Tolleston & High Line Questions

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Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:16 am

#1. I went to Tolleston today and saw there was a construction project in progress.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 12.11.34 AM.png
Equipment at Tolleston


The diamond is not installed but according to a CSX service worker in the area that I flagged down, there is going to be a new turn off built.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 12.11.23 AM.png
Tolleston Junction with cleared foliage


Does anyone have any information about this?




#2. I went on the high line through Gary today, east of the the Ft. Wayne Branch, and saw a strange device. It looks like a mail box but it's of heavy industrial construction. It is a yellow post topped with a metal container - has a door on it but it was too rusted to open. I included a photo of the object. Does anyone know what it is and/or if it's related to the railroad?

G&WJan2018.jpg
unknown object, just west of Grant Street


Thank you
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:00 am

I believe the "mailbox" is exactly that. A place to put paperwork and lock it up. Obviously no longer in use.

The connections seem to be straight forward the last time I looked at the layout. The planned diamond for the tracks to cross each other. A southwest quadrant connection for CFER to connect to CSX. A northeast quadrant connection installed a few years ago to connect the CSX line to the "north" to the CSX line to the east (currently used by NS trains to access Kirk Yard via a connection to the old Sugars Track). The turnout on the "north" end was installed and allows CSX trains to go to the end of the track on the old PRR while NS trains follow the old Wabash to the CN connection by Clark Rd. If I remember correctly the current curve needs realignment to line up with the diamond (keeping the diamond track straight). The angles are wrong to install connections in the other quadrants (although a northwest quadrant connection could come in handy).
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:32 am

That "mailbox" is interesting to me. I'm finding out a lot about the high line from a historical perspective and it excites me to find old infrastructure still standing. My goal is to find everything I can and document it before it's all gone.

Moving on to something that may be related to Tolleston. A fellow rail fan friend of mine put me up on a Canadian Pacific development from October of last year. Basically CP teamed up with Genesee & Wyoming (CF&E) to exclusively control freight traffic from an intermodal facility owned by Bluegrass Farms in Jeffersonville, OH. CP highlights the Ft. Wayne branch on their website, and G&W is quoted:

"Our partnership with Canadian Pacific is an excellent example of how short line railroads can extend the reach of the Class 1 network," said Jack Hellmann, G&W Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

http://www.cpr.ca/en/media/cp-extends-reach-into-the-ohio-valley-and-expands-presence-in-asia

This might answer a question I had about CF&E's contract to utilize the Ft. Wayne branch beyond 2024. Will we be seeing CP at Tolleston and elsewhere along the branch? I don't know if CP is already using the Ft. Wayne elsewhere. Would the new construction at Tolleston possibly have something to do with that?

This same friend sent me a video of a WB CN utilizing the Porter Branch at Tolleston. I was surprised. I didn't know CN was using the Porter Branch in any capacity - was slightly confused. He also told me that CN was going to transfer their stack trains from Markham Yard to Kirk and that's why the G&W/IHB bridge over WAB/Ft. Wayne @ Tolleston was removed. I've yet to see a stack train from either CN or NS heading to Kirk from that direction. Sorry for the overload and multiple subjects. I just have a lot I wanna know about lol
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby 9xs » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:33 am

NS and CN now have a run through agreement between Elkhart and points west. Since then, the CN connection to Kirk is now disused. Only one train goes west to the Porter Branch at Chesterton, nothing comes east. CP will run their intermodal train to Tolleston frkm the IHB. My guess is that CSX wants this to be a higher speed turnout so they can use the PB and PRR as a third main between Pine and Willow Creek.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:58 am

Has there been any construction at the west end of the PRR to reconnect it to the CSX line?
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:05 pm

That's interesting about CP. Using the IHB to Tolleston? Does that mean they are going to get off of the IHB at Ivanhoe and utilize the Porter Branch to Tolleston like everyone else? That would be awesome, however I don't think I'd be wrong to be a little pessimistic thinking they are gonna use the high line to get to Tolleston! CSX utilizing the Porter Branch and the Ft. Wayne as a third main line would be awesome as well, I'm all for it - if that is the case. I would also like to know if there is any construction happening at Clarke. I would go see for myself, I'm not sure how clear the view would be from the bridge at Airport RD over the Barr Sub. Google Earth imagery from 4/2017 shows the old connection north of Clarke still having track laid, and being maintained to a certain degree - but of course it is still severed from the rest of the PRR.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:57 pm

justalurker66 wrote:Has there been any construction at the west end of the PRR to reconnect it to the CSX line?


