Sunday, November 30, 2014

Was 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 and urea.)    Number of bushels a 3-bay hopper can hold

20141108 0286c
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!

One of two photos posted by Brett Stevens
Can anyone tell me what exactly this type of 5 bay hopper is and what are the commodities it hauls..I been trying to find these in HO scale.
Noe Gutierrez I believe that's referred to as a pressure differential covered hopper. They're used for transporting fine dry bulk commodities and use pressurized air to unload the product .....
Dave Burman BLMA and Atlas make them(Trinity 5660 cu ft. -an earlier car from Walthers was similar (A North American car) but hasn't been released in a while-I see them at shows often however.
Rhett Coates These usually carry baking flour for any type of food product manufacturer which uses a lot of that ingredient, such as a Nabisco cracker factory.

2020: covered hoppers are now up to four bays for grain and Dry Distillers Grain.
Danny Welch posted five photos with the question:
I see strings of these covered hoppers leaving homewood illinois southbound on the canadian national frequently.
A. What are their contents?
B. Where are they headed?
C. What is their starting point?
Eric Rissman Trinity 6351 grain hopper. Built for the ethanol boom on getting product to the plants.
Daniel Larabee Usually hold Dry Distillers Grain. The after product of making ethanol. Used for cattle feed in foreign countries.
Ken Schmidt DDGs is fed to many animals (different animals take different rations of it) in the U.S. It is as others said, the byproduct of making ethanol at a dry mill plant.
A good quantity goes to Mexico, but feed lots in the U.S. also get their share.
DDGs is not actually 100% dry, so it can bridge in the car while unloading. Most destinations use vibrators to get it out, however in Mexico, they use what ever mean to brake up the bridge. Including in one place, a pole on a rope banging on the side of the cars.
At first in 2001, they were using any 6000 cuft cars they could. But soon, a majority of the fleet became TILX cars. The first of the TILX cars started at 634000. Last I looked, they were up to 650000. Many since that early time were leased to others with reporting marks such as SOXX. As well, cars from Gunderson joined the fleets.
DDGs moves in both units and single cars. With 40 plants in Iowa, you could not help seeing them on all the carriers in the state.




Ken Schmidt commented on Danny's post
This is how they looked new in 2004.

I learned that 3-bay cars can carry fertilizer as urea as well as potash from this post.
Screenshot via a David Jordan post
BNSF Railway unit fertilizer train, G-PEIOAN (Grain, Peoria IL to Oakes, MN) slows on the Peoria Subdivision as it nears the Quincy Main early afternoon Saturday, May 1, 2021. BNSF 5420-5121-6503 have 65 cars of urea loaded by TP&W-served Growmark at Mapleton. Later, the same train, BNSF 5420 setout and the other two units "turned," rolls up the Barstow Subdivision at Bouhan.
Dennis DeBruler: So 3-bay hopper trains may be hauling fertilizer instead of grain. Judging by the number of green BN hoppers in the train, it appears BNSF tries to use their older hoppers for fertilizer.
David Jordan: Dennis DeBruler Older cars are commonly used for dry fertilizer service. I've seen that for potash as well.

Update: The above was a railfan perspective. I recently looked at some hoppers in satellite images. Flour cars have seven covers.

41°55'16.7"N 87°44'29.4"W

For Pepperidge Farm in Downers Grove, IL, I had to switch to Google Earth because it appears that bakery is now closed.
Google Earth with timeline set to 10/2019

Cement cars have three covers. 

It appears the cement plant in Oglesly, IL, is no longer distributing cement. I had to go back to 2013 to find a cut of cement cars.
Google Earth with timeline set to 5/2013

At least the plant in Limedale, IN, is still operational.

And sand cars have three covers.

At least some plastic hoppers use 10 covers.



And grain cars have continuous hinged covers so that they can be loaded as a train slowly rolls past an elevator.

