Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rock Island's Blue Island Yard

(Update: I'm still confused about the difference between Burr Oak and Blue Island Yards, and thus I  currently have some redundancy.)

Seth Wetzel posted
Paul Petraitis shared
Concerning the steam engine between the two sand towers almost in front of the gasometer, Matt Holman commented:
That is Dick Jensen's GTW 5629, which was moved to Blue Island from it's previous home, and eventually ended up stranded there and scrapped.
Steven J. Brown posted
Rock Island Alco C-415's 421 and 422 in Blue Island, IL. May 7, 1977.
Paul Jevert I.C.R.R. Highliners on "Dirt pile" storage and eastside depot platform at Blue Island Vermont Street at top of pic, NICE !

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Not only does the turntable still exist, the roundhouse is more than just a scar. They use the footprint for storage. Blue Island Yard is used by Chicago Rail Link and it is actively trying to sell some of its now vacant land.

Marty Bernard posted
 CB&Q 9367 at Western Ave., Chicago on September 14, 1965. This Baldwin VO1000 was a war baby built in November 1944 and is showing her "Everywhere West" side.
Marty Bernard shared
Michael Brandt posted
Another great shot of the Rock Island roundhouse and turntable in the Blue Island yard.

Ken Durkel posted
40 years ago yesterday, May 28, 1979. Went to the Rock Island at Blue Island, asked if we could take pictures, the guys in the roundhouse did not care one bit. The end was near for "Route Rock" in 1979, so they did not mind.
Looking down the turntable at Blue Island. Wish I would have had a better camera......

Dawn Cianci posted four photos with the comment: "What's left of the Rock Island roundhouse in Blue Island. Large enough for a Northern."
Michael Brandt posted
The old turntable that used to be in the Rock Island yard in Blue Island.
Bob Johnson: It's still in use.
[Found it]




Mike Adduci posted three photos with the comment: "Bad day on the turn table, Happened quite a while ago, Just happen to run across it."
Dennis DeBruler shared with the comment: "I figure a Metra locomotive has to be in the Chicagoland area. Where was this turntable located?"
Bob Worley Blue Island.
Dennis DeBruler!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...
Robert Petit The unit was shut down, all the air had blead off. The crew released the handbrake before they had enough air pressure to hold the locomotive with the independent brake. And the tracks run downhill into the pit...
Todd Pearson Had the guy that put a flat of ties in the same pit, attempt it again years later.

Sometimes I wondered if I would get ulcers.
Terrell Williams jeez heard a story about a guy releasing a handbrake and removed wheel chalks without enough air in a started rolling and he tried to chase it down. Tried to hop on the walkway and got caught under...loss both legs.
Robert Petit Todd Pearson I was there that night too. And somewhere I have photos. I worked with his brother who was an electrician on Metra Electric.
Seth Lakin Todd Pearson the turntable is a huge magnet. I’ve had more than one trainman knock off the handbrake off a freight car before I’ve tied on and it starts rolling toward the pit. Once a ballast car rolled onto the table and toward the track department shop. Also rescued a dog and a coyote from the pit.
Todd Pearson Seth Lakin “ Bob” would feed the dogs..... he was doing this one night and I look out and all I see are coyotes 😂
I had to tell him “ Wolf!” To get his attention to how dangerous these little doggies were😂
Robert Petit Todd Pearson just to clarify, that was Bob the carman who fed the animals not me...
David Daruszka I believe the turntable is out of service. Timothy Pitzen can you update that info?
Timothy Pitzen Turntable is lined for the wheelhouse. Needs a new center bearing and structural work before it can be returned to service.
Todd Pearson Timothy Pitzen I had track guys swing it with their end loader.
Then one night they left it lined between two tracks as it had tossed a pinion gear when they tried to move it through the large snow drift 😂
Of course when asked by the on duty TM, it was “ none of my crew did it” yet there were end loader tracks, a half turned table, and bent guardrail 😂
George Lamore had this happen on my midnight hostler job in the 1970's..working with another engineer, we were bring out engines from the roundhouse in blue island fir the morning rush hour.coupling them all on one track, and then blocking the wheels, it was not me but the other hostler, ill kerp his name unknown, either didnt couple right and forgot to block the wheels..around 3am, it rolled back and into the turntable really messed up morning rush..but, nobody was fired, as well as i can remember..i was at the fuel pumps when he came running up to tell me what just happened..they tried to blame him..
Jim Fitter I was working for Hulcher Emergency when we got a call from GT. They had a roundhouse off 55th, on Kedzie. They had one get away and go through the brick roundhouse wall and stop halfway across Kedzie Ave.
It was quite a sight. No injuries.

