Thursday, January 4, 2018

C&WI 80th and 81st Junctions: C&WI Main

NorthAmericanInterlockings:   photo photo
80th: Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for more information)
81st: Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for more information)
D.W.Davidson Flickr 1979 Photo

Many of the freight trains that go through this wye also go through the 74th Street wye.

Bill Molony posted
The Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad's 81st Street interlocking tower on the south side of Chicago.
John LaRochelle Just could barely see the roof from below the 80th street viaduct!!!
Bill Molony posted again
Joseph Tuch Santucci I was up in there a few times in the winter of 78-79. I swear the place was never new. It had that classic old tower smell of oil, stale smoke, mildew and mold.
Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad Historical Society shared
Bob Lalich commented on Bill's second posting
Here is a diagram of the interlocking at 81st St.
Note the run of signaling pipelines. At first I assumed that this was the tower that controlled which C&WI branch a train would take --- go south to Dolton Junction or go east then southeast to State Line. But then I noticed that there were not enough tracks in the photo and that there were houses in the background. It is on the branch that goes to State Line. I found that the 1952 Historic Aerial had enough clarity that I could locate the tower. Then knowing where it was, I found it on this aerial photo. Judging by the curve in the track, the Rock Island overpass in the background, and the connector going over to the BRC+Wabash tracks, it is the blue rectangle in this photo.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP plus Paint, the blue rectangle

Jeffrey Schackart posted
at approx 80th and eggleston, i operated as a switchtender in 1979
at this still exists under a different configuration by remote control.

Philip Wizenick enhanced a photo posted by Bill Molony
Chicago & Eastern Illinois class K-3 4-6-2 Pacific-type #1023 hustling a passenger train along the Chicago & Western Indiana tracks at 81st Street on the south side of Chicago, on May 12, 1944.
Evan Stair Are these tracks still in place?
Ean Kahn-Treras Evan Stair yes. Very much so. A frequently congested bottleneck on the BRC nowadays.
Bob Lalich Not exactly. The passenger tracks between Oakdale and 81st St were removed after vandals caused a derailment near 87th St. That happened in the late 1980s or early 90s. Any train operating north from Dolton now uses the former freight tracks which lead to 80th St.
Lawrence Smith there has been talk of restoring those ex-CEI pssgr. tracks as part of the CREATE project.
Ean Kahn-Treras Yup I apologize. Bob has the correct story for the area pictured. In historical terms, I am incorrect in stating that all the tracks pictured originally are currently in use.
Since I am a young-un and one who never experienced anything related to the CWI, my understanding of the area referenced is Belt Railway of Chicago-centric. 80th Street is essentially the split between traffic on the south end of the BRC. The old C&EI(joint UP/CSX to Woodland Jct) to Dolton jogs away to the west.

The two connections exist toward NS routes to the east as well. One routing leads you to the NKP side of things, while the other funnels into the ex-Conrail side of things. It took me a while to decipher this wide swath of elevated land and how the railroad operations navigate through it.
Robert Gibson Jr. From Union Station to Dolton
Dennis DeBruler C&WI terminated at Dearborn Station, not Union Station. C&EI was one of the five owners of C&WI and its Dearborn Station. C&EI joined the C&WI in Dolton.
Dennis DeBruler What is the term for the "hinge" that turned a signalling pipeline 90 degrees so that it could control a turnout? A "crank"? Bill has already posted a photo of the tower that controlled those pipelines.
[Note to self: figure out whose tracks have those parked cars on the right.]

Bill Molony posted
Chicago & Eastern Illinois class K-2 4-6-2 Pacific-type #1012 pulling a six-car passenger train on the Chicago & Western Indiana tracks near 81st Street on April 28, 1944.

Mike Breski posted
File:Chicago and Eastern Illinois FP7A 1609 in Chicago with the Hummingbird and Georgian on March 31, 1964 (24162598505).jpg
Date3 January 2016, 20:13:35 A Roger Puta Photograph
Bob Lalich The train is NB on the C&WI passing through 81st St interlocking. The photographer was standing on the Auburn Park (79th St) station platform.

Some comments on a post:

Ean Kahn-Treras The layout of the junction forms a wye. CWI to Wabash at 74th Street. BRC to CWI above 76th Street. CWI mainline also goes straight north to south between 74th and 76th Street.

The diagonal line cutting across the bottom half of your map grab is th
e Rock Island. It crosses the BRC/CWI overhead, and is not technically a junction. 80th Street referenced, by Jon is just ahead though.

