Saturday, April 30, 2016

16th (Clark) Street Interlocking, My Pictures

Update: This posting is about my visit to this tower, I have already written the main posting for this tower.

20160416 2225
During my last visit to Ping Tom Memorial Park, I stayed on Wentworth north of 18th Street even though it was marked No Outlet because I was curious what I could see. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could go all the way north to the tracks because it is now overflow parking for the new fieldhouse and ballpark. Both of these are built on Santa Fe's former passenger engine service facilities. The back wall of the roundhouse would be along the new sidewalk in this streetview.

I walked over to a landscaped hill north the of the fieldhouse and took these three pictures to provide context.

Looking Northwest
Looking East
That is my van parked by the barricade.
Looking North
The IC tracks are in the foreground.
I used this aerial photo to confirm the land I parked on is fill of the old Santa Fe passenger facilities and Wentworth Ave. to create a parking lot for Ping Tom Pool and the baseball diamond where the Santa Fe turntable used to be.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
A closer look at the eastern view shows the edge of the connector bridge on the fill of the Santa Fe tracks on the left, the bridges over Clark Street in the middle, and the Metra interlocking tower. The Meadow Gold Butter cold storage building that has been converted to condos dominates the right side of the picture.
While walking back from the grassy area, I discovered that there is still a tie-plate stuck in the parking area.
During my visit to this area, there were several Red Line trains using the State Street Subway. To the right is a southbound train leaving the subway. Below you can see a meet in the distance and the tracks descending into the subway.

I went back to the grassy area north of the field house to get another picture of the St. Charles Air Line (closed position) and B&OCT (open position) bridges because this is a view I have never seen before. The tracks in the foreground are for the IC. The walkway on the other side of the tracks is part of the Ping Tom Memorial Park. This confirms they have filled the C&WI track area as well as the Santa Fe tracks along the IC embankment.


10:47:52
While I was taking this picture, I heard the sound of a diesel. I turned toward the east and grabbed this picture. Then I ran north towards the barriers so that I could shoot around the tree. The train seemed to be moving fast. (But I can't swear to it because I was busy running rather than watching the train.)  I wonder if the diamonds are OWLS because I did not hear any "banging of the diamonds." Trains on the SCAL, including the Amtrak trains, would have to go slow anyhow because they cross the movable bridge over the river and do a sharp turn south on the east end.

I was able to get a shot of the engine by the tower that was not skunked by the trees, barely. I rotated, cropped, and darkened this picture to update the initial posting. After I moved further around the tree, I took another shot because it was a long commuter even though it was a Saturday.
10:48:14
I ended with a west-to-east sequence of pictures taken from as far as I could go north and still not be trespassing on railroad property.
Looking Northwest

Close up of the diamonds with IC and the remaining connector.
I commented on a posting: "I found it fascinating that they did not remove the bridges. They just filled in the track routes. I assume the first pair went over the Santa Fe tracks and the second pair went over the above C&WI route."
Bob Lalich Yes, the near set of bridges went over the ATSF coach yard leads and the far bridges went over the C&WI. Going way back, there was a track between the two bridges which belonged to the Alton/GM&O. It also passed over the ATSF on a bridge and connected to the SCAL and CRIP/NYC. That bridge was removed in the WWII.

Looking Northeast

Looking East
Update:
David Charles Lindberg posted
Circa 1976.
[I left out most of the comment because they were wrong. Since the link is to a public group, you can read the comments concerning the picture.  I include it here because these are the Santa Fe tracks that were filled in to make some of the land I was walking on to take my pictures.]
Mark Hinsdale posted
A Markham to Glenn (or Hawthorne) transfer clanks across the Rock Island main line at 16th Street, Chicago. Today, the large Beatrice Foods cold storage warehouse is full of condominiums instead of cottage cheese. 6-77



Friday, April 29, 2016

Using industrial locomotives to build the early paved roads

Steve OConnor shared
A Whitcomb locomotive made in Rochelle. Can anyone guess what it is helping to do?
Richard Mead Build US 20 ?
Steve OConnor In the post WW I era this was huge business for Whitcomb and other small industrial locomotives. Whitcomb industrial locomotives helped build the very same roads that would enable truck traffic to run them out of business a couple decades later.
Steve OConnor commented
The primitive trucks that existed in the post WW I era would not have done well on roads like these. The solution to paving roads was to lay temporary tracks along side the road and locate a temporary cement plant along the way and have these industrial locomotives haul gravel and the cement back and forth as the road progressed.
Add caption

Steve OConnor commented

Steve OConnor commented They hauled gravel for the road bed and also the concrete for the pavement.

