Southbound and down
The crew of one of NWR's few Alco PAs are counting the ties until they dock. Naptown was a valued Alco customer for steam, and tried to stay true, but would ultimately begin to favor EMD products
Athearn Excursion Davis Siding
A prominent builder of railroad equipment, this Athearn business train, under Amtrak's watchful eye, was a rare case of a Northbound being able to hold the siding offgrade. Engineer has the signal, and shortly, the headlights will flick on and the train will crawl north.
East Bend is the farthest point south on the mainline and the last bastion on the layout before one heads into the turnback loop underneath. Conceptually, East Bend borrows design clues and cues from Vincinnes and East Bend, but much of the surface area is taken up by a snug railyard and an open air Passenger Terminal. Operationally, at least within the very limited scope we have explored that, East Bend is the end of the line, responsible for a branch line to Thomasville and West Marmon via the Clark Junction interchange, as well as terminating Passenger traffic. East Bend is also one of the last bastions of mail by rail, and until improvement of the highways in SouthWestern Indiana, East Bend processed carload after carload of local milk.
Named for a beloved late member, friend, and father, As the first and last long siding outside of East Bend, Davis Siding can be a welcome sign and a sigh of relief. Northbound, Davis Siding is the ruling grade, beginning with a gentle slope within the yard limitis and rapidly getting steeper as it climbs a sweeping cliff bank. With no room to take a running charge from the yard, the grade becomes rapidly worse. Southbound, its not any easier, testing the brakes of trains long on the road and crews ready to get off. Because of the grade, Dispatchers usually hold Southbounds as far back as Hunter's Ridge, where the double track mainline ends; using Davis Siding more as a
place to hold traffic the yard is not yet ready for. Northbounds, regardless of classification, tend to have right of way to prevent risk of trains stopping and being unable to restart midgrade.
Bend Junction is the point where the Marmon Secondary ties into the short segment of mainline between yard throat and passenger terminal. At one time, it also governed the primary access into the yard, until a new switch and lead were built that both eliminated a tight S curve through switch points, and gradualized the curve somewhat.
East Bend Yard would be best called a transfer yard for its size and accesibility, were it not also responsible for terminating southbound traffic, helping turn northbound trains out of Miller Mine, and parking most every passenger train on the layout, in addition to reclassifying trains for the Marmon Secondary and local industries adjacent to the train station. The yard itself is accessed by one of two facing point (Northbiound) switches, with a third just past the yard that leads into the Passenger Terminal. The yard is six tracks wide, housing about 15-18 cars each, although only the first three (closest to the mainline in back) have access to the Junction, and likewise, only the first four are accesable from
the new mainline switch. On the terminal end, the tracks all funnel together, and a former passenger car prep track was cleared to give the yard crew room to pull a cut of cars the entire length of the area.
Additionally, East Bend is also home to Heavy Repairs facility, and is one of two regular homes for the Steam Program, featuring an unpowered NWR Hudson. There is a working, mostly non-indexed Atlas turntable that is operated by clockwise and counterclockwise buttons
East Bend Terminal
East Bend Terminal was, and somewhat still is, a busy hub for passenger rail travel. As the transfer point btween the NWR, Southern, L&N and C&EI passener trains for East Bend, it saw a lot of traffic come and go. Thanks to less than ideal road conditions between the center of the state and the Evansville-Vincinnes area compared to the rapidly growing highway system between Indianapolis, Chicago, Cinncinati, and even Louisville, (a situation which even now is only just being corrected in 2014 with the extension of I-69 south) NWR local passenger trains were able to hold out for a few years longer. many sleepers graced the open terraces, being transferred to a hot springs resort in
Southern Indiana on the same vein as French Lick, although that traffic ended by the early 1950s. Mail was hauled in to be resorted until well into Amtrak, when the entire Postal contract was nullified nationwide. Behind the terminal, Red Wing Milling turned rolls of steel into product, and a former REA facility became a warehouse that rapidly tumbled throgh various owners. A freight transfer facility sat on a brick courtyard between the terminal and Lindner Dairy, who still sells Milk and related products to this day, although mostly via truck. Today, East Bend plays host to a member's Dinner Belle train, which operates through the week as a stationary restaurant and departs on most weekends for dinner excursions over the Marmon Secondary to out through Hunter's Ridge.