Thursday, November 9, 2017

49th Street Tower: B&OCT vs. Pennsy(Panhandle) vs. Chicago Junction

(no CRJ; Satellite, There is no tower or crossing now because the Panhandle has been abandoned and torn up.)
NorthAmericanInterlockings: no entry
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers, click the icon for more information

If you are here because you followed the link from the Western Avenue Corridor, you know that the B&OCT joined the Pennsy Panhandle right-of-way south of Forest Hill with the B&OCT on the west side. Just north of 49th Street, the two routes crossed each other, and the 49th Street Tower we see on the right controlled that crossing. Further to the right, we see the trees along the ramp were the NS/NYC/Chicago Junction/Chicago River and Indiana Railroad/Chicago and Indiana State Line Railway joins the Western Avenue Corridor just north of this junction.
Mark Hinsdale posted
49th Street (B&OCT-PRR) 6-77
Mark posted again

Bob Lalich commented on as post
That first track to the left of 49th St tower was jointly owned by PRR and B&OCT and used to access CJ's Ashland Ave Yard and Union Stock Yards. Out of sight right of the tower was The Chicago River & Indiana RR line out of Ashland Ave Yard that paralleled the GT west to Eldson and Corwith.

The ramp still exists today along with its flyover bridge.
3D Satellite, looking east

In fact, Google Maps caught a rather long freight using that route. It stretched from this flyover to under the Orange Line to the West.
That flyover existed since 1938, so I think Mark took that photo facing north from the flyover bridge rather than the GTW bridge as stated in one of the comments.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Chuck Guzik posted two photos with the comment:
Found these two photos today from June 1974. You're looking North at the Chicago River & Indiana (Chicago Junction), GTW and IHB mainline crossing over the B&OCT and the PC Panhandle line at 50th st.. An impressive trestle in the middle of Chicago! Here an CR&I ( still in CR&I markings) SW1 hustles a cut of cars for the New City industrial area. This was switched daily early morning job usually an SW1 and then a later afternoon/Evening job usually SW1200. At this time in 1974, there were still a large number of industries to serve, The first shot is the SW1 returning lite to Ashland Ave. Not the greatest quality but great memories of what Chicago once was.....bustling businesses and the safety and security for a kid to stand there on his bike....with no problem.
The comments on this posting taught me about Chicago Junction's Kenwood Yard.


Chuck Guzik posted four photos with the comment:
Looking at these pics, you'd think your in the country or woods up in Wisconsin or Minnesota....butBack in 1975, I spent all my free time playing baseball at Town of Lake and McKinnley park in Chicago and watching trains. Here on the way to a game at McKinnley, I walked the tracks...when you could...and caught a BN caboose hop at 49th st.on the panhandle crossing the B&OCT..headed back to Western Avenue yard from then Penn Central's ex-PRR 59th st yard. The best surprise was a Great Northern of my best memories!
Chuck Guzik For years when I went up there, it was reduced to one track for the CR&I. Then about 1975/1976, GTW bought railport and rebuilt a large part of the trestle and used welded rail to reach it. The trunk cut a switch in to divert off the westbound passenger main used sparingly by the IHB. When 59th st Conrail/PC yard was relevant, this was a very busy interlocking. ATSF,CNW, SOO, BN and occasional MILW would deliver there. There also was a large derailment under the trestle and bridge of a BN ore trains. Taconite pellets still were everywhere

Dennis DeBruler The first photo I have seen of the flyover bridge. It makes me wonder how many more wood trestles still exist in the city.
Chuck Guzik I roamed the southside a lot and really didn’t see another.
Bob Lalich Riverdale - IC over the B&OCT and PRR was similar.
Dennis DeBruler Riverdale did have wood bents. A 3D Satellite image (second line) indicates it has been rebuilt to use concrete. The top of the 49th Street flyover looks like it has been rebuilt. But I could not see well enough underneath with 3D Satellite to see if it still has wood bents.

Dennis DeBruler Even then, the Panhandle had a lot of weeds.

Dennis DeBruler A glimpse of the tower on the left.

