Saturday, January 28, 2017

C&WI 16th Street Interlocking

(no CRJ, Satellite (no trace of where this tower was is left because the C&WI tracks have been filled in to remove the embankments when they made Ping Tom Memorial Park))
NorthAmericanInterlockings: photo
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers: looking northeast    looking south

The 16th Street Tower was part of C&WI's route between 21st Street Crossing and Roosevelt Roadwhich as the route to Dearborn Station.

Dave Durham posted

John Smatlak shared his Flickr link in Chicago Area Railroad Historians
The abandoned C&WI tower next to the 16th St. interlocking, Summer of 1986. This tower was situated on the lead to the old Dearborn Station.

Dave Durham posted
Bob Lalich In later years the towers north and south of the NYC/Rock Island viaduct were called 15th St and 16th St respectively.

Mark Llanuza posted two photos with the comment: "At 16th st tower this is where the Erie came into Dearborn station. By 1983 most of all the rails were rusted and Dearborn was removed only this section going under the Rock Island remained."
Mark posted again
[Note the signaling pipelines running to the north of the tower.]


Dave Arganbright posted
The approach to Dearborn Station, Chicago, in 1983. My photo.
Jeff Blocker WHERE??
Dennis DeBruler This was Chicago & Western Indiana's 16th Street Tower. It was in the middle of what is now Ping Tom Memorial Park. The C&WI is now gone because it was the terminal railroad for the Dearborn Station. It was owned by five railroads: C&EI, GTW, Wabash, Erie, and Monon.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3

The tower cropped out of the max resolution image of the above photo

Paul Petraitis posted
11am 9/23/1905, Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Ean Kahn-Treras We are looking off of 18th Street in this view. The elevated track is the IC iowa division curving for their crossing of the RI at 16th Street.
Bob Lalich The bridge seen here is the SCAL swing bridge. 16th St Tower can be seen in the distance.

MWRD posted
The South Branch of the Chicago River and the railyard for the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad on September 13, 1905, viewed looking north from 18th Street.
chicago and western indiana railroad: Looking further, you can see 16th street tower
William Shapotkin: chicago and western indiana railroad Yes, but do not believe it was the 16th St Tower you and I knew -- as at the time of this photo, believe we would ber looking at a grade-level xing with the St Charles Air Line. Might anyone else want to weigh in on that?

Dennis DeBruler commented on William's comment
It may have been the same. It is building 135 on this map, and there is some room between it and the St Charles Air Line to build an embankment.

One of the things that makes learning Chicago railroads challenging is that different railroads that passed a tower would have their own name for that tower. That is why there are two Western Avenue Towers in Chicago. Bob's comment below taught me that there are two 16th Street Towers. The other 16th Street Interlocking is about a block east of here.

In order for C&WI to get to Dearborn Station, which is east of La Salle Street Station, the five tracks of the C&WI and Santa Fe, which was a Dearborn tenant, took the low road and all of the other railroads were elevated around 16th Street.

The wall on the right in the above photo is the IC (Chicago, Madison & Northern, CM&N) embankment of the track that climbs from the 21st Street Crossing up to join the St. Charles Air Line (SCAL). Both sides of this embankment are now filled in so that the bridges in the background of Stuart's posting are now at ground level! It is probably filled with dirt from digging the basements and pilings of all of the new buildings that have been built south of the loop where all of the station and freight house tracks used to be.

Here is contemporary view of those bridges. The tracks going across the picture in the middle are the CN/IC tracks. The track in the right foreground is the remaining connector of the two connectors that used to go between the SCAL and the Rock Island + NYC tracks. The bridges in the near background used to go over the two Santa Fe tracks and the bigger girders in the bar background used to go over the four C&WI tracks. The IC bridges over the Santa Fe and the Rock Island + NYC bridges over the C&WI tracks have been removed. Clark Street used to have an overpass over the grade-level C&WI tracks. But when the C&WI tracks were removed, the overpass was removed.

In the following track diagram, I added a red box to show the remaining bridge remnants that are now filled in with dirt and a blue box to show the Rock Island 16th Street (IC Clark Street) Tower. (Note that some of the lines show concrete embankments rather than tracks. There are a lot of concrete embankments in this area because there are elevated tracks very close to grade level tracks.)
This is an excerpt at 100% magnification. The yellow box highlights building 135, which is labeled Interlocker Tower.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
The tower must have been rebuilt between 1938 and 1964 because it was square with the compass in 1938 but it was square with the tracks in the 1964 map.

Bill Molony posted
Monon Railroad Alco Century 420 #501 at Chicago in June 1967.
Bob Lalich Passing C&WI's 16th St Tower.
Dennis DeBruler commented on Bill's posting (120160416 2222)
I found it fascinating that they did not remove the bridges. They just filled in the track routes. I assume the first pair went over the Santa Fe tracks and the second pair went over the above C&WI route. I'm really surprised that some illegal scrapper has not hauled off the steel girders considering what they did with the rare Page Bascule Monon bridge over the Grand Calumet River.

Bill Molony posted
Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad EMD E7A #28, southbound on the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad tracks at 18th Street with C&EI train #3, the Danville Flyer back in June of 1969.The Danville Flyer was equipped with reclining seat coaches and a buffet lounge car, but did not handle checked baggage.
Dennis DeBruler And the C&WI 16th Street Tower past the end of the train, the boxcars are on the ICwest embankment, and the Erie Freight House is in the middle background.

