Monday, February 29, 2016

NYC's+Big4's Egyptian Line

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The Egyption Line was a nickname for the Danville and Indiana Harbor Railroad (D&IHR) part of the Kankakee Belt Route and the Big Four route between Danville, IL and Cairo, IL. Of course, after NYC gained control of the Big Four, so this entire route became a NYC route. As with many other railroads between the Chicago area and southern Illinois and Indiana, this north/south line was motivated by accessing coal mines. And because so many routes were built to the south to high-sulfur coal, a lot of it is now abandoned. Thus a picture of abandoned track is appropriate.

The Cairo & Vincennes (C&V) (Bart Hileman comment)  was built between 1870-74. Paris & Danville Railroad was chartered March 23, 1869. Operations over that line began in September, 1872. Danville and Southwestern Railroad extended the line to Robinson in August, 1875; and to the Ohio and Mississippi (O&M) Railway Junction in May, 1876. An 1876 map indicates the O&M was the route between Vincennes and St. Louis that eventually became a part of the B&O. That is the route that CSX severed in July, 2015. Using 10 miles of the O&M, it started passenger service from Danville to Vincennes in 1876. In April, 1880 it used the St. Francisville and Lawrenceville Railroad to shorten its connection with the C&V and run freight trains. It leased two miles from the Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroad (TW&W) to get from Tilton Junction to Danville. It bought the Paris and Danville in 1881. (Wikipedia and Annual Report, Volume 11, p. 99) By 1898 the whole route between Danville and Cairo was owned by the Big Four; the O&M was part of the B&O; and the TW&W was a mainlijne of the Wabash. The D&IHR is conspicuously missing because it was not built until 1905. (1898 Map)

The Southern Railroad bought the segment from Cairo to Mount Carmel  (AbandonedRails) because it had an east/west mainline through Mount Carmel. NYC retained access to Keensburg because of the Wabash Mine just east of it. Norfolk Southern abandoned everything except the shared route to Keensburg and the Wabash Mine. But by 2005 the track to the mine had also been abandoned. Now the only segment left is a small yard southwest of Mount Vernon and the branch that crosses the Wabash River to serve the Gibson Generating Plant.

The segment from St. Francisville and Vincennes was abandoned by Big Four. Probably because of the expense of maintaining a bridge across the Wabash. The segment between St. Francisville and Lawrenceville was abandoned by Penn Central. The segment from Lawrenceville to Oliver or Mirth (the SPV Map is ambiguous about the identity between those two towns) was acquired by Prairie Central Railroad (PACY). Conrail abandoned the segment between Mirth and Paris. CSX operates the segment between Paris and Danville. (Once again, we see that the original charters helped determine how Conrail got split between NS and CSX or abandoned.) Conrail abandoned the segment between Danville and Stewart. Conrail abandoned the track between Danville and Schneider, IN except for two segments bought by KB&S.

This is one of four from Bill's posting
Update: Bill Edrington's posting has more information than I can absorb right now because it has a lot of interesting comments including coal mines in the area. One tidbit of note is that it referred to the branch that left the Egyptian line at Mt. Carmel to go to Evansville as the EM&N Branch.

Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern Railroad

I do not like driving I-65 north of Lafayette, IN. I generally take I-57 down to US-52, and then take US-52 to Lafayette. It wasn't until I saw this line of their covered hoppers being stored along US-52 in Indiana that I realized a railroad paralleled it. I guess I generally do a good job of keeping my eyes on the road because I was not aware there was a paralleling railroad until I saw those cars.

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Looking at a railroad atlas when I got back home, it was part of the Big Four route between Kankakee, IL and Indianapolis, IN. (In Kankakee, the Big Four joined the Illinois Central route for access into Chicago. It also had a route from Kankakee to Seneca.) The segment between Lafayette and Kankakee is now part of KB&S.

I stopped in the driveway of their headquarters to take some pictures. Its traffic is mostly agricultural products --- grain out of towns and fertilizer into towns. It handles over 6,000 carloads a year. (IlliniRail)
Large Map from System Map
As you can see from the windshield, it was a rainy day so I didn't get out of the car. And I wanted to minimize the distance that I got onto their property.




