Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mendota, IL: CB&Q Coaling Tower and Roundhouse

Moved to the towns blog:

Galesburg, IL: Coaling Tower and Roundhouse

Moved to the towns blog:

Friday, November 28, 2014

Covered Hopper Cargo

The number of bays under a covered hopper indicate the type of cargo it is carrying.

5-bays: flour.

20140609 0183-cropped

4-bays: plastic pellets. The bays have a connection for a hose for pneumatic unloading.

Plastic pellets going to a dairy to make milk cartons

 3-bays: grain. A couple of the cars being loaded at the CGB grain elevator in Olney, IL. (Update: also potash.)    Number of bushels a 3-bay hopper can hold

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2-bays: sand. And the cars are shorter. They are also used for other high density cargo such as frac sand, cement, roofing granules, alumina and aggregates. But different cargo types may require different liners.

A 2-bay hopper carrying feed. The resolution was good enough that you can see it was built in 1951. Were 3-bay grain hoppers developed after 1951 is the density of feed (ground grain) enough higher that only 2 bays are needed. The CSX reporting mark indicates Central Transportation Company. As I have mentioned before, my Dad worked for Central Soya. The founder was Dale W. McMillen Sr. I had always heard of Master Mix as their feed division. This posting is the first time I have seen McMillen Feeds. I found a history of Central Soya, but it is more info than I have time to read now. Now that I think about this car some more, 1951 is an early date for any type of covered hopper.

Stan Sienicki posted
Trackside Treasure doesn't take pictures of just the locomotives so I was able to learn that a 2-bay car may also be carrying salt and that sodium chlorate uses pneumatic unloading. And I include a standard 3-bay hopper because BN green is indeed getting rare.

Trackside Treasure
AXLX 20072 salt cars - your choice graffiti or rust!

Trackside Treasure
UNPX120701 sodium chlorate service cylindrical

Trackside Treasure
BN 461908 rare to see a large "BN" logo!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

ND&W: Maumee & Western and Napolean, Defiance & Western

Since my home town was Fort Wayne, IN, this video caught my attention. It has a nice write up that explains the fate of the Wabash mainline east of Fort Wayne. The segment east of Liberty Center, OH, and Toledo became a rail-trail. The 51-mile segment between Woodburn, IN, and Liberty Center, OH, was obtained from Norfolk Southern in 1990 by Indiana Hi-Rail Company to form the Maumee & Western Railroad Company (MAW). When Hi-Rail liquidated in 1997, MAW purchased the line. In December, 2012, Pioneer Rail Corp acquired the trackage and formed the subsidiary Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railroad Company to not only operate it, but to maintain it. When the track has not been maintained for 50 years, it becomes news when there is maintenance activity. The Crescent-News in Defiance, OH, took a video of a MoW mowing operation. The mower not only removed brush, it cut trees. Note timestamp 0:51. Note that the equipment design assumes it is the sides of the track that need to be trimmed, not the track bed itself. The track had not been properly maintained since 1964 when the Norfolk and Western, Nickel Plate, Wabash and other railroads merged. This line became redundant with the Nickel Plate line between Fort Wayne, IN, and Toledo, OH.

Jason Hall -> Off The Beaten Track Branchline Railroading
Jason's comments:
A Napoleon, Defiance, Western GP-16 heads south out of Cecil, Ohio on a section of the former Cincinnati Northern to pick up cars at LaFarge in Paulding.

Donald Burford Didn't even realize that they serviced them anymore
Jason Hall Yeah at least twice a week i believe.

Scott Taipale They went from receiving waste oil to shipping cement after Pioneer got the line. 

Matthew Ditton -> Off The Beaten Track Branchline Railroading
Matthew's comment:
Signal on the ND&W east of Defiance Ohio. This portion is mainly used for car storage although there are now rumors of trains possibly running to Liberty Center again. This was, I assume, the one time approach signal for the now I&O Railroad.
Hopefully, you can access to comments from the "->" link in the caption because there was a lot of useful info including the predecessor corporations: "Wabash 5th District from Toledo to Fort Wayne , NW, Indiana Hi Rail, Maumee and Western."

