Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Was Roosevelt (12th) Street Bridge

(The content concerning the Roosevelt (12th) Street Bridge has been moved here.)

Nuclear Waste Casks

I remember when they were crash testing casks to make sure they would remain intact and contain the waste in case of an accident. I assume they have now been tested to withstand terrorist bombing as well. But the government decided the safety of a few people far away from waste buried inside a mountain is worth more than the safety of the many people that live near the waste currently stored at nuclear power plants. So I don't think the casks have had much use.
John W. Coke posted
Lockwood Brothers Inc moving casks for nuclear waste.

John W. Coke posted three pictures of a cask and its special DODX freight car.
[Per David Cantrell's comment, this car is carrying an "M-140 Control Road Railroad Shipping Container used by Naval Reactors."]


Sarah Summers Martin posted, cropped
Anyone know what this is?
Michael Moran: Department of Defense Nuclear Cask Car for carrying atomic material. It has DODX reporting marks. If it were loaded it would most likely have idler flats on either side plus an escort caboose with an armed escort.
[And a train would have just those two flat cars, this car and the caboose. There are several comments about what he speed restriction would be. Note in the photo that there appearse to be a second DODX car in this train. Some comments indicate these carried atomic fuel, instead of waste, to shipyards that support aircraft carriers and submarines.]

The following flatcar appears to be designed for the type of "intermodal" cask that John's photo at the top shows.
energy.gov, p27

energy.gov, p33

safe_image for 5 Common Myths About Transporting Spent Nuclear Fuel
Bill Shust: Having participated in as a small cog in the engineering efforts behind making such transport safe, I can attest that the D.O.E. has done their homework and that I have no qualms about the intended methods of getting spent nuclear fuel out of a myriad of power plants currently scattered across the country, and placed within a stable geologic repository.
Atlas Railcar Phase 3 Final Report

CB&Q Bridge over Rock River, West Channel in Oregon, IL

(Bridge Hunter, Streetview)


Michael Wayne Sitter posted
A westbound intermodal crossing the Rock River at Oregon, IL in the spring of 1989. Miss those tiger stripes! -Michael W. Sitter
Brian Rackley posted
BN 3110 leads westbound train 3 across the Rock River and into Oregon, Illinois 9/24/89
Davis Shroomberg Flickr 2015 Photo: "The bridge was built in 1892 and sees heavy traffic as part of BNSF's Aurora Sub."

95th Street Bridges over Calumet River

20160504,21 3290
(Bridge Hunter, Bridge Hunter Old, Historic Bridges, Chicago Loop BridgesStreetview (with a big boat), 3D Satellite)

Notice that just the first member of the truss is built with lattice work. The other members look like just I-beams fabricated with plate steel and angle irons.

Michael Mora posted
In better days this 210-foot wooden and iron truss swing bridge built in 1891 carried wagon, pedestrian and street car traffic over the Calumet River at 95th Street. By 1899, the bridge was so rotted the city condemned it and closed it to traffic. The bridge was then swung over its center protection pier for support, but half of that had rotted away. City crew also drove temporary piles under each of the far ends of the bridge for more support. A few days later, another crew came to rebuild center pier. When they swung bridge off temporary piles to do that, it completely collapsed, wrecked beyond repair. No one was hurt and “the channel of the river was in no way obstructed.” Photo and story from The Railway and Engineering Review, August 1899,

Jo Pin posted
The 1903 view of construction work on the 95th Street bridge over the Calumet River way before 1979, when the Blues Brothers mobile jumped the Calumet River!
Street level view, looking east down the 95th Street Bridge at men placing boards on the surface around streetcar tracks that are laid on the inside lanes.
Two women are walking toward the bridge in the foreground. The 95th Street Bridge spanned the Calumet River in the South Chicago community area of Chicago, Illinois.
(Creator - Chicago Daily News, Inc.)
Rod Sellers: View is east. Iroquois Iron in distance at right.
David Utech: An abundant use of Chicago's Y-shaped "Municipal Device" before it was officially adopted by City Council.

