Saturday, August 5, 2017

Burnham Tower: NS/NKP+Aban/C&WI+CSS vs. Pennsy/SC&S (Bernice Cuttoff)

(CRJ, Satellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockings: photo
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers, which has links to another photo and a track plan.

Josh Lemier posted
Here in our new cover photo we see Erie Lackawanna PA's lead a manifest past the tower at Burnham, Illinois on June 17, 1967.
Photo Credit To Paul Enenbach.
The electric wires on the right would be the Chicago, South Shore and South Bend, the only interurban still in operation. The eastbound Erie train would be on the double track C&WI. To the left of the tower, out of frame, is the double track Nickle Plate. The track running left/right in the middle of the picture next to the tower is the South Chicago & Southern, more commonly known as the Bernice Cuttoff. This allowed passenger trains on the Panhandle to go north to the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago, which was a more direct route to Union Station than the circuitous route used by the Chicago & Great Eastern that the Panhandle originally used to go to the Union Station.

John Fuller's 1970 photo shows there was a connector or industrial spur that cuts diagonally across the NKP and SC&S tracks. Paul's photo above implies that track connects with the C&WI.

A problem with these historic aerial photos is that, unless they have laid fresh ballast, it is hard to find tracks. It looks like the tower is in the lower-right corner of the red rectangle and a shadow in the upper-left corner. But the tower and shadow don't align quite right. So I'm not sure of the exact location of the tower.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Bob Lalich Flickr

John Morris posted
Things were still looking pretty good on the Erie-Lackawanna as this Also C425 leads an eastbound fast moving Piggy-Back train past Burnham tower. The engine has just crossed the PRR's Bernice Cutoff. This was Chicago and Western Indiana trackage at the time of this July, 1968 photo. (John Morris photo)
Mike Breski commented on his posting

safe_image for a Jon Roma 7-photo album including some interior shots
One of the more unusual and minimalistic interlocking plants I visited was Conrail's infamous "Burnham trailer." The trailer was quickly placed into service by Penn Central to replace the original tower that burned down as the result of a furnace malfunction during the winter of 1975-76. The operator on duty at the time of the fire had to jump from a second floor window to escape the blaze.
During the same period, nearby Calumet Park Tower (also an ex-PRR facility) burned down – this allegedly by a disgruntled former operator who had been fired for Rule G violations. As Calumet Park was a more vital junction for PC/CR and other railroads, a replacement plant was quickly constructed and remote controlled by Hohman Ave. Tower in nearby Hammond, Indiana.
Likely because of these two fires, every Conrail tower I subsequently visited was equipped with a fire escape in the form of a rope ladder.

A picture of the ill-fated original Burnham tower at an earlier date by Marty Bernard is at [see below]
The trailer was presumably considered a "temporary" structure – but it wound up serving close to 20 years before being retired in favor of an automatic plant.

The Burnham trailer's control panel is not the only one I've encountered with a hand-made control panel, but it IS the only one I ever encountered with hand-carved leather decorations.

Marty Bernard Flickr, Public Domain

EL 812 E8A With Train #5, The Lake Cities, at Burnham Tower

Note PA-1 or -2 behind E-unit. Here the CSS&SB, C&WI and NKP crossed the SC&S (PRR). Note the South Shore Overhead on March 31, 1964
A Roger Puta Photograph

Marty Bernard posted
Erie-Lackawanna 812 (E8A built 1951 as DL&W 812) with Train #5, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘊𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴, at Burnham Tower ( ) on March 31, 1964. Here the CSS&SB, C&WI and NKP crossed the SC&S (PRR). Note the South Shore overhead to the left.

Paul Enenback has a 1967 photo of a southbound Pennsy about to cross the CSS tracks.

John Eagan Flickr 1974 Photo of an Erie train
C&WI was well maintained. Those trains could move when all the crossings and junctions were clear.

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