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December 1996


CSXT Inaugurates Jacksonville and Atlanta Service Lanes

CSXT's Jacksonville and Atlanta service lanes have been implemented. The Jacksonville Service Lane extends west to Flomaton, Alabama; south to Vitis and Auburndale, Florida; and north and east to Manchester and Savannah, Georgia. The Atlanta Service Lane, begun three weeks ahead of schedule, extends west to New Orleans; north to Etowah, Tennessee; and east to Abbeville, South Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia. It includes the Atlanta, Montgomery, Birmingham, Mobile and New Orleans terminals.


CSX Intermodal's Iron Highway Trains End

CSX Intermodal's Iron Highway Trains R160-R163 between Chicago and Detroit have been discontinued.


Mayfair Tower in Chicago Closes

Mayfair Tower in Chicago has closed. It was located at the crossing of the CNW Skokie and Northwest lines and Metra Milwaukee District North Line.


AC Tower Preservation

[From a feature article] . . . . . At 4:08 p.m., January 18, 1995, an era ended in Marion, Ohio. The Erie Railroad's AC Tower, which guarded the crossing of the four railroads at Marion's Union Station since 1902, closed. The tower [resting on stilts] is historically unique, not only for its distinctive architecture, but also because it employed the first all-electric General Railway Signal Model 2 interlocking machine put into service - a device which defined railroad interlocking signal technology for the next 25 years.

Conrail has donated AC Tower to the Marion Union Station Association, an Ohio non-profit corporation formed in 1988 to restore Marion's depot, but the tower must be moved to the association's grounds immediately east of the depot. Most of the association's funds are committed to the depot's restoration, now about 70 percent complete.

The Marion Union Station Association has established a tower fund, and is seeking donations and memberships to assist the effort. All donations to the fund will be noted on a plaque to be placed in the tower, and those donating $50 or more will receive a two-hour videotape featuring Conrail, CSXT and Norfolk Southern trains at Marion when AC Tower was in service. The tape will be produced by Clear Block Productions following the moving of the tower, and will include scenes of its relocation.

A mobile crane and lowboy trailer are required to dismantle and move the tower to the station's grounds, and a new foundation and stilts must be constructed. Costs are estimated at almost $20,000.

Checks should be made payable to the Marion Union Station Association and mailed to 532 W. Center Street, Marion, Ohio 43302-3533.


Union Pacific Sells Land in Las Vegas for Stadium

Union Pacific has sold 61.5 acres of land in Las Vegas, Nevada, for construction of a domed stadium. The land was acquired by Nevada Stadium Partners for approximately $45-million. The stadium is slated for completion in late 1999.


Ronald Burns Resigns from Union Pacific

Ronald Burns has resigned as president and chief executive officer of Union Pacific. Jerry Davis, formerly of CSXT, has been named president and chief operating officer of Union Pacific, and Dick Davidson has been named chief executive.


A Letter

Dear Allen,

I have been receiving and enjoying the Bull Sheet for several months now; I have especially enjoyed the list of CSX coal and commodity trains as well as regular freights. I would like to offer the following information for possible inclusion in the Bull Sheet:

In late July of this year, CSX opened a long awaited route to speed the trips of coal trains headed for the Carolinas and Florida from the former Clinchfield. The route, dubbed by CSX as the CN&L connection track, opened in Laurens, South Carolina, which is about 35 miles south of Spartanburg, the end of the old Clinchfield. The route provides a direct connection between the Spartanburg subdivision and the CN&L subdivision. CSX in the past used the CN&L as a conduit for coal trains bound for power plants near Columbia, South Carolina, and beyond. It is the former Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad. Once trains reached Columbia, they could take the Columbia subdivision to reach Savannah and points south. The CN&L is a rolling line covered by DTC rules, however the flat Columbia sub is controlled with CTC. This route is favored over the CSX route through Augusta, which takes trains through the bottleneck of Greenwood, South Carolina, and Maxwell Yard, over the steep grade into Augusta from the Savannah River Valley, the streets of Augusta, and the rolling terrain south of Augusta. This route is totally controlled by DTC.

Prior to the installation of the connecting track, CSX trains bound for Columbia had to pull into Irby Yard in Laurens, where crews would run the engines around their train. Now, trains veer off toward Columbia at a point about four miles north of Laurens. CSX installed a self restoring switch at the connections. Normal movement is lined for the CN&L. Southbound trains headed for Augusta on the diverging route must stop and activate the switch. The system also has approach signals to aid in the operation of the connection. The railroad bought the land for the connection track 20 years ago, however they waited until the state could chip in some money to build an overpass at the location. The connection track comes back to the old alignment of the CN&L about two miles from the connection.

The connection track allows CSX the ability to route Florida bound traffic easily through Columbia. The Columbia sub between Columbia and Savannah was grossly underutilized. Prior to the new business, this line only saw Amtrak and locals (one each way). The former SAL line was hampered by short sidings that did not allow for train meets. CSX, as part of the upgrade, installed an over 6000-foot siding at Nassau, 15 miles south of Columbia, and moved and extended an existing siding at Denmark, South Carolina. Even with these improvements, the line still has only two sidings of appreciable length in a 70-mile stretch between Columbia and Fairfax, South Carolina, which is where trains from Augusta turn and head south for Savannah. It is nice to see CSX spend some money on upgrading a line that a few years ago they would have abandoned if it had not been for Amtrak.

With this diversion of traffic, Augusta will see fewer trains than in the past. However, the old track on the CN&L will still keep plenty of trains. Railfans in town for the Masters can spend a day watching coal train after coal train in Laurens at the connection track. From Augusta, Laurens is an hour and a half drive. From the Greenville area, it is about 30 miles away. The connection is right off I-385; the area is wide open, allowing panoramic shots in both morning and afternoon light. For variety, you can travel 10 miles to Clinton, South Carolina, to see trains on the busy Hamlet to Atlanta main. All in all, Laurens, South Carolina, is a great place for Yankees to go to escape the winter and watch trains.