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PENN CENTRAL NORWALK BRANCH

PENN CENTRAL NORWALK BRANCH (CONRAIL/PENN CENTRAL (PC)/NEW YORK CENTRAL (NYC)/LAKE SHORE & MICHIGAN SOUTHERN (LS&MS) (Millbury-Elyria, OH)

In this article, we are covering the ex-New York Central/Penn Central (& Conrail) Norwalk Branch, part of PC’s Columbus Division, that ran from Millbury, through Genoa, Fremont, Clyde, Bellevue, Monroeville, Norwalk, Collins, Oberlin, to Elyria, OH.

The line connected to the NYC/PC Toledo Division (ex-LS&MS/Water Level Route) at Millbury and Elyria, OH, and ran east/west, about 25 miles south of the Lake Erie shoreline.  Today a lot of the original ROW was preserved and made into a public trail.  The trail currently (as of 2022) extends from Genoa to Collins.  Hopefully the rest of the original ROW gets preserved to Elyria and Millbury.  The trail follows most of the ROW through Fremont, and Clyde (the trail jogs a bit due to Whirlpool).

At Clyde, between Amanda/Spring and Vine Streets was a small yard that consisted of about 3 or so tracks.  It was still in tack in the early 1980s, then torn out about mid to late ’80s or so.  There also were some siding tracks (possibly continuation of the tracks from amanda/Spring Street), downtown Clyde near Maple, Main, and Church Streets, that served factories near that area and the depot west of Main Street.  Just west of Maple Street there was a freight house and connection track that curved a bit NE, and connected the Norwalk Branch to the ex-NYC/PC Sandusky Branch (that ran north/south), for interchanging cars.  A NYC/PC local crew and power (usually a GP9 or 7) came out of Toledo- Airline Yard, to service businesses along the Norwalk Branch, especially in Fremont, Clyde, and Bellevue.  There was a signal near the crossing of the Sanduky Branch, near Maple Street.  One of the signals (most likely from the sandusky Branch side just east of Maple Street at that crossing was restored and placed east of Main Street on the trail (it now looks much shorter in height, and the original had 2 red lights- no green!).

In Bellevue, the trail temporarily branches off and follows Rt. 20, due to NS still owning the ROW just east of CR 177 (west of Bellevue), on east into Bellevue.  Just west of Kilbourne St. in Bellevue, NS has a siding track on the ex-ROW, and the MR&NKP Museum has tracks that was part of the Purina-Sunrise Mill from there to SW St.  Between Kilbourne and SW St. was and still is the original team/freight tracks for NYC/PC Bellevue Yard, near the Depot and Freight House.  The small yard consisted of 3 tracks that also crossed York St. (now closed by the museum).  It also originally had a short spur track that curved south and ended just south of the original concrete Purina Checkered silos (spur was removed by the museum a few years ago, and a new building added just south of the yard in the middle of the original alley road).  The Freight House still stands, with some modifications through the years, and the Depot was torn down by NYC in the 1960s or so.  There was a signal near the brick apron walkway on the south side of the yard-in front of the depot.  Most of this line was dark territory with no signals, except for crossovers.

From SW St. to Monroe St. there is no trail on the ROW, but from Monroe St. east past Bauer Raod, east of Bellevue, NS/W&LE have tracks on the orginal ROW.  At that point near Bauer/Prairie Road, the trail starts again along the tracks, and eventually back onto the original ROW, going east into Monroeville and on.   The Sandusky County Park District have a lot of credit getting a lot of the trail through Sandusky County, with a lot of help from R. Jordan.

The Norwalk branch line was originally built by the LS&MS, because the construction halted of their orignal first line near the Lake Erie shoreline.  Later they continued the lakeshore line, and eventually the NYC downgraded the Norwalk Branch, moving most of the east/west traffic to the  more north line.  As years went by, the NYC and PC neglected most maintanence on the line, so speed limits were eventually made down to 25-20 MPH in some areas, to prevent derailments.

