Friday, September 25, 2015

Trip to Chicago - Day 4

Hi, Dale and I began our fourth day with a return to Blue Island Junction hoping for more trains. It was not to be.

The first train we saw was on the old RI and badly back lit.  However, it backed off the old RI and onto IHB trackage allowing these shots of and IHB caboose and the UP SD70M pushing the short train.  I am not sure why they were moving the Metra Electric MUs, whether they were the old double deckers or the new ones, nor where they were being taken.

About an hour later the CN ran a train (above and below) shown crossing the IHB.

Close on the CN train's heels was a CSX train with a UP SD70Ace in the lead (above and below).

About 10:45 we gave up after seeing one more train, a CP train headed back to home rails, axis lit from the rear.  Our next stop was Belt Railway of Chicago's Clearing Yard.  The bridge at the east end of the yard yielded no activity.  In the middle of the yard new wire had been strung across the yard right next to the bridge.  This was about the only shot available and it required a very long lens.  We left.

Our final target of the day was the BNSF triple track from Chicago to Aurora, IL.  This line has a number of very interesting depots for props.  Also, there is a mix of BNSF freights, Metra commuter trains, and Amtrak.

Our first location was Riverside, IL.  The photos above and two below are of just a few of the trains we saw there.

Our next stop was the Zoo.

Just east of the stop was top of a grade (above and two below).  The line has something of a hill and dale (no pun intended) profile.

The structures on the far left above and the far right in the first photo at Zoo are unique for a railroad station.

Continuing west we met up with friend John Kleeman at LaGrange Road in LaGrange, IL (above and six below).  Rush hour was now in full swing.

Metra runs a series of expresses that skip all stops between Chicago and one of the outlying suburbs (above and below).  Mostly, however, they terminated in Downers grove.  Frequently a fast moving express will pass a local train that has stopped a station to detrain passengers.  This sets up a very dangerous situation as passengers off the local have crossed in front of the stopped train and walked right into the path of the express with fatal consequences.

Our last photo stop was at Stone Avenue in LaGrange, IL (above and three below).

After we were done shooting we found a nice restaurant with outdoor dining to our left across the street from the station.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Trip to Chicago - Afternoon of the third day

Hi, In the early afternoon we moved north to Blue Island, IL.

Our first stop was at the old Rock Island Station, now used by Metra.  A Metra SW1500 was on hand to move some electric MUs off a connection from the Metra Electric line onto the old RI track for movement somewhere.

As a train in each direction was due shortly we decided to wait.  Unfortunately, an Iowa Interstate freight was experiencing difficulty and had one of the tracks tied up.  A tie gang was on the other track so neither the outbound train nor the inbound train stuck behind the disabled freight could move.  It was frustrating as we could see the outbound train just around the curve north of the station.  While we waited we heard a number of trains blow for Blue Island Junction out of sight a few blocks away.

Finally we gave up and headed over to the junction.  The first train we saw was the outbound commuter train that we had waited almost an hour for at the station.  The track curving to the left is CSX while the track that goes straight ahead is Indiana Harbor Belt.

Traffic dried up for awhile by the time we made our move and we saw only one train in the hour plus we were there.  It is shown above on the old B&O Chicago Terminal, now just CSX.

About 4:30 we relocated back to the station for rush hour and photographed Metra trains for the rest of the day.

Note that trains do not necessarily use the tracks next to the station.

The Western Avenue bridge provided a safe vantage point to photograph the station area (above and two below).

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Trip to Chicago - Morning of the third day

Hi, Dale and I decided to return to CP Gibson in the early morning for the best sun at this location.

During the hour and a half we were there we saw the Indiana Harbor Belt SD20 that had been switching the west side of the yard the previous evening,

light power from NS and


the loaded hot metal train headed for Arcelormittal's former Inland Steel Plant, and

the IHB GP40s from the previous afternoon on a transfer (above and two below).

We then moved to Homewood, IL where there is a railfan platform well placed for morning photography.  Metra electric runs on the two furthest tracks (above and two below).

Note the tower in the left background.

The four tracks nearest the railfan platform are the former IC, now CN, mainline to New Orleans.  The train (above and below) was departing CN's Homewood yard.

Here is another view of the tower south of the railfan platform.

Just south of the tower two Metra electric trains met.

A stack train waited to depart

as a northbound Metra electric slowed for a station stop.

Thanks for looking.