If I may - with regard to Clarke, I walked up the Ft. Wayne northwest of 5th Ave to the Grand Calumet River last year to check out the work that was done but not completed. There was some ballast tampering and tie replacement work done from Tolleston all the way as far as my eye could see up the Ft. Wayne. I walked it to see how far that work went.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 6.51.43 PM.png
Ft. Wayne - looking northwest towards 5th Ave from Taft St.


There's a new signal and signal house installed about 497 yards northwest from the CSS/NICTD Penn-Wabash bridge but it's not operational, signal #4436.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 6.25.04 PM.png


North of this signal, the single-track line was cleared of vegetation up to the northwest side of I-90. At the PRR over GCR bridge itself, vegetation was cut but the stumps of the weeds and trees were left in place. Across the bridge, the vegetation was not touched - it was still overgrown.

Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 6.29.52 PM.png
Looking northwest


I caught a ride to N. Clark Rd to see if any vegetation was cleared out in that area - it wasn't. My guess was at the time, there was no clearing of vegetation from just before the Grand Cal River to Clarke. Ballast tampering was stopped just before signal #4436, and stumps were still in the trackbed from just before or just after that signal to the bridge.

I had figured worked stopped because CF&E decided to use NS's ex-WAB instead of the Ft. Wayne north of Tolleston to get to Kirk, as a report that I found online stated. I also found something that stated CSX sold its rights on the Ft. Wayne northwest of Tolleston to GCIA.

Yet, I find CSX constructing a trackbed at Tolleston on the northwest side of the junction just a few days ago. I can make no sense of it. What I do know is that railroads don't do things for no reason. Something has to be in the works for Clarke.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:00 am

GaryIndianaRailFan wrote:That's interesting about CP. Using the IHB to Tolleston? Does that mean they are going to get off of the IHB at Ivanhoe and utilize the Porter Branch to Tolleston like everyone else? That would be awesome, however I don't think I'd be wrong to be a little pessimistic thinking they are gonna use the high line to get to Tolleston!

That would be interesting and would explain some of the work in the Tolleston area.
Tollston 180125.png
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:33 pm

justalurker66 wrote:That would be interesting and would explain some of the work in the Tolleston area.


I went back to Tolleston this weekend and it does look like a new railroad bed is being laid out. New ballast has been laid and flattened, and it seems as if the unfinished NS connector NW of 9th Ave is gonna finally be connected.

I am assuming that once this connector is completed - or maybe even during the course of installation - the unused portion of the Ft. Wayne branch will be realigned with CF&E and the diamond will be installed afterwards. It currently curls east away from the interlocking and connects with the Porter Branch just west of Grant Street (as you know). However, that's just an assumption and it's not based on anything I've seen.

Also, it has come to my attention that CP will have significantly increased traffic on the CF&E/Ohio Valley line.
http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2018/02/26-canadian-pacific-wins-contract-for-international-intermodal-traffic

"Now that CP’s costs are on par with CN’s, it’s in a position to compete for lower-margin international intermodal traffic. The ONE contract win will help boost CP’s new Ohio Valley intermodal partnership with two Genesee & Wyoming short lines. The Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern and Indiana & Ohio haul CP intermodal traffic between Chicago and Jeffersonville, Ohio."

