Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Washington Heights Tower: Aban/PRR/Panhandle vs. Metra/Rock Island

Mark Hinsdale posted
TOFC crossing the ex PRR "Panhandle" at Washington Heights Tower,
Chicago IL. June 1977 photo by Mark Hinsdale
(could not find in CRJ, Satellite)

(Update: this junction also had a combined depot for the RI and Panhandle.)

If you look a block to the southeast on the satellite image, you can see the start of the Major Taylor Trail, which is the RoW of the Panhandle. And the Panhandle would be why the streets to the northwest are on an angle.
RailfanGuides
The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society posted

Mark Hinsdale posted
"Pocket Streamliner"
Well, perhaps that is a tad too generous... At any rate, here is Rock Island westbound Train #11, the erstwhile "Peoria Rocket," or at least what's left of it in July, 1977, banging over the Conrail "Panhandle" main line diamonds at Washington Heights, on Chicago's far South Side. The "Mighty Fine Line's" track looks none too great, and it wasn't. Passengers needed to hold on to their bourbon glasses with both hands. July, 1977 photo by Mark Hinsdale.
Manuel Jose Molina With track in poor condition, what were the speed restrictions?
Mark Hinsdale That would be hard to actually state without seeing and tabulating the temporary track condition slow orders in effect at any given time. Those were what really brought speeds down. If maximum authorized speed is 70, but most of the route is peppered with slow orders, it effectively reduces overall speed dramatically.
Rick Carter There expectation was that UP or SP would buy them. Nothing like riding on the golden streak of rust.
Paul F Bishop The plan was for the UP to get the lines north of Kansas City and the SP south of KC, but the ICC dragged their feet for so long that the UP lost interest

Mark Hinsdale shared

Bob Finan commented
Bill Molony posted
The photographer is looking railroad east on the Pennsylvania Railroad's tracks at the crossing of the Rock Island's main line at Washington Heights on the south side of Chicago - circa 1955.
[I contributed comments about the Bernice Cutoff.]

Bill Molony posted
Greg Burnet Was there passenger service on the Panhandle line? I'm curious whether the station in the photo would have been used for Pennsy riders, or was it only for the Rock?
David Daruszka There was passenger service and that was a combination station for the two roads.
Greg Burnet Thanks. Its position between the sets of tracks made me wonder.

BRHS posted
This photograph was taken looking railroad east on the Pennsylvania Railroad's tracks at the crossing of the Rock Island's main line at Washington Heights. Circa 1955.

Dennis DeBruler I learned just this past month that the building on the right is a combination depot for the Rock Island and Pennsy's Panhandle. There was significantly more commuter service in Chicago back in the horse & buggy days.
https://towns-and-nature.blogspot.com/.../rock-island-and...

Paul Petraitis As the line came from the SE towards 103rd was there a line coming south from the Stockyards? Did they meet at 103rd where there was so conflict as to exactly WHERE the crossing should be?
David Daruszka The Panhandle and the B&OCT ran parallel to each other past the stock yards. The Panhandle itself ran due north/south to a point where it paralleled the Milwaukee Rd./C&NW east/west lines. The Panhandle used this route to access the north end of old Union Station.
Dennis DeBruler It's a nit, but it has caused confusion in the past. The Panhandle joined, rather than paralleled, the Milwaukee Road at Tower A-2. The four-track Metra+NS/Milw+Panhandle mainline runs south of the four-track UP/C&NW mainline.
https://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../metra-junction...

BRHS posted
This photographer is standing on the 104th Street crossing of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Panhandle Line, looking railroad west (compass northwest) at the Rock Island crossing at Washington Heights.
The Washington Heights station is on the left, and the interlocking tower is on the right.
Undated, but circa 1940's.

BRHS posted
This photographer is looking railroad east (compass southeast) on the Pennsylvania Railroad's Panhandle at the crossing of the Rock Island main line tracks at Washington Heights on the south side of Chicago.
The interlocking tower is to the left and the Washington Height station is to the right.
Undated, but circa 1955.
[Note the 1955 date conflicts with the 1940's date in their posting just above.]

Bob Finan commented
William Shapotkin posted two color photos of the tower: 1967 and 1974. The 1967 photo includes a Rock Island train.

