Saturday, January 28, 2017

C&WI 16th Street Interlocking

(no CRJ, Satellite (no trace of where this tower was is left because the C&WI tracks have been filled in to remove the embankments when they made Ping Tom Memorial Park))
NorthAmericanInterlockings: photo
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers: looking northeast    looking south

One of the things that makes learning Chicago railroads challenging is that different railroads that passed a tower would have their own name for that tower. That is why there are two Western Avenue Towers in Chicago. Bob's comment below taught me that there are two 16th Street Towers. The other 16th Street Interlocking is about a block east of here.

Stuart Pearson posted
Monon's Hoosier not to far out of Dearborn Station. A Rail Photo Service Photo.
Bob Lalich: The train is in C&WI's 16th St interlocking plant. It has just passed under the St Charles Airline and connection to the joint NYC-Rock Island.
[Note that the train skunks the tower.]
In order for C&WI to get to Dearborn Station, which is east of La Salle Street Station, the five tracks of the C&WI and Santa Fe, which was a Dearborn tenant, took the low road and all of the other railroads were elevated around 16th Street.

The wall on the right in the above photo is the IC (Chicago, Madison & Northern, CM&N) embankment of the track that climbs from the 21st Street Crossing up to join the St. Charles Air Line (SCAL). Both sides of this embankment are now filled in so that the bridges in the background of Stuart's posting are now at ground level! It is probably filled with dirt from digging the basements and pilings of all of the new buildings that have been built south of the loop where all of the station and freight house tracks used to be.

Here is contemporary view of those bridges. The tracks going across the picture in the middle are the CN/IC tracks. The track in the right foreground is the remaining connector of the two connectors that used to go between the SCAL and the Rock Island + NYC tracks. The bridges in the near background used to go over the two Santa Fe tracks and the bigger girders in the bar background used to go over the four C&WI tracks. The IC bridges over the Santa Fe and the Rock Island + NYC bridges over the C&WI tracks have been removed. Clark Street used to have an overpass over the grade-level C&WI tracks. But when the C&WI tracks were removed, the overpass was removed.

In the following track diagram, I added a red box to show the remaining bridge remnants that are now filled in with dirt and a blue box to show the Rock Island 16th Street (IC Clark Street) Tower. (Note that some of the lines show concrete embankments rather than tracks. There are a lot of concrete embankments in this area because there are elevated tracks very close to grade level tracks.)
This is an excerpt at 100% magnification. The yellow box highlights building 135, which is labeled Interlocker Tower.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
The tower must have been rebuilt between 1938 and 1964 because it was square with the compass in 1938 but it was square with the tracks in the 1964 map.

Bill Molony posted
Monon Railroad Alco Century 420 #501 at Chicago in June 1967.
Bob Lalich Passing C&WI's 16th St Tower.
David Daruszka commented on Bill's posting
Same location?
Bob Lalich Yes David Daruszka. You can see 15th St tower past the bridges in the Barriger photo.
1964 or .pdf
Mark Llanuza posted two photos with the comment: "At 16th st tower this is where the Erie came into Dearborn station. By 1983 most of all the rails were rusted and Dearborn was removed only this section going under the Rock Island remained."
Mark posted again



Dennis DeBruler commented on Bill's posting (120160416 2222)
I found it fascinating that they did not remove the bridges. They just filled in the track routes. I assume the first pair went over the Santa Fe tracks and the second pair went over the above C&WI route. I'm really surprised that some illegal scrapper has not hauled off the steel girders considering what they did with the rare Page Bascule Monon bridge over the Grand Calumet River.

Bill Molony posted
Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad EMD E7A #28, southbound on the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad tracks at 18th Street with C&EI train #3, the Danville Flyer back in June of 1969.The Danville Flyer was equipped with reclining seat coaches and a buffet lounge car, but did not handle checked baggage.
Dennis DeBruler And the C&WI 16th Street Tower past the end of the train, the boxcars are on the ICwest embankment, and the Erie Freight House is in the middle background.

Bill Molony posted again
Louisville & Nashville Railroad EMD E7A #28 (ex-Chicago & Eastern Illinois #1101) southbound at 18th Street with L&N train #3, the Danville Flyer, on the Chicago & Western Indiana tracks - June, 1969.
Brandon McShane Actually, that's a C&EI unit.Bill Molony The intermediate stops for this train were 63rd Street (Englewood Station), Chicago Heights-Steger, Momence, St. Anne, Watseka, Milford and Hoopeston.
Tom Carter posted
Conrail (ex-NYC) SW1 8498 is moving a long line of out-of-service Amtrak E-units near downtown Chicago area on June 19, 1980. I’m not certain where this is, but you can see the edge of the bascule bridge over the top of the trees at the left and the Sears tower is over the third clump of trees, so I’m thinking I must be standing on West 18th east of the river facing roughly north-northwest. Am I close? Also note the railroad tower just right of center.
Behind SW1 8498 are E8A’s 445, 438, 444, 447, E9B 478, and E8A 448. I know we need progress, but it seems such a shame to see these magnificent locomotives tossed aside, especially since each has a pre-Amtrak history as well. Click to enlarge.
ADDITION: FYI, the original owners of these engines, starting from the right behind the SW1 are: ACL, UP, ACL, PRR, PRR, PRR.
Dennis DeBruler This is one of the few shots I have seen that includes the C&WI 16th Street Interlocking. It is the only shot I have seen of the Sante Fe tracks to Dearborn. When they built the Ping Tom Park and Fieldhouse, they filled in the land to match the grade of the IC embankment. This "E" train would be running over the west side of today's ball diamond. The right outfield of that ball park would be close to Santa Fe's roundhouse.
Dennis DeBruler The bridge you mentioned is the St. Charles Airline Bridge:
Dennis DeBruler The two smokestacks to the right of the bridge are on the Union Power Station:!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...
Dennis DeBruler The Street View image has a wider angle than yours. And the trees have changed as well as filling in the old tracks to match the IC embankment. The C&WI tracks were on the left of the IC and the Santa Fe was on the right.!3m6!1e1!3m4...
[The tower Tom highlighted is this C&WI 16th Street Interlocking.]


  1. Thank you so much for posting the Wabash photo off of 18th Street. It might be one of the best angles/views when you try and compare it to what we would look at in 2017.

  2. In those track diagrams, does anyone have any idea what that circle represents, just to the east of the wye coming off the bascule bridges? I have wondered about this for years.


  3. Sorry, I meant just north of the wye.