Thursday, July 7, 2016

State Line Tower: IHB vs CSS+C&WI+NKP vs BOCT+Wab+Milw vs Monon+C&O+Erie

(CRJSingle Box, has a nice color coded diagram; Jon Roma Flickr AlbumSatellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockings:   1988    levers    model board    steam locomotive    1984
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for the correct information)

1959 by Dr. J W F Scrimgeour from Signal Box
Jeffrey Schackart posted
how many went by state line tower-Hammond ind.
world's largest control tower with 220 strong arm mechanical pipeline levers...I worked there 1980
Tim Lockley Quite possibly the biggest survivor at the time, but not the biggest ever. AFAIK the largest single-row mechanical lever frame was the 295 lever Locomotive Yard signalbox, York.
Jon Moore Not too long after I hired on we had to stop to pick up a fax for a hazardous waybill right before it closed.
As big as it was I can see why it took three operators per shift to work it!
Jeffrey Schackart they also had a real blacksmith and a help assigned to that tower for repairs/
Gig Anderson Worked on the IHB as an electrician lineman. Removed all electric from the state line tower after it closed. Also maintained The bridge at Torrance Avenue . Made a lot of money maintaining that nightmare of a bridge. IHB finally sold it to the city of Chicago.

Mike Breski posted three images with the comment:
State Line Tower
Hammond, Indiana
State Line Tower was build by the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad in 1897. The interlocking sat on the Illinois and Indiana boarder, hence the name State Line. The tower was of brick and concrete and had a slate roof. The tower was 100 feet long and 16 feet wide. It housed a 224 mechanical lever machine made by the National Switch & Signal Company of Easton, Pa.
At the time of installation in 1897 the machine had 136 levers in service, 20 spare levers and 68 spare spaces. The locking bed was of vertical type and was on the front and back of the interlocking machine. The locking bed had over 900 locking dogs and had 2,500 feet of locking bars. Almost 62,000 feet of pipeline was used and 109,000 feet of wire used. The interlocking operated 62 signals, 68 switches, 70 facing point locks, 1 movable point frog, and 39 crossing bars. The longest pipeline for a signal was 2,492 feet and 1,242 feet for the switch.
In 1910, 24 of the spare levers and spaces were put in service for the Kensington and Eastern Railroad which was expanding its tracks through the interlocking. Through the years tracks where removed and slowly the interlocking plant saw less and less traffic. The mechanical pipelines started being replaced by electric signals and electric switches. By 1985 the C&WI tracks had been removed and the IHB, B&OCT, CSS&SB, and the NYC&STL where the only railroads left at the interlocking. By the 1980's State Line Tower was under the ownership of the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad. The tower was closed on August 5th, 2000 and was tore down the following October. Nothing remains at the site of the tower today, not even a hint of a tower foundation.

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Tim Hager commented on a posting
here is a Google Earth map of State Line Interlocking in Hammond, Indiana. The tower was leveled in 2000. This is all that’s left of what used to be a much busier location, with the former Erie Lackawanna (C&WI) mainline, Indiana Harbor Belt’s East Chicago Belt, the Monon mainline, and EJ&E and Wabash’s run through trains. The IHB, NS, CSX and CSS&SB are all that remain. If you were to return to this location today, you would never see a trace of where the tower was. [Satellite]
Bob Lalich commented on Mike's post
State Line interlocking went through numerous changes over the years. Here is the layout when the famous tower and interlocking machine were installed in 1897. There had to have been an earlier installation to protect the junction of LNA&C/Monon, the NYC&StL-LNA&C crossing and the crossings of B&OCT predecessor Chicago & Calumet Terminal RR. I have not yet found any information about that though. It was most likely a switchtender arrangement with mandatory stops for all trains.
I added a red box where I believe the tower was. Near the top is where the CSS&SB curves to the east. The NKP is the bottom diagonal whereas the C&O+Erie is the top diagonal. The B&OCT+Wabash is the east/west route near the bottom. The IHB is the north/south line. The Monon is the diagonal at the bottom under the NKP. The EJ&E+IHB comes in from the right near the bottom and curves diagonally behind the tower to join the north/south IHB line.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Bill Urbanczyk posted two photos with the comment: "State Line Tower - 1995"

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Jim Griffith posted
Jim Griffith posted
Peter Zimmermann posted
I'm not much into passenger trains but I hope this will be okay, a picture of the famed C&WI state line tower when it was brand new looks like!!
Dennis DeBrulerYou are an administrator in this group. There is a lot more to railroading than engines and passenger cars. It does capture that a long interlocking frame needs a long tower building. From the style of the caption, it looks like this is from the 1915 Smoke Abatement Report.
I include this redundant copy because it has better resolution and a different exposure.
Rod Truszkowski posted
[1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p497]

Steven J. Brown posted
A South Shore interurban glides by State Line Tower in Hammond, Indiana - December 1990.
Larry J. Perlman commented on the above posting
Even though a lot of railroads through State Line such as Monon, Erie, and C&O are gone, the junction still is busy.

