Thursday, August 30, 2018

Pennsy Cummings Branch

Dennis DeBruler posted four photos with the comment:
A Joe Usselman photo, used with permission.
Joe's comment: "A crappy shot of the BRC while standing on the former PRR Cummings branch in Chicago in 2010."
Bob Lalich commented: "The ex-PRR Cummings Branch was abandoned in the early 70s I believe, and the bridge over the BRC was removed to provide better clearance. It branched off the Ft Wayne line just west of Rock Island Jct, passed over the BRC to South Works, Rock Island and BRC to 100th St tracks on its own bridges, then paralleled the BRC down to 105th St."
Additional comments are on the photos.
The train in the background on the left is on the BRC-NS/Pennsy connector. It is one of the few tracks left in the Rock Island Junction. The bridges from left (north) to right are a B&OCT remnant of a Strauss trunnion bascule, 2 NYC abandoned lift bridges, a hole where a PRR lift bridge used to be, the NS/PRR lift bridge, and the Skyway.

This abandoned overpass over 95th street is a remnant of the branch. The trees verify that it has been abandoned for a long time.,-87.5479789,113m/data=!3m1!1e3
This 1938 aerial photo caught a train on the branch so it is easy to follow the route of the branch.
The dark diagonal line at the top center of this 1938 aerial photo is the Cummings branch. It connected with railroads that served Wisconsin Steel that was south of 106th. This photo excerpt shows just part of the Wisconsin Steel complex.
Tony Margis: Wonder who gets credit for the research and posting of this 1938 screenshot?
Dennis DeBruler
Tony Margis It is my own work. In my blog,
I provide a link to the file from which I cropped it,
I am a heavy user of the ILHAP photos:
Bob Lalich: Dennis DeBruler - the ex-PRR Cummings Branch was abandoned several years prior to the closing of Wisconsin Steel. The line was severed at Rock Island Junction by the early 1970s. The line was originally built to serve the predecessor of Wisconsin Steel. It also served the grain elevator seen in the right center of this aerial photo. That elevator was retired and removed in the mid-60s. I believe the Cummings Branch fell into disuse afterwards, since PRR could access Wisconsin Steel and the Chicago West Pullman & Southern via the Calumet Western RR.
Ean Kahn-Treras: I was of the understanding that the Cal n’ Western ended at a yard north of Irondale around 112th or 116th St. I’m having a tough time picturing it now exactly.
Would the Cal n Western right of way extend all the way up to the Short Line and Rock Island east-west tracks just north of 95th St then? Or just far enough north to hit the CWPS house at 104th-ish?
Bob Lalich: Ean Kahn-Treras - the Calumet Western ended in the tangle of tracks just north of 106th St. It connected to the Rock Island, Cummings Branch, CWP&S and BRC.

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