Monday, February 29, 2016

NYC's+Big4's Egyptian Line Overview

Everybody agrees that the route from Cairo to Danville was called the Egyptian Line.

Map from MadisonRails

Many consider the north/south route of the Kankakee Belt to also be part of the Egyptian Line.

In fact, in 1933 the timetable showed it running all the way from northern Indiana to Cairo.

Map from MadisonRails

20150510 1126
The Egyption Line was a nickname for the Danville and Indiana Harbor Railroad (D&IHR) part of the Kankakee Belt Route and the Big Four route between Danville, IL and Cairo, IL. Of course, after NYC gained control of the Big Four, this entire route became a NYC route. As with many other railroads between the Chicago area and southern Illinois and Indiana, this north/south line was motivated by accessing coal mines. And because so many routes were built to the south to high-sulfur coal, a lot of it is now abandoned. Thus a picture of abandoned track is appropriate.

The Cairo & Vincennes (C&V) (Bart Hileman comment)  was built between 1870-74. Paris & Danville Railroad was chartered March 23, 1869. Operations over that line began in September, 1872. Danville and Southwestern Railroad extended the line to Robinson in August, 1875; and to the Ohio and Mississippi (O&M) Railway Junction in May, 1876. An 1876 map indicates the O&M was the route between Vincennes and St. Louis that eventually became a part of the B&O. That is the route that CSX severed in July, 2015. Using 10 miles of the O&M, it started passenger service from Danville to Vincennes in 1876. In April, 1880 it used the St. Francisville and Lawrenceville Railroad to shorten its connection with the C&V and run freight trains. It leased two miles from the Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroad (TW&W) to get from Tilton Junction to Danville. It bought the Paris and Danville in 1881. (Wikipedia and Annual Report, Volume 11, p. 99) By 1898 the whole route between Danville and Cairo was owned by the Big Four; the O&M was part of the B&O; and the TW&W was a mainlijne of the Wabash. The D&IHR is conspicuously missing because it was not built until 1905. (1898 Map)

The Southern Railroad bought the segment from Cairo to Mount Carmel  (AbandonedRails) because it had an east/west mainline through Mount Carmel. NYC retained access to Keensburg because of the Wabash Mine just east of it. Norfolk Southern abandoned everything except the shared route to Keensburg and the Wabash Mine. But by 2005 the track to the mine had also been abandoned. Now the only segment left is a small yard southwest of Mount Vernon and the branch that crosses the Wabash River to serve the Gibson Generating Plant.

The segment from St. Francisville and Vincennes was abandoned by Big Four. Probably because of the expense of maintaining a bridge across the Wabash. The segment between St. Francisville and Lawrenceville was abandoned by Penn Central. The segment from Lawrenceville to Oliver or Mirth (the SPV Map is ambiguous about the identity between those two towns) was acquired by Prairie Central Railroad (PACY). Conrail abandoned the segment between Mirth and Paris. CSX operates the segment between Paris and Danville. (Once again, we see that the original charters helped determine how Conrail got split between NS and CSX or abandoned.) Conrail abandoned the segment between Danville and Stewart. Conrail abandoned the track between Danville and Schneider, IN except for two segments bought by KB&S.

This is one of four from Bill's posting
Update: Bill Edrington's posting has more information than I can absorb right now because it has a lot of interesting comments including coal mines in the area. One tidbit of note is that it referred to the branch that left the Egyptian line at Mt. Carmel to go to Evansville as the EM&N Branch.
Bill Edrington posted
Cairo & Vincennes Railroad 4-4-0 #12, the "Anthony J. Thomas". Originally posted by Ginny Lee in "Vincennes Indiana Remember When". The C&V was built between its namesake towns between 1870 and 1874. One of its early presidents was retired Union Army General Ambrose Burnside, for whom both Burnside, IL and "sideburns" are named. After various receiverships and management changes, the C&V was merged with the Danville & Southwestern and became the Cairo, Vincennes & Chicago, which built a connecting line between Lawrenceville and St. Francisville, and was in turn absorbed by the recently-consolidated CCC&StL in 1890.
Art Wallis The C&V was meant to be the Illinois extension of the Indianapolis & Vincennes, also promoted by Burnside until the Pennsylvania interests took it over in 1868 (they were also meant to have the C&V to reach the chain of railroads south of Cairo that became the IC).Bill Edrington The C&V and the I&V finally came under the same umbrella on 2/1/1968, the day of the Penn Central merger. By then, having the shortest route from Indianapolis to Cairo really didn't matter any more.

