Saturday, November 14, 2015

IHB Hohman Ave. Tower: IHB+Aban/NYC/MC vs. NS/NKP+Aban/(Monon+Erie*C&O)

(CRJ, Satellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockings:  Eric Powell
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for more information)

An album of seven photos by Mark Vogel.
An album of seventeen photos by Jon Roma. Most of them are interior shots.

Lou Gerard posted
Amtrak's Floridian on the old Monon at Hohman Jct. in downtown Hammond. April 1977.

Lou Gerad posted
The Floridian passes Hohman Tower in Hammond on the old Monon. March 1977.
Gary Sprandel That truss bridge in the background is gone now after some knob claimed salvage rights on it and hired a crew to start cutting it up for scrap.
Craig Cloud Gary Sprandel someone posted the scrapper did it illegally, no permit and being historical structure conveyed to City of Hammond!?
Gary Sprandel Craig Cloud my favorite was when he tried to not only claim salvage rights but then tried sell it as a public service by removing a hazard to neighborhood children.
Dennis DeBruler It was one of two examples of the rare Page Bascule design in the USA. The other example is in Chicago:

Craig Cloud please consider posting your bridge photos to a public, non-railfan group such as
Fascinating RR structures:, or
Chicagoland RR history:
Because this bridge did not have its frame and machinery to lift it, it provided a good view of the special curved rack on the end of the lift span.
Matt McClure Even the E-L/C&O bridge to the right with tower on top. Classic shot! So much of that train's route is impossible to recognize. For example, the Monon through Bloomington, IN.

I used Erie*C&O in the title because they shared joint trackage from Griffith and I was running out of punctuation marks. Monon joined the Erie*C&O corridor at Douglas east of Lyman. Note the Monon Trail joins the Erie Lackawana Trail here.

Hohman Ave. did not have an overpass back when six railroads used to cross here!

Bill Molony posted (CARH group)
Monon train #12 - the Tippecanoe - passing through Hammond, Indiana.
Bill Molony posted (NWIRU group)

Dennis DeBruler commented on Bill's CARH post
Wow, this is Hohman Ave. Junction back when it had all of its tracks and Homan Ave was still at grade level. I didn't recognize it until I dug deeper because I noticed the junction tower on the right side of the photo.
Since the Monon mainline was on the west side of the this junction, #12 must be inbound to Chicago. The tracks in the foreground would be the Erie+C&O mainline. Per Bob Lalich's comment, the Nickle Plate tracks were behind the photographer. Note that the Erie+C&O and NKP tracks then merge because they shared the bridge over the Grand Calumet River just north of here. Of the tracks that go side-to-side in the photo, the close ones were Michigan Central and the far ones were IHB.
1953 Calumet Lake and Calumet City Quadrangles @ 1:24,000
Of course, the only thing left is NS/NKP going north/south and IHB going east/west.
The tower was west of the Monon track and south of the IHB tracks:
Bob Lalich: Dennis DeBruler - the NKP tracks are behind the photographer.
Dennis DeBruler: Bob Lalich Thanks. A reminder that trespassing concerns were much different back then. I have changed my comment and updated my notes.

Bird's Eye View
Once again, I'm reminded that the Bing map has older images because the tower is still present on their map.
As an experiment, I checked if the new Bing map software still has the old images. Fortunately, it does. When they asked for feedback, I asked for an option to turn off the labels. I don't know if I'm the reason why, but you can now turn off the labels. I also asked that if they ever update the images they include an option that allows us to go back to the old images. We shall see how that goes.

New Bing software, old "time machine" images

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Don Wetmore posted two photos with the comment: "IHB at Hohman Ave Tower in Hammond, IN on June 27, 1987.   Photos by Don Wetmore."
Don Wetmore shared
Dennis DeBruler commented on Don's share with the 1934 aerial photo:
There used to be six railroads through this junction. Today we have the NS/NKP going north/south and the IHB going east/west.
This image is from a 1939 aerial map.
To the west of today's NKP tracks were tracks shared ty the Erie and C&O. To the west of those tracks was the Monon. So we had four north/south railroads.
To the north of the IHB tracks were the Michigan Central tracks.
If Monon and MC were also double tracked, that would be 4 x 6 = 24 diamonds. At least none of the tracks were curved like they were in the 21st Street Crossing.
And it appears that Homan Ave. and Willow Ct. were at grade level while Sibley St. was elevated.

Dennis DeBruler commented on a post
Don Wetmore caught #12 in a different livery on June 27, 1987 in Hammond, IN.
Photo by 
Don Wetmore
This is a transfer caboose. Since IHB was a belt line, instead of a trunk line, all of its trains would be transfers between yards in the Chicagoland.

Michael Dye posted
A joined and captioned 1930 aerial photo of Hammond, Indiana. This photo shows the locations and addresses of Hohman Tower, the Erie Yard and roundhouse, along with the location of the original Monon depot, and the depots of the Erie, MC, NKP and C&O.
West is at photo's top.

