Sunday, May 31, 2015

Amtrak Texas Eagle at Joliet

20150523 1881
When I stopped by the Joliet Amtrak platform to see if my uncle and his friends were still railfanning, I noticed that an outbound Amtrak train was arriving on the CN+UP/GM&O tracks. It was going slowly enough that I waited for the text on the sign to scroll to "This is Joliet." to take my first picture, which is facing North. Note that the signal heads are turned sideways. This is because the route was converted to the new Positive Train Control signals a few weeks ago.

Because of the Superliner cars, I assumed this train was the Texas Eagle. According to the Amtrak schedule, the Texas Eagle is due at Joliet at 2:40pm. Since the time stamp on the following picture is 2:50pm, I believe the Texas Eagle assumption is correct.

Below shows the trains first stop so that passengers could load the  front part of the train. You can see that there is construction in progress. The Amtrak platform is being moved from the west side of the tracks to the east side of the tracks so that the passengers do not have to cross the BNSF/SantaFe tracks to get to the CN+UP/GM&O trains. Note that the "dome car" is still north of the platform near the old signal bridge.

The train then pulled forward and stopped again with the rear part of the train at the platform at 2:55pm. The "dome car" is now south of the platform.

It then left the station at 2:59pm. So it left the Chicago area about 20 minutes behind schedule.

Turning and Servicing Amtrak Trains

20150513 1483 11:49:20
While I was getting portal pictures of the Canal Street RR Bridge, which is south of the 18th Street Viaduct, I noticed train movement north of the viaduct. There was an Amtrak train backing down the BNSF/CB&Q tracks under the St. Charles Air Line viaduct to the 16th Street yard.


Since I knew that as soon as it had traveled far enough to the west to clear the switch it would come forward towards me, I killed some time taking pictures of the Amtrak service area. This used to be the Pennsylvania coach yards. After about 5 minutes, the train appeared again.




I then crossed to the south side of 18th Street. The train went far enough south on the Metra/Pennsy route to clear the crossing as well as the turnout. In the left photo below, the turnout is still aligned for the main. In The right photo, the turnout has been switched to the service track.


The picture on the left is after it started backing up. Note that the crossing gates are down again. Also note that I caught an El on the Orange Line. The picture in the middle shows that it is using the western service track. The final picture is the last one I got before my camera refused to take more pictures because the battery was low. (The camera manual says it well flash a warning when the battery is getting low, but I have yet to notice it.) I had planned on taking more pictures including pictures back on the north side to record that the train was being shoved into the wash rack.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

CSX/Rock Island Bridge over Des Planes River

20150418 298c, downstream elevation
(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges) Update: The Illinois Flickr Album contains some more pictures of this bridge.

As a satellite image illustrates, the former Rock Island crossed the Des Plaines River at about a 45-degree angle. Note the bridge frames the next upstream bridge --- Jefferson Street Bridge.

When the Rock Island went bankrupt, the Chicago-area commuter service, Metra, operates the route from Joliet to Chicago. CSX operates the main route from Joliet to Utica. Iowa Interstate (IAIS) operates the remaining route in Illinois plus all of the route in Iowa. The IAIS and CSX have trackage rights over the Metra part to get to their freight yards.

Note that this RR bridge, like the one CSX operates in Seneca over the Illinois River, is normally in the raised position.

Southeast Elevation
20150523 1708c, Northwest Elevation

The span being kept in the raised position is nice because otherwise it would be totally blocked by the trees.

I experimented with "artsy" photos using truss members of the McDonough Street Bridge to frame this bridge.

Stuart Pearson posted
Late 1970s
[back when it was still the Rock Island]
Steven J. Brown posted 7 pictures with the general comment:
Warning - post not suitable for more sensitive viewers, especially U-boat fans!
The screams of dying Chessie U-boats can be heard as the Iowa Interstate freight approached the Des Plaines River bridge in Joliet - March 1986.
Iowa Interstate GP8 7979 approaching the Des Plaines River in Joliet.

Iowa Interstate GP8 7979 crossing the Des Plaines River in Joliet.

