Gritty, Industrial Railroading, Part XVII

You won’t catch a crowd like this every day in ADM’s South Yard!

I happened to be on Peoria’s south end Tuesday afternoon when the Tazewell & Peoria RR’s “Industry 3” job departed Kickapoo Yard. I caught TZPR 1520 at Krause Ave. dragging 21 cars. Interestingly, the train didn’t cross the river (the bridge was up). Neither did it stop short of Bridge Junction to wait for barge traffic to clear. Instead, it pulled onto the Union Pacific-owned connection and onto ADM’s River Track. I immediately knew the reason – asphalt cars for Peoria River Terminal. The four loaded cars were spotted at the customer; one load was pulled.

An hour or so later, ADM’s South Yard started getting crowded. TZPR 1352 came across the river with what I assume to be corn screenings cars that had come out of Decatur on the CN and shoved them onto the River Track. Then TZPR 1520 ran around to the other end of its train. Minutes later, TZPR 1352 switched to the other side of the South Yard to couple onto 25 IAIS grain empties.

As the sky grew darker, TZPR 1520 pulled its now 18-car train off the River Track and through the Bridge Junction connection. When the rear car (the asphalt tank car pulled from Peoria River Terminal) cleared the connection switch, the train backed up the mainline and across the Illinois River bridge on its way to East Peoria.

Just minutes after I left the scene, TZPR 1352 pulled those 25 IAIS grain empties. It was too dark for video, my camera battery was running low and I wanted to check out Union Pacific’s 46-car MPECL, which was departing Peoria Jct. around 5:00pm.

Iowa Interstate SIPE (Peoria-bound Freight)

I learned saw that an extra SIPE was going through Geneseo at 12:40pm Sunday. So I figured it would still be daylight (overcast notwithstanding) when the train made its way down the Peoria Sub.

I was partly correct. About 3:30pm, I encountered the train between Henry and Putnam and shot UP 4357 & IAIS 705 go by with 87 cars. But switching at Bureau Jct. and again at Chillicothe ensured nocturnal passage the rest of way.

At least I managed to capture video at County Rd. 1550 N. (runby, and entire train in last part of video), south of Henry, at Sparland, switching Galena Road Gravel Co. in Chillicothe and by the former Rock Island Chillicothe depot.

– David P. Jordan

Sun Country Airlines 737-700 Visits PIA Today!

Sun Country Airlines jets have been making frequent appearances at Peoria Int’l Airport in recent months.

From Peoria, the Eagan, Minnesota-based carrier has been flying charters to Bullhead City/ Laughlin Int’l Airport, which serves the casino and resort town of Laughlin, Nevada. It also makes one or two “Honor Flights” a year to Washington, DC.

A Sun Country 737-700 landed at Peoria Int’l Airport around midday Monday after a return charter from Bullhead City, AZ/Laughlin, NV. It was parked at the Ray LaHood Int’l Terminal, Gate 14. When I arrived, an Allegiant Air MD-80 was parked at Gate 10. I missed its takeoff on Runway 22, but got the Sun Country blasting off from Runway 13 for Chicago-Midway.

– David P. Jordan

Pioneer Industrial Park Rail Operations To Resume


The Pioneer Industrial Railway (PRY) is returning to operation after five years.

Union Pacific delivered PREX 3069, a GP-20 resplendent in the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway’s classic “yellowbonnet” colors, to the interchange at Pioneer Jct. in mid-afternoon Thursday.

In October 2011, PRY delivered to Union Pacific a flat car and centerbeam flat car that had been stored on the city-owned line at Pioneer Industrial Park. Late that year, PRY’s locomotive, PREX 2032, was delivered to the Union Pacific. Ironically, the City of Peoria had crossings at both Radnor Road and Pioneer Parkway were repaired as the line’s operator withdrew its equipment!

Unfortunately, reactivation isn’t due to a major new customer. The City of Peoria royally screwed up some years ago when it spent millions reconfiguring rail service to Pioneer Industrial Park, eliminating rail competition and thus ending point-to-point rail transportation pricing competitive with trucking or transloading. The last rail customer at the park, Carver Lumber, continues to transload material at the Tazewell & Peoria Railroad’s freight house and team track facilities in Creve Coeur.

Instead, Pioneer Industrial Park trackage will be filled with railcars that need to be stored short- or long-term. Expect these to arrive in the near future. (Video below shows Union Pacific’s Peoria Wayfreight working Thursday, finally delivering PREX 3069 to PRY.)

– David P. Jordan

TP&W’s East Peoria Extra (and a surprise!)

The Toledo Peoria & Western Railway operates an East Peoria Extra (EP-X) during the week to classify and build East End road freights, make transfer runs to and from the Tazewell & Peoria Railroad’s East Peoria Yard, and handle industry and interchange work on the Peoria side of the river.

On Thursday, November 17, 2016, I caught this job heading toward Collier Yard in Bartonville with SD40-2s 3442 & 3443, 11 Mapleton cars and 15 corn loads for ADM. After clearing Iowa Jct., on Peoria’s far south edge, the EP-SW crew shoved the corn loads onto ADM’s River Track between S. Darst and W. Clarke streets.

Then it got interesting. I waited at recently-reopening Sanitation Road in Bartonville for the train to resume its run to Collier Yard. As it passed, I also noticed Tazewell & Peoria Railroad SW-10 1351 on a parallel line pulling a cut out of Kickapoo Yard.

Final scene shows EP-X at W. Clarke Street taking six cars back to East Peoria.

– David P. Jordan

Conrail Heritage Unit Is Back!

I’ve seen most of Norfolk Southern’s 20 Heritage Units introduced in 2012. I’m not opposed to seeing these for a second (or third) time though. Case in point, I first saw the Conrail unit, NS 8098, an ES44AC, on display at Chicago Union Station in May 2013 for National Train Day celebrations.

But in April 2015, the unit made it to Peoria. Norfolk Southern put it on a train bound for the Iowa Interstate Railroad, but I didn’t see the initial exchange. I did, however, catch NS 8098 leading a 95-car ethanol train coming back to Peoria on April 17, 2015 (BELOW).

On November 16, 2016, NS 8098 came back on Norfolk Southern coal train 402 this morning, which became Iowa Interstate PECR (Peoria IL to Cedar Rapids IA) this afternoon. I followed it from downtown Peoria up to Chillicothe. See video at the top of this post (if you haven’t already). The unit will likely come back through Peoria soon, perhaps as early as Thursday.

Due to the time of year and lighting, and northbound orientation, I had to be creative with my shots. As for the completed video, I put power runbys at the old CRI&P Morton St. depot, at San Koty, Mossville, Chillicothe and near Hopewell then the whole train at San Koty. NS 6752-NS 8098-NS 2754 have 99 cars.

– David P. Jordan