|20160521 3284rc, view from the North|
Joe Balynas Flickr (Bridges Album)
I'm doing both railroads in the same post because you can't take a picture of one without taking a picture of the other. Also they were all built in 1912 and designed by Waddell and Harrington. (Historic Bridges)
The two bridges in the up position were NYC/Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. The bridge in the down position is one of the two PRR/Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago bridges that used to be here and is now Norfolk Southern. The "metal sculpture" on the right is the remnants of a B&O bridge. The cantilever truss in the background is the I-90 Skyway Bridge. (We will see better views of the Skyway later.)
|View from the Northeast|
You can clearly see the gap between the PRR bridge and the two NYC bridges that was created when the second PRR bridge was removed in 1965 (Historic Bridges). I still can't find why they chose to remove one of three unused bridges. And why not leave a second bridge connected to the rail system so that they can do repairs on the first bridge without shutting down a major rail corridor? Even though all of the steel mills are gone and the river is no longer used for iron ore, it still sees at least big Laker Boats for grain.
Obviously, they smoke their fish themselves. They did a very brisk business the entire time I was there. Of course, it was the first weekend in May with decent weather, which is why I was out also.
I got gutsy and did a little trespassing up an access road. Now that I see the bridges are obscured by power poles and a little tree, the next time I visit this area, I'm going to get gutsier and go up to where the road curves. That would be the old B&O RoW. But this is a good view of the Skyway and the gap caused by the removed PRR bridge.
J Robert Burger posted a view from the Skyway and from the East.
|Patrick McDonnel commented on the Skyway posting|
Should say it's not mine. Photographer is @MonkOne on Instagram. He's a Chicago Urbexer
[This is the inside of the building on top of the lift span.]
|Gabe Argenta's comment on the Skyway posting still shows the Falstaff brewery. Update: this is not the Falstaff brewery. That was further east. I'm still trying to find the name for this facility.|
|Joe Usselman posted|
A pair of former Conrail dash 8's lead a train onto the BRC at Rock Island Junction in 2010.
|Scott Griffith posted|
[Looking East. You can also see the B&OCT Bridge on the left and the Skyway on the right.]
|Steven J. Brown posted|
The Amtrak Broadway Limited rolls through South Chicago with AB, AB sets of "E's"! 427 was built in 1955 as UP 953.
[I commented that I was surprised the second Penn bridge had already been taken down by 1977.]
Terry Falduto Taken down in the mid-1960s I think
[When Steven posted it again, I noticed that the B&O Bridge has yet to be hit by the boat.]
|Christine Douglas posted|
The ATB Tug G. L. Ostrander/Barge Integrity outbound on the Calumet River in the Port of Chicago 28 May 2017 heading to Alpena, MI
|Rod Truszkowski posted|
Ted Gregory Awesome pics Rod! when did they tear out the 4th drawbridge at today's CP 509? hardly ever see a pic with all 4 bridges...
Rod Truszkowski Back when NYC and PRR merged as they were tearing one down it fell into river block boat traffic and killed a few men
[Note the bridge tower. I can tell by the B&O Strauss bascule bridge on the right that we are looking at the east side. ]
|Dennis DeBruler commented on Rod's posting|
The gasometer that we see to the left of the bridges is looking pretty full.
PRR and NYC bridges over the Calumet River, Feb 18 1974, looking northwest. Tower controlling the PRR bridge was known as River Branch. Shortly after the PC merger in 1968 the NYC bridge was closed and put in the raised position, where it remains to this day. The PRR bridge continued in service through Conrail and now NS. B&O had a parallel bascule bridge to the right, which was rammed and partially destroyed by a lake boat some time in the 1980s.David Vondra Robert Daly I am a B&B Supervisor for NS. That’s one of my bridges
Robert Daly Does NS have any plans for the old NYC bridge?
David Vondra Robert Daly Man it would help. Amtrak now and again pops up but for now no.
David Vondra Amtrak owns the first bridge and I believe Conrail owns the northern bridge.
David Vondra Dennis DeBruler I try to imagine 10 main lines running through this area and it blows my mind.
Dennis DeBruler David Vondra two passenger and two freight tracks for PRR and NYC plus 2 for B&O. I wonder how fast the Broadway Limited and 20th Century traveled over these bridges. I read the 20th Century did track pans around Chsterton at track speed and the track speed was 85mph. What is today's speed limit for this bridge?
David Vondra Dennis DeBruler 30 mph. Both freight and passenger. If the track profile is not up to snuff the structure takes a beating. I believe back in the day though the steam would run by at track speed. When I’m out there it’s hard to imagine the famous people that have gone over these bridges
David Vondra Bob Lalich I can’t even imagine....70 mph
Dennis DeBruler David Vondra How close to operational is the Amtrak/NYC bridge? For example, does it have all of its copper? I've heard stories of an Amtrak train needing five hours to get from Elkhart to Union Station.
