Wednesday, October 31, 2018

IC Passenger Yards

(Satellite, today's commuter yard is a small remnant of what the IC had south of their Central Station)

(Update: an index of IC's Chicagoland yards and roundhouses)

Whoops, a duplicate. See also IC Weldon and 18th Street Coach Yards.

The yards were so extensive that it takes two 1938 aerial photos to cover them.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Carl Venzke posted
Train yards just south of Grant Park, 1949, Chicago
[The buildings east of Indiana Avenue between Roosevelt and 15th Place look new because all of this land used to be IC railyards. The McCormick convention complex is also built on land that used to support intercity passenger service.]

Jim Arvites posted, the exposure has been adjusted but the train is blurry
A 1940's view of the Illinois Central Railroad's passenger, commuter and freight yards in downtown Chicago. Note the IC'S Central Station in upper left corner of picture.
Matt McClure 18th Street footbridge.
Frank Hicks I'll bet this photo was taken from the tower of the RR Donnelly Calumet plant on Cermak
David Daruszka The yard and building to the far right center is the MU yards and shop. The tracks to the left of the shop building are the northbound electric tracks. The southbound tracks would be to the right, out of the picture. The yards and shop buildings are still there.
Val Ginter The biggest thing is the Bradford Gilbert waiting room which was planned for NYC's Grand Central Station, but never built...because of GCT.
[I answered a Proviso Yard request.]

Carl Venzke posted again
Edward Jarolin The photo is by Andreas Feininger, on assignment for LIFE, and was taken in 1941. I have a book of his photos from this job and it includes handful of railroad subjects. CORRECTION: further investigation dates this photo to 1948. Feininger took this one on a later trip to Chicago.

Mike Breski posted
1906 - 1999
View from Donnelley's (350 E. 22nd St.), Looking North, Chicago, 1941
Date: 1941
Credit Line:
Andreas Feininger Archive, Rights and Reproductions
Description: [bird's-eye view of railroad yard; Chicago skyline in background]
Associated place: USA, Chicago
Nationality: United States

This is one of four photos posted by Jeff Bransky.
Carl Venzke posted
Another LIFE magazine photo from 1948 - Chicago. Can you identify the landmarks and lines in this photo?
Robert Petit Illinois Central yard, to the right is Soldier Field, IC Suburban MU yard in the center, RR Donnelly printing yard to the left.
Edward Jarolin The photo is by Andreas Feininger, on assignment for LIFE, and was taken in 1941. I have a book of his photos from this job and it includes handful of railroad subjects. CORRECTION: further investigation dates this photo to 1948. Feininger took this one on a later trip to Chicago.

Bill Molony posted
Penn Central EMD E7A #4238, departing from Central Station in Chicago with PC train #304, The James Whitcomb Riley, in October of 1970.

Bill Molony posted again
Penn Central EMD E7A #4238, leading PC train #304, The James Whitcomb Riley, on its way to Indianapolis and Cincinnati in September of 1970.
This train was scheduled to depart from Central Station in Chicago at 3:50 PM (C.S.T.) and arrive at Union Terminal in Cincinnati 11:15 PM (E.S.T.).
It was equipped with a baggage car, a reclining seat coach and a dining car.
Dennis DeBruler This Indianapolis-Cincinnati train is a reminder that the Big Four joined the IC at Kankakee to gain access to Chicago.

Paul Jevert shared NOLA Rails post
IC Passenger #2021 Chicago IL 1971.
Matt McClure: Also in "Journey To Amtrak. " Much of area covered by McCormick Place. SB wye to SCAL long gone. Miss it all. Remember too just south and west the Lakeside Press with a dedicated switcher, endless boxcars of paper for the world's largest press that printed the Yellow Pages and Sears Catalogue.

Mike Porcaro posted
Opened in 1924 as Municipal Grant Park Stadium, it was renamed Soldier Field in 1925. It had seating for as many as 120,000 people and was large enough to hold automobile races. There was a ski jumping contest held there,as well. Over 120,000 attended in 1937 the city high school football Prep Bowl between Austin and Leo. Bears and Chicago Cardinals played against each other there. While Soldier Field hardly resembles what it once looked like, it is still a Chicago gem.
[Some people see Soldier Field, I see an overview of IC Central Station. The platform roof is in the foreground of the yellow rectangle and the waiting room is on the right. We can also see some of the coach yards that were south of the station.]