KB&S: Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern Railroad (KBS) Overview


I do not like driving I-65 north of Lafayette, IN. I generally take I-57 down to US-52, and then take US-52 to Lafayette. It wasn't until I saw this line of their covered hoppers being stored along US-52 in Indiana that I realized a railroad paralleled it. I guess I generally do a good job of keeping my eyes on the road because I was not aware there was a paralleling railroad until I saw those cars.

20150508 0988
Looking at a railroad atlas when I got back home, it was part of the Big Four route between Kankakee, IL and Indianapolis, IN. (In Kankakee, the Big Four joined the Illinois Central route for access into Chicago. It also had a route from Kankakee to Seneca.) The segment between Lafayette and Kankakee is now part of KB&S.

I stopped in the driveway of their headquarters to take some pictures. Its traffic is mostly agricultural products --- grain out of towns and fertilizer into towns. It handles over 6,000 carloads a year. (IlliniRail)
Large Map from System Map
As you can see from the windshield, it was a rainy day so I didn't get out of the car. And I wanted to minimize the distance that I got onto their property.

The railroad in the background is also theirs. It was the Milwaukee Road/Chicago, Terre Haute & Southeastern Railway (CTHSE). As you can see from their map, it now runs only between Danville and Hooper, IL. But a Google search can't find Hooper. Their road map shows it going north of County Road 3200N. But the satellite view does not show any tracks crossing that road. Following a satellite image from Iroquois junction north, it goes far enough to serve Loy Farms and Donovan Farmers Co-Op if you use the road view.
This segment is also used for car storage, which can be a major source of income for short lines during recessions. I included just a small part of the "white car" cut in the excerpted satellite image. I think they may be (fracking) sand cars. The brown ones look like gondolas. There was a cut of covered hopper cars up by the grain elevators without an engine. (Update: I found this comment in a Rock Island group postingScott Thomas Storage fees can vary from 50 cents a wheelset per day, and up. So a buck a day per car.)

The segment between Templeton and Cheneyville was NS/NW/NKP/Lake Erie and Western. It looks like LE&W and Big Four shared the track between Templeton and Lafayette. The two little segments Sheff-Free and Handy-Stewart are remnants of the Egyptian Line.

Gabe Argenta posted
EJ&E cab turned KB&S

This railroad has been on my "to write" list for several months. The following posting provided the needed motivation.
Mark Hinsdale posted three pictures of the KB&S. His comment:
The Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern Railroad was created in 1977 to operate 30 odd miles of ex Penn Central trackage between Sheldon and Kankakee IL not wanted by Conrail. From those humble beginnings, the company steadily grew to over 155 miles of ex Penn Central, Norfolk & Western and Milwaukee Road routes in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana. Today, KB&S is a friendly, modern, service oriented railroad that is quite interesting to watch and follow. I took advantage of yesterday's sunshine to do just that. 
Roger Durfee posted
WCW...Old Kankakee Beaverville and Southern cabin car near Iroquois, Ill.

Scott Brons commented
Same location
It looks like the location for the caboose and snow plow is stored on an extra siding by the grain elevator in Iroquois.
Derrick Higgins posted
From Last Friday March 11th NS Eastbound Local D93-11 on the KBS SIDE OF THE Wabash River in West Lafayette, Indiana Heading back to Lafayette South Yard on the Frankfort District at the Wabash Heritage Trail near Wabash Landing on Tapawingo Drive in West Lafayette.
Facebook pictures of nine cars in storage that blew over in the mid-1980s.

Mike Wyatt posted
Kankakee Beaverville & Southern 301. Kankakee, Illinois. Summer 1993. Ex NKP 569 built 3/58.

Dave Honan, this photo has been moved to "Iroquois Crossing: KB&S/Milw/CTH&SE vs. KB&S/Big Four."

Mike Kasrich posted, this photo has been moved to "Iroquois Crossing: KB&S/Milw/CTH&SE vs. KB&S/Big Four."

