Henry Ford's Legacy
When Henry Ford purchased the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton in 1920, he set out to make the railroad the most efficient the industry. Lines were strategically double-tracked, track was rehabbed, and wages were increased in exchange for employees taking better care of the equipment. The most ambitious project was Ford's planned electrification of the entire mainline, and several miles of concrete centenary arches were installed to facilitate electric operations. The goal was to interchange directly with the similarly electrified Virginian Railway, though this never came to pass. The electric locomotives, while very powerful, soon proved to be too inflexible. Ford also grew increasingly frustrated with what he perceived as over-regulation from the ICC, and he sold to DT&I in 1929 to the Pennsylvania RR. After this, the electric operation was discontinued, but the concrete arches, built to literally last forever, remained.
And most of them still stand today, a testament to the original vision of Mr. Ford. The former DT&I mainline in the Detroit area is now CN's Dearborn Sub, and is considerably less busy these days, seeing only local traffic. The daily turn from Flat Rock to NS's Oakwood Yard and back operates as CN's L572, and usually runs with fairly cool motive power. This day was no exception, as a power of former Illinois Central "Death Star" SD70s lead L572 south across the Conrail diamonds at Penford (Pennsylvannia-DT&I(Ford)) in Southgate.