December 26, 2017 – Pioneer Lines PREX 912 (GP9) and 806 (GP8) sit idle in the yard at the Indiana Southwestern Railway at their Harwood Yard in Evansville, Indiana the day after Christmas. I hadn’t been to this location before fellow railfan William Crupper took me by there today. I’m sure someone’s mentioned it before though, perhaps Ryan Scott?
I’d love to catch them out working in the Evansville area sometime. Can anyone tell me when they run their trains and any sort of a schedule when I might catch them leaving? Also, any info on industries they pick-up at would be nice to know as well!
According to Wikipeda: Indiana Southwestern Railway (reporting mark ISW) is a subsidiary of Pioneer Railcorp, operator of several short-line railroad companies. The ISW is a Class III railroad, and operated on 17 miles of track from Evansville, Indiana, northward to Cynthiana, Indiana. That track is currently out of service but switching still occurs in ISW’s yard and surrounding industries.
The line was originally operated as part of an Illinois Central Railroad line that ran all the way to Newton, Illinois. Illinois Central sold off the line south of Browns, Illinois, to Indiana Hi-Rail Corporation; the line went through a succession of operators, all of which had to contend with the line’s ancient bridge over the Wabash River near Grayville, Illinois. The bridge suffered damage from floods on more than one occasion, and one span finally collapsed completely around 1999.
Pioneer bought the line and its Evansville shops in 2000 from the Evansville Terminal Railway. However, when Pioneer stopped shipping grain, the track had to be dismantled and salvaged at the close of 2011. Only the small stretch from the interchange northwest of Evansville to just north of their yard is still used, a distance of about 4 miles.
The dates back to 1881 as part of the Evansville and Peoria Railroad, which then became part of the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railway through a series of purchases. The PD&E became part of Illinois Central in 1900. The ISW is currently the only remaining in-service segment of the PD&E south of Mattoon, Illinois.
January 25, 2003 – I wish I had shot more of this shortline railway before it disappeared in 2010. Here I caught a set of engines from the Western Kentucky Railway pulling a freight north of Providence, Ky with a light dusting of snow on the ground. The power was 3419 (Ex. Texas and New Orleans Railroad, GP10), 1342 (Ex. Rock Island, GP18) and 1338 (Ex. Rock Island, GP18).
According to Wikipedia, the Western Kentucky Railway (reporting mark WKRL) was a shortline railroad in Kentucky, that connected coal mines with CSX Transportation at Providence. The lines were part of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad until March 1982, when Costain Coal, Inc. bought the trackage and set up the Tradewater Railway (reporting mark TWRY) to operate it. In January 1995, the Rail Management and Consulting Corporation acquired the property and transferred it to the new Western Kentucky Railway. Genesee & Wyoming Inc. acquired it from the Rail Management Corporation in 2005. In 2010, WKRL abandoned all of its remaining lines north of Providence, and the rails were removed shortly after. The only remaining tracks that were originally owned by WKRL are operated by Martin Marrieta Aggregates’ Fredonia Valley Railroad from Princeton to Fredonia.
When created in 1995, the Western Kentucky Railway owned lines from Providence to a junction at Blackford, and from Blackford north to Waverly and south to the Paducah and Louisville Railway at Princeton. Most of the north-south line, once the main line of the Ohio Valley Railway (an Illinois Central Railroad predecessor) was abandoned in 1995 and 1996, leaving only the piece between Blackford and Dekoven. (The Fredonia Valley Railroad later acquired the section from Princeton to Fredonia. The rest of the line was then abandoned in 2010 and removed from Providence to Wheatcroft and the surrounding mines.