Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

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wabash2800
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Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by wabash2800 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:16 pm

I guess I'm a little biased because I'm the author, but I keep getting favorable comments from those that have read it. And the reviews have been good too.

Built as the Wabash Railroad's "Chicago Extension" and an integral part of the shortest railroad between Detroit and Chicago, the Fourth District through Northwest Ohio and Northern Indiana has a colorful history. It was also the first Wabash District dieselized (1950) and home of the last mixed train in Indiana (1962). In addition to an illustrated, researched history, dating back to 1891, Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District tells the story in the words of railroaders that worked the line and folks that remember it. This 320 page, hardcover, Smythe-Sewn book includes hundreds of photographs, maps, illustrations, diagrams, timetables, track charts, grade profile, color section, end notes, bibliography and index. As a bonus, the postscript chapter provides an up-date on what happened to the railroad after the 1964 Wabash lease to Norfolk & Western. This includes operations and preservation efforts into the Norfolk Southern era. In addition to the eleven chapters, four appendices cover motive power and other rolling stock, B&B, operating employee lists (with photos) and a 1930 profile with track diagrams and infrastructure details. 2013 marks the one hundred twentieth anniversary of the official opening of this line in 1893.

To order a book or to find a book signing near you. go to my website at http://www.erstwhilepublications.com/

Victor Baird
Erstwhile Publications
Fort Wayne, Indiana
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com/
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Hotbox
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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by Hotbox » Sun Dec 14, 2014 11:39 am

Victor,

Quick question: Do you have any indication of Wabash forwarding it's own freight THROUGH Chicago? ( connecting between the 4th district and it's own former Chicago and Paducah)

I realize that the line from Bement to Chicago was put together mostly as a strategy to compete with other Omaha to Chicago carriers, but I just wondered if it ever grew beyond that (into a "thru" route to points-east).

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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by wabash2800 » Tue Dec 16, 2014 1:06 pm

Thanks for asking. Most certainly, though most Detroit-St. Louis-Kansas City (and vice versa) traffic would use the mainline from Decatur via Bement and Huntington to Montpelier that bypassed Chicago. Wabash Fourth District freights terminated or originated at the 47th Street Yard or Landers Yard in Chicago. (In the steam era Fourth District higher commodity trains used 47th Street and the junk trains, Landers. Later, everything was consolidated at Landers. ) Until 47th Street fell out of favor, there were a number of Wabash transfer freights btw the two yards. In the steam era, it was not unusual to dead head crew from Landers to 47th Street on a train running backwards, caboose first. So yes, freight easily ran btw both lines. For example, much coal from the coal fields in Illinois traveled up the mainline from Decatur, Illinois to Chicago and then was shipped east on the Fourth District. The book provides plenty of operational information for freight trains on the Fourth but also what kinds of commodities they handled by train number. Some of this information came from Wabash sources, but some came from the railroaders themselves. I hope that answers your question.

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com
Last edited by wabash2800 on Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hotbox
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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by Hotbox » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:35 pm

It certainly does answer it quite well, thank you!

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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by Hotbox » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:51 pm

One more question, does the attached sketch accurately reflect the routing a Wabash through freight would be sent through Chicago, back in the day?


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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by Hotbox » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:37 pm

I just want to add Victor, that I just finished reading Erst 1, and thoroughly enjoyed it. :D

I never realized that Landers was the nominal western terminus for freight on the 4th district.

Perhaps as part of your FW&J endeavor, you could include a bit about the mostly parallel Cincinnati Northern? There seems to be more than just a little confusion about that line. I was recently talking to a guy who grew up around Paulding who was convinced that the abandoned CN roadway had once been Nickle Plate.

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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by wabash2800 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:02 pm

Hotbox wrote:
"One more question, does the attached sketch accurately reflect the routing a Wabash through freight would be sent through Chicago, back in the day?"

Sorry, I didn't see your post sooner.

Well yes, and no, if you mean "back in the day" as in the steam era, only the lesser freights, like the drag freights would go to Landers (according to Clarence Montgomery) based on your colorized annotation. But the regular freights would go to the 47th Street Yards by continuing north at 10-13-14. It is my understanding that by the late 1950's all Chicago freights would be going to and originating at Landers.

Victor A. Baird
www.erstwhilepublications.com

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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by Hotbox » Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:20 pm

So what was the standard procedure for Wabash operations on those "foreign" roads within Chicago? Were the Wabash crews qualified to operate on those lines independently, or did the host railroad provide pilots while Wabash trains traversed their properties?

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Re: Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District

Post by wabash2800 » Mon Jan 19, 2015 5:56 pm

Well, if you are referring to the B&OCT and the C&WI, the Wabash crews ran on them and did not require pilots but had to be qualified. Later there was a short section on the BRC that they ran on to get to Landers that Wabash (& N&W crews were qualified to run on too.

There were transfer freights to foreign railroad yards and vice versa and apparently according to some of the dialogue in the book some through freights would pick up set out car at foreign RR yards. Back in those days, transfer freights would only deliver cars and than run light with caboose and power back to their home terminal. I do not know how much transfer and interchange was handled by the host terminal or belt line as Clarence was never involved with that.

I don't know if you saw it in the book, but Clarence's dad had mentioned that when they were still running passenger trains on the Fourth District that a newly qualified passenger engineer was required to walk the 26 miles btw Clarke Jct. and Dearborn Station to familiarize himself with the trackage arrangement and signaling.

Victor A. Baird
www.erstwhilepublications.com

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