Friday, May 13, 2016

CN/IC/ICG/GM&O/C&A over Calumet Sag Channel

Bill Molony shared Exploring Mount Forest's photo
(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, 3D Satellite)
Calumet Sag Channel Canadian National Railroad Bridge: this bridge carries the railroads of Canadian National, Amtrak, and Metra over the Cal-Sag Channel at the western tip of the Mt. Forest Island. Based on 2 different website for research, it's still not immediately known when the bridge was built. The Cal-Sag Channel was constructed from 1911-1922, but it was widened to present day width in the 1950's; however the bridge appears to be visible on 1930's-era imagery. Regardless, its main span is about 320 feet, with an overall span of about 400 feet. Plus it's really, really cool.
Bob Lalich On the historic aerials site the bridge can be seen under construction in the 1962 photo.

Bill Edrington Pages 98-100 of Gene Glendinning's book, "The Chicago & Alton Railroad: The Only Way" (NIU Press, 2002) describe a head-on collision between a southbound passenger train and a northbound coal train north of Lemont on August 16, 1873. In his description of events leading up to the wreck, Glendinning notes that "the passenger train had reached Sag Bridge, and Puffenberger [the engineer of the passenger train] thought he saw a proceed signal through the fog. He was wrong. It was a stop signal." This reference to "Sag Bridge" suggests to me that although this was well before the Cal-Sag Channel was developed in order to allow barge traffic to move between Calumet Harbor and the Des Plaines River, there was a bridge on the C&A main line over the outlet which allowed water from Saganashkee Slough to drain into the river. My guess is that a newer, larger bridge may have been built when the Cal-Sag Channel opened; also, the line was single track in 1873, but has long been double track. I had no idea the current bridge was built as recently as 1962. If someone has an ICG "Condensed Profile" (track chart) for the Chicago Division, it should indicate when the bridge was constructed. (I have one for the ICG's Missouri Division, which included all former C&A lines EXCEPT the main line north of South Joliet, which was incorporated into the Chicago Division at the time of the ICG merger in 1972.)

David Daruszka The canal widening project took place from 1956-1965. Here's a website about the canal, mostly focused on Blue Island. Cool construction pics.

David Daruszka Same time period from the Rock Island's internal magazine. New bridges in Blue Island to accommodate the widening.
Joe Balynas comment
It looks like there was another construction project in 1938 also.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Nick Hart posted
CN L545, known as the Millsdale Turn, shoves south across the Cal Sag Channel with a pair of GTW's in charge, the leader being a GP9R and the trailer being a GP38-2. After working industries in Lemont, the crew is in the process of shoving into the Lambert siding to run around the train. Once that's completed, they'll pull south to switch a few more industries.

Lemont, IL
Dennis DeBruler Nice shot of the bridge as well.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3

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