Friday, March 25, 2016

Butler Junction: C&WI and PRR over NYC

Kevin Piper posted
(Duplicate Alert: my second notes have a lot more detail)

Kevin's comment: "Butler Junction (40th Street) on the old CJ. 3-31-91." The UP/C&WI and the NS/PRR crossover the CRL+NS/NYC/Chicago Junction (CJ)/Union Stock Yard and Transit Company. The CJ went west from the IC track, across the north side of the stock yards and then turned north and became part of the Western Corridor.

I could not find Butler Junction on any of the maps nor in CRJ, probably because the crossings are grade separated. But there was evidently a tower, now called CP518 that controlled the connections in the two western quadrants. (No tower means this Control Point is now remotely controlled from a dispatcher's desk. Instead of a dispatcher telling a tower operator what to do, s/he just does it.) The southwest quadrant would still be used by NS trains to access Ashland Yard.

I'm learning that even if a crossing is grade separated, there may still may have been a tower to control the interchange track turnouts and signals. I'm going to add the label towerOverpass to mark grade-separated railroad with interchanges controlled by a tower. So the current labeling convention is:

  • towerJunction: a grade crossing for which I found a picture of the tower
  • crossing: a grade crossing for which I have no picture of the tower. Actually, some crossings of branch routes out in the country never had a tower. They continued to use the stop and proceed if clear protocol. Or sometimes a gate was swung back and forth so that one route did not have to come to a complete stop if the gate was over the other route.
  • towerOverpass: a grade separated crossing that has enough interchange traffic to warrant tower control so that the crew of an interchange train does not have to get out to throw turnouts. I also use this label for grade separated crossings for which I have yet to find a photo
The stockyards and the old packing plants have been repurposed as an industrial park. Since Class I railroads hate switching work, NS lets Chicago Rail Link handle the local switching chores.

To summarize some comments, this was a transfer job from UP's Canalport Yard, where CRL had the switching contract, to  Blue Island Yard and Iowa Interstate. The group is public, so you should be able to read all of the comments for this posting. They mentioned a "CJ yard", but I have not been to determine where that was. Maybe it was the current Ashland Yard.

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