Spriggsboro / Wayne Jct.
Spriggsboro / Wayne Jct.
Once known as "Fort Wayne Jct.," CN shortened this location's name to simply "Wayne". The area is called "Spriggsboro" in the Norfolk Southern timetable and simply as "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.
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.
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 rarely if ever uses it. NS retains trackage rights and diverts some of its NKP trains to it via connections here and at County Line, about ten miles to the west. 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. The CF&E is now operated by Genesee & Wyoming, who purchased Rail America a few years later. CF&E westbounds will feed into CSX's ex-MC Porter Branch at Tolleston and head to Indiana Harbor Belt's Blue Island Yard. Usually there's just one CF&E train per day in each direction. Only time will tell whether this line will see any more traffic, 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.
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.