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Thursday, April 30, 2015

UD Tower, Fixture of Joliet, Closes

It looks like after a lull the pace of tower closures is really picking up.  This time the famous UD Tower in Joliet, IL has closed in anticipation of a reconstruction of the Joliet Union Station area.  I didn't catch much word of this except for a few photos showing the classic Rock Island signal bridges on their last day and then with the signals turned and out of service (although it did make the local Chicago news).

The 224 lever GRS Pistol Grip machine was one of the last of a vanishing breed and one of the largest still in service although many of the levers had been painted white out of service.  UD had long held on as a METRA outpost on two major freight lines where the local eye of an operator was valued for its flexibility.

In recent years the last remaining double slip had been chopped down into a single turnout.

Like many classic towers UD presented many operational challenges from the lack of support for full speed reverse direction movements and model boards that lacked any capacity to display track occupancy!

Hopefully the maliciously maintained interlocking machine and relay room will be preserved.  It would make a fine museum in a revitalized downtown Joliet.

For more information see my previous write-up on UD Tower with photos taken in 2005-2006.

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