Warbonnet-Led BNSF Freight On Peoria Sub – June 10, 2017

A derailment involving several cars of a westbound loaded feed train Monday afternoon messed up operations a bit on BNSF Railway’s Peoria Subdivision.

The regular Monday freight from Galesburg to Peoria, M-GALPEI had cleared the line by early afternoon, tying up at the Tazewell & Peoria Railroad’s East Peoria Yard. Several hours later, a 100-car, Modesto, California-bound unit feed pellet train (loaded by ADM in Decatur, delivered by Canadian National to BNSF) G-PEIMOD derailed several cars on a bridge just north of the Harmon Highway bridge.

If not for 10mph slow orders imposed after recent flooding, the derailment would have been far more serious. I shot this feed train (possible G-PEIMOD or G-PEIFRS) on Easter Sunday (April 16), and at 4:43 you can see they’ve already begun to accelerate as they near Harmon Highway.

The feed train had locomotives on both ends, so cars on either end of the derailed cars were pulled in the clear, some left at Edwards Siding and moston the New Long Main, seen from the S. Adams Street viaduct. That is where both cuts were on Saturday morning when M-PEIGAL, believed the first of the week (normally, trains would have run Tuesday and Friday) departed TZPR’s East Peoria Yard.

A friend gave me a heads up, so I managed to capture video of the 79-car train at Edwards, Rockhill Road (between Edwards and Oak Hill) and Elmwood. Icing on the cake was the train’s motive power – BNSF 625 and BNSF 539 – both still wearing Santa Fe red-and-silver Warbonnet colors. The first, in fact, is still lettered for Santa Fe.

Besides two Caterpillar tractor loads, coiled wire rod from Keystone Steel & Wire and gluten feed pellets, distillers’ grain and steepwater from Pacific Ethanol were typical traffic on Saturday’s train.

– David P. Jordan

Sixteen NS Heritage Units Down, Four To Go

I’ve seen sixteen of Norfolk Southern’s twenty Heritage Units introduced in 2012 to celebrate the carrier’s thirtieth birthday.

The sixteenth was NS 1073, an SD70ACe painted in Penn Central colors. I got it after a last-minute attempt to capture NS 1073 leading the Iowa Interstate Railroad’s regular evening train CBBI (Council Bluffs IA to Blue Island IL) Saturday evening.

Although I raced up Rt. 40 to Sheffield in hopes of intercepting it there, the train was already past, and I barely made it to Bureau Junction in time to confirm its location.

I captured a few stills at Bureau and had to settle for low-light video at DePue. NS1073-IAIS 505-IAIS 516 lead 114 cars, the first seven of which are intermodal cars of three units each.

I mounted my camera on a tri-pod, but now I wish I had just held it. A soft joint on stick rail sub-leased from CSX Transportation caused noticeable vibration.

NOTE: Norfolk Southern’s Heritage Units arelisted below. An asterisk* indicates those which I’ve seen.

NS 1065 (SD70ACe/Savannah & Atlanta Railway)*
NS 1066 (SD70ACe/New York Central Railroad)*
NS 1067 (SD70ACe/Reading Company)*
NS 1068 (SD70ACe/Erie Railroad)*
NS 1069 (SD70Ace/Virginian Railway)
NS 1070 (SD70Ace/Wabash Railway)*
NS 1071 (SD70ACe/Central Railroad of New Jersey)
NS 1072 (SD70ACe/Illinois Terminal Railroad)*
NS 1073 (SD70ACe/Penn Central)*
NS 1074 (SD70Ace/Delaware Lackawanna & Western)*
NS 8025 (ES44AC/Monongahela Railway)*
NS 8098 (ES44AC/Conrail)*
NS 8099 (ES44AC/Southern Railway)*
NS 8100 (ES44AC/Nickel Plate Road)*
NS 8101 (ES44AC/Central of Georgia Railroad)
NS 8102 (ES44AC/Pennsylvania RR)*
NS 8103 (ES44AC/Norfolk & Western Railway)
NS 8104 (ES44AC/Lehigh Valley Railroad)*
NS 8105 (ES44AC/Interstate Railroad)*
NS 8114 (ES44AC/Norfolk Southern Railway)*

– David P. Jordan

Sunday Train Action!

