Sunday, November 19, 2017

Aban/Material Services gravel seeking railroad

(Some satellite images are below.)

<update2>
AJ Grigg has written a posting on the two gravel railroads east of Plainfield.
The following was written before Andrew's work. That is why there is so much redundancy in my notes.
</update2>
<update1>
Seldom do I get new information that requires me to change the title, as well as the content, of my notes. I learned from a history posting and an EJ&E posting that this railroad was owned by Material Services to haul gravel out of the area. They had a Whitcomb locomotive to haul their gravel trains from EJ&E's "Bug Line."
</update1>

Al Pawloski posted
[This is the EJ&E Bug Line.]
While researching the curve in this photo, I looked at a 1939 aerial photo to see if the track had a different route before the 1970s when this photo was taken because Al said he did not have a telephoto lens, which would sharpen the curve because of distance compression. A comment on the aerial photo was:
Dillon Harrison In this photo, You can see where the Material Service track curved off and went under 53, Going west to the strip mines outside of Plainfield.
Below is an excerpt of the aerial. I added a red rectangle to indicate where the underpass was.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Looking at a contemporary satellite image, we see that this quarry has played out. Lewis University has expanded into the northern part, but trees mark the rest of the quarry operation because it was worthless for farming. Also note that Renwick Road was rerouted to better align with Lockport's 9th Street.
Satellite
Looking at a 1974 aerial photo indicates that this quarry had already been played out. Lewis University and the airport exist, but they are small enough that they are above the northern border of the old quarry. The branch does a reverse S-curve through the old quarry and then goes west from the northern boundary. Due to my limited skills with Paint, the S-curve is more "jerky" than the actual route was, but you get the general idea.

Satellite plus Paint
The line went straight west to a quarry that was west of today's Mistwood Golf Club. And there was a spur that went north past another quarry that left the lake that is just south of Airport Road.

Satellite plus Paint
The spur continued northish and then turned west to serve what are now the "land scars" between Pitcher Road and Lockport Street. Those land scars look like coal strip mining. But they were extracting gravel. Note that ComEd had bought the right-of-way east of I-55 and maintains it as a power line corridor.

Satellite plus Paint
When I move to a 1988 aerial photo, I see the more extensive mining scars that we see today from above Pitcher Road down to Lake Renwick Preserve. The land east of here is still farmland. When I moved to 1993, Historic Aerials quit working. But we don't need the 1993 view to tell us that mining quit by 1988 because the land scars did not grow. The reason I was trying to move to more modern views was to see how the urban sprawl consumed all of that farmland. But urban sprawl is a topic for another blogger.


1 comment:

  1. The farthest northern part of the line is only visible on the 1963 Normantown USGS topo map, leading me to believe that between 1963 and 1974, this line may have extended north and east from my trace, but I have nothing to prove that. I am wondering if anyone might have any information that would confirm or refute my hunch.

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