This was starting to look bad when Hitchcock Scrap Yard began questioning information BNSF provided on the Dunfermline-Canton trackage.
Hitchcock requested one last extension to May 17 (approved bythe STB two days earlier) but has failed to make the required Offer of Financial Assistance (OFA). So the STB has now terminated the OFA process, issued a Notice of Interim Trail Use or Abandonment and imposed a Public Use Condition.
Saving at least a portion of BNSF’s Dunfermline-Farmington line is still possible.
In its filing, BNSF also indicated that it was willing to consider selling the line outside of the OFA process, provided that HSY is willing to pay the NLV.
Net Liquidation Value for Mileposts 63.17 to 66.70 is $283,094. Hitchcock must decide soon. It is unclear, though, why the Keokuk Junction Railway itself did not file an OFA.
Looking northeast from Edmund Street on May 23, 2013
An old railroad yard with origins going back to 1880 is in its last days.
BNSF Railway’s “Uptown Yard” has been out of service since 2005. The tracks have since become choked with vegetation. Archer Daniels Midland acquired at least a part of the old property in 2009 to improve and expand grain truck staging. Reportedly, ADM was interested in the rest of the property. It may all be theirs now.
The CB&Q began operating Peoria & Oquawka’s Peoria-Galesburg-Burlington line in 1862, purchasing it out right two years later. The original depot was at the Foot of Elm Street. Built c. 1857, it was replaced in 1865 by a larger facility at Walnut and Water Streets. A six-stall roundhouse opened in September 1864.
A November 25, 1872 Peoria Daily Transcript article noted that 200 men came from Galesburg to re-arranged tracks “near freight houses” to eliminate an inefficient arrangement, however, the first tracks of the longtime CB&Q railroad yard seen above were built in 1880. A new freight house opened at the site currently occupied by Cast Technologies in March 1882.
In the early 20th Century, the CB&Q began laying tracks to lure more industry to the city. Snaking between existing buildings and alleys, the new tracks were soon populated with manufacturing and distribution firms. The first of these was built in 1905-1906 near Forsythe Street (apparently where the Cedar Street Bridge is now?) in a northerly direction then ran between present day S. Adams and Washington streets as far as Chestnut (State) Street.
In 1907, CB&Q put in a switch near the Burlington Elevator (across from present-day Behr Iron & Metal Co.’s former Erlichman & Co recycling center.) to a new track between S. Adams and Washington. In 1914-1915, CB&Q built the “Commercial Street Alley Track,” which started near Walnut Street and snaked between S. Water and Washington streets, running as far as Liberty Street so it could serve the new Oakford & Fahnestock warehouse (now 401 Water Street).
The CB&Q took over bankrupt Peoria Railway Terminal’s S. Washington Street trackage in 1925. This trackage had no future so the CB&Q connected its first two alley track and built spurs to serve former PRT customers.
Booming freight business required expanded freight facilities. A new roundhouse was built at the Foot of Pecan Street in 1928-1929 to make room for yard expansion. At the time, according to the Peoria Transcript on April 2, 1929, the CB&Q handled 700 cars and three freight trains each way daily. In 1930, eleven tracks were extended 500′ north from Cedar Street.
In 1952, CB&Q built a new depot so it could move its daily Galesburg-Peoria motor train out of P&PU’s Union Depot. Passenger service ended with the last run on June 30, 1960 but the small structure located at Edmund Street also served as a freight office before being torn down in 2003.
The freight yard was expanded once more in 1957. A piggyback ramp was probably built there about this time. The CB&Q purchased a nearby truck terminal and the old railroad “YMCA” building in 1959 and 1960, respectively, to allow more room for truck parking and a larger piggyback ramp. An even larger double ramp was built nearby in 1964-1965.
Most of the CB&Q’s largest Peoria customers relocated to East Peoria from the late 1950s through the 1960s, but remaining industries and connections with other area railroads, namely the Rock Island, P&PU and TP&W, kept switch engines working three shifts a day, seven days a week well past the Burlington Northern merger of March 2, 1970.
During the 1970s, low sulfur western coal dominated Galesburg-Peoria line traffic. But freight business still justified a pair of daily “through” freights and a weekday local as late as 1983. A deep recession, cutbacks and closures of area industries and shifts in traffic flows as a result of railroads’ new rate-making freedom forced cutbacks.
The remaining single-shift yard engine was abolished in the summer of 1983, with the local train apparently taking over switching service in Peoria. In 1985, most of the old yard and long-dormant industrial tracks were removed leaving not much more than what you see today.
Although BNSF still runs a five-days-a-week local train to Peoria (L-CHI107), it only services one customer, Caterpillar’s Rubber Processing Facility on SW Washington Street. There is no need for a freight yard, even a small one.
See photo below for a look at better times when Toledo Peoria & Western No. 220 puts its a 40-car train together for the run to Galesburg on July 5, 1997.
Video below shows BNSF’s “Peoria Local” switching a carbon black car on June 18, 2012. Skip to 2:40 to see it near the old yard at Edmund Street.
I obtained several historic Official Airline Guides over the weekend, so I’m planning to add to and fill in some gaps to the series I did in December 2010-March 2011 on Peoria’s commercial airline service. This series analyzed air service changes at the recently replaced terminal building, which was used from May 1959 to April 2011.
Also, expect updates on this summer’s airline service at Peoria and Bloomington-Normal.
Meanwhile, time for more Q & A. Ask any transportation-related question. As usual, if I don’t have an answer, I’ll find one.