Matthew Ditton ->  Off The Beaten Track Branchline Railroading
Napoleon Defiance and Western at Okolona Ohio
headed toward Napoleon Ohio.

Jim Etchie posted 12 pictures including the bridge, and B&O diamond, and the depot that is now the office.

Matt Ditton's 2015 photo of an engine coming down a track east of Cecil, OH, shows that ND&W still has a lot of track work to do.

Michael Schwiebert shared
Work progressing on the transload facility along the Napoleon, Defiance & Western RR. This enabled the railroad to take the line east of the Napoleon industrial park out of service.
[They got monetary assistance to build this transload facility in exchange for abandoning the segment to Liberty Corner including (especially) the 4-lane crossing of US-6.]
Michael Schwiebert posted two photos with the comment:
Had the opportunity to take a picture or two of the new ND&W transload facility in Napoleon Ohio earlier today. Note that there are two tracks on the site. My guess is that the second one will provide a secure facility for keeping their locomotive(s) in town when necessary. The second photo was from a post a few weeks ago. Looking at the aerial photo the facility is in the portion of the rectangle that is to left (west) of the street that dead ends at route 424. Also noticed that at least some of the rail is 115 lb, so it's obviously not re-lay rail from elsewhere on the line.

2, Satellite

Magnetation Iron Ore Tailings Reprocessing

I saw a westbound unit train in Downers Grove that consisted of low rotary gondolas. That means that they carry something that is heavier than coal because coal is shipped in high rotary gondolas. Fortunately, Michael Matalis caught the same train and not only took better pictures, he identified it as a Magnetation ore train. In his Facebook posting in the "BNSF Racetrack" I wrote a comment asking why it had Norfolk Southern power given that the destination, Reynolds, IN, is on CSX/Monon tracks. The answers were:

  • Michael Matalis For the same reason that the NS Virginian heritage unit came into town trailing on a CSX oil train yesterday; nowadays power is assigned to trains not on the basis of the originating railroad, but on the basis of what's available. A good example is the Virginian heritage unit that went west on an NS oil train a week or so ago, got assigned out of the power pool to a train heading back to the CSX, and is now back on the BNSF heading west for the oil fields. The railroads do keep track of how much their units spend off line, and if there is an imbalance they will either demand payment or the use of offending railroads's locomotives to make up the deficit.

  • Andrew Shafer A big reason some of the oil trains come back as CSX or NS trains is because the shippers can change the destination of the train, whether enroute or while its loading.
In a posting asking about iron ore trains, Michael answered:
Those are the Magnetation ore trains that originate in Grand Rapids MN up on the Iron Range. Magnetation specializes in reprocessing mine tailings, which are then shipped to their pellet plant in Reynolds IN on CSX. The train are interchanged in Chicago.

Magnetation has plants in Minnesota that mine the tailings of open-pit iron ore mines using a patented Rev3 Separator technology. The separator concentrates the 25% iron tailings into 65% concentrated ore. That ore is shipped in the trains we see going through Downers Grove to their palatalization plant in Reynolds. They save costs compared to original mines because most of the size reduction (grinding) has already been done and they don't have to strip any ground. But they have the cost disadvantage of smaller haul trucks. About five of their conventional 40-ton trucks would fit in the bed of a mining truck. But they don't explain why they use small trucks. Below is "Slide 5" from one of the videos I got the above information from.

Magnetation Presentation at Duluth SME -2013 in videos
Their fourth concentration plant is designed to use output of an open pit mine after they are done processing all of the existing tailings.

The palatalization plant was built at the site of a defunct ethanol plant that already had much of the needed infrastructure including a 6-layer loop track. The plant combines the iron ore with limestone, coke breeze, and all of the other materials needed to feed a blast furnace, and it started producing pellets in September, 2014. One of their main customers is AK Steel's blast furnace operations in Middletown, OH, and Ashland, KY. (Update: the blast furnace in Ashland was shut down in 2015.)

Michael Matalis posted
Dust free! Westbound Magnetation empties.[The reason for Mike's "dust free" comment is that some of his pictures have shown a cloud of iron ore dust coming from the empty cars. He has sent t hem into the company to let them see the pollution they were generating. We are happy to see that the company has evidently done something to reduce the dust pollution.]