I am assuming that CP will be utilizing Tolleston, as they had the entire Ft. Wayne branch highlighted on their website when this was first announced. I don't know if the work at Tolleston has anything to do with CP at all.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:26 pm

A couple of shots taken on the 18th.
gary-180218a.jpg
The connection between the Porter branch and PRR looking northwest. Currently the track curves to the east behind the camera. The switch has been there since the connection opened. I believe the NE quadrant connection will be moved over to that switch.
gary-180218b.jpg
Looking southeast along the same track. The current connection needs to be shifted over, The new track should replace the old from the diamond.
gary-180218c.jpg
Looking northwest from the signal at the end of CFER. The tracks run right up to the Porter Branch where the diamond is missing.
Last edited by justalurker66 on Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:44 pm

gary-170702.jpg
Taken last summer - the unused switch that I believe the NE quadrant connection will connect to (the current connection runs straight through the switch then curves to the east). The back of the signals from the PRR and the NS connection to the Wabash are visible.
gary-160522.jpg
From 2016 - a view of the signals looking southeast along the PRR. Nothing much has changed in the past couple years in this view.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:00 am

All of these photos were taken on the 24th of February.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 8.41.38 AM.png
Standing on the Porter Branch looking west.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 8.50.51 AM.png
There is an earthen embankment there now.

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 8.42.16 AM.png
Ballast has been laid and flattened.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:11 pm

gary-180304a.jpg
The new ballast
gary-180304b.jpg
CSX (PRR) approach to Tolleston
gary-180304c.jpg
NS approach to Tolleston
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:27 pm

I rolled through Gary on Sunday ... no changes noted.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Tue May 01, 2018 3:08 am

Thank you my friend, you saved me a trip. People have been bugging me about it. I figured there would be no changes to note.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Wed May 02, 2018 2:29 am

Oh, for anybody who doesn't know. Google updated their maps. I don't know if anybody seen it before I did right now, but yesterday was still April 2017. 3/17/2018 is the updated date.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Wed May 02, 2018 3:22 am

ejlavino.png


Does anybody know what's happening here at the old E. J. Lavino/Stanrail spur? I have it annotated in red in a photo I provided. I haven't been to this area since last summer. It was overgrown then. Are they ripping (or have ripped) this up? Odd to suddenly rip this up out the blue. Is there plans to take the bridge over MLK down?

This is on the west side of MLK, south of the WAB behind Indiana Sugars and immediately south of the high line.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby justalurker66 » Wed May 02, 2018 5:40 pm

It looks like they cleared the utility right of way south of the high line. With bridges down to the west and east of MLK I'd expect all the bridges to come down as money permits. I am surprised the bridge still exists over US12/20 and the South Shore/EJ&E. Perhaps a question over who would pay for the work. As long as the bridge is structurally sound the owner can leave it up.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Wed May 02, 2018 11:45 pm

justalurker66 wrote:It looks like they cleared the utility right of way south of the high line. With bridges down to the west and east of MLK I'd expect all the bridges to come down as money permits. I am surprised the bridge still exists over US12/20 and the South Shore/EJ&E. Perhaps a question over who would pay for the work. As long as the bridge is structurally sound the owner can leave it up.


I wondered if it were NIPSCO that done it. I've seen them clearing that area in the past, but never to that degree. I would imagine that bridge would be more structurally "sound" than the others. I believe it's the youngest one on the entire line.
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Re: Tolleston & High Line Questions

Unread postby GaryIndianaRailFan » Sun May 06, 2018 9:26 pm

I went to the location in question and I do think that indeed NIPSCO was responsible for all of that mulch. Asplundh trucks were backing in and out of the area, and I know them to do work for NIPSCO. I also found this cool switch. What era do you think it's from? The remaining track there have stamps that says "1923". So I would assume with a wild guess that the switch is also 1920's era tech? This industrial spur wasn't install until at least 1961, and I'm basing that on the foundation stamp imprinted on the MLK bridge foundation and that Stanrail, the property the spur went to, wasn't constructed until at the earliest 1959.
Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 6.03.53 PM.png
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