Friday, June 19, 2015

Redundant (Parallel) Railroad Routes in Chicago

Photo by Douglas Weitzman,
"New York Central 4076 pulling #6 into the Englewood Station"
The Pennsylvania and New York Central had parallel 4-track routes through southeastern Chicago between Englewood and the Calumet River. At Englewood, the NYC turned north and paralleled the Rock Island into LaSalle Street Station. The Pennsylvania route continued northwest across the 3-track Rock Island route before it turned north to Union Station. So when Penn Central was formed, it had 8 tracks between the state line and Englewood. This has been reduced to two of the former Pennsy tracks and they are now owned by Norfolk Southern. (The NS changes from former-Pennsy tracks to former-NYC tracks between 116th and 117th Streets in Whiting, IN. See Colehour Yard for a discussion as to why Conrail switched right-of-ways.) The Englewood Union Station [Bernard, DeBruler] used to be in the middle of the triangle formed by the NYC, Pennsy, and Rock Island south of 63rd Street. A view of the station from the north.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
NYC had a yard at Englewood that is now a NS intermodal facility. Since NS now runs their trains through Chicago on the former-Pennsy tracks, NS no longer needs the former-NYC tracks that went north from here. When the Rock Island went bankrupt, the Metra bought their route to Joliet so that they could continue running commuter service to Joliet. But they also evidently got the parallel NYC route between Englewood and the LaSalle Street Station. Looking at a satellite map, the double tracks clearly crossover from the Rock Island (west) side to the NYC (east) side between 61st and 60th Street. The Rock Island right-of-way is now a service road much of the distance between Englewood and 23rd Street. What is strange is that there is one track left on the west side of the Rock Island route along a lot of the route. But the track is severed at some of the crossings so some of the track segments are unusable. It is strange that the unusable track has not been removed to be used somewhere else or for its scrap value.

Every time I hear about an Amtrak train needing 5 hours to get from Elkhart, IN, to Union Station, I wonder if they should have removed less than 6 tracks. The NS tracks not only carry all of the Amtrak trains to the east, they carry a lot of freight trains. One of the sources of the delay was the crossing of the former Rock Island tracks with the former Pennsy tracks. The P1 CREATE project removed this source of delays by building a bridge to carry the Metra/RI tracks over the NS/Pennsy tracks. Note that the commuter trains on the RI line can more easily climb a ramp to a bridge than the freight trains on the NS line.

Paul Bourjaily posted
A Rock Island passenger train passes near Comiskey Park, circa 1945. Photographer unknown. Thank you to the Chicago History folks for this one!
Eric Risse I suspect this was in cold weather, judging by the smoke, a lot of people still burned coal back then.
A Flickr photo of a PRR train at Englewood with a view of the interlocking tower.

Bill Molony posted
Pennsylvania Railroad class K4 4-6-2 Pacific-type #5383 with PRR train #58, The Liberty Limited, and New York Central Railroad class J3a 4-6-4 Hudson-type #5424 with NYC train #10, The Water Level Limited, departing eastbound from Englewood Union Station on May 11, 1940.

NYCSHS posted
In the time honored tradition, N.Y.C. J-3a Hudson 5424 with the "Water Level Limited" well in hand pulls away from Pennsy K-4 5383 leading the "Liberty Limited" out of Englewood, Ill. on May 11, 1940. As any steam fan knows, this was the site of many N.Y.C.- P.R.R . "races". Harold K. Vollrath Collection, NYCSHS Collection.
Jack Franks That was a short race the Pennsy had quicker power but had to slow down thru the bridge at River Branch Junction, while the NYC bridge was full speed.

Mike Breski shared
Larry Grzywinski From Englewood to over the Calumet River on to where the main lines separate by Colehour Yard and the state line. [So at one time the Pennsy didn't slow down?]

Bill Molony posted in Facebook
Bill posted again
Bill Molony Raymond Lowey designed the PRR T-1 4-4-4-4's
 and Henry Dreyfuss designed the NYC J1' Hudsons

Michael Milner They styled them
Bill's comment:

Pennsylvania Railroad class T1 4-4-4-4 Duplex-type #6111 and New York Central Railroad class J1e 4-6-4 Hudson-type #5344, ready to depart eastbound from Englewood Union Station on November 4, 1944.
Thomas J. McAllister shared this photo.
Bill Molony posted
Pennsylvania Railroad class S1 6-4-4-6 Duplex #6100 with The Trailblazer, racing New York Central class J3a 4-6-4 Hudson #5448 with the Advance Commodore Vanderbilt eastbound from Englewood Union Station.
Jerry Jackson Any idea of the year?
Bill Molony The NYC's streamlined J3a Hudsons were built in 1937 and 1938, and the PRR's #6100 was built in January of 1939, so this photo was most likely taken in about 1940, give or take a year.
Jeff Delhaye Both of them are missing some skirting, so I'd tend to add in 3 or 4 years

