Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Willow Creek Junction: CSX/B&O vs. CSX/NYC/MC vs. Aban/NS/Wabash

(CRJJohn Haynes, track diagram and three photos; Satellite, the junction is in Portage, IN.) 
NorthAmericanInterlockings:  Unknown,   Garon,   iron men on both sides,   R. J. Allen May

Bob Lalich Flickr, Fall 1981
Willow Creek 1981
A WB Conrail train on the old Michigan Central line shakes the tower at Willow Creek IN in late fall of 1981. I believe the panel track in the foreground was there for a grade crossing resurfacing project. It wasn't long after this photo that the ex-MC was single tracked between Porter and Ivanhoe.

I added a blue line to show where the Wabash route was. Further to the east, the Wabash RoW is the Iron Horse Heritage Trail.
The model board:
Kevin A Heggi commented on Matt's posting

George M Stupar
West bound through Willow Creek at Portage Indiana, on the Michigan Central Porter-Ivanhoe Branch in 1973. Photo taken from inside the interlocking tower.
Lynwood Meeks Who's line in the back ground, crossing the diamond?
George M Stupar Lynwood Meeks The ex Wabash 4th District mainline is running next to the lowered crossing gate on Willow Creek Road, and beyond that, at the diamond, it's crossing the Baltimore & Ohio Garrett Sub.

George M Stupar posted
IHB in 1973 at Portage (Willow Creek) Indiana. Westbound on the former Michigan Central Porter Branch. B&O and Wabash 4th District are visible crossing at upper right. Photo taken through an open window from inside the interlocking tower.

Mike Breski posted

An EMD NW2 that was built in September 1949 is westbound on the Conrail (ex NYC Michigan Central) Porter Branch at Willow Creek Junction. The local freight is en route from the Porter/South Burns ... (more)

Railroad: Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad
Locomotive: EMD NW2
Location: Portage, Indiana, USA
Locomotive #: IHB 8789
Train ID: unknown
Photo Date: 1979
Bob Lalich The photo was taken from the tower, which was aligned with the MC. I believe the B&O was single tracked some time in the 70s. That is the line crossing under the train. The Wabash was on the other side of the tower.
Dennis DeBruler So the Wabash was behind the photographer and we are looking at an auxiliary building. I looked along the B&O route on a satellite image, and it looks like the two tracks are not just a siding. I wonder when they put the second track back in.
Bob Lalich Yes, the Wabash would have been behind the photographer. The second B&O track was re-installed in the 90s I think.

Michigan Central (NYC/MC) milepost 246+ and B&O BI236.9. In 1997 a connection was added in the south quadrant.

George M Stupar posted
March 1979, Portage IN, A westbound hotshot rips through Willow Creek on the Porter-Ivanhoe (ex Michigan Central) Branch.
Adam St Germain Interesting trivia though, then the MC was double track, now it's single, then the B&O was single track, now it's double, then there was a northeast wye, now there is a southeast wye.

George M Stupar posted
Westbound on the old Michigan Central Porter Branch at Willow Creek in Portage Indiana. Photo taken from inside the interlocking tower through an open window, in the 1970s.
[It is crossing the B&O Garret Sub.]
Rick La Fever: Now the B&O Garrett Sub is double track through there and the Michigan Central is single track and the Wabash 4th District is just a memory. All of this area is covered by an overpass but back in the day of the picture, it was an amazing place to watch trains.
George M Stupar posted
Wabash Railroad 4th District at Willow Creek, Portage Indiana, in 1978. The train is west bound on the old Michigan Central (NYC) Porter Branch and the caboose is crossing over the Wabash on the diamond.
Randall Hampton shared
Brian Knight: Great...Looks like the Porter branch was still double track.
Wayne Hudak commented on George's post
Taken from the Willowcreek tower of the Chessie Steam Special in 1981. Old Wabash is on the right, train crossing it.

Wayne Hudak commented on George's post
Same location at Willowcreek-Portage IN. You can see the 4th on the right much better with the former B&O diamond. Does anyone see the critter? LOL

Dave Churry commented on George's post
Here's the crossing now. Beano is double-tracked, ex-MCRR is single thru here, and you can see the connector track from MCRR to the B&O. Historical marker is about 50 yards to the right.

