Doug Davidson, who lives in Evanston, ILÂ captured Conrail in action all around Chicago and Northwest Indiana from '76 til the merger in '99, including rare shots on the ex PRR Pan Handle mainline that ran thru the South Chicago suburbs, the ex PRR Pittsburgh to Chicago mainline, and the ex NYC main that later became the Chicago line during Conrail's early years.Â The many goodies that Doug captured on film include the bottle train(hot steel moved in specially equipped cars), the few years that Conrail operated the Valpo "Dummy" commuter service, and local service all over the Chicago area in general.Â While Doug is not a member, he was very gracious in allowing his photos to be posted to our website, so take a look inside at some great Conrail action, Chicagoland style.
On a hot morning in July 1991, Doug Davidson was scoping out Hegewisch Junction, hoping to get a shot of Conrail's hot metal train coming off of the River Line onto the Bernice Cut-off. The train soon appeared and after waiting for an Amtrak train to get by, it continued on its way. This album contains all the shots Doug took of this sequence of events on that July day.
On October 1, 1994 Doug Davidson rode the Conrail OCS train from Altoona to Johnstown, PA and return and these are the photos he managed to get onboard the train. The reason for the trip was that the train had been recently out-shopped at Altoona and Conrail wanted to give it a break in run to make sure everything worked okay. Doug says they served a lunch onboard of prime rib, crab legs, fried chicken and baked ham. Doug and his friends from the CNW were at Altoona for BLE(Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers) meetings and got invited to ride this break-in run that you can view inside this album.
Doug captured Conrail action in Pennsylvania, including some rare shots inside the Juniata Backshop complex and those results are inside this album.
Doug captured Conrail action outside of the Chicago area all over the Midwest in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and the rest of Illinois. Those shots are included inside this album.
Doug Davidson railfanned around New York state as well, visiting popular areas like Buffalo and Niagra Falls. The results of those trips are inside this album.
With class N21 caboose 21206 trailing, Conrail's hot metal train diverges from the Bernice Cut-off to the IHB connection in July 1992. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Former New York Central JN Tower(now abandoned) at 71st Street, in August 1991. This tower controlled the leads to the east end of the Englewood Yard and the connection to the Nickel Plate at Grand Crossing. This shot was taken from the dome car on Amtrak 30. Doug Davidson photo with permission
In this rather sad April 1988 view looking east on the all but abandoned former PRR main, the semaphore signals are forever set to stop on the Panhandle at 75th Street Tower. Amazingly those signals stayed silent sentinels until the early 90's. The tower is behind the trees in the background. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail's Ashland Avenue Yard office in July 1983, originally built for the Chicago Junction Railway Company. This is why folks sometimes still refer to the line around here as the CJ even though this building no longer exists today(2010). Doug Davidson photo with permission
View looking northeast off the Damen Avenue bridge of Conrail's Ashland Avenue Yard in Brighton Park, IL on a foggy morning in October 1984. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Santa Fe 5816 and 5072 leads this westbound freight(most likely ELSF) on Conrail's Chicago Line under the IHB's Burns Harbor Branch on the east side of Gary, IN, in January 1993. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Westbound Conrail freight led by AT&SF 8521 passes the Falstaff elevator in July 1983. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A westbound passes behind BN GP50 No. 3108 near Gary, IN in January 1993. Most likely this was ELBN. Doug Davidson photo with permission
BN SW1000 No. 441 visits Conrail's Ashland Avenue Yard in a view looking east from the Damen Avenue bridge in April 1986. Look at all those Conrail Trailvan trailers in the background. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Doug calls this "The Green Machine on Big Blue". He photographed this eastbound, most likely BNEL, with BN SD40-2 6792 leading it at Miller, IN near Gary in January 1993. Doug remarked that a few minutes after he shot this shot, he caught another BN powered freight, albeit westbound, at this exact same spot. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A westbound Conrail train behind BN SD40-2 No. 6950 and SOO 769 approach the former IHB bridge at Gary, in September 1998. This train was most likely ELBN. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A westbound BNSF train led by new SD70MAC 9986 and CR 6640 has come off of Conrail and is seen on Amtrak's Lumber Street Wye, about to enter the BNSF at Union Avenue Interlocking Chicago, IL in December 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Sign marking the entrance to the Conrail yard at Burns Harbor, IN in October 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
In this eastward view at Clarke Jct. Tower in June 1980, Conrail's Fort Wayne Line (former PRR) crosses the B&OCT's Barr Subdivision. The bridge in the distance carrys the EJ&E Gary -Griffith mains over the Fort Wayne Line. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail's Clarke Jct. Tower on the far west side of Gary in June 1980, protects the at-grade crossing of the former PRR Ft. Wayne line with the B&O's Barr Subdivision. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A Conrail coal train heads east on the Chicago Line, just east of CP518, behind C&NW C44-9W No. 8601, in September 1998. The train is coming off of the CJ at CP 518 and the old CWI 40th Street tower can be seen in the background as well. Doug Davidson photo with permission
An eastbound Conrail train behind C&NW C44-9W No. 8705 approaches the diamonds at Englewood, IL in September 1998. It should be noted that this area is so bad now that railfanning ANYTIME of the day is highly discouraged due to Englewood's high crime rate. Doug Davidson photo with permission
An August 1982 view of Conrail's Colehour Yard Office and Tower at Hammond, IN. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Doug titled this photo "It's a stack attack!!" We are at 22nd Street on Conrailâ€™s CJ No. 2 Main and this shot is typical of the railroad action in the Windy City. In the foreground is the hind end of a westbound Conrail stack train waiting for entrance into Union Pacificâ€™s Global One facility. UP light power returning from Ashland Avenue Yard and another Conrail stack train wait patiently behind. The BNSF Lumber Street Lead is the track to the left of Conrailâ€™s No. 2 Main and it appears that it will get some attention today from the BN maintenance truck. All this takes place in November 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Top of the Conrail vertical lift bridge over the Calumet River in South Chicago, IL showing the massive machinery that helps lift the bridge for river traffic in November 1990. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Not far from the famous Chicago stockyards, these cattle carriers sit on a back track in Conrail's Ashland Avenue Yard in October 1984.