Garry Hendricks posted
There must be countless pictures of this daily event between the Broadway and the Century. I have never seen any pictures of this event when both trains were being pulled by diesels. I am beginning to wonder if any such pictures exist.
David Burhenn Is that the S-1 on the left? Great contrast between Loewy and Dreyfuss streamlining.
Bruce B. Reynolds It is the S-1 on the left, already missing many panels of its shroud for better access for the maintenance folks.
David Burhenn Even though I am a big Pennsy fan, and love the S-1, I have to say that the Dreyfuss Hudsons were just perfection. Dreyfuss understood how to streamline a steam locomotive without hiding all the interesting bits (and allowing crews to maintain them).
Jon Roma These trains did not leave their respective stations simultaneously throughout their entire lifetime, plus a minute difference in loading time at Englewood would affect where the two trains ran neck-and-neck, and I'm sure there were days when they were far enough apart that they couldn't "race" each other before the two lines separated east of the state line. With ample power, either train could quickly make up a minute or two delay getting away from Englewood without breaking a sweat.
Lawrence Smith also PRR was at mercy of the lift bridge at 21st street. IF it was up trains had to wait. NYC could move directly to Englewood assuming 16th st jct was clear.

Later, Bill posted in a different group and got a comment by Robert Leffingwell:
In the 50s, the Broadway and the 20th Century left Englewood at the same time.
Bill reposted 20160426 and got the comments:

Eric Risse The PRR S1 was the largest steam locomotive ever built for passenger service (so big it could only run on small portions of the PRR system) Weighed in at a million lbs with the tender, and had 84" drivers.

David Daruszka: Exposure adjusted.
Matt McClure All that NYC ROW sits fallow now---perfect for dedicated Amtrak tracks east into Indiana. Although a connection at the ex-IC would be way, way faster into downtown that the ex-PRR slugging west of the Dan Ryan. Great photo.

Bob Lalich Both locomotives have had some of their sheet metal removed to ease maintenance.

Bill Molony posted in Facebook
Bill's comment:
Pennsylvania Railroad class K4s 4-6-2 Pacific-type #5364 and New York Central class J-3a 4-6-4 Hudson-type #5450, ready to depart eastbound at Englewood Union Station in March of 1946.

Bill Molony posted
A brand new A-B-A set of Pennsylvania Railroad E7's with PRR train #28, The Broadway Limited, and New York Central class S-1b 4-8-4 Niagara-type #6022 with NYC train #2, The Pacemaker, departing eastbound from Englewood Union Station in November of 1947.

BRHS posted
Pennsylvania Railroad train #28, the Broadway Limited, and New York Central train #2, the Pacemaker, both departing eastbound from Englewood Union Station in November, 1947.
The Broadway Limited is being pulled by a new A-B-A set of EMD E7's, and the Pacemaker is being pulled by class S-2a Alco Niagara-type 4-8-4 #6022.

Graeme Nitz posted
Englewood IL 1948.
Being an SPF I am mortified to think that the Niagara will [win] this one as the Centipede would probably fail!
Ted Gregory shared
Jeff Lewis: Baldwin Locomotive Works offered their full cowl locomotives with either the "baby face" or "shark nose" design. Pennsy ordered numerous models with both designs. Unfortunately, none of them survived.

Taylor Rush posted
"The Daily Race" out of Chicago, Illinois. The "20th Century Limited" of the New York Central, has the lead on the "Broadway Limited" of the Pennsylvania Railroad. These were the all-Pullman flagship trains of the rival companies, and both departed at the same time, the NYC out of LaSalle Street Station and the PRR out of Union Station. The tracks ran parallel for a few miles between Englewood, Illinois and Gary, Indiana, and the throttles were widened out for a bit of friendly competition.
Powering the "20th Century Limited" is J-1e class "Hudson" number 5344, the "Commodore Vanderbilt." The "Broadway Limited" appears to have one of their powerful K class "Pacific" locomotives on the point. The photo was likely taken between very late 1934 and mid 1938.

Tom J. Cassidy shared

Jim Arvites posted
View of the Pennsylvania Railroad's "Broadway Limited" on the left and the New York Central's "20th Century Limited" on the right racing eastward toward New York after leaving Chicago's Englewood Union Station in the pre-streamline era in the 1930's. When I was a little guy in 1956 my family took a vacation to New York on the NYC's "Commodore Vanderbilt." I remember a similar race with a Pennsy passenger train after we left Englewood Union station.
Bob Poortinga I believe that this may be older than 1930. The PRR train is on the eastward passenger main. This track arrangement was changed sometime in the mid to late 1920s when the signal system was upgraded from semaphores to position lights.

