Griffith to Lake Station, IN
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The line from Lake Station, originally known as "East Gary" to Griffith was built in 1853/1854 by the Joliet & Northern Indiana Railroad, Joliet was reached by 1854. The line eventually became part of the Michigan Central, later NYC & Penn Central, having its final years under Conrail. Conrail abandoned the Lake Station[East Gary] to Griffith segment in 1976.
The name of this stretch of railway was known as the Joliet Cut Off
The section from Griffith to Chicago Hts is in the process of being abandoned. They have started to remove rail crossings and the tracks themselves are overgrown with weeds. They have not been used for a long time and the yard in Chicago Hts is no longer used (two other yards are used in its place now).
The Joliet Cut Off West of Chicago Heights is a well used bike trail, but I remember a passenger train on it in the late 1960s. Not sure if it was a commuter or what as I was very young at the time.
It is sad to see this line get totally abandoned as it did have character and an interesting history. But the J (now CN) follows the same route which makes this one obsolete.
The line from Kennedy Avenue to Chicago Heights MAY be saved if Cn gets a hold of it.Since Canadian National has done massive upgrades to the former EJ&E they send everyone from the GTW Elsdon Sub to the Matteson sub.They may use this stretch of line to Chicago Heights as car holding from trains from the Elsdon sub.This would be a godsend to save history.
I hope so Shad. I did see some paint lines on the rails at the crossing in Dyer (close to the Amtrak Station for the former L&N line) and the crossings at US Rte 30 are still up. They do have a few industrial spurs on that line that can be used. I can see CN using it and the rail yard in Chicago Heights for storage of transfer cars to local industries in the South Chicagoland area.
It is a storied line and it would be a shame to see it all abandoned. I will keep this open for further development (when I get a chance to visit the area).
I was just at the line in Dyer Indiana and saw the CSX (former Monon) crossing has been removed. There is a red flag on the tracks right before the street crosses the tracks. There still is the old signal for the track intersection and I am wondering if they are keeping a small section of the line open for a few industries. This would be accessed through the Union Pacific yard on the east side of Chicago Heights.
The line from Dyer to Griffith will probably be removed soon and might become a trail. I will keep this site updated on the progress (or nonprogress).
The block signals close to the CSX (formerly Monon) crossing have been removed. I thought the crossing itself was removed but it is still intact. There is paint on the rails indicating they are going to be removed at a later date.
The crossing gates at Rte 30 are still there. I expect the tracks will be removed in the spring. I will keep this site updated on what is being done.
There are more railroad crossing gates and signals that have been removed on the line from Griffith to Chicago Heights. I think the tracks will be removed next and will keep this board posted on the progress.
Soon the whole Joliet Cutoff from the fabled Michigan Central will be completely abandoned and only a few remnants (and bike paths) will remain.
actually this august the norfolk southern just ripped up the whole panhandle line in hartsdale, the mc line on the other had is probably next EVERY SINGLE crossing sign/gate/signal is now removed except for the crossbucks on lake street the other crossing that stands is the ones on kennedy ave in schererville please view my pictures of this line. also can anyone tell me why they stopped using this track in 2007 im assuming the UP had a better access point and how new is the UP yard at the ford plant, with wouldnt make sence to have the abandoned MC line and the up yard attached to eash other
Thank you for your comment, Nick. The crossing gates are still there on Rte 30 so I expect them to be taken down by spring. There still is a factory that gets serviced by this line and I need to see if they are connecting tracks to CN (formerly the J).
It is sad to see this line go but I bet it hasn't seen a train in over ten years. Too much overgrowth the past decade in some parts.
I drove past the Rte 30 crossing and the gates and signals have been removed. The tracks will probably be removed by this spring.
I vaguely remember seeing a passenger train on this line when I was a wee lad. Now there will be nothing left but a few trails and the odd telegraph pole still standing.
as late as 1995 they used the the line for the ford motor company and used it for moving engines between Griffith,IN and Chicago Heights,IL and there is a spur connector in Schererville,IN west of Kennedy ave to the Norfolk Southern line.Too bad none of present day railroads see the usefulness of these routes as bypasses in their systems because griffith,in is a very congested area with trains always waiting and they say a stopped train is a train that is not making money
Drove over it today, the tracks have been removed but you can see where they used to be.
I just drove over the new Rte 30 bridge over the former EJ&E (CN) tracks. The MC/NYC/CR/NS tracks have all been ripped up. The end of the Joliet Cut-Off as all segments are gone.