Louisville & Evansville RR

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Louisville & Evansville RR

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The Louisville & Evansville railroad (reporting marks L&E) began operations in 1950 between East St. Louis, IL, Evansville, IN, and Louisville, KY. Prior to 1950, the west end from Evansville to St. Louis was operated by the Missouri & Southern Illinois Railway, while the east end was operated by the Evansville & Eastern RR. In February 1950, the two companies were acquired in a 50/50 agreement between the Missouri Pacific RR and the Louisville & Nashville RR. The merger created the L&E, and was operated as a subsidiary of both companies for over 20 years before becoming an independent carrier in October 1971.

From end to end, the L&E operated roughly 300 miles of mainline track and 150 miles of branchline track. Between 1952 and 1954, the entire mainline was upgraded with CTC and longer passing sidings. Through the 1970's, a regular day would see plenty of freight traffic moving across the system. As many as 12 trains each way would run east and west of Morgan Yard in Evansville. The L&E also provided passenger service across the mainline prior to the formation of Amtrak in 1971. Train numbers 1 and 2, the east and westbound "Eva Lou" trains, ran the full length of the system seven days a week. Up until 1966, the L&E also operated train numbers 3 and 4, the east and westbound "Heartlander" trains between St. Louis and Evansville, as well as train numbers 5 and 6, the east and westbound "River Runner" trains. After the formation of Amtrak, the Eva Lou trains continued to run through 1976 when passenger service on the L&E officially ended.

Although the Southern Railway (later Norfolk Southern) had a slightly more direct route between Louisville and St. Louis, the L&E benefitted from a strong industrial traffic base throughout southern Indiana along the Ohio River, and plenty of agricultural traffic in the farmlands of southern Illinois. The various grain elevators and agricultural facilities along the west end provided a great deal of traffic moving to both ends of the railroad. One of the most important customers was the General Motors Company, who had three large plants located along the L&E, including the massive engine plant in McCauley, IN, north of Ravenna on the branchline to the B&O connection in Mitchell. The L&E moved finished engine blocks in 60 and 86 ft. boxcars to both of the assembly plants online; one in Louisville and one in Athol, IL. The rest of this thread will focus on the L&E as it was in late 1980's and early 1990's.

As of June 1990, there were six regular freights each way between St. Louis and Evansville, eight regular freights each way between Evansville and Louisville, and two "hotshots" each way between St. Louis and Louisville. The hotshot trains carried priority traffic between St. Louis and Louisville, only stopping for crew changes in Evansville. On the west end, four trains (two in each direction) were responsible for working the yard at Warwick while the other eight trains ran straight through. On the east end, a pair of trains ran between Evansville and Ravenna, another pair between Ravenna and Louisville, a pair that worked Ravenna before continuing to Louisville or Evansville, and a pair that ran straight through.

Waverly Yard was the railroads main yard in Louisville. Interchange traffic from CSXT, Norfolk Southern and Conrail was classified here and sent west on the system. The GM Yard on the west side of the Ohio River was the smaller of the two, and was mostly used for General Motors traffic, though a local was based here to serve a few industries on the West Bank Branch which split from the mainline at LO Junction just west of the bridge carrying the mainline over the Ohio River into Louisville.

Ravenna itself hosted a busy industrial port on the Ohio River, served solely by the L&E, which was a major source of traffic for the railroad. Grain, coal and stone were all loaded into barges here, and the port also hosted a large foundry and chemical plant. After becoming independent in 1971, the L&E closed their locomotive shops in Louisville and constructed a new shop and servicing facility 40 miles west in Ravenna's Fourth Street Yard. The L&E technically had three yards in Ravenna; Fourth Street, East Yard and the Port Yard. Of the three, Fourth Street was the busiest and was the only one located directly on the mainline. Transfers ran back and forth between the three yards seven days a week.

