Tag Archives: Indiana

Curiosity of Northern Indiana: Some call it ‘the Chicken’.

The reference is a pronunciation of the Chesapeake & Indiana’s reporting marks; CKIN.

Chris Guss and I had hoped to catch this curious short line railroad on the move.

No such luck. But we did make some photographs of their General Motors-built locomotives near their interchange with CSX at Wellsboro. Some of these wear Southern Railway style paint.

Southern’s been gone since the 1980s so it’s a flashback to see these colors again.

If only I’d been more awake! I’d just traveled overnight on Amtrak 449 (Lake Shore Limited) from Worcester, Massachusetts.

Photos exposed on a overcast July morning using a FujiFilm XT1; files adjusted digitally for contrast and exposure to maximize highlight and shadow detail.

Union Mills, Wellsboro, Indiana.


High hazy sunlight in Northern Indiana with black locomotives makes for a photographic challenge.

Tracking the Light Post Daily!

Indiana Harbor Belt Gen-Set at Burns Harbor, Indiana.

Mainline applications for Gen Set diesels are comparatively rare.

A gen set is a computer-optimized multiple-engine diesel electric designed for very  low emissions, and typically used for switching.

Indiana Harbor Belt gen-set works east at Burns Harbor, Indiana.

In July, Chris Guss and I chased this eastward IHB freight.

Although it was a dull afternoon, the locomotive’s brilliant orange paint made for a dramatic subject.

Working with a short telephoto, I aimed to emphasize the unusual shape of the Gen Set locomotive, panning it slightly to offset the cluttered industrial background.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

DAILY POST: Winners and Losers.

Contrasting Views of Indiana Railway Lines, June 2004.

In a world of railway mergers and consolidation, we can divide railway routes into groups; survivors and losers. Some lines have prevailed while others have been abandoned and ripped up.

Of course, we can further divide surviving lines. There are lines that continue to function as busy corridors, while others may only exist in fragmented form, or as downgraded local routes. Often fragments have been sown together and so now old railway line serve routes that may be very different than as originally intended.

Putting these concepts on film presents a puzzle and a challenge.

Rails at sunset
I made this view looking west on Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash mainline at Marshfield, Indiana. This highly polished steel highway continues to serve as a vital interstate corridor.
Abandoned track
High summer sun scorched the ruins of the old New York Central Egyptian Line at the Indiana-Illinois Stateline. This is one of many Midwestern railways abandoned as a result of railroad merger and line consolidation and shifting traffic patterns.

In June 2004, I was exploring western Indiana with Pete Ruesch and with his help I exposed these two photographs. The ‘winner’ is a sunset view of Norfolk Southern’s former Wabash mainline at Marshfield, which serves as a heavily-traveled long-distance freight corridor. The ‘loser’ was a recently abandoned vestige of New York Central’s Egyptian Line at the Indiana-Illinois state line.

Both were exposed with Nikon cameras on Fuji color slide film.

My recent book North American Railroad Family Trees (Voyageur Press) discusses past and possible future changes to the North American railway network.

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Monon Semaphores, Romney, Indiana, June 24, 2004

Old General Railway Signal Semaphores In Corn Country.

CSX’s former Monon was among the last bastions of semaphores in automatic block territory in the United States. I made this image on the morning of June 24, 2004. While the line only saw a few trains in daylight, there were enough moves to keep the signals busy.

GRS Type 2A signals.
Exposed on Fujichrome with a Nikon F3T and Nikkor 180mm lens. The blade on the left displays ‘clear’, while that on the right shows ‘approach’. A northward train was on its way.

I wrote about this signal installation in my 2003 book, Railroad Signaling, published by MBI. This has since been reprinted as a softcover book. See: Quayside Press.



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South Shore Sunset, October 1994

Interurban Electric Near South Bend, Indiana. 

I was driving from Erie, Pennsylvania back to Waukesha, Wisconsin after a week of photography on the former Baltimore & Ohio in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

West of South Bend, the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend runs parallel to the former New York Central ‘Water Level Route’ (then operated by Conrail).

I’d found a lightly used grade crossing, where I photographed a few Conrail freights. I didn’t have a South Shore schedule, but hoped I might see something roll over the old interurban electric line.

Ten years earlier, I’d taken a memorable trip over the line from Chicago to South Bend. Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, my father had made many images of the South Shore, and I was always fond of the line, despite having missed its operation of antique multiple units and Little Joe electrics that had made the line popular with photographers.

South Shore electric
Caption: Outbound South Shore train at sunset near South Bend, Indiana in October 1994. Signals on Conrail’s parallel former New York Central mainline are visible to the left of the train. Exposed on Fujichrome 100 with a Nikkormat FT3 with 28mm Nikkor lens

As daylight faded, I notice that the old Union Switch & Signal color signals facing me suddenly changed from displaying yellow to red. This indicated to me that something was about to happen. And, sure enough, a few minutes later I could hear a train clattering along.

I found a low angle to feature the richly colored sky and I made a single exposure on Fujichrome 100 using my Nikkormat FT3  with 28mm Nikkor lens. This remains one of my favorite railway photos: for me it captures the essence of South Shore’s interurban electric operation. I’ve used it in various places over the years.



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