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Buzzi UnicemTrain

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Buzzi Unicem now runs between La Salle and Oglesby. Current operations as of 2013 are hauling cement loads to Oglesby for distribution by truck. Rail cars are set out by the IAIS in the ole ICRR yard at LaSalle. In 2008 after the Oglesby cement mill was shut down, there would be no more loads going out by rail from Oglesby.
 To still have this small segment of the ex-ICRR still in operation is nothing short of a miracle. The bridge in 2013 had the piers reinforced. The piers were erected in 1853-54. During the reinforcement project there was not a whole lot of movement with trains.
The loaded cars come from Greencastle Indiana and are transferred via the CSX railway to Chicago, Ottawa, Utica and then La Salle.
Buzzi has two locos: A GM 80-tonner built in the 1940s for the United States Army (I think) and a GP9 #1616 which is an ex UP #281 and also belonged to CNW #4394. Also the North Star steel Co. of Arizona had it for a while. I believe the loco is owned by the Relco Co.
 I used to love watching them work in the yard. If the IAIS had a string of about  40 or 50 cars you could figure that Buzzi would meet them at the yard. One time they had 70 cars and it was quite a show. Buzzi was busy and the rails were as shiny as I ever seen them.

Ray Tutaj Jr Photos of Buzzi Unicem in Action 2010

The GM 80-tonner
Ray Tutaj Jr Photos 2008

Reinforcing the piers in 2013
Illinois Central Railroad bridge at La Salle IL.

If you think about it, this is one heck of a task. These piers are huge and they have several to reinforce. Some were reinforced many decades ago but they may have to be redone. We'll see. The pier you see on the very right of picture is pier 6 which is unused and not supporting anything. It used to be the pier that held the swing span long ago. It is a very large pier in width; about three times that of the others. The middle truss span over the river was put in place in the 1930's so those are the newest piers, even though they are about 75 yrs old.

Looking up from the banks of the Illinois River

The first time I had ever seen the 80-tonner
Is was about 1993 in Oglesby Photo by Ray Tutaj Jr.

Buzzi Unicem crossing the old "Mile Long"
Ray Tutaj Jr Photo La Salle IL 2009

Lonestar GM 80-tonner in 2002


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