Tower B-12 is on the former Milwaukee Road West Line where it meets northern end of the Indiana Harbor Belt and crosses the former Wisconsin Central at grade. The mechanical tower was closed in 1996 when the interlocking was reconfigured to accommodate METRA Northwest Service and moved a block to the west to a new railroad style park, just across from the Franklin Park METRA station. More information on the B-12 junction itself can be found here.
In addition to my visit to Tower B-12, this set will include other photos from Chicago including a trip on the CTA Blue Line. You can find the complete set here.
We begin with METRA gallery Cab Car #8587 pulling west out of the Franklin Park station.
The station building itself appears to date from the Milwaukee Road era.
The preserved Tower B-12 as it appears today. The long, slender construction of the tower is indicative of a mechanical lever frame.
The park also features a preserved MILW caboose.
Unlike the South Norwalk Signal Tower Museum, Tower B-12's lever frame only contains a few surviving levers. Note the horizontal locking bed, which I believe was a US&S thing.
This vintage Milwaukee Road signal bridge provides a taste of the original Tower B-12 at the present site of the interlocking. At some point the old searchlight signals were replaced with modern LED searchlights.
B-12 is located at the far east end of what is today Canadian Pacific's Bensenville yard. Trains arrive and depart here via the former IHB to transfer trains from the western network to the eastern network.
While I was waiting for the eastbound METRA train two Canadian Pacific AC4400's #'s 9582 and 8616 pulled out of the yard on their way to the IHB.
An interesting feature of the Franklin Park complex is IHB's EDGINGTON interlocking, which is not a part of the adjacent METRA Tower B-12 complex. One of the EDGINGTON signals even shares space on the old MILW gantry.
Before long a diverging clear signal appeared on the eastbound signal bridge for my METRA train. Tower B-12 marks the start of the third main track on the Milwaukee West line. It is used by CP freights to reach the CP C&M Sub at TOWER A-5.
The inbound cab car #8541 eventually arrived while my father looked on.
Later that day I took a Blue Line train out to California Ave to get a piece of pie from a specialty pie shoppe. Unfortunately there were no more 2200 series Budds, even in the middle of the trains which forced me to make do with 2600 series Budds like #2660 here.
The scent of creosote was in the air as the entire trackbed had recently been replaced.
Budd 2600 #2937 at California.
#2660 again, outbound this time, at Damien, where I had gotten off to take some pictures of an old interlocking tower there.
I also took photos of the new Damien interlocking tower, complete with a small NX panel.
Budd #2655 at Damien.
CTA Lake St interlocking on the Blue Line.
Well that's it for this year's antics in Chicago. Tune in next time for the final installment of my 2014 Transcontinental Amtrak Trip.