Grant DeNormandie posted
The Kankakee & Beaverville Southern Railroad was founded and operated by my friend Fey Orr (deceased) of Momence, Illinois. Fey also owned and operated the Orr Lumberyard and Grain Elevator at Momence. KB&S operates over 150 miles of track. One of their lines terminates in Lafayette, Indiana - Community The other line in Danville, Illinois.
Dennis DeBruler, click the map to get a bigger image.
Jesse Berryhill Flickr 2011 Photo showing one of the two wedge plows that KB&S has. The bridge for the Milw part that is over the Big Four part is in the background. The snow on the plow is from the 2011 blizzard. Another view of the wedge plow.   The standard snow plow on a GP38-2M can throw snow quite a ways.   Four engines between the engine with a plow and the tender with a plow.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Man vs. Nature (Mud)

I just skimmed the video. It was this thumbnail for the video that blew my mind. You would think that even a teenager would have enough sense to put it in reverse and get out if the field is soft enough to allow this. Or at least quit spinning the wheels and digging himself this deep. I've never seen a tractor over half the way down into the mud. I don't think they are just going to pull that out.

Soil doesn't even have to be muddy before wet soil impacts transportation.

A screenshot from the video.
Update: a video showing several examples of why you need to wait for the fields to dry out before you drive onto them. It also illustrates why they invented four-wheel drive and then quad-track. But you still need to stay out of wet fields. Mud just fills up the treads and is an excellent lubricant. Although a quad-track was able to pull a 5-bottom, reversible plow through some "soup." Pulling a completely sunken tractor out of a "pond." A contest to see if you can drive a combine into and then out of mud?

Pere Marquette's Tracy Yard


David Daruszka posted
David's comment:
Tracy Yard? Anyone have any more information about this? I remember this area when I did transfer work to Barr Yard and wondered why the area adjacent east of the tracks was so wide.
I commented that it was gone by 1938. Tracy Street is now 103rd Street.

Bob Lalich Tracy Yard was the original Chicago freight terminal for the PM. In 1924, PM became an owner of the BRC. Prior to BRC acquiring the Chicago Union Transfer Ry and Clearing Yard, Rockwell St Yard had been the BRC's main freight yard. Rockwell St became surplus once Clearing was acquired and expanded and was leased to the PM. Beginning with their entry into the Chicago area in 1903, PM freight trains originally used the Chicago & Calumet Terminal RR (which was reorganized into B&OCT in 1910) from Pine Jct to reach Tracy Yard. Prior to 1903, the C&CT ended at Clarke Jct. C&CT was extended to Pine to make the connection to the LS&MS for PM trains. I presume that the original connection allowed direct westward movement off the LS&MS to the C&CT, and would have had to cross the B&O line to Chicago. A new interlocking was established at Pine in 1912 which did not allow for a direct westward move off the LS&MS to the B&OCT. It is unclear if PM trains had to make a saw move, or if they used a different routing to reach Tracy Yard in the time period from 1912 to 1924. I would be very interested if anyone knows more about the routing of PM trains in this time frame. This diagram illustrates the arrangement at Pine after 1912.

Part of Bob's comment
Crew Heimer See page 147 (also 81-82) of this doctoral thesis of 1918/1919. Says the freights were presently using B&OCT to Tracy. Thanks for all the other new info that I had never seen! Also - when they extended to Porter, PM was dealing with USS in several areas (joint steamship line with the B&LE) and may have been seeking a connection with the EJE. And early 1900's the pirates that took over the PM had it buy the CC&L (later to become part of the C&O) providing another entrance into Chicago. And the CTT was so congested that for awhile PM passenger trains used the Fort Wayne (PRR) from Pine (perhaps they meant Clarke Jct.) to 16th Street. Crazy stuff.

Bill Molony posted
Chesapeake & Ohio GE U25B #2508 leading an eastbound Pere Marquette District freight at State Line Tower in 1965.
[There is a lot of information about operations in the comments.]

BRHS posted
Pere Marquette class N 2-8-4 Berkshire #1208 at Chicago on April 14th, 1946.
Bob Lalich This photo raises a question. Where were PM steam locomotives serviced and turned? At the time of this photo, PM's main freight yard was Rockwell St Yard, leased from the BRC. AFAIK, there was no roundhouse there. Since PM was a BRC owner after 1924, it is possible that the BRC's locomotive terminal at Clearing was used. Another possibility is B&OCT's Robey St Yard. Does anyone know? Neither of the roundhouses mentioned seems to match this photograph.
Bob Lalich PM's original entry was over the Chicago Terminal Transfer RR, and Tracy Yard was its freight terminal. In 1915 a new arrangement was made using the B&O passenger route - B&O from Pine Jct to Rock Island Jct, Rock Island to Beverly Jct, and B&OCT to Chicago. I believe Tracy Yard was largely abandoned afterward. PM became a BRC owner in 1924, and began using Rockwell St Yard as its main freight terminal.
Bob Lalich After looking through a few aerial photos of Clearing, I think this photo may have been taken at the Clearing roundhouse.
David Daruszka There are still remnants of Tracy Yard next too the CSX tracks, mostly cement foundations for structures. The rest was redeveloped into housing sometime in the 1950's or '60's.

