Remembering the JK Line
The 16-mile JK Line, as it was known under Frick Services and finally Cargill ownership, saw tracks removed from the Monterey to North Judson corridor in 2004. Cargill had sought to sell the elevator facilities in Monterey and Winamac, Indiana, and the rail lines to those facilities. The rail and ties were gathered in Monterey and Winamac until they were removed and resold by A&K Railroad Materials. Both corridors are now railbanked for future reactivation if warranted, but for now interim trail use is permitted by US DOT.
The rail line was previously known as the Tippecanoe Railroad (TRR), serving the Buckeye Feed and Supply. During the 1980s, it served Buckeye's large grain facility in Monterey and also had a two-stall engine shed there. This is the same building that HVRM moved to the museum and used to expand our shop complex.
The grain facility in Monterey originated 65-car unit grain trains, with a capacity of 227,500 bushels. The grain generally moved to eastern destinations, including ports for export. The TRR and later the JK Line connected with CSX at North Judson.
During the mid-1980s, expansion of the on-line grain storage at the Monterey facility increased to 4.5 million bushels, with Tippecanoe Railroad handling in excess of 20 unit trains per year. The facility had the capacity to load one 100-ton hopper car every five minutes. The Buckeye Feed and Supply at one time was a central grain loading and storage facility for some 3,500 agricultural producers in a four county area.
Today, in the ethanol phase of American history, some 150 ethanol plants may be built by the end of 2009 across the heartland of America, brewing nine billion gallons of ethanol. It is reported that a 100 million gallon facility will require 37 million bushels of corn or 10,000 hopper cars. This corn demand for a 100 million gallon facility would be grown over about 230,000 acres, needing 115 railroad tank cars of nitrogen fertilizer.
The - what if's - come to mind when looking back just a short few years...