Sunday, March 13, 2016

Porter Junction: PO Tower: NYC/LS&MS vs. Amtrack/NYC/MC+CSX/NYC/MC+C&O/PM

Satellite plus Paint
(CRJ, Satellite, Track Diagram and Photo)
(Update: Mark Hinsdale labeled this as "PO" Tower. Kalamazoo collection was my source for "BO". Some comments also refer to it as PO. So I have changed the title.)
NorthAmericanInterlockings(PO) photo photo photo photo photo photo 
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for more information)

In Railroad Crossing War, I learned that Michigan Central and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern were some of the first railroads built towards Chicago, and they were fierce competitors. They crossed each other in Porter, IN. I added a red line to show how Michigan Central used to run through the crossing. The east/west route is the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern. Both of these routes were later purchased by the NYC. MC passenger trains were then diverted over the northern connector to take LS&MS route into Chicago to the LaSalle Street Station. MC used IC's Central Station when they were still independent.

Note the roof in the background of Mark's picture below. That is probably the Porter Junction Tower. The train would have taken the southern connecting track in the satellite photo.

Mark Hinsdale posted
Mark's comment:
A brace of Penn Central F's now working for Conrail brring a westbound merchandise train off the "Main Line Buffalo to Chicago" and onto the ex Michigan Central route, known by PC as the "Ivanhoe Branch" at Porter IN. The train will follow the ex MC and Indiana Harbor Belt path across south suburban Chicago. September, 1976 photo by Mark Hinsdale.
When Conrail was split, Norfolk Southern (NS) got the LS&MS. CSX got the MC south of this junction. Amtrak got MC north of this junction. CSX already had C&O/Pere Marquette, which is the track leaving the satellite photo at right-center. Note the position of the turnouts on the NS tracks. A CSX train arriving on the PM tracks cannot continue on the CSX/MC tracks, it has to use NS.

Update: just a couple of hours after I click Publish, I came across some more Porter Junction postings.

Joe Zeller posted with the comment "These are the only 2 Conrail shots I took in Porter. It's still a decent hang out even today. This was a beautiful Saturday afternoon back the fall of 1988."


Joe Zeller posted
Back in the fall of 1988, when I first discovered Porter Junction, I was amazed at all the different colors of power you could see. This UP train had 3 other engines with it from the C&NW, coming off the CSX's porter branch. West bound.
I don't know if the link will remain permanent, but it is to a copyrighted 1981 photo of the C&O 614 steam locomotive in about the same track position as the UP engines. But it is in a closed group, so this could be a bummer.

Joe Zeller posted with the comment: "Porter Junction, 1988. One west bound and another east bound. A great hot spot back then."


Joseph Stachler posted
More scans courtesy of the Westchester Township History Museum.
Joseph Stachler posted
More scans courtesy of the Westchester Township History Museum.
Wayne Hudak posted
April 1985 finds a Detroit-Chicago Amtrak train coming off the former Michigan Central at Porter Indiana. Within a week or 2, Porter Tower would be gone.
Bill Kalkman posted
Porter Tower as it looked in service under the Conrail flag. 10:30AM on 7/11/81 in Porter, IN.
Wayne Hudak posted
A fairly new set of Conrail SD50's eastbound at Porter Junction, Indiana. Track in center foreground is the connection to the Amtrak owned line to Kalamazoo Michigan on the old Michigan Central. Look at the photo that heads this page [see below], which is Porter Junction looking west and dates to about 1906... the train in this pic was just left of the tower.
I saved the source photo for the Cover Photo since they sometimes get changed.
Cover Photo for Facebook Railroad History Group
Carl Venzke posted an uncropped version of the photo
Porter IN, LSMS crosses the MC
Peter Dudley I believe this view looks eastward, along the Lake Shore.
[Both the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern and the Michigan Central were acquired by NYC.]

Wayne Hudak posted
End of the line at Porter Junction, Porter Indiana in April 1985. In short order, the tower and the cabooses would be gone.Joseph Stachler One thing I'd like to do...soon, before it's torn see the switch 
tower in Kalamazoo, which is practically identical to Porter's.
Wayne Hudak posted
Don't remember if I posted this here before, it was requested. 
Porter Tower (Indiana) train order signals. Wished I had grabbed those when the tower was scheduled for demolition. A well known railroad author removed the "PORTER" sign off the tower.... I saw him do it.... LOL
Wayne Hudak posted four more pictures. I'm glad he captured the interlocking mechanisms on the first floor. Most interior shots are just the lever-and-people second floor.

Wayne Hudak Demolished April 1985. All my photos were taken a week before.

John Eagan The model board was saved and is on display at the Monon Connection.


Jon Roma Beautiful Style "A" interlocking machine.


Mark Hinsdale posted
Three Things of Interest...
Admittedly, this is a poor quality photograph. Softly focused, taken on a terribly hazy, hot August evening, it leaves a lot to be desired. But I thought some of you might be interested in 1) the SDP40F powered eastbound "Lake Shore Limited;" 2) the decent view of Porter "PO" Tower, continusouly attended and fully operational, and; 3) the operator's lemon custard yellow AMC Gremlin! August, 1977 photo by Mark Hinsdale
Deborah Laird Lamir 4) the locomotive is smiling.
Sam Carlson That "smile" is the chain designed to trip you when you try to exit the locomotive via that door. It works pretty good, too. You'll quickly learn to exit the cab on the right or left after trying to exit the front door and getting a face plant on the ballast!
Jim Potyraj
Skip Burch posted
EJ&E road & rail blue print. Porter Indiana.
Matt Lasayko posted a request for a drawing older than 1858.
Kevin A Heggi commented on Matt's posting
[The model board]
Second photo posted by Mark Hinsdale
Amtrak's RTG "Turboliners," built by the French firm ANF, were initially placed in service between Chicago and St. Louis in the fall of 1973. Their success prompted Amtrak to acquire more Turboliner equipment for use in its Chicago to Milwaukee and Chicago-Detroit corridors. Ultimately, the fixed nature of the trainsets contributed to their demise, as demand outstripped supply on Amtrak's Chicago hub routes. They were withdrawn from service in 1981. When one of these passed at trackside, they sounded a bit like a jet engine, and left a distinct kerosene-like scent in the air. Here are some views. Photos by Mark Hinsdale
Wayne Hudak commented on Marks photo
stood in that same spot
Seth Lakin posted
Group I’m looking for a list and photos of Michigan Central interlocking towers that were built to the same general design as BO Tower in Kalamazoo Michigan an PO Tower in Porter Indiana. I know of 10th St, Michigan City, Indiana and Tower 1 in Kalamazoo that follow this design. Anyone know of others? These photos were googled for a example of the design I’m looking for.
Charles Newton Railroad Model Craftsman magazine did an article and plans of WX Tower located in Welland Ontario, where the MC split the mainline to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and diamond-ed the CNR. The drawings and tower were MC design as shown here.
Wayne Hudak posted five photos of the junction. The comments on the first photo explain the brick company whose smokestacks are in the background.

The second photo in railroadfan is a view of the south side of the tower from a former LS&MS branch. It looks like the fifth photo is of the north side. I spotted 3 more photos of the BO Tower in his Kalamazoo collection.

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