Because there were boats leaving Crowley's Yacht Yard and milling around waiting for the bridge to go up and because I had seen a car parked at the bridge tender house, I knew the bridge was going to go up eventually. So I had time to set up the camera on a tripod and take a video of bridge going up and down to let three sailboats go to the lake. Since I had it on a tripod, I let it run from gates down to gates up. Do pay attention to the comment on YouTube about turning the volume way down because of wind noise. (The weird truss thing on the right is the remnant of the B&O bridge. The lift bridges are what was left of two NYC and two Pennsy bridges.)

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(new window)  Starting at 11:15, he changed the view to the lake. Note the size of the waves breaking against the breakwater in the background.

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Below is a picture from Ewing Avenue Bridge. 95th Street bridge is in the foreground on the right.

I used the magic of digital camera resolution to zoom in on the bridge.

Below is an experiment using Gimp to increase the brightness and contrast by +40 each. It is still hard to see the truss work under the deck.

I took this picture because I was trying to figure out why they added weights near the end of the leaves. It must be hard to remove some weight from the counterweights and they did a change that made the leaves lighter. Was the change new lighting? I wonder what those brackets with a hole at the end used to hold.

Even though this 1958 bridge is rather modern by Chicago bridge standards, it doesn't have a nicely rounded upper chord. But it does have plenty of rivets.
The "hills and dales" in the walkway were a little unnerving along with the "wiggling" or "bouncing" of the bridge when cars passed over. I'm used to the bridges in Joliet that don't wiggle unless a big truck crosses the bridge.
The bridge tender house looks more like an aircraft control tower. The cars are parked to pick up fish from Calumet Fisheries. They did a steady business the entire time I was in the area.

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)
The previous bridge was built in 1902 and is one of 10 first generation bridges. You can tell a first generation bridge because it had three truss lines, each with the rack teeth on the outside so that you can easily see them. This bridge also had the "Municipal Device" (upside down Y) in the cross bracing. Note how all of the truss members are fabricated with lattice work.

Digital zoom of above photo
Dwayne Stegner posted
The new 95th st. Bridge postcard.
["New" as opposed to the 1899 swing bridge that split in two pieces over the pivot pier. [ChicagoLoopBridges] You can see that they still have to remove the pivot pier. A different colorization for a postcard]
Dwayne Stegner commented on a posting
Rod Sellers posted a different postcard version of this scene.
Calumet River view south toward 95th Street bascule trunnion bridge built in 1903 (replacing a swing bridge) and railroad swing bridges at about 97th Street. The railroad bridges were replaced by vertical lift bridges between 1912 and 1915. At one time 10 sets of tracks crossed the river at that point. Iroquois Iron 95th Street plant is to the left. Eventually Iroquois would close and move to the mouth of the Calumet River across from South Works. In the distance is the Merritt Grain Elevator (later the Norris Elevator). c1911
David Mireles commented on his posting

Michael Siola shared

Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?
Rod Sellers commented on his post
Answer: 95th Street bridge, view east, nearing completion 1903. One of the earliest trunnion bascule bridges built in Chicago. Replaced a swing bridge originally at 95th Street. Tracks are for trolley cars. Replaced by current 95th Street bridge in 1958. Iroquois Iron blast furnace visible at back right. Attached photo give different view of the bridge.
Andrew Urbanski commented on Rod's post, cropped
Rod Sellers commented on his post
Different photo from the same source. Daily News photos via Library of Congress. Here is another one.
[A better exposure of this photo]

Michael Siola posted
[This time I noticed the hot stoves of the Iroquois Steel Mill on the right side of the photo.]
Streetcar Driving Over 95th Street Bridge
Streetcar driving on one lane of the 95th Street Bridge, spanning the Calumet River between South Chicago and East Side neighborhoods while construction work is being done in the Spring of 1903.
Note that this is an earlier incarnation of the bridge than the current bridge which was built by the City of Chicago in 1958.
Chicago, Illinois, March 19, 1903. (Photo by Chicago Sun-Times/Chicago Daily News collection/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)
Michael Siola shared
Michael Siola shared
Michael Siola shared
Michael Siola shared

[It looks like they are building the west leaf in the open position.]

