Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Whiting Tower: Pennsy vs. B&OCT

(no CRJ, Satellite)

Scott Griffith posted two pictures then added a third as a comment:

A 1952 aerial photo shows the B&OCT curved to the west on the north side of the juction. So this view is looking timecard west on the Pennsy. The aerial photo also confirms the tower was in the northwest quadrant.

If you look at the "Satellite" link above, you will see this junction is now basically "brown land." That is because Conrail abandoned the Pennsy route and B&OCT no longer connects to its original passenger route into Chicago. If you zoom out on the satellite image, you will see the houses to the northwest are built on an angle. That is because they are built on the old Pennsy RoW. It was a wide Row because from here Pennsy ran four tracks into Chicago, two for passenger and two for freight. (The track diagram below confirms there were four tracks leaving this junction.) The B&OCT Whiting Branch now terminates just south of 119th Street so they have one less crossing to maintain but can still serve the industries in this area. BP Whiting Refinery may be the only industry left, but it is still worth serving.

Actually, either there are other industries being served (plastics?) or the refinery generates byproducts that are carried in covered hoppers because among the many tank cars I saw in the area, I spotted a few covered hoppers. I saved a satellite image to capture the existence of a couple of covered hoppers because the Google images change to remain just a year or two old.

The following map confirmed my suspension that Whiting Junction was were B&OCT crossed the Pennsy to get to B&O's original passenger route to Illinois Central and Central Station.

Mark Lasayko posted, cropped
Since Pennsy was one of the railroads in the junction, I found the junction track diagram. Note the speed limit in 1949 through this urban area was 70 mph. Pennsy's race with the NYC's passenger trains was still a big deal in the 1940s.
Scott Griffith posted four more images.

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