TP&W’s Morton Job!

Late this afternoon, I had my first encounter with the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway’s Morton Job since September 2013!

Video shows TP&W GP40 #3046 hauling three herbicide tank cars down Norfolk Southern’s Bloomington District to Crandall Jct. then on what is left of Santa Fe’s Pekin District. After spotting these cars at Fort Transfer Company on the west side of Morton, 3046 returns to East Peoria engine lite.

Recall a year ago that TP&W embargoed this line, leading to protest by Fort Transfer Company, which received tank cars of liquid herbicide on a regular basis. After a meeting between TP&W, Fort Transfer, Keokuk Junction officials and a representative of the Surface Transportation Board April 1, 2015, things looked brighter. That’s because TP&W decided to restore service to the line.

Unfortunately, only Fort Transfer uses the line now. The other customer, Morton Buildings, transloads lumber from railcars to trucks at TP&W’s East Peoria Yard.

– David P. Jordan

Springfield Airport Passenger Traffic Up 5.5%!

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Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (SPI) continued to grow in 2015.

That’s according to today’s State Journal-Register. In 2015, handled 183,830 passengers compared to 174,265 in 2014, 144,953 in 2013 and 138,480 in 2012. It was the third increase in a row and highest volume in a decade.

Last year, Allegiant Air and United Express saw increased traffic while American Eagle saw a decline. The latter was attributable to a schedule change.

At present, Allegiant Air offers nonstops to Orlando-Sanford and Punta Gorda (Fort Myers) in Florida; American Eagle offers twice-daily service to Dallas/Ft. Worth and Unites Express operates three or four daily flights between Springfield and Chicago-O’Hare.

– David P. Jordan

Peoria Area Rail Action, Monday, February 22, 2016!

I’ve been busy with college work this week, but I thought I’d share some videos I shot Monday afternoon, February 22, 2016.

In order, I captured at Krause Avenue in Peoria BNSF Railway’s freight from Galesburg (M-GALPEI), which had 62 cars. Shortly thereafter at W. Clarke Street, I got Union Pacific’s LDP01 job (“Peoria Wayfreight”) with a snoot-nosed SD40N and seven cars enroute to Collier Yard in Bartonville.

I knew Iowa Interstate train SIPE (SIlvis IL to PEoria IL) was due. Led solo by red-and-yellow ES44AC 516, the train had 60 cars. A couple of hours later, I captured a Norfolk Southern unit grain train departing East Peoria for the southeast. Finally, an Illinois & Midland RR freight rolls through Creve Coeur enroute from East Peoria to Powerton.

– David P. Jordan

New PIA Int’l Terminal Update

Mike Fiedler provides the latest photos updating us on the progress of PIA’s new international terminal. These were taken yesterday.

The construction enclosure at the east end of the concourse inside the main terminal has been removed and reveals a ramp. This needed to be built because the connector extended out from a higher level than the old Gate 12.

Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to snap these pics and providing them to me!

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– David P. Jordan

Delta to Double CIRA-Minneapolis/St. Paul Service

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Bloomington-Normal’s Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA) will be getting more service to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. SkyWest Airlines dba Delta Connection is doubling service to two roundtrips daily starting June 1. All flights will be operated with 50-seat Canadair RJ200s.

This move increases Delta service out of CIRA to six departures daily – three to Atlanta, one to Detroit and two to Minneapolis/St. Paul. By early March, American Eagle wil also offer six daily departures – three each to Chicago-O’Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth. Allegiant Air provides four weekly flights to Orlando-Sanford (FL) and twice weekly flights to St. Petersburg/Clearwater (FL).

– David P. Jordan

Peoria Gateway Curtailed

Norfolk Southern unit ethanol train 66E departs East Peoria, Illinois on December 30, 2015

This week, the Iowa Interstate Railroad shifts most interchange with Norfolk Southern away from Peoria. Empty ethanol trains and five-days-a-week Knoxville (TN) to E. Peoria Train 115 will also shift to Chicago interchange. This represents a loss of about one train per day in each direction on both Iowa Interstate’s Bureau Jct.-Peoria line and Norfolk Southern’s Bloomington District.

These carriers will continue to exchange weekly Cedar Rapids, Iow-bound unit coal trains and intermittent grain trains originating at Des Moines, Iowa.

This move reportedly is being made because Norfolk Southern’s mainlines into Chicago have seen reduced crude oil and other freight traffic and now have capacity for daily loaded and empty ethanol trains without causing congestion. Railroads tend to concentrate traffic on as few lines as possible, so this change is consistent with that practice.

It isn’t clear if this move will be free of problems. The Iowa Interstate must use CSX Transportation’s “New Rock Subdivision” between Utica and Joliet, Metra between Joliet and Blue Island, and Chicago Rail Link to interchange these trains with Norfolk Southern. Carload freight is interchanged via the Indiana Harbor Belt. At East Peoria, IAIS and NS crews simply swap trains on congestion-free Tazewell & Peoria Railroad trackage. Don’t be surprised to see this traffic return to the Peoria Gateway, especially as the railroads experience the next traffic boom.

– David P. Jordan

PJStar Covers PIA’s 2015 Passenger Record…a Month Late!

Perhaps the Peoria Journal Star should adopt “better late than never” as its slogan. Such would be fitting for its coverage of local commercial aviation.

Peoria International Airport posted this press release January 12 announcing 2015’s 4th consecutive record number of travelers (641,477). Peoria’s trusty newspaper of record, though, decided until February 10 – nearly a month after the news became public – to run the story.

Like I said…better late than never. 😛

– David P. Jordan

PJStar Covers Loss of Houston Flights

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Although Peoria’s newspaper of record is still deadbeat on reporting 2015’s passenger numbers, at least it is covering the loss of Houston flights.

You can read the story here. The reason for the loss is explained here,

“The airline said it was looking for a higher load factor than we were able to generate,” Olson said in regard to the decision to end service to the Texas city.

Peoria airport officials seem to be open to the idea that Houston or Denver service might resume at some point in the future.

– David P. Jordan