I understand that China has been dumping steel in America because its own economy has weekend so much that their demand for steel is less than their production capacity. This reduces the price of steel in America because the China government is helping to pay for the steel production. This is good news for the American consumer, but bad news for the American steel industry.  Magnetation appears to be another victim of plunging steel prices.        More on their bankruptcy.

From another article about the shutdown
Magnetation Finds Buyer for Assets

At Rochelle's Railfan park, I was able to get a glimpse of the product in the gondolas. The reporting mark, MGPX +MAG PELLET LLC, indicates they own their own cars. Probably because a low-height gondola car does not have a rotary-dump coupler.
20150913,16 4703
A Republic Steel blast furnace is being restarted to use at least some of the pellets produced by the Reynolds plant.

Dennis DeBruler shared the article "Reynolds iron ore plant may move to Mexico in pieces" with the comment: "There used to be daily BNSF unit trains through Downers Grove in each direction to serve this plant. I understand they were mining the tailing piles in the northern iron ore region and concentrating it before shipping it to this plant."
Lukas Irons There goes ore shipments to Lorain lol
David Jordan TP&W delivered bentonite to a transloader at the Co-Alliance elevator on Reynolds' west side. Route was BNSF-Peoria-TPW. 

At least I caught a loaded ore pellet train from there once. CSX symbol K502 to Middletown, Ohio had just left the plant around m
idday, Sunday, June 26, 2016. It was literally crawling through Reynolds, but took off like a rocket south of town, where I shot video (camera was new, and I had to adjust to its 40x zoom!). CSX 5226-243-7877 have 125 cars.

REYNOLDS — The Mexican firm that bought the closed iron ore plant outside Reynolds is apparently preparing to dismantle it and move it to Mexico.
White County Commissioner Dave Diener confirmed that Altos Hornos de Mexico, a Mexico-based steel manufacturer, received permission from the District of Minnesota United State Bankruptcy Court to buy the plant.
“Everything other than the ground” goes to Altos Hornos for the $15 million it paid for the plant, he said.
There’s been no official word to county representatives whether the plant will go, but Altos Hornos didn’t buy the ground, said County Commissioner John Heimlich.
“That was our fear. We haven’t heard anything,” Heimlich said.
He added that nothing has been taken out yet, although the county is watching the site and vehicles have been on it.
Those may be security, he said.
Altos Hornos first attempted to buy the building last fall.
However, the Oct. 24 finalization was delayed into November because of objections made by entities to which ERP Iron Ore owed money.
Diener said White County was one of the entities that contested the plant’s sale on the basis of the definitions of real versus personal property.
White County has financial interests in back taxes owed by the plant.
In April, ERP’s owner Tom Clarke missed a mandatory tax payment on the Reynolds plant, the Herald Journal reported.
He owed White County $517,646 for real property taxes and $5.6 million for personal property taxes.
The Minnesota-based ERP purchased the plant in January 2017 from the original builder, Magnetation, and was working with White County to assume the economic agreements the county had with Magnetation.
[Herald Journal]
Dennis DeBruler commented on his share
I found my photo that I took of the gondola cars at Rochelle's Rail Park. This allowed me to be high enough to see how full they were. They did a better job of dust control for full loads than they did for empties. Note that the height of the gondolas is between regular gondola cars and coal cars.

Monday, November 24, 2014

PD&E: Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railway

pre-1967 plus paint
In 1857 two charters were granted for railroad lines. They were between Grayville and Mattoon in Illinois and between Grayville and Mount Vernon in Indiana. Both of these charters were met by the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railway (PD&E) [AbandonedRails]. The tracks reached Grayville in 1881. [thepde-Grayville] The PD&E became part of the Illinois Central in 1900. In 1969 the Louisville & Nashville RR (L&N) bought the Chicago & Eastern Illinois RR segment from Evansville to Chicago. This removed the L&N traffic on the PD&E from Evansville to Mattoon and was the beginning of the end for this route. A map that has links for each station.

