Friday, February 19, 2016

Beverly Junction (Tower B) Junction: PRR(Panhandle) vs. B&OCT (B&O Passenger Mainline)

(6/29/2017 This is a complete rewrite of the posting to better organize information obtained since the original writing.)
Also known by Pennsy as Tower B. (The tower south of here on the Panhandle was A.)
(no CRJ, SignalBox, Satellite, This area has changed a lot. Look at the 1938 aerial below. Note that the tower was significantly south of the actual junction.
NorthAmericanInterlockings: no entry
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers

Also, some of the photos that are looking north at the 91st Street Tower also show this tower in the background.

Bill Molony posted
The Pennsylvania Railroad interlocking tower at Beverly Junction on the South Side of Chicago - August, 1960.
John LaRochelle Was fortunate to get up inside this tower. It controlled the switches and signals at Paulina Ave., for the B&OCT/C&O-PM to enter and leave the CRI&P suburban line as well as the B&OCT/C&O-PM crossing the PRR Panhandle. The signal shown controlled the PRR Panhandle crossing the B&OCT/C&O-PM looking Northwestward and could display two horizontal red (STOP), Three yellows on a diagonal to the left (CAUTION), three yellows on a diagonal to the right (RESTRICTING) and three yellows vertical (PROCEED).
[The view is looking North (timecard West). We can't see the diamonds of the B&OCT crossing because they are quite a ways to the north.]

Bill Molony posted again

The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society posted
Bob Lalich This is Tower B, which controlled the B&OCT crossing in the distance.
William Shapotkin This may sound petty -- and yes the above map does say "B&OCT," but it was my understanding that this piece of railroad was actually known as the "B&O Connecting."
Bob Lalich William Shapotkin - you are correct that the short stretch of track between the Rock Island at Beverly Jct and 75th St was built by the B&O Connecting RR. At the time the B&O Connecting was built in 1892, the N-S stem of what was to become the B&OCT, Chicago Central RR, was controlled by the Wisconsin Central, which in turn was controlled by Northern Pacific. This arrangement allowed the B&O to vacate their own downtown station on the IC near what is today the Art Institute in order to become a tenant of newly built Grand Central Station.

Andre Kristopans B&OCT had multiple paper underliers. But everything north and west of Pine was operated by B&OCT. The early 1900s practice of chartering a separate entity to build each new segment was apparently due to the way corporation law was at the time making it easier to set up a new company and immediately lease it to an existing company than to change the original corporate charter. Pennsylvania RR had over 400 paper subsidiaries operated under lease. In fact, "Pennsylvania Railroad" only owned track Harrisburg to Philadelphia plus some yard tracks in East St Louis, everything else was leased from underliers.
Dennis DeBruler A change in corporate law is probably the explanation of why the CB&Q would lease a route even before it was done being constructed. And then why so many of those routes became a part of the CB&Q in 1899.
Dennis DeBruler But the passenger trains did not leave the B&O tracks at Pine. They continued on along the lake shore and crossed the Calumet River with the now broken bridge. Originally, they went to the IC tracks with the Brookdale Spur. Then they used the Rock Island tracks to their connector at Beverly Junction to get to Grand Central Station.

Bob Poortinga This part of the Panhandle is interesting because automatic block signalling was never installed west of Bernice. It was manual block signalling from Bernice to Beverly and everything west of Beverly was mostly running track under control of the 59th St yardmaster. If I remember correctly, the portion between Beverly Jct and Belt Jct (75th St) was under the control of the operator at Beverly Jct.
Bob Lalich Bob Poortinga - in addition to operating their respective interlocking signals and switches, levermen at Bernice, Dolton, Riverdale, West Pullman, and Washington Heights were also responsible for operating the manual block signals?
Bob Poortinga Absolutely, each operator had to request blocks for approaching trains from the following block station. The operator then made a notation on the train sheet and set the signal accordingly. For the Bottle Train when it used to run through Bernice, the operator at Hartsdale would request the block from the operator at Dolton and Hartsdale would relay the block to the train either over the radio or on the block line.
Bob Poortinga Washington Heights and Riverdale were not block stations. There were basically three blocks: Bernice to Dolton, Dolton to West Pullman, and West Pullman to Beverly Jct.
Bob Poortinga For those not familiar with the term 'block line', it refers to a telephone line between towers or multiple towers that includes wayside telephones that are placed at intervals and at turnouts along the track. The dispatcher generally does not have access to this line.
Dennis DeBruler Bernice:
West Pullman:
Washington Heights:
Beverly Hills:
Beverly Junction:

Bill Molony posted

Scott Griffith posted
David Daruszka There is a whole series of views of various railroads around the country taken by John J. Barringer III. Many of the photos lack information, but many Flickr members have filled in the blanks on locations.
[The tower is in the middle of this photo whereas the diamonds are more to the left. We are looking southeastish (time card east) along the B&OCT. This was the passenger route for B&O, C&O, and PM when they used the Grand Central Station. The Pennsy's Panhandle tracks are the tracks that go straight by the tower. I looked through the referenced PRR Chicago album (twice) and the B&O album, but I could not find a Flickr link for this photo.]
Beverly Junction is in the upper-left corner of this aerial photo. Note that the tower is significantly southeast of the crossing as shown in the photo.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Bill Molony posted
In the foreground on the left is the Pennsylvania Railroad's Beverly Junction interlocking tower.
In the background is the Rock Island Railroad's 91st Street interlocking tower.
John LaRochelle Lucky to have gotten inside both these towers in 1965 and they were somewhat modernized sometime after this photo was taken. Everything that was pipe connected (derails and locks) at the 91st St. RI Tower had been removed. Same for Beverly Jct., except for the switches. The pipeline that is seen to the left in the picture went northwest to the PRR-BOCT/C&0-PM crossing, then changed direction to the southeast and east along the B&OCT-C&O-PM curve to the switches at Paulina Ave. that controlled movement to and from the RI suburban line. The crossbuck between the shed and the tower was 91st Place. My Grandparents lived on that street, 2nd bungalow from Paulina Ave., south side of the street. My Grandpa worked for the 'ROCK' 55 years,1909-1964. Started as a 'mud hopper' yard clerk at the RI-NYC interchange at 39th street. In his latter years he worked and retired as a freight claims agent in the General Office La Salle Street Station and rode the ROCK from 91st St.. to downtown Monday thru Friday.

Rocky Libby Sr. Worked that tower in the late 60 s, rock island manned then, also we controlled the xing gates .

John LaRochelle The PRR/RI diamonds were almost in 91st street, which precluded them from being track relay operated, so they were operated with a toggle switch by the RI towerman. I think, and may be mistaken, the signals for Hermitage Ave., on the PRR were track relay operated.

Rocky Libby Sr. Ur probably right on that, been a long time. It was a fun & quiet tower. Those PRR would move thru the plant, both 91st & 103rd st wash heights.

John LaRochelle Rocky Libby Sr. : Never got down to Washington Heights, But did get up in the tower north of Beverly Junction, which was Forrest Hill at 75th and Bell Ave, where a B&OCT towerman controlled the PRR and B&OCT-C&O-PM crossing the Wabash-N&W and Belt Railroad of Chicago.

BRHS posted
Another view of the Pennsylvania Railroad's interlocking tower at Beverly Junction.

William Shapotkin posted
Although technically NOT a ROCK Tower, here is a view looking north toward Beverly Tower (which controlled the B&O Connecting/PC (PRR) xing north of 91st St Tower. Here we see B&O's W/B CAPITAL LIMITED as it x/o the PC tracks. View looks north on April 5, 1970. Photo by the late Don Davis, a former Metra (and earlier ROCK) employee.
John LaRochelle Beverly Tower (Operated by a PRR operator) also controlled the facing point westward and trailing point eastward switches and all signals governing the movements over them at Beverly Junction (Paulina Ave.) The Westward Home signal, a cantilevered three position semaphore type,( RI governed by the upper semaphore - C&O/B&O governed by the middle semaphore) controlled RI movements toward 91st Street as well as C&O/B&O movements over the PRR Panhandle. The C&O/B&O Eastward Home signal (Traditional B&O signal) controlled movement over the PRR Panhandle as well entering the RI suburban line. The photo depicts the Eastbound C&O #9 Pere Marquette rather than the Westbound B&O # 6 Capitol Limited.William Shapotkin Thank you for info, John LaRochelle. Great insight as to the workings of the interlocking (and Paulina Jct). As for which train we are looking at -- had to take the notations on Don's slides as Gospel.
David Daruszka shared William's posting
Bob Lalich Tower B from Tower A! Very cool photo!

Robert Daly posted

David Daruszka posted
A Penn Central light engine move rolls past Beverly Junction tower. The tower was one of two that controlled movements on the Pan Handle (Pennsy) and the Rock Island Beverly Branch. This tower controlled the connecting track between the Panhandle and the Rock Island. B&O passenger trains would use this route to Pullman Junction and the connection with their tracks.
David Daruszka Homes replaced the B&O connecting track. The B&O used trackage rights over the Rock Island suburban line that ran to Gresham. The tracks left the suburban line and ran behind Gresham tower where it crossed the Rock main at grade to connect with the Rock tracks to Pullman. The line to Pullman from Gresham is still used by Rail Link.
Dennis DeBruler commented on David's posting
David Daruszka, your description that the tower controlled the connector, as opposed to the junction, answers one of the questions that has been on my mind --- what controlled the turnouts to the east where the B&O separated from the Rock Island (on the right of the 1938 aerial). This tower controlled not only the B&O/RI junction but the B&O crossing of the Panhandle junction (in the upper-left corner of the 1938 aerial). Which answers another question --- why was the tower so far away from the B&O+Panhandle crossing. It must have been located further south than normal so that the operator could see the B&O+RI action as well as the B&O+Panhandle action.
Marty Bernard caught an eastbound Rock Island commuter at the eastern vertex of this triangle. Richard Haave commented: "Berverly Jct. Track to right was where B&O and C&O passenger trains went onto the B&OCT after they crossed the "Panhandle" That tower almost hidden behind signal pole."

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