David Vondra There’s nothing left as far as electrical is concerned, plus they were DC when pinned up so all would have to be new.
As far as the Amtrak an hour an a half is about normal provided traffic keeps moving.
Dennis DeBruler At least the Metra/Rock Island overpass removed one of the traffic conflict issues.
David Vondra Dennis DeBruler The BRC connection at 509 kills me. Very difficult to get track two for maintenance. But the Metra flyover was huge.
Dennis DeBruler shared Robert's posting
Bob Lalich PRR began dismantling bridge #1 in 1965. There was a terrible accident resulting in the death of two men, I believe. The remaining portion of the bridge stood for nearly three years until final demolition in 1968.
Jon Roma I heard about Amtrak owning one of them, and heard the story but forgot the details. I think it was some sort of deal to get additional capacity west of CP 482 (Porter). I'm sure after being derelict this long, the copper would still be scrapped and renewed in kind even if it hadn't been stolen. No matter what, it's going to take a lot of work for bridge out of service for 50 years to be restored to service, assuming that ever happens!
Chuck Kulesa I have no info of ATK owning any of the lift bridges over the Calumet ...
Dennis DeBrulerYou and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. If you click the link above, you will find a couple comments by David Vondra: 1) "I am a B&B Supervisor for NS. That’s one of my bridges" 2) "Amtrak owns the first bridge and I believe Conrail owns the northern bridge"
Chuck Kulesa I worked ATK for 40 years in the engineering dept and this is the first I heard of ATK owning the Calumet bridge ...
|Bob Lalich commented on a posting|
|Bob Lalich commented on a posting|
Here is a table of speed restrictions for the PRR in 1949. Unless I missed a note elsewhere in the ETT, passenger trains were allowed 70 mph over the bridge that was removed in the 1960s.
|Paul Petraitis shared|
[From left to right: remnants of the B&OCT bridge, two NYC bridges, one Pennsy bridge, and the Skyway. State Line Generating plant is in the background.]
|Joe Usselman posted|
If you're wondering why a boat is on here hold on! Not only has it just tied up the busy NS Chicago line (one of the bridges in the backgound), its also is about to cross the now
EJ&E bridge 710 (now locked in place in the up position) on Chicagos south side. Another fun fact is the name of this pretty new freighter is the Algoma Innovator which is owned by Algoma Central! The same that once ran trains until it was taken over by the WC and now CN.
[You can see the lift span between the end of the unloader and the boat's superstructure. For a relatively new ship, the sides are scraped up pretty badly.]
|Dan Sheehan posted|
View from the top. Taken from the Chicago Skyway looking down on the Calumet River.
Vincent Espinosa There is/were stairs to the very top of these train bridges. As kids we climbed to the top, searched around the control houses and climbed around the metal catwalks. We were able to see clear to the Sears tower from above the clouds.Vincent Espinosa I remember also climbing around those cement supports underneath. I can't remember if there were stairs/ladders going down there or if we just monkied our ways down there. Growing up around these old structures offered weeks of exploring during the summertime.William Bork My Dad used to walk across these bridges back in the 1920’s as a short cut to get the Bowen HS. Crazy!
|David Daruszka commented on a posting|
Dennis DeBruler That is back when all four lift bridges still existed. The near (south) two were Pennsy and the far two were NYC. Also, you can see the span for the B&O bridge in the background is at about a 45-degree angle.And the Skyway has not yet been built.
|Joe Usselman posted|
A BRC bound manifest approaches Rock Island junction in 2010 at Chicago.
|Thomas Manz posted|
My interest in the Milwaukee area has led to trading away many of my own Chicago area photos. Here's one of the survivors. Penn Central @ Calumet River 1973.
Dennis DeBruler I don't remember seeing a photo of this former Pennsy bridge that caught a view of the control tower. (The two former NYC bridges are to the right out of the frame.)
Lawrence Smith agree - 1st time ever seen the control tower. Was it for PRR only?
Dennis DeBruler I'm guessing yes because the second PRR bridge would have been in the hole on the right. If it was for both railroads, I would have expected it to have been centered among the four bridges, not just the two PRR bridges.
Bob Lalich The tower above controlled PRR's River Branch Jct. NYC had their own substantial brick tower and maintainer's shed located on the east bank of the river between the NYC and B&O tracks. It is still there.
[Note that he caught a view of the control tower. Rod Truszkowski commented that the silos are Garvey Grain. There was a Garvey Grain in the northwest quadrant. Did they also have this facility in the southeast quadrant? (Update: Per the following post, this was the Norris Grain Elevator.)]
|Michael Mora posted|
"Railroad Yards, South Chicago, Illinois," 1966, photographer David Plowden. Looking south-southeast from elevated New York Central yard/tracks near 87th and South Chicago Ave. From Burchfield-Penney Art Center website, SUNY Buffalo. Other fantastic photos by Mr. Plowden on this website of Torrence Ave Ford Plant workers and NW Indiana/South Chicago steelworkers. Click on his name at link.
