Danville, IL to Schneider, IN

The Danville Secondary

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(Forwarded from the Kankakee Belt Line Railroad)

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This sign found on the right-of-way indicates that the property is owned by Pennsylvania Lines, LLC, a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern. Photo by Howard E. Espravnik, 2006.

This line was once part of the Kankakee Belt Line, which was the Illinois Division of the New York Central. It acquired the name "Danville Secondary" while the line was under ownership of Conrail. This particular line ran from Gary, IN, south to Danville, IL; however, the line south of Schneider, where the line crossed Norfolk Southern (ex-Penn Central/NYC), down to Danville was abandoned in 1994. (Technically, the line is considered "Out of Service".) The abandoned portion of the line measures 76.2 miles.

Today, signs posted along the right-of-way indicate the track is owned by "Pennsylvania Lines, LLC", a former subsidiary of Norfolk Southern created to take control of its appropriated assets when Conrail was split between NS and CSX. Some grade crossings, though paved over, retain their crossbucks, and some have signs saying "Tracks Out of Service". While most of the tracks had been removed by 2006, there are some small stretches along the way that are still used to serve online industries. These segments are owned by Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway, Kankakee, Bearville & Southern Railroad, and the Bee Line Railroad, and are indicated on the map.

See also Danville to Farmer City.

I always had a soft spot for this line that avoids big towns like a disease. Such as shame to see it so forlorn. That whole area of Indiana south of Lake County is surprisingly bucholic. Great photos!

Matt McClure
Chicago, IL
11/14/2009

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I lived in Kentland, IN from 1981-1988 and took lots of Milwaukee Road and Conrail pictures. Unfortunately, I was a kid and they were all taken with a Kodak 110 camera and I don't have any of the negatives. However, I do have all the pictures. Pictures were taken between Sheff and Schneider IN., with the bulk being in Kentland. I really miss this line and have also as an adult revisted and photographed the entire abandoned line. I still live along it today, which makes it easily accessible. Any questions feel free to ask.

Eric Berg
Lake Village, IN
2/19/2010

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Eric, how about posting those pics, the old vs new??? I'd like to see that, as a kid I can remember heading to Kankakee to visit my parents friends, and seeing a Soo Line caboose cross at Kentland. Later in life I went to work for the "OLD Milwaukee" Soo District at Terre Haute, Indiana, by then it was owned by CP.

Jeremy J. Harris
Avon, IN
4/6/2010

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Almost all of my pictures taken in and around Kentland are posted @ rrpicturearchive.net, where you can either go by town or look at my entire folder. I'm currently in the process of posting my newer photo's (2000-present) of abondoned Danville line pics that I have. Like I said prior, my original photos from the 1980's were mostly taken with a Kodak 110 and are not of the best quality, and I was a youngster.

Eric Berg
Lake Village, IN
5/27/2010

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When was this line routed to Gary? It originally ran to Indiana Harbor. It crossed the Kankakee Belt Line (Zearing, IL to South Bend, IN) at Schneider, but I wasn't aware that it was a part of the belt line.

When I was around 6 years old, I had relatives that lived in Kentland near the tracks, and a coal train or two would usually speed by. I was too young to realize these were the same trains that I watched struggling uphill out of Danville 2 blocks from my house.

Mike Roegner
Danville, IL
5/28/2010

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As far as I know the line from Danville to Schneider is considered "out of service" to the NS RR. They still own the track and rightaway, etc. I wish it would come back but not likely. Really cool photos.

Travis Casteel
kankakee, IL
11/17/2010

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I heard from a NS employee that the line is slated to be REOPENED. Not sure how much of it will(maybe only to kentlands TPW) but NS will use it to haul out ethanol down south from the new waste to fuel plant being built in Schnieder, IN this spring. Any truth to this?

Kris R.
Roselawn, IN
1/16/2011

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I have heard that Norfolk Southern is going to rebuild the Danville Secondary line. I was wondering if there is any truth to this? I remember that line when I was a kid it was a mile or so west of my granparents farm, always could see trains running on the track from their house. I would like to see it come back I hope this is true and they do reopen it.

Sean Brier
Danville, IL
3/3/2011

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Reliable sources are saying that the Danville Line is NOT going to be rebuilt. It wouldn't be "cost effective" to do.

