Passing by Toledo's have abandoned Amtrak station, Norfolk Southern's heritage unit, Erie #1068 passes by with a string of Tank Cars. HISTORY OF THE LINE The Chicago Line of the Norfolk Southern system is one of the most important lines that NS owns. It's also one of the oldest as it can date back to the 1830s, a time when railroading in America was just getting started. The line began life on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway in 1839 from Chicago to Toledo, OH. The line continued to grow. Stretching to cities such as Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Kalamazoo, and many more. Then in 1914, the railroad was merged with the New York Central and all of the railroad. All of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway was deeded to the NYC. Throughout it's New York Central ownership, the line became a crucial part of the railroad's operations. It was a key route for the Central's famous "20th Century Limited", the "Murcery", and others. It also served as a testing route for New York Central's locomotives. One notable test was the M-497 Black Beetle Railcar speed test. Between Butler, IN and Stryker, OH, the railcar was able to reach a record breaking speed of 183.6 mph. Though the record still stands, the M-497 does not. The Chicago line continued serving the New York Central until 1968, when the Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central railroad, and New Haven railroads merged to form the Penn Central railroad. However, the Penn Central was badly suffering from it's beginning, and in 1970, Penn Central filed bankruptcy. Only to be taken over by Conrail a few years after. Conrail lasted until 1999 when Norfolk Southern and CSX both bought the railroad. Both railroads continue to share the company's assets today. Today, the Chicago line operates under ownership of Norfolk Southern. Amtrak P42DC #84 is on the point of train #49, the "Lake Shore Limited" dashing through the snow to Chicago. GEOGRAPHY OF THE LINE/OPERATIONS This proposed section of the Chicago Line from Toledo to Cleveland is roughly about 115-125 miles in length. Toledo, OH would be the start of the line. Toledo is home to one of Norfolk Southern's intermodal yards, which means the Chicago line see's a lot of Intermodal trains throughout. Though there is a small storage yard for other trains. A few miles away, Amtrak still maintains the old Toledo union station (which has been partially abandoned now) for the Lake Shore limited service. A few miles out of Sandhusky, OH, the line passes over some bridges over a few bodies of water such as the Portage River and Sandhusky Bay. At Sandhusky, there is a lot to see and do. The line will pass by two yards. One is located on a wye that turns into the yard, and another is next to the Amtrak station. Another industry is Sandhusky Dock. This industry has a coal loading and unloading facility. These yards and Sandhusky dock can make for some good switching operations. At Lorian, OH, a few local manufacturing and distributing industries like Trademark Global, Heidelberg Distributing, and others. Like Sandhusky, these industires can be good for local trains and swtiching operations. The line will then pass a small Amtrak station at Elyria, OH. Once again, the station mainly serves the Lake Shore Limited which connects Chicago to New York and Boston, MA. There is also another yard in Elyria which connects to a wye. This wye track leads to another Massive yard along with the enormous US Steel Corporation industry. Another good opportunity for switching and locals. (See US Steel Corporation here) Finally, the line ends at Cleveland, Ohio. Passing through a few local industires and yards before the end of the Chicago line at NS's Cleveland Yard. However, the line would continue into the heart of Cleveland for another stop on Amtrak's Lake Shore limited. (To view the industries and yards around Cleveland for NS, click the link here) NS Train 69D Rolls through the Amtrak station at Elyria, OH being led by NS SD60M #6769. Proposed Locomotives The Chicago line runs a variety of equipment, but here is the equipment that I propose for this line. EMD SD70ACE Locomotive These 4300 horsepower, EMD built diesels were introduced in 2004, but production didn't start until 2005. NS owns about 175 of these units and are frequently seen on the NS system pulling all types of trains. in 2012, ten SD70ACe locomotives were repainted to represent the railroads heritage as part of the company's 30th anniversary. Several rebuilds are being done by NS with the SD70 name. For example, the railroad is rebuilding former Union Pacific SD90MACs and once completed, will be under the designation "SD70ACU". GE ES44AC Locomotive The ES44AC was designed as part of the successful "GEVO" (General Electric Evolution) series of diesel locomotives from General Electric. These 4,400 horsepower diesels are quite common sights on U.S. freight railroads. Norfolk Southern owns about 185 units and are used on all sorts of mainline freight trains. GE 9-44CW Locomotive The 9-44CW is one of the most common locomotives to see on the NS system. And the Chicago line is no exception. From 1993 to 2004, General Electric was building the successful C44-9W. However, NS took a different approach and bought the 9-40CW. A 4,000 HP version of the C44-9W. Later, the locomotives were upgraded to 4,400 horsepower, changing the names to "9-44CW". In total, NS Owns about 1040 of these Dash 9 locomotives. Once again, these are common mainline locomotives on the NS system. EMD SD40-2 Locomotive The SD40-2 has been covered countless times in my proposals and others (it is also part of CSX Heavy Haul), so I don't see a need to give a background of this locomotive. If you want, there is plenty of Information on this locomotive online. A simple reskin from CSX to Norfolk Southern could be achieved. These locomotives could be used on both mainline freights and local freights. GE Amtrak P42DC Locomotive Amtrak's P42DC is the primary passenger locomotive of Amtrak. Produced between 1993 and 2001, the P42DC is the predocessor of the P40DC and are very common throughout the U.S. Rail system pulling all sorts of Passenger trains. On this particular route, the locomotives would be assigned to the Lake Shore limited. Connecting Chicago to New York and Boston, MA. PROPOSED ROLLING STOCK (FREIGHT) I kept out a few pics in this one as many know what standard freight stock for U.S railroads looks like. (Tank cars, hoppers, low gondola's, boxcars, and so on.) Some of the freight rolling stock from CSX Heavy Haul could easily be reskinned into NS, TTX, and others. However, rolling stock like NS's Top Gon Coal Hoppers could be made as well. PROPOSED ROLLING STOCK (PASSENGER) For the Lake Shore Limited, you will need a variety of Amtrak equipment to fit the service. Amfleets are one of them. Both the coaches and cafe cars are used. These cars can just be pulled from the NEC route and be reskinned if necessary. Viewliner Baggage cars and sleeper cars are also common on the Lake Shore limited. Painted in the Phase III scheme, the baggage cars have become the primary cars for baggage storage on Amtrak trains. The Viewliner sleepers are common on trains that don't use superliner cars. The Lake Shore limited will typically have 2-4 of these sleepers somewhere on the train. Finally, the lake shore service will sometimes bring out a Heritage Diner on the train when an Amfleet Cafe car is not in use. Truly a rare catch. Norfolk Southern's Heritage unit (Pennsylvania Railroad) #8102 and an Ex-Union Pacific SD90MAC roll through Rockport Yard in Cleveland, OH passing a pair of SD40-2s. FINAL CONCLUSION The Norfolk Southern Chicago Line has been highly under appreciated in Train Simulators. But this line definitely deserves a spotlight for once. With it's numerous industries and yards, It has a lot of operational variety as well as stunning forests, cities, and bodies of water to pass through. It would give a player a sense of railroading on Norfolk Southern, Long distance Amtrak trains, or Ohio in general. And several DLCs and packs can made to expand more upon this route and give even more operational variety. Such as heritage Units, office car specials, and even steam locomotives. Which Is why I think the Norfolk Southern Chicago line would be a great fit for Train Sim World.