C&O, Penn Central interchange

I know, the quality of this photo leaves something to be desired. Cut me some slack, it’s a thirty to forty year old Polaroid. Remember those? I’ve mentioned numerous times, that the PRR (later Penn Central and later still, Conrail), had an interchange with the C&O line up from Cincinnati. Well, here it is in all its snowy glory. We’re looking north and that’s the C&O main to Chicago directly underneath my camera position. (I was standing on a highway overpass.)

The complex to the upper right is the Purina Mills elevator, which was served by a number of tracks and switched by the PRR. The interchange track climbed a nasty little grade and that curve at the top was trainset quality. In other words, sharp as could be. There’s no interchange cars seen in the ¬†photo, but it wasn’t at all unusual for a whole string of them to be setting here. This track also served as the yard lead for the C&O. The yard was located on the other side of the bridge I’m standing on. An interesting operation in the past was a trackage rights arrangement for the PRR to run down C&O rails to reach the electric power plant for the city. Coal for the plant came in on the Pennsy, and PRR crews would run it down there. The crews had to qualify on the C&O running rules to do so. Today, that coal originates on the Indiana Rail Road in southern Illinois and is delivered by trackage rights via CSX across southern Indiana to an interchange with a local shortline that utilizes the remaining portion of the C&O south of the city. INRD power and crews work the job all the way.

Rumor has it there’s a prototype for everything. So what do you see?







  1. Matt


    Now that you posted our b/w photo from the PRR bridge, I do notice the tell-tale in this photo as well.


  2. mike

    Hi Matt,
    Indeed! You spotted something I hadn’t noticed myself. Pretty bad since I shot the photo.