From: "CRAIG SANDERS (216) 397-4356" 
Subject: More Indiana questions
To: Multiple recipients of list RAILROAD 

Mike S. Vana asks:

>While on the subject of what's in Indiana, my wife and I were in Frankfort
>about a month ago. Frankfort appears to have been a busy railroad town many
>years ago.  There are tracks running all over the place, and some abandoned
>roadbeds, too. I shot a depot right next to US highway 421, apparently still on
>its original site. There is no track by it anymore, but it would have led south
>out of town.

        It's been a few years since I was in Frankfort, but if it is the depot
I think it is it would be the Monon depot. That depot was right by a main
east-west street through the center of town. The Monon depot was (is) just
southeastward of where the Monon, PRR and Nickel Plate all crossed.

>There is a Conrail line that angles southwest out of town, about a
>couple blocks west of this depot. I'm confused because two former PRR lines ran
>south from Frankfort, as well as a Monon line, according to an old Rand McNally
>railroad atlas I have.  Anyone know what railroad the depot belonged to?

        The former PRR rail line was west of the Monon line. The Conrail line
that Mike is talking about used to extend from Chicago to Indianapolis and then
southward to Louisville. Until 1974, it hosted Amtrak's Floridian and James
Whitcomb Riley between Chicago and Indianapolis. It also was the route of the
PRR/Penn Central South Wind. From Frankfort, the track extended north to
Logansport before angling northwestward toward Chicago.

>not the NS (onetime NKP) depot; we found that, as well as a pretty good sized
>NS yard, still with a coaling tower and roundhouse. (The roundhouse is now used
>for freight car repairs.)  Also, there is a large two story wooden freight
>house there. Does anyone know who used to own it? We saw no train activity
>while there, and the only locomotive in town was Conrail GP15-1 1618.

        Frankfort was a major shops facility and hub for the Nickel Plate. NS
would probably have abandoned these tracks and/or sold them already to a short
line operator except that there a line extending from Frankfort to Lafayette
that serves the big auto plant outside Lafayette. Last I knew -- and this
information is a few years old -- there was only about one pair of trains a day
on the NS line between Frankfort and Muncie. NS can bring traffic down to
Frankfort and then take it west to Muncie where it then gets on the line to
Cincinnati. The Nickel Plate line from Frankfort southwest has been abandoned
and the track removed. It formerly extended all the way to St. Louis.

From: "Paul Arden." Subject: Northern Indiana To: Multiple recipients of list RAILROAD Some comments about Northern Indiana from a life long resident: PORTER: Stay away from the railroad property in Porter. The volume of buffs a couple of years ago and related problems of too many people running accross tracks, having cookouts, etc, caused Conrail to close access. No Tresspassing signs are posted & the local police keep close watch on the area. Several people were arrested for tresspassing there. Stay on the public property! WELLSBORO: An excellent location, but CSX & GTW traffic can be unpredictable, but lighter during the day than nights generally. ELKHART: An excellent location for Conrail action. Passenger station is the best location. I was the Amtrak agent there for 3 years 1986-1989. Generally, you won't be hasslled their since the station is owned by the City of Elkhart & also houses the city park department. DOLTON: One of the best locations for diversity & volume. There are several places to watch from public property. The IHB police do patrol the area, but I have not heard of problems. It is an OK place during the day ONLY. Other Indiana places: Hammond/Whiting station: A good location for Conrail action, also the CSX Lake Sub (ex B&OCT) and EJ&E South Chicago branch maybe one train each. Park at west end of Amtrak parking lot, no problems that I am aware off. Also excellent views of Lake Michigan. This place may be gone in a year as it is the locaiton for one of the "Riverboat Casinos" that will be built & the plan is to build an overpass over Conrail & possibly move Amtrak. NS/Conrail Fort Wayne Line: The Diamond at Grand Truck (on Conrail, the GTW crossing was called Grand Truck) was removed because that was the location that the line was officially out of service when owned by Conrail. They also removed two sections of rail at the west end near Clark Road in Gary - this segement was officially listed in Conrail bulletin orders as out of service. The line today is completely intact all the way to Buffington where it connects with the CR Chicago line. There have been 10-20 different plans around on what NS plans to do with this line west of Hobart. But, so far they are using it as a siding & have had hoppers & empty auto racks in storage there at various times over the summer. My last look last week showed it clear. The NS Ft. Wayne district from Hobart to Ft Wayne is dark. The only working signals are interlocking signals at Hobart & west of the GT crossing for the connections to the N&W main, the distant signals connected with them, and the various distant & interlocking signals at railroad crossings: Hanna CSX (ex C&O Wellsboro-LaCrosse line former route of the Cardinal), Plymouth ex-NS line that is now a short line I believe, and Warsaw CR Goshen-Marion line. I don't know if NS has replaced the PRR position signals at these points with NS type signals. I think eventually, NS will install some type of signal system on the line.