The NYC took over the LS&MS, and NYC named it the Norwalk Branch, Columbus Division, and later the PC (came about with the merging of the NYC, PRR, and NH in 1968) used the same names of the line.  When Conrail came into existence in 1976, the line was abandonded.  There are stories where PC took a lot of the joint bars off the line prematurely, to get it ready to be taken up.  The PC then  had to run a few trains during these track conditions- they either put the bars back in or ran the trains without them.

The NORWALK BRANCH is described in more detail as follows by Mile Pole (MP)/Control Point (CP):

Lake Region, Toledo Division, Norwalk Branch
(from 4/28/1968 TT No. 1 Penn Central)

Elyria Jct. to Millbury Jct.:
MP (from Buffalo, PA, WB from Elyria to Millbury, OH)
207.9 Elyria Jct. (Interlocking)
Stop sign at B&O Wye
Elyria to Oberlin Yard Limit between point of switch 600 ft E of MP 208 & 1034 ft W of MP 217
215.9 Oberlin
220.5 Kipton
225.8 Wakeman
230.5 Collins
237.1 Norwalk (Yard E & W siding tracks 40 car lengths
Norwalk Yard Limit 900 ft W of MP 236 & 1900 ft W of MP 239
241.6 Monroeville (Interlocking; N&W & B&O Crossing)
249.0 Bellevue (Interlocking; N&W Crossing)
249.1 Bellevue (Yard, E & W siding tracks 46 car lengths)
Bellevue Yard Limit between 2175 ft E of MP 249 & 2250 ft E of MP 252
256.5 Clyde (PC Sandusky Br. Crossing, Yard, E & W siding tracks 55 car lengths)
Target Signal (Vertical-Proceed) at Clyde- operated by trainmen
Clyde Yard Limit between 2600 ft E of MP 257 & 1640 ft W of MP 258
264.9 Fremont (N&W Crossing, Yard, E & W siding tracks 52 car lengths, Train Register at Scale Box)
Target Signal (Vertical-Proceed) at Fremont, operated by trainmen
Fremont Yard Limit between 1930 ft W of MP 265 & 400 ft E of MP 268
272.0 Lindsey
277.2 Elmore (Yard, E & W siding tracks 36 car lengths)
282.0 Genoa (Yard, E & W siding tracks 48 car lengths)
Yard Limit Genoa to Millbury Jct. between 171 ft W of MP 281 Norwalk Br. & point of switch in Tol. Div. Main 1146 ft E of MP 281
286.8 Millbury Jct. (Interlocking; Yard, E & W siding tracks 26 car lengths)

2nd Class Freight Trains:
#645 WB M, W, F, leave Elyria Jct. 9:30 AM, leave Norwalk 11:30 AM, arrive Bellevue 1:30 PM
#649 WB T, Th, Sa, leave Bellevue 7:30 AM, arrive Fremont 8:01 AM
#647 WB daily-no Sun, leave Fremont 1:30 PM, arrive Millbury Jct. 3 PM
#646 EB T, Th, Sa, leave Fremont 8:30 AM, leave Bellevue 9:30 AM, leave Norwalk 11:30 AM, arrive Elyria Jct. 1:30 PM
#648 EB daily-no Sun leave Millbury Jct. 9:50 AM, arrive Fremont 12:30 PM
Extra Trains: no train orders needed between Elyria & Oberlin, Fremont & Clyde, Genoa & Millbury Jct.
All Trains: cleared on single track, no Clearance Form A needed at Elyria Jct.- for Norwalk Br. trains, at Bellevue-WB 2nd class trains, Fremont- 2nd class trains, Millbury Jct.- Norwalk Br. trains. All trains must stop at all non-interlocked RR crossings.

Max. speed allowed: 30 MPH on full Norwalk Br. all trains- also 10 MPH max at Whittlesey, Foster, Milan ave- Norwalk; Monroe St. W of station 10 MPH & between home signals 20 MPH-Monroeville; between home singnals 20 MPH & E yard limit board 15 MPH-Bellevue; Main St. Rt. 101 10 MPH- Clyde; Groghan & Garrison St., Birchard ave. 10 MPH- Fremont.