Jeff McDowell posted
J Pete Hedgpeth 5:16 westbound crossing PRR at Washington Heights. on Track 4. First stop Midlothian
Bill Molony possted
This is the Pennsylvania Railroad and Rock Island Railroad interlocking at Washington Heights - 104th Street and Vincinnes Avenue on the south side of Chicago - as it looked 60 years ago in 1956.
The photographer is looking railroad east on the PRR tracks, with CRI&P tracks crossing in the foreground, the interlocking tower on the left and the station on the right.
Today, the tower is gone, the PRR tracks are gone, and Metra owns the former Rock Island tracks and the Washington Heights station.

Bill Molony posted again
This photograph was taken looking railroad east on the Pennsylvania Railroad Panhandle line at the Washington Heights crossing of the Rock Island's main line, circa 1955.
The interlocking tower is to the left and the station is to the right.
PRR passenger trains operating between Logansport and Chicago that were routed over this line did stop at this station.
Today, the PRR tracks and the interlocking tower are long gone; the station and the Rock Island tracks now belong to Metra.
Bill Edrington Does anybody know when the Panhandle passenger trains were rerouted to operate via the SC&S Branch and the Fort Wayne main line between Bernice and Union Station?
Bob Poortinga I believe it was shortly after the FRA released WWI control of the railroads around 1920. It probably coincided with the installation of bi-directional signalling on the SC&S.
David Schnell Bill Edrington Trains 431 and 430 were the last passenger trains on that segment on April 23, 1927, according to Ed DeRouin.
Bob Poortinga And I believe 431 and 430 were locals, or, at least, short distance trains. Almost all long distance trains were moved prior to that.
Bill Molony The June 1922 Official Guide shows nine PRR passenger trains operating daily between Logansport and Chicago in each direction, with seven of them routed via South Chicago and Englewood and the other two of them routed via Washington Heights. The two that used the Washington Heights line were all-stops local trains.

The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society posted
Looking railroad east along the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks at the crossing of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad tracks at Washington Heights on the south side of Chicago.
Terry Lynch posted
Harold Vollrath was a friend of mine who gave me pictures for both of my books, and several articles that I wrote through the years. Here's one from his collection of 624 passing the the tower at Washington Heights in May of 1940. There is no mention of which train it was on.

David Daruszka updated the group photo
Paul Jevert It was a Rock tower manned by Rock leverman according to my friend Frank from W. Pullman PC tower. Also painted Rock pile red and mustard hues ! So stunningly attractive ! Woo who ?
David Daruszka posted
A westbound Rock Island train slams over the Panhandle diamonds at Washington Heights. Date and photographer unknown.
Bill Molony posted
This photographer is looking railroad west on the Pennsylvania Railroad's tracks toward Washington Heights, where the PRR crossed the main line of the Rock Island in the vicinity of 104th Street and Vincennes Avenue on the south side of Chicago.
To the left is the Washington Heights station, which still stands today and is used by Metra.
To the right is the Washington Heights interlocking tower, which is long gone.
Bill Molony posted again
David Daruszka commented on Bill's posting
Bob Lalich The industry in the background was Chicago Bridge & Iron Co, which occupied most of the triangle formed by the CRIP, PRR and 107th St.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Greg Burnet posted
The discussion regarding the Rock Island's interlocking tower at Beverly Junction prompted me to search for this picture, which my father-in-law sent me a number of years ago. While not noted in the photo, some digging confirmed that this is the Rock Island/Pennsy junction at about 103rd & Vincennes. No date on the pic, but I'd guess it was possibly taken in the 20's or 30's?
Greg Burnet The view is looking north on the RI main line. The station to the right is still there & in use. The interlocking tower was torn down in the 80's, if I recall correctly. The building that's largely obscured by utility poles to the left center would have been The Beverly House, which I believe also came down in the 80's
David DaruszkaGroup Admin The photo was taken by John W. Barriger, a railroad executive who traveled around the country taking photos of various railroads. He usually did this from the open observation car at the back of the train. There is a collection of his photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/barrigerlibrary/albums/
John Ullrich It is interesting to note the platform that allows passenger boarding on the center track. Definitely something that changed.
David DaruszkaGroup Admin The center track was the passenger track. The track on the left was for freight which prevented a platform from being built. A similar arrangement exists today at the 99th Street Station on the Suburban line. The adjacent street precludes a platform for inbound trains, so passengers load from wooden walkways between the tracks.
William Shapotkin While not as common as it once was, the use of "primary" and "secondary" platforms (meaning that there is a defacto platform betw the two main tracks, where psgrs much walk across (and indeed stand on) one of the mains to board their train) is not THAT uncommon today. At Gilman, IL, for example, the "primary" platform is the west platform (nominally for S/B trains), with a "secondary" platform betw two mains. Believe Joliet (on the former Alton side) is similar in arrangement. One the MILW, Hermosa and Cragin both had "primary" and "secondary" platforms, which required psgrs to walk across the W/B main to board their train. There is a safety issue, of course, with having the "secondary" platform betw the two mains (I believe train dispatchers notify oncoming trains that a train is in the station so as to avoid a problem).
Dennis DeBrulerGroup Admin This is one of those Chicagoland junctions for which I can never remember the name. Fortunately, it is in my notes so that I can identify it as Washington Heights. http://industrialscenery.blogspot.com/.../washington...

