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