315,000 pounds max. load limit capy. between elyria Jct. & Millbury Jct.

Dispatcher in charge of Norwalk Branch- Toledo
Radio at Toledo/Toledo Div., in cabin cars and locomotives, channel 2- ex-NYC channel, radios have 2 channels (other channel- 1 for ex-PRR lines)

Siding Information: (per PC 4/69 TT)

Trains taking sidings would take first switch except at:

Norwalk– WB, second switch on north side, east of station;  EB, crossover west of station.
Bellevue– WB, crossover;  EB second switch
Clyde– EB crossover west of station
Fremont– EB, crossover

Per a PC 4/28/68 timetable, they labeled the line from Elyria Jct. to Millbury Jct., OH as WB.  Most of the line was “dark territory”- a term used by railroads to mean the line had no working lighted signals in most areas of the line, except before and at railroad line crossings.  Passenger trains were removed from the line, the line was downgraded by NYC and PC, and most freights were rerouted to other NYC/PC lines- such as NYC’s/PC’s NE, Lake, and Toledo Divisions of their Buffalo, NY to Chicago, IL Main Line, including their Western Region.  All signals were removed decades ago, along with the rails, ties, and telephone poles.

Starting at Elyria, OH, the line began there, connected to NYC’s/PC’s Water Level-Lake/Toledo Division, and continued WB to Millbury Jct., where it connected back to the NYC’s/PC’s same Water Level route.

Photos of the original ROW recently:

At Clyde:

(Vine St., facing EB, a few of the NYC/PC Clyde Yard tracks went through here, with the Main to the far right, and the interchange track to the far left, that went to NYC’s/PC’ Sandusky Branch also in Clyde, next to ex-Clyde frieght house.  Freight house is the brick building to the far left.   The crossover of the 2 branches was behind this later-added gazebo, near Maple St.:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Clyde, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ WB--

 

(Maple St., facing north, but Norwalk Branch went W/E- left to right- this is where both the NYC/PC Sandusky and Norwalk Branches crossed.  NYC/PC Sandusky Branch pretty much followed where or to the left of the crosswalk stripes.  The original tall wood plank- with 2 lights-type semaphore signal was also at this location where the small triangle of dirt is- the signal was moved to the far right of Main St. near the police/fire house. The original depot that served both lines was also in this location to the right.  The brick walk and station platform roof there today at the far right not in the photo, was put in the 1990s or so, and is not original.  2020:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Clyde, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ EB---

 

(Ex-NYC/PC Clyde Freight House, now Moose, facing NW, south side of building, in foreground is where the Norwalk Branch and interchange track to the Sandusky Branch use to be.  Before this parking lot was there, you could still see the lower graded wide area where the Norwalk Branch Clyde Yard tracks use to be.  2020:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Clyde, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ Freight House

 

(Woodland Ave. facing EB, now trail, 2020:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Clyde, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ

 

(Spring St. facing WB, 2020:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Clyde, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ WB

 

(East end of NYC/PC Clyde Yard facing WB- had about 3 or so tracks, plus the main was on the far left,  George St., 2020:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Clyde, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ WB-

 

(West end of NYC/PC of same Clyde Yard, facing EB, near Amanda St., 2020:)

 

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Clyde, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ EB-

 

At Bellevue:

(CR 302, west of Bellevue, OH, or Klines technically, facing WB.  Norwalk Branch ROW was where the NS’s stone drive is.  To the right is the ex-W&LE 1st Dist./NKP Toledo Div./N&W Toledo Dist./now NS Toledo Dist., 2021.:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Bellevue, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ

 

(Klines- west of Bellevue, CR 302, facing EB, ROW was where NS’s stone drive is:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Bellevue, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ EB

 

