Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Roosevelt (12th) Street Bridge

Birds-Eye View
(Bridge Hunter Historic Bridges)
John B Copleston posted
12th Street Viaduct
MWRD posted
The South Branch of the Chicago River at the 12th Street Bridge on July 29, 1920, viewed looking southwest from just north of 12th Street (now Roosevelt Rd) on the east side of the river.
Dennis DeBruler It also shows the roofwalks and high handbrakes on boxcars on tracks that are long gone.

Nuclear Waste Casks

I remember when they were crash testing casks to make sure they would remain intact and contain the waste in case of an accident. I assume they have now been tested to withstand terrorist bombing as well. But the government decided the safety of a few people far away from waste buried inside a mountain is worth more than the safety of the many people that live near the waste currently stored at nuclear power plants. So I don't think the casks have had much use.
John W. Coke posted
Lockwood Brothers Inc moving casks for nuclear waste.
John W. Coke posted three pictures of a cask and its special DODX freight car.



CB&Q Bridge over Rock River, West Channel in Oregon, IL

(Bridge Hunter, Streetview)


Michael Wayne Sitter posted
A westbound intermodal crossing the Rock River at Oregon, IL in the spring of 1989. Miss those tiger stripes! -Michael W. Sitter
Brian Rackley posted
BN 3110 leads westbound train 3 across the Rock River and into Oregon, Illinois 9/24/89
Davis Shroomberg Flickr 2015 Photo: "The bridge was built in 1892 and sees heavy traffic as part of BNSF's Aurora Sub."

95th Street Bridge over Calumet River

20160504,21 3290
(Bridge Hunter, Bridge Hunter Old, Historic Bridges, Streetview (with a big boat))

Bridge Hunter has a picture from Blues Brothers of the car jumping the gap with the bridge opening.

Chicago Loop Bridges posted a link and photo about the 95th Street Bridge with the comment "June 27 marks 58 years for the current bridge crossing the Calumet River at 95th St." That is a good motivator to sort through my pictures of the bridge.

Notice that just the first member of the truss is built with lattice work. The other members look like just I-beams fabricated with plate steel and angle irons.

Because there were boats leaving Crowley's Yacht Yard and milling around waiting for the bridge to go up and because I had seen a car parked at the bridge tender house, I knew the bridge was going to go up eventually. So I had time to set up the camera on a tripod and take a video of bridge going up and down to let three sailboats go to the lake. Since I had it on a tripod, I let it run from gates down to gates up. Do pay attention to the comment on Youtube about turning the volume way down.

Below is a picture from Ewing Avenue Bridge. 95th Street bridge is in the foreground on the right.

I used the magic of digital camera resolution to zoom in on the bridge.

Below is an experiment using Gimp to increase the brightness and contrast by +40 each. It is still hard to see the truss work under the deck.

I took this picture because I was trying to figure out why they added weights near the end of the leaves. It must be hard to remove some weight from the counterweights and they did a change that made the leaves lighter. Was the change new lighting? I wonder what those brackets with a hole at the end used to hold.

Even though this 1958 bridge is rather modern by Chicago bridge standards, it doesn't have a nicely rounded upper chord. But it does have plenty of rivets.
The "hills and dales" in the walkway were a little unnerving along with the "wiggling" or "bouncing" of the bridge when cars passed over. I'm used to the bridges in Joliet that don't wiggle unless a big truck crosses the bridge.
The bridge tender house looks more like an aircraft control tower. The cars are parked to pick up fish from Calumet Fisheries. They did a steady business the entire time I was in the area.

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
The previous bridge was built in 1902 and is one of 10 first generation bridges. You can tell a first generation bridge because it had three truss lines, each with the rack teeth on the outside so that you can easily see them. This bridge also had the "Municipal Device" (upside down Y) in the cross bracing. Note how all of the truss members are fabricated with lattice work.

Digital zoom of above photo
Dwayne Stegner posted
The new 95th st. Bridge postcard.
Dwayne Stegner commented on a posting
David Mireles commented on his posting

C. B. Douglas posted four pictures of a laker north of 95th street with the comment:
Algoma Central's M/v Algolake arrived in the Port of Chicago early Sunday morning under a wet and foggy sky. Heading to the old Marblehead dock assisted by G-tugs Massachusetts & Florida.
Unfortunately, it is a closed group and I don't know where the old Marblehead dock is.

Flickr photo of the Cason J. Callaway boat passing under the bridge. (source) It is nice to learn that some industries along the Calumet River are still viable.

Christine Douglas posted a stern view of the Alpena, the oldest boat on the Great Lakes, with this bridge and the lift bridges in the background. Christine's comment:
The S/S Alpena inbound on the Calumet River in the Port of Chicago this morning, on her way to Lafarge Cement on Lake Calumet. In her honor.... ALL of the bridges readily opened for her all the way to Lake Calumet! Clear sailing all the way through! ... Wow!