Steven J Brown posted
Norfolk Southern GP33ECO 4708 with a string of auto racks waits for an eastbound BNSF train on CSX at State Line in the Hegewisch neighborhood of Chicago - February 25, 2017.
[The reason there is so much autorack action here is that IHB's Gibson Yard, which is a little east of here, handles nothing but autoracks and handles all of the autorack trains for the entire Chicagoland area.]
Rick Kessler posted
Here is another photo from the same group that I posted earlier. I believe it is at State Line Tower mid 1930's. That's my Grandfather's tool/handcar/ shed/ on the left. I have his swivel office chair from there. I was in that shed in the early 70's with my Dad. It was empty and had no doors on it, but what was really cool was my Grandfather had carved into the wall on the inside when he got married in 1920 and throughout the place there were other carvings like "First snow- Dec 12 1934" and different names and things that were important to them at the time. I wish now I would have gone back there and taken some of those boards off. My Dad told me at the time about 8 years later, he was going by with a train, and saw them pick it up with a crane from the rails and drop it into a gondola. Oh well, at least I still have his office chair I guess. I wish I had some better pictures of the place or knew it's exact location. I might go snoop around there. All I really remember is we had to walk along the tracks from Marble street in Hammond to get there.
[The remaining photos that he posted were of workmen.]
Bill Molony posted
The Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad's State Line interlocking tower - June 10, 1958.
Josh Lemier posted
Here we see the Erie Lackawanna 3681 roll past State Line Tower at Hammond, Indiana on December 22, 1975.
Photo Credit To John Eagan.
Kevin Piper posted
SD9 601 at State Line Tower in Hammond, IN, date unknown. Scanned from a 4x6 print. PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN
[I wonder whose tracks the EJ&E train is using. It looks like the second unit is an Alco.]
Mark Llanuza posted two photos with the comment: "Photographer Don Ellison captured this westbound at State line tower and a view inside the tower, 1976"
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Mark Llanuza posted three photos with the comment: "Its 1974 I'm at State line tower with eastbound COFC train first hot shot eastbound in the morning and a view of inside this classic tower."

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Kevin Piper posted
SD9 601 at State Line Tower in Hammond, IN, date unknown. Scanned from a 4x6 print. PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN
Dennis DeBruler There were six railroads here: B&OCT+Wabash vs. Monon and NKP+Erie+C&O. But EJ&E was significantly further south and east. This would be a timecard eastbound, so I wonder where it is transferring from and how it will get to its own tracks.
Kevin PiperGroup Admin EJ&E ran over C&WI to South Deering.
Rick La Fever The EJ&E sort of wandered a bit to get back to home rails near Gary.
They ran along what used to be known as The East Chicago Belt from Grasselli to State Line and then C&WI to S. Deering. 
They also serviced a USS fence plant in Hegwisch which, maybe where this train is coming from.
Sam Carlson commented on Kevin's posting
This may help, though you'll have to zoom in to read it.
Dennis DeBruler Do you know what the numbers along the routes mean? For example 4s and 5s along the GTW. My first reaction was the number of tracks, But I think many of the numbers are too big for that. I'm also trying to figure out the difference between the "dot dash" lines and just the "dash" lines. It helps in general because it still has the Panhandle, LN/Monon, Erie, C&O, MC Joliet cutoff, Pennsy, and EJ&E Porter branch.

