Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Grasselli Tower: EJ&E vs. IHB(NYC) vs. B&OCT

Robert Barcus Photo from GrassilliTower-about
(CRJ, search for Grasselli; HVRMSatellite)

"Grasselli may have been built as early as 1906, but is confirmed to have been in place at least in 1916. A track diagram from 1916 for the interlocking plant shows that it was originally called RA Tower. The name 'Grasselli' came from a long-gone chemical plant located near the tower that was served by the IHB." (GrassilliTower-about)

It was decommissioned in late 2007 and moved in May of 2009 to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, IN for $55,000.
1916 Track Diagram from GrassilliTower
Please read CRJ for a summary of the railroad tracks that used to run through this junction. (GrassilliTower-move)

I need to visit that museum because I am more interested in the interlocking plant on the first floor than the levers on the second floor.
Mike Breski posted
Mike's comment:
Interlocking towers were once a common feature along area railroads. Towers were once located in North Judson, Knox, Hamlet, Delong, Wellsboro, LaCrosse, and many other towns. All of these towers are now gone. The Indiana Harbor Belt gave the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum a great opportunity to preserve a key piece of American railroad history. Grasselli Tower faithfully served the IHB for nearly a century. After months of careful planning, Grasselli Tower was moved from its original home in East Chicago to its new home at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson. The old railroad tower will serve as the centerpiece of our operational signal system.Grasselli TowerGrasselli Tower was once located along the IHB mainline in East Chicago, Indiana. Indiana Harbor Belt generously donated the tower to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana. HVRM members inspected the tower on January 17, 2008.Photo by Robert BarcusNow that Grasselli Tower has been moved to North Judson, the museum intends to make it into a working tower. The HVRM currently has a working signal system and a functional interlocking tower will be the centerpiece of a larger interpretive signal display. The tower will help visitors understand how railroads operated beginning in the late nineteenth century. 
Matt Lasayko commented on above posting
Restoration progress
Candy Lachman Birkenfeld That was the hardest tower to operate - when I crew dispatched, there was only a couple switch tenders qualified- difficult to fill the job if one of them laid off

Scott Griffith posted five images:

1, an overview
2, NYC Revision #8, 1925 or 1926

Bob Lalich commented on the above posting
Notice that the drawing indicates that the towerman faced away from the tracks. And notice the ownership lines west of the tower. When this interlocking was first installed in 1905, the Indiana Harbor RR tracks, later to become Chicago, Indiana & Southern (NYC) were west of the tower. Here is a drawing of the 1905 interlocking, courtesy of Hoosier Valley RR Museum.

Richard S Eule posted
Grasselli Tower interlocking bed. Date: 6/1996.

Joe Usselman posted two photos with the comment: "A difference of a few months in 2008. Grasselli tower in its original location at East Chicago. Today the tower sits safely in North Judson."
Jeff LewisJeff and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicagoland Railfan. Quite a difference a camera lens can make.