Roger Kujawa sharedtwo images with the comment: "Peoria Decatur and Evansville then the Illinois Central and now What is left, the Canadian National."
Bill Edrington The optimistically-named "Chicago Division" was the former narrow-gauge Danville, Olney & Ohio River Railroad. It was briefly under PD&E ownership; then became part of the Indiana, Decatur & Western, a forerunner of what eventually became the B&O's line between Indianapolis, Decatur and Springfield. Eventually it was broken up into three shortlines: the Kansas & Sidell; the Westfield Railroad; and the Yale Short Line. All were subsequently abandoned. It was surely one of Illinois' most obscure little hard-luck railroads.


From a PD&E history, we learn the disposition of the route:
In 1976, the New Harmony branch was taken up. Six years later, another part just a few miles southeast of Mattoon was scrapped. The remaining portion of the line from Mattoon to Evansville would be sold off in chunks by 1990, with most of it being abandoned by 1999.

The Mattoon to Peoria segment would remain with the Illinois Central, until the Illinois Central itself was merged into the Canadian National Railway in 1999. In 2004, Canadian National sold its interest in the Peoria and Pekin Union. However, the rest of the old PD&E line is still operated by them. Occasionally still being referred to by crews as "the old PD&E".
In 2000, Indiana Southwestern Railway company assumed control of the segment from Poseyville, IN, to Evansville. On December 27, 2011, they abandoned all but 3.8 miles in Evansville, IN.

In 2005, Ed Bailey planned to build an ethanol plant in Grayville, IL, and rebuild the route as the Browns, Grayville, and Poseyville RR including rebuilding the Wabash river span. The railroad would give his ethanol plant access to the Norfolk Southern in Browns, IL, and the CSX in Evansville, IN. But he evidently under estimated the cost of fixing the bridge because this plan never came to fruition.

Update: two other interesting references are: IC oriented, Evansville oriented.

Roger Kujawa posted
PD&E - IC - CN
Notice steel rail note verses iron rail or wood rail with iron straps on top.
Jim Pearson caught a couple of locomotives in the Harwood Yard and provided an extensive comment.

Its bridge across the Wabash River has not only lost some spans, there is now a sandbar under the swing span.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MoW: Herzog "Multi-Purpose Machine" Train

Update: these articulated gondolas plus self-contained excavators now seem to be called "slot machines." I came across a video of a Herzog in action. In this case it had a magnet attachment. Georgetown makes a competing slot train.

In September when I was checking out a parked mixed freight, I noticed a MoW train parked in the Downers Grove yard. When I was checking out a parked stacks and pigs train I noticed that the same type of train was again parked in the yard. But this time it was parked in a different place so that I could get pictures of the head end, and I learned that the train is a Herzog MPM. It can reach up to 27 feet from the track center and the "Roto-Tilt articulating head" can use a variety of quick-connect attachments to perform many types of maintenance activities.

20141119 0058

Glenn Davis posted
Herzog maintenance train rolling through DG
Joseph Robert LeMay It appears they're using it to pick up all the trees they've been mowing down along the right of way. No more signals blocked by foliage this summer.
John Poshepny He was pulling into the Downers Grove yard around 1230. Not sure if he is still there.
Duane Ramanan posted, cropped
Might just start taking all these ties home and make my own railway
Doucette Aj Joseph Not even strapped down
Duane Ramanan Never see em strapped down on the scrap trains
Joe Dockrill Never tied down on Herzog drop and pick up the old ones after

Racetrack: Stacks and Pigs in the Hole

20141119 0003
When I went to get some overview pictures of the Belmont underpass, I ended up doing some train watching because an eastbound container and TOFC train was parked on it. I saw quite a few J B Hunt containers and UPS trailers. So I would assume this train is high priority. So why is it setting in the hole? I spent 20 minutes in the area, and it never moved. (It was gone when I circled back about two hours later after running my errands.) The end of the train was under the signal bridge that is west of the Belmont station.

The beginning was between the Forest Ave. crossing and the yard. It was hard finding a gap in the buildings to get a picture of the engines. But I finally found a decent view.

The CP Rail is worthy of a closeup.

According to Diesel Shop, the BNSF 4079 is a Dash 9-44C, and the CP Rail 9553 is a AC4400CW.