Sam Carlson commented on Kevin's posting

Sam Carlson commented on Kevin's posting
Kevin Piper posted
In its heyday, State Line was one of the most complex interlockings in the United States. The Erie, Chesapeake & Ohio and the Monon ran through here, paralleling the Nickel Plate, and crossing the B&OCT just east of the state line. The Erie/C&O double track main was jointly owned by the two roads, but the Monon used a a parallel single track through Hammond that fed into the Erie after crossing B&OCT and NKP. At the state line, the Erie/C&O main became the property of the Chicago & Western Indiana, the terminal railroad for lines using Dearborn Station in Chicago. Erie, C&O and Monon trains all used C&WI tracks within the Chicago city limits, and timetables from years ago show that C&WI also operated the Monon track through Hammond to Monon's South Hammond Yard. All of these tracks have now been removed, and it is no longer easy to locate the old right-of-way that ran between the tower site and NS. The tower was originally owned and operated by C&WI, but when the tracks were torn up, control shifted to the IHB. Trains of the now largely abandoned Wabash line to Toledo once passed through here on trackage rights, using the B&OCT east of the junction and C&WI to the northwest. Also, Elgin, Joliet and Eastern accessed the junction using an IHB track in the northeast quadrant that ran behind the tower and crossed the B&OCT before heading east to Gary. State Line was a much busier place back in the good old days and was a well-known railfan hotspot.
EJ&E 418 is seen entering C&WI track for a run to South Deering on 10-30-65. The EJ&E/IHB connection here from State Line Junction east toward Gary, and the C&WI to Chicago is now abandoned. LOUIS CERNY PHOTO/KEVIN PIPER COLLECTION
Mark Llanuza posted
Its 1980 looking west at Erie main line at State line tower in Hammond Ind .The tracks a rusting away with deep weeds where 42 years ago there was as many as 20 Erie frt's a day over a 24 hour's.
Stan Stanovich ...on my first visit to Chicago from the east coast in July of 1985 this is basically how the place looked but the vegetation was green! The most haunting thing about the experience is that the signal system was still active. The rails had so much rust on them it was questionable that a train would be able to shunt the circuit!!!
Matt McClure Tracks were gone by either 1986-87. Waited nearby for the J611.
Rick La Fever Tower and trackage are gone.
Sam Carlson posted
Eastward caboose hop going through State Line interlocking in March, 1976.
Crew Heimer posted five photos with the comment: "State Line Tower 1977."

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See Crew's posting below for a larger image

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Crew Heimer posted
Day of 8/6/1977
Bob Lalich Great perspective on State Line and the approaches! Nearly everything was still there at the time.
Marty Gatton The white building in the upper left between the CSS and the CWI was burned down as a training fire in the early 90's
Ken Draus Building in the foreground, with the large white tanks, is now a scrap metal recycling place called marble metals.
Michael Mireles commented on a posting
State Line tower
Mike Breski posted
B&O, Hammond, Indiana, 1977
Westbound Baltimore and Ohio Railroad freight train at Indiana State Line in Hammond, Indiana, on March 26, 1977. Photograph by John F. Bjorklund, © 2016, Center for Railroad Photography and Art. Bjorklund-92-25-11
This is a repeat of the top photo, but it is worthy of a repeat and Peter provides some interesting comments.
Peter Zimmermann posted
State Line tower WAY back when more windows were in place on the operators floor. I think the view shows possibly an a Nickel Plate Road train[westbound].
Back then this was quite the place as the crossing of the...
B&OCT Railroad[now CSX]
Nickel Plate Road[now Norfolk Southern]
Indiana Harbor Belt
Chicago South Shore & South Bend
Wabash Railway[on B&OCT trackage rights]
EJ&E Railway[abandoned]
Erie Railroad[abandoned]
C&O Railway of Indiana[abandoned]
Monon[abandoned]
Chicago & Western Indiana Railway[abandoned].
in 2018 only CSX, NS, IHB & CSS&SB still run through/cross here, the tower is gone and the interlocking is handled by the Indiana Harbor Belt's "East Dispatcher" in Calumet City Illinois.
Stan StanovichStan and 42 others joined Windy City Rails within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! ...the Nickel Plate main is toward the right, the tracks closest to the tower were Chicago and Western Indiana! Quite possibly an Erie train!!!
Mike Breski posted
[I recognized the comment as Bill Gustason's style of writing. After confirming the comment is an accurate plagiarism of CRJ, I deleted the comment because the source of Mike's text has more information.]
Robert Jordan Not sure when that photo was but I seem to remember at the end it was a shack in the brambles.
Bob Lalich C&O of Indiana ownership ended at HY Tower, which was located at the east end of Erie's Hammond Yard. C&O had trackage rights over the Erie from HY to State Line. Before using the IHB's East Chicago Belt track to access SL, EJ&E had their own line which joined the Erie just east of the interlocking limits.

Mark Llanuza posted
Its 1976 { photographer Don Ellison } captured this westbound at State line tower Hammond Ind.
Walt Fles U36C and SPD45
Jim Griffith posted
Jim Griffith posted three photos.
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Mike Breski posted nine photos with the comment:
[The initial text is deleted because it is a repeat of a post above. The remaining text is deleted because it is another plagiarism of  CRJ.]

Bob Lalich commented on Mike's post
Not to nitpick but to clarify with a few details, the C&O used trackage rights over the Erie from State Line Tower to HY Tower where joint ownership of the line to Griffith began, each RR owning one track of the line operated as double track. The EJ&E had their own track east of State Line Tower to Grasselli, which paralleled and crossed the IHB East Chicago Belt. The EJ&E line connected to the Erie WB main track just outside the interlocking limits of State Line. Here is a 1978 photo by Jim Burd showing the connection. Note the man on the ground calling for permission to throw the switch and enter the EJ&E. At this time, the ex-Erie east of SL was operated by the Erie Western Ry, which failed a little over a year later.