Mike Breski posted five photos with the comment:
Moving Grasselli
The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana was given the opportunity by the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Company to acquire a very unique piece of railroad history - Grasselli Tower in East Chicago. The IHB decommissioned the tower during the later part of 2007 and promptly offered the tower to the HVRM. Grasselli was one of the last remaining railroad towers in Northern Indiana.
The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum worked quickly to preserve this piece of American history and we couldn't have done it without the help of museum volunteers and many monetary donations! The total cost to move Grasselli Tower to North Judson and preserve this amazing example of early railroad technology was just over $55,000 (slightly above our original budget estimates of $50k).
Nickel Plate Road 765 rolls past Grasselli Tower with an members-only excursion train at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson on Friday, May 22, 2009. The tower is currently being refurbished by museum volunteers and will become the jewel of the HVRM Signal Department.
Photo by Fred Boyer
Les Beckman and Mark Stanek Outside of Grasselli Tower
The work to move Grasselli Tower to North Judson coudn't have been completed without the dedication of several museum volunteers. HVRM members Mark Stanek (left) and Les Beckman (right) examine some plans for the IHB's Grasselli Tower on a cold spring day.
Photo by Mark Stanek
Share Your Tower Stories
We're looking for your stories about railroad towers and cabins. If you have a tower story, please share your experiences with us! Your story may be published on our website and will help all of our visitors better understand how railroad towers worked. Some of our visitors have already submitted their stories, so read their stories.
Link to the Grasselli Tower Website
If you provide a link to the Grasselli Tower website, we will return the favor by providing a reciprical link to your website. Your links will help us increase awareness of our preservation effort.
Inside Grasselli Tower
Shortly after Indiana Harbor Belt donated Grasselli Tower to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, a group from the HVRM and IHB inspected the entire tower so that a plan could be formulated for the eventual move to North Judson.
Photo by Robert Barcus
Indiana Harbor Belt
We Wish to Thank the
Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad
for Their Generous Donation!
TrainNet.org Web Gem Award





Jerry Stack commented on a post
Here's a photo of Grasselli taken in February 2008. You can see the guides for the rods in this picture. Some of the rods were still in place near the tower.
Jerry Stack commented on a post
 Another shot, looking south of the tower. Grasselli got its name, btw, from the Grasselli Chemical Company plant that was located to the left or east of the tower. It was eventually purchased by Du Pont. I don't think much remains of the plant today.

Ken Schmidt posted
On a warm July day in 1992, IHB 8835 was in charge of the Bottle train for Acme Steel.
Going by Grasselli Tower, the conductor came out for a breeze and to wave at those taking photos.
Grasselli tower would operate til late 2007.
Jeff Vandergraff Grasseli is now at North Judson Indiana..rail museum

Mark Hinsdale posted
 Here is a merchandise train using the Indiana Harbor Belt at Grasselli Tower in East Chicago IN, as it moves compass north toward the junction with the Chicago Line at Indiana Harbor. The train will turn east there, and head for Elkhart. Grasselli Tower was saved, and now resides at the Hoosier Valley Railroad in North Judson IN. July, 1998 photo by Mark Hinsdale

Bill Molony posted
Conrail GE C40-8W at Grasselli Tower - 1991.

Ean Kahn-Treras posted
It may be hard to keep track of all the names and locations on the map in Northwest Indiana. Here's an aerial view to put a few things in perspective for those that might have a tough time memorizing the lay of the land.
Indiana Harbor Belt's 116 job is shoving north off the Kankakee Line and onto the East Chicago Belt at Grasselli. The Kankakee Line is the Harbor's mainline from CP 100/CP 502 south to CP Gibson and Osborn. The East Chicago Belt is one of the earliest portions of the IHB, built as the East Chicago Belt Railroad just before the turn of the 20th Century and ran between State Line then eastbound to a point somewhere on the upper right of this photo.
The wye at Shearson is on the middle left. This 116 job after shoving onto the East Chicago Belt, will organize his car cuts and proceed east towards Shearson and a connection with the former EJE Whiting Branch. Heading eastbound on the J will lead you to another junction, which is named Cavanaugh. This is also a wye, which connects the J's Whiting Branch (now known as the Calumet Spur) to the relocated and ever-busy EJE mainline between Kirk Yard and Griffith. 116's destination is the AMG scrap yard on the south side of the wye at Cavanaugh.
The B&OCT even had a small branch that crossed the East Chicago Belt and Kankakee Line as well at this location. On the east side of the Kankakee Line nowadays, the Harbor still switches out Grace, which is the facility just barely in view on the right. I've seen timetables from many decades ago refer to that spot as the Cudahy Lead. Going even further back in time, the South Shore would have cut across west to east in the background of this photo as well. Nowadays, they have been rebuilt to parallel the Indiana Toll Road, which is about a mile south of my location.
April 13th, 2021
East Chicago, Indiana.

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