Greg Bunet also posted
Bob LalichBob and 27 others joined Rock Island Memories within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! The photographer was John Barriger, who worked for the Federal Railroad Administration at the time. He later went on to be president of the Monon, MKT, P&LE and B&M. Much of his collection is available on Flickr.

David Daruszka provided an enhanced image on another post
Greg Burnet Wow, I'd never seen some of those details until you cleaned the pic up, David. And I never realized there was a coal yard on what I believe is now the site of a CTA bus barn. Great stuff.
David Daruszka If you look closely you can see a streetcar running on the track parallel to the Rock.
David Daruszka It appears that the track was actually a connecting track to the Panhandle. There was a freight house located at the junction.

John W. Barriger III, cropped

Greg Burnet commented on a posting
During the 1970's, when the Rock rolling stock & locos were wearing its "Bankrupt Blue" scheme.
Greg Burnet I believe the roof of the building behind the string of TOFCEE's is that of Chicago Bridge & Iron. It was located on roughly 104th - 105th & Vincennes.
David DaruszkaGroup Admin Yes that was the CB&I works. It was all torn down and parts of the property redeveloped for residential use. A few homes were built but I think the grand plan for the property never developed. I can't imagine how polluted the ground must be or if any remediation was ever undertaken.
Greg Burnet The site was apparently cleaned up & a housing development started. I think that perhaps the recession stalled it, but now they seem to be back at it. Interesting how they use the "Beverly" name, although the development is in Washington Heights.
http://www.homesofbeverlyridge.com/location/
David DaruszkaGroup Admin When people ask me where I live I tell them Morgan Park. When they say, "Where's that?", I say near Beverly and the light bulb goes on in their head. The name has a certain element of cachet.
Bob Lalich David Daruszka - CB&I was a fabricator, not a steel or iron maker. I don't think the site was very polluted.
David Daruszka Bob Lalich Thanks. By the time I moved down here from the North side they had ceased manufacturing.

Kevin Piper posted
An early Penn Central freight crosses the Rock Island at Washington Heights in Chicago during April 1969. RICHARD P. CAMPBELL PHOTO
Kevin Piper Today you need a national guard escort to go in that area.

David Daruszka updated

David Daruszka updated
Rock Island's lone Alco DL-103b clatters over the Panhandle diamonds in Chicago's Washington Heights neighborhood. Harold Vollrath, photographer.
Michael Bose My favorite Alco locomotive, the DL-109! Design by Otto Kuhler.Richard Koenig Yes, truly inspired design.
Mark Frankel This is actually the first DL locomotive delivered (DL-103?), which differed from all that followed in having the two side radiator panels pushed together to rear of the carbody.David Daruszka Yes, all models developed 2,000 hp (1,490 kW); the first unit built as ALCO Specification DL-103b was 4 ft 5 in (1.35 m) longer than the other cab units, and became Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad #624. The DL-103b had the two radiator sections positioned together at the end of the carbody, while all other units had a split radiator arrangement with one placed at the back of the unit and one situated in the middle; the DL-103b was built with twin 6-cylinder ALCO 538T Diesel engines as prime movers; all other DLs in this series were built with the newer twin 6-cylinder ALCO 539T Diesel engines. The DL-103b also had all-electric driven accessories, while the later models had belt-driven accessories; the differences between all subsequent models were minor.


A video of an NKP 765 exhibition train flying on the Metra/Rock where the Panhandle used to cross. (source)

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