(York St.- behind us- Bellevue, facing EB.  SW St. is in the background.  Main track in to the right, then both Bellevue Yard tracks to the left- the far left track was extended by the museum in the 1980s.  These tracks were rebuilt a few years ago with new ties, plates, and possibly newer rail.  Some of the rail and plates may be original.  The ballast in this picture is not original and was added during the rebuild.  The majority of the original roadbed underneath the rails that was left was old coal slag and dark dirt, between the rail sets and ties, with the dirt being level with the ties and below grade compared to the brick apron to the left.  The older slag/dirt roadbed was that way since the last time NYC rebuilt the roadbed in the 1940s or 1950s.  Later in the 1990s the museum added some limestone ballast in between the rails overtop of the ties.  The brick apron is original, and where the garden dirt mound is where the original NYC Bellevue Depot stood, which was torn down by NYC in the 1960s.   Also an orginal semaphore signal use to be in front of the depot.  The NYC and PC locals always rested here with a caboose and locomotive.  See this site and look for the transfer cab at Bellevue, OH on the page taken by H. Ameling- it shows a photo of this yard facing north, just west of SW St. near the depot area in the background of this photo.:)

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch Bellevue, OH ©Copyright 2020 1-West Productions™/PJ EB-

 

At Norwalk (MP 237.1):

Photo of PC Norwalk Branch, Norwalk, OH, 3-2022-© COPYRIGHT 2022-1-WESTPRODUCTIONS™-PJ, facing EB, Newton St.

PC Locals

PC had at least one local that came out of NYC’s/PC’s Toledo Airline Yard, and serviced at least Fremont, Clyde, and Bellevue, with interchanges between NYC/PC Locals from their Sandusky Branch at Clyde.  At Clyde they serviced lumber yards, grain mills, possibly Whirlpool, and other businesses.  Locals also serviced Norwalk, Monroeville, and other towns on the line.  Most units for the locals were GP7 or GP9 units.  (More info to follow in more detail from Tom, an ex-NYC/PC employees who worked these locals out of Fremont, Clyde, etc. during the 1960s and 1970s, and who’s father also worked these locals.)

(We will continue to add to this article with more information and photos.)

 

© Copyright 2022 1-West Productions™/P.Jordan.  References:  E. Durnwald (ex-N&W/NS Tower Operator/Clerk), A Sampling of Penn Central by Jerry Taylor- IN Univ. 1973, 2000).

 

Berea, Ohio Interlocking- Conrail, Penn Central, New York Central- now Norfolk Southern & CSX

Berea, Ohio Interlocking, or BE Tower- has always been a busy spot for railroad traffic.  Originally part of the Lake Shore Michigan Southern (LS&MS), Big Four, and Cleveland Union Terminal (CUT), then to New York Central (NYC), and Penn Central (PC- 1968), Conrail (CR- 1976), then to Norfolk Southern (NS) and CSX (1998-99).

To this day BE Tower is still a busy place.  The tower is no longer used today, but still stands.  The original CUT/NYC Depot still stands as well, across the Short Line track along Railroad St.  This place is a great spot for railfanning.

The lines running through BE are now NS’s Dearborn Division-Chicago Line (west of Cleveland, OH- ex-LS&MS/NYC Water Level/PC Buffalo-Chicago Line-Lake/Toledo Div./Conrail Dearborn Div.-Chicago Line), and CSX’s Chicago Line (east of Cleveland, OH), Short Line (NYC/PC/CUT Branch- Cleveland Short Line Branch/Conrail Short Line) and Indianapolis Line (PC Columbus-St. Louis Line, Columbus Div./CR Indianapolis Div. and Line).  The W&LE regional railroad also runs a few trains through here.   All of the lines actually run at a SW to NE direction at BE Tower, then west and east, and north and south.

