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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Chicago 75th Street, Western Ave and MO Videos

Not sure how I missed these gems.  Both of these videos have been on Youtube for a number of months and I am just getting to them now. The first is an old school video tour of the B&OCT 75th St tower shortly before it closed in 1996.  This was one of the last major "all mechanical" interlocking plants that even had a number of mechanically worked signals. It was located on the joint B&OCT/PRR Panhandle trunk line that snaked its way up along the western part of the city through Dolton Jct, Brighton Park, Ash Street and many other complex crossings and junctions.

By 1996, the PRR was gone, both both the Wabash and Belt Railway crossings were in place. The videos shows movements passing by the tower, but also the operator manipulating the 132 lever S&F mechanical frame. One interesting thing to note is how the facing point lock levers were stored in the unlocked position, instead of locked as seen at most other North American towers.   Make sure you have some time booked, because even at 46 minutes you'll want to watch the whole thing.

The second video is an inside tour of METRA Tower A-2 shot in 2015.   I have previously covered this tower on this blog and I was actually able to use info from the video to solve a few mysteries such as where the rundown timers were. So check out the video and feel free to check back with the Tower A-2 page on this blog for the updates.

Lastly I found some vintage clips of MO interlocking and tower in operation in a 1975/76 public information film on railroad operation.  Begining at the 8:13 mark is a segment on signaling that includes film of the big old GRS Model 5B machine being manipulated inside MO tower, along with its model board showing switch position indicators. Fancy stuff!

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