Friday, March 11, 2016

Hawthorne Junction: CN/IC vs. BRC

(Satellite)  (Also known as Belt Tower or C.M.&N. [NailThatCatfish])

Dave Arganbright posted
Banging across the Belt at Hawthorne in 1987. I remember that one day Mike Mathieu was switching loaded tank cars without air and their sloshing got away from him. All I remember hearing on the radio was "Lordy, lordy, Belt tower - give me the signal, I can't stop!"

David M Laz posted in Facebook
(Unfortunately, I can no longer find the link)
Railroad transfer train. Hawthorne Junction.
Chicago/Cicero Illinois
I'm having to guess that Hawthorne Junction is ICwest vs. BRC because it is not on my Chicago Map and not in Chicago Rail Junctions (CRJ). (Update: Doug confirms that this is Hawthorn Junction.) The name "Hawthorne" is consistent with being in the Cicero area because of WE's Hawthorne Works. The junction is double track for both railroads, but I see only one track in one direction. But then I realized that the second track may be to the left out of frame.

David said it is a transfer run, so that would imply it is on BRC tracks. But then I realized that it may be on its home tracks. By analyzing the power poles in this and other pictures (e.g. looking West along CN/IC and looking North along BRC) as well as satellite images, I believe the view is looking south and the CN train is a road train leaving town. Transfer runs normally don't normally have at least three engines.

Edward Jarolin posted some pictures from Google concerning the BWAY Corporation. Since it is a closed group, I include his comments:
That's one long bridge [over the eastern connector tracks], probably enclosing a conveyor, connecting two buildings of BWAY Corp., a manufacturer of steel and plastic containers. Note the covered hoppers and metal silos likely holding plastic pellets. Located at approximately 33rd St. and S. Kilbourn Ave., Chicago, IL, along the former Chicago & Illinois Western.
20140928 0040
That explains the enclosure in a picture looking west from  the end of South Kilbourn Avenue. Note there is a train on the BRC tracks.

Update: Edward has a 2007 Flickr photo of "Manufacturer's Junction Railway EMD model SW-1 switcher and short freight train," and a 1987 Flickr photo of a southbound BRC switcher.

Robert Daly posted three photos with the comment:
Hawthorne Tower at the crossing of IC's Iowa Division with the Belt Railway, March 9 75. Back in the 70s, when railroads were at their low point, nosy railfans could usually talk their way into towers and other locations that would get you arrested today.


Photo from Steve Rosen
Here's what "Belt" Tower looked like. It was dilapidated, dirty, cold in the winter and hot in the summer and had a coat of yuck on the inside that just wouldn't go away. It was the social center of the west end of the IC Chicago terminal. The "sign" on the side was painted by me...there were no markers on the tower to indicate what it was.
This tower sat at the junction of the I.C., the BRC, and the C.&.I.W. (known as the "wobbley"), and later, the Chicago, Central and Pacific. It was closed, with remote control going to the Belt Railway dispatcher. The tower burned down shortly after.

It looks like it was in the southeast quadrant.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

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