Look at the second from last photo on this page.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Gresham Tower: Rock Island vs. Rock Island and B&OCT

(no CRJ, Satellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockingsphoto photo photo photo photo
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers

Jason Bird posted the following three photos with the comment "Rock Island Gresham tower. Retired."


The third picture had some comments. To summarize: Left: Chicago, right: Joliet, bottom: Metra's subline (Beverly district), top: South Chicago Branch. The lines up the center was the connection between the two branches. At one time the B&O used the two branches and that connection to go west to Beverly Hills where they had a track that went north to meet their B&OCT tracks up the Western Corridor.

This 1916 map shows all of the tracks mentioned on the control board at the junction. I added a yellow rectangle to highlight the junction. Today, the connector between the two branches and the yard is gone.

Not only did the connector between the branches exist in 1938, you can see streetcar tracks in Halsted. I added a red rectangle where I presume the tower was based on the long shadow at the crossing.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Looking at the left side of the third picture, the turnout on the bottom was the "Wall Track" connector to the BRC.

David Daruszka posted
Peter Zimmermann A different tower than too!
Bob Lalich Most likely there were two towers at Gresham at this time, shortly after elevation.
David Daruszka commented on a posting
Gresham on the Sanborn maps
David Daruszka commented on a posting
Gresham continued
William L. Brushaber Drawing highly inaccurate, only 2 tracks across Halsted st., I have worked the Englewood job and the Bridgeworks which used Gresham yard to store cars and switch local industries.
David Daruszka The map is from the early 1900's.
Bob Lalich commented on a posting
FWIW, the 1915 smoke abatement book maps show three CRIP tracks crossing Halsted.

Richard Mead posted
David DaruszkaDavid is an administrator in this group. Gresham Junction where the Beverly Sub meets the mainline.
[The Alco has blacker smoke than the steam engine.]

Rock Island to BRC "Wall Track" Connection

In a quote from Train Orders in Blue Island Yard is the text:
To go to BRC the transfer crew (aka Yard crew) train would come out of Blue Island Yard and head north (timetable east) toward Gresham Tower.  Gresham would line them toward "Wall Track"  (because it went down along west side the Rock Island elevation) which went down to BRC track level at 80th St  At bottom of hill track became BRC's to Belt Jct.  When got signal at Belt Jct would head toward Clearing Yard East Sub and into east receiving yard.  Your track number would be displayed on a board at Hayford Tower.  At Belt Jct one could also go straight into Wabash Landers Yard.  Never heard of a RI crew doing that while I was there.
The railroads in Chicago were required to separate their tracks from the roads during the first part of the 20th Century. And if the railroads wanted to cross with a grade separation, that means that one of them is twice as high. As an example, let us consider the Rock Island (now Metra) going over the BRC+C&WI+Wabash (now BRC+NS) corridor at 79th Street.

79th Streetview, looking West
79th Streetvew, looking East
Birds-Eye View, looking West
Birds-Eye View, looking East

In the "birds-eye view, looking East" image you can see a vegetation covered route along the Rock Island's embankment wall on the right, across a 79th Street overpass, and along the BRC tracks. This is part of the "Wall Track" connection between Rock Island and BRC. In the "looking East streetview," you can see a narrow overpass for the connector separate from the corridor overpass behind it.

South of 81st Street (to the right), you can see where there used to be a tower back in the "arm-strong days" that controlled the turnout to the connector and crossover switches that allowed trains to get to the connector.
In fact, on the left you can see an isolated segment of track that was probably part of the connector. There is also an isolated segment on the right. I'm surprised that the illegal scrappers have yet to snarf the rails. An 81st streetview indicates that the Rock overpass was at a normal height. So the Rock climbs the height of a train overpass in just two blocks. The grade profile between Blue Island and La Salle Street Station must be a bit of a roller coaster, especially since CREATE P1 created another "double high" elevation. Note that freight trains don't use this stretch because they would have stopped south of here at Blue Island Yard. Passenger trains have more horsepower pulling them so that they can accelerate quickly after station stops. So they have enough horsepower to deal with the grades of a roller coaster.

At the 80th streetview, we can see the Rock connection is at regular height, but the Rock mainline is significantly higher because it is climbing up to the BRC overpass. And in the background we can see the corridor overpass.

At 78th Street, the connector is now part of the BRC corridor and the Rock in the background isstill high. Note on the right that we can see the end of the Rock's bridge over the corridor. At 76th Street, the Rock is still significantly elevated. I wonder why the grade on the north side is more gentle than on the south side. At 75 Street, it is still descending, and it is back to a normal height at 74th Street of just 12'8".

78th Streetview, looking East

RR Donnelley & Sons Printing

The Lakeside Press building has its own posting. Donnelley may have left Chicago, but they have not left Illinois.