Mike Adduci posted
Ken Jamin Steam locos were notorious for creeping out of their roundhouse stalls, especially if the hostler didn't leave the cylinder cocks open.
Ken Jamin There was an old joke I read long ago about a loco that went into the turntable pit. When the roundhouse foreman tried to use a crane to lift it out it too fell into the pit. When the foreman notified the divn. supt., the supt replied, "Will send wrecker immediately." The foreman replied, "Don't send wrecker. No more room in pit."
Pete Roehling > My dad worked on the old Santa Fe out of San Bernardino before WW2 and told me of a time when an inattentive hostler ran a big 4-8-2 steam engine into the turntable pit there.
They sent the big 250-ton crane down from Barstow (then pronounced "barstool") to lift it out but the crane somehow ended up in the pit right next to the locomotive...
And when the powers that be in Los Angeles telegraphed the San Bernardino Yardmaster and asked him if they should send down *their* big crane to help out, the Yardmaster reputedly replied, "Don't send crane. No more room in pit".
Rob Conway I can't tell you how many times I've seen a crew member knock the handbrake off before a unit has had time to build up a supply of air. When that happens, shit like this often follows.
Rick Adney Rich Bostrom about 19 years ago when I started coaching softball, a dad on team said he used to work for Metra until this happened. My guess these pics are old. When I met him I believe I was working with you in Joliet. Lol
I don’t recall it. I just remembered the guy years ago saying he did this.
Dylan Barber Cab end too!
Sergio Brito We had this happen in E;Port NJ, on the transfer table, and the rails put two holes in the fuel tank, over 2000 gl of fuel on the ground.
Jelani Hall Makes good weedkiller.
Donald Wayne Klink Seeing this happen at con rails Conway yards put two jacks in front of the fuel tank jack the unit up in the air cut the handrails off One side of the turntable operated the turntable underneath the truck lowered the jacks down to set the wheels in place No Crain needed.
Batson D. Belfry AFAIK, the only location where Metra has a turntable is in the Blue Island Yards on the Rock Island District. Never heard of this little "oopsie" (but I work a different district).
Mike Adduci Batson D. Belfry had to be at least 15 years ago when it happened.
David MacKenzie Was that an unintentional pun - "just ran across it" ??



