Rock Island 630 & 652 Hauled Through Davenport, Iowa!

Two original passenger “E-units” which once led Rock Island streamliners are bound for a new home.

Both units ran to and from Peoria on the Peoria Rocket. The 630, resplendent in a “Golden Rocket” scheme applied for builer Electro Motive Division’s 50-anniversary in 1972, pulled a fantrip from Chicago to Peoria in September that year. A love-it-or-hate-it Bicentennial scheme was applied to 652 in 1976.

These units enjoyed stints at the Midland Railway out of Baldwin City, Kansas. No. 630 had been purchased from the Rock Island by a Kansas City museum in May 1979 and restored in 1988 to a livery similar to its original dress. No. 652 was preserved and then restored to its original paint scheme by the Midland museum in 1994. Both units were sold by the Midland Railway to Sabin’s Manly Junction Railroad Museum in 2009.

Slant-nose E-6A #630, built in 1941, and E-8A #652, built in 1952, are the property of Dan Sabin and have been cosmetically restored to wear an early 1960s-era simplification of the classic crimson-and-maroon livery worn by locomotives which powered the Rock Island’s famous Rocket fleet.

Sabin, president of the Iowa Northern Railway, had worked for the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad for a decade starting in 1968 as a student train order operator, eventually becoming the nation’s youngest dispatcher three years later at age 18. So his interest in the units requires no explanation.

Mid-America Railcar in Kansas City, Missouri repainted both 630 and 652 prior to shipment to Manly. I received word that Canadian Pacific would haul these units on a regular freight train (Kansas City to St. Paul No. 475) through the Quad Cities sometime on Monday, May 22. I wouldn’t get out of work until 3:00pm so the later the better.

Fortunately, 475 was later. I arrived the east side of Nahant Yard in Davenport, Iowa in time to capture it making a set out. Both 630 and 652 presented a splended appearance as they passed before my lens. The appearance of the Eldridge Branch local with two Deere & Company hydraulic excavator loads was icing on the cake!

I waited until evening in hopes of seeing 475’s departure north. Even  better, I caught counterpart 474 (St. Paul to Kansas City) while waiting in downtown Davenport.

Perhaps an hour later, 475 received permission to depart Nahant Yard. Scenes are at West Davenport and in downtown Davenport next to the Government Bridge.

– 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

Friday’s Union Pacific MPECL

I caught Union Pacific’s MPECL this afternoon, and glad I did.

The 27th car, UTLX 600827, displays a Corn Products logo, which means the
car is leased to Ingredion Inc. I’ve never seen a Corn Products/Ingredion
tank car on this train before, so UP has new business, probably sorbitol
consigned to a western (or Mexican) customer. (Ingredion owns a sorbitol plant at Mapleton, served by the TP&W.)

A pair of SD70Ms, UP 4116 & UP 4950, are shown pulling a 31-car train past the Akron Services elevator north of Dunlap.

– David P. Jordan