Ken Durkel posted
Westbound Chessie, taken from Willow Creek Tower, Portage, Indiana. Circa 1982, give or take.
Brent Keen It's funny at that time the B&O was single track and Conrail was still double track. Today it completely reversed
Ken Durkel posted

Bill Kalkman posted
Willow Creek Tower, as it looked in service under the Conrail flag. 10:00AM on 7/11/81 in Willow Creek, IN. Read about it here:
[This photo captures an "iron man."]

Wayne Hudak posted
Train board from the former Michigan Central Tower at WillowCreek (Portage Indiana) showing the interlocking with the MC, B&O and Wabash's 4th District

Ken Durkel posted a then and now pair with the comment:
Difference of Decades, early 1980s to today, in Portage, Indiana. Standing on Willowcreek Road, looking west down Conrail's double track Porter Branch, and standing on Chessie's single track ex B&O. Passing from left to right just beyond the tower is the N&W's ex Wabash 4th District.Fast forward to today. Today all lines owned by CSX. The Porter Branch is now single track, the old B&O has be re-double tracked, The old Wabash is long gone, as is the tower. And in the upper left, a connection between the Porter Branch and the old B&O is approximately on the old Wabash ROW for a very short distance.Notice that though the road I am on is spelled Willowcreek as one word, The railroad spelled it on the tower as two words, Willow Creek.

Ken Durkel posted the above two photos again with the comment:
My own before and after of Willow Creek in Portage, Indiana.1st looking west down the Porter Branch from Willowcreek Road early 1980s. The single track in the foreground is the Chessie ex B&O. the track crossing left to right behind the tower is the Wabash.2nd view I took standing on the same spot on May 21, 2017. Now the Porter Branch is single track and the old B&O has been re-double tracked. The Wabash is gone, and there is a connection between the two lines nearly if not right on the old Wabash ROW.
Chad Quick Who staffed the tower there? Can’t recall if it was B&O or NYC (MC)

Ken Durkel Michigan Central (NYC).

Wayne Hudak commented on the above posting
Willow Creek plat map 1928. It was after 1928 when the B&O changed their alignment thru Willow Creek, crossing the Wabash on the east side of WC instead of the previous, west side of WC Rd. Rd.
Wayne Hudak posted two photos with the comment:
Willow Creek Portage Indiana, 2 different dates, same exact spot 9 years apart.
Photo1: 1979, Chessie EB train crossing the former Wabash 4th District.
Photo2: 1988, CSX EB train crossing the now gone Wabash track with an addition. The Willow Creek Road overpass. 2nd scene is almost the same in 2017.
Part of the old Wabash ROW is now used for a connecting track to the former Michigan Central after the CR breakup. (where I am standing in photo 2)

Wayne posted a photo of the above train as it approached him.
CSX is only 2 years old (1988) when this eastbound grain train was caught hustling thru Willow Creek Junction in Portage Indiana. Gravel in the foreground is the former Wabash 4th district line.

George M Stupar posted
A Westbound Flyer scorches the ballast as it rips through Willow Creek on the Michigan Central (NYC) Porter Branch at Portage Indiana. An old print purchased several decades ago, photographer & date unknown. I vividly remember seeing numerous trains like this one between East Gary and Ivanhoe in the 1950s.
Seth Lakin: It would be post 1948, with all those Budd cars in the consist.

Wayne Hudak posted five photos with the comment:
WILLOW CREEK Tower, Portage Indiana. Tower photo 1977 all inside-1981. Former B&O, Michigan Central and Wabash. Historical marker is just north of the junction, interesting read.
1, Willow Creek Tower Portage Indiana-1977

2, Inside Willow Creek Tower-1981

3, Inside Willow Creek Tower-1981

4, Inside Willow Creek Tower-1981



  1. The train board at Willow Creek Tower shown in previous picture is on display at Monon Connection Museum

    1. Where is the musseum locatedj