In addition to J B Hunt and UPS cargo, there were quite a view "E" trailers. I did not have enough resolution to read the back of the left trailer. When I checked the ISO setting on the camera, I discovered that I had it set at 1600. I normally don't have it higher than 400. I wonder what indoor shot I was doing after which I forgot to reset the ISO. "E" is not enough info to Google.

As I was waiting at a stop light to leave the Belmont area, a westbound mixed freight came through. So I changed my plans and chased it. I missed the front end of the train, so I can't do a detailed analysis of the consist. During the Summer, there was a green wall along the tracks west of Belmont until you get to the BNSF access drive off Burlington Ave. near Walnet Ave. But now there are "windows" of train visibility along the track. I don't think it is just because the leaves have fallen. I think BNSF has trimmed some brush. I found a big enough window that allowed me to capture a "fallen flag."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

1951 St. Louis Trains

Pictures of passenger trains leaving the St. Louis station during April, 1951. And a couple of pictures of the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis.  All of the pictures were taken by Douglas Weitzman.

Gulf Mobile & Ohio 881A leaving the Union Station with "The Prairie States Express."
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Illinois Central's Green Diamond.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman

New York Central (Big Four) Hudson 5396 leaving with the "Southwestern Limited." The engine threw a tire near Mattoon, IL, and it was replaced.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Missouri Pacific 2104 pulling Train #25.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Baltimore & Ohio 96 with Train #1, "The National Limited" into St. Louis. It will back into the station.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Union Pacific 991 backing the "City of St. Louis" into Union Station. It's a UP-Wabash train.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Nickel Plate 188, an ALCO PA1, leaving with Train #10, "The Blue Dart," to Cleveland, Ohio.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Frisco 2004 on Train #5 for Springfield, MO. The engine is an EMD E7A built in March, 1947.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Burlington 9937A (EMD E7) leads a train for Savanna, IL. Scott Watson commented that #47 will travel via Galesburg and Rock Island. Chuck Zeiler posted 9937A was built March 1949 (c/n 8919). One of this 9937B postings explains "This is the Burlington's first E8, built December 1949 (c/n 9674), numbered just one suffix letter above the last E7, 9937A, built nine months earlier." So below is a picture of the last E7 that was delivered to Burlington. Mel Wilson's commented that the vertical set of louvers behind the cab doors indicates that it is an E7 instead of an E8. And a historical roster is like the Diesel Shop for old locomotives. Nick Dey commented that it was built 3/49 and later it was renumbered as BN 9924. It was the CB&Q 9937B (E8) that became BN 9937. His E unit roster is currently a work in progress.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Pennsylvania 5815 pulls Train #66, "The American."
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Pennsylvania 5817 leads Train #3, "The Penn Texas" into Relay Station, East St. Louis, IL.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis with ALCO 1601 doing the switching duties. The engine was built in 1950, and it is a Class D-8 with 1600hp.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman
A March 29, 1991, view of the TRRA engine service facility.
Photo by Douglas Weitzman

Monday, November 10, 2014

Versatile Farm Tractors

Update: several videos of modern Versatile tractors pulling big tillage equipment are in Modern Primary and Secondary Field Tillage. At least some of them use Cummins Diesel engines.

There is a Versatile Facebook group. My Facebook posting of a Ford version.

20141108 0103
When I visited a AGCO/New Holland dealer in Poseyville, IN, I saw a used Versatile tractor next to an old Massey-Fergusun tractor. This caught me by surprise because I had never heard of that manufacture even though they obviously made some impressive tractors.

And then when I visited the CaseIH dealer in the same town, I noticed that they were also a Versatile dealer.

On a lot with 10 articulated tractors, 2 of them were Versatile 535s. (Of note is that two of them were John Deere. They must have been trade ins even though the one in these pictures, 9410R, looked pretty new.)

