Tuesday, June 02, 2009
A replica of an old railroad crossing gate operators tower. Western Springs Illinois USA. Early May 2009.
I took this photo one afternoon, at the Western Springs Metra commuter rail station. A recent addition to the station in west suburban Western Springs Illinois, is this replica of an elevated railroad crossing gate operators tower from the steam era.
Before railroad crossing gates were becoming automated during the 1930's, railroad crossing gates at many locations around North America, were manually operated by railroad signal crew department operators. Many were pnuematically powered, while some of the earlier models were actually hand cranked. The BNSF Railway pre Burlington Northern predecessor railroad Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad...had several of these along this mainline into the 1940's and possibly the early 1950's.
A number of these lasted in to the early diesel era.
Although long obsolete and eventually replaced, The Grand Trunk Western Railroad kept two in operation into the early 1980's at the GTW Elsdon Yard on Chicago's southwest side. The tower on West 51st Street east of South Lawndale Avenue at the GTW Elsdon Yard, lasted until October of 1983 upon the closing of Elsdon Yard.
Unfortunately....It was demolished one week later.
A small number have been preserved in railroad museums.