Sunday, July 15, 2018

Western Ave. Junction: B&OCT vs. C&NW

(no CRJ, Satellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockings:   Shapotkin1(switcher and smokestack   John Uhlich copied  Bob Lalich The train is going to Robey St. The CJ tracks to the left of the home signal lead to Wood St.)    Shapotkin2(caboose)    Shapotkin3(see below)   Allen-1981(a later and closer view)
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for more information)

D.W. Davidson photo  (the building in the background with the stair-step roof still exists)

"Western Ave" is a name that has been used by two different railroads for two different towers. Pennsy used it for its Panhandle junction at Milwaukee's Tower A2 junction. B&OCT used it for this tower that controls the B&OCT crossing of the C&NW tracks to their Wood (Potato) Yard.

Stuart Pearson posted
B&O Capitol Limited Departing Chicago for Washington, DC. My Senior Class Trip was to Washington, DC Aboard this WONDERFUL TRAIN, that had a VISTA~DOME CAR in the consist. OH, WHAT WONDERFUL & SOMETIMES FUNNY MEMORIES COME TO MIND! Photo by Bob Borcherding
Bob Lalich The photo was taken from tower at Western Ave Jct on the B&OCT, which was near 15th & Rockwell.
Dennis DeBruler The steam locomotive would be on a C&NW track. Bob Lalich commented on this photo that the curved track on the right in the above photo was Chicago Junction.

Bill Molony posted
Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad EMD E7A #95, leading the Pere Marquette through Chicago's Western Avenue Junction in August of 1949.
Tad Dunville What’s with the trailing cars with funny windows and no stripes?
Bill Molony The Pere Marquette Railroad purchased 14 lightweight streamlined passenger cars from Pullman Standard in 1946, shortly before they were acquired by the C&O. Four of those streamlined cars are in this consist, and the rest of the train is made up of older heavyweight cars.
Bob Lalich Excellent shot from the tower!
Jim Cozad Dig the perfectly manicured ballast.
Robert McNeill Must be a "company photo"...or recent MoW work had been done..
Bob Friedlander The bridge over the Chicago River that is up in the closed position took trains from Grand Central over the bridge and on to a elevated trestle over now which is the Amtrak and Metra yards - correct? There had to be a bridge over Canal St? And right past Canal St there was a old Soo Line elevated freight yard! So the B&O and C&O had their own tracks till they got to Western Ave? They then would have had to cross over the CB&Q main to head South? I remember a tower on the CB&Q not far from the Air Line. Did they control the movements for the B&O and C&O trains heading South? Thank You for any info!
Bob Lalich Bob Friedlander - Yes, the B&OCT crossed over Canal St on a bridge which has been removed. The B&OCT main tracks go under the ex-CB&Q near 18th and Western.

The CB&Q tower you mention was Union Ave. It did not control anything on the B&OCT. Among other things, it controlled the junction of the St Charles Air Line with the CB&Q and CNW.

You can get an interesting look at the B&OCT in the 1930s from the Barriger archives on Flickr. There are quite a number of different locations in the album. Here is a link:

Lee Jones Weird. Tracks crossing other tracks on a curve.
Bob Lalich That was fairly common around the Chicago area back then.
Lee Jones Bob Lalich Whoa. I'm from a bordering town Dolton. A hub for much RR history and traffic.
Bob Lalich OK, that may be an overstatement. But some examples off the top of my head are 21st St, Brighton Park, Pullman Jct and Burnham..

[Note B&O's Color Position Light (CPL) signal. The train is outbound from Grand Central Station and is curving towards the South.]
John Uhlich also posted
You can clearly see the building and its shadow in the middle of the curved track on the right. That is Ogden Avenue going under all of those railroads in the upper-left corner. The railroad overpasses, from left to right, were Pennsy's Panhandle, C&NW, and B&OCT.
1938 Aerial Photo form ILHAP
Bob Lalich commented on a posting
Henry Freeman That must be a photo from the original installation of the machine. The tower is too neat to be anything else.

Bob Lalich I found the above photo and more from the time of installation of Western Ave Tower on this website:

Dave Durham posted
[See Taylor & Rockwell Junctions for a discussion of the north side of this map.]

Dennis DeBruler commented on Dave's post
For the attached image, I rotated the image 90-degrees, doubled it is size so that I could read the text, added a red dot where the B&OCT Western Avenue Tower used to be, and cropped it.

Reading the text on the left:

PCC&StL was Pennsy's Panhandle (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis).

C&NP is discussed in a comment in some other notes.

USY&T is the Union Stock Yard & Transit Co. It became the Chicago River & Indiana, which is more communally known as the Chicago Junction. Event though this route was built in 1865 as a belt railway to connect the railroads to the Union Stock Yards that were also being built in 1865, NYC got control of the Chicago Junction.

C&NW is down here because in the 1800s it went down to the St. Charles Air Line (SCAL) and went east to share Illinois Central's depot. (GM&O and CB&Q also shared that early IC depot)
Dennis DeBruler The railroad that built the Panhandle route into the Chicagoland area was the Chicago & Great Eastern Railway,
Dennis DeBruler USY&T:
Dennis DeBruler SCAL:
Dennis DeBruler When Norfolk Southern and CSX split up Conrail, NS got the NYC/CJ assets south of here and the Panhandle assets north of here. That is why they now have a through route from their Ashland Yard to the industries along the Panhandle: ADM Milling, NN, and Blommer Chocolate,

ADM is moving their flour milling operation to Mendota, IL:

NS delivers hoppers to the second story of Blommer Chocolate. UP/C&NW delivers tank cars to the ground level on the east side.
Dennis DeBruler When Conrail was split, NS did not get all of the Panhandle assets. CSX got the route in Riverdale to the ArcelorMittal steel mill,!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4.... That is why bottle trains carrying molten iron travel through the Dolton junction from Indiana.

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