PRR's Class S2 Turbine Locomotive

Bill Molony posted
Bill's comment:
Pennsylvania Railroad class S2 turbine drive 6-8-6 #6200, departing from Englewood Union station with PRR train #28, the eastbound Broadway Limited, circa 1947.
The 6200 was built by Baldwin in 1944, and operated between Chicago and Crestline, Ohio. Tractive effort at all speeds exceeded that of conventional steam locomotives of comparable size, weight and boiler capacity. It also exceeded the performance of a 6000 horsepower diesel above 40 miles an hour. Below 30 miles an hour, steam consumption was high; above that speed, it was far less than normal steam engines.
Frank Hicks Bob Bruneau said he recalled a number of times watching this thing pass by at Englewood. Some of the railfans nicknamed it the "volcano" because of the voluminous amount of crap that it would spew out the stack, ash and embers and stuff.
Stuart Pearson From what little I know, or have read this Locomotive when operated at Speed was a WONDER, but SLOW Speeds, and Reverse weren't economical.
Stuart Pearson Mainline High Speed operation was at 310PSI Boiler Pressure, however Slow Speed Operation would, on occasion drop Boiler Pressure as low as 85PSI, and in tuen created LOTS of HEAT in the FIREBOX that caused STAYBOLTS to POP/BREAK. It last a mere 2 years.

Mike Snow uploaded
PRR # 6200 S-2 6-8-6 sitting on the shop track
[Please follow the link because Mike has a nice commentary.]

Milk Can

Kolton Olson added
Note the milk can being used as a hitch stand. This is the type of milk can my grandfather used on his dairy farm before they switched to the pipeline and bulk tank. Kolton posted to a closed group, but I you can access the album of 30 pictures of other antique farm equipment  if you are a Facebook member.

Update: a video of a dairy back when milk was delivered with cans rather than bulk milk trucks. First they unload them. Do they weigh and sample each can or a batch of all the cans that came from one farm? The later would require some sort of marking and more careful placement in the box car of the "milk run" trains. Then you can see them putting the cans in and out of the washer. I wish someone would narrate it. I can guess what some of the equipment is. For example, I think the big round tank with a lid is a pasteurizer. I was surprised to see that a dairy would have a lathe.

Screenshot at -1.22
This shows that they do keep track of which cans came from which farm.

At 1:03 in this video, you can see someone pulling a cart with at least three milk cans getting ready to put them on the arriving train.

KeokukUnionDepot
Photographer F. J. Bandholts captured this panoramic view of the Keokuk Union Depot in 1907. The photo shows
how the Depot is situated between the Mississippi River and the bluff. Image from Library of Congress [Note the milk cans being loaded into the baggage area of the first car of the passenger train. It looks like there is a baggage cart full of cans at the corner of the depot and two horse&wagons half full of milk cans. It appears it would take longer to handle the milk cans during the train's stop at the depot than it would to unload and load passengers. There is also a baggage cart next to the tender that is full of packages. Remember, this is the era of catalog stores, not big box retail stores. They would have to carefully pack the baggage compartment in the car to hold all of those packages and cans. And this is just one stop that the train would be serving.]


Monday, April 25, 2016

47th Street Tower: C&WI vs. IHB + GTW

NorthAmericanInterlockings:  exterior      interior
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers, click the icon to get more information

