Rochelle and Environs Revisited

Photos by J. David Ingles

The goal was Rochelle on the bright Spring day of March 26, 2010, the first post-winter getaway. Jeff Madden drove; photos are by Dave Ingles. First we stopped at Davis Jct., nothing going on, but radio talk told us that an eastbound DM&E train was heading our way on the former IC&E (I&M Rail Link, Soo, and Milwaukee before that), so we went west to intercept. This is the last of three photo stops, west of Byron. IC&E 6212/CP 5907/DM&E 6093/IC&E 4208, 117 cars, 11:35 a.m.

Heading for BNSF's "C&I" line, the Aurora Sub, we were in time for a meet at Oregon. BNSF 9285/9579, a 149-car empty ballast train, west off the Rock River bridge at 12:06 p.m.

The depot is recently restored.

That's the Highway 2 overpass.

BNSF 5110/986/719 E, 110 cars, merchandise, leaves at 12:12

Looks like a panic stop, but no, I just didn't shut the Explorer's passenger door.

Illinois Railway B23-7 No. 4, ex-Camas Prairie, begins to go to work in the yard. The short line runs the ex-BN/CB&Q Oregon-Mt. Morris branch and switches a mainline customer west of Oregon; separate operations nearby, also ex-CB&Q/BN (and most recently Illinois RailNet), include the Flagg Center-Davis Jct.-Rockford line and the Montgomery (Aurora)-Ottawa-Streator line.

Hearing of 4 more eastbounds out of Savanna, we grabbed a McD's lunch to go and made for Chana, a hamlet with a passing siding between Rochelle and Oregon. BNSF 6041/4014 E, 39 cars of intermodal, 1:05 p.m.

The C&I is mostly still searchlight signals. Note that of the 6 trains we shot at Chana, no two were from the exact same angle, although a couple were from the same spot. Not in the 6 was this tie train, whose crew quit work soon after we arrived. i'm told the power unit began life as an Atlantic Coast Line SW9!

Westward West Chana home signals.

BNSF 4508/4381/725 E, 1:57 pm, "the Seattle," 41 cars (1 well=1 car; car counts from axles on detector readouts)

Taking siding for a meet ...

BNSF 4870/4832, 44 cars, "the St. Paul", 2:02 pm.

Two signs, in case a train is stopped and blocks the other sign, I suppose. It's "Chay-na"

BNSF 4903/4688/4849 E, 2:44, Grist Mill Road east of Chana

Close--up of power unit on tie train

BNSF 4970/5405/1035 W, 76 cars, 3:10, in siding for a meet

BNSF 5887/650/977 E, 85 cars, 1 mile east of Chana, 1 mile west of Grist Mill Road, 3:18 p.m.

We finally reached Rochelle at 3:35. Our first train (slide only on coming-on shot) was UP 6492/6471 E, coal loads with UP 6260, patched SP, as DPU, 3:40 p.m. In distance is westbound shuttle to Global 3.

UP 5545 W, 24 cars, DPU 7453, shuttle to Global 3 from Chicago. 3:47 p.m.

UP M/W work train, pushed by self-powered crane, moved by the Railroad Park, 4:03 pm.

After BNSF 4387 W (slide only) at 4:08, was UP 8153/8162 W at 4:21 pm.

The taggers got the BNSF local engine. 4:50 pm.

UP 6509/6719 W, DPU 5857, 4:52 pm

BNSF 1013/4696 W, 1st Ave. crossing, 5:02 pm

BNSF 4132/671/608, Steam Plant Road (I-88 bridge in background), 5:24 pm.

Things got quiet; we visited the industrial park where Rochelle Railroad contractor Burlington Junction parks its units, this creature and an ex-CN MLW-built Alco-style switcher, 8711.

We left town after these shots at 5:30, heading for a dinner stop in Rockford and home before 9 p.m.
-- Dave Ingles

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