Derby is a tiny town where the original Illinois Southern Rwy and the MR&BT crossed. Once merged, the M-I maintained a 2-track yard at this important location. The Junction served as an interchange point between the predominantly east-west Ste. Genevieve subdivision and the predominately north-south Bonne Terre (BT) subdivision serving the Old Lead Belt.
The layout has a run-around and a 2-track yard which serves as the southern terminus of point-to-point operations. The final destination for local freights is actually 8 miles off-layout in Bismarck, where the M-I interchanges with the MoPac’s DeSoto sub.
In operating the M-I, crews pick up their staged train at Derby Jct. and proceed with switching the interchange traffic. Southward trains also terminate here after completing their switching duties.
Interchange traffic at Derby Jct. includes lime products destined for the Old Lead Belt on the BT sub and coal from Illinois. The Valley Dolomite Company in Desloge, Missouri, ships product to Illinois steel plants for firing blast furnaces. Interchange traffic also includes gondolas of chat from the St. Joseph Lead Co. in Bonne Terre. It’s mainly used in concrete aggregate, roadstone, railroad ballast and fluxing. Bridge traffic off of the MoPac at Bismarck runs through Derby Jct. also.
Operators may notice the tan “mountain” on the background – that is a chat pile miles away!