Ron Wesolowski commented on Dennis' share
This turntable

Paul Petraitis posted
Pioneer Blue Island looking SE towards the Calumet River, 1860's, Volp Collection, Blue Island Historical Society
[It seems the town already existed and the Rock Island built next to it.]
One of the questions that has been on my mind for months is how do the IAIS and CSX trains off the fomer Rock Island Illinois line get to CSX/B&OCT's Barr Yard or IAIS's interchange in IHB's Blue Island Yard. The current answer is that they first pull into CRL's Blue Island Yard. I quote a TrainOrders answer as to how they got from CRL's yard to the other two yards. I have yet to read it. But I save it here because it goes on the "to study" list. (I've read it more than once, but it is dense with information.)
How the Rock Island interchanged with the B&OCT, IHB and GTW at Blue Island:
Most inbound (to Burr Oak/Blue Island Yd) freights from Silvis would have a interchange block on the rear end.  A switch crew with an engine and caboose (transfer style) would be waiting in the clear on north side of main track and have their caboose shoved in the clear on the IHB (north)  or GTW lead (south).  The switch crew would go out on the north main track, grab the road caboose and block of interchange cars, then pull west to where they could shove toward the yard caboose.  after making joint and shoving east with the transfer cut, the switch engine would tie the road caboose onto the remainder of the road train and that train would then proceed into BI yard.  The switch engine then went back against their transfer train and when got enough brake pipe air pressure would shove toward dwarf signal at Cal Sag Canal bridge controlled by Grand Trunk Tower (now called Blue Island Jct).  When the Grand Trunk operator saw Rock Island shoving toward/or stopped at signal he would then notify IHB dispatcher at Gibson.  The time at the dwarf signal was the Rock Island's interchange time with whichever carrier train was going to.  IHB dispatcher would instruct GT operator to either hold RI at signal or to line them into either the "Long Track" (next to IHB main) or "Industry Track" (next to Clark Refinery).  Both of these tracks came together before connecting back into IHB eastward main track just short of 127th St.  The RI crew would shove west until engine was past signal by the tower to go to IHB or B&OCT.  The go to GTW one would shove out the GTW lead and shove toward canal.  Then would head into GTW BI yard using hand throw switch near Vermont Street.  All these moves were done without radios using air valve on caboose and/or hand signs.  Transfer to the three roads could and did come right out of Blue Island Yard and not take a block off of a road train.
To go to BRC the transfer crew (aka Yard crew) train would come out of Blue Island Yard and head north (timetable east) toward Gresham Tower.  Gresham would line them toward "Wall Track"  (because it went down along west side the Rock Island elevation) which went down to BRC track level at 80th St  At bottom of hill track became BRC's to Belt Jct.  When got signal at Belt Jct would head toward Clearing Yard East Sub and into east receiving yard.  Your track number would be displayed on a board at Hayford Tower.  At Belt Jct one could also go straight into Wabash Landers Yard.  Never heard of a RI crew doing that while I was there.
At South Chicago Yard (which is all gone except for one or two tracks used by Chicago Rail Link) most all the road trains would go into yard.  Interchange was made with NKP by shoving west past Pullman Jct and then head into NKP Calumet Yard.  Rock Island delivered to EJ&E and PRR by going east out of Rock Island Jct and then up hill toward PRR Main Line Bridge and on to Colehour Yard or crossover BRC/B&O main tracks and head north toward Elevator D and into EJE Yard at Steel Mill.  Any BRC interchange would head east at RI Jct and back into BRC South Chicago Yd.  The C&O (Pere Marquette district) trains picked up and set out at the RI So Chgo Yard.  For at short period of time there was a run through train to the EL at Hammond.  The RI road and yard crew change was made at Pullman Jct.  South Chicago interchange with the CWP&S was made at 103rd St on Irondale line.  CSL came right into So Chgo yard with RI cars and took their cars out with them.  CNW Iron- dale interchange (only cars destined to Irondale) was made by RI at CNW's Iron Dale Yard.  The CNW crew did not leave that yard as far as I know.  Interchange with IC was made at Port Yard (end of Pullman Railroad at 130th St.  Interchange with CSS&SB was made near where the Chicago Sanitary Dist Plant is right now.  IC interchange was limited to cars for Port or Pullman areas. (TrainOrders)
Steven J. Brown posted three photos with the comment:
This sequence of three images was taken from the cab of Iowa Interstate Paducah GP8 7979 as it shoves its Iowa bound train out of their Blue Island Yard (former US Railway Equipment Factory) in Blue Island, Illinois. Paducah GP10 8070 drifts down from the former Rock Island main while we shove over Western Ave clear of the switch so 8070 can duck into the yard. March 1986.IAIS 8070 was built 1955 as IC 9070, rebuilt to GP10 8070 in 1969. Sold to IAIS in 1984 renumbered 470 in 1987, destroyed in a head-on wreck at Altoona, IA in June 1988.
This was taken from the cab of Iowa Interstate Paducah GP8 7979 as it shoves its Iowa bound train out of their Blue Island Yard (former US Railway Equipment Factory) in Blue Island, Illinois. March 1986.
This was taken from the cab of Iowa Interstate Paducah GP8 7979 as it shoves its Iowa bound train out of their Blue Island Yard (former US Railway Equipment Factory) in Blue Island, Illinois. Paducah GP10 8070 drifts down from the former Rock Island main while we shove over Western Ave clear of the switch so 8070 can duck into the yard. March 1986. 

IAIS 8070 was built 1955 as IC 9070, rebuilt to GP10 8070 in 1969. Sold to IAIS in 1984 renumbered 470 in 1987, destroyed in a head-on wreck at Altoona, IA in June 1988
This was taken from the cab of Iowa Interstate Paducah GP8 7979 as it shoves its Iowa bound train out of their Blue Island Yard (former US Railway Equipment Factory) in Blue Island, Illinois. Paducah GP10 8070 drifts down from the former Rock Island main while we shove over Western Ave clear of the switch so 8070 can duck into the yard. March 1986. 

IAIS 8070 was built 1955 as IC 9070, rebuilt to GP10 8070 in 1969. Sold to IAIS in 1984 renumbered 470 in 1987, destroyed in a head-on wreck at Altoona, IA in June 1988.
Steven  J Brown posted
Rock Island RS3m 456 rests in the Blue Island Roundhouse - May 7, 1977.

Michael Brandt posted
A great shot of the Rock Island roundhouse and turntable in the Blue Island yard.

Ian Rock posted
Blue Island, IL, December 23, 1979
Photo credit: J Fischer
Ian Rock posted
Blue Island, Illinois, May 1, 1976
Photo credit: Ken CarlsonNathan Sol I wonder what they used the jump for (to the left of the F units).Richard Jahn Loading or unloading MW equipment onto flatcars 
Jimmy Fiedler shared Blue Island Historical Society's photo
Mark Llanuza posted
View of Blue Island yard looking north 1977
George Lamore from vermont st..
Mark Llanuza posted two photos with the comment: "Its 1977 I'm at Blue Island IL with express train flying through town kicking up dust everywhere with open car windows for everyone to enjoy the cool fresh air." It appears Mark was standing here catching an outbound. The passenger cars on the left would be on a local on the Beverly branch.

