Thursday, March 23, 2017

UP/C&EI Trestle over Kaskaskia River in Shelbyville, IL, My Pictures

On my last trip to Kentucky, I got off I-57 to check out the dam and this bridge in Shelbyville, IL.

If you look at a map of the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, it forked south of Woodland, IL into branches to Danville-Evansville and to St. Louis. The St. Louis branch then had another branch leave it southwest of Findlay, IL, to head south into Illinois' coal country. It is this southern branch that crosses the Kaskaskia River valley.

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I knew from studying a satellite map that there was a field that would give me a nice clear view of much of the trestle. But from the map one could also see that field was surrounded by a treeline. There was also a fence. Most importantly, the stuff in the foreground was thorn bushes. I do not mess with thorn bushes.
Fortunately, the county road does go all the way to the base of the trestle. This view is looking  southwest, away from the river.
Switching to a vertical format and getting even closer to the trestle.

An "artsy" view from underneath the trestle and a rare blue sky.
This view is in the other direction. The cut-stone pier is on the Kaskaskia River bank.
I stepped over a chain to get the center pictures and this one. Now I wish I had trespassed further to get a better picture of the truss over the river.
You can see there is a cut-stone pier on the other bank as well.
I found a spot among the trees that gave me an almost clear shot of the span over the river. The construction of the truss is strange. It appears there are heavy members down the middle, then lighter members on each side.
From the visitor center for the dam, which is built on a terminal moraine, you can see the top of the trestle just below the treeline with the sky. (The road goes over the dam itself.)
In the background of a picture I took of a wheelchair accessible fishing dock down by the spillway, you can see the girders outlined by the blue sky. (closeup below)

This has to be a unique view of a train on the trestle because a real railfan would choose a view on top at one of the ends or a distance view such as in that field into which I could not get. And many would have trespassed to get on the sunny side of the trestle. The video is good enough to show the trestle is well maintained. It appears the train can maintain track speed across it, and you do not hear a lot of clicking and clacking as it crosses.

A more traditional railfan video  That is a lot of plastic pellets going somewhere. The four-bottom pneumatic covered hoppers are typically plastic pellets. And the reporting mark of FPAX, Formosa Plastics Corporation, confirms that it is probably hauling plastic pellets to companies that mold the plastic into products. It looked like a unit train of plastic, but there were some tank cars near the end.

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