Thursday, August 18, 2016

Aban/BNSF/Sante Fe/Illinois Northern Bridge over Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

20160416 2153, east elevation
(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges, Birds Eye View, 3D Satellite)

This is another bridge to nowhere because BNSF has abandoned the Illinois Northern.

While trying to get a picture of this bridge from Kedzie Avenue, I learned that the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center is a closed campus.

I also learned that the sky can be bad on an otherwise clear day. The irony is that I had deliberately got up early to do this trip in the morning so that the sun would be at my back. I still don't understand why the sky was so scuzzy near the ground.

CN/IC Bridge, west elevation with same sun angle as above
20160416 2149
The textbook-bad backlit CN/IC Bridge on the east side of  Kedzie looks better with the 9:45am sun.

I thought Ed's photo was better. But I see he also has a scuzzy sky behind the bridge. But the dark blue water of the canal makes the photo look good. Note that his Nov. 1988 photo catches the Crawford Generating Plant with both chimneys intact. Historic Bridges (at the top) was able to get a bluish sky behind the bridge. It also has both chimneys intact.

Ed got the west elevation.
Edward Kwiatkowski posted, Flickr version
The abandoned Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad's
ex Illinois Northern Railroad swing bridge, over the
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Chicago Illinois.
June 2015.
Located west of the South Kedzie Avenue bridge, at
approximately West 33rd Street. For many years, local
freight trains crossed this bridge, going to and from
the Santa Fe's Corwith Yard.
David Moorman Looks like there are still tracks on it.
Ean Kahn-Treras and they have not hosted a train in a decade or even longer.
Dennis DeBrulerYou and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. The swing bridge in the background is for the CN/IC Freeport Subdivision,

Update: The last two photos posted by Ramon Rhodes:

The rails connecting this bridge were intact and connected to the BNSF mainline up until about 2010. After that they were severed and the switches removed. The shot above was taken in November 2009. Note the connection which dumps out on the mainline going to the left of the photo is intact and is ballasted. The track that crossed the mainline on a diamond to go straight into Corwith Yard has been removed. [posting]

Here's a shot in 2010 after the connection switch off the mainline had been removed and the bridge abandoned. [posting]

Joe Usselman posted
Old Santa Fe bridge north of Corwith in 2018. It was abandoned about ten years ago or so.
[Additional comments are in Illinois Northern Railroad]
Ramon Rhodes Anthony Cac the bridge has only been opened a handful of times since it was built around 1902. There never was any machinery installed to open or close the bridge. The same is true for all of the railroad bridges east of the 21st lift bridge west to the bridge at Lemont.All commercial traffic that uses this part of the canal must be low enough to fit underneath the bridges. The tow boats have special wheel houses that can be raised and lowered so that they can slide underneath the bridges.
Fred Van Dorpe Ramon Rhodes Thats not true. Other bridges along the Ship and Sanitary Canal like the IC bridge near Kedzie ave. and the 8 track bridge at Ash St. junction are built to be moveable for a reason. There was definitely machinery originally on all the moveable type bridges for them to be opened. Its just been removed long ago. A bridge doesnt get built to be opened for boat traffic "only a handful of times." This article even states that the machinery for opening the various bridges was removed.

Ramon Rhodes Fred Van Dorpe I wrote a paper on the railroad bridges along the Sanitary Canal. My research indicated that none of the swing bridges were ever motorized. They had to be manually opened. That happened about 7-8 times during WW2 so that minesweepers built up river could reach the Gulf of Mexico without having to go through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Atlantic.

Perhaps the person who wrote the article isn't aware of this. Note that there are no historic photographs anywhere of the swing spans from the CN bridge at Kedzie Avenue all the way down to Lemont open.

I will continue to do more research on this, but I believe that what I posted is the truth.

Ramon Rhodes Fred Van Dorpe and yes, I should have been more clear when I said, "all of the bridges" in my original post. I should have said all of the SWING bridges.
Ramon Rhodes Fred Van Dorpe I recently found the paper that I wrote on the bridges and to be specific, none of the bridges were built with turning machinery in them. It was a cost-saving measure.

Briefly during World War II, machinery was installed in them, but it was later removed. 1953 was the last time they were opened and I suspect it was probably done manually.

Dennis DeBruler So the Marine Angle going from ocean to Great Lakes service in 1953 was the last time the bridges moved.

Ramon Rhodes The rails connecting this bridge were intact and connected to the BNSF mainline up until about 2010. After that they were severed and the switches removed. [Note photos 10 and 11 above where Ramon documented this change.]
Anthony Cac Interesting to think that at least occasionally, the RR has to go to the expense to minimally inspect the structure.
Ramon Rhodes I suspect that it won't be around too much longer now that it has been abandoned. Once it starts to show signs of advanced structural decay from rust [if it already hasn't] they'll be forced to remove it because it poses a hazard to water navigation in the canal.
David HersrudDavid and 41 others joined Chicagoland Railfan within the last two weeks. Give them a warm welcome into your community! wow I use to live along the ILLINOIS NORTHERN line., walked that bridge several times and theyre was a small yard beyond that back in the 70 s stored several mty 40ft boxcars...
Fred Van Dorpe commented on Joe's posting
And the award for the weirdest dwarf signal in Chicagoland goes to...
Anthony Cac Being a swing bridge, could that light have been designed to point up (down) the canal to indicate to approaching ships the bridge was open for them?
Fred Van Dorpe Anthony Cac No, boats don't need a signal when the bridge is open
Ramon posted four photos on the posting as comments.

Here are a few of shots of the bridge taken from the nearby shore. I got these from the internet.



And here's that much talked about signal on top!

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