I was hoping above hope that I would be able to get one final photo survey of the B&O CPL signals on the Magnolia Cutoff which had been under threat of resignaling since the previous November, however as you will see I missed the cutover by about a week or two :-( However I was able to get some good pics of the Chicago Line between Porter and South Bend, a stretch I normally can't photograph due to breakfast and catastrophic backlighting on the westbound Train 29. I was also able to have the braised short ribs for dinner, a dish that sold out even before the Salmon on the Empire Builder and when I got it I could see why.
Anyway, you can tune in for this last set of photos here and for all of those that have kept up with this epic journey I thank you for your attention.
We begin while I was still enjoying my short ribs with this short of a couple of CN SD38's working the hump yard at Kirk Yard just east of the Indiana Harbor Steel Mill.
I had chosen to eat dinner early in order to get pictures of the remaining Michigan Central style small target searchlight signals between CP-497 and CP-483. Here is one such set at the MP 495 automatics with a TOFC train in the background.
Oh dear, it looks like our passenger train had caused another freight backup :-( Another COFC at the 493 automatic.
The westbound searchlight signals at CP-491 have been fitted with large backings due to the effects of sun glare.
NS SD60 with a short train at about MP 490.
Here is one of the several places where the Chicago South Shore and South Bend runs parallel with the Chicago Line.
Here we see the brand new CP-485 that NS constructed to replace a hand operated switch into the east end of Burns Harbour Yard.
CP-482, aka Porter, is where the Amtrak Michigan Line, CSX Pere Marquette route and the former Conrail Porter Branch all join. Previously this was a diamond crossing with the NY Central Lake Shore and Michigan Southern line with the NY Central subsidiary Michigan Central main line, but the MC was eventually routed into Chicago along the LS&MS resulting in both sides of the diamond being retained, but the diamond itself being removed. In this pic the former C&O line is foreground right, the MI Line in the far right and the Porter Branch off to the left.
Here we see a pair of CP and FURX SD40s heading west at CP-466.
This looks familliar. BNSF SD70MAC #8559 sitting on the siding just west of LaPorte.
The currently disused, but well preserved station in LaPorte.
The diamond crossing in LaPorte with a CSS&SB freight branch.
There's not a lot to see out the window in Indiana, unless you like wheat and soy.
Sun setting over the CSS&SB.
A few of the soon to be replaced bi-directional ABS signals on the CSS&SB.
Since the 1970's Amtrak has been using this POS Amshack, which doesn't even offer a connection with the NICTD trains anymore (they all go to the airport).
What makes that all the more sad is that just am mile down the tracks there is a perfectly fine Union Station from the 1930's that had been sitting empty. Unfortunately instead of restoring it back to a transportation use it was bought by some company that turned it into a data center due to the proximity of the fiber optic lines running on the railroad rights of way. Way to drop the ball state and local planners.
As you can see the sun was sort of setting there so lets jump ahead to Cumberland, MD where we have a pair of rather exotic beasts in the form of Union Pacific SD90/43's #8105 and 8124 waiting for a proceed indication at Viaduct Junction.
Looks like the Amtrak station improvements have hit the Cumberland Amtrak station...the duckboards now come with a wheelchair ramp!
Remote control equipped CSX SD40-2 #2432 working the Cumberland Yard.
The Cumberland Yard Hump was out of service that day due to a backhoe on the tracks.
An increasingly rare GE -8 unit waiting at MEXICO interlocking. In this case one of the C40 narrow nose variety #7496.
It's not a photo set involving the Cumberland Subdivision without a picture of MEXICO interlocking.
At least some CPLs are still hanging in there, like my favourite gantry at Dan's Run.
Here we see an empty CSX coal train approaching the high green indication at GREENS SPRING.
The weather matched my mood when I saw that the plethora of bracket masts on the Magnolia Cutoff had been replaced with bullshit Darth Vader masts.
After CSX is finished with the signals they are going to start in desecrating the tunnels as part of their stimulus funded double stacking project. You know you guys bought Conrail in 1999 to get their stack cleared Chicago line....why can't you just use that assholes.
Even better, to support all this tunnel work they had to replace the famous Magnolia CPL brackets with a new interlocking.
Fortunately the CPLs between ORLEANS ROAD and HANCOCK were safe for another season including a surviving pair of brackets at TURKEY FOOT, which were displaying Clear for an approaching freight.
Sideling Hill isn't just the name of a Pennsylvania Turnpike Tunnel, its also a CPL gantry as well.
CSX GP40 6117 helping power a local freight just west of Hancock and about to take the Clear signal at GRASSHOPPER HOLLOW.
The sun finally came out at Harper's Ferry, the platforms of which we can see here with Train 30 making its second stop for the coach passengers.
Little did I know at that time that the venerable WB tower would be closed a mere 6 months later. Here are train traveling eastbound on track 1 takes the Clear signal on the 14L CPL dwarf signal.
The pneumatic point machines were still chugging away, In this case the #21 switch with the 24L signal in the background.
WB tower with CSX C44-8W #7785.
WB Tower on the sunny side.
Skipping ahead to Washington, DC we find a Red Line train approaching the Rhode Island Ave Station with one of the 5-orbital B&O CPL masts at QN Tower in the background while Train 30 diverges off the CSX main and onto the Union Station access track.
Newly delivered VRE MP36PH-3C #V57 in the Ivy City yard.
Amtrak HHP-8 #654 shoving a Regional around the wye just north of C interlocking.
Clear signal displayed on C interlocking signal #421 mounted on the "K Bridge" for an outbound NEC train.
My train 30 was triple-headed that day with P42DC #197, P40DC #821, and P42DC #160.
And this year I get to do the whole thing again on the California Zephyr.