Mother Nature had other designs for the Great Plains and midwest last week.
Today's Train of thought takes us to a fallen flag that officially ceased to exist earlier this year. Ever since the Canadian National acquired the Wisconsin Central in 2001, the Canadian National had been looking for a way to circumvent the congestion in and around Chicago. That opportunity came in 2009 when after years of speculation, the Canadian National acquired the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern which looped around Chicago instead of heading into the Windy City.
At the time, the EJ&E was one of three railways that looped around Chicago- including the Indiana Harbor Belt and Belt Railway of Chicago- and was the only US Steel Railroad that hadn't been acquired by Canadian National during their 2004 acquisition of Great Lakes Transportation's Bessemer & Lake Erie and Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range.
Like the B&LE and DM&IR- as well as the Illinois Central, British Columbia Railway and Wisconsin Central- the motive power from the EJ&E showed up throughout the Canadian National system, with some units being repainted into CN colors and others getting sold off for scrap or shortline railroads.
Here, railpictures.net contributor R. Scott Marsh caught EJ&E SD38-2 #673 pulling yard duty at the former Illinois Central yard in Waterloo, IA in the middle of a late snowstorm on April. The #673 started out life on the Bessemer & Lake Erie as #890 and saw briefly saw service on the Union Railroad before being moved between US Steel Railroads. As of 2012, the EJ&E #673 was still in "flying J" colors and has occasionally appeared on 'home rails' even though the Joliet ceased to be on January 1st, 2013.