Wednesday, August 9, 2017

GM&O Corwith Tower: CN/GM&O/Alton vs. BNSF/Sante Fe

(Satellite) I'm assuming from the name of the tower that it was where the Santa Fe crossed the GM&O to enter Corwith Yard.
Roger Holmes posted
In August of 1971 I was working on the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio's extra board as a leverman, operator and relief agent and found myself at Corwith tower in Chicago. Passing is a transfer run powered by a pair of ex-Illinois Terminal ALCO RS-1's en route to Glen Yard. My only regret is that I didn't shoot this in color. The second unit is still in IT colors and the contrast with the green and yellow and the freshly painted GM&O, well, it looked like a circus! In fact this transfer job earned the nickname, "Circus Train"! More that once would I receive a phone call or hear on the radio inquiring where the circus train was. Someone on the C&O spoiled it when he got ahold of some bright blue Chessie paint and painted "Circus" on the side of the green and yellow loco. It was soon repainted into the solid red. © Roger A. Holmes.
Update: Mike Mowen posted three photos with the comment: "From when I worked at the Former GMO/ IC / CN Corwith Tower near Chicago."

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Bill Molony posted
Corwith Interlocking Tower, as it looked on May 1, 1971.
Mike Croy Been in the tower many times. The US&S interlocking machine and other equipment from inside the tower is located at the Illinois Railway Museum.
Jon Roma This was a GRS Model 2 unit lever machine, not a US&S.
Bob Lalich I take it that when the tower was built, the senior road, the Alton at the time, chose to operate it for some reason. Normally, the junior road would operate the tower.
Jon Roma Bob Lalich, not necessarily. The decision who operated the tower was settled by contract, and there was not always a formula who did what. Often, the junior road would pay for the cost of the interlocking, after which the senior road would man it. The operating costs were typically apportioned by how many appliances each railroad had in the plant.

When Corwith was opened, it was definitely manned by the C&A, and that control eventually passed to CN over the years with all the mergers involved.

Not long before the tower's closing CN and BNSF inked an agreement where the control of Corwith passed into BNSF's hands; being adjacent to the BNSF's important Corwith Yard, the railroad was eager to be in control there.

Bob Lalich For those interested in historic details, the first railroad to cross the Alton here was the Chicago & Southeastern RR, which was acquired by the Chicago Danville & Vincennes, a predecessor of the C&EI. It is unclear if they ever operated the line. The C&S was sold to the Chicago & Grand Trunk Ry after the CD&V made arrangements to use the Panhandle from Dolton in 1872.

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