Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by lakeshoredave
Before CR scrapped the ex PRR west of Crestline and started running all of its trains into Chicago on the ex NYC, how were the traffic levels or patterns on each route into Chicago during the PC era?

Lakeshore out
  by NellieBly
I was with USRA during the early post-conveyance years, and it was interesting watching the changes in traffic flows. As far as your questoin goes, the Ft. Wayne line was quite heavily used into the 1980s. In fact, there was considerable internal resistance at Conrail to the idea of downgrading the Ft. Wayne line in favor of running everything via Cleveland and over the former NYC. The problems NS has had with congestion between Elkhart and Chicago suggest that maybe those at Conrail who objected to the downgrading had a point.

Through freight traffic wasn't moved off the Ft. Wayne line until 1989, and Amtrak service followed fairly shortly thereafter.

Other downgradings I watched happen were the "Main Line Davis and Lenox" (former PRR Indianapolis to Terre Haute, former NYC from there to Lenox, IL), the PRR portion of which became the "Greencastle Secondary" and then the "Limedale Industrial Track" and was then abandoned, and the main line from Terre Haute to Lenox, which was simply abandoned (MOPAC bought the segment on which they had trackage rights, from Pana, IL to Lenox). The "Scranton Division Main Line" (former DL&W) was sold to D&H. The "Panhandle" main line out of Chicago to Logansport and Kokomo was abandoned, and of course eventually the eastern end of the Panhandle from Pittsburgh to Mingo Junction was abandoned as well. The former Erie main east of Pymatuning, originally classed by Conrail as a main line, has been sold or leased to short lines. And the list goes on. There's a lot less railroad out there than there was even in the 1980s.
  by lakeshoredave
excellent information. very good stuff in there. no doubt there is a lot less trackage out there. as for cr running trains via cleveland, sandusky bay, toledo, south bend, and elkhart....i've heard that was there whole plan. they wanted to make berea the crossroads of the cr system. i think it worked out real well. i've crossed over that ex prr line when i lived in ohio. it would have added a lot of time for trains to run from pittsburgh to chicago. that is not a fast route. the ex nyc is a much quicker route because of its double track physical plant. also its a lot more scenic and has a lot more variety for the railfan. the sandusky bay bridge is one of my favorite spots. berea- straight up the best "hotspot" east of chicago and st.louis. millbury- a truly nice curve in a small neighborhood. vickers....interesting spot with the diamond. maumee bay bridge is awesome too for photos even though i don't take photos. west of toledo there are several nice little towns where the trains fly through. indiana has elkhart and south bend, two vital spots on the railroad. west of there going into chicago there are several important industries for the railroad. the prr maybe had some customers, but the nyc routing was through bigger cities and was a lot quicker. and as railfans, we win out in ohio. we can hit spots all over the state, and many are either on the ex b&o or the ex nyc.