The railroad in the background is also theirs. It was the Milwaukee Road/Chicago, Terre Haute & Southeastern Railway (CTHSE). As you can see from their map, it now runs only between Danville and Hooper, IL. But a Google search can't find Hooper. Their road map shows it going north of County Road 3200N. But the satellite view does not show any tracks crossing that road. Following a satellite image from Iroquois junction north, it goes far enough to serve Loy Farms and Donovan Farmers Co-Op if you use the road view.
Satellite
This segment is also used for car storage, which can be a major source of income for short lines during recessions. I included just a small part of the "white car" cut in the excerpted satellite image. I think they may be (fracing) sand cars. The brown ones look like gondolas. There was a cut of covered hopper cars up by the grain elevators without an engine. (Update: I found this comment in a Rock Island group postingScott Thomas Storage fees can vary from 50 cents a wheelset per day, and up. So a buck a day per car.)

The segment between Templeton and Cheneyville was NS/NW/NKP/Lake Erie and Western. It looks like LE&W and Big Four shared the track between Templeton and Lafayette. The two little segments Sheff-Free and Handy-Stewart are remnants of the Egyptian Line.

This railroad has been on my "to write" list for several months. The following posting provided the needed motivation.

Gabe Argenta posted
EJ&E cab turned KB&S

Update: Mark Hinsdale posted three pictures of the KB&S. His comment:
The Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern Railroad was created in 1977 to operate 30 odd miles of ex Penn Central trackage between Sheldon and Kankakee IL not wanted by Conrail. From those humble beginnings, the company steadily grew to over 155 miles of ex Penn Central, Norfolk & Western and Milwaukee Road routes in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. Today, KB&S is a friendly, modern, service oriented railroad that is quite interesting to watch and follow. I took advantage of yesterday's sunshine to do just that. 
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Roger Durfee posted
WCW...Old Kankakee Beaverville and Southern cabin car near Iroquois, Ill.

Scott Brons commented
Same location
Satellite
I need to find this location. It is not at their headquarters because there are no silos there. It looks like it may be on an extra siding by the grain elevator in Iroquois
Derrick Higgins posted
From Last Friday March 11th NS Eastbound Local D93-11 on the KBS SIDE OF THE Wabash River in West Lafayette, Indiana Heading back to Lafayette South Yard on the Frankfort District at the Wabash Heritage Trail near Wabash Landing on Tapawingo Drive in West Lafayette.
Facebook pictures of nine cars in storage that blew over in the mid-1980s.

Mike Wyatt posted
Kankakee Beaverville & Southern 301. Kankakee, Illinois. Summer 1993. Ex NKP 569 built 3/58.
Dave Honan
This rather complex bridge is just north of the KBSR's diesel shop in Iroquois, IL. Looking to the south, there's a two-span deck girder, a wooden trestle, a through truss with deck girder approach spans, and finally another wooden trestle (the middle of the last three piers supported an old, no-longer-existing span). (October 06, 2001)
The bridge catches a lot of people's eye:
Mike Kasrich posted
[Mike estimates it was taken in 1999.]


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Man vs. Nature (Mud)

Video
I just skimmed the video. It was this thumbnail for the video that blew my mind. You would think that even a teenager would have enough sense to put it in reverse and get out if the field is soft enough to allow this. Or at least quit spinning the wheels and digging himself this deep. I've never seen a tractor over half the way down into the mud. I don't think they are just going to pull that out.

Soil doesn't even have to be muddy before wet soil impacts transportation.

A screenshot from the video.
Update: a video showing several examples of why you need to wait for the fields to dry out before you drive onto them. It also illustrates why they invented four-wheel drive and then quad-track. But you still need to stay out of wet fields. Mud just fills up the treads and is an excellent lubricant. Although a quad-track was able to pull a 5-bottom, reversible plow through some "soup." Pulling a completely sunken tractor out of a "pond." A contest to see if you can drive a combine into and then out of mud?

Pere Marquette's Tracy Yard

David Daruszka posted
David's comment:
Tracy Yard? Anyone have any more information about this? I remember this area when I did transfer work to Barr Yard and wondered why the area adjacent east of the tracks was so wide.
I commented that it was gone by 1938. Tracy Street is now 103rd Street.