Bob Lalich Michael Mora - thanks for sharing. I haven't seen this one before. The yard tracks on the left ended just south of 87th St. The telephoto lens used for the photo makes it appear to have been taken closer to the river. 1966 was before the Penn Central merger. The yard and main tracks under the nearest signal bridge were New York Central at the time.
[Both buildings of the Norris Grain Elevator are still standing.]
|David Vondra posted|
David Vondra On the right is the power house. There is still a massive generator in there. So basically that tower was New York Central. The tower in the center is The PRR tower. The generator house for the PRR bridges is on the west side and still there. When Conrail took over Penn Central they only used the bridge all the way to the left and NS still uses it. The first bridge on the left was the first one built, basically a prototype. You could really get some cool pics. And no one should bother you as long as you stay away from the live tracks on my bridge.
|David Vondra commented on his post|
[The NYC control tower described by Bob's comment above.]
|Joseph Kelly Thompson Flicker 2019 Photo|
BNSF 9606 @ Chicago, Illinois
Tony Margis posted three photos with the comment:
Photo's by Joseph Kayne, Wide Range Galleries
A closeup of the tops of two of the bridges.
Arturo Gross posted a 1998 Art Gross Flickr photo with the comment: "Conrail C40-8W 6077 leads an eastbound off the BRC across the Calumet River bridge on Chicago's southeast side Aug 1998." The photo includes a signalling bridge over the four track mainline that uses Pennsy's Position Light signal heads. The angle is shallow enough for the left two heads that you can see they use the "red eye."
Mark Bilecki Sr. Nice shot, just north of Colhour yard in Hammond
Steven W Panek CP 509 to be exact
Art Gross Flickr 2017 Photo with BNSF locos pulling an e/b coal train.
Art Gross Flickr 1995 Photo shot from under the skyway.
John Smatlak Flickr 1986 Photo from the same vantage point but with a scrap yard in operation.
Art Gross Flickr 1996 Photo shot from a distance "upstream." Includes the mystery grain elevator.
Art Gross Flickr 2014 Photo shot from S. Ewing Ave
Ted Gregory posted a photo of a ship going under the raised bridges.
Rod Truszkowski I was csl until 96 then crl till I retired 4 years ago. The bridge and track was to be sold to the csl the president of the csl was hemming and hawing that night the bridge was raised to let a boat thru somehow it wasn't raised high enough and the boats bridge caught the b&o bridge. The story was because the bridge tenders were going to loose their jobs they may have been a little miffed. The bottom line is the csl was paying only 500,000 for the bridge it was insured for 2,000,000. Someone screwed up on that one .
Rod Truszkowski Now if you noticed one of the spans for the PRR is missing. They were going to remove 3 spans across the river in the 50's. During the removal of the first one it collapsed blocking boat traffic for some time. Also men were killed and injured so they said raise the other to and left them that way.
Dennis DeBruler I would also guess that they are all owned by NS. Conrail went from 8 tracks to 2. Now taxpayers are being asked to add back a third in Indiana and west of Grand Crossing.
Ted Gregory They already have. Triple track and new interlockings added from around Chesterton to the IL state line. Clark Rd Crossing now has 3 NS mains in addition to all the CSX and CN tracks
Dennis DeBruler Rod Truszkowski, I had to wait until I got back to my maps to check a detail. I read a Facebook comment that the freight cars were split according to the reporting mark on them. If I remember correctly, NS got the NYC cars and CSX got the Pennsy cars. But the routes were not split according to former NYC vs. Pennsy ownership. For example, CSX got the NYC water level route (Lake Shore & Michigan Southern) east of Cleveland, but NS got it to the west. This is because NS's NKP parallels the NYC east of Cleveland. Then, as Ted mentioned, NS switched from NYC to Pennsy just after it entered Illinois. NS got the Pennsy's main east of Crestline, OH, but CSX got it west of Crestline. CSX then dumped their part on the new Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern. When I studied the history of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, & Chicago, I noticed that Crestline was a boundary between two railroads: Ohio & Pennsylvania and Ohio & Indiana. (The Fort Wayne & Chicago was the third railroad chartered to make a connection between Pittsburgh and Chicago.) It is interesting how corporations charted in the mid 1800s helped determine the segments that got split between NS and CSX. http://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../prrs-pittsburgh...
A Flickr 1995 Photo taken from the top of a tower (source)
Dennis DeBruler You can see grass on the roof of the Norris Grain Elevator and the arc of one of the sheaves.