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June 9, 2007
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Illinois Central III by classictrains Illinois Central III by classictrains
This was the IC interchange with the EJ&E in Chicago's Western Suburbs on a winter evening in 1966. A train blasted through a little earlier. Today the cornfields are mostly gone and the crop is split-levels.

When I took this picture I was standing on the J's single track which goes over the IC on a bridge. It's that bridge which is the reason why the west facing train-order signal is so low. Eastbound crews would see the signal under the bridge carrying the J. There was a dip in the IC just east of here so the signal head facing east is extremely high so the westbound crews could see the signal over the crest.

The interchange track is just visible behind the structures. That isn't an outhouse by the interchange track. It's a phone box so that when the facility is unmanned, the crew making a drop or pickup can call either the IC or J dispatcher and get instructions. The shed to the right is for the section crew and probably housed a track speeder and all the spike hammers, pry bars, and other tools and parts needed for "small" track repairs.

For those who don't know about it, the metal stand with hoops and a light by the tracks had paper train orders attached to them for the crew to pick up on the fly. The upper hoop held the orders for the engineer, fireman, and head end brakeman. The lower hoop held copy for the conductor and rear brakie who got down on the steps of the caboose. (Remember them?) There was no red signal indication... only yellow for "slow to pick up orders" or green for "no orders."

In many ways this was a typical rural scene of the 50's and before. Once there were thousands of little buildings like these at small railroad yards or junctions across the United States. Today there are almost none left as most control is done remotely though radio and satellite links from a small number of large dispatching centers.
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:iconsmt-images:
SMT-Images Jun 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
amazing shot!
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:icondungeonguy59:
Great scene, this location got to be an inside joke of sorts among the local photographers. I think it started with someone having a nice shot of an IC train, and the answer to the location was "uhhhhhh, Munger". So whenever anybody couldn't remember a location of anything on the IC, the correct answer was always "Munger". Even if might look more like Iowa.
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:iconclassictrains:
How many folks actually made it here? Trains weren't frequent and it got pretty boring waiting around for them.
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:icondungeonguy59:
not too many, I think, unless it was back in the 60's. Back then, I think there were 5 scheduled through freights a day each way, plus the "Land O Corn", the "Hawkeye", and extras, especially at harvest season.
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:iconsylderon:
I'll have to go out and look at this place. Of course, there are still a few junctions like this still in existance. Turner Junction comes to mind, along with Lake St. Tower on the Kenosha Division, and Tower A-5 on the Milwaukee North Line (which I have a picture of somewhere, taken from the back of the Empire Builder). And boo, splitlevels!
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:iconclassictrains:
I'd be really surprised if any of this was still here today.

've got a shot of a IC train coming through here which I will scan someday.
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:iconsylderon:
Well, I'll just have to go see for myself.
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:iconsullivan1985:
sullivan1985 Jun 10, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
That signal stand is set up very odd. Can't say I've ever seen the heads lined up like that.
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:iconclassictrains:
quite simple really... the tall one faces east... as i recall there was a dip east of here and it needed to be that high so westbound crews could see it over the crest in time to get down and swoop up the TOs in the hoops.... the low one faces west and I explained that in my notes... eastbound crews could see it under the bridge I'm almost standing on..
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:iconsullivan1985:
sullivan1985 Jun 10, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
Ahhh! Ok then thats makes sense then. Very cool. Thanks for the info.
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