Bob Lalich commented on Bill Molony's posting concerning C&WI's 47th Depot
Bob Lalich's text:
This station was located next to a very impressive interlocking plant at the junction of the GT, IHB Stockyards line, and leads from C&WI's coach yard and engine terminal. Here is a 1953 photo from the tower, which was located on the south side of 47th St. The trackwork includes a crossing through a switch!
Stan Stanovich ...Bob Lalich, I've seen this general area more days of my working life over the last 20+ years than not! The tower stood until 1999. I'm having a little bit of a problem orienting myself with this photograph! We're looking as the bird flies south here, the Stockyards line (49th line) is off to the right! To the left is the C&WI main toward 74th St and the Pennsy, completely out of sight to the left?!!!
Bob Lalich I'd say it's a bit SSW but you got it Stan Stanovich.
Phil Schmidt About when did the GTW and IHB stop using the 49st line from Elsdon? And is it still useable? I seem to remember something about it being restored by the CREATE project.
Stan Stanovich ...when I moved to Chicago in 1995 and started to work in the area as an engineer for what was then Conrail, the GTW/IHB connection just southwest of 47th St tower was basically all still in place. It appeared as if it hadn't been used in MANY years. It was all taken out in 1999 when the C&WI/Metra southwest route was relocated west of C&WI's former 51st St yard. Prior to this, the C&WI mains sat in between former PRR 55th St yard and 51st St yard. With the line relocation they became intermodal strip tracks 40 and 41 sort of effectively combining 55th St and 51st St into one yard, instead of dividing the two! It is collectively known today as the NS 47th St intermodal yard. I understand that earlier in time they were originally located where they were moved to in '99!!!

IHB stopped using the east/west route when the stockyards closed and GTW stopped using it when it quit running passenger trains to Dearborn Station via the Chicago & Western Illinois. Norfolk Southern must have bought the Metra/UP land along the Metra former C&WI mainline to expand its 47th Street Intermodal Yard.

In the upper-right corner, I noticed the long, narrow shadow on 47th Street. That is probably cast by the tower. You can also see the really long shadow over the tracks of the smokestack in the photo.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Friday, April 22, 2016

NS/NW/Wabash Bridge over Wabash River in Attica, IN

(Predecessor Bridge, no current Bridge Hunter?, no Historic Bridges, Satellite)
Jeffrey Bossaer posted
Westbound Wabash Railroad freight train on the Wabash River bridge at Attica, Indiana, 1938. Photo courtesy of the Linden Depot Museum.

Bird's Eye View

Jeffrey Bossaer posted
Wabash Railroad bridge spanning the Wabash River and Pine Creek at Attica, Indiana before 1922. Notice a little bit of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad bridge in the lower left corner of this picture.
[I did not realize the Chicago & Eastern Illinois had a branch up here. That goes on the "todo" list.]


Jeffrey Bossaer posted six photos including a couple of historic photos.

Jeffrey Bossaer posted eight photos concerning a passenger train wreck on the bridge in 1914.

New Haven Foundry

Curt Danielewicz shared Fred Dennett's photo
I was going to pass on this picture until I read some of the comments. They give some insight into railroading and heavy industry (and why we now have OSHA).

Cortera describes it as a "Gray and Ductile Iron Foundary." The building no longer exists. Judging by the list of cars received, they were shipping all of their product with trucks by 1974.

Charles Geletzke Jr. Received six gon loads of scrap, two C&O covered hoppers with molding sand, two C&O hoppers with coke (X-DC) six days a week(M-Sat), and an occasional boxcar carrying foundry additives.

Ben Planck Hey CH, remember that BIG kick CF made? It was heading to the crossing. In order to stop the car I had to go up the ladder (A) run on top of the coke to reach the hand brake.on the other end(B)! That was train No. 454 with three GP9s.

Charles Geletzke Jr. BH: Yes, I do recall that. You were just like a cat covering ___! You definitely averted disaster!

Ben Planck Sure took the wind out me. Good thing we young at the time.

Charles Geletzke Jr. That was the only location that I ever received a personal injury during my entire working career...got a piece of steel in my eye in 1968.

Dan Meinhard You should have worked in the medical clinic there and see some of the injuries due to incompetence that occurred! When I would leave work, I would take the soot ladened uniform off in my laundry room and shower all that black soot / sand off if me. That was a filthy place to work! When did rail service end? What was the track arrangement?

Plymouth Locomotives

Steve OConnor posted
A Plymouth center cab locomotive at Riverdale Acme steel mill,
South Chicago. (Photo- Dr. Raymond Boothe Collection)
Since I have described Whitcomb Locomotives, it is only fair that I describe another manufacturer of "critters" (locomotives with 300-1000 HP) --- Plymouth Locomotive Works.

Richard Mead Is this the locomotive at St Louis MOT ? I ask, because as you will notice it burns propane....not conducive to being around a furnace.

Richard Mead Fate-Root-Heath in Plymouth, OH, built this propane-electric switcher in 1936 for the Joplin-Pittsburgh shortline. The company specialised in building small industrial engines and later changed its name to the Plymouth Locomotive Works. From 1910 to the late 1970s, it produced seven thousand, five hundred locomotives.