Bill Molony posted
Illinois Central train #53, the City of Miami, departing from Chicago in January of 1960.
[I did not realize that the mainline cut across their yards like that. Scrolling back up this page, there are photos that show this diagonal, it just never sunk into the grey cells.]
David Daruszka commented on Bill's posting
Improving the image quality shows that it was heavily retouched.

David Daruszka commented on William Dittus' posting

Monday, October 29, 2018

CFE/CSX/Conrail/Pennsy/PFW&C 1858 Bridge in Hobart, IN

(Bridge Hunter; no Historic Bridges; Street View3D Satellite)

CFE = Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad
PFW&C = Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway

Ken Durkel posted two images with the comment:
When news came that the historic Pennsy stone arch bridge in Hobart, Indiana was slated to be replaced this year, I set out to get as many pictures of trains heading across the bridge as I could. Not easy when at most there are three trains a day, and more often than not in the dark. Some days no trains passed.But I did manage to get some of the last handful of trains passing over the 160 year old bridge. Built in 1858 for the P.F.W.&C. this bridge predated the Civil War. Though in recent decades the trains have been few, and for 8 years no trains crossed, for many decades 50-60 trains or more crossed here every day. The first picture is a postcard taken I would guess at least 100 years ago showing a westbound crossing the bridge. The second pic, taken on March 31, 2018, shows 10R crossing the historic bridge in its final months. The last train has since crossed this bridge and it will be replaced soon
Dennis DeBruler Looking at a satellite image, it appears that they have already removed a lot of trees to gain access.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3
Ken Durkel Yes, they cleared the area in March. Was a lot of overgrowth after one track was removed and the pole line was gone in the 1980s.


This is a reminder that back in the 1850s, stone arch bridges were popular. The UP/C&NW/G&CU still has another example. They were popular because the main alternative back then was wood truss bridges. American could not even make their own iron rails in the 1850s, let alone truss members for bridges. Obviously, stone lasts a lot longer than wood does.

Ken Durkel posted
CF&E 06 heads west in Hobart, Indiana and across the 160 year old Pennsy stone arch bridge. Built in 1858 for the Pittsburgh Ft. Wayne & Chicago Railroad, this bridge for decades saw at least 50-60 trains a day pass overhead. For the last 35 years the trains have trickled across as the former Pennsylvania Railroad Ft. Wayne Line is now only a shadow of its former self.
The last train passed over this bridge in October, 2018 and it is currently being replaced.
Taken on May 09, 2018.
Ken Durkel posted
NS 10R rumbles over the 160 year old Pennsy Stone Arch Bridge on the CF&E in Hobart, Indiana on May 23, 2018. Built for the P.Ft.W. & C. in 1858, the bridge saw its last train pass over in October, 2018 and is currently being replaced, though work on the replacement has slowed if not stopped until spring.
Work on the dam in Hobart at the time resulted in low water levels allowing me to get a photo from this low angle.
Ken Durkel posted
10R heads across the 160 year old Pennsy Stone Arch Bridge on the CF&E in Hobart, Indiana on June 06, 2018. Low water levels due to work on the dam here in town last year allowed me to get the lower ground level perspective seen here.
Ken Durkel posted two photos with the comment:
Not quite a 100% before and after, more of a before and during, on the CF&E's ex PRR Ft. Wayne Line. in Hobart, Indiana. In the first picture, NS 66Z rolls across the 160 year old Pennsy Stone Arch Bridge, built in 1858 for the P.Ft. W.& C. Taken on April 08, 2018.Second photo, taken on March 26, 2019, NS 10R rolls across the new bridge. The old stone arch bridge is beginning to be dismantled, but work remains. When all is completely done I will get a completed "after" shot.



Ken Durkel posted two photos with the comment:
With the 160 year old PRR Stone Arch Bridge in Hobart, Indiana now completely gone, and just a few finishing touches remaining on the new CF&E bridge, it now makes for a pretty good "before and after" comparison.First, CF&E 07 heads west over the old bridge on August 02, 2018.Second, with the old bridge completely gone, CF&E 06 rolls across the new bridge on May 18, 2019.

Wayne Hudak Was the new bridge built for single track?
Dennis DeBruler Thanks for the closure. I noticed that railroads are now sometimes using bents again instead of piers. But of course the bents use steel for the piles and concrete for the cap. It looks like the bents are wider than the deck so that another track could be added.