The reason for analyzing the satellite image of hoppers was to try to figure out what a hopper with 6 covers carried. That hopper was parked in Avondale Yard.
The information was used in various comments in this post.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

ND&W: Maumee & Western and Napoleon, 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.]

Michael Matalis posted

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.

May 2022: safe_image for Idled Iron Range iron unit plant to re-start

Monday, November 24, 2014

IC's PD&E: Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railway Overview

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 shared two 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.
Roger Kujawa posted
This is interesting as it shows the future Yale Shortline, the Westfield, and the Kansas and Sidell railroads. I did not know it was originally part of the PD&E.


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.

And the PD&E must have bought the Decatur, Sullivan & Mattoon.
Kent Frantz posted
It’s the former IC and now CN but I’ve not heard it called Decatur, Sullivan & Mattoon railroad before ?
Located in Bethany .IL. circa 1875
Don Wagoner I knew the whole thing as Peoria district. Don't know if it was built in pieces like many were.
Kevin A Erb
Bob Bundren may have been during a short lived reincorporation that occured at the same time the map was made.

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" (MPM) 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

Steven J. Brown posted
Herzog 193 is apparently some sort of GP38-2. I was digging around trying to come up with an origin story but didn't get far. It is eastbound on the BNSF at LaVergne in Berwyn, Illinois - September 23, 2020.

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

It appears that Relco now makes a comparable train. Although this is the first time I've seen two excavators on top.
Midwest Railroad Photography posted
The sun decided to shine for a while this morning, so I gave chase to the UP MoW train. Here we see the crew easing down grade in Oskaloosa, IA after navigating downtown. This train will continue to work south towards Eddyville picking up ties that were left behind by the tie gang several weeks back.

Andre Tardif shared
Mo Tyner: Loved being in charge of the Herzog mpm.

Justin Spencer posted
Michael J Hermance Sr.: The ultimate work train. You can do many different tasks with it. Love it.

Justin Spencer posted two photos with the comment: "Here's a couple action shots of the new UP MoW train as it creeps around the bend just south of Beacon, IA. Was really nice to document this machine in action in my own area. Not sure what the employees think of it, but it gives them a little job security instead of calling Herzog."


I presume that these machines were invented after safety rules outlawed the use of the CarTopper.
Sean William posted
Where's all the old backhoe CarTopper cowboys. How sketchy was the first time you did this?
 Never did it, not that good an operator. Pretty damn sure it was scary first time and every time. You're at the limits of the machine.

Was Rick Corman the first one to do it back in 1974 or so. That’s how he impressed CSX and got started with a lot of their business.

 while working as a Forman on Penn Central .

 Rick Corman started RJ Corman back in 74. Instead of the guys throwing ties out of tie cars by hand he rode his backhoe up on top and impressed them all. CSX said we need this guy. That’s what I was told. We have pics of it. Started with a dump truck and a backhoe and grew the business. Now in 24 states.
He passed in 2013

 Clay Corman’s operators were doing this in the Early 70’s! I think he was Ricks Uncle.

 yes Clay is the uncle.

We had 2 guys on ATKs Philly subdivision Pat Oneil and Frank Harry that could top a hopper without ramps ...

 two of the best in the business.

Crystal sugar in North Dakota did this in the 70's to unload coal

I still remember the first time I saw this... Chicago Division Penn Central 1975... First try he slipped off the gon, scared the hell out of me.[The new facebook formatting I hit on May 19, 2020, kinda sucks.]

According to the comments, Herzog pioneered doing this with backhoes. But now they use MPMs. Some companies still do this with trackhoes (excavators).
Well, may not all have giving up being a cowboy: Scott Fox My friend does that for herzog.
Sean William commented on his post
No idea Sam but here they [Herzog] are in action. They quit doing this and brought in the MPM though.

These trains are such a good idea that UP made several of them. I wonder if they paid royalties for some patents or if they figured out how to work around them because I don't think this design has existed for more than 17 years.
safe_image for Union Pacific's New Maintenance of Way Machine Completes Maiden Voyage