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The Trip to the IN-MI-OH Trips 5/10/2013

by Chris Guenzler

Bart Jennings announced his Rare Mileage Trips for 2013 with tourist railroads in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. This seemed like a no-brainer as all these tourist trains run at the same time so I could visit all of them in one fell swoop plus it would make a nice spring trip. No major league baseball games could be attended as all the teams I needed were on the road during this visit. I purchased my airline flights and then asked several people if they wanted to join me. Elizabeth Alkire decided to do just the Indiana and Michigan portions of the trip but Chris Parker could not. I planned a really good trip and worked at Spurgeon Intermediate School in Santa Ana substituing as an RSP aide and did that until the day before the trip.

To Chicago 5/10/2013

I woke up at 4:15 AM and after my morning duties, drove my mother's van down to John Wayne Airport and said our goodbyes. I went through security with no problem, which included my first full body scan. My leg and hip were hurting this morning so I was pre-boarded.

United Airlines Flight UA 684 5/10/2013

I was on an A320 airplane and we reversed from the gate at 6:42 AM. We then lined up to take off but first to leave was US Airways, then United, American, Delta and then us so we finally took off at 7:05 AM. The movie was "Promised Land" and I received a Coca-Cola to go for later on. I did word fill-in and Sudoku puzzles for the remainder of the flight to O'Hare. We touched down at 12:49 PM and had to fine where ACE rental car pick-up was. Once I found the location,, two vans had just left but soon a third came and took me to their off-airport location. I rented a Hyundai Accent and a box for the Illinois toll roads.

The road to Michigan City

I left the ACE rental car lot and headed to the Tri-State Tollway, Interstate 294 to Interstate 55, and took that to Cicero Avenue which took me to Midway Airport where I picked up Elizabeth. From here we went to the railroad crossings off Broadway Street in Blue Island and parked the car on a side street.

On a siding was Iowa Interstate GP38-2 721, ex. Locomotive Leasing Partners 2343 2004, exx. Union Pacific 1970 1997, exxx. Electro-Motive Leasing 839 1987, exxxxx. Conrail 8039, nee Penn Central 8039 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1972, and a slug.

A view of this unique railroad location which is the site of four iconic bridges spanning the Cal Sag Channel where eight tracks cross Broadway Street where Canadian National (Grand Trunk Western), CSX Chicago Division, Elsdon Subdivision, Indiana Harbor Belt Chicago Division and the Iowa Interstate Railroad cross each other.

Blue Island Tower which controls the crossing of Indiana Harbor Belt and Grand Trunk Western.

Another view of this unique railroad crossing.

BNSF 4111 North came through.

Metra Rock Island Line Train 218 crossed overhead.

One last view of Blue Island crossing.

A last view of Iowa Interstate 721. From here we drove south to Homewood and found the IC Railroad Park.

Illinois Central caboose 9426 built by the railroad in 1972 on display.

Illinois Central 8408 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1956 as Illinois Central 9181, on display.

The former Illinois Central station in Homewood, built in 1923 and houses the Amtrak station.

An interesting power set of Grand Trunk GP38-2 5849 (nee Pittsburgh and Lake Erie 2056, built by Electro-Motive Division in 1977) and Illinois Central GP40 3120 (nee Illinois Central 3036 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1966). We drove to the other side for more pictures.

Sorry, but these are a little out of focus. We drove over to our next photo location.

The Homewood railfan viewing platform. The City of Homewood, inspired by the success of the Rochelle Railroad Park, has built a railfan viewing platform to the east of the Canadian National (former Illinois Central) right-of-way (which is eight tracks wide through downtown Homewood). The platform is elevated and features benches and a scanner over a loudspeaker. The action includes plenty of CN/IC, Amtrak and Metra Electric District trains. Train volumes frequently top 100 trains per day according to local officials. Metra parking lots are not free and you must pay or be towed. There is plenty of free parking available. There is a pedestrian tunnel under the tracks at the Metra station to connect the two sides of the tracks.

The view from the viewing platform.

Canadian National 8906 North with BC Rail C40-8M 4609 in the consist.

Another northbound Canadian National train came behind him.

Elizabeth enjoying the Homewood Railfan Viewing Platform.

Chris Guenzler enjoying the Platform. From here we drove east to Michigan City.

The Michigan City South Shore station built in 1915. We heard a horn and then saw a light engine move coming our way.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend 2007 and 2005 came east on 11th Street in Michigan City. We drove over to Carroll Street station to get some more pictures of them.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend GP38-2 2007 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1981.

Chicago, South Shore and South Bend GP38-2 2005 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1981.

Also here was Chicago, South Shore and South Bend GP38-2 2002 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1981.

As well as Chicago, South Shore and South Bend GP38-2 2000 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1981.

We drove back to 11th and Spring Street to set up for our next train.

South Shore 11 came down 11th Street. After that we switched to a new location on 10th Street.

South Shore 111 came down 10th Street.

Another light power move, this time Chicago, South Shore and South Bend GP38-2 2009 and GP38-2 2006 both built by built by Electro-Motive Division in 1981.

South Shore 113 came down 10th Street.

South Shore 15 came down 10th Street.

South Shore 115 came down 10th Street.

Amtrak Wolverine 354 came into Michigan City a few minutes late tonight on its way to Ponotiac. With that, we went by Walmart to pick up a few things for both of us before we checked into the Super 8 motel. We walked over to the Texas Corral for dinner where I had an excellent steak then returned to my room and wrote this story before calling it a night.