Travis Casteel
Bradley, IL
8/20/2011

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I was a Engineer on Conrail I ran the Danville sec. My Father William D Cutsinger was a operaterat Schnieder and a train disp. on this RR and My grandfather Worly D. Cutsinger worked the tower at Handy

William C. Cutsinger
Land O Lakes , FL
10/27/2011

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I would like to have speeder runs from lake village to kentland. How could we make this happen?

Rich G
Demotte, IN
2/9/2012

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I went railfanning on the NS Lafayette District today, and ran into this line near Johnsonville, IN. The rails have been removed for the crossings but for the most part, they are still there. Pretty neat, but sad as well. This railroad had lots of character.

Justin S
Newtown, IN
3/23/2012

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I love the line and the history, so thank you William. I'm very certain I could throw some names of people who worked on this line that you may have hundreds of stories about.

Eric Berg
Lake Village, IN
6/28/2012

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Line was blocked south of Morroco when the county filled in the orginal, 2 lane Hwy. 41 over pass. As long as NS and the CN don't have a falling out over the NS's use their St.Louis line the Danville 2nd with slowly disappear into the under brush. The roof of the Handy tower collapsed a couple of years back. On clear, still, childhood nights you could hear the distant syncapated rytheme of the manafests banging over diamond at Sheff hearlding the approach of a mohawk that would slam through town like some hell bound iron bannshe.

John Meade
Benton Co., IN
11/29/2012

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I live close to the danville secondary and i have ridden my four wheeler from the river crossing at the kankakee river almost all the way to morocco In. A lot of the rail is in good condition there are a few sun kinks and the rail has warped. Rich G it would be hard to get a speeder down the line now most of it is covered in heavy brush i do have some pictures that i would like to upload and show you guys. I have only seen two trains on this line in my lifetime one was a grain and the other was the crew ripping up rails. i also have found an old bridge that crosses a creek. i have found some cool things in the creek air hoses, bricks that were going to st louis that feel off. there is alot of character to this line i wish that one day that NS would reopen the danville secondary

James Fugate
Lake Village In, IN
7/1/2013

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I travel weekly from Illinois to Rte 41 south of Kentland. After crossing over into Indiana I pass just south of Raub, IN. This past week there has been a crew working on the tracks from Kentland to Sheff where the rails interseect with the KB & S. The county road had been paved over the tracks but this has been removed exposing the rails which is a double set. I found this site as I was looking to see if there was some reporting of what was happening. It doesn't appear that they are ripping out the tracks that is for sure. This would be a great location for a large grain storage facility that I have seen in parts of Illinois. Maybe there is hope yet for the return of the railroads.

Steve Baker
Illinois
10/12/2013

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What were the MP on the Danville Secondary between Schneider, IN and Danville, IL?

Rich Heuring
Wateka, IL
10/19/2013

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Actually there is a company that is putting a railcar repair yard in that area I got really excited and when and checked it out there is a connection to the KBS and they have put new switch heads in. and have had new ballast put down. heres a link to the Indiana bull session there is alot of info on there.but this is only a small section that is being rehabbed

http://indianarailroads.org/board/index.php?topic=13185.0

James Fugate
Lake Village , IN
11/4/2013

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My grandpa, Arlie Huffman was a conductor on this linefrom Lyons Yard to Chicago for many years till he retired in 1965.

My Dad & I rode with grandpa to Chicago & back when I was 6 or so. Great memories! They ran a passanger train from Southern Illinois to chicago untill 1955. One coach & a sleeping car and a baggage car were about it

David Huffman
St. Joseph, IL
1/23/2014

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i was a brakeman on this line for 20 years, my dad was a engineer for 40 years don OD huffman, sure miss this old NYC wm huufman all my uncl were on this road

wm huffman
danville, IL
3/2/2014

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I work @ Stewart Grain and operate the BEE line R.R. and run my switch engine to Handy often I wish I could go farther

Spike Sowers
Sloan, IN
7/2/2014

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This line was not part of the Kankakee Belt which ran from South Bend but was used as an alternate route when the east end of the KKK Belt was abandoned.

The line was part of the Illinois Division of the Big Four / New York Central.

S. H. Lustig
Mayfield Hts., OH
7/7/2014

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