Dave Arganbright posted
Passing Hohman Ave tower (Hammond, IN) in April, 1979. My photo.
Paul Jevert "Railroad City" ! Hammond, IN. At one time you literally couldn't drive anywhere in that town without getting stopped at any one of their numerous RR xing's without getting "STOPPED" by a train and a long and "SLOW" one at that !
Dennis DeBruler commented on Dave's post
Since a lot of members joined this group to learn about Chicago railroading, I'll write some Hohman Tower 101. Experienced readers can skip this easily enough.
Starting with today's view:,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3
The north/southish route is NS from their Nickle Plate assets. The east/westish route is IHB.
Dennis DeBruler commented on Dave's post
This 1939 aerial shows that the tower was in the southwest quadrant. West of the NS/NKP traces were tracks shared by the Erie and C&O. West of that were Monon tracks. North of the IHB was the Michigan Central's original route into Chicago, which join the IC at Kensington.

Mike Breski posted a couple of pictures with the comment:
• Towers along the Indiana Harbor Belt •
Hohman tower shortly before it was closed in 2001
The tower two years later with windows smashed. Preservation efforts by a local rail
group were unsuccessful and the tower was demolished in May, 2011.

Scott Griffith posted

Scott Griffith posted
before Hohman tower
Bob Lalich The photo is looking east away from the tower.
Rick La Fever So train is running west?
Bob Lalich Yes. The locomotive is on the NKP diamonds about to hit those of the Erie.

Mark Hinsdale posted
Hohman Ave (IHB-MC-MONON-NKP-ERIE-C&O), Hammond IN 7-95
Josh Lemier posted
Here we see Erie Western 203 crossing the Indiana Harbor Belt at Hammond, Indiana with a freight train on May 3, 1978.
Photo Credit To John Eagan.
Josh Lemier posted
Here in our new cover photo it's March 13, 1976 and we see Erie Lackawanna 2523 lead a manifest freight train through Hammond, Indiana at Hohman Avenue.
Photo Credit To Tim Vermande.
Bob Lalich It's a good bet that this train was headed to the Milwaukee Road at Bensenville, via the IHB, since it is running on the EB main. The connection to the IHB was just a short distance ahead off the EB main.
Mark Llanuza posted
Its 1975 with westbound crossing over the IHB at Hammond Ind at Hohman tower .This was a big jct with the L&N Penn Central, N&W.
[I assume that is the roof of the tower peaking above the rear of the first unit.]
Mark Llanuza posted
Hohman Avenue grade crossing was a big Jct with N&W ,L&N ,IHB and the Erie at Hammond Ind .We have eastbound coming up the to the Jct 1974 with a Alco leading the way.
Mark Llanuza posted
Its 1974 with westbound at Hammond Ind Hohman tower.
Joe Usselman posted
The bottle train passing Hohman tower in 2011. The tower would be torn down a couple months later.
Craig Cloud The vacant area north of tracks former EL, Monon. Just out of photo is NS ex NW nee NKP.Joe Usselman Yep, and that's the bridge in the background some guy from whiting tried to steal.
Dennis DeBruler Jack Morgan In the right background peaking out behind some trees. Monon's bridge over the Grand Calumet River:
Joe Usselman posted
In just two days Hohman tower would be torn down back in 2011. I'm glad this excellent lash up would be my swan song with my favorite interlocking tower.
John DeWit Woodlock II posted
CSX 2160,8241,8328 @ Hohman AveTower-Hammond,IN 19 MAY 96.
Gary Railroad Blog posted three photos with the comment: (source)
Hohman Avenue Tower, 149 Willow Ct, Hammond, Lake County, IN. Built by Erie. Near former Monon, EL, C&O and NKP (still active, NS), all ran NW/SE. Also near Indiana Harbor Belt, B&O (CSX) and NYC (NS) lines, all still active in some form and running E/W. Nothing is left of this tower today. Was demolished sometime between 2010-2011.


Jim Griffith posted
Hohman Tower-Hammond, Indiana

Sam Carlson posted
IHB Hohman Avenue Tower in Hammond, Indiana on June 4, 1995. It's gone now.

Sam Carlson posted
Not only is this tower gone, but there's a big highway bridge going over that completely shades this location. The signal bridge has been recently replaced with a big silver obesity. The railroad seen here is the IHB; the NS crosses the IHB behind the photographer; and the C&O and E-L main lines to Chicago also crossed here, but they're gone now. This was a busy place!
Craig Cloud Monon crossed too!
Sam Carlson You're right! I don't know how I forgot!
Craig Cloud Later L&N

John DeWit Woodlock II posted
CSX 2160,8241,8328 @ Hohman AveTower-Hammond,IN 19 MAY 96.
[Note the tower on the right.]