Bill Molony posted again
Louisville & Nashville Railroad EMD E7A #28 (ex-Chicago & Eastern Illinois #1101) southbound at 18th Street with L&N train #3, the Danville Flyer, on the Chicago & Western Indiana tracks - June, 1969.
Brandon McShane Actually, that's a C&EI unit.Bill Molony The intermediate stops for this train were 63rd Street (Englewood Station), Chicago Heights-Steger, Momence, St. Anne, Watseka, Milford and Hoopeston.
Tom Carter posted
Conrail (ex-NYC) SW1 8498 is moving a long line of out-of-service Amtrak E-units near downtown Chicago area on June 19, 1980. I’m not certain where this is, but you can see the edge of the bascule bridge over the top of the trees at the left and the Sears tower is over the third clump of trees, so I’m thinking I must be standing on West 18th east of the river facing roughly north-northwest. Am I close? Also note the railroad tower just right of center.
Behind SW1 8498 are E8A’s 445, 438, 444, 447, E9B 478, and E8A 448. I know we need progress, but it seems such a shame to see these magnificent locomotives tossed aside, especially since each has a pre-Amtrak history as well. Click to enlarge.
ADDITION: FYI, the original owners of these engines, starting from the right behind the SW1 are: ACL, UP, ACL, PRR, PRR, PRR.
Dennis DeBruler This is one of the few shots I have seen that includes the C&WI 16th Street Interlocking. It is the only shot I have seen of the Santa Fe tracks to Dearborn. When they built the Ping Tom Park and Fieldhouse, they filled in the land to match the grade of the IC embankment. This "E" train would be running over the west side of today's ball diamond. The right outfield of that ball park would be close to Santa Fe's roundhouse.
Dennis DeBruler The bridge you mentioned is the St. Charles Airline Bridge:
Dennis DeBruler The two smokestacks to the right of the bridge are on the Union Power Station:!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...
Dennis DeBruler The Street View image has a wider angle than yours. And the trees have changed as well as filling in the old tracks to match the IC embankment. The C&WI tracks were on the left of the IC and the Santa Fe was on the right.!3m6!1e1!3m4...
Dennis DeBruler The Street View image has a wider angle than yours. And the trees have changed as well as filling in the old tracks to match the IC embankment. The C&WI tracks were on the left of the IC and the Santa Fe was on the right.!3m6!1e1!3m4...
Tom Carter Thanks much, Dennis. That's right where I had been looking on Google maps, so thanks for confirming.
[The tower Tom highlighted is this C&WI 16th Street Interlocking.]

John W. Barriger III Flickr
Bob Lalich's comment: "Looking north at 18th St from track #2. Note connection to Alton/GM&O track on IC elevation just past 18th St bridge. 16th St Tower in distance."

Mark Rickert commented on a post
Mark Rickert Also a fun fact there was two towers and two interlinings at that point, the C&WI had a tower at 16th st on their grade. I ended up with an IC switch lock from the connector between the two plants from my grandfather who found it among his stuff when cleaning up after the connection between the two railroads was cut in the 70's. when the station was being decommissioned.
Bob Lalich Mark Rickert - the only connection between C&WI and IC that I am aware of was located at the south end of the former's 16th St interlocking. Here is a Barriger photo showing the connection. Note that there is a hand thrown switch to the connector off the Alton. That would explain the switch key.
I believe the [C&WI to Alton+IC] connection was removed when the 16th St interlocker was rebuilt in 1940. Note that the connection is not shown in this 1940 drawing.

Arturo Gross posted, this photo used with specific permission, Flickr
One of Illinois Central's Iowa trains (with a flexi-van behind the E units, I think it's the Land O Corn) is at 18th street making the final approach to the St. Charles Air Line and Central station in Chicago Dec 1964. Original Kodachrome transparency photographer unknown, © Art Gross Collection.

Larry Cook What’s a flexi-van?
Art Gross They were 1960s era container flats mostly used on passenger and express/mail trains. NYC developed them and several other roads bought them. Here's a Mike Schafer pic from classic trains that has a better view of some of the IC ones on the Land O Corn.
Paul Jevert U.S. Mail from Chicago and Sunset Magazines and printing projects from R.R. Donnelly Lakeside Press at 21st St. among other "Hot comodities" !
Dennis DeBruler The C&WI 16th Street Tower is peaking over the top of the third passenger car from the rear. This overview shot of the tower helps me visualize where it was. I've seen photos "of" the tower, and "from" the tower, but this is the first "where was" the tower photo that I have seen.
Mark Jones So much to take note of in this wonderful view: the flagman has taken down the markers ( visible in the door) and the Condr is already mid-train w/ dutch door open — getting ready for arrival at 12st — end of the Line, Central Station!
[This is a rare view of the Sante Fe tracks that are to the right (East) of the embankment.]

Arturo Gross also posted

Steven J. Brown commented on Art's post
It looks a little different now [2019] (and 1993).
Juan Antonio Troncoso-Muñoz who owned the long gone tracks there?

Dennis DeBruler commented on Juan Antonio Troncoso-Munoz's comment on Steven's comment on Art's post


  1. Thank you so much for posting the Wabash photo off of 18th Street. It might be one of the best angles/views when you try and compare it to what we would look at in 2017.

  2. In those track diagrams, does anyone have any idea what that circle represents, just to the east of the wye coming off the bascule bridges? I have wondered about this for years.


  3. Sorry, I meant just north of the wye.


    1. Nearly five years and still no reply. :(