Evansville hosted just one L&E yard, but it was the biggest on the system. Morgan Yard was located on the northeast side of town and was the only hump yard on the L&E. Day and night, seven days a week, this was a busy place. Though the bulk of interchange between the L&E and L&N was done in Louisville, the two railroads did a sizable amount of car swapping here as well. The L&E also did a good amount of interchange with the Bowling Green Southern in Newburgh, just east of Evansville along the Ohio River.

Between St. Louis and Evansville, speed was the name of the game. The mainline was mostly flat and straight, a stark contrast to the hills and curves of the east end. Warwick, IL, was home to a smaller but still busy yard for the L&E. Located about halfway between St. Louis and Evansville, Warwick was an ideal location to base local jobs for the west end. Interchange cars from various connections were blocked here as mainline trains picked up and set off on a daily basis. Warwick also hosted a Ford Motor Company factory that produced car and truck frames which were shipped east and west on the L&E.

At the west end of the L&E was Clare Yard in East St. Louis. Just like Waverly Yard on the opposite end of the system, Clare was a busy interchange point and the railroads gateway to the west. Interchange partners included Union Pacific, Missouri Pacific, Norfolk Southern, Santa Fe, and Kansas City Southern, though most of the interchange traffic went through the T.R.R.A.

In the early 1990's the L&E rostered a well worn group of GE and EMD locomotives. The final two purchases of new locomotives for the L&E were ten C30-7's delivered in late 1985 and ten SD50's delivered in the spring of 1987. Below is a list of models and totals as of 1/1/1993.

U18B: 4 active, 2 stored.
U23B: 3 active, 1 stored.
U30B: 2 active.
U30C: 8 active, 4 stored.
U33C: 3 active, 1 stored.
B30-7: 6 active.
C30-7: 10 active.
TOTAL: 63 active, 8 stored.
GP9: 2 active, 13 stored.
GP18: 1 active, 1 stored.
GP30: 6 active.
GP35: 8 active.
GP38: 5 active.
GP40: 10 active.
SD40: 12 active.
SD45: 4 active, 2 stored.
SD40-2: 20 active.
SD50: 9 active, 1 stored.
TOTAL: 77 active, 17 stored.
Overall toal: 140 active locomotives, 25 stored serviceable.

As the 1990's came to a close, traffic patterns began to change on the L&E. The west end began to suffer as traffic dwindled and interchange at St. Louis slowed. The east end remained in good shape, but cars that had moved west in the past began moving east as things changed. By 2001, the line west of Warwick had been sold to RailAmerica and all westbound traffic was handled by turn jobs from Evansville to Warwick. This continued through 2005 when Genesee & Wyoming Inc. bought the Louisville & Evansville and severed the line west of the cement plant at Milltown, IL, on the west side of the Wabash River separating Indiana and Illinois. Below is a list of active locomotives on the L&E just prior to the G&W takeover.

U30C: 2 active.
B30-7: 4 active.
B39-8: 6 active. (Acquired in a trade with GE in 2000)
C30-7: 6 active.
TOTAL: 18 active.
GP30: 4 active.
GP35: 4 active.
GP38: 4 active.
GP40: 10 active.
SD40: 12 active.
SD45: 2 active.
SD40-2: 20 active.
SD50: 8 active.
TOTAL: 62 active.
Overall toal: 80 active locomotives.

Less than a year into G&W operations, all but six GE's had been retired from the roster, all six being the B39-8's acquired in 2000 from GE. In 2007, the remaining GP30's and GP35's were retired and sold. In 2008, the GP38's and SD45's were traded in for six rebuilt SD40-2's. In 2009, the 12 SD40's were traded for 8 GP40-2's. G&W continues to operate the L&E between Louisville and Milltown today, though the railroad is not what it once was.
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Re: Louisville & Evansville RR

Unread post by AARR »

I like reading about your paper railroads :)
PatC created a monster, 'cause nobody wants to see Don Simon no more they want AARR I'm chopped liver, well if you want AARR this is what I'll give ya, bad humor mixed with irrelevant info that'll make you roll your eyes quicker than a ~Z~ banhammer...

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