Iowa Interstate GP8 7979 crossing the Des Plaines River in Joliet.
Iowa Interstate GP8 7979 passing a scrap yard along the banks of the Des Plaines River in Joliet.
Iowa Interstate GP8 7979 passing Seaboard 1311 in a scrap yard along the banks of the Des Plaines River in Joliet.
Iowa Interstate GP8 7979 passing a line of Chessie U-boats waiting their turn in a scrap yard along the banks of the Des Plaines River in Joliet.
Iowa Interstate GP8 7979 passing a line of Chessie U-boats waiting their turn in a scrap yard along the banks of the Des Plaines River in Joliet.
Stuart Pearson posted a very closeup view.

Mark Llanuza posted a 1979 photo of a train with two engines and piggyback trailers. I believe it is an eastbound train. There were a lot fewer trees along the embankment back then.

Dan Marinellie posted a geometry train coming off the bridge.

Jeremy Hylka caught a picture of the bridge as the sun rose beneath it.

A video using a drone to get overview and side views of the bridge.

McDonough Street Bridge in Joliet, IL

20150523 1878c
(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, Ugly Bridges) Update: The Illinois Flickr Album contains some more pictures of this bridge, including it being raised.

This bridge carries US 6 and 52 over the Des Plaines River. I was heading eastbound on US 6 and when I turned onto McDonough, I noticed that traffic was stopped by the bridge. I quickly ducked into a parking lot and took this picture. I then switched to taking a video. I held the camera for the entire duration of the raising, but later discovered that I had only enough memory left for one second of video! I knew I was low on memory, but not that low. Below is a screen grab from near the end of the video. The second photo in Bridge Hunter is of the bridge in the full upright position.

20150418 0299
Unfortunately, it is lost in the shadows in the above pictures as to how the superstructure rocks back along the foundation. This bridge is of the rolling lift or "Scherzer rolling lift" design. To the right, we can clearly see the semi-circle pivot girder of the superstructure that rocks back along the level foundation. The pivot girder has holes corresponding to the "teeth" in the foundation to keep the bridge properly aligned as it is raised. You can also see part of the rack along the horizontal member across the top. There would be a pinion gear at the center of the arc that engages that rack to raise the bridge. Chicago has replaced many of its rolling lift bridges with trunnion bascule bridges because maintaining the alignment of the foundations in Chicago's swampy soil proved difficult because the load moves across the foundation each time it is raised and lowered.

Some detail shots are below. Note that Joliet has done a good job of maintaining the historic integrity of the handrails.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ispat Inland Steel Roundhouse

Bing map has a roundhouse that is gone in the Google image, so that probably means that some year it will disappear from the Bing maps also. It looks like part of the roundhouse had already been removed to build the big rectangle building because there is no longer a lead track to the turntable.

Bing, South
Bing, West

EJ&E Bridge #631 over Indiana Harbor Canal

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges) There is another EJ&J Scherzer bridge at the other end of the Indiana Harbor Canal.

While studying some maps trying to figure out how to get close to this bridge to get pictures, I noticed that there were some pretty good satellite images available. I was surprised that Bing's north view showed it down while the east, south, and west views showed it in a raised position. The Bing images clearly show how the bridge rolls backwards along its curved girder.

Bing, North

Bing, East

Mike Breski posted
IHB 4018 leads a string of coke hoppers out of Whiting Yard and across EJ&E Bridge 631 in East Chicago, IN.

Mark Llanuza posted
A view of EJ&E bridge 631
Mark Llanuza posted
A view of EJ&E bridge 631 the year 2010
Steven Kakoczki I was just there a few weeks ago..,.sure could use some new paint.
Two out of the four pictures Joe Zeller posted include the bridge. Joe's comment:
11/22/16, is when I caught the bridge coming down on EJ&E'S Whiting branch over the canal to allow the J's 659 and 10 cars go into the Whiting yard. 659 still looking and sounding great.
Joe Zeller This bridge sure does see more traffic these days. The J, the IHB and CSX trains.


Matt Lasayko provided two more photos as comments on the above posting:

Jim Griffith posted