The Chicago Line (NS side) runs west to Toledo, OH and Chicago, IL, and the east side (CSX) runs to Buffalo, and Albany, NY.  The Short Line starts at BE Tower, and runs to Short, Parma, orig. to the Flats, White, Collinwood Yard, then to Alliance, and Pittsburgh, PA.  The Indianapolis Line runs south to Galion, OH where it branches off to Columbus, OH, and splits west to Marion, OH, Indianapolis, IN,  and St. Louis, MO.

Below is a map of BE Interlocking duinrg Conrail days:

Photo of Berea, OH Interlocking Map by 1-West Productions™/PJ

(map by 1-West Productions™/P. Jordan)

One can see many freight types of stack, TOFC, auto rack, coal, locals, and more.  Also Amtrak runs trains 29, 30, 48, 49.  Most if not all of the original NYC/PC/CR signals have been taken down and updated to modern signals by NS & CSX.  CSX also double-tracked the ex-CR Short Line after the Conrail split between NS in 1998-99.  Over 100 trains a day pass through BE, with NS having the most traffic. Railroad scanner frequencies in use today are:  NS- 161.070, 160.980, 160.350 MHz, and CSX-160.800, 160.485, 160.860 MHz.

Our new video BEREA, OHIO INTERLOCKING WITH CONRAIL & AMTRAK, 1996™shows BE during Conrail in 1996.  At that time BE tower was still in use, and many freights, including Amtrak, were filmed on all the lines at this location.  This video, originally filmed by Keith Lehman, was orignally our Keith’s Trains Series™ #50 title, which was remastered and updated to our new title. 

 

© 2018 1-West Productions™/PJ

 

 

New Release Of Norfolk Southern Modern Material

We have a new release of Norfolk Southern modern material released- a new Railroad Video in SD DVD 16×9 Anamorphoc format.  Which means it will play like it should on widescreen TVs, and also on the standards 4×3 screens.  We have been in the process of filming modern NS material for those who like the modern stuff.

The new DVD is NORFOLK SOUTHERN’S CHICAGO LINE/EX-WATER LEVEL ROUTE IN OHIO™, produced by 1-West Productions™.  Filmed in 2014 & 2015, we captured NS action on this famous line that is still a major route.  Image of Norfolk Southern's Chicago Line/Ex-Water Level Route In Ohio™ Railroad DVD- 1-West Productions™ DVD cover

Built in the 1800s, that section of the line that we filmed eventually was owned by the New York Central when they took over the original owner, the Lake Shore Michigan Southern RR.  The NYC obtained ownership of the whole line from Albany, NY to Chicago, IL by merging the LSMS & several other railroads that owned the line across the states.  This line was an efficient way of hauling freight, & also a competing line with the PRR, since it was mostly built on flat land, with very little grades.  The PRR had to go through the mountains in order to get into the more western part of the country.

By 1968, the Penn Central was formed with themerger of the PRR, NYC, & NH, and depended on that line.  By 1976, Conrail was formed and then owned the line until 1999, when NS & CSX split CR.  NS ended up with the line from cleveland on west to Chicago, & CSX from Cleveland on east to NY.  Amtrak uses this line today for some of their trains as well.  NS then called the Water Level their Chicago Line, Dearborn Division.

NS has always had congestion problems on the Chicago Line, especially with the increase in oil train traffic.  In 2014, they worked out an agreement with CSX to lease their ex-PRR/PC/CR Pittsburgh Division line that runs through Bucyrus, OH, Fort Wayne, IN, & to Chicago, IL.  NS would replace ties & rail where it was needed, and was able to transfer some of their oil trains on that line to help ease the congestion on the Chicago Line.

NS has since made updates to the Chicago Line, such as replacement of the ex-NYC/PC/CR signals, added detectors, and even changed detector voices from saying “Conrail” to “Norfolk Southern”.  Some of the detectors heard in the area where it was filmed are at Graytown, LaCarne, Gypsum, Sandusky, Vermillion, & more.  Locations filmed were at Sandusky, near Gypsum, Vermillion, & Toledo, OH, etc.  NS also put in a connetion at Oak Harbor, to connect the chicago Line with their Toledo to Bellevue Line, & a connection outside of Vermillion to connect the same line east of Bellevue.

