Saturday, February 13, 2021

Upton Junction: CN/EJ&E vs. UP/C&NW


I'm still learning of new junctions in the Chicagoland area.

EJ&E is the east/west route. Because the EJ&E makes a half-circle around Chicagoland, geographically eastbound trains are going westbound according to the timetable.

Kevin Piper posted
Leaving Waukegan and going east, the first junction we come to is "Upton." Upton is where we cross the lightly used C&NW (UP) "freight line" around Waukegan.
Unit taconite trains were once interchanged from the C&NW here to avoid the 1% ruling grade out of Waukegan. Due to this grade, the Upton wye that had been taken out in the 60's was put back in during the early 70's, so the trains could go that way instead. EJ&E power would run to Upton to get the trains. Sets of three C&NW Alco C-628's were commonly used on these heavy trains when they came in. EJ&E used three 900-series Centercabs or SD38's to pull them out.
Upton is just a junction point. No town is there. The interchange is no longer used, and the wye was again removed.
Note the spilled load from an earlier derailment.
Michael Steffen: When unit ore trains were interchanged here railroads were still using the caboose. The J would leave their caboose on the main, shove the loaded train back onto the caboose, get the interlocking signal and shove the train westward towards Waukegan until it was in a bowl. This made starting the train easier with the rear end coming down a slight grade while the head end was pulling uphill.

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