It appears the yard tower you see behind the red building is still standing.
Mark Llanuza posted
Its Blue Island IL 1972 a view from on top of the bridge showing the whole yard with a Frt and commuter train .Photo collection by Mark Llanuza.
Nelson Gregory Western Ave.

Nick Hart posted
A hump job hangs around outside the tower at Blue Island Yard's west end. An SD20 (#2923), an SW1500 and a slug make up the set as they prepare to begin the morning's work. Another hump set can be seen behind the tower as well.

Kevin Piper posted
You are looking south out of the engineer's wiindow on RI E7 642. Ahead is the Blue Island Burr Oak Yard and the diesel service area, 127th Street overpass, and St. Francis Hospital. 7-18-76
Mark Llanuza posted
Its 1977 I'm at Blue Island IL with eastbound coming in with brand new rebuilt Amtrak Geep's
[The Western Ave Bridge and Cal Sag bridges are in the left background and the top of the yard tower is peaking over the engines.]
Mike Summa posted
Burr Oak yards of the Rock Island. Probably early 1900's. Photo courtesey This is Blue Island facebook. Thanks.
J Pete Hedgpeth I'm trying to figure out where this photo was taken from..I am assuming that it was from the 127th St. bridge, but I don't recognize that building which, it would appear is between 127th St. and the Englinhouse facilities.
Kevin Piper posted
R.I.P. Rock Island. You left us 38 years ago today. It was fun. (Blue Island, IL, 12-5-76)
[Note the roundhouse peeking through in the background.]
William Strassner posted a Jerry J Johnston photo
Stephen Shaw Definitely Blue Island
A Jack Delano Photo, LC-USW361-624 (perm link)
John Kelseh [i.e., Kelsch], blacksmith, at his forge in the blacksmith shop at the roundhouse, Rock Island R.R., Blue Island, Ill.
Kevin Piper posted
RI SW8 832, Blue Island, IL, 10-21-78
[Less than two years away from liquidation. They were not spending money on paint. That appears to be the roundhouse in the background.]
Blue Island Historical Society posted five photos with the comment: "The Rock Island Rail Yards in 1892. These images were taken in the area north of Vermont Street and north and south of Burr Oak Avenue."
The Rock Island Yards looking north from Vermont Street - 1892.

The Rock Island Yards north of Burr Oak Avenue, the Burr Oak Viaduct can be seen to the right - 1892.
Emile John Buteau I wonder if that smokestack on the East side of the yard was the copper smelter that closed in the late '60s or early '70s. Had a wonderful sulphur smell that made your date look at you strangely.Daniel J Rogers we played in this railyard in the 70s. I grew up at 126th & Vincennes

Copper Refinery adjacent to the Rock Island Yards and Burr Oak Avenue.
Emile John Buteau Whoops, and here it is.

The Rock Island Yards looking south from Burr Oak Avenue - 1892.
Daniel J Rogers my mind is blown away. I grew up playing in there as a child in the 1970s.

The Rock Island Yards looking north from Burr Oak Avenue - 1892.
Rod Truszkowski The freight house is still standing.
Dennis DeBruler They stranded some boxcars next to it?,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3

safe_image for Rock Island's blue Island yardHank Jarzabkowski Rumor at the time was (someone) removed the bearings on the steam engine so it couldn’t be moved. Then they didn’t pay rent to park it there. Sat there for years before (think Metra) finally got approval (by courts) to scrap. Unfortunate
Craig Yerger Did the Rock have their own tank cars?
Charles Robinson Craig Yerger they have ACFX reporting marks.
William L. Brushaber Yes, Used for fuel oil purchased in low tax states and shipped into Chicago area. Some were old tenders.

A Facebook posting of a Robert Jordan photo.

Marc Glucksman catches the NKP 765 as it pulls a 2017 Father's Day Weekend excursion through the yard along with the IAIS heritage unit.

Gary Talsky caught an IAIS freight and two commuter trains in a shot of the south throat of the yard.

Sam Carlson caught an Alco in front of the roundhouse in March, 1980. The Rock had only a few more days to live.

Arturo Gross Flickr 1995 Photo with IAIS Paduch GP10 402 entering the yard. (source) It catches some of the north side of the Cal Sag Bridges.

38 photos from the steam/roundhouse era