Many fallen flag freight cars, & locomotives such as UP, BNSF, CN, CP, etc. can also be seen on this video.  Order yours today, & see our coupons for even more savings.

 

 

© Copyright 2015, 1-West Productions™.  Duplication Prohibited.

Railroads We Grew Up With

Most of us like the railroads that we grew up with, and in that same area. Or could be we had a relative or friend who worked for that certain railroad. Maybe on a trip it stuck in our good memory bank in some way, and brings us back to those happy times. Whatever the reason, that railroad name stuck with us through the years.

The N&W / NS and Penn Central / Conrail stuck with me from those days. Seeing those “half-moon” and “zigzag” N&W logos on faded blue and black locomotives respectfully, stuck with me. Also the previous roads that made up the N&W. GP7s, 9s, 30s, 35s, 38s; SD40s, 45s, 35s, etc., especially the high-nosed units made an impact.

Let’s not forget the freight equipment with those logos as well. Even the MofW green equipment, the smell of diesel, running locomotives, generators, etc.

When it came to the PC & CR, seeing those blue engines run at higher speeds on different lines, and seeing they meant business made an impact. Also especially seeing black PC units still wearing the PC logos stuck with me. That PC logo was the neatest thing- I never saw such a design in my life. In the very early 80s, I saw a PC GP7 or 9 switching open PC auto racks in Orville, OH. The sound of the engine, the smoke, the image. Also seeing a few green PC cabooses, with that same logo was just cool. Seeing old PC ROWs, abandoned facilities, track, equipment, deadlines, & more added to the engraving of the N&W and PC likeness. The visual and historical preservation aspects is what motivates me.

When it came to modeling, I could build my dream railroad with those road names. Plus photographing, filming, and restoring equipment of the same road names built even stronger memories and appreciation.

What road names stuck with you, how, and why? We all have reasons for what we like.  Keep those memories alive.

 

 

Pete

Penn Central Locomotive Paint Schemes

Penn Central locomotive paint schemes will be discussed in this blog.  Penn Central had a standard paint scheme they applied to their locomotives. This general version was the road name (applied to the hood of the unit), nose logos, and side logos applied to the hood. However, they had many versions due to different shops using different methods, available paint/supplies at the time, and in order for the image of “red and green team” to be erased as much as possible.

This was a tactic brought on by ex-SOU RR President Bill Moore, who became President of the PC in the early 70s. After the bankruptcy in 1970, he and other officials did their best to reform their broken image to the public, and among fellow employees. He ordered all predecessor logos and road names of the NH, NYC, & PRR to be painted over in any means possible, especially on locomotives. This is why sometimes one would see a locomotive still in ex-NH orange or red paint, but with PC logos, etc. applied. The same for ex-Tuscan red PRR paint on E7s, etc.

Penn Central RR logo photo- 1-West Productions™

PC also had partial schemes, where the locomotive may be painted in new paint, but only nose logos and cab numbers applied. Below is a list put together on variations of PC locomotive paint schemes, as seen in photos, books, etc.:

-FULL: road name, nose logos, cab numbers, large/mid-sized side logos, all logos & lettering were white

-FULL Red P:  the same as Full, but with a red P inside the PC logos.

-FULL Orange C:  the same as Full, but with an orange C inside the PC logos

-PARTIAL 1: road name, nose logos, cab numbers
-PARTIAL 2: road name, cab numbers
-PARTIAL 3: nose logos, cab numbers
-PARTIAL 4: nose logos, cab numbers, side logos
-PARTIAL 5: cab numbers

-PARTIAL 6:  any versions of the partial variations, but using the red P or orange C logos.

The following is a list of color type variations:

-Ex-NEW HAVEN: orange or red body (McGinnis or Alpert Schemes) w/ PC markings (any variation). All NH engines had new numbers applied, since they were not previously numbered in preparation for the PC merger.

