Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Kensington Tower: Metra/IC vs. CN/IC vs. CSS&SB+MC

Satellite
Bird's Eye View
Kensington Tower is a three story tower from street level, two stories above the tracks of the Metra/Illinois Central (IC) and the Chicago, South Shore and South Bend (CSS&SB) interurban line. This interurban is the only one that is still operational in the United States. IC's commuter service is electrified and CSS&SB joins its route at this junction to share the tracks and stations in Chicago. The tower controls the turnouts that allow the CCS&SB to crossover the IC tracks to get to their two-track mainline to the southeast.

The tower is the only building on the right in the satellite image. Please refer to sturmovikdragon for details and many photos, including interior shots. (Update: unfortunately, the server for that link broke many of the photos. Fortunately, the author has written Position-Light (source), which is specific to this junction. Unfortunately, the link to his main photo doesn't work.)

Paul Petraitis -> RAILROAD HISTORY BUFFS OF ILLINOIS
Paul posted a picture before the IC was elevated and electrified. His comment: "Kensington looking north at 115th...ICRR ca 1905." He adds "Pullman 111th st pedestrian overpass barely visible in the distance..."
Update:
132.  Crossovers from IC to So. Shore and MC tracks at Kensington Interlocking plant.
[133.  So. Shore main tracks leaving Kensington Interlocking plant.
134.  C&EI overhead crossing - Kensington.
135.  MC main tracks leaving Kensington Interlocking plant.
136.+137.  West End MC yard at Kensington.
138.  E&EI overhead crossing - Kensington.

Eric Royburn posted
A Chicago South Shore southbound coal load has 3 GP38-2's for power, 2002,2005,2003. Seen here passing Kensington Tower, still has up a Christmas wreath. Date December 31, 1998. Chicago, Illinois.
Bird's Eye View
NorthAmericanInterlockings has a 1928 picture of the tracks and wires.

Marty posted a 1977 view of the tracks and wires.

Al Whitlock took a view from the streetside so you can see all three stories.

Edward posted three photos.

Robert Kjelland posted
Tower along the South Shore. Former Illinois Central? Haven't ridden the South Shore before but took it to South Bend. Nor have I been in this area of Chicago.
Arnold Niederer Kensington tower. No longer manned.
Aaron Sims They just redid the tracks for south shore
David Daruszka The Shore wanted to bypass the Kensington stop. Now they're considering stopping at 111th due to Pullman being declared a National Monument. It also helped to speed up things on the Metra side.

BRHS posted
New York Central class J-1e 4-6-4 Hudson-type #5338 with train #30, The (Chicago-to-Detroit) Twilight Limited, on the Illinois Central tracks at Kensington in August 1946.
[This would have been before NYC moved Michigan Central trains from Central Station to LaSalle Station.]

Bill Blake posted
Bob Lalich This 1957 photo of the Riley [James Whitcomb Riley] was taken at Illinois Central's Kensington interlocking on the far southside of Chicago. The photographer was Gordon Lloyd. I believe the photo is available on the Classic Trains website.
Mark Llanuza posted five photos with the comment: "Janet Armstrong works the IC Kensention tower 2007."
Skip Luke When she worked there, it was an "Armstrong Interlocker !"
Aaron Sims Is the tower closed?
Marshall Beecher It’s remoted to Metra’s dispatching office in Chicago

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4, Ron Wesolowski The emergency backup machine

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Ron Wesolowski commented on Mark's posting
Shot off the Kensington steps about 1995 early morning
Mike Rusnak posted
Nice lithograph I stumbled on in my collection. The kid on the platform might as well be me. Switched trains at Kensington many times from the Blue Island branch.The South Shore train to the left makes it even better. It was a simpler time...
Chuck Earley Nice job entering tower into picture.
Started on ICG in 73. First day at Kensington couldn't believe how busy that place was.