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Bob Lalich commented on the ninth photo of Mike's post
I have seen the above map before. There are a few odd details. SC&E should be SL&IC, for example. Here is a nice drawing from Trains. It is accurate for 1947.
Mike Breski reposted the above comment with thirteen photos. These are the additional photos. Those that are already in these notes are small here.
Jim, Peter and Rod posted

Mike Breski posted
B&O, Hammond, Indiana, 1977
Westbound Baltimore and Ohio Railroad freight train at Indiana State Line in Hammond, Indiana, on March 26, 1977. Photograph by John F. Bjorklund, © 2016, Center for Railroad Photography and Art. Bjorklund-92-25-11

new photo
new photo

Michael Mireles commented on a posting, but this is a different exposure
I repeat a map because it has new comments.
Court Bob Lalich
Ean Kahn-Treras Hmmmmm. Whats up with the ex-MC and then the dashed Monon line paralleling each other...?
Bob Lalich The IHB's East Chicago Belt was originally owned by the MC and LS&MS. The line was built by the MC, then leased or sold to the IHB under one of several reorganizations. When I first went into the tower in the early 70s, the operator still referred to that track as the MC.
The dashed Monon line in the drawing was an industrial lead that serviced the numerous North Hammond industries north of the Grand Calumet River.


Dave Durham posted
Dave Durham posted

Pete Fileca posted
Monon in Hammond
Pete Fileca State line tower in the picture.

Pete Fileca posted
Removed el. Hammond ind
Dennis DeBruler commented on Pete's post
That is State Line Tower behind the power pole. I like these overview shots of a junction because it helps visualize the track layout. Since the Chessie train is between us and the tower, we are looking timecard West. The tracks on the left were Nickle Plate, and they still exist as NS tracks. The curve in the NKP and Erie tracks also indicates we are looking West. But what is of particular interest is the train on the right side of the photo. It is either an EJ&E or an IHB train. Now that I have learned a new interface to the topo maps, http://historicalmaps.arcgis.com/usgs/, I'm using them more often. Unfortunately, this junction shows that they can be quite inaccurate. I put a yellow rectangle around the tower building in this 1953 excerpt @ 1:24,000 scale. The B&OCT tracks should be south of that tower. And, as we see in the above photo, there should be tracks to the east of the tower.
Tim Valiquet The train on the right of the photo seems to be on the old connection between the B&OCT and CWI, On the right side of the tower the old Wabash 4th district to Toledo used trackage rights over the B&O from Clarke Jct in Gary to Stateline tower then used the CWI to access Landers yard VIA Belt Jct in Chgo...The J also had a connection to the CWI but ran on what we see in this view would be the left side of the tower., If I remember correctly the J actually connected to the Erie, the track didn't become CWI until it crossed the B&OCT. The WAB connection was on the right side of the tower . I don't have a photo for reference but I did see the old Wabash connection way back when it was still in service .

Dennis DeBruler commented on Pete's post
Here is a 1947 drawing provided by Bob Lalich that shows a layout consistent with the photo.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Pete's post
And this aerial also shows tracks on the other side of the tower. And it shows the B&OCT tracks were between the tower and Marble Street.

Monon in Hammond
Dennis DeBruler Again, I like these overview shots because it helps me visualize what the junction looked like. The C&WI+Erie tracks have been torn up. The photographer is standing where the Monon track joined the C&WI tracks, and he is looking southish along the remnants of the Monon. The black tracks on the right is the NS/NKP. The brown tracks crossing the photo in the middle is the IHB. The B&OCT tracks are on the other side of the tower and are not visible.

Photo by Wallace W. Abbey
C&WI, Hammond, Indiana, 1956
Operator inside the Chicago & Western Indiana's State Line Tower in Hammond, Indiana, on September 9, 1956. Photograph by Wallace W. Abbey, © 2015, Center for Railroad Photography and Art. Abbey-03-121-07


Paul Enenback caught two westbound Erie Lackawanna Geeps that have crossed the B&OCT and are approaching State Line Tower.

The comments on a posting indicate that State Line was the largest "armstrong" tower in the world with 224 levers.
John LaRochelle The operator there told me at one time, it took 2 operators to handle the phone work and then communicate to the two tag team levermen on roller skates, the line up. This for each shift.
Mike Spencer When SL was commissioned, there were 3 Levermen and 1 Director. That's ca.1908-ish.

Bob Lalich Flickr 1984 Photo, MoPac local delivering paper to THE TIMES in downtown Hammond.

Bob Lalich Flickr 1985 Photo, interior view

Bob Lalich Flickr 1990 Photo, N&W 1218 steam locomotive with a clean stack passing the tower on the former NKP. (I need to study how the NKP route went pass this tower.)

John Smatlak Flickr 1987 Photo starts a sequence of seven photos in his Chicago Southeast Side Album

1956 Wallace W. Abby interior view

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