Eastbound Conrail freight on track 4 approaching CP 507 at Hammond, IN, in September 1997. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Doug took this shot because he liked the way the low light caught the side of this loaded Conrail gon in Colehour Yard, in September 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
An eastbound Conrail bottle train is seen on the former PRR Panhandle alignment approaching the home signal in a view from Dolton Tower, in May 1997. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Doug calls this shot "Conrail without Conrail." Actually, there is one Conrail train here, the westbound ELBN with BNSF LMX power. Meanwhile, a Soo Line trackage rights train heads east on Conrail's Chicago Line behind a CP/I&M Rail Link duo. A CRL transfer from Colehour Yard waits on the No. 3 Running Track, at right, in September 1997. This was not an unusual occurrance along the Chicago line, especially west of Elkhart, as you could sometimes see three or four trains in a row with foreign power before seeing one with Conrail power again. Doug Davidson photo with permission
An eastbound CP trackage rights train led by CP SD40-2 5642 is seen on Conrail's Chicago Line approaching Miller, in September 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
CP westbound led by SD40-2 6031 on Conrail's Chicago Line at Miller, IN(near Gary) behind SD40-2 No. 6031, in January 1993. This train is a trackage rights train off the CSX at Porter, IN on its way to its home rails in Chicago. Doug Davidson photo with permission
The Conrail Panhandle Job with GP15-1 1608 is seen switching Campbell's Soup near 33rd Street, in April 1986. The caboose must be assigned to the train as its stenciled YCAA-4. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail GP15 No. 1630, operating east on CJ No. 3 Main, meets B&O GP9 No. 6598, south of Ash Street Crossing in Brighton Park, IL in April 1986. Doug Davidson photo with permission
In March 1996, Conrail GP15 No. 1660 is seen pulling the dock at Continental Paper Company at 16th Street in Chicago. The Amtrak power is sitting at their Lumber Street engine terminal, which is across the street from the paper company. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail GP15 No. 1660 switches Continental Paper Company adjacent to the Amtrak 16th Street Locomotive Shops(now the Lumber Street Shop), in March 1996. Doug Davidson photo with permission
May 1997 view from Dolton Tower of an eastbound Conrail hot metal train coming off of the former Panhandle onto the IHB, behind GP15 No. 1660. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A Conrail local freight led by GP15-1 1664 waits on the Panhandle as a BNSF hopper train on CSX's Blue Island Sub approaches the IC crossing at Brighton Park, IL(check out those semaphores!) in September 1998. Doug reports that this local also had to wait on a UP intermodal train to cross in front of it on the IC line(on its way to IC's IMX yard) before it continued on its way. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail GP15-1 No. 1664 and class N21 bay window caboose 21216 sits in front of the yard office at Colehour Yard, in September 1998. Note the old Conrail Trail Van trailer on the left side of the photo. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A Conrail local led by GP15-1 1666 is seen returning to Colehour Yard from the Whiting refinery, in September 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail GP15-1 No. 1667 has a westbound local freight in tow in this view from the CTA station at 49th Street and Western Avenue. This operation is a surviving vestiage of the former Chicago River and Indiana, and on this March 1995 date, was headed for the industrial district beyond Corwith Yard. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A Conrail local freight led by GP15-1 1667 heads west on the former PRR Panhandle Line at Brighton Park, in October 1998. The caboose was CR 18043. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Once the BNSF Connection Track was constructed and connected to the CJ at Brighton Park, IL Conrail local freights began using it to connect with the former PRR Panhandle Line. Fomerly, they used the crossovers at 37th Street. Here, the Conrail local freight led by GP15-1 1667 leaves the CJ for the Panhandle Line in November 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail GP15 No. 1667 heads a local freight on the Panhandle Line at Brighton Park, IL in November 1998. Doug Davidson photo with permission
In a view from a dome car on Amtrak Train No. 30, the Capitol Limited, Conrail power congregates at Park Manor (67th Street) at the east end of Englewood Yard in August 1991. Engines that can be identified in this shot include the 1672, 1696, and 5004. Doug Davidson photo with permission
An eastbound Conrail hot metal train led by GP15-1 1672 has departed Acme Steel and is about to come under the Metra / IC mains and cross the CSX at Riverdale, IL, in September 1990. Doug Davidson photo with permission
The traffic on Brainard Avenue pauses for the passage of Conrail's Hot Metal Train on the South Chicago & Southern in August 1982. In shorth order the train will cross the CSS&SB, C&WI and the N&W. Doug Davidson photo with permission
A set of C&NW light power led by GP50 No. 5053 is seen heading east on the CJ, meeting a Conrail GP15 No.1678 working the west end of Ashland Avenue Yard. The old hump signal still stood in April 1988. Doug Davidson photo with permission
On the far western end of the old Chicago River & Indiana territory, a Conrail local freight led by GP15-1 1678 is returning to Ashland Avenue Yard after having switched the industrial district near LeMoyne in September 1990. The IC Joliet Line can be seen to the left, while I-55 is at the far left. Doug Davidson photo with permission
Conrail GP15 No. 1680 leads an eastbound Hot Metal Train on the former PRR Panhandle Line accross CSX at Riverdale in April 1991. Within two months, the diamonds would be removed and the track reconfigured at Riverdale. Doug Davidson photo with permission