Monday, November 28, 2016

C&NW Lake Street Tower for their Chicago train station

Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
This is a C&NW company photograph of the approach to the "Chicago passenger terminal" taken some time in the late 1940s. The west end of the boiler house for the station can be seen at the far left of the photo. It still stands and is used as office space today. Busy times on the railroad! Se the photo below this one to see the interlocking board in the Lake Street tower which controls these tracks. Where is the rapid transit bridge over the tracks?
Mark Ratzer The CTA bridge is behind the photographer - Lake Street tower is just north of the bridge, and appears to be the vantage point for this north-northwestward facing view.

Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
This is a C&NW company photo of the interior of the Lake Street interlocking plant which controls (even today) the switches leading into the - now - Ogilvie Transportation Center. See the photo above to see how busy the operators were.
Given Mark's answer, I was able to locate Lake Tower. Zoom out and look at the tracks. The number of double-slip turnouts in that throat to the train station must be a maintenance nightmare.

C&NW Historical Society posted
This is what the inside of the Lake Street "tower" looked like in 1948 on this C&NW company publicity photo held by the C&NW Historical Society. The tower controls the "throat" of the tracks into the old Madison Street Station - now the "Ogilvie Transportation Center." I am told that it still looks like that today!
Carl Venzke posted
C&NW's Lake Street Tower, Chicago - The diagram in the Lake Street interlocking tower for C&NW's North Western Terminal in Chicago

David Daruszka updated
Jon Roma commented on David's posting
This isn't quite the same angle, and there's a bit of lens distortion, but here's a picture of Lake Street taken in 2012 when the tower and interlocking machine were 101 years old.
Mike Froio Love the oak paneling and details.Craig Sanders Quarter-sawed oak was usually reserved for upscale homes at the time this tower was put into service, but the railroads thought it to be appropriate here. Nice, classy touch!
[Several comments about the maintenance of this machine including:]
Jon Roma This type of machine never had pipelines. It was an all-electric plant that went in service in 1911 with the C&NW's then-new Chicago passenger terminal.

There have been numerous revisions to the outside plant, like replacement of the semaphore dwarfs 
with LED-equipped color light signals, replacement of the switches and switch machines, and removal of the movable point frogs, and modernization of the circuitry. However, the machine depicted, which includes mechanical locking inside the oak cabinet, is still in service in 2018.

Michael North posted seven photos with the comment: "Chicago & Northwestern Lake street interlocking January 1990. The last time I ever photographed or witnessed this relic."
Brandon McShane The tower is still there but the controls have been modernized and of course the semaphores are gone.

Signal and overall upgrades were underway. A massive project that would be the end of the vintage 2A's there. 

RTA commuter train leaving. Pre Metra ? F40 ?
Jason Simon Sure was the early 90’s. There where 10 RTA colored engines left in the metra system. The bilevels where all RTA painted (rare to find a RTA marking) CNW cars. I use to take the NW line in with knowing of the crews.

CTA crossing over the CNW plant.
Mike Howard Shortly after these pictures were taken the CTA replaced the bridge and the rest of the Green line .Charles Scherer Lake st. L

 The train sheds, end of the line or the terminal.

2A high signals on the bridge on the elevated.
Mike Howard Bridge D by Halsted St

Days are numbered.
Mike Howard Bridge D

Classic C&NW 2A signal bridge in downtown Chicago with the color light signal replacements up now awaiing cut over. 2A's would soon be history. Sears tower can be seen in the background.
Mike Howard Bridge A at Lake St. interlocking plant

Carl Venzke posted
Chicago & North Western commuter trains led by 4-6-2 steam locomotives on the big curve just north of the the North Western Terminal in Chicago in the 1950s.
Center for Railroad Photography & Art also posted
View by Wally Abbey of Chicago & North Western commuter trains in Chicago in 1952.
Bob Lalich The bridge on the left was Milwaukee Road's swing bridge to their Kingsbury Branch, which originally was intended to continue to Evanston. The northern portion of the line was acquired by a predecessor of the CTA. There is a good explanation of the line here:
Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
This Christmas Eve 1951 Chicago and North Western company publicity photo shows the Chicago terminal "throat" with kerosene heaters being used to keep the switches thawed. The heaters are now natural gas fed.
Rod Truszkowski posted
[1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p497]
David Cole posted two photos with the comment:
A study in then and now...The 400 departs North Western Station in 1953. Today these are the throat tracks of the Ogilvie Transportation Center... North Western Station sounds soooo much better!


See Clinton Street Tower for more information on the location of this tower.

A 1:42 video of tower operations (source link).  Joel Kirchner 16 tracks funnel into 6 leads and you can go from every track into every lead. Just a couple hundred movements a day!

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