Iowa Interstate manifest PESI (Peoria IL to Silvis IL) rolls through Mossville, Illinois on May 21, 2017. A trio of GP38-2s 719, 712 and 715 have 111 cars. Tank car right behind the potash empties was an amines load (UN 2734), possibly from Mapleton, Illinois.

A Toledo Peoria & Western Railway eastbound rolls under US 24 at Cruger, Illinois then Eureka (whole train) on May 21, 2017. GP50 #5015 and SD40-3s #3443 and #3442 have 101 cars – 20 nitrogen fertilizer solution loads, a buffer and 80 ethanol loads.

– David P. Jordan

Empty Ethanol Train on the TP&W!

Got a heads up from more than one source that a TP&W westbound led by 3442-3443-5015 was making its way west through East Central Illinois Saturday afternoon.

I decided to intercept, and found the train waiting at Chenoa for the passage of a southbound Union Pacific intermodal train.

Train was untypically short, just 48 cars, including buffers at each end. Scenes are just west of Chenoa, at Gridley, between El Paso and Secor, just west of Secor, just east of Eureka, at Cruger, Washington and the Farmdale Trestle shortly before arriving the East Peoria Yard.

– David P. Jordan

An A-B-A Geep Set on BNSF’s Peoria Local?

Freight B units?

Friday evening, I caught BNSF Railway train M-PEIGAL (Manifest, Peoria IL to Galesburg IL) leaving East Peoria on May 5, 2017 with A-B-A geep set BNSF 2036, BNSF 334, and BNSF 2129 have 20 cars.

The “B” unit may seem odd. They don’t exist in large numbers anyway. The Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe purhased 23 GP60Bs for 1991 delivery. All have been re-lettered, re-painted and re-numbered by successor Burlington Northern Santa Fe (now simply “BNSF”). One of these, has been rebuilt into a standard cab unit.

I knew this A-B-A set arrived Thursday morning on counterpart M-GALPEI, but figured M-PEIGAL would leave late Friday under darkness. Turns out, I got lucky and the dispatcher gave the train permission to depart just as I drove passed the Tazewell & Peoria Railroad’s East Peoria Yard about 6:00 in the evening.

Note the Caterpillar D10T, blade and two D6T loads. Both Caterpillar and Komatsu are ramping up production due to increased demand, which is good news for the local economy, employment and the railroads.

Scenes are at TZPR’s Illinois River Bridge, Darst Street, the through truss bridge just south of Harmon Highway and at W. Farmington Road where a slow order is due to recent flooding.

– David P. Jordan

Flood-related Detours on the Union Pacific

I missed the military train this morning…

…but I did see this northbound manifest, which sort of made up for it.

Due to severe flooding in the St. Louis area, Union Pacific is detouring trains away from St. Louis, and the Peoria Subdivision is seeing a temporary surge in traffic.

Heading home early this evening, I had to wait on a slow-moving* freight at the Alta Road crossing. I chased it to Akron and shot video. UP 5655, UP 7980 and UP 7236 leading 95 cars.

Train symbol is AASNP or Autos, Alton & Southern to North Platte, NE. The “Auto” symbol is appropriate with 33 autoracks blocked on the train’s head end. Normally, this train departs the Alton & Southern’s Gateway Yard near East St. Louis and runs via St. Louis proper and Kansas City.

*Slow-orders of 10mph on some sections, 25mph on others due to bad crosstie conditions. 

– David P. Jordan

Conrail. East Peoria. 1995. (Part II)

Here’s a slideshow showing the last moving Conrail freight train I ever photographed.

I saw this on a sunny Monday morning, December 4, 1995. I noticed this train departing P&PU’s East Peoria Yard and promptly beat it to Farmdale Switch only to wait until it pulled eight cars from TP&W’s Industrial Spur.

When it finally began moving again, train PEHI, led by SD60M 5560, had 44 cars. After six photos, I probably ran out of film, which explains a mad dash to Farmdale Road to capture the whole in train in seven shots!

