WDMN-30
Monroe Local (NS symbol B1J)

In the spring of 2000 NS was using an old PRR cabin car for use on the Monroe Local MN30, seen here at Warner Yard in Monroe, Michigan. We were amazed to see it still rolling long after the company that had produced him had disappeared. Speaking of elderly equipment, this SD40-2 looks like a candidate for retirement soon even though he is only 23 years old. One look at that back porch, though, and we were hunting around for a kettle grill and a couple of folding chairs for an evening of chillin'.

The rail in the foreground is #1 Track (southbound main) of the Detroit Line.

Photograph copyright 2000-2002 Jeff Knorek

PRR 3405

  • EMD SD40-2
  • Builder# 786193-1
  • Frame# 786193-1
  • Delivered as Conrail 6483 7/79
  • Renumbered to PRR 3405 9/99

    CR 23130

  • N-5C
  • Delivered as PRR 477928 April 1942
  • Renumbered to PC 23130
  • Renumbered to CR 23130


    MN30 is an important train for Monroe industries, which include a Ford (now Visteon) Parts Plant that makes springs and muffler assemblies, Heidman Steel, Spartan warehouse, Detroit Edison, North Star Steel, and a Thompson McCully Asphalt plant. The NS Dearborn dispatcher usually refers to him by his old Conrail symbol MN30, but sometimes calls him B1J, which is how NS would prefer everbody refer to him as.

    He is called at 1300 on Tu-Fr, and at 1200 on Monday. The crew usually gets on the power and grabs the empty cars that the road trains have set out on the northbound siding and then switches them out, putting the Fords together first and then blocking all of the rest for the various industries around Monroe (cars are sorted according to spot locations at Ford and switch locations at the other industries, i.e. facing point switch, etc....Heidman Steel is the only facing point).

    Around 1500 the job will cross out over the Northbound main and CNIC Shoreline Subdivision onto the Ford Lead and be in position for the Four O'clock switch. He might set out at Heidman along the way. After switching out Ford the crew might tie down the train if there is nothing left to do and drive back to the yard office and wait for the Eight O'clock switch.

    Spartan and Thompson McCully both require some planning with the dispatcher as well as a Form D.

    A Spartan switch merely requires that there be no train on Track #1 (the southbound main) south of CP-Mill because MN30 be running wrong-main to get there. The Thompson McCully switch requires that there be no train heading north from Toledo on Track #2, there is no coal train heading out of or into the Monroe Edison plant on the Primary Lead (which is served by both NS and CNIC), that there is no North or Southbound train on the CNIC, and that CNIC is not serving Thompson McCully or North Star Steel on the Primary Lead themselves.

    Serving Thompson or Detroit Edison requires about 2 hours. The crew will usually have the Thompson cars sitting on the northbound siding between the short and long wye north of Dixie Highway so they can come back from Ford and tie onto the cars and go straight to CP-DUNBAR in order to save some time. The Detroit Edison operation is similar to the Thompson but is a little quicker. Coal cars which are bad ordered between Chicago and Toledo because of hot boxes and other reasons are usually set out at Monroe by general road trains. When enough of these cars accumulate at Warner, the conductor will call the Power Plant and let them know what they have. MN30 will then take the cars down to the plant.

    If the crew does not think that they can get back to Ford by the Eight O'clock switch, they will not work either Thompson or Detroit Edison. The second Ford switch returns to Warner between 2100 and 2200 depending on business, or if there is going to be a third switch which is covered by the midnight job, Road Local B1E.

    When the switches are done MN30 will block the cars for the southbound road trains. Norfolks and Bellevues go on the 178 and the Elkharts go on the 21N. He'll also make up a block for B1E. These are Ford cars bound for CSXT at Stanley yard in Toledo.

    B1E is the midnight job at Monroe which is called at 2300 M-F. This train handles the third switch at Ford and take the CSX cars for Stanley. B1E will also bring empty parts cars for Ford north from the NS Mega Yard in Toledo.

    Text by Marcus U. Dogg
    Loco data from Chris Toth
    Caboose data from Tom Wolfgang's Conrail Cabins and Cabooses Website


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