Dennis DeBruler commented on Ken's post
Would the old bridge have had enough capacity to handle the river flows of this wet Spring? This photo by David S was taken May, 2019.!3m8!1e2!3m6...

Sunday, October 28, 2018

CSX/Big Four Avon 1907 Bridge over White Lick Creek

(Bridge Hunter, Historic Bridges3D Satellite)

Built 1907 for the Big Four Railroad, rehabilitated in 1998 [Bridge Hunter]

Robert Holton posted
A supposedly haunted rail bridge in Avon, Indiana where the wails of track workers entombed in the cement works can be heard above the roar of trains overhead.
One of the most reported stories is that an Irish construction worker slipped and fell in a vat of wet cement inside the framework of one of the piers and drowned. Since he was already dead, the railroad company didn't want to waste money to retrieve the body, they left it in the pier and the workers carried on with construction. People now say that at night, you can hear his hammer pounding from when he was trying to get out of the concrete. [Bridge Hunter]
This bridge is one of two concrete arch bridges along this stretch of railroad line. The bridge has spalled severely, which has diminished its architectural details. It likely remains structurally intact however due to how heavily overbuilt these bridges were. With a 1906 construction date, this bridge is an early surviving example of a concrete arch bridge. [Historic Bridges] 

In Sept 2020, I got hit with a Double Doomsday. Both Facebook and Google changed their software. I said "changed" instead of "updated" because the new software is not better. In fact, Google's Blogger software is far worse except for a search function that works. Specifically, it has three bugs concerning photos and their captions. So I'm no longer copying photos and interesting comments from Facebook. I'm just saving the link. I hope you can see posts in Private Groups.

PC locos over the arch over the creek


Saturday, October 27, 2018

IHB+Fort Wayne Junction: IHB/NYC vs Pennsy in East Chicago

(see below for satellite)
NorthAmericanInterlockings: see below
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for the correct information)

Pennsy called this junction Indiana Harbor, and IHB called it Fort Wayne because it was Pennsy's Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago route. Note the IHB route was really owned by NYC because it is the northern part of the Kankakee Belt. But it was, and is, operated by IHB.

William Shopotkin posted three images with the comment:
Here are a couple of pix of the tower Indiana Harbor (East Chicago, IN) -- where the IHB x/o PC (PRR). They were taken by Dr. Robert Breese of the back end of Amtrak's EB BROADWAY LIMITED on July 17, 1974. Also included is a diagram of the interlocking. Sadly, the one-time PRR thru the area is but a memory.
Eric Powell The concrete slab for this tower is still visible, barely, right next to the Cline Avenue bridge going over the IHB.
William Shopotkin also posted
Bill Dobbin I was told by old Harbor belt guy's the tower was called Fort Wayne tower....
Anyone have confirmation of that or did it go by another name?
William E. Poole Bill Dobbin did.
Robert J. Hoekstra Bill Dobbin I worked there for a time. The IHB called the tower “Fort Wayne Tower”. The PRR. called the tower “Indiana Harbor Crossing”. The photo is looking North to Indiana Harbor Canal tower.
Bill Dobbin And almost all of those buildings are all gone now as well.


3, also NorthAmericanInterlockings
 I added a red line to show where the Pennsy used to pass through until 1980.
Satellite plus Paint

Friday, October 26, 2018

Was Liverpool, IN: Junction Tower: Pennsy vs. MC (Joliet Cutoff)

The content concerning the junction tower has been moved here.

River Junction (Tower RS): Aban/C&NW vs. Aban/C&NW

(Satellite; RR Aban Map)
NorthAmericanInterlockings:  see below

I discovered there is a second "River Junction" in Chicago. But the proper name for that junction is River Branch Junction.

William Shapotkin posted
You sure as heck would not recognize this location today -- this is "River Junction" (Tower RS). Located at what would otherwise be known the intersection of Bryn Mawr/Kostner Ave in Chicago, this is where the C&NW "Valley Line" (veering off to left) and "Weber Line" (veering off to right) split. View looks north.
Roger Wilhelmi The last time I ran a train here was about '87 or '88. The trees and bushes were encroaching on the right of way quite a bit then. I think the track from Valley south was cut at Skokie in the early '90s?? Whatever the case, this picture has no semblance of familiarity to me whatsoever.
Ken Rehor The Valley Line is a trail. I don't see any info about the other portion.
Ken Rehor Excellent summary of the Weber Line here

Dennis DeBruler I discovered there is a second "River Junction" in Chicago that has the alternate name River Branch Junction.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3

Bob Lalich River Branch Jct is the correct name for the junction of the Calumet River RR and the ex-PRR Ft Wayne line.

