Saturday, June 4, 2016

IHB's Blue Island Yard, Coaling Tower and Turntable; Steel Express Video

Steven J. Brown posted
Conrail power in the Indiana Harbor Belt Blue Island Yard viewed from Halsted St in Riverdale, Illinois - June 10, 1977.

Mike Breski posted
Photo is by J.D. (Tuch)
Tuch says: "The two towers on stilts are the east yardmaster's office on the top level and the trainmaster's office right below it [the latter office has been removed since this photo was taken]. The flat-roofed building just behind the light standard in known as "Longfield." This is the car inspector's headquarters and locker room. At one time the Blue Island crew caller was located in this building. The east yardmaster controls all movements at the east end of the yard, including the pull-down or trimmer jobs that work the garden (hump bowl) and all inbound and outbound trains. He also instructs the hump yardmaster on where to yard trains entering from the west, and tells eastbound trains at the hump end where to make their doubles if such is required."
I assume from the comments that this photo is Blue Island instead of Gibson. Blue Island was built in 1926 when Gibson's huge double hump yard could no longer handle all of the industrial activity. "Blue Island Yard had a 44-track classification yard and large facility for loading and servicing ice-cooled refrigerator cars. The yard became a departure point for many of NYC's eastbound road freights, while Gibson remained the terminus for westbounds. The eastbounds of course used the Harbor main to reach Gibson, where they either continued east on the MC main or headed north on the former CI&S to access NYC's ex-LS&MS Water Level Route at Indiana Harbor." (MikeBreski)

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
[I learned from Bob Lalich that the facility on the bottom was a giant icehouse. You can see the icing platform along its north side.]
Mike Breski commented on Candy's posting

Mike Breski posted
B. I. Hump Tower with ME 1 standing by.
Mike Breski posted
A Fairbanks Morse loco works the east end of the yard. Photo courtesy of Charlie Stricker
Mike Breski posted
Ready tracks; note EL locomotive in the background. Tuch says: "Blue Island did not have a major engine servicing facility since the Gibson roundhouse was less than ten miles to the east. Locomotives could be fueled and sanded, have lube oil or cooling water added, have brakeshoes replaced, piston travel adjusted, and make other minor repairs. In this shot you are looking roughly east. The clear track is the north ready track and the one to the right of the tank is the south ready track. You'll notice the concrete pad to the right of the clear north ready track. This was the fuel station. You can see the fuel racks."
NOTE: this facility was eliminated in 2004. All engine servicing is now done at Gibson Yard. (from IHB Archives)
Mike Breski posted
View from the B.I. hump (from IHB Archives)
Andre Schulz commented on Mike's posting

William Shapotkin posted two pictures of the tower with the comment:
Here are pix of the "new" Blue Island tower Opened 1962 -- replacing the "old" tower). The exterior view looks S-S/W and was taken March 28, 1994. The interior view was taken Sept 6, 2001. Both photos taken by Wm Shapotkin
Ian Rock posted
Blue Island, Illinois, May 1, 1976
Photo credit: Ken Carlson
John Sickel posted
Northbound GTW GP38 passes new AMC Gremlins. Taken from the atop where the Rock Island Line crosses over the Blue Island yard. Blue Island, Illinois. 1978. Mark Llanuza photo.Mark Hinsdale I most likely would have been working in the yard office in the distant background, under the microwave tower just south of the139th St. overpass. Was TM there 77-78. At that time GTW had 6 daily yard assignments at Blue Island (2 per shift), and daily transfer jobs to IC (Markham), C&EI (L&N-MP), RI (twice daily), MILW at Bensenville via IHB, B&OCT (Barr), and IHB (Blue Island Hump). 8 road trains, (four in each direction) worked at Blue Island, setting off to feed these transfers, and picking up traffic brought to BI for interchange to GTW. The daily yard assignments sorted it.Gerry Stephens Those Gremlins were coming from Kenosha, Wis. where the AMC (nee Nash) plant was located.

Kevin Piper posted
Eight brand new DT&I GP38-2's are being towed under Halsted Street at IHB's Blue Island Yard in Riverdale, IL, on 8-7-75. EMD put special colors on the 1776 for America's Bicentennial.
Mark Hinsdale posted
"Sweet Sounds"
A brace of big Alco & MLW power is about to back from the School Street bridge over the Indiana Harbor Belt in Riverdale IL toward its train made ready in Blue Island Yard. At this point in Conrail's early history, the new railroad was experiencing an acute system power shortage, and was leasing/utilizing just about everything it could find. July, 1977 photo by Mark Mark Llanuza Hinsdale
Scott Malec posted
Here is the diesel pit at IHB's Blue Island Yard as viewed from the Halsted Street bridge on 7/27/2008.
Chuck Mager That's not the "diesel pit." That track is called "6 pocket" The fueling and other servicing of the locomotives was moved to the Gibson roundhouse facility ( newly rebuilt to EPA standards). The BI "Ready Track" was shut down by the EPA. Six pocket was merely another place to hold equipment, as was 5 pocket evidenced by the sand piles laying around the rails.

