system. The part of the Panhandle through Bradford to Union City was torn up by CR in 1985.
At Ridgeville, IN the Logan Side line crossed the ex-GR&I/PRR/PC/CR, that went north and south. The PRR used a local and a few freights on the GR&I line. Ridgeville was used as a local crew change point, where they also turned the trains, and interchanged cars. The GR&I line was mostly removed in the late 1970s by CR. There were small yards north of Ridgeville on the GR&I line, and west at Ridgeville on the Logan Side-Panhandle Line.
(CR crews picking up tie plates at Deerfield, IN)
At Logansport, the Logan Side-Panhandle Line joined with the Pittsburgh Division Line that ran between Chicago and Pittsburgh, PA (through Ohio towns of Van Wert, Dunkirk, Bucyrus, Crestline, etc.).
(Both photos above: CR taking up the rail in Union City, IN)
At Union City, IN, the Panhandle originally crossed the ex-NYC/PC Indianapolis Bee Line. After the crossovers were removed at Union City, the Logan Side-Panhandle line connected onto the Bee Line, and went west towards Redkey, IN.
In 1994, Conrail removed the rail, starting at Redkey, IN, heading east towards Union City. Rail was left in about 2 miles east of Redkey, in order to be able to continue to service a few customers who still needed rail service. There was a connecting track with the NS, so NS could pick up grain cars for Anderson’s. Also in 1994, a small section was left in at Union City, connecting to the Bee Line, to be used as a short siding for a local industry.
(Both photos above: The last train out of Union City on the ex-PRR/PC Logan Side-Panhandle Line- CR 601 moving east to Crestline, OH, via the ex-NYC Bee Line)
At one point the CR crew accidentally left too early east towards Crestline, OH on the ex-NYC Bee Line, before the project was finished, and had to back-track to finish removing and picking up the rest of the rail.
Eventually, the rail was removed east of Redkey, IN, along with the ex-NKP/N&W diamond there, and a switch was put in by NS, south of Redkey, so they could go northwest and pick up the cars for Anderson’s. The line is still in from Redkey to Dunkirk, removed from Dunkirk to Hartford City, and still in from there to Marion, IN, used by NS. The line today is removed from Columbus, OH to Redkey, IN, except for a few short sections near Greenville, OH. (See sample video below for CR’s Redkey interchange with NS’s Frankfort Dist., taken from our CONRAIL REMEMBERED™, VOL. 3 Featured Series DVD Video.)
At one time an important line for the PRR & PC, it almost stayed an important line for Conrail, until they decided against it later. CR had even rebuilt part of the line, only to downgrade shortly after. As most railroads have done in the past, some lines were favored over others, in order to help cut costs. What is interested is today in 2015, railroads are re-opening and upgrading lines they at one time saw as unimportant. This is due to increased rail traffic causing congestion on lines, especially due to the transporting of oil. This makes the railroads and historians both happier.
The removal of this part of the Logan Side-Panhandle PRR/PC/CR Line is covered in Keith’s Trains Series™ (from the camera of Keith Lehman, from 1-West Productions™), Title #33 CONRAIL RAIL REMOVAL BRADFORD, OH –REDKEY, IN 1994.
As railroads improve their plant, they make changes in order to help keep things profitable and to save costs. Even though changes are made today, history is kept preserved in films and photographs for tomorrow. Also a lot of abandoned railroad ROWs are being made into bike trails, which can also help preserve its history. But sometimes railroads change history by bringing back to life a downgraded or abandoned line or ROW. Presently NS and CSX are working to bring back to life the ex-PRR/PC/CR Pittsburgh to Chicago line, in order for NS to be able to relieve traffic congestion on the ex-NYC/PC/CR Water Level route. Also there is talk that NS will be purchasing and re-using the ex-NKP/N&W line to Lima because of congestion problems on other NS lines.
Sample of our CONRAIL REMEMBERED™ VOL. 3 Video available for purchase, that shows CR action at Redkey (line now removed):
Like more Penn Central/CR Routes information? Try this Penn Central Website.
[All photos are screenshots taken from the Keith’s Trains Series™, by 1-West Productions™ (from the camera of Keith Lehman). Sources used for this article/blog information are: K. Lehman; P. Jordan; A Sampling Of Penn Central, Jerry Taylor, Indiana University Press, 1973, 2000 ]
Article & Photos © Copyright 2015, 2018 1-West Productions™/PJ, Duplication Prohibited.