-Ex-PRR: Tuscan red (usually E-units), DGLE green. All PRR locomotives received similar roster numbers as did NYC units, to prepare for the PC merger before 1968. Therefore some units kept their original gold/yellow PRR cab numbers, with PC markings.

-Ex-New York Central: gray (E-units), black. All NYC locomotives received similar roster numbers as did PRR units, to prepare for the PC merger before 1968. Therefore some units kept their original white NYC style cab numbers, with PC markings.

-Ex-Lehigh Valley: PC applied their road name to the hood of an RS2 in order to use for scrap-trade material, while still in LV paint. They did the same to a few other types of locomotives.

-Ex-D&RGW: PC received F-units from the Rio Grande they were originally going to use as trade in bait. However they found a few of the As & Bs to be still functional. They put 2 As & 2 Bs in service, and they wore the original yellow, silver, & black paint, with PC numbers & logos applied for a few years before finally being painted in PC black.

Although the PC paint scheme was a great one, with a futuristic logo & lettering fonts, and a basic but great black scheme, to those who didn’t like the straight-forward scheme, a little variety of various colors could be found within the PC system.  There are many books, publications, DVDs, & other sources available out there for those who would like to see actual pictures & more.  We have even found even more variations never seen before during our research.  With the PC, anything was possible, and new variations are found all the time!

What was your favorite PC paint scheme?

 

1-WP

 

© Copyright 2015, 1-West Productions™/PJ.  Duplication Prohibited.   Sources used for this information were:  Penn Central Power, Penn Central Power 1-4, Penn Central In Color 1-4- Yanosey;  Penn Central System Bi-Annual- Reid;  A Sampling of Penn Central- Taylor;  The Wreck of the Penn Central- Daughen & Binzen;  original Penn Central RR Posts employees magazines;  various PC DVDs by Green Frog, Clear Block, Revelation Video, & other books & photographs with PC locomotives.

 

 

 

PRR/PC/CR Logan Side-Bradford Line- Part of The PRR Panhandle Route

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.

kt33saratogaex-prr-1994-faceSEtowardsunioncity-=================x

(Logan Side-Panhandle Line, Ridgeville, IN, facing west, after CR removal.)

kt33deerfieldINexprrtieplates===================x

(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.).

kt33crcrcr================x

kt33crrllll==================x 

(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.

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(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.

CONRAIL- April 1, 1976

This month, CONRAIL- April 1, 1976, was formed by the US government, to help save the Midwest & Eastern US railroads’ financial problems. For years the roads involved pleaded to the government to help out, but refused, or did little to help matters.

Penn Central for example, went bankrupt in 1970, due to many reasons (computer problems, government rate regulations, bad weather, poor management, poor financial decisions, “red team vs. green team” mentality, the New Haven railroad’s financial problems and the forcing of the NH to be merged into the PC by the ICC, etc.). The PC asked the government for a bail-out, and even made a movie about their problems, to prove to the government. However they refused to help.

The PC’s pleading didn’t go totally un-noticed though. The Nixon administration looked into the problems of the PC, and many other railroads in similar situations, and saw that if nothing was done, it could very well cripple the US economy, due to the railroads being a very important part of economic health in the country.

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Conrail was formed under the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973, to help bail out these railroads in trouble, by combining them into a merger, and being run by the US government. Even though CR was incorporated in PA, October of 1974, it went into effect on April 1, 1976. The railroads combined to form CR was: Penn Central, Lehigh Valley, Reading, Jersey Central, Erie-Lackawanna, and Lehigh and Hudson. Even though these railroads were all included in CR, it was much like the Penn Central, only under a different name and paint scheme. This is because the PC part of CR has the most miles of track, equipment, and employees, and most of the operations were run like PC.

CR poured millions into the railroad plant, by repairing track and facilities, purchasing new equipment to replace the old, combining terminals, closing unnecessary routes, etc. By the 1980s, CR was finally making a profit. Stanley Crane, who came from the SOU Railway, and became CEO if CR, helped bring CR out of its financial slump.  He used his political connections, high energy, his belief in CR, and his business ideas to help make CR become an important, strong, and independant railroad.  By 1987 it was privatized. In 1999, CR was split between Norfolk Southern and CSX.