Mitch Markovitz The engineman on the South Shore train is going to get set back as a collector, or fired. He just ran a red home signal.Scott Greig "The IC train backed up sir, honest!"
Brian Morgan Where are the low level long distance intercity passenger platforms. Michigan Central, Big four and Illinois Central Passenger trains used to also make station stops at Kensington. The Passenger platform used to be between the inner commuter track and outbound passenger track one. It was accessible via a tunnel from Kensington Station and a stairway to the platform proper. Also from that same angle one should see the Michigan Central Kensington yard. Also one should also see the C.&W.I. flyover in the distance.
Mitch Markovitz Here's what I think...speaking both as a former South Shore Line engineman, and as a commercial artist. We (artists) have to find reference photos and sometimes have to take our own. The stairwell, which although covered, had the railings and remnants remain for years. The main point of the illustration is to sell GE products. So if the South Shore train has gone by the signal, or the through train platform is shown after it removal, doesn't skew the GE story being told.
Bill M Miller Bottom right hand corner says GOULD, probably John Gould http://www.bethlehemartgallery.com/about.html
Bill M Miller "For the past 20 years, Mr. Gould has been art consultant for General Electric Co., Erie Pa., Locomotive Division. His paintings of locomotives and rapid transit subjects can be seen in executive offices of railroads worldwide, as well as in every railroad company office in the USA." Copied from the link above
John DeWit Woodlock II posted
CSS 2000,2002,2006,2003 @ Kensington Tower-Chicago,IL 21 APR 13.
William Shapotkin posted four photos with the comment: "Here are several views of Kensington Tower -- which controls CSS/CN (IC)/Metra connections/crossings south of 115th St in Chicago."

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William Shapotkin posted this photo in another collection

Tim Senesac posted
From Kensington Tower in early 70's. The picture of the old commuter cars is not very good, sorry. I am curious what this track on the right which is paved over. I would call it track 5. It is not there anymore. What was it used for?
Ralph Spargo Track motor cars stored in building north of tower by road ramp up the elevation. A rooster lived in that track shed and made a lot of noise. Hahahaha
Mike Adduci Ralph Spargo I remember it Ralph we found him dead up in the rafters. I think he got killed by a possum. Lol what memories.
[This is one of the photos from the tower that Tim posted to the Illinois Central Railroad Heritage Association Group.] 

Bob Lalich commented on Tim's post
Here is a track chart from 1942. That track served a tool house, which I think is the gray structure in the photo.
Dave Foley Bob Lalich You are correct.
[Comments discuss an intercity passenger station here including:]
Paul Jevert The Michigan Central from Detroit stopped at Kensington and also Grand Crossing 75th St. until 1958.
Paul Jaenicke Kensington stopped showing up in through passenger timetables in 1954. Only secondary passenger trains made this stop.
Tim Senesac 1945 timetable showed several intercity trains stopping at 53rd st, 63rd st, Kensington, Harvey, Homewood, Matteson, Monee.......

Mark Llanuza posted
The year 2007 kensington tower with Janet
Jack Clifford Did they still have the Train Director in Kensington tower too?
Mark Llanuza posted
The year 2007 kensington tower
Mark Llanuza posted
Were just south of Kensington tower on the former IC Electric where the Blue Island branch joins up with the main line .I'm working as the company photographer for Metra i was able to get this shot while they were doing track work.

Jon Roma posted
This image was taken in 1952 and looks southeastward near Kensington (115th Street) in Chicago. The four-car Chicago-bound train appears to be made up of three motors and a single trailer.
Mitch Markovitz Just past Griffin Cross-over. Color of recently painted baggage car is a true representation of South Shore Line orange. As time passed, after this, the color itself from the manufacturer gradually became more red.'
Mitch Markovitz BTW look at the condition of the Michigan Central (NYC) main line to the right of the CSS train.
Jon Roma Mitch Markovitz, I observed that – meets the definition of "high iron" for sure!
Jon Roma I can imagine the numerous football trains destined to Champaign for Illinois-Michigan games. The MC delivered their trains from Detroit and Ann Arbor to the IC at Kensington, uncoupled the power from the north end of the train, and an already-waiting IC locomotive tied on to the south end, did an air test, and highballed to Champaign in a matter of minutes.
This is when "precision scheduled railroading" amounted to something more than a buzzword.
Jeff Lackman Jon Roma also football trains to Notre Dame vis CSSSB

Paul Jaenicke posted two photos with the comment: "Took these in May 1979 , diagram board inside Kensington Tower, looking north from tower."
David Dennison I don’t see Mickeys orange crate he had to stand on.
Mark Rickert I spent a cold night on the platform at Kensington. After our south shore train was over two hours late to kensington we didn't make our connection with the Blue island train and froze on the platform. Earlier that evening the CSS cut the power to the main line overhead due to a fire in town as the fire department fought to save the foundation of a building about a block from the tracks. We froze our rears off in the cars and one could look out the rear car and see the DS's office and the coach yard full of cars lit up all warm while us paying customers were trapped in the dark and cold.

I guess it didn't dawn on the DS to have put us in the yard to stay under live wire or use one of the tracks full of cars and use a few cars to pull us back a couple of cars lengths back to the live wire. To be fair the crew did go get burgers from McDonalds for everyone given we were along side the employee parking lot so they could get in their personal car and go.
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