There have been an unfathomable amount of changes to this corridor within our lives. All the railroad names referenced here are only for historical purposes. I'll do a quick summary of present day routing/operations.

74th Street is definitely a busy place nowadays, but mainly along only one third of the wye. The southwest connection (BRC to CWI) features heaps of CSX, UP, NS and BRC movements. This is roughly milepost 15 of BRC's Kenton Line between Cragin and CP509/Rock Island Junction. BRC runs a pair of trains from Clearing to their own South Chicago Yard daily. The rest of the movements along this stretch of the BRC consist of: CP to/from eastern Canada via NS (Conrail) Chicago Line, UP to/from the Villa Grove Sub, CSX to/from the Villa Grove Sub and to/from CP501 via NS (Conrail) Chicago Line, NS to/from Landers (Wabash), to/from Calumet Yard (NKP) and finally to/from the Chicago Line (Conrail).

The northwest wye is almost 100% Metra movements as this leg is part of the Southwest Service. As Jon notated this leg would have been the Wabash breaking away from the CWI. There are apparently a small handful of NS stack train transfers between Ashland Ave, and 51st/55th Street intermodal terminals and Landers Yard that would use this leg as well.

The straight north south routing on the east side of the arrangement at 74th would have been the mainline of the CWI. Nowadays you can count pretty much only on Amtrak's Hoosier State or Cardinal (depending on the day) to be the one move to use this part of the junction. In theory I guess there could also be NS stack transfers between the Conrail side mentioned before, but this time headed for Calumet Yard. I am not certain though.

80th Street, to the south along the CWI and BRC is also vastly simplified compared to days gone by. The CWI at this point split into a passenger and freight main for both the State Line mainline and the Dolton branch. That total would add up to 4 different arrangements splitting apart at 80th Street. Things get quite confusing around here. Feel free to reference the Chicago Rail Junctions' entry on this corridor titled THE CHICAGO & WESTERN INDIANA / BELT RAILWAY CORRIDOR. It is found near the bottom of that webpage.

Ean Kahn-Treras Nowadays 80th Street is just a couple sets of switches. CSX and UP headed for the Villa Grove Sub/Dolton use the western most trackage. Trains bound for CP 509 and the NS (Conrail) Chicago Line use the middle. Calumet Yard and NKP side of NS operations bound trains use the eastern most track that raises up and over the CP 509 bound trackage.

Jon Roma commented on a post
80th Street involved connections between the C&WI and Belt. It was manned by switchtenders and not interlocked.
Jon Roma commented on a post
81st Street was an interlocked junction where the C&WI passenger lines to State Line and Dolton diverged from each other.
Jon Roma commented on a post
Finally, I'll throw in this map produced by the C&WI in 1973 (well after the railroad's peak) that shows the C&WI and Belt tracks between 63rd and 99th Streets, and as far east as the overpass above the IC.

This was an amazingly complicated web of tracks, nearly none of which resembles what's there today.
Ean Kahn-Treras The biggest takeaway is that out of the 6 CWI tracks running north-south at 74th street, there is only one left nowadays. This is the track used by amtrak.
Lawrence Smith here is cab ride video of MEtra inbound on old Wabash and C+WI to CUS
USGS 1929 Blue Island Topo Excerpt
I zoomed in to experiment with the resolution. You can zoom in until you see imperfections in the paper! So I backed off to this level of resolution. I used the 21st Street Crossing to determine these maps are not accurate when the tracks are dense.
USGS 1929 Blue Island Topo Excerpt

Bob Lalich Flickr, Aug 1984

C&WI 81st St signal

For a period, the Hammond Times printing plant in Hammond was served by an MP local running out of Yard Center up the C&WI Dolton Branch to 80th St, then south on the C&WI Mainline to the ex-Monon at Stateline. I chased it one day in August of 1984. Here is the signal on the BRC connection at 81st St clearing the local on to the C&WI Mainline, 8-84.
The signal bridge has a B&O style CPL signal. Where the hell did that come from?
Bob Lalich 8y 
The C&WI installed the CPL signals between 81st St and Pullman Jct when freight tracks 3 and 4 were removed between 80th St and Pullman Jct. in the early 60s. All freight trains were then routed to the former passenger tracks 1 and 2 south of 81st St. Note that tracks 1 and 2 are signaled for traffic in both directions to provide greater flexibility.

Bobl Lalich Flickr, Aug 1984

C&WI 81st St Tower

The MP Hammond local heads south on the C&WI Mainline at 81st St, 8-84.

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