Line pipe for Enbridge Ltd’s Flanagan South Pipeline is starting to flood the Toledo Peoria & Western Railway’s East Peoria Yard. At least 52 loads (11 pipes on each) arrived Thursday (May 16) morning.
Video above shows TP&W yard job shoving a cut toward the unloading area late Friday afternoon. Photo below shows the large number of pipe loads that arrived Thursday. At right is a 43-car cut. Nine cars are shown at extreme left, spotted for unloading (there may be some empty flat cars out of view).
These pipe shipments, for construction of a 600-mile pipeline from Flanagan, Illinois to Cushing, Oklahoma, are expected to continue until fall. Reportedly, railcars of pipe will then be unloaded on the Union Pacific at South Pekin.
I almost always turn my Radio Shack scanner on when I’m driving, in case of interesting train action.
Shortly after 4:00 this afternoon, I heard radio chatter between the Union Pacific’s Peoria Sub dispatcher and a coal train bound for Midwest Generation LLC’s Powerton Generating Station. The train crew had just received a track warrant to run from Pottstown to Milepost 89.2, which is the connection to the Illinois & Midland Railroad just across the Illinois River and southwest of Pekin.
I was heading for the downtown library, so I didn’t see the derailment until nearly an hour and a half after it happened. I don’t normally film 135-car coal trains, but I wish I had this one. Not that I would’ve known to setup my tripod by Harmon Highway.
While it is too early to determine the cause of the wreck, one must remember the location is where flooding caused severe washouts and track damage not even a month ago. I suspect the ground had yet to settle completely, and finally did so under the weight of the first 100 or so coal loads.
BNSF Railway Company (“BNSF”) hereby responds to the request by Hitchcock Scrap Yard, Inc. (“Hitchcock”) to extend the time period for making an Offer of Financial Assistance (“OFA”) to May 17, 2013. BNSF has no objection to Hitchcock’s request provided that no additional extensions are granted. BNSF is willing to consider selling the line outside of the OFA process provided, of course, that Hitchcock is willing to pay the net liquidation value of the line.
Net liquidation value for Mileposts 63.17 to 66.70 is $283,094. See here for details.
UPDATE (May 16): The Surface Transportation Board granted an extension for the OFA period late on May 15. You can read its Decision here.
National Train Day was held this past Saturday, May 11.
It is a nationwide celebration of railroads on the Saturday closest to the anniversary (May 10, 1869) of the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah when the first Transcontinental Railroad was completed. The first National Train Day was held in 2008.
I’d been to three previous National Train Day celebrations at Chicago Union Station in 2008, 2009 and 2011. I rode Amtrak from Normal, Illinois to the event in 2009, and again in 2013. It is far better than driving.
Taking the train to this year’s event afforded my first chance to sample 110mph running between Pontiac and Dwight. Check out the video for highlights, including Train 300 at Normal, displays at Chicago Union Station, arriving and departing trains (including an excursion train) and Train 305 after returning at Normal.
If you don’t wish to watch all 14 minutes and 30 seconds, you can go here and skip to the 110mph segments at 1:04, 13:99 and 13:44.
A commenter says Frontier Airlines is planning to drop its nonstop flights between Bloomington-Normal’s Central Illinois Regional Airport and Orlando (International), Florida.
I’ve yet to see a local media source for this bit of news, but if true, then Frontier Airlines blinked and Allegiant Air won the Central Illinois – Central Florida market.
As far as a possible date for the last flights, existing Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday service continues through June 30 after which Tuesday flights will end. One source shows Sunday and Thursday flights last only through August 11.
I’ll update/confirm as information becomes available.
Update (May 16): Frontier Airlines’ online schedules show CIRA-Orlando service continuing as late as November. However, days of operation change to Monday/Wednesday/Saturday in August and then is reduced to Mondays only from October 7.
WEEK TV-25′s website is reporting that five downstate Illinois airports who’s control towers were scheduled to lose FAA funding June 15, will continue to be funded. There is also good news for Peoria International Airport.
In April, Congress passed legislation to redistribute funding and avoid air-traffic controller furloughs. Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that three Illinois airports, including Peoria International Airport, will not have their midnight shifts eliminated as previously announced.
There is enough extra money under a bill passed by Congress last month to keep 149 control towers slated for closure, including CIRA’s, open through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The bill gave the Federal Aviation Administration to shift up to $253 million from accounts with unspent funds to prevent further furloughs of air traffic controllers.
A BNSF coal train snakes its way through Pekin June 20, 2008 on Illinois & Midland Railroad tracks. This is the approximate location of Wednesday evening’s minor derailment.
A BNSF coal train running on the Illinois & Midland Railroad in Pekin has derailed.
A commenter on the WEEK TV-25 website noted this evening’s derailment occurred by the USCO gas station (near 2nd and 3rd Street split), but due to the trains’ length (typically 135 cars), key routes, including the John T. McNaughton Bridge, are cut off from much of the city.
Although it appears to be a minor derailment (the rest of the train can be broken and moved as soon as a crew and enough locomotives can be made available), the media managed to commit another boo boo.
Some of the cars lost suspension and fell over, spilling their load of coal
“Lost suspension” is so inaccurate, it is hilarious. Railcars aren’t “suspended” on the tracks. Flanged wheels keep them on the rails…unless, of course, a mechanical defect, or track conditions, cause failure.
Anyway, the derailment sounds minor. Traffic should be moving shortly, if it isn’t already.