Albert Shorey posted

Alan Janney caught the Alpena heading towards the lake causing this bridge to be in the raised position. Note the NS span is already back down.
Alan Janney posted on 12-13-2018
Calumet River, Skyway Bridge, railroad bridge (don’t know which RR), 95th St and a Lake freighter
Dennis DeBruler The lift span that is down is NS, former Penssy. The two that are up are former NYC. The remnant of a Strauss heel-trunnion bridge that you see between the lift tower and the left bascule leaf was B&O. (A ship allided with the span of the B&O bridge so the span was removed.)
David Daruszka http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/alpena.htm
When I commented that lakers with their bridge on the bow are becoming rare, he posted a couple more photos:


Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?

Rod Sellers commented on his post
Answer: Chicago Surface Lines trolley crossing 95th Street Bridge heading east 1947. "Y" symbol in bridge superstructure is is a common symbol for Chicago based on the Chicago River - the North Branch, South Branch and Main Branch. Attached photo shows another view of the second 95th Street Bridge. This bridge replaced a swing bridge at that location in 1902 and was replaced by the current bridge in 1958.
George Dosen: I was on the crane in the background filming the Blues Bros. jump scene.
April Kristy: And while the filmmakers were at the 95th street bridge, I was turning around trying to get to work on time. Finally when the movie came out, everyone believed that I was really stopped by a movie!!
Franklin Campbell shared

1 of 3 photos posted by Michael Galindo
Caught the tail end of the Happy Rover inbound on the Calumet River south of Chicago. Just inching her way past the 95th street bridge

I recognize the Happy Rover as a BigLift freighter. I wonder what kind of cargo it is delivering and to which dock on the Calumet River. It has gone past the normal cargo dock of Illinois International Port.
BigLiftShipping_brochure, p1 via BigLiftShipping_happy_r
"Equipped with strong, 400 mt SWL Huisman cranes, they can handle units up to 800 mt in a tandem lift."
Alan Wooller posted
Barges eh

C. B. Douglas posted four pictures of a laker north of 95th street with the comment:
Algoma Central's M/v Algolake arrived in the Port of Chicago early Sunday morning under a wet and foggy sky. Heading to the old Marblehead dock assisted by G-tugs Massachusetts & Florida.
Unfortunately, it is a closed group and I don't know where the old Marblehead dock is.

Flickr photo of the Cason J. Callaway boat passing under the bridge. (source) It is nice to learn that some industries along the Calumet River are still viable.

Christine Douglas posted a stern view of the Alpena, the oldest boat on the Great Lakes, with this bridge and the lift bridges in the background. Christine's comment:
The S/S Alpena inbound on the Calumet River in the Port of Chicago this morning, on her way to Lafarge Cement on Lake Calumet. In her honor.... ALL of the bridges readily opened for her all the way to Lake Calumet! Clear sailing all the way through! ... Wow!

Look at the second from last photo on this page.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Gresham Tower: Rock Island vs. Rock Island and B&OCT

(no CRJ, 3D Satellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockingsphoto photo photo photo photo
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers

David Daruszka posted
Peter Zimmermann A different tower than too!
Bob Lalich Most likely there were two towers at Gresham at this time, shortly after elevation.

