NS at Monticello

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NS at Monticello

Unread postby O Scale Railfanner » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:46 pm

With my trip to Southern Illinois creeping ever so closer, does anyone know anything about NS's operations through and around Monticello? Not expecting to catch much outside of the museum charter but wouldn't hurt to see a freight or two.
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Re: NS at Monticello

Unread postby SD80MAC » Fri May 04, 2018 10:52 am

MQT1223 wrote:With my trip to Southern Illinois creeping ever so closer, does anyone know anything about NS's operations through and around Monticello? Not expecting to catch much outside of the museum charter but wouldn't hurt to see a freight or two.

Monticello I believe is on the old Wabash branch to Peoria. Last I knew it saw a pair of freights in each direction and random extra trains (big Caterpillar plant near Peoria that they will sometimes run unit trains out of).
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Re: NS at Monticello

Unread postby bn13814 » Sat May 19, 2018 2:25 am

SD80MAC wrote: Monticello I believe is on the old Wabash branch to Peoria. Last I knew it saw a pair of freights in each direction and random extra trains (big Caterpillar plant near Peoria that they will sometimes run unit trains out of).


There was no Wabash branch to Peoria. Norfolk Southern created a new route to that city (actually East Peoria) by combining the ex-Nickel Plate between East Peoria and Gibson City (abandoned east of there at the start of 1989) and the ex-Wabash between Bement and Gibson City (mostly abandoned north of there in 1990, save for what was sold to the Bloomer Line) to create the Bloomington District. The completion in early 1990 of a new southwest quadrant connection at Gibson City eliminated the necessity of trains have to runaround their power.

Since Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America (MMMA) closed its Normal, Illinois assembly plant in late 2015 (with some shipping continuing into 2016), operations have been downsized. Prior to MMMA's closure, Norfolk Southern based three roadswitchers at Good Yard in Normal - D46 (morning), D47(afternoon) and D49 (night) - to handle local switching, classifying inbound D32 (from Decatur) and building D36 (to Decatur) and working the TZPR interchange at East Peoria (usually D46). The aforementioned locals (D32/D36) cycled between Decatur and Normal six days a week. Now, they appear to run on a tri-weekly basis and at unpredictable times. The ex-P&E Mansfield-Urbana line sees perhaps 2-3 runs per week, especially when grain business (The Andersons can load 100-car trains at its grain terminal just west of Champaign) is heavy in the fall and winter.

Grain extras originating online and those coming from Des Moines, Iowa (for which the Iowa Interstate Railroad acts as haulage agent between the Iowa Capital and Peoria), and coal trains bound for the Iowa Interstate RR add some regular unit train traffic. Norfolk Southern apparently ceased using CN trackage rights between Gibson City, Gilman and Chicago.

Recently, local railfans learned that TP&W is going to be originating more regular grain trains for the NS with trains co-loaded at Cruger and Weston. A new unit-train capable elevator being built near Chenoa may load grain trains for NS as well. Interchange point should be East Peoria.
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