Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Crossing gate operators tower on 51st Street. October 1983.

This is yet another example of late surviving steam era technology. This is a crossing gate operators tower from many decades ago. Grand Trunk Western railroad's Elsdon Yard in Chicago Illinois was a busy 14 track freight train yard on 51st Street between South Lawndale Avenue to the west, and South St. Louis Avenue on the east end. During busy times, there were many back and forth switching moves to be made in this old steam era railroad yard, requiring an alert crossing gate operator. These crossing gates were controlled manually. When I visited Elsdon Yard on this beautiful early october day in 1983, I was informed by different railroad crew members, that this was the last week of operation for the crossing gate towers, the yard, and enginehouse facilities. They said to Me, "Get those photos now while You can". I'm glad I did. I only wish that I had more film and time to come back again. One week after I photographed this scene, the crossing gate operators tower seen here, was "Demolished". This view is looking north from 51st Street, just east of Lawndale Avenue. Say goodbye GTW.


Iain said...

Hi Eddie

Really enjoyed reading through your items on Chicago and especially this one as I spent so much time in 'signal boxes' when I was a kid.

I was always fascinated by the 'Hiawathas' when I was younger - did you spend any time around the Milwaukee Road route?

Watch my blog for something on the 'A4' class soon. I'll see if I can track down some older pictures of 'Dwight D. Eisenhower' at work on the East Cosat Main Line to use

Anonymous said...

Another thing I remember well from 51st!

I was told of a story of my great uncle who worked in one of these towers in the Chicago area in the early 1900s.


Anonymous said...

I say briefly: Best! Useful information. Good job guys.

Anonymous said...

Hey what a great site keep up the work its excellent.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a similar tower on 55th St?

Eddie said...

Hi there!
Yes there was one like this on west 55th street. I vaguely recall that it was at approximately the same location at the northwest corner of the west track. The last time I remeber seeing the one on west 55th Street was around 1979 or 1980 before it was removed.
Unfortunately...I do not have any photos of the GTW 55th Street crossing tower.

I wish that I had taken more GTW Elsdon photos than I did, as the yard closed around the time I was just getting started as a True Railfan Photographer.

Thank You.
Eddie K.