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 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.