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Saturday, July 25, 2009

09-07-25 PHOTOS: Metra and Chicago Rail

In the penultimate installment of photos covering my 2009 trip to Chicago I took a little loop trip using the CTA Blue Line to connect with the METRA Milwaukee North line at Mayfaire. I had previously taken a loop trip involving the Green Line and UP West Line at Oak Park and was anxious to try the same with a train that would head into Union Station to get some pics of Western Ave interlocking from the other route. I was also eager to try to track down some Budd 2200 series cars which had been unceremoniously banished from the loop and placed on the Blue Line.

The set of photos can be viewed here in chronological order.

To make the connection to the Milwaukee North line at Mayfaire one has to take the Blue Line to Montrose then walk west about 2 blocks. I was initially disappointed that my train did not appear to have any 2200 series cars in it and I lacked time to wait for one to show up, but low and behold there was a pair buried in the middle of the trainset. Thanks CTA :-(

While making the connection a ran into a woman who was a little off her rocker. She evidently mistook my taking a picture of the CNW overpass for taking a picture of her. I tried to explain, but she sort of froze in place and proceeded to glare at me. I walked on and about half a block later she was still glaring at me so I decided I might as well earn the animosity directed at me and needless to say I evoked the desired performance from the kook.

Mayfaire Interlocking is where the 2-track Milwaukee North line crosses the 3-track CNW Northwest Line. It's a little hard to see the 6 sets of diamonds from track level at the home signal on the Milw Line, but they are there.

The 4th track on the w/b signal gantry is from another UP line heading to the south. Mayfaire is controlled by the operator at CY tower.

The Mayfaire station is spartan to say the least with a SEPTA style shelter on one side and a bus shelter on the other.

Looking the other direction we see GRAYLAND interlocking where the UP branch line crosses. That interlocking is remote from METRA Tower A-5.

The announcement came that my train would be about 8-9 minutes late so I was to get a little bonus when the signal cleared for the Northbound train I would have otherwise missed. It was being pulled by MP36PH-3S #411.

I managed to take some video as it rumbled over the Mayfaire diamonds.

My train back to Chicago arrived shortly thereafter headed by Nippon-Shario cab car #8504.

The front car was closed, but I managed to get some reasonable pictures of Tower A-2 out the side. Does anyone know why METRA uses the green tint windows.

Tower A-2, aka Western Ave, involves the 3-track Milw line crossing the 4-track CNW line at grade with 6 movable point diamonds and 3 double slip switches. Here is a closeup of one of the pneumatically operated movable point diamonds.

Even if I wasn't riding in the cab car, at least I was in a Budd. Metra bi-level Gallery coach #8262.

My trip happened to coincide with the few days that Disney's Christmas Carrol promotional train was visiting Union Station. The lines to get inside were huge, snaking several times around the station interior. I took my pictures from an adjacent track.

Finally, departing Chicago that evening on Amtrak Train 50 I took pictures of the iconic B&OCT Drawbridge and the Lumber Street engine terminal with P42DCs #55 and #129.

A few miles later after having turned off the NS Chicago Line at CP-518 we reach Dolton Junction which was the massive complex where the C&WI (now UP) crossed the B&OCT, IHB and PRR Panhandle Route. Today the PRR line is weeds, but the rest of the lines still cross. Here are the southbound mast signals where we leave CTC territory and enter the interlocking.

The heart of the plant is where the UP line crosses the CSX (far) and IHB (near) main lines.

The tower at DOLTON JCT is the largest mechanical lever interlocking tower in service in North America. Here you can just make out some of the 172 levers through the open window.

As quickly as we entered we are out of Dolton Jct and into UP's 144th St interlocking. If you would like more information on this brief ride through DOLTON JUNCTION you can find it on my other blog.

UP GP-15 #645 was shifting intermodal cars at Yard Center.

As was MP-15DC #1390

At 162ND ST we shifted over to the Grand Trunk Western main for the short trip across the State line to reach the CSX Monon Sub.

Due to the possibility of freight trains blocking several of the flat junctions my train had to cross there is a good deal of padding built into the schedule between Chicago and Dyer, IN. As we pretty much had a straight shot through we arrived about 10 minutes early and I had the opportunity to get out for some photos. Here is Train 50 back in the good old days when the sleeper was on the rear.

Here is the Dyer Amshack. The paint job more than makes up for the lack of amenities.

And a contingent of local railfans.

Even though we are only 29 miles from Chicago things are looking awfully rural as we cross the EJE and NS diamonds in Dyre.

As the sun sets the Indy crew was awesome enough to let my friend and I stand on the rear observation porch.

Where I took these videos of the old Monon Railroad route through its namesake Town.

After a satisfying dinner in the lounge car and before going to bed I stepped off again in Indianapolis to take a photos of these stairs to nowhere. I wonder if I should submit that to Fail Blog.

Anyway, stay tuned next time for the exciting conclusion to my journey as I survey the classic C&O Signals between Ashland, KY and Clifton Forge, VA as I travel through Byrd country.

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