We were in Fulton KY last October to observe Canadian National for a day. I was reminded of previous trips to Fulton taken during the eras of Illinois Central Gulf and later Illinois Central. My impetus for the first trip was an article in the February 1983 issue of Trains magazine titled “Slow day in the Fulton Triangle” by the late Jerry Mart. Dig it out because he did a lot more explaining than I will do.
Fulton was truly the hub on the Illinois Central main line from Chicago to New Orleans. Trains to and from Louisville, St. Louis, and Birmingham funneled through, originated or terminated there. You couldn’t take in it all from one location, and train movements were constant. Luckily there are four overhead bridges in the two towns (South Fulton is in Tennessee) from which to observe and shoot photos from: Purchase Parkway, US 45, KY 166 and US 45E.
1. The Kentucky Div. had been incorporated into the Mid-South Div. and the Midwest Division by the time of our visit. Later the line from Paducah to Louisville would be spun off as the Paducah & Louisville Railroad (PAL). The line southeast to Jackson TN is now a short line. The Mayfield District through “Downtown” is gone except what PAL operates from Paducah down to Mayfield. Click here for a larger ICG KY Div map image.
2. This is the way Fulton looked in 1983. The frequency 161.19 is still good. 160.92 is used by the dispatcher on the Cairo Dist. ICG Fulton map Image.
3. ICG GP10 8221-8324-8287 finish switching n/b ML-4 (Memphis-Louisville) on 08-09-1986. Taken from US 45. The yard office is on the right. ICG Fulton 1986.
4. GP38-2 9636 has 9450-9619-9451 on GS-2 (Geismar Yard-Baton Rouge to St. Louis). ICG Fulton 1986.
5. GS-2 starts to pull. ICG Fulton 1986.
6. That’s a rare EMD SD28 model that came from the Columbus & Greenville Railroad. EMD only built 6, and the two sold to the CAGY are on this train. Reserve Mining in Minnesota had the other four. ICG Fulton 1986.
7. Just ahead at Bluford Crossing GS-2 will veer to the left and north on the Cairo District. Oh how I wish I had shot those MofW cars! That’s the Purchase Parkway bridge in the background. ICG Fulton 1986.
8. ICG Cairo District Timetable. Click here to view a larger image.
9. From the Purchase Parkway bridge LM-7 (Louisville-Memphis) has stopped on the Bluford District. There was a fuel facility on both the Cairo and Bluford Districts. ICG Fulton 1986.
10. LM-7 has GP40s 3025-3021-3036. LM-7 comes off the old Kentucky Div. through Paducah to the Bluford District at Chiles. Previously these freights ran via Mayfield. ICG Fulton 1986.
11. ML-4 seen earlier is now departing via the Bluford District. ICG Fulton 1986.
12. ML-4 is crossing the Cairo District which continues down through town. A train order office was previously situated to the left of the relay box. Crossing gates protect the Cairo District from the Bluford District, a late comer also known as the Edgewood Cutoff. ICG Fulton 1986.
13. ML-4 meets LM-7. ICG Fulton 1986.
14. GS-2 departs out the Cairo District connection as ML-4 departs. ICG Fulton 1986.
15. ICG Fulton 1986.
16. I think 199349 may have come from the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio. They had 9 built by International Car during the 1960s. ICG Fulton 1986.
17. ICG Fulton 1986.
18. Crews exchange greetings. ICG Fulton 1986.
19. LM-7 starts pulling in. ICG Fulton 1986.
20. LM-7 makes it by the gates but is blocked by the departing GS-2. ICG Fulton 1986.
21.I still see a train order hoop at the lower left. ICG Fulton 1986.
22. Now that’s a typical IC caboose ... long with a big porch. Ugly, but I bet they rode good! GS-2 heads toward the Mississippi River bridge between Wickcliffe KY and Cairo IL. ICG Fulton 1986.
23. ICG Bluford District Timetable. Click here for a larger image.
24. GP38 9510 pulls up with 9563-9539 on CR-5 (Chicago-Baton Rouge). Trains with no work at Centralia or Carbondale take the Bluford District, a straight, low grade route. Passenger trains always took the main line Cairo District except those for the Kentucky Division to Louisville. ICG Fulton 1986.
25. CR-5’s power heads to the south end of Fulton Yard. ICG Fulton 1986.
26. GP11 8737 switches the south end of the yard at Oaks TN. The Mayfield District veers off to the right of the distant signal mast. I shot this from the US 45E bypass which has little traffic. ICG Fulton 1986.
27. This is the main line to Memphis. The Mayfield District is now abandoned between Fulton and Mayfield. PAL operates Mayfield to Paducah. ICG Fulton District Timetable. Click here to view a larger image.
28. LM-7’s 3025-3021-3036 arrive at the south end. ICG Fulton 1986.
29. CR-5 pulls in and his coupled to LM-7’s. ICG Fulton 1986.
30. CR-5’s train is now on the left. LM-7 with 6 units now backs to his train. Phone cables are still a problem at both ends of the yard. ICG Fulton 1986.
31. Did LM-7 and CR-5 combine trains? I don’t know. Maybe there is some block swapping going on here. ICG Fulton 1986.
32. The fuel and sand track at Fulton. ICG Fulton 1986.
33. GP38-2 9607 with 8739-8061. ICG Fulton 1986.
34. Looking southwest. There used to be a large roundhouse here. ICG Fulton 1986.
35. Leftover structures from the steam era. ICG Fulton 1986.
It’s now mid-afternoon, and its been a busy day so far. Time to get a bite to eat during the lull. More later.