#2003 weighs 140,000 lb, has four 110 hp Westinghouse motors and a top speed of 35 mph. It moved to the Kansas City Public Service Freight Operation as #1 at some time, who donated it to the museum in 1964.


As heavy industry left the country and those plants that were left switched from rail service to trucks, the need for plant switchers became obsolete. Those industries that did need a plant switcher could buy an old diesel engine. Or they can use a Trackmobile or road-rail vehicle by adding guide wheel attachments such as Hy-Rail. Thus the demise of traditional critter manufaturers.


MWRD: Ship Canal and Collateral Channel

While studying the C&IW bridge, I learned from Historic Bridges that the canal slip it goes over is named the Collateral Channel. To understand the Collateral Channel, we need to understand the West Fork of the South Branch of the Chicago River that existed before the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal was built. This 1916 Map shows that the West Fork still existed 16 years after the CSSC was opened. It is now filled in except for a "bump" in the canal with irregular sides, which was probably left as a turning basin. The straightness of the west end of the branch indicates a Ship Canal was dug to extend the waterway for more industrial development similar to the way Ogden formed Goose Island by digging the channel on the east side to create more water-served property.

1916
This 1897 Map confirms a canal was dug starting around 39th and Central. It indicates that the South Branch Dock Company relocated the South Branch when it worked with CB&Q to build an industrial park in the 1860's. The map also shows that work was done on the east end of the branch to straighten it and connect it with the main channel of the South Branch Dock Co. The 1916 map indicates the Ship Canal went West almost to Harlem Avenue.

1897
The modified West Folk was long enough that I need two aerial photos to cover what was left of it in 1938.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP, west

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP, east


The Collateral Channel was dug so that the West Fork east of the channel could be filled in making land that could be sold while allowing the industries west of it to still have use of the Ship Canal. If you zoom in on the "west" photo, you can see the Ship Canal was filled in west of Cicero Avenue. You can also see open hopper cars just east of Cicero Avenue. These would be on the C&IW.

Unfortunately, the Collateral Channel is now stagnate water that smells if there is not a wind to blow the stink away.

About six years ago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago gave serious consideration to a solution: capping the area and installing a wetlands project.
According to a 2008 public notice about the project posted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the MWRD and researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that sediment in the channel was highly contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons “at a level that is of significant concern for ecological health and human health.”
Alarming words, yet no action was taken. (SunTimes)
Patrick Engineering evidently did the 2008 wetlands study that MWRD paid for and then ignored.

The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization has offered to the MWRD to use Boy Scouts to help clean up the channel and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal itself between the Collateral Channel and Bubbly Creek. The MWRD has proposed filling up the channel with rocks and making a small park. Hopefully the rocks will be deep enough to keep the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons away from the kids playing in the park. (HispanicTimes, ChicagoRegionTreesInitiative)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

NKP's Calumet Yard, Coaling Tower, Roundhouse, Turntable

Ray Peacock posted
Ray's comment:
The NKP Berk fleet was in their prime, the photographer was ask to leave after getting this shot at Calumet Yard.
I've studied the satellite images of the Calumet Yard more than once and concluded that probably the only chance I would have to get pictures of the engine servicing facilities would be to walk across the woods on the east side. I would probably also need a stepladder. It is interesting that Google labels a building as Canadian Pacific Railway. All the railroad maps I have looked at label this yard as Norfolk Southern since they got NW, which got NKP. The west side of the yard has been converted to intermodal service, but most of the yard remains as a classification yard.

I assume the Thoroughbred Terminal was for Triple Crown Road Railer service, NS discontinued that service this past year except between Detroit and Kansas City for auto parts. And I believe they were the only railroad doing it. It looks like the Chicago tracks are now used for car storage. I checked the Bird's Eye View, which is typically eight years older, and the facility looks unused back then also. No wonder the service was terminated.

Since most industries on the South Side are gone, I checked Landers Yard (NS/NW/Wabash) as well. It has been completely converted to intermodal. I don't see anyplace for Road Railer assembly.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Update: A Flickr photo from the pit under NS 1625 in the roundhouse. Some pictures of the yard are in TrainOrders. (Info from Facebook comments on a posting.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Unknown Junction: IC vs. IN vs. C&IW

Satellite
1916
I had to find an old railroad map with enough detail to show the crossing of all three railroads --- ICwest, BNSF/Santa Fe/Illinois Northern, and CN/IC/Chicago & Illinois Western (CIW).