ILHAP
Bob Lalich Tracy Yard was the original Chicago freight terminal for the PM. In 1924, PM became an owner of the BRC. Prior to BRC acquiring the Chicago Union Transfer Ry and Clearing Yard, Rockwell St Yard had been the BRC's main freight yard. Rockwell St became surplus once Clearing was acquired and expanded and was leased to the PM. Beginning with their entry into the Chicago area in 1903, PM freight trains originally used the Chicago & Calumet Terminal RR (which was reorganized into B&OCT in 1910) from Pine Jct to reach Tracy Yard. Prior to 1903, the C&CT ended at Clarke Jct. C&CT was extended to Pine to make the connection to the LS&MS for PM trains. I presume that the original connection allowed direct westward movement off the LS&MS to the C&CT, and would have had to cross the B&O line to Chicago. A new interlocking was established at Pine in 1912 which did not allow for a direct westward move off the LS&MS to the B&OCT. It is unclear if PM trains had to make a saw move, or if they used a different routing to reach Tracy Yard in the time period from 1912 to 1924. I would be very interested if anyone knows more about the routing of PM trains in this time frame. This diagram illustrates the arrangement at Pine after 1912.


Part of Bob's comment
Crew Heimer See page 147 (also 81-82) of this doctoral thesis of 1918/1919. Says the freights were presently using B&OCT to Tracy. Thanks for all the other new info that I had never seen! Also - when they extended to Porter, PM was dealing with USS in several areas (joint steamship line with the B&LE) and may have been seeking a connection with the EJE. And early 1900's the pirates that took over the PM had it buy the CC&L (later to become part of the C&O) providing another entrance into Chicago. And the CTT was so congested that for awhile PM passenger trains used the Fort Wayne (PRR) from Pine (perhaps they meant Clarke Jct.) to 16th Street. Crazy stuff.


Update:
Bill Molony posted
Chesapeake & Ohio GE U25B #2508 leading an eastbound Pere Marquette District freight at State Line Tower in 1965.
[There is a lot of information about operations in the comments.]



Street and Pedestrian Tunnels under the Chicago River

Almost every picture of the Chicago River from the 1800s shows many masted ships on the river. So the swing bridges were open very often. This tied up street traffic enough that a couple of tunnels were built under the river. These tunnels allowed many people to escape the 1871 fire because the swing bridges were made of wood and quickly burned. (Chicagology)

Washington Street between Franklin and Clinton


Raymond Kunst posted
Raymond's comment:
The Washington Street Tunnel was the first traffic tunnel under the Chicago River. J.L. Lake was awarded the contract to construct the tunnel in July 1867 and its construction was completed January 1, 1869. This tunnel was 1605 feet long, from Franklin Street west to Clinton Street, and cost $517,000.
Originally built of masonry with one lane for pedestrians and 2 lanes for horse-drawn traffic, by 1884 it was leaking and had been closed. In 1888 the West Chicago Street Railroad leased the tunnel. If they repaired it and built a vehicle bridge they could use the tunnel exclusively for cable car service. Construction began in 1888 and the tunnel was reopened August 12, 1890
The reversing of the Chicago River in 1900 lowered the water level and exposed the roof of the tunnel in the riverbed. Several ships ran aground on it, damaging the roof. In 1904 the Federal government declared it a hazard to navigation, it was closed on August 19, 1906.
Washington Street Tunnel, East Entrance
Photographer: John Carbutt:
A comment notes that the buildings are wooden so the picture was taken before the 1871 fire. Scroll down in the "posted" link in the caption for some more pictures of the tunnel.

Glen Miller's comments for his posting of the above picture:
The Washington Street Tunnel beneath the Chicago River, opened 1 Jan 1869 and was the first in the U.S. built for vehicle traffic under a river. It was closed in 1906 after they reversed the Chicago River, it exposed the roof of the tunnel. After several ships ran aground, the Federal government declared it a hazard to navigation. It reopened for cable car service in 1913 after it was deepened and used till 1953.

Riley Franson posted
1951 Washington Street Bridge, looking east. You can see the east entrance to the tunnel in background.
[You can see a westbound streetcar heading into the tunnel.]
Chris La Course posted
Washington Street tunnel under the Chicago River, 1911.


LaSalle Street between Randolf and Hubbard (then Michigan) 


Chicagology
Please follow the "Chicagology" link in the caption.

Update:
Glen Miller posted
A 1908 color postcard shows the LaSalle Street tunnel after it was converted for electric street car use. The elevated train tracks that run along Lake Street are visible on the far left.
Richard Pitchford posted
LaSalle and Randolph, 1909, Chicago
Update:
VentageTribune
The south end of the LaSalle Street tunnel at Randolph Street on March 25, 1939.