William Shapotkin posted
Back on October 21, 2018, I posted a photo of "River Junction" (Tower RS) on the C&NW. It was located at what would otherwise be known the intersection of Bryn Mawr/Kostner Ave in Chicago. Well, at one time there was a suburban rail station (known as "River Junction") there. This photo (dated 1911) is courtesy of the C&NW HS Archives.
Paul M Sprenger Look at all that open land 100's of acres !

The turnout for this branch (lower-right corner) still exists. But I don't know why because the track now goes just a few hundred feet to the Wilson Ave. overpass. I would think the turnout would be the first thing UP would remove to reduce the maintenance of the Harvard Subdivision.
My 2005 SPV Map shows the Weber line still going to Devon Avenue.
You can tell by the curved parking lot boundaries and the skinny tree line that there used to be some industrial spurs south of Peterson Ave.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
This branch had already been abandoned here in 2005.

Global Earth, 12/30/2005
Some industrial buildings that at least used to use rail service still existed in 1999 (the oldest date available in Google Earth).

Global Earth, 3/21/1999

River Branch Junction=CP509: Pennsy/Calumet River vs. Pennsy/PFW&C

(Turnout Satellite; Divergence Satellite)

PFW&C = Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Railway

Robert Daly posted two photos that include the tower with the comment:
PRR and NYC bridges over the Calumet River, Feb 18 1974, looking northwest. Tower controlling the PRR bridge was known as River Branch. Shortly after the PC merger in 1968 the NYC bridge was closed and put in the raised position, where it remains to this day. The PRR bridge continued in service through Conrail and now NS. B&O had a parallel bascule bridge to the right, which was rammed and partially destroyed by a lake boat some time in the 1980s.




Steve Lewandowski posted

Steve Lewandowski posted
Another River Branch
Jon Roma Paul Musselman, it is. This is now known by Norfolk Southern as CP 509 on their Chicago Line.
Here is a picture of the dispatcher panel that replaced the tower.

In a 1938 aerial photo, the tower is lost in the shadow of a grain elevator.

1976 Flickr of CSL train about to cross the Pennsy Calumet River Bridge.
In PRR days this was River Branch Jct. My January 15, 1972 Penn Central Western Region ETT refers to this tower as River Branch Jct. In Conrail days it was called CP 509 (Moveable Bridge). It is possible that the two-letter telegraphic designation for this tower was CR for Calumet River. The B&O Tower which controlled the B&O Calumet River bridge destroyed in the ship collision was definitely called CR Tower.

John Smatlak Flickr 1988 Photo of two Chicago Short Line locos pulling a coal train off the bridge and down the branch. "The dark sky is due to the strong winds that day, which were really blowing up the dust off the Coke piles in the area."

Marty Gatton posted videos and photos of NS switching Gulf Sulphur Solutions with the comment:
Two locations...same job...1 pm 6/4/19
NS 645 and 1408 approach 126th street on the Calumet River Line.
The crew will throw the switch to back down onto an industry spur which crosses Carondolet Avenue at 122nd street.
They will drop a cut of tank cars and leave with a single loaded tank car from a sulphur processing facility.
Dennis DeBruler Thanks for the good location description. That made it easy to find the plant being switched.,-87.5501901,134m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x880e2742b55d8fdd:0x46acdd2f898f0e86!8m2!3d41.6720709!4d-87.5498617

Marty Gatton Dennis DeBruler no problem... believe it was actually the place to the north...
The exchange was actually being witnessed by some federal agency...

Dennis DeBruler Thanks for the correction. It looks like Gulf Sulphur Solutions. It is interesting that Google Maps doesn't label it.!3m6!1e1!3m4...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Forest Park Towers: (CSX+CN)/(B&OCT+WC) vs Aban/C&NW/CGW vs Aban/CA&E

(New Tower FlickrSatellite According to Global Earth images: In 2000, the tower was east of the billboard. In 2002, there was just a concrete slab.)
NorthAmericanInterlockings:  new tower (old tower photos are below)
Chicago and Northern Indiana Railroad Interlocking Towers (click the marker for more information)

Great Western Junction was another name for this junction.