Arturo Gross Flickr 1975 TJ McNamara photo: "Norfolk & Western GP35 1318 leads two ex NKP GP7s eastbound at Hohman Jct, Hammond IN Aug 1975." (source)
Dennis DeBruler The tower would be out-of-frame to the left (West). This photo shows that trains in the 1970s still had quite a few boxcars.
Dennis DeBruler commented on Arturo's post
Dennis DeBruler Talk about a neighborhood that has changed! The buildings, as well as most of the tracks, are gone. The NKP tracks are still present as NS tracks. Gone are the tracks that paralleled the NKP on the west side that were shared by Erie and C&O. And to the West of those tracks were the Monon tracks through this north/south corridor.
North of the existing IHB tracks were Michigan Central's tracks to their connection with the Illinois Central at Kensington.
Street View:!3m6!1e1!3m4...

Ted Gregory this in several groups including Chicagoland Railfan and Chicago Area Railroad Historians
15 diamonds!!
The good ole days at Hammond (Indiana) Crossing (also known as Hohman Interlocking).
The pic to the lower right of the spread is the best I have been able to find, although it still does not show all 15 diamonds.
The NYC freight is eastbound on the IHB/MC triple track. The first track it will hit is the Louisville & Nashville (Monon) single track.
The second is the joint Chesepeake & Ohio- Erie Lackawanna double track.
The third set is the Norfolk & Western (Nickle Plate) double track.
And yes the diamonds are in the pavement of Hohman Ave.
Today the IHB crosses the NS and that's all.
Hohman crosses the interlocking on a bridge.
[A comment on one of the shares identified it as the first edition to the Train Watcher's Guide to Chicago.]
Digitally zoomed in the above
[This diagram is missing the Joliet Cutoff of the Michigan Central which paralleled the IHB on the north side or shared the IHB tracks.]

The Chicago Rail Junction diagrams the current configuration where the Monon, Erie+C&O, and MC are abandoned and Hohman Avenue has an overpass over the train traffic.
Michael Riha commented on the Chicagoland Railfan share
Yeah, it was pretty special in its heyday...even without Southern 4501 visiting ... (Photo by John Riha.)
[Given the tracks on the far left behind a "hut" and the three tracks in the foreground, I presume it is southbound on the NKP tracks.]

Bob Lalich commented on the Chicago Area Railroad Historians share
For many years there were two MC main tracks and two IHB runners crossing the NKP, Erie, and Monon. Here is an undated photo looking west along the MC/IHB. The IHB loco and caboose are most likely returning from a transfer to Erie's Hammond Yard.
Ted Gregory 20 diamonds then Bob!

Steven J. Brown posted
Indiana Harbor Belt NW2 8815 (built 1949, became Brandon 427, scrapped unknown date), NW2 8828 (built 1949, scrapped 1988) and NW2 8716 (built 1948, scrapped 1996) are being protected by a flagger through Hohman Ave crossing in Hammond, Indiana - January 1982.

Steven J. Brown shared

Dennis DeBruler commented on Steven's share
The view is looking East. The building in the background still exists. The signal bridge is different, but a control point still exists. The track in the foreground was the Monon. The two tracks in the road were shared by Erie and C&O. The two tracks on the other side of the flagman's shanty were NKP and they still exist as Norfolk Southern. Michigan Central's mainline ran along the north side of IHB's tracks. There used to be four tracks in that corridor. So this crossing used to have 20 diamonds. The tower is out-of-frame to the left and just west of where the Monon crossed the IHB. It was torn down in 2011. 
Street View

Dennis DeBruler commented on Steven's share
41°37'15.5"N 87°31'12.5"W
The pin near the top marks the junction. Today the 2 NS/NKP tracks (north/southish) cross the 3 IHB tracks. So it has six diamonds.
I extracted an area south of Douglas Street to show the Monon Trail along Lyman Ave. and the Erie Lackawana Trail that is just east of the Monon Trail. The E-L Trail is built on the mainline of the route that Erie shared with the C&O. The land between the E-L Trail and Sohl Ave. was Erie's Yard.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Steven's share
1929 Calumet City Quadrangle @ 1:24,000
From previous experience, I know that these topo maps don't accurately depict the number of tracks. But they do give one a feel for the complexity of railroading back then. 

Dennis DeBruler commented on Steven's share
And then I remembered that Sanborn Maps are accurate enough to show tracks, in fact individual rails, and that the Library of Congress now has the older ones. The most recent map I found of Hammond was 1915. This is from Image 12 of that 1915 volume. This map helped confirm that all of the railroads through Hohman (MC - IHB vs. Monon - Erie+C&O - NKP) had two tracks except for Monon, which had just one. (I'm viewing Erie+C&O as a virtual railroad because Erie owned the west track and C&O owned the east track but they shared them and dispatched them as one railroad.)

Tom also caught a w/b IHB running light view from the tower.

B&W Arturo Gross Flickr 1996 photo, a view from the bridge looking westish.

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