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
A 1938 photo shows that the CIW crossed the IN south of the the IC/IN crossing and then crossed the IC. The junction tower was in the northwest quadrant of the IC/IN crossing.

I made a copy of the satellite image because you can see a little bit of the IN track still left south of the IC tracks. Since the IN was allowed to be abandoned just a few years ago (when it still had two customers and two others who wanted the option of going back to rail service), it occurred to me that the "Bird's Eye View time machine" might still show the IN tracks. It does, but you can see by the access road built over the tracks that it was not used very often.

Bird's Eye View

Chicago and Illinois Western

Shortlines has a few maps.

Chicago has both a C&WI and a C&IW railroad. The Chicago & Western Indiana was a terminal railroad serving the Dearborn Station. The Chicago and Illinois Western Railroad (CIW) was incorporated on February 26, 1903. (Wikipedia)  It ended up being a switching railroad owned by Illinois Central and Commonwealth Edison (DonsDepot) serving industries in the southwestern Chicago area. Cicero Central Railroad now switches the Koopers chemical plant.

Doug Kaniuk posted
Doug's comment:
CN 9610 (IC) returning (heading East) from dropping off a car, crossing the Des Plaines River (just South of 47th St.) on the former C&IW line. 8-14-2014
Mark Bilecki Sr. Wow I am surprised this line is still active, I can remember when it crossed old Lawndale Ave (old 171) years back and ran along side of the ATSF to Fisher body. [Which is now the UPS Chicago Area Consolidation Hub.]

The rare Rall Bascule Bridge still exists even though it is not used.

Doug's 1908 map indicates they planned to build west from the Panhandle north of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and west of the Des Plaines River to Joliet. As the above comment and the the 1908 map indicate, they made it as far as the GM Fisher body plant. The SPV Map indicates that it crossed the IC at the IC/IN crossing (for which I cannot find a name for this junction on a few maps that I have looked at).

I was hard to find a map that was old enough that the C&IW was built, new enough that parts had not been abandoned, and detailed enough to show it crossing near the IC/IN crossing. I finally found this 1916 map. It was prepared by Pennsy, that is why the Panhandle on the eastern end of the C&IW is a red line. I don't know why the C&IW itself is shown as a dashed line.

1916
It is easy to follow the C&IW route east of the IC/IN crossing because the track still exists. But note that it is out-of-service because the turnout connecting it to the IC mainline has been removed. The overpasses for KedzieCalifornia, and 31st still exist. Note the 31st Street overpass is curved because the C&IW is turning north to join the Panhandle, which is abandoned so it is now just dirt on the west side of the Western Avenue Corridor. The bridge over a canal slip also still exists.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Because C&IW was south of the IC along the Crawford Generating Plant, it used to have the spurs that served the coal storage yard. It looks like there is a spur on the east side that goes all the way to the canal to handle the coal unloaded from barges. It is interesting that back then the Crawford Generating Plant had four units of the same size. I'm glad to see that there is very little soot in the smoke. That is, the smoke is white instead of black.

Looking at a satellite image of Pulaski Road, I assume the top two crossings are the original IC tracks and the bottom crossing was the C&IW. It is interesting that CN evidently upgraded all three crossing with modern rubber crossings and maintains crossing gates for the old C&IW track even though just a little bit east CN has removed the turnout connecting it to the mainline. This severed connection makes the maintenance of the crossing gates rather silly.

1916
I zoom in on Hawthorn Junction in the map so that you can see where the C&WI went through the junction because there are no land scars left for this route. The map also shows that a spur runs north from the C&IW tracks to connect to Manufacturers' Junction. That connection is now the C&IW's connection to the outside world. The C&IW has track past Koopers chemical plant, past a connection with the tracks that serve the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, over the Des Plaines River, past another industrial spur, past an industrial spur that is actually still being used, until it ends.

Update: It had the nickname "Wobbly." (HotTimes)

Bill Molony posted
This map of the Chicago & Illinois Western Railroad is from the February 1950 edition of the Official Guide.
Nick Hart posted
After dumping in the fields of Summit, the Sanitary District of Chicago leads 13 cars under the former C&IW (now a CN branch line) in Forest View, bound for the plant in Stickney.
May 12th, 2017


While researching Chicago & Illinois Western I found the following links that I save for future research: