Best of EJ&E

Anything pertaining to railfanning in Indiana.
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EJE Dispatcher
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Best of EJ&E

Unread post by EJE Dispatcher »

As most of you know this was a day in history, the CN takeover of the J.. If you have favorite memories of the J it would be nice to post them and share you're best of the J..

Here is mine,
About, 5 years ago I was at Kirk yard Hump tower and there was a pair of SD-18 and a SDm shoving cars over the hump, boy was that the most awesome sound in the morning 6:30a to be-, my friend that works for the J was working the Hump tower that morning while I was hanging out with him before I went other places and he asked me if I wanted a cab ride in the hump power, I did what any railfan would say and said yes. So I met the hump jobs crew, very nice guys been there 30 or so years. I rode the power from the top of the hump to the yard to tie on to another cut of cars to be humped. Wow what rush, lite power was awesome , but under aload of about 100 or so cars words can't even describe the feeling, That power was in RUN8 and giving it their all "SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL" (the 3 best words to describe this feeling). That day I didn't leave the yard.. I still have those locos sound in my dreams to this day. WOW WHAT A RUSH!!!

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AARR
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by AARR »

My only exposure to the J was about 20 years ago at Matthison (I think) when I saw it crossing the IC on a cold January day while I was out railfanning. Pair of SD38's and a string of steel coil cars.
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trainjunkie47
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by trainjunkie47 »

My only memory of the J that I can recall was chunking a shot of a six unit lashup of a train out of Gary, about to cross the CN in Griffith. I was ticked.

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Racer
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by Racer »

My only memory of the J is when I went through Gary, Indiana on Amtrak 352 last November and we were stopped for about 10 minutes and I saw the 2 DMIR SD18s ( I think) switching cars around and an EJE SD38 pulled up to the north-end of the yard with a long string of steel gondolas. I wish I had more memories of it, but atleast I had something. :)
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by GTW6401 »

I was able to spend a few hours in West Chicago last summer and shot a few photos of JB Tower. Thats about the extent of my exposure to the J. Seeing the 8701 was far more exciting to me.....

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EJ&ESDM809
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by EJ&ESDM809 »

I've got too many to count. SDMs leading trains up and down the Romeoville branch (oh how I wish they still did that!). The last of the brown switchers and SW1200s hammering the throttle roaring with cuts of cars at Joliet Yard. I also got to see GP38-2 703 switching Joliet Yard, a very rare occurance. Of course most importantly, the SD38-2 was practically the railroad. There is NOTHING like seeing a trio of SD38-2s battling the hill out of Joliet with a loaded state line coal train! The sounds of the engine in run 8, the perfect RS3L horn, the ground shaking like a earthquake hitting, the sanders going full blast and of course just the sight of the bright orange engines against perfect blue skies. I've had the priveledge of living 5 minutes from one of the greatest railroads ever to grace the planet, and it will be missed dearly.

Losing the J is a huge loss for someone who cares about them as much as I do. Sure, CN will run more trains. Sure, CN will improve the line and make it very busy, but one thing is for sure, CN is not anything like the EJ&E. CN runs the same junk power as the BNSF or UP in a different paint scheme. I care more about the quality of the trains going by then quantity. I'll take one EJ&E train a day over 100 CN trains a day. Yes, you can see IC, GTW, WC BCOL, DM&IR etc on CN, but reality is that stuff isn't going to be around much longer.
Robby Gragg - Proud fan of the EJ&E Railway

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by GreatLakesRailfan »

I can't top Robby's memories but...my most recent memory of the J was last Thursday (1/29?)...I caught them leaving the BNSF yard east of Aurora with a trio of SD38s (I think). It was close to sunset and traffic was quite heavy, and by the time I got turned around to be able to get a picture of the units, they were already on the move east (from the yard). Seeing that they had a loaded coal train, and from information I'd seen online, I figured they were heading south, so I chased the line heading south. Apparently I went too far and too fast because by the time I got back to the tracks, at a siding somewhere south of the BNSF yard, there was no sign of them.. Never did see that train again, so I'm really not sure where they went from the BNSF yard.

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by EJ&ESDM809 »

My most recent one was actually yesterday, after the merger. JSW1 had a pair of SD38-2s in the lead, 657 and 660. We chased it from Plainfield to Minooka down the Illinois River Line. I may go out for JSW1 tommorow as there is a chance 654 could be on it.
Robby Gragg - Proud fan of the EJ&E Railway

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JANGAJONGA
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by JANGAJONGA »

going through the big steel yards saw alot of their power down there

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EJ&ESDM809
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by EJ&ESDM809 »

Yeah, as of right now its all J power, all J dispatchers, all J employees but all CN MOW workers. Presently they are using a SW1001 as a switcher in Joliet, no doubt because USS kept so many of the SW1200s. JSW1 had 660 and 657 for power again, JSW3 had 654 yesterday. The J hasn't been busy and a lot of times recently Joliet Yard has been filled with EJ&E and UP power. Of note now is every crossing in this area has signs posted that say "Caution: Increased Train Traffic" up. CN is supposed to begin shifting trains to the J March 4th, but it will probably be a small increase to begin with. CN says 2-3 years until traffic hits projected levels, and thats if the bad economy doesn't delay anything.
Robby Gragg - Proud fan of the EJ&E Railway

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by TrainSpottingGR »

I noticed the same signs up at the crossing in West Chicago this afternoon. Didn't see any J trains running today tho. I heard the J MOW on the scanner at Liberty while watching a few BNSF trains down in Eola today as well.

My best memory of the J was just from this last summer, happening to be in the right place at the right time in Griffith, IN.