Richard Fiedler When was Tracy yard abandoned in PM operations moved to Rockwell?
Dennis DeBruler I quote a comment by Bob Lalich from a posting:
"Tracy Yard was primarily used by Pere Marquette Railway, which was one of the last trunk lines to enter the Chicago area shortly after the turn of the last century. Better arrangements for PM were made around 1915 and Tracy Yard was abandoned shortly after."
A 1915 abandonment would explain why there were no tracks on a 1929 topo and why it looks like a vacant yard in a 1938 aerial.


Street and Pedestrian Tunnels under the Chicago River

Almost every picture of the Chicago River from the 1800s shows many masted ships on the river. So the swing bridges were open very often. This tied up street traffic enough that a couple of tunnels were built under the river. These tunnels allowed many people to escape the 1871 fire because the swing bridges were made of wood and quickly burned. (Chicagology)

Search for "three tunnels" in Baer.

Both tunnels have been replaced with bridges: Washington and LaSalle.

Washington Street between Franklin and Clinton

Rotwang Manteuffel posted
Chicago had three streetcar tunnels under the Chicago River. These were La Salle Street, Washington Street, and Van Buren Street. The latter was the oldest and only occasionally used in revenue service. Here a Green Hornet PCC car is climbing out of the Washington Street tunnel on the east ramp. The ramps for this tunnel were of temporary construction because the tunnel was to be incorporated into the streetcar subway which was never built.
John Barry: The tunnels under the Chicago River dated to cable car days beginning in the late 1880s. Back then, the river was spanned by multiple operating drawbridges, and to my knowledge, nobody developed technology to allow a cable line to cross a drawbridge. Hence the tunnels.
I suppose it might have been possible, but it would have been very involved: the cable on the line in question would have to have been in two parts from two different power houses. One of two would probably have driven an auxiliary cable on the bridge itself through a gearbox and clutch--and that's presuming a single leaf bascule bridge. If the bridge were a double leaf design, such machinery would have been needed on both sides, and there would have been a gap in the middle that the cable car would have to have negotiated on momentum alone.
No wonder cable lines didn't cross drawbridges.
John Adrian: With a GMC on the surface.
Edward Kwiatkowski shared
Paul Webb shared

Raymond Kunst posted
Raymond's comment:
The Washington Street Tunnel was the first traffic tunnel under the Chicago River. J.L. Lake was awarded the contract to construct the tunnel in July 1867 and its construction was completed January 1, 1869. This tunnel was 1605 feet long, from Franklin Street west to Clinton Street, and cost $517,000.
Originally built of masonry with one lane for pedestrians and 2 lanes for horse-drawn traffic, by 1884 it was leaking and had been closed. In 1888 the West Chicago Street Railroad leased the tunnel. If they repaired it and built a vehicle bridge they could use the tunnel exclusively for cable car service. Construction began in 1888 and the tunnel was reopened August 12, 1890
The reversing of the Chicago River in 1900 lowered the water level and exposed the roof of the tunnel in the riverbed. Several ships ran aground on it, damaging the roof. In 1904 the Federal government declared it a hazard to navigation, it was closed on August 19, 1906.
Washington Street Tunnel, East Entrance
Photographer: John Carbutt:
A comment notes that the buildings are wooden so the picture was taken before the 1871 fire. Scroll down in the "posted" link in the caption for some more pictures of the tunnel.

Glen Miller's comments for his posting of the above picture:
The Washington Street Tunnel beneath the Chicago River, opened 1 Jan 1869 and was the first in the U.S. built for vehicle traffic under a river. It was closed in 1906 after they reversed the Chicago River, it exposed the roof of the tunnel. After several ships ran aground, the Federal government declared it a hazard to navigation. It reopened for cable car service in 1913 after it was deepened and used till 1953.