I know of a RR Donnelley plant that still exists in Dwight, IL, because I passed it when I took IL-47 to Champagne instead of I-57 because my twin daughters were learning to drive. (I drove on I-55 and got off at Dwight so that they could drive IL-47 to I-74 where I drove again.) Not only is the plant a more modern one-story plant, it has rail service and the trucks don't have to deal with Chicago traffic jams on the Interstates.

Google finds three plants in St. Charles: KirkWallace, and Stern. Google is now labeling the plant in Aurora as Kellogg.  A streetview confirms that Kellogg uses it. But they still have a sign on the Eola side, so is it now a shared facility? It looks like the office in Elgin uses just the first floor. Donnelley shut down a plant in Hillside, IL in 2009. (DMN)

I could not find a history page on their web site, but I did learn their sales was $11.6 billion in 2014 and that they have 65,000 employees worldwide. Fortunately, a Google Search did find a timeline. It is a shame that they don't have a History link to this timeline on their About page. From this timeline I learned that they moved to the Calumet Plant in 1929 and that the plant was granted national historic landmark status in 1983.

Timeline6, 1967
In 1967 they open a "greeen field" operation in Mattoon, IL:
Timeline6, 1970
In 1970 they opened a new production facility in Glasgow, KY.

The Elgin, IL plant linked above was their new "photo-composition center" opened in 1974.

They must like Kentucky because in 1985 they opened a production facility in Danville, KY.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
I wondered about rail access when the Calumet Ave. Plant was still a production facility. There must have been some industrial spurs between the building and IC's electrical service tracks. The McCormick Place Busway probably reuses some of this industrial spur land.

Update: while driving south on I-55, I noticed an "RR Donnelley" sign on a building and Google labels it a distribution center. Since they used to print the Sears Catalog and Yellow Pages, they developed the logistics to distribute items across the country. They now distribute stuff for other companies as well.

On my way home from a field trip down the Fox River, I took Ferry Road back home. When I first moved to the area in the 1970s, this area used to be a quarry. It has been filled in and an exit on I-88 has been added to make an office park. I noticed an RR Donnelley sign on a building in the northeast quadrant of Winfield and Ferry Road. They label that a "Corporate Campus." They now have three buildings along I-88. In Downers Grove they have a "Business Management Consultant" office. It looks like just another big house. I have already described the one on Eola Road above as the "Kellogg" building.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Two NYC Bridges over the Kankakee River.

(Bridge Hunter Belt, Bridge Hunter K&S, no Historic Bridges)
The Kankakee Belt was part of the NYC. The NYC also controlled the Big Four, which operated the Kankakee & Seneca. So NYC had two different routes going east/west through Kankakee, IL that crossed the Kankakee River on the west side of town.

20160603 3433
I followed the NYC tracks from their junction with the IC by following the roads west and east as I was forced to turn. I ended up at the end of Stone Street where I added a mark on the above satellite image. You can see the deck girders of the Kankakee Belt track going across Kennedy Drive and the river. I then backtracked to get onto Kennedy Drive (US-52). Driving north I saw a little park by the river but not soon enough to safely make a left-hand turn into it. So I continued up to River Place where I could safely turn around and go back and turn into that park. While on River Place, I took a picture of the north elevation of the bridge.

I parked the van and walked along the sandy/muddy "beach" to get a shot of the south elevation.

Note the Belt route has four piers. Let's number the Belt piers from right to left (east to west). The abandoned piers of the K&S or on the right side of Pier 1 and between Piers 2 and 3. That K&S pier is covered with some trees so it is hard to see it against the background of the shore trees.

The Bing map has a better view of the various piers. And you can clearly see the V-shape on the upstream side of the piers to help break up ice flows.

Birds-Eye View
The Piers 1 and 3 have a stone base and a concrete tower added on top. I'm sure that the current bridge is a still girder that replaced a former truss bridge that rested on the stone piers. Since the depth of the girders is less than the depth of the trusses, they had to add the "towers" on the stone piers to maintain the original track height. Note Piers 2 and 4 are completely concrete. So where the truss spans twice as long as the girder spans and more piers had to be added or where the stone foundations for the second and fourth piers bad enough that the whole pier had to be replaced? Given that the spacing of the K&S piers are the same as the Belt stone piers, I would say steel girder spans were half the length of the original truss spans.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
It looks like the conversion from trusses to girders was done before 1939.
The river was higher when Gene Smania took a picture in Feb. 2012
Kankakee County Museum from Bridge Hunter
Westbound train on the bridge. Post rebuild Circa 1920History: Built in 1882. Rebuilt from a Howe Truss to a Deck Truss in 1915. Demolished 1933.
[Note the Kankakee Belt bridge in the background.]
Kerry Bruck posted
In 1885 a 40 car flour special was run across the K&S to Kankakee. led by CCC&STL Big Four 4-4-0 type