WI&I Lorain Subdivision

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WI&I Lorain Subdivision

Unread postby Y@ » Tue Feb 04, 2014 8:09 pm

The Lorain Subdivision was, in its day, a somewhat busy bridge route for the WI&I. Constructed between 1849 and 1860, the railroad connected Knoxville, TN, to St. Louis, MO, under the operation of three separate railroads. CTC was installed on the line in the 1950's, with US&S searchlights being installed by the WI&I, as was standard across the system. By the early 1970's, the portion from Bowling Green, KY, to Knoxville was abandoned and largely ripped up, but the west end had survived thanks to a steady flow of both online and overhead traffic. A sizable yard in Bowling Green was jointly operated by the WI&I and L&N, then Seaboard System, Chessie System and eventually CSX until 1990. West of Bowling Green, the railroad ran through the hills of western Kentucky to the Ohio River at Owensboro, where it met the Bowling Green Southern on the north side. Although the Lorain Subdivision (known as the Bowling Green Line in the 60's and 70's) went directly to the namesake of the BGS, they did not directly connect there. The WI&I paralleled the BGS from Four Mile Creek, Indiana, into Evansville, then continued on to St. Louis. When the stretch from Four Mile to Evansville became part of the Evansville Terminal in 1980, the Lorain Sub was 81.7 miles long between Four Mile and Bowling Green.

At the time, this was the WI&I's only route extending towards southern Indiana and Kentucky, and thus a solid traffic base and plenty of interchange with other roads was done. In the mid-80's, traffic levels were higher than ever before as the WI&I and newly formed Seaboard System had come to an agreement on routing bridge traffic over the WI&I from Bowling Green to Evansville. It was not uncommon to see overhead traffic from any of the western class one's running over the WI&I to reach southern connections. A strong online traffic base between Bowling Green and Mill Village, which was about 2/3 of the way to Owensboro, was also vital to the WI&I. During 1983-1988 period, traffic levels were consistently high. An average of 25 trains a day operated between Bowling Green and Evansville.

When the WI&I acquired the former BGS mainline from Evansville to Louisville in 1990, the original WI&I between Evansville and Four Mile was ripped out and a new connection to the Lorain Sub was added. With a new route to Louisville, some of the interchange between the WI&I and CSX was moved north to Louisville. Soon, the ex-BGS had become a vital bridge route all its own, and by 1994 about half of the traffic had moved from the Lorain Sub to the ex-BGS, now known as the WI&I River Sub. Between 1994 and 1999, bridge traffic continued to decline, but online traffic remained steady. After the Conrail split in 1999, the bridge traffic on the Lorain Sub went away altogether, with Louisville now officially the main WI&I/CSX connection. By early 2001, the line was down to a pair of through trains 5-6 days a week, and the locals based in Bowling Green, Lorain and Evansville. In 2002, the final active customer (Mead Paper) remaining west of Mill Village shut down, and the WI&I filed to abandon the line between Mill Village and Four Mile, putting the rest of the line up for sale. Genesee & Wyoming bought the line and began operating it as the Bowling Green & Northern, reporting mark BGNR. Today, the BGNR operates the former WI&I between Mill Village and Bowling Green, a distance of 55.6 miles.

Following this post will be a list of online customers and a list of common train symbols, both from 1987, and a list of the online customers today under G&W ownership, as well as a track chart from 1987 versus one from 2013.
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