Wayne Junction / Spriggsboro

Location

Once known as "Fort Wayne Junction", the name has been shortened to "Wayne" by Canadian National. The area is called "Spriggsboro" in the Norfolk Southern timetable and simply "CN" by CSX.

A "cornfield" junction, it can be reached by exiting I-65 at route 30 and going east about 10 or 11 miles to County Road 250 West (there's a stoplight at the intersection). Turn left there and continue to the junction.

The Railroads

Norfolk Southern's ex-Nickel Plate Chicago-Buffalo line and the former Pennsy Chicago-Pittsburgh main line (owned by CSX but leased to Rail America) cross the Canadian National (ex-GTW) main line. The NS and CSX lines roughly parallel each other but are about 100 yards apart. If you stand at the NS/CN diamond (they are the busiest lines), the CSX line is readily visible and can be photographed easily. Although single track, the NS line has a passing siding east of the crossing, and meets are a fairly common occurrence. West of the diamond, NS constructed a connector track between the NKP and the Pennsy a few years ago. About 20 to 25 NS trains use the NKP on a given day, and the CN line sees upwards of 35. Before the Conrail splitup, traffic was heavier on NS, but since then some trains have been diverted to the ex-NYC Chicago Line.

Back in the good old days, the Pennsy line was one of the busiest rail arteries in the midwest, but Conrail preferred the New York Central route and reduced the Pennsy to single track in the mid 1980's. In fact, it lay dormant in the last years of CR ownership and the diamond was removed for awhile. Then NS purchased it from CR for use as an alternative to the often congested NKP route; the diamond was reinstalled and the track and signalling upgraded. CSX acquired it from NS as part of the CR carve-up, but NS still retains trackage rights. Nowadays, it sees little traffic, about four or five trains a day. Traffic was a bit heavier for a year or two after the CR split, but when CSX upped the trackage rights fees, NS pulled their trains off the route. However, in August 2004, CSX leased the line to Rail America. The lease extends from Tolleston Junction on Gary's west side to Crestline, Ohio, and RA's operation was named the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern. CF&E westbounds will feed into CSX's ex-MC Porter Branch at Tolleston and head to Indiana Harbor Belt's Blue Island Yard. Traffic may increase somewhat under the new lease agreement since RA apparently wants to route Cincinnati-Chicago traffic onto the line. Only time will tell, and the long-term future of the Pennsy line may lie with high speed passenger service.

Why was this junction called "Fort Wayne"? Back when GTW was building through this area, the Pennsy route was the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago. GTW personnel referred to it as as "The Fort Wayne" for short, and the junction took the same name.

Accessibility

250 West is a busy road with no sidewalks but it provides the only legal access. Both diamonds are on railroad property and trespass signs have been posted. You can get fairly good views of them from the road, but watch out for traffic.

For more on CN(GTW) crossings, see Blue Island Crossing, Hayford Junction and Griffith Junction. See also Other South Suburban Junctions for Thornton and Harvey.

For more on NS(ex-NKP) crossings, see Burnham Junction, Hohman Avenue and State Line Crossing. See also Other Northwest Indiana Junctions for Van Loon and Osborn, and see Other South Side Junctions for Pullman.

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