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Elkhart report 10/23/2016

Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:02 pm
by GP30M4216
On Sunday October 23 I headed down from west Michigan to Elkhart for a day of train chasing and history documenting. With most NS signal upgrades done in the EKH area and rumors about extensive changes to the track arrangement at CP-421, I wanted to try to capture some photos utilizing the landmark signal bridge beside the Elkhart depot. I was shooting with two cameras and haven't gotten to look at the photos from the other camera yet, but will upload them when I do.

My goal was to arrive at the Elkhart depot in time to see the Lake Shore Limited 49 arrive - turns out the Capitol had lost quite a bit of time in Ohio and I would get to see it, too. A westbound NS container train preceded both Amtraks through the depot on Track 1. Most of the crowd of passengers boarding at Elkhart had tickets for the Capitol and boarded when it arrived as the sun was cresting above the old NYC freighthouse roof.

Amtrak 29 (ARV 1 hour late):
AMT 166 P42
AMT 135 P42
61016 Baggage
39003 Dorm Sleeper
32099 Sleeper
32051 Sleeper
37016 Diner Lounge
33012 Lounge
31039 Bag Coach
34096 Coach
34026 Coach

The Lake Shore was not far behind and may have been running on approach signals some of the way behind #29. They were doing better on their timekeeping. Photos of the Lake Shore coming later.

Amtrak 49 (ARV 15 minutes late)
AMT 132 P42
61024 Baggage
62019 Sleeper
62012 Sleeper
62045 Sleeper
28011 Diner Lite
28013 Cafe Lounge
25103 Coach
25113 Coach
25081 Coach
25045 Coach

A few manifest trains rolled into the yard after the Amtraks cleared up. I opted to try for a morning shot of #3001 from an angle I've never shot before - not the best but it does kind of look like it might be on the mainline passing the depot!
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I decided to explore the new Prairie overpass, found out that the McDonald Avenue crossing has been closed, and eventually decided to make my way to Goshen to see CP-412 (haven't been there since the reconfiguration). At this point, the sun was up, the temp warming and the fall colors were clearly in evidence. On a whim, I continued south down SR-15 to check on the status of the old position light signals. I took the slow route down to Leesburg, where I just missed the headend of a lengthy manifest going north - and instead shot some fall colors and architecture-y photos of this quaint little farming town.
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Paralleling the Marion Branch again to Leesburg Siding, I noticed another clear indication for a northbound, and setup for a fall colors wide shot south of town.
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Turns out it was manifest M42, led by GoRail SD60E #6963! I chased them north, stopping to get a photo at signal 16N.
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I love the look of the paralleling power lines. This triangular crossarm arrangement seems to be unique to Indiana - does it have a special name? They seem to be being replaced as there weren't many seen of this design, especially with the large insulators.
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I caught the tail end of the train crossing the former B&O at Milford Jct.
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And finally caught them one more time at the Jefferson St. crossing just before they joined the Water Level Route. I then headed back toward the Elkhart depot - afternoon was the sunangle I was looking for for my signal bridge photos. I passed a grimy CP unit leading an auto rack train eastbound but didn't get a photo. Once at the depot, an eastbound appeared to be departing the yard...zoom lens said HERITAGE! I headed for the end of Starr to get a photo of them coming under the westbound signals at 421, where they met a westbound container train on Track 1 - photo to come!

They were taking it easy coming out of the yard, and I was able to catch this train NS 366 again near CR17.
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Back to the depot, waiting for a westbound heading into the sun. BNSF 4786 went east single-handed with a short container train on 2 and an eastbound NS manifest behind a GEVO and SD70M-2 came into the yard....but not under the signal.
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I opted for several great "roster" shots of the bridge and some details since it may soon meet its maker.
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Finally, a TOFC/COFC westbound came west on 1, with NS 9378 with a wicked Leslie RS5T hornset and a trailing UP motor. Photo to come - the video turned out great except for all the wind that picked up!



With a 2 hour drive time to get home, I headed north, by way of Kalamazoo - to pay my last respects to BO Tower, which closed on 10/25/2016 after over 100 years of service. I went to college at WMU in Kalamazoo and spent a lot of time railfanning around the tower area about 10-12 years ago. Sad to see the end of an era, but I understand the tower will be moved to Greenfield Village in Dearborn for preservation. The final shot is looking east toward the tower with it's two protected sets of diamonds in the foreground.
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It was a beautiful fall day - hope you enjoyed!

Re: Elkhart report 10/23/2016

Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:17 pm
by hoborich
Nice report. Thanks for sharing.

Re: Elkhart report 10/23/2016

Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:01 am
by GP30M4216
A few more from this day - reading the recent report that the signal construction crews are getting setup for work to begin in January, I'm really glad I made the effort to go on this trip.

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Amtrak 49 arrives at the Elkhart depot. Look strange running with just one unit but I guess that's a perk of the Water Level Route!

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P42 132 leading the way.

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NS train M42 norhtbound approaching Leesburg behind the GoRail SD60E with some fall color in the distance.

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M42 northbound passing the intermediate US&S former PRR position light at MP14 on the Marion Secondary.

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M42 northbound crossing Jefferson Street in Goshen just before joining the Water Level mainline at CP-412. I figured a broadside would be a good opportunity to get the nice orange color and a good view of the GoRail scheme. I hadn't been here since they had reconfigured the streetrunning a few years ago.

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NS 366 throttles up under the classic NYC signals at CP-421 in Elkhart with Erie SD70M-2 #1068 leading the way with a nice mix of standard cab EMDs behind. A westbound stacktrain passes by on #1 track.

Re: Elkhart report 10/23/2016

Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:06 am
by AARR
Thanks for posting, GP30M. I like your report and pictures. :D

Re: Elkhart report 10/23/2016

Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:56 am
by justin_gram
Nice report! :D

Re: Elkhart report 10/23/2016

Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:14 pm
by GP30M4216
From this same day - a final few photos to document the signal bridge at CP-421:

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