Friday, January 1, 2016

Bart Tower: Pennsy vs. EJ&E

(no CRJ; John Haynes Track DiagramSignalBoxSatellite)
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for the correct information)

Kevin Piper has posted histories and photos of the town and this junction. In 1985 this tower also controlled the HO Junction.

Tim Shanahan posted
Hobart Indiana ©1977
Wayne Hudak's photo.
According to the B&OCT map, this tower protected the crossing of the Pennsy and Elgin, Joliet & Eastern.
The route of the EJ&E Porter Branch:
I used my 7-railroads posting to determine that Conrail was created in 1976. So it appears Penn Central had not torn out the second track through Hobart. Penn Central made the decision to use NYC's track instead of Pennsy's track after the merger because NYC management was putting their earnings into track maintenance and signal modernization whereas Pennsy management was putting their earnings into non-railroad related real estate because they thought railroads were dead. Conrail continued letting the Pennsy mainline deteriorate so when CSX got it as part of the Conrail split-up, they dumped it on Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern. I have heard that Norfolk Southern has been helping CF&E improve the track so that NS can run some of their trains on it. Given that NS already has the NYC and NKP routes and CSX only has the B&O route, I would think CSX would want to use this route again. And I'll bet NS now regrets tearing up the old Wabash route across northern Indiana.

Satellite plus Paint
I added a red line to a satellite image to indicate where the EJ&E used to go through Hobart. When I zoomed in on the image, I noticed that there were two tracks on the CF&E/CSX/Pennsy RoW. But scanning up and down the line on Google quickly revealed that the north track is just a passing siding.

The RoW parallel to the bottom of the image is the NS/NW/NKP RoW and that crossing was HO Tower.
Ken Durkel posted
Although not a "J" train, taken at Bart crossing the "J" so this picture should qualify. Amtrak 40 crossing the Porter branch at Bart Interlocking. The corner of the tower is on the right. Taken in '83 or '84, I would guess.
[Since Ken posted in an EJ&E group, that is why his comment is explaining why he is posting a train on Pennsy tracks.]
Ken Durkel Tower by this time was mostly unmanned, except when the "J" did on occasion run a train through. Then an operator would be out to knock down the Conrail signals. Otherwise, the signals here were fleeted and cleared for Conrail automatically at this crossing by the time I took this.
Daniel Kopack In 1984 I would watch the signal progression.

Ken Durkel posted
Amtrak 40, the eastbound combined Broadway/Capital Ltd., bangs across the EJ&E Porter Branch at Bart Interlocking in Hobart, Indiana. Taken circa 1984, this scene was about to change forever. Conrail was in the process of single tracking the old Pennsy across Indiana, eliminating the old westward main, and in 1985, the EJ&E took up the Porter branch rails.
At the far right is the corner of Bart Tower, the bent rods tell the story, there is no more interchange here and the tower by this time was only manned when the "J" had a train to run to Porter, which was not often by this time. The signals were fleeted to clear up automatically on the Conrail side. If the "J" had a train to run an operator would come out to knock down the Conrail signals and line the EJ&E side.
Mark Egebrecht Capitol Limited began running as a separate train west of Pittsburgh in 1986, so this is a later date or only The Broadway.
Ken Durkel This was in 1984 or so, as I posted. This is the combined train.

George M Stupar posted
 An EJ&E freight is seen rolling past BART tower on the "J" Porter Line, as it bangs across the former PRR Chicago-Fort Wayne double track main. Circa 1981.
Ken Durkel Nice one! And a scene that would change very shortly and not for the better.
Adam St Germain at least the poor commuters finally got a platform on the south side!
Dennis DeBruler

George M Stupar posted
An EJ&E SD38 is seen heading east on the Porter Line, crossing the former PRR at Bart tower. Hobart IN, circa 1982.
Jeff Stupar: Excellent photograph of the "J" crossing the diamond. Neat track configuration too. Looks like the Amtrak platform sign posts were recently installed. No sign yet.

Ken Durkel posted
Ken's comment:
Before and after, Bart Tower, on the Porter Branch, Hobart, Indiana. 1st picture, I took in 1983. By this time, all through freight had been pulled off the ex Pennsy Ft. Wayne main. The EJ&E ran trains through here only sporadically, in 1983, so the tower was active, but usually unmanned.
Ken Durkel poste
The signals on the Pennsy side were fleeted, and cleared automatically. When the occasional "J" train was run to Porter, an operator would be called out to Bart to knock down the Conrail signals and line the EJ&E route.Looking timetable west, but more southerly by compass, Conrail usually kept a MOW vehicle parked here, seen in this picture, probably just to give would be vandals the impression someone was home (they were not).The 2nd picture was taken in the same spot back on November 26, 2010. A building was under construction at the time directly on top of the "J" ROW south of the ex Pennsy, now CF&E tracks.
So they no longer have the option of putting the EJ&E Porter branch back in to help bypass the Chicago congestion.

Ken Durkel posted
Looking timetable east, Bart Tower shortly before the Porter Branch was ripped up in 1985. The tower actually stood for at least a year, maybe two, after the tracks were removed. The P10 at the far right shows we are exactly 10 miles from Porter.
Ken Durkel posted
Looking east down the former PRR at Hobart, Indiana. Taken in the summer of 1983. All through freight had been pulled off the line by this time, but single tracking would not reach this point until 1986. 
In the distance is EJ&E's Bart Tower and the Porter Branch crossing. in 1985 the Porter Branch would be torn up, with the tower coming down a couple of years after that. 
At the far left is the old PRR maintainer's shack.Joe Zeller Ain't it something that the CF&E would reinstall a switch here for a passing track. Nice shot Ken.
Ken Durkel posted
Eastbound Amtrak 40, The combined Broadway/Capital Ltd. Seen here in Hobart, Indiana, banging across the EJ&E Porter Branch at Bart Tower. At the time of this photo, the Broadway and the Capital ran combined west of Pittsburgh. Beginning in the fall of 1986 they ran as separate trains the entire way.
I will say I took this around 1984, or spring of 1985, because the "J" Porter Branch tracks were torn up in the summer of 1985, though Bart Tower stood for a couple of years after the tracks were removed. The corner of the tower can be seen to the extreme right. By 1986 the old PRR Ft. Wayne main double track here was reduced to one. Today this is the CF&E.
Mike Dlabay posted
[Ken Durkel added pictures and information in the comments. My incognito test of the link indicates Facebook keeps a "login or signup" window at the bottom, but you can scroll through and read the comments anyhow.]

Ken Durkel posted an eastbound Amtrak train on Conrail's ex Pennsy Fort Wayne line slaming the EJ&E track in 1983 or '84. Amtrak trains were moved to the former B&O line and then to the former NYC line. And the "J" Porter Branch was removed in the summer of 1985.

George M Stupar posted
1976, Hobart IN, An EJ&E speeder is seen on the J Porter Line adjacent BART tower, at the former PRR crossing. View northeast.
Mike W Schattl: It is sad that both lines are no longer used and have been abandoned.

2 photos, Dennis DeBruler shared


  1. I have a picture I took from 1975 inside the Bart tower. My father's friend was an operator during PC era before Conrail. Let me know how I can post it here.

    1. email it to me as an attachment to