William Shapotkin posted two photos with the comment:
Great Western Junction -- located at Beloit Ave in Forest Park, IL, is where the CGW mainline began (trains operated over the B&OCT east of that point). Here are two pix of that tower BEFORE construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway obliterated everything.
1. This view (looking west) shows an E/B CA&E train x/o the B&OCT. The CGW branches off to the left -- the B&OCT (WC) to the right.
2. This view (looking east) shows a W/B CA&E train arriving Des Plaines Ave station. The tower is at left.
Dennis DeBruler Using the second photo, I can conclude that the tower is the taller building on the right of the first photo.
Great Western Junction -- located at Beloit Ave in Forest Park, IL, is where the CGW mainline began (trains operated over the B&OCT east of that point). Here are two pix of that tower BEFORE construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway obliterated everything.

This view (looking west) shows an E/B CA&E train x/o the B&OCT. The CGW branches off to the left -- the B&OCT (WC) to the right.
Thomas Kaufman I have seen this photo before. I never noticed the East platform of the Des Plaines Av station behind the upper left of the CA&E car. Since this was a single car and there was a third rail gap because of the interlocking the motorman really had to work up a huge rate of speed to cross the gap and not get stuck. I think I remember there was a stinger pole they could use to get moving again if stuck that energized the single car trains to get them moving. DOuble car trains connected together crossed the gap easily. ,
William Shapotkin You are correct Thomas Kaufman -- the Des Plaines Ave station platform is visible at left. Have other pix at this location (including a CGW motor car train x/o the CA&E) -- but (as that (and other) pix have not yet been scanned), am unable to show them at this time. All my photo work is on slide film (NO, I do NOT trust electronic storage) and, after amassing a collection of over 200,000 slide images, am not about to start scanning all that stuff (hey -- if I had that much time available to me, I'd be out taking more pix, not scanning the stuff I already have).

Great Western Junction -- located at Beloit Ave in Forest Park, IL, is where the CGW mainline began (trains operated over the B&OCT east of that point). Here are two pix of that tower BEFORE construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway obliterated everything.
This view (looking east) shows a W/B CA&E train arriving Des Plaines Ave station. The tower is at left.

Some details concerning the CA&E, WC, and CGW before I discuss a 1938 aerial photo.

CA&E is the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban. It joined the Metropolitan West Side "L" at Bellwood for access to Wells Street Terminal.
1938 Map from DeBruler

Northern Pacific helped finance Wisconsin Central building into downtown Chicago and building Grand Central Station. Because this was one of the later railroads built into Chicago, they had to buy a lot of expensive land downtown. WC went bankrupt soon after and B&O bought the assets, including the station, out to Madison Street in Forest Park as an addition to B&OCT. Today CSX owns the B&OCT route and CN owns the WC route. But the segment east of the BRC tracks is now out-of-service. (The official reason I read is that the bridges are too low to clear autoracks and double-stacks. The unofficial reason I read is that the developers along the route complained to a Daily about train noise.) And CN bought EJ&E so they quit using the WC route through Forest Park. So now the only segment used is between BRC and the Ferrara Pan Candy Company.

The Chicago & Great Western was also a later railroad built to Chicago. It arrived in 1887. By this time the city realized that railroads cut up the city and were disruptive. (This is a couple of decades before the city forced all of the railroads to elevate their tracks.) So it required new railroads to cooperate and build a single shared route into the city. In this case, the CGW joined the WC at Forest Park (Forest Home in 1880s) per William's first photo.

The red rectangle highlights the tower. The WC crossed the CA&E and then the CGW.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Building I-290 in the 1950s required a new tower. Photos: Davidson and Allen. The CGW was not abandoned until after 1968. Looking at a 1962 aerial photo, the CTA terminal was smaller and the CGW route (red) had its own overpass over Des Plaines Ave. The CA&E route (yellow line in the lower-left corner) is now just a couple of stub tracks. I wonder why the new tower was built on the east side of the I-290 overpass since the actual junction was on the west side.
Satellite plus Paint
Screenshot from a video of CA&E action   (source)