The historical society was meeting in the old depot building there, and we asked if we could go up on the stairs of the tower to take photos. They said that was fine as long as we were careful, and mentioned that the guy with the keys to get in it would be along soon. We checked back with them about 20 mins later and the guy gave us his keys, asked us to make sure to lock everything back up and return them in about 45 mins. It was neat to see all the manual controls for what used to be there, but the weirdest part was the fact everything in the dispatcher's desk was left exactly as it was on the last night of operation (Dec 31, 1999 IIRC). It was like they simply walked out the door and never came back, even during the move of the tower to its present location. While the tower wasn't officially a J structure, it is on the grounds there next to the J cabooses and right along the main. Was a great day of rail fanning, and a very unexpected treat from the group at the depot. Needless to say we left them a nice cash donation too!

J.

PS: I am also curious to see if there will be any increase in traffic on the old IC line that interchanges at Munger, heads southwest into the city towards Hawthorne Yard (if that's even still in use), and interchanges with the IHB in Broadview. That line goes through the south side of Elmhurst where I live, but in 6 months have only seen trains on it 2 times. I know a while back someone posted a thread about the plastics plant in Villa Park, which is one of the main customers left on that route.
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EJ&ESDM809
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by EJ&ESDM809 »

Well, the dust has finally settled and things and it looks like all the power that went to Gary Railway is off EJ&E property. Gary Railway got all but 4 of the SW1200s, the NW2, the SW1500 and half the slugs. CN got all of the SD38s, SD38-2s, SW1001s, the other 4 SW1200s, the other half of the slugs, and the 703. Things shouldn't change too much until March 4th, so if you want to see EJ&E power it would be wise to do it sooner than later. Of course, the big question will be are the EJ&E SD38-2s going to stay after CN starts running its own trains down the line March 4th.

Right now it sounds like 4-8 CN trains will run down the J beginning March 4th, but it is unknown if these will use the entire line or if they are just adding trains to current interchange points between Munger and Leighton, and also between Griffith and Matteson. There is already a new BNSF coal train running down the J between Eola and Griffith. Unfortunatly, unlike the State Line coal trains, the BNSF power runs through. Speaking of the State Line, the one yesterday used three SD38-2s. I was afraid BNSF power would be left on it, but thankfully J power led. Lets just say three SD38-2s at run 8 doing 10MPH uphill made for a interesting chase showing what the EJ&E is made of.
Robby Gragg - Proud fan of the EJ&E Railway

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by GreatLakesRailfan »

There's been quite a bit of discussion on the IlliniRail Yahoo group about the demise of the 'J', the "increased train traffic" signs (apparently posted at just about every crossing on the 'J', especially up by Barrington), and the line to Munger. It really makes for some interesting reading.

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by EJ&ESDM809 »

I believe the increased traffic signs are posted at any crossing from Leighton to the Indiana State Line. I'm not sure if Indiana put signs up at their crossings.
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by GreatLakesRailfan »

Where is Leighton? Is that on the north end of the system?

From what I read on the IlliniRail list, I'd gotten the impression that CN had had to pay at least part of the cost of the signs.

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by GTW6401 »

Its acutally Leithton, which is between Mundelein and Vernon Hills, and is where the J crosses the WC.

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by TrainSpottingGR »

I also heard from a local here that the signs are a requirement 30 days out from any long term increase of traffic on any rail line to heighten the public's awareness for safety. Dunno if that's a true statement or not, but certainly reasonable.

J.
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SD80MAC
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by SD80MAC »

EJ&ESDM809 wrote:Well, the dust has finally settled and things and it looks like all the power that went to Gary Railway is off EJ&E property. Gary Railway got all but 4 of the SW1200s, the NW2, the SW1500 and half the slugs. CN got all of the SD38s, SD38-2s, SW1001s, the other 4 SW1200s, the other half of the slugs, and the 703. Things shouldn't change too much until March 4th, so if you want to see EJ&E power it would be wise to do it sooner than later. Of course, the big question will be are the EJ&E SD38-2s going to stay after CN starts running its own trains down the line March 4th.

Right now it sounds like 4-8 CN trains will run down the J beginning March 4th, but it is unknown if these will use the entire line or if they are just adding trains to current interchange points between Munger and Leighton, and also between Griffith and Matteson. There is already a new BNSF coal train running down the J between Eola and Griffith. Unfortunatly, unlike the State Line coal trains, the BNSF power runs through. Speaking of the State Line, the one yesterday used three SD38-2s. I was afraid BNSF power would be left on it, but thankfully J power led. Lets just say three SD38-2s at run 8 doing 10MPH uphill made for a interesting chase showing what the EJ&E is made of.
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Racer
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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by Racer »

I went to Chicago last weekend and now have a true "Memories of the EJ&E Moment". I was over at Pine Jct. in Gary waiting for the EJE to go into their yard over the overpass near their interchanging yard. The first EJ&E train went over the bridge was lite power (I think EJE 655), but my view was blocked by a train on the NS Chicago Line. I waited more, then the EJ&E had 656 and 663 doubling-up his train, but the power didn't make it to the overpass where I could get a photo of it. I waited and waited, but then when he finally departed (Going over the bridge), another NS train blocked my view and could not get a photo of it. JQ and I chased it to the freeway where it was the last chance to get a photo of it. I got my camera out as soon it was about to go over the overpass. Right when I was about to take the photo, my camera's battery died. I did get a crappy shot of EJ&E 656 and 663 when they were doubling-up their train, but atleast I got to see "The J".
"...and I was in the front and Matt grabbed and pulled my ears from behind me and made horsey sounds."

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Re: Best of EJ&E

Unread post by GLC 392 »

CN is already sending the SD38's to yard service around chicago there were 2 of the SD38-2's working homewood yesterday.

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