According to a comment below by Bob Lalich, the current tower started operation in 1953. The above tower at the north end of the junction would have helped the main tower down where the two branch lines crossed the mainline.
1929 Blue Island Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

Bill Molony posted
This is the Rock Island's tower at 91st Street and Vincennes Avenue as it looked on July 15th, 1989.
Photograph by Bob Storozuk.
From the Blackhawk collection
Derrick James: That’s Mahalia Jackson School in the background, just over the Suburban Line embankment. Tower is at 89th Street.
Gary Knight: GRESHAM Interlocking plant, a English manufactured control machine all by syquence switches..with 56 GRS 110volt DC power switches, derails movable point frogs n double slip switches...all color light signals....mostly on bridges B & O and C & O crossed here as did our freight lines and of course our pristine suburban commuter line n main line services...one heck of a great experience.
Bill Molony shared

Jason Bird posted the following three photos with the comment "Rock Island Gresham tower. Retired."


The third picture had some comments. To summarize: Left: Chicago, right: Joliet, bottom: Metra's subline (Beverly district), top: South Chicago Branch. The lines up the center was the connection between the two branches. At one time the B&O used the two branches and that connection to go west to Beverly Hills where they had a track that went north to meet their B&OCT tracks up the Western Corridor.

Looking at the left side of the third picture, the turnout on the bottom was the "Wall Track" connector to the BRC.

This 1916 map shows all of the tracks mentioned on the control board at the junction. I added a yellow rectangle to highlight the junction. Today, the connector between the two branches and the yard is gone.

Not only did the connector between the branches exist in 1938, you can see streetcar tracks in Halsted. I added a red rectangle where the pre-1953 tower stood.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Bob Lalich commented on a post
There are a fair number of photos and other information about the CRIP South Chicago Branch to be found on the internet. Here is a diagram of Gresham Jct taken from an article describing the new interlocking machine installed in 1953. What in particular are you looking for?
Ron Hull I do remember the tracks from the Rock Island/B&O/C&O/Pier Marquette being immediately to the south of the Rock Island suburban line, and even crossing them when driving south on Vincennes. Gresham tower controlled the movements through the junction. Pretty sure the B&O/C&O/PM passenger trains used the station at 63rd and Oakley used this line to gain entry to their home rails on the far east side. There was a North leg of the wye at about 89th street that connected with the Pennsy panhandle. The non-Pennsy passenger trains used the panhandle from about 81st street to the above referenced wye. From the wye they went east until they gained their own main line at 96th Street and the Calumet River bridges.
[I'm going to have to read that about 10 times with a map close by. That is a lot of information.]
Emile John Buteau Back in the late '60s I was on a Rock Island Suburban line at 89th, and we were held while the Capitol Ltd. came thru and when it slowed I waved to Brooks Robinson in the diner car. When I mentioned this once before, everyone said I must've been dreaming. Thanks for your msg.

David Daruszka commented on a posting
Gresham on the Sanborn maps
David Daruszka commented on a posting
Gresham continued
William L. Brushaber Drawing highly inaccurate, only 2 tracks across Halsted st., I have worked the Englewood job and the Bridgeworks which used Gresham yard to store cars and switch local industries.
David Daruszka The map is from the early 1900's.
Bob Lalich commented on a posting
FWIW, the 1915 smoke abatement book maps show three CRIP tracks crossing Halsted.

Richard Mead posted
David DaruszkaDavid is an administrator in this group. Gresham Junction where the Beverly Sub meets the mainline.
[The Alco diesel has blacker smoke than the Alco steam engine.]
Dyadya Abdul Diesel locomotives only promised to run cheaper, not cleaner. That's changed these days.

Street View of the Beverly Branch connection

Marty Bernard posted
3. CRI&P RS-3 493 in Chicago, IL at 89th and Vincennes on December 31, 1964. This outbound commuter train is turning on to the Beverly Branch from the mainline. Those were the B&OCT tracks in the foreground.