Jerry Jackson posted three photos with the comment: "The hump at? Jim Drennan photos, my collection. Early 80's I'm assuming. The last shot is mine, still don't remember the yard."
Larry Cooper Blue Island Yard.
Jerry Hongoltz Blue Island hump I was always 3rd low man and pulled pins till dawn! When it was a slow night we would ride at the front of the unit with a .22 rifile and shoot at the herds of rats ! * edit We would tape the bottom of our pants legs so the rats wouldn't run up them now there's a pleasent thought!
Jeff Lewis What did the alpha-numeric number represent?
Chad Malinovsky Told the hump job what track to grab next. It's all gone now along with the CRO. Tracks are yelled over the radio and the new technology is still stall prone after 8 years. [I don't know what CRO means.]




Kevin Piper posted
GTW 5920 leads an eastbound freight leaving IHB's Blue Island Yard. The train will use nearby UP/MP rails to reach GTW at Thornton Junction. 12-16-89
Donny Albertson posted
Edward Dolle Yep. I remember when every railroad had three or four SD-40's pulling freight. I loved those times but I understand why they were phased out. To this day I love it when I see and old engine on a revenue train, even if it either in need of repair or being moved to another location.Jeff Lewis SP never met a locomotive it didn't want to purchase.Donny Albertson It was the PRR of the west!Jeff Lewis No doubt, huh? lol

Kevin Piper posted
PC U33B 2968 and EL SD45 3616 are stopped for a crew change at IHB's Blue Island Yard near Chicago on 1-9-77.
Douglas Kydd posted
Blue Island - 1974
Steven J. Brown posted
Visiting Fiat Railcar working in Rock Island suburban service from the tower at Vermont Street in Blue Island, Illinois - September 4, 1977.
[The background shows the yard.]
Candy Lachman Birkenfeld posted
Steven J. Brown posted
Herd of IHB cows!
Nine Indiana Harbor Belt units make a power move in IHB's Blue Island Yard at School Street in Riverdale, IL - June 5, 1977.
[But I don't see any calves. I read something later that implied that IHB called all their end cab switches cows.]
Jeff Barks posted, increased contrast and lowered brightness
IHB Blue Island and CSX Barr Yard.
[Blue Island Yard is on the left (South) side.]
Jerry Jackson posted three photos with the comment:
These Jim Drennan photos were on old Polaroid prints, warped and washed out and missing color. Location and dates unrecorded. I figured our IHB experts would know at least where.


Candy Lachman Birkenfield posted
Candy Lachman Birkenfeld posted
IHB photo
Dennis DeBruler
[According to the photo description, it is Blue Island because of the ice house facility. According to some comments, the hump yard tower is in the left background and we are looking East.]
Mike Breski commented on Candy's posting

Mike Breski posted
Blue Island Icing Platform
Photo By Jack Delano OWI 1943
[Somebody watermarking a Public Domain photo that is available from the Library of Congress is rather upsetting.]
Paul Petraitis posted
Unidentified yard, C&EI?
Bob Lalich I believe it is IHB Blue Island looking west from Halsted.Brian Watt Looking at the Yard Light positions in the back left, I would be inclined to agree.Joel J. SierackiJoel and 35 others joined Chicago Railroad Historians within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! That cluster of distinctive yard lights are still there along 1-57.Brian Watt exactlyJeff Grunewald Looks like a big gas storage tower in the distance.
Bob Lalich commented on Paul's posting, 1938 aerial
Yes, there was a gas holder west of the yard.
Joseph Tuch Santucci posted
Soo Line train 204 is getting an air test at the east of of IHB's Blue Island Yard before beginning its journey to Terre Haute and Louisville. Today its headed up by candy apple red Soo 738 and 752. The derelict Hales Elevator, a landmark in railroad photography around Blue Island Yard is in the background. This was the late summer of 1992.
Herb Theodore Alway got our power out of the Hales when we ran the CP trains
Joseph Tuch Santucci That was designated locomotive servicing track so the roundhouse crews could move engines from the ready track to the Hales tracks to keep the ready track from getting plugged. Plus we used the Hales tracks for outbound east bound trains as well. There was yard air plants on the east end of each track.
Herb Theodore Joseph Tuch Santucci I took off from there once with a new conductor who forgot to uncouple the yard air system they had hooked up, we dragged 5 feet of pipe out of the ground.

[Thanks to Google breaking the search function on April 3, 2018, I can't find my posting on the elevator.]

(new window)   source posting
Andy Engels Interesting to see they still had the old 3278 terminals. [3278 is the mainframe terminal the data clerk is using. I used to use them on IBM's Time Sharing System (TSS) when I went to work in 1973 at Bell Labs.]

J. D. Santucci describes his experience as an engineer with this hump yard.

Arturo Gross Flickr 2018 Photo, lots of UP power, some BNSF power, and Metra 192 headed back home from a rebuild. A good view of rather full classification tracks as well.

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