So this month we remember Conrail and its memories. Today we still see CR on the tracks in freight cars and other things.   One day, it will vanish, just like the PC is now more difficult to see these days.  Thankfully, railfans have helped preserve CR during its years of operation.  Many DVD examples HERE, are available that shows a lot of CR in action.  Also thankfully, in 2012, NS painted 8098, a GE ES44AC, into the standard Conrail scheme, as part of their heritage group of locomotives.  There is now the CRHS that helps keep CR history preserved as well.  Keep CR alive, and take those pictures!

 

 

 

© Copyright 2015 1-West Productions­™/PJ

Penn Central, NYC, PRR, NH, & Conrail

The Penn Central, NYC, PRR, NH, & Conrail- one topic I’m really familiar with is the Penn Central Railroad. I’ve written extensively on this subject for some years, and even have another website dedicated to this railroad. Although there were many people who despised that railroad, it still played a very important part of keeping America’s economy flowing, regardless of its mis-haps. Those of us in the younger generations appreciate the PC for what it was, and the very wide range of modeling that can be done with it.

The PC was the joining of the New York Central, Pennsylvania, and later the New Haven Railroads. The NYC & PRR were joined in 1968, and the NH in 1969. The NYC and PRR were great competitors originally, with parallel routes. The NH was considered mostly a passenger road, with some TOFC trains, and the PC did not want to include them in their merger. However the ICC required them to take in the NH, if they wanted the ICC to approve the PC merger in the first place.

The new PC at the time seemed like it was going to work in the beginning, then hard times came. Unfortunately many factors happened, which caused the merger to fail in 1970. Factors were corrupt management, investments spread too wide, government regulations on rates that the railroad was allowed to charge to its customers, competition with trucks and air, deferred maintenance of facilities, tracks, and equipment, weather-related catastrophes (hurricanes, floods, severe winters, etc.), lack of freight cars, locomotives, and cabooses, parallel routes, and the government not allowing the railroads to abandon older secondary routes not needed by the railroads throughout the country.

Many would say that the PC was the only railroad merger in the States to have paralleled routes that failed or plagued with problems, and the only railroad to have dirty and run-down equipment, loosing money everyday, bad track, and corruption. But history and many good sources say that was not the case. Many US railroad mergers and companies, especially in the Midwest and East were in the same trouble. In fact, the ONLY Class 1 railroad that had fewer problems, especially during this time was the Santa Fe. Also the only merger that actually worked with fewer problems was the NS merger between the N&W and SOU later in the 1980s!

Finally the government had to step in to help, or an economic catastrophe was on the way. Conrail was formed and took over the PC, EL, RDG, LV, & CNJ- all that were in the same situations as the PC. CR grew a profit in the 1980s, and was taken over by NS & CSX in the late 1990s.

The PC is a favorite to many in modeling, studying, photo collecting, and more.  They had many paint scheme variations, colors, equipment types, unique colors, great facilties, yards, and more.  The PC was not a separate company that came and took over the NYC, PRR, and NH- they were simply the combining of these roads, just under a new name. And some say the PC lived on even under CR, since most of CR’s operations, tracks, equipment, personnel were PC. These days the PC is getting more difficult to see, as equipment is being replaced, things changed, etc. May the PC live on!

DVDs to check out:

-You can see some history about the PC on Revelation’s Penn Central DVD HERE.  Just one of many PC DVDs out there that has material the others do not have.

-Also a DVD about the NYC (by Revelation) HERE

-Many great DVDs with CONRAIL can be found in Keith’s Trains Series™ HERE

 

(Sources one should read that backup these facts are:  Wreck Of The Penn Central, Merging Lines, Penn Central Power, just to name a few!)

© Copyright 2015 PJ/1-WP™