Norfolk Southern's Decatur District

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Norfolk Southern's Decatur District

Unread postby Y@ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:31 pm

The Decatur District is Norfolk Southern's ex-NKP line between East Peoria and Decatur, Illinois. Until the late 1970's, the line ran all the way to Effingham, IL, but the Decatur-Effingham portion was deemed surplus and removed. Once a fairly busy mainline, traffic has dwindled throughout the years since the N&W/Southern merger. The only real reason the line has survived is due to it's strong online traffic base, and direct route from Peoria to Decatur. A pair of turns, one based in East Peoria and one in Decatur, work the line from each end and swap cars with each other in Millville. Millville is also where the line crosses the WI&I's Joliet to St. Louis mainline. The two roads interchange cars here every day.

Up until the early 1980's, the line was CTC with NKP era signals. Over the years, NS has removed all of the intermediates along the line, but out-of-service bracket masts remain at a few locations. The diamonds at Millville and Rayburn retain their signals and distant signals. Between Decatur and Millville, there are three sidings in service, and one out of service. North (railroad west) of Millville, there are two active sidings and one out of service. Below is a milepost list of sidings, switches and industries.

PE 65.6 - Connection to Lafayette District
PE 65.9 - Switch to Decatur Industrial Track
PE 66.2 - E.E. Varnes Siding
PE 67.7 - W.E. Varnes Siding
PE 71.3 - East Switch to ADM Elevator (O/S)
PE 71.9 - West Switch to ADM Elevator
PE 75.6 - Switch to G&C Warehouse
PE 79.2 - E.E. Halter Siding
PE 80.6 - W.E. Halter Siding
PE 80.9 - Switch to Halter Elevator Track
PE 83.4 - Switch to Pioneer Forge
PE 83.7 - Downtown Pioneer
PE 85.5 - Janestown Defect Detector
PE 88.7 - Switch to Vriesland Transload
PE 91.4 - Switch to POET Ethanol Rayburn, IL Plant
PE 91.9 - Rayburn Diamond (R&W RR Connection)
PE 92.3 - E.E. Rayburn Siding
PE 93.1 - W.E. Rayburn Siding
PE 96.9 - Switch to H&K Commercial
PE 101.2 - E.E. Arlen Siding (O/S)
PE 102.5 - W.E. Arlen Siding
PE 103.6 - Switch to Millville Industrial Track
PE 103.9 - Millville Diamond (WI&I RY Connection)
PE 103.9 - E.E. Millville Siding
PE 105.3 - W.E. Millville Siding
PE 105.5 - Switch to Proctor & Gamble
PE 105.7 - Switch to Marathon Refinery
PE 108.3 - Switch to Wallace Chemical
PE 110.4 - Gerald Defect Detector
PE 113.7 - Switch to Cloverleaf Cold Storage
PE 119.6 - E.E. Dekan Siding (O/S)
PE 120.7 - W.E. Dekan Siding (O/S)
PE 124.1 - Switch to Dow Chemical Luckey, IL Plant
PE 124.7 - Switch to Luckey Elevator Track
PE 127.3 - Switch to ADM Luckey Plant
PE 130.2 - Switch to TZPR Snake Track (O/S)
PE 131.4 - E.E. Everett Siding
PE 132.7 - W.E. Everett Siding
PE 133.9 - Switch to Bryers Industrial Park
PE 134.7 - Connection to NS Peoria Track

The two turns that work the line are L78 (East Peoria-Millville) and L79 (Decatur-Millville). On most days, L78 will come east out of Peoria around 09:00, while L79 leaves Decatur anywhere from 16:00 to 19:00. Both jobs are Monday-Saturday. If needed, the trains will run on Sunday as L7D and L7R. For the last few years, NS has assigned units to each job, and they are the normal power unless down for their 92-day inspections. NS 3280 and NS 3278 have been assigned to L78, while NS 3229 and NS 3255 have been assigned to L79. All four units are high-hood SD40-2's. Any extra power is borrowed from the yards in Decatur or East Peoria.
Last edited by Y@ on Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Norfolk Southern's Decatur District

Unread postby Y@ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:11 pm

The way car swaps are handled between L78 and L79 is a fairly unique operation. Because the east switch of Arlen siding is out-of-service, the siding is used as a stub track for interchange cars with the WI&I. Each day, L79 shoves cars for interchange to the WI&I into the west end of Arlen siding, then drags their cars for swap with the next mornings L78 north of the diamond into Millville siding. This cut also includes any cars picked up from their westbound trip that are billed to return to Decatur, always placed on the rear of the cut. The engines cut away, run out to the main at the west end, shove back to the east end, then cut the cars for Decatur off the cut for Peoria. Because of this setup, the cars that L78 leaves for L79 are shoved into the Millville industrial track by L78 after they've completed any work on the industrial track. L79 will rarely, if ever, work the industrial track for this reason. Once L79 has all their cars together, they air test on the main before heading back east.

As for L78's procedure, all cars they picked up on their eastbound trip that are billed for Peoria are left at the west end of Millville on the main. The cars for swap with L79 are pulled south and shoved into the Millville Industrial Track. If there is any work to be done on the industrial track, that work will be completed before anything else. Cars for interchange to the WI&I are shoved into the connection, then L78 drags the cars left by L79 in the west end of Arlen siding out and runs around them in Millville siding before pulling back across the diamond and shoving them into the interchange. Once this is done, they run around their train in Millville siding before air testing and heading back to Peoria.

It is definitely an interesting and somewhat time consuming operation. If they ever decide to replace the switch at E.E. Arlen, things would be much easier.
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Re: Norfolk Southern's Decatur District

Unread postby Y@ » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:28 pm

After several months of complexity in the switching moves of L78 and L79 around Millville, track crews were out today replacing the switch at E.E. Arlen, as well as preparing to get Millville West Yard 1 back into service. Up until the early 80's, there was a small yard at Millville. All of the tracks were removed by 1990 with the exception of West Yard 1, which remained in service until a derailment in 2010. Because NS had no plans to continue using West Yard 1, the switches at each end were cut and removed from the timetable. Sounds like it will be back in use by the start of September.
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