Interstate Interstate Chase.


In Pursuit of a Norfolk Southern GE Diesel dressed in Heritage Paint.

NS Interstate heritage unit.
NS Interstate heritage unit.

On the evening of Tuesday, June 2013, Chris Guss and I were exploring the convergence of railroad lines in northern Indiana. Here myriad routes aiming for Chicago traverse a heavily industrialized environment; tracks and trains are everywhere.

At Hammond-Whiting, Indiana the former Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), New York Central and Baltimore & Ohio routes run roughly adjacent to each other. Just east of the Amtrak station, Norfolk Southern’s (NS) former Conrail line moves from the old PRR alignment to that of the old New York Central. Immediately to the north is CSX’s former B&O line, while beyond that is Canadian National’s Elgin, Joliet & Eastern (EJ&E) line.

An Elgin, Joliet & Eastern local works eastward at Hammond-Whiting, Indiana. In the distance is a set of CSX locomotives on the old Baltimore & Ohio. Lumix LX-3, exposed at f4 1/100 ISO 80.

Earlier a thunderstorm had raged through the area, and this left behind tell-tail puddles. The setting sun was about to drop below a thin layer of clouds. We were following an EJ&E local, while keeping an eye open for Norfolk Southern’s 65R (empty oil train destined for BNSF Railway at Chicago and then to North Dakota).

We’d been expertly informed that NS’s Interstate Railroad painted heritage locomotive was leading.

It’s no secret that last year (2012) Norfolk Southern had 20 new six-motor diesels (both EMD and GE models) dressed in liveries to represent a variety of its predecessor railroads. See: and also; and;

A hint of chatter on the radio and then—THERE!—we saw 65R with the Interstate in the lead. It was paused on the mainline. We jumped into position just as the EJ&E local emerged and another NS train was racing eastward out of the sun with a Union Pacific SD70M in the lead.

Union Pacific SD70Ms
Union Pacific SD70Ms lead an eastward Norfolk Southern freight near Hammond-Whiting, Indiana. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens set at 1/250th second f4 ISO 200.

When it rains it pours! Any one of these three trains would be of interest, but having all three converge on us simultaneously with no time to properly assess the lay of the land presented a challenge.

Freight trains at meet.
Norfolk Southern freights meet in the fading light of evening. Lumix LX3 f2.8 at 1/640 second.
Norfolk Southern’s Interstate heritage unit catches the glint. Lumix LX3 f2.8 1/250th second.

Some much favored ‘drop under sun’ graced the landscape. In a flurry of activity, lenses were swapped, light readings made and pixels were exposed. The ‘creamsickle’—as the Interstate Railroad heritage repaint has been known (because of its distinctive livery), was all to soon on the move! A face-paced, but skillfully navigated chase ensued. Chris did all the work as I snapped photos from the window.

Oil train catches the glint.
Away we go into the sunset hot in pursuit of an oil train. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens set at f6.3 1/1000 second at ISO 200.

In the end, we followed the prize west across the state line to Illinois and made this selection of images.

NS Interstate Heritage Unit
Pace shot executed near the Indiana-Illinois line. The Interstate Railroad is a Virginia line that is a lesser-known component of Norfolk Southern. Lumix LX3 f2.8 at 1/125th second.


Norfolk Southern 8105 is a General Electric ES44AC diesel-electric.
Norfolk Southern 8105 is a General Electric ES44AC diesel-electric. Canon EOS 7D with 100mm lens.


NS Interstate Heritage unit_on 65R South Chicago
Norfolk Southern 65R with led by the Interstate heritage locomotive at South Chicago, Illinois. Canon EOS 7D.

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NS Interstate heritage unit.
NS Interstate heritage unit.

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2 comments on “Interstate Interstate Chase.

  1. Thanks! We were fortunate that evening as the weather provided a mix of great low light.

  2. Tom Warger on said:

    Nice “Ted Rose” aesthetic in these photos. Horizontal light.

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