Outbound loads were typical for this train: wire rod (in gondolas) and fencing and/or nails (in boxcars) from Keystone Steel & Wire; alcohol (in tank cars) and distillers grain (in covered hoppers) from Midwest Grain Products of Illinois; and carbon dioxide gas (in tank cars) from BOC. Numerous gondolas were likely scrap metal empties while the hoppers were metallurgical coal (unloaded at Keokuk, Iowa) or coke (unloaded at Keystone Steel & Wire) empties.

I probably saw a Conrail train (from a distance) while at the U. S. Air Force Museum at Dayton, Ohio in July 1997. For a decade after the Conrail Transaction (June 1, 1999) a pair of Conrail blue units were common power for Norfolk Southern’s D49, and later D46, local turns to East Peoria. On October 31, 2015, I rode a Conrail Shared Assets Organization (CSAO) passenger special out of Newark, New Jersey behind Bennett Levin’s Pennsylvania RR-painted E-8As with then-president Ron Batory onboard. But December 4, 1995 was the last time I’d photograph an actual moving Conrail freight train.

– David P. Jordan

A TZPR a followed by a TP&W

Seeing two local trains in a row isn’t bad, especially on a warm, sunny April Fools Day!

It is April, but I’m not fooling. Early Saturday afternoon, I caught TZPR 1520 (an ex-Apalachicola & Northern SW-1500) pulling 21 empties across ADM’s River Track at Bridge Junction in Peoria (ABOVE). The 1520’s crew had just pushed the cars out of ADM’s South Yard, which is out of view behind me.

Closely following TZPR 1520, TP&W 3046 (a former Indiana & Ohio Railway GP40) pulled 13 cars through the same location (BELOW) enroute to East Peoria. The last six were set out at TZPR’s East Peoria Yard.

– David P. Jordan

TP&W Ethanol/Manifest, Saturday, March 25, 2017

When I see an eastbound TP&W freight ready to depart East Peoria, I don’t wait for blue skies.

There weren’t any such skies Saturday, but this train was too neat to pass up. I had just left the downtown library and decided to check for the possibility of another TP&W ethanol train.

Wouldn’t you know it, I found the head end of the 109-car train well past Carver Lane. As soon as I arrived, it began moving. So I turned around and headed for my favorite first spot to catch eastbounds out of East Peoria: Farmdale Trestle.

I chased it to Secor. I had to give up on one or two locations due to rain or drops on my camera lens, but I’m happy with what I got. Other scenes of this eight-and-one-half minute video were taken in Washington (two locations), Cruger, Eureka (whole train) and Secor, where you can see the entire train in one shot!

The first 27 cars were carload freight blocked onto the head end of an 82-car ethanol train bound for CSX Transportation in Lafayette, Indiana (destination is in Florida). This number includes a buffer car on either end. The BNSF covered hopper might be loaded with ingredients for a birdseed plant in Reynolds, Indiana (contents are transloaded at the Co-Alliance elevator in Remington then trucked the final leg). Fourteen green Incobrasa covered hoppers are likely loaded with soybeans, while eight empty limestone hoppers are heading back to Rogers Group/Newton County Stone Co. at Perkins, Indiana. Other cars are for CN at Gilman and CSX at Lafayette, Indiana.

– David P. Jordan

BNSF Peoria Local – April 19, 2012

I upload most of my videos to YouTube. This was an exception until today.

It shows the old BNSF “Peoria Local,” L-CHI107, rolling through Edwards, Illinois on April 19, 2012. After sunset around the Ft. of Chicago Street, the crew switches an empty carbon black car from Caterpillar’s Rubber Processing Facility (“Cat Tire”). BNSF 2037 & 2119 had 16 cars.

This was back when “107” ran Monday thru Friday, regardless of traffic levels, with an assigned crew. For periods of a few months, particularly in fall and winter, it reverted to an extraboard crew and ran only two or three days per week. In May 2015, “107” was abolished and replaced by M-GALPEI and M-PEIGAL, which normally operate Monday & Thursday and Tuesday & Friday, respectively.

– David P. Jordan