Michigan City area report 2/25/18 (CSS, caboose, tower, etc)

Give us a run down of what you saw, post pictures if you'd like...any info is welcome.

Michigan City area report 2/25/18 (CSS, caboose, tower, etc)

Unread postby GP30M4216 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:37 am

I headed down to Michigan City from west Michigan on Sunday to meet my brother at the model train show and do a bit of sightseeing. Here is my report:

On my way in, I was surprised to pass P32 #519 and P42 #37 heading east while I rolled west on US-12 near the state line. They snuck up on me coming around one of the curves and I didn't have a chance to grab a camera and pull over!

A quick stop at the MC Amtrak Depot looks like a bit of the platform and parking lot area have been cleaned up although there are still plenty of potholes to go around. With Swingbelly's out of the old depot for the past few years, is anything ever going to move in there? Paper signage inside the bus shelter provides current train arrival information. Hey Amtrak, how many years out of date is this mounted sign proclaiming train arrivals at 3:03 and 2:19PM each day? Hint: ca. 2005. Maybe it's time to take this down and replace it with the new combination sign/bulletin boards being installed at many other stations.
IMG_20180225_110046138 Amtrak Michigan City old sign.jpg
MCI Station Signage - vintage in its own way!


Does anyone have a list of the freight customers in Michigan City on the former NYC Michigan Line? Isn't at least one of them switched by the South Shore requiring the orange GP38-2s to operate via the interchange track across Trail Creek Bridge to a destination near the coaling tower?

From backroads and parking lots, we were able to view Drawbridge Tower, at the Trail Creek Bridge. I know the tower no longer serves a train control function as it has long since been replaced by the AML train director and dispatchers, but during the boating season, is a bridge tender based there to operate the swing? Or is this done remotely from somewhere?

We stopped at the S-curve on 11th Street to witness two CSS passages on the streetrunning, an EB and a WB. A good number of people seemed to be using the 11th Street "station" for boarding or detraining. I love the sound of the quilling horns and the rhythmic mechanical bell echoing off nearby buildings.

The last and best stop of the day was at the CSS Carroll Avenue Yard. Not expecting to see much interesting on a Sunday, we were shocked to discover CSS #1916, one of their former ATSF cupola cabooses, decked out in gorgeous traction orange, silver and maroon with a unique CSS&SB logo! How many cabooses does CSS still roster and where are they used on the system? This would be a really cool kitbashing project and is totally amazing for 2018, complete with end ladders and roof walk, and light fixtures mounted over the ladders on each platform end.
CSS1916 Michigan City 2-25-2018.jpg
CSS 1916


We also noted several CSS coil cars parked near the Carroll diamond, many unblemished by graffiti, so I snapped a photo of one close at hand. My camera promptly died. I noted a long line of boxcars and covered hoppers parked on the Kingsbury Branch west of Carroll Ave. Are these cars destined for Kingsbury Branch customers? Intriguing was what appeared to be a former Metra Electric highliner car parked near the CSS freight shop buildings across from the Carroll Ave. platform. It had a maroon stripe where the Metra blue or red stripe once would have gone. No road number or other markings were visible from our distance other than the maroon stripe. I know the CSS double deckers are all fluted steel with NICTD and CSS logo panels on the side and it definitely wasn't one of those...so what car is it and what is it doing there?
CSS2168 Michigan City 2-25-2018.jpg


All in all, blue skies and a few interesting things to see.....a good day!
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Re: Michigan City area report 2/25/18 (CSS, caboose, tower,

Unread postby NS3322 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:20 am

GP30M4216 wrote:Intriguing was what appeared to be a former Metra Electric highliner car parked near the CSS freight shop buildings across from the Carroll Ave. platform. It had a maroon stripe where the Metra blue or red stripe once would have gone. No road number or other markings were visible from our distance other than the maroon stripe. I know the CSS double deckers are all fluted steel with NICTD and CSS logo panels on the side and it definitely wasn't one of those...so what car is it and what is it doing there?


Great report! I believe the South Bend Fire Department was supposed to use this car for railroad disaster drills.
It has been there since at least late 2016.
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