Today something unusual—a video.
Until 1989, the former-Wabash line between Maumee, OH and Ft. Wayne, IN was owned and operated by the Norfolk & Western Railway. The section between Liberty Center, OH and Maumee had been out of service for a number of years, but N&W still had a local based at Defiance, OH, which operated regularly to Napoleon, and occasionally to Liberty Center.
Much of the traffic consisted of mechanical reefers of tomato paste, destined for cold storage warehouses located on the west side of Napoleon. Eventually the tomato paste would make its way to the Campbell Soup Company plant there. The train also carried covered hoppers to service elevators at Jewell, Okolona, and Liberty Center. In the morning, before setting out, the crew had the responsibility of switching the local industries in Defiance.
I recently ran across old video from about 1988, taken by my friend Douglas N. Leffler of Jackson, Mich. Although the original was on VHS tape, I’ve been able to digitize it, and Doug has graciously given me permission to publish it. So, I invite you to take a trip back nearly 30 years and see what this line looked like before Indiana Hi-Rail took over in November 1989:
Doug has recently published two books on Ohio and Michigan railroading: