Tuesday, June 9, 2020

WSRY, KR and CERA Railroads

The alphabet soup in the title is Winmac Southern Railway (WSRY), Kokomo Railroad (KR) and Central Railroad Company of Indianapolis (CERA).

These shortlines are another example of how important rail service is for a grain elevator. We already have seen that the owners of the South Milford grain elevator bought the Wabash route between their elevator and Montpelier, OH, and they work with Indiana Northeastern to operate it. And Alliance Grain helped form the Bloomer Line from remnants of IC and Wabash to provide rail service to its various grain elevators.

Below is a capture of a Kokomo Grain web page with their Locations menu displayed.
Kokomo Grain
I started laboriously plotting where these Kokomo Grain locations were on a map. Fortunately, I soon discovered that Google Map would do the work for me. The marker in the upper-left corner in the map below is Amboy and the lower-left is Burlington. The one above Converse is Amboy. I added lines to stylistically (i.e. not accurately) represent the historical railroad segments. There is a map in Logansport Hub that accurately plots how the railroads passed through Logansport.
When these segments were abandoned by the Class I railroads, the blue lines became WSRY, the red line became part of CERA and the yellow line became KR. Kokomo Grain had partial or total ownership of these new shortlines.

Every attempt I have made to explain the ownership/operation details of WSRY ended up as a disappointing draft. Fortunately, James Nobbe commented on a post:
Originally, WSRY looked like an upside down Y with 3 lines radiating out of Logansport to Winamac, Bringhurst, and Kokomo. All ex PRR. Was jointly owned by Kokomo Grain and Frick Services and operated under lease by CERA (which pre Railtex belonged to Kokomo Grain along with the CIND). Joint ownership ended and Frick kept Logansport to Winamac and Kokomo the other two legs and ultimately sold the CERA to Railtex. Frink later sells his portion to TP&W who later abandoned.. Exit Railtex, enter RailAmerica. Relationship between Kokomo and RailAmerica hits the skids and Kokomo replaces CERA with USRP as designated operator of the WSRY, Unfortunately, RailAmeirica figured out that the way the Kokomo/Frink split was worded (or lack of wording) that TPW could clam ownership of the WSRY mainline from 18th St yard to Van Jct as part of the Frick conveyed property, Legal battle ensues and RA wins, splitting WSRY into two pieces. TIme and more level head management at G&W heals wounds and Kokomo now on good terms with G&W. USRP lease is up, and has been problematic, so it was not renewed and new lease given to G&W who will operate as part of TP&W. The C&O piece from Marion to Amboy is Kokomo Rail, also owned by Kokomo Grain, It's one and only customer is Kokomo Grain Amboy, who does nothing but unit trains. NS power stays with unit train. Kokomo Rail would "rent" a crew from USRP to move the trains as needed. Assume they will now rent a G&W crew. Kokomo Grain also owns ex PRR from Anderson to Fowler IN and operates it as the Indian Creek Railroad. They continue to operate that themselves.
Additional comments on that post explain how the namesake of WSRY, Winmac, no longer has rail service.

When G&W assumed ownership of TP&W and CERA, the management style changed from greed and/or ego to logic so TP&W operates the remaining southern segments of WSRY and CERA operates the KR segment. [ProgressiveRailroading]
It is worth noting that Central of Indianapolis does not touch Indianapolis, but Central of Indiana (CIND) does.

Also note that the Panhandle Segment now controlled by TP&W connects TP&W to CERA. And the west end of TP&W connects to TZPR, which connects to IMRR. So G&W now owns about 400 contiguous miles in Indiana and Illinois.

I wonder what motivated these 2012 plans to reopen the former NKP Lake Erie & Western segment between Kokomo and Tipton, IN. I don't think this plan has been implemented. [KokomoTribune]

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