Ellinor to NR Junction

In the mid-West, from eastern Kansas to Indiana and western Ohio, farms tend to be of the picture postcard variety, each possessing a "red" barn and a "red" or aluminum silo or two. (The large agribusiness farms have more, of course, but these tend to be distributed around the farm, so the perception is the same.)

From the 12,080 ft. siding, junction, and crossovers at Ellinor (MP 124.7), where the freight and passenger transcons come together, there are Three Main Tracks, the southernmost pair being Double Track, Automatic Block Signals, and the northernmost (Track 3) being CTC, heading east-northeast, with speed limit 79-55. At Saffordville (MP 123.4), track 1 only, the line turns east, and passes detectors at MP 121.1. The number of tracks reduces to Two Main Tracks, CTC, at the crossovers at Merrick (MP 115.3), and increases to 3MT again at the crossovers at Emporia (MP 112.1), extending to NR Junction (MP 111.3), where an MKT line once crossed at grade, and the line to Topeka (used by Amtrak) departs to the northeast at a wye, while the freight main continues straight ahead.

On Train 4, eastbound, the light level is high enough to watch the passing landscape again just to the West Of Topeka, Kansas. For the traveler, this means that the break between the mid-Western farming styles seen in Illinois, Missouri, and eastern Kansas, and the high plains farming styles, takes place overnight. The result is a distinctly visible change between the evening and morning scenery.