A blog posting

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Trenching Machines

MWRD posted
MWRD's comment:
Historical Photo of the Week: A trench machine and workers near the intersection of Thatcher Ave and North Ave in Elmwood Park during construction of the 10,000-foot-long Elmwood Park Outfall Sewer on July 8, 1924. The sewer was completed in 1925 at a cost of $446,700 to serve parts of Chicago, Elmwood Park, Oak Park and River Forest.
(That sewer pipe strikes me as being too small to serve multiple suburbs plus parts of Chicago. They probably don't need something this big, but something between the two.)
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I remember seeing these "buckets on a chain" trench machines when I was a kid. The other design was buckets-on-a-big-wheel with a conveyor belt to the side under the top of the wheel. I wonder when they quit making these. When I noticed a Ditch Witch dealer in Florida, I stopped in to check it out. Most of what they had was horizontal drills of various sizes.
They also had some "quads" with a cable plow attachment. The bar in front would old a spool of cable. The cable would go over the cab and through the plow that would be lowered into the ground to lay the cable.
There was one quad that was equipped with a trencher on one end and an small backhoe on the other. Note that the trencher looks more like a chain saw than a series of buckets. Looking at Ditch Witch's web site, trenchers are not used for just small pipes or cables.

For bigger stuff, either a backhoe on a tractor or an excavator is generally used. After some poking around the net, I was able to find a picture of a bucket-wheel trencher.
Heavy Equipment, wheeled bucket ditch-digger
Update: This is the kind of chain ditch digger I remember seeing as a kid except they did not have a cab or plow. The pipe would have been rigid and been put into the ditch by more labor.

Screenshot from video
Screenshotwheeled bucket ditch-digger in action
Screenshot at -1:52 of Daryl Holmlund's posting
Daryl's comment:
I believe this was taken when the first diesel locomotive arrived in Dalhart during the underpass construction.
When this video of a big-bucket trencher was taken, excavators where still of the friction drums and cables design. I did see bucket trenchers working when I was a kid. Modern hydraulic excavators are so efficient and versatile, I don't see them anymore. Probably because I have not seen a big pipeline being laid. While researching pipeline construction, I saw a video that indicated that both backhoes and ditchers are used.

Screenshot

Screenshot
And this pipeline construction is using a bucket trencher.




Oshkosh Railroad Bridges

Between Fond du Lac, WI and Neenah; that is, along the west shore of Lake Winnebago, SOO/Wisconsin Central and C&NW had routes that paralleled each other. Canadian National probably got control of the WC route when SOO dumped its former WC routes after it bought a lot of the bankrupt Milwaukee Road routes. It must have bought the C&NW route from either C&NW or UP. In Oshkosh, CN sold the WC route north of the river to Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WCL) and the route south of the river to Wisconsin & Southern Railway (WSOR). As of 2005, WCL was abandoned and WSOR now terminates west of I-41. So the SOO/WC bridge became unused. And as Diane indicates, it was removed in 1999.

Tim Shanahan shared Diane Perron Nelson's photo
Diane's comment:
1999 . Oshkosh , Wisc. SOO Line railroad swing bridge was put out of service & removed .
It looks like the steel girder spans to the swing span have now been repurposed as a heavy duty fishing pier.

The C&NW bridge was closer to the mouth of the river and was also a swing bridge until at least 2010. The new bridge appears in the 2013 Historical Aerials photo. Google Maps uses a picture of this old bridge as the "signature picture" for the town, which I copied below.
Google Photo, Jessie, cropped, Aug 2008
Bird's Eye View
With Bing, if you zoom in with the Bird's Eye mode, you see the old bridge.
Zoomed Out
As you zoom out, it switches to an aerial view and you see the newer bridge.

Diane's comment concerning the photo below: "2013 . Oshkosh , Wisc. 1st train over the new train bridge . Sooo many in Oshkosh miss our 1899 rail bridge ."
Diane Perron Nelson posted
A Google Photo makes it easy to confirm that it is a Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge. I wonder how far down they had to go when building the foundation to hit bedrock because this design requires a very stable foundation.

Google Photo

Tim Shanahan shared Diane Perron Nelson's photo
1966 . Oshkosh , Wisc. Main St. Rail Bridge . Now gone .
[The rail would have been an electric interurban route.]
Tim Shanahan shared Diane Perron Nelson's photo
1984 . Oshkosh , Wisc. SOO Line traveling Northbound over the Fox River . Bridge now gone .
Update:
3D Satellite
Keith Pokorny posted
CN 2839 leads a Southbound manifest over the new lift bridge over the Fox River in Oshkosh, WI. 10/10/2016