Dennis DeBruler commented on Marty's post
The tracks in the foreground were also Rock Island tracks in this Gresham Junction. They used to connect the RI branch to the Rock Island Junction on the east side with the Beverly Hills branch. They have since been removed. The B&O passenger trains used these RI tracks to get from the Rock Island Junction to tracks the B&OCT added to join the RI at Beverly Junction where the Beverly Branch curves south. This 1929 topo excerpt shows not only the east/west crossing tracks in Gresham, it shows the segment that B&OCT built between the RI tracks and its mainline that was further north. That B&OCT segment parallels the Pennsy's Panhandle route.
1953 Blue Island and Calumet Lake Quadrangles @ 1:24,000

Dennis DeBruler commented on Marty's post
David Daruszka has uploaded this Sanborn map that details the tracks in the foreground and part of the connector on which the train is travelling.

William Shapotkin posted five photos with the comment:
One of fellows that I know on this group asked if I had any pix of Gresham Tower (89th/Vincenne in Chicago). I have a whole bunch of them on slides, but here are some images I had scanned a while back (I am a contributor to a fellows blog called "North American Interlockings"). The interior photo is (if I recall correctly) from a Rock Island employee magazine. The pix I took myself were an occasion when my (then) ten-year old son and I took CTA's #24 -- Wentworth bus out to the tower to take pix. (The bus no longer operates that far south on Vincennes.)





Jimi Krentkowski posted
This is Gresham tower, it ran along the old B&OCT . You can kind of see the right of way in the tower picture and the other picture is where the B&O crossed the Rock island. Does anybody have info or pictures they can share on this line? I barely remember it as a kid as I believe they tore up the line in the late 70s
Thomas White The tower was a Rock Island tower. The line that B&O and C&O passenger trains (and occasional all-Forest Hill or all-Robey trains) used between Beverly Jct. and Rock Island Jct. was Rock Island.
BRHS posted
The Rock Island's tower at 91st and Vincennes - July 15th, 1989.
Still there?
badge icon
Yes, but not in use as an interlocking tower. That is now under the control of the CTC Dispatcher.

USGS 1929 Blue Island Topo Excerpt

1915 Smoke Abatement Report

David Daruszka posted
Time for a pop quiz. Name the railroad and name the interlocking.
David Dote: Gresham?
Think the push button machine gave it away.

Jon Roma commented on David's post
Here's an uncropped version of the picture.

Jon Roma commented on David's post
The Rock Island had a penchant for buying oddball equipment, be it motive power or anything else. This interlocking was a "sequence switch interlocking control system" manufactured by the Standard Telephones & Cables Ltd., in London, England.
There were only two other instances of this type of machine ever built. The other two were in England, and of course the Rock Island couldn't pass up something oddball, so the third was installed at Gresham interlocking on Chicago's South Side in 1952-53.
This machine remained in service around the clock well into the Metra era. I was able to arrange with Metra for a tour of the tower in 2008, and the best pictures from that shoot are at 
Gresham Tower closed on January 31, 2010, with control being remoted to Metra's consolidated control facility on S. Canal St.
The 1953 track layout is shown below. Over the years (both before and after the tower's closing), the track layout has changed considerably. For one thing, the tracks formerly used by B&O and C&O passenger trains to connect to the Rock Island's Suburban Branch until 1971 have been removed.
Those trains traveled to Beverly Jct., diverged from the Rock Island, and crossed and then parallelled the PRR Panhandle line northward toward 75th St., Brighton Park, and beyond.
Speaking of "oddball", the Rock Island's search for the bizarre wasn't limited to the English-speaking world. In 1955, they drew up a proposal for a German-made classification yard system for Silvis Yard (in the Quad Cities). It is a bit jarring to run across terms like "Silvis Elektrischer Speicher Speicherwiederholerrelais" proposed by an unspecified manufacturer.
One can certainly give the railroad credit for "thinking outside the box", but for the perpetually anemic Rock Island to hunt down one-off equipment from abroad stretches logic a bit.

Dennis DeBruler commented on David's post
The tower appears to be extant: https://maps.app.goo.gl/tgNEPGEBtqLSB2EU9
This 1929 Blue Island Quadrangle @ 1:24,000 shows how the junction used to accommodate east/west traffic such as the B&O and C&O passenger trains.