Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fisher Farmers Grain & Coal Railroad

This used to be called IC's Punkin Vine. (comments on a post)

I grabbed a shot of the following on the north side of Rantoul, IL.

According to my 1928 Railroad Atlas, an Illinois Central branch ran from Le Roy through a couple of towns that I can't find on a 2014 map -- Laurette and Lotus -- and then through Rantoul and Alvin and into Indiana where it connected with the Wabash. (Update: this segment of the IC was the Rantoul Railroad.) A 2014 Illinois map shows a railroad to the west of Rantoul that terminates east of Fisher and west of Dewey, and it is labeled FFGC. After trying various "Google strings", I found that "FFG&C" yielded Fisher Farmers Grain & Coal. It also yielded links for pictures of a SW9 and a GP28 that they use to switch grain elevators. But the above covered hoppers were not 3-bay grain hoppers. They had four pneumatic-unload bays so they were probably carrying plastic pellets. Analyzing a satellite photo revealed an industrial spur to Engineered Plastic Components. The railroad terminates at a grain elevator. Below is the 50-car train I saved because later satellite images may not have it.

 Below I zoom in on the engines and caboose. A video indicates the caboose was ICG 199419.


Note that the train is longer than the siding at County Road 1200E. That would be why they have a caboose. When they are going westbound they are in "push mode" and someone needs to ride in the caboose to guide the train.

Update: during a trip north on I-57 on Feb 2, 2015, I saw that there were cars on the tracks as I went over the bridge. But it was late and dark so I had to pass up the urge to get off at Paxton to investigate.

Erik Coleman's posting was the comment: "Another 110 empties got dropped off by CN this morning at Rantoul for Premier Coop's (FFG&C) elevator at Dewey on the former Rantoul District. I suspect the FFG&C GP28 is out and about dragging cuts of empties for much of today and tomorrow! I hope to get off work early to make swing up that way." The elevator is trying to make room for the 2016 corn crop.

Briian Ball posted two photos with the comment: "Some Punkin' Vine action today. Dewey, IL"



Brian Ball commented on his posting
Brian Ball Many times the CN will shove the cars about a mile and a half to the end of the CN owned track, the elevator in Dewey owns the remaining right of way and they will head to Rantoul and pull the empty cars into the elevator with their GP28.

Lance Wales posted
Fisher Farmer's Grain & Coal 1828 works to load 52 grain cars at Dewey, IL on August 5, 2003. The FFG&C 1828 is a rare GP28. I believe it originally was IC 9437. The loco is still there, but kept in a shed when not in use.
Brian Ball Fisher Farmers Grain & Coal Co, now owned by Premier Co-op.
David Nisbet I pulled 60 loads from there back in the 80’s and derailed 6 hoppers into a small pond , lids came open . I was told the catfish were huge for the next 5 years.

Erik Coleman commented on Lance's post
Just last week I caught this puppy dragging a hopper train from Rantoul for loading. I call this thing "the orange cockroach" because it never stays out in the daylight very long! Pretty much met CN and dragged the train back within an hour span.
Brian Ball Erik Coleman at least they had the headlight burning this time, they've kind of gotten in the habit of running without it lately. Is that not mandated that headlights are to be used when the engine is in motion?
Harold J. Krewer Yeah. but where that gets fuzzy is this is classified as a private industrial operation, NOT a common-carrier, so not all FRA regs apply and can be enforced like on a Class 1 or even a shortline.
Brian Ball Harold J. Krewer there was an older fellow who used to run it most of the time, he seems to have maybe retired, I haven't seen him for a while. That's when I noticed the lack of lights. This line, aka the Pumpkin Vine, was rehabbed about five years ago, entire roadbed raised up 4-6" with all new ballast, it's really nice now. It had gotten pretty sad. This pic above, pulling the cars, is on the portion still owned by CN.
Rick Barnes That section west of Arby’s crossing is still ten mph for at least 6 miles. Terrible track. It might have been good a few years ago. Not too nice now. I still go out there every once in awhile to get tank cars from that industry right east of town. I’ve never seen that locomotive before.. I’ve been out there at least 15
Brian Ball Rick Barnes The road bed was reballasted and lots of ties replaced west of the Rantoul industrial complex five years ago, but the rail is too light for the loads that it carries.

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