Riley Franson posted
1951 Washington Street Bridge, looking east. You can see the east entrance to the tunnel in background.
[You can see a westbound streetcar heading into the tunnel.]
Beer drinking, bicycle riding, Chicago photography club posted
Raymond Kunst shared

"In the Great Fire of 1871 this tunnel served as an escape route for fleeing the city. [The wooden swing bridges burned.] The tunnel had a history of impeding river traffic, with an occasional ship grounding on its roof. The tunnel was lowered eight feet and converted to a street car tunnel in 1910. This tunnel was in use until 1953." [ChicagoLoopBridges]
Chris La Course posted
Washington Street tunnel under the Chicago River, 1911.
Beer drinking, bicycle riding, Chicago photography club posted
Mitch Markovitz Check out the "L" cars.
Raymond Kunst shared

After almost five years, I came across a photo of the Clinton Street portal.
Martin Sorenson posted
Chicago circa 1911. "Under the tracks, Washington Boulevard, Chicago & North Western Railway station." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative.
Ken Morrison: under the tracks...and under water. behind that person standing between the 2 sets of streetcar tracks, the streetcar tracks are descending into a tunnel traveling under the Chicago River.
There were 3 such tunnels-Washington, Van Buren, and LaSalle.
John J Kulidas posted
Street car in 1958 entering the tunnel near Washington and Franklin. Picture the Trolley dodger.
Scott Greig: That's pre-1954. The last of the old "red rockets" were removed from service May 30, 1954.
Manny Gomez: Definitely looking west on Washington because of the NWR clock.
Richard Ragnar Sammartino: This is Washington looking west between franklin and Wacker, when it goes up to meet upper wacker. Tunnels were more common when the rivers were busier. [A reminder that in the 1800s the river was full of schooners.]

Paul Webb shared
Mike Breski: Cars are late 30's-40's.
Jon Habermaas: According to route # it is an Ogden car. I knew Madison and Milwaukee cars used the tunnel but apparently there were other routes too

Jose Ilarraza-Boyed posted
Washington Street Tunnel - 1864.
Yes. There was tunnel UNDER the Chicago River to get to the Loop from the West Loop.
Dennis DeBruler shared
LaSalle Street also had a tunnel under the river. These tunnels were later used by streetcar companies. They helped save a lot of lives during the 1871 fire because they were still usable for escaping the loop after the bridges caught on fire.
As a comment indicated, the wires would be telegraph wires because the telephone did not come to Chicago until 1877.

The above was the eastern portal.
Gregory Jay Valent commented on a post

BDBRCPC posted ten photos with the comment:
Washington Trolley Tunnel
These tunnels should not be confused with a network of small freight tunnels under the downtown area. 
The Washington Street Tunnel was the first traffic tunnel under the Chicago River. J.L. Lake was awarded the contract to construct the tunnel in July 1867 and its construction was completed January 1, 1869. This tunnel was 1605 feet long, from Franklin Street west to Clinton Street, and cost $517,000.
Originally built of masonry with one lane for pedestrians and 2 lanes for horse-drawn traffic, by 1884 it was leaking and had been closed. In 1888 the West Chicago Street Railroad leased the tunnel. If they repaired it and built a vehicle bridge they could use the tunnel exclusively for cable car service. Construction began in 1888 and the tunnel was reopened August 12, 1890
The reversing of the Chicago River in 1900 lowered the water level and exposed the roof of the tunnel in the riverbed. Several ships ran aground on it, damaging the roof. In 1904 the Federal government declared it a hazard to navigation, it was closed on August 19, 1906.
Raymond Kunst shared









Photo by Gregory Russell
The subject of the photo is actually of phone workers strking in front of 309/311 W. Washington. Note the east end of the tunnel. My memory may be way off, but I recall the western entrance was directly under the Northwestern Station and was simply fenced off for years.

LaSalle Street between Randolph and Hubbard (then Michigan) 

Please follow the "Chicagology" link in the caption.

Glen Miller posted
A 1908 color postcard shows the LaSalle Street tunnel after it was converted for electric street car use. The elevated train tracks that run along Lake Street are visible on the far left.
Richard Pitchford posted
LaSalle and Randolph, 1909, Chicago
The south end of the LaSalle Street tunnel at Randolph Street on March 25, 1939.


Mark Kocol commented on the second photo of a post
Another one under Van Buren just recently unearthed,

A blog posting

The fourth of six levels of tunnels in Chicago. (source)