I spent some time in Centralia, IL over the weekend. The town of Centralia hosts three railroad mainlines, all of which bisect the downtown district on a shared alignment. The BNSF’s former CB&Q southern Illinois coal route snakes through town, sharing track with the Norfolk Southern and crossing the Canadian National on the south end of town. In 2006, the BNSF acquired trackage rights on the CN’s line from Centralia to Memphis, running several Wyoming coal trains per day on the CN destined for utilities in Kentucky and Tennessee. Late in the day on Saturday, one such empty train was returning from down south, headed back to the Powder River Basin for another load of sub-bituminous. As the heavy coal train creaked down the old connector track between the two railroads, the new crew was on hand to line switches and climb aboard for their trip to Beardstown, IL.
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