After Peter Pakosh quit Massey-Harris because they did not let him join a product design department, he founded a company with his brother-in-law Roy Robinson in 1946 in Winnipeg, Canada. They started with grain augers, sprayers, and swathers. But in 1964 they entered the articulated 4wd tractor market.  In 1987, Ford New Holland bought the company. So that is why we saw the old Versatile 875 tractor on the New Holland dealer's lot. The 875 was one of 4 models of the Constant power series (835, 855, 875, and 935) that was introduced in 1977 and ranged between 230 and 330 hp. When New Holland merged with CaseIH in 2000, Versatile was sold to resolve regulatory concerns. So that is why new Versatile tractors are no longer being sold by the New Holland dealer. (tractors.wikia)

According to their web site,  the 535 model uses a 15-liter Cummins QSX15 engine and is rated at 535 horsepower. In fact, all four models in their HHT series, 435, 485, 535, and 575, use that engine. How do you get significantly different horsepower ratings with the same engine? I learned from a video that the engine is "interim Tier 4" compliant. The transmission is made by Cat, and the tractor can achieve 25 mph road speed. (Most tractors in the 1960s would top out at 15 mph, and that would seem fast because you had no suspension nor cab.) The maximum articulating angle is 42 degrees, which supports a turn-around radius of less than 16 feet.
One of their pictures shows the 535 going down a road. It looks like it needs both lanes. I discovered that the spec sheet omits the width. I would not want to meet one of these tractors on a country road where the shoulders are very narrow and the land quickly drops off into a deep gully.

At the 2016 Will County Threshermen's Show I caught a couple of Versatiles leaving their display line:

Brent Ginther posted
For the Love of Tractors posted
Some old school Versy power.
[I've noticed a problem with some specialization groups is that they seem to expect all of the readers to know all of the details. Like what is the year and horsepower of a 900l. Fortunately, Google makes it easy to be an expert. It was built 1972-77 and has a Cummins 14.8L 8-cyl diesel. But I had to go to another page to find the horsepower of 295/220.]
Fall Plowing with a Versatile 340 Tractor and Oliver 6-bottom plow
[My first thought was that 6 bottoms is old and small for such a big tractor. Then I saw how fast it was pulling the plow. The dirt was rather literally flying off the moldboards. I've never seen dirt thrown that far before from a plow. This video also shows that when they get to the end of the field, they have to deadhead over to the other side of the plowed ground to resume plowing.]

Machinery Pete posted
Ever seen one of these....Versatile 420 Combine. Last 20 years I've compiled 19,437 auction prices on Versatile 420's. This one spotted in Cuba, KS by Facebook follower Russell P.
Laine Tonne I have seen one with a cab. My dad used to run a 42 pull type it is still parked here on the farm I plan to restore it someday
Bradley Moorehead Yes we owned a 420 with cab and 3 -42 pull type
[A comment indicates the factory was located in Winnipeg.]
Combines Harvesters Threshers added a new photo

Tim Butcher shared
Versatile's Big Roy 1080 tractor will be the feature machine at the 2017 Half Century of Progress in Rantoul, IL. This is an amazing show to attend and it will be exciting to see another Prairie Monster headline this huge farming event. This years Half Century of Progress Show is August 24-27 in Rantoul, IL 61866.
Matthew Backer posted
Look what we just got in!
George Serven posted two photos with the comment: "The 876 coming towards the 976/then away."

Lee Finke posted
From another page, old Versatile helping out. Absolutely amazing.
Mark Davis I believe this is near Colby, KS. Largest barn ever moved in one piece.
[I agree with the comments, why is he pulling so far off-center? A video of the move. Did they take down electric poles along the road? The farms probably already got rid of their fences.]

In 2017 they have come out with a new color scheme that recalls their 1975 style.

Chase Hollingworth posted two photos with the comment: "The new color scheme on the 2017 Versatile 4WD Tractors kind of reminds me of the 1975 Versatile body style."

2, a 400 at a dealer in Abilene, TX
Screenshot from a PR video by Versatile
[This had better have one or more rear-facing cameras. The advantage of the IH 2+2 was that the driver had a good view of the implement he was pulling. But since Case already owned Steiger when they bought IH, they kept the Steiger design and killed the 2+2. This four axle tractor makes the driver's view of what he or she is pulling even worse.]

A video of the 550 with the new color scheme.

Video reviewing Versatile 2360 and 2375. These models were built 2000-2008. 2360 has Cummins 855 at 360hp. I didn't catch what the engine was in the 2375. I believe Elm Custom Farming is "The Farmer" in "The Farming Life", one of two farming channels I follow.