Brian Morgan posted
The Great South Chicago Race between the New York Central's Twentieth Century Limited and the Pennsylvania Railroads Broadway Limited between Englewood Union Station and South Chicago's Calumet Park.
Larry DiGangi
 Howard Fogg painting
William A. Shaffer The Great Speed War of 1938: "Twentieth Century Limited" vs. "Broadway Limited". New York to Chicago in 16 hours!
Richard Mead Well the Hudson wouldn't slip as badly starting up.

Bill Molony posted in Facebook
Bill's comment:
This post card view of Englewood Union Station at 63rd and State was issued by the Rock Island Railroad in about 1920.
Tarik Da Carpetman Baker posted
We have seen quite a few shots of the Pennsy+NYC southwest of Englewood because of the "races." Here area couple of shots of the Rock Island +NYC north of Englewood before the Dan Ryan express was built.

This is an E6 pulling a southbound Rock Island train around 39th Street in the 1940s. Notice the Old Comiskey in the background. The tracks on this side of the train are NYC tracks. Also notice the haze from all of the coal burning furnaces.
Jim Matthiessen commented on the above posting
Victor StLawrence The building in the right middle background along the tracks with the peaked roof is the old main building of Armour Institute (IIT).

Victor StLawrence reply

Tarik Da Carpetman Baker posted
Another view of the RI+NYC viaduct across town. Most of the comments are about moving the public housing and clearing the space for the Dan Ryan. The group is public so you can read further if you want. But of particular interest is:

Jeff Bloomdahl My dad was in charge of crews moving many of the buildings that were in the way of the expressway. One of the major moves was the church in the bottom right hand corner of this picture. They moved the church to around 39th and the Dan Ryan, where it still stands today!
Roderick C Williams shared
[The Red Line being built in 1969 at 34th Street]
John Markl Note the lack of barricades and jersey'd never see that todayTodd Pearson Note the Rock Island intermodal heading for 12th street.

[Another image of the Armour Institute building mentioned above.]
Mark Hinsdale posted

"View From the Cab"
Amtrak Train #360, the eastbound "Wolverine," is about to cross the Rock Island main line at Englewood, in Chicago, as it heads toward Detroit on Penn Central's ex Pennsylvania Railroad trackage. The operator in the tower to the right controlled all moves through this crossing. July, 1971 photo by Mark Hinsdale.

Bill Molony posted
Two the Pennsylvania Railroad's new EMD E7a's, leading PRR train #28, the eastbound Broadway Limited out of Englewood Union Station in June of 1949.
The Broadway Limited was an all-Pullman train, with no coaches or checked baggage, but it did operate with an RPO car.
Four track PRR mainline in foreground. On the right would be the four track NYC mainline and their yard.]
Bill Molony posted
In the center is Rock Island E7A #642, leading a westbound intercity passenger train into Englewood Union Station.
In the station to the left is another Rock Island E7A with an eastbound passenger train. 
In the station to the right is an eastbound New York Central passenger train. 
Undated, but circa 1960.
Bill Molony posted
Pennsylvania Railroad class K-4s 4-6-2 Pacific-type #3874, approaching Englewood Union Station with a westbound New York-to-Chicago express train in August of 1946.
[The freight cars in the background are on the NYC tracks that have already started their curve to the north to join the Rock Island corridor to La Salle Street Station.]

It occurred to me that a Facebook comment should have been saved. But I didn't. Fortunately, I remember the content if not the author. The timetable direction for the Rock Island going to Chicago is East. The timetable direction for the NYC going to Chicago is West. To avoid confusion on the parallel routes between Englewood and  La Salle Street Station, the timetable directions of North and South are used on that segment.

Comments on a posting:
Bob Lalich Gary Petranek - the former NYC route from Chicago to New York City is intact except for a small stretch between Grand Crossing and Whiting in which the parallel ex-PRR is used. The NKP is intact from Chicago to Buffalo except for a small stretch from Grand Crossing to Pullman Jct.
Dennis DeBruler Gary Petranek RI and NYC shared a 4-track mainline between Englewood and LaSalle Station. From satellite images, past Englewood, Metra uses RI. But by 59th Street, it has switched over to the NYC tracks and uses the RI overpasses for an access road. The notable exception is south of 47th Street where Metra kept the "Rocket House" as an engine service facility. Between Archer and 18th, they switched back to the RI tracks. These notes are probably more information than you wanted :-)

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