Dennis DeBruler More weeds and a couple of semaphores. Even if I did dare walk down there today, I would get the Orange Line line curving off to the left.
Chuck Guzik posted two photos with the comment:
We're back at 49th St Tower on the busy B&OCT in 1975. The interchange traffic was very intense during the 1975-1976 summer. Here a Chessie GP40 lugs a transfer cut destined for the BN at Western Ave. The conductor was coming out of the cab as the train slowed to a brief stop....the guy just off to the right handed up a hand bag and the train took off. Really like yesteryear when the railroad guys talked to you and taught you a lot if you asked. GTW Railport was just getting going...the piggyback cranes are off to the right in the second photo. Also, 2nd boxcar and many in this train were DW&P and CN 40ft boxcars.
2, cropped
Chuck Guzik posted
Warning....not the greatest photo quality. June 1975 or so it says on the back. I do remember it though. This was a B&O transfer from Barr Yard to the BN about to cross the PC panhandle line to 59th st yard. Behind me was the 49th st tower operator with a hand held thing to hand some train orders up to the conductor. Oddly enough, there were some other railfans there. Really never saw this too much.
Chuck Guzik in the fron, its was originally CR&I/PC/CR and IHB. This was the stockyards line. GTW bought it and Railport as well and rebuilt in 1977 or so. In the background that was the GTW passenger main and the IHB

Dennis DeBruler commented on Chuck's posting
I made a special trip to verify that the curved trestle is still made of wood.
[More photos of the trestle]
Chuck Guzik posted
Standing between the panhandle mains into the north side of the 59th st yard. Just a wreck of a ROW. Ties sunk into the mud, in some cases the ties were not visible. The sway on the railcars was laughable. There was a derailment in the early 1970's here of a rerouted taconite train. There were taconite pellets everywhere in the surrounding area. Looking north, the CNW SD38-2s are sitting at the semaphores ...waiting. 49th st tower peaking out on the right, with the B&OCT crossing inview as well. Snow squalls off the lake provided some huge flakes.
Dennis DeBruler I like that it is a complete scene so that you can see how the routes and tower were laid out (after you explain the scene). It is not just a bunch of sheet metal in front of a small part of a train. Maps and 1938 aerial photos don't have enough resolution to capture this detail.
The above was looking north from the Panhandle tracks. The following is looking north from the B&OCT tracks. They will cross on the other side of the trestles in front of the tower.
Chuck Guzik posted
I think all of us had "that" moment when you knew you were hooked on trains. Watching, modeling and chasing them. This was my day back in June 1974. I had been watching these black switchers lugging cuts of cars up this steep grade and across the trestle and wondered where they were going and what they were doing. Took a long rode trip for me at that time...went and found that little black switcher. It was in a small industrial siding/yard at about 50th and California. I soent the day watching them work the industries and ready a return consist back to Ashland. During the 1970s, there was quite a lot of business on this line in and around what was the New City Industrial district. This stretched for Western Ave to Elsdon and Corwith yards on the west. A few switch jobs and a few pullers that originated and returned to what is now the NS Ashland Ave yard. At this time, this was a Chicago River and Indiana SW1 and about 20-30 cars for the days switcher. The crew was more then happy to school anyone about their job and it defined my desire to railroad even if in modeling and general interest.

Bob Lalich Flickr, Aug 1986
49th st tower 8-86
View of 49th St tower, looking north from GT/IHB connection to CJ/CR&I. The track with dark gray ballast is the connection to what was left of the former PRR Panhandle line south of the overpass. CR still served a malt plant around 51st St at the time.

Bob Lalich Flickr, Aug 1986
49th st board 8-86
This is the model board in 49th St tower after the tower had been closed and abandoned. You can still make out the track layout. The easternmost track in the plant was a joint PRR-B&OCT track used to access the CJ/CR&I.
Bob Lalich Flickr, 1981
49th st 1981
Looking compass north on the ex-PRR Panhandle line, summer 1981. The semaphores are the WB home signals for 49th St interlocking, PRR crossing of the B&OCT and entry to CJ/CR&I Leavitt St and Ashland Ave Yards.

1992 D.W.Davidson Flickr photo of a Conrail local freight showing the abandoned tower.

D.W.Davidson Flickr photo while the tower still looked good. The photo includes a Santa Fe caboose and the industry in the 1938 aerial is still receiving tank cars.

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