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  Railroads of Madison County
Roger Hensley
Conrail's Time draws near...

Conrail's Time draws near...

Sun, 16 May 1999
When there was only a couple of weeks left for Conrail, I was watching INEL passing the crossing a quarter block from my house when I decided to chase it down and get a couple pictures of some older power as they had a GP40-2 as second unit.

My six year old grandson, Jacob, was visiting and I told him to get in the car and we'd chase a train. Yep, he's ready and we set out through the streets of Anderson northward. I figured to get position on him at Cross Street. As we passed through Anderson, we could see ELIN down on John Street as he passed the various crossings. We had caught and passed him and would be ready for him by the time he got to the DOW marker.

We were waiting when we heard him whistle up for Vineyard and then he pulled into the curve just as the Crossing Lights came on and the gate dropped. A utility service truck came to a stop leaving me plenty of room to step into the street in front of the truck to get a couple of shots in the clear. We waved to the engineer as he passed and received a friendly wave in return. Jacob took one picture of one of the cars, too, and then ELIN was by and heading on down the line.

On down the line? Yes, if we made a run to Alex we might catch him at the diamond (crossing) with NS, and off we went. As we neared Alex, we could see INEL off to the left and I knew that we wouldn't make it, but we kept going. Jacob was getting a kick out of watching the train at a distance rolling through the countryside. As we crossed the NS on SR9 in Alex, I could see that he had beat us through the diamond, and I wasn't going to chase this one any further.

Turning back toward Anderson, I re-crossed the NS tracks heading south and Jacob said 'There he is. I see his light." Light? On the NS tracks? Was Conrail detouring over NS tracks through Alexandria because of the derailment on the St. Louis main? And I turned around and crossed the tracks again. Sure enough a headlight was clearly visible to the west and we could get position on this one at the diamond. I wanted to get one more shot of the new connector now that it was finished anyway.

Leaving the car parked on the street, we took our position up on the higher ground off of the RoW, but with a clear view of the track and waited. Jacob began to fidget a little until he saw the train trough the trees. It was throttling up as it got the green for the diamond and was moving at a good speed for photography and for two little kids to watch him (Jacob and me). I took my shots and we exchanged waves with the crew as the NS eastbound went by.

On the return home, we made a brief detour near Frankton and spotted a string of grain hoppers set out on the Indian Creek (ex-PRR) at Florida (Station). All in all a nice brief Sunday outing. We kept out of harms way, respected the property and had some fun chasing a couple of trains. I made the trip as much for Jacob as for the trains. Friendly crews and safe train watching. He will remember it as will I...

Roger Hensley
Copyright 1999 - rph

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