Streetcars and Railroads crossing each other at grade

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Streetcars and Railroads crossing each other at grade
Posted by Miningman on Thursday, May 17, 2018 9:59 AM

So was there a signalling system in place for a situation such as this? Or did they rely on the flashing lights of the crossbucks for the motorists. I do not see any signals along the streetcar track for the RR X'ing. Perhaps the streetcars were required to come to a complete stop and then proceed.

I imagine these were kept to a minimum as they seem to be quite hazardous.  The RR Tracks have long been removed from this scene. 

Queen Street Extension 

4000 westbound along Queen Street extension just having crossed the diamond with CNR spur once part of the 
Toronto Belt Line Humber loop. Note Club Kingsway under construction. September 1958. 
J William Vigrass, John F Bromley collection.

4195 in same place although CNR track has been removed. Club Kingsway at left behind streetcar. 
Far right distant background is TTC Runnymede route bus at Windermere Ave. south end of route. 
Two views: October 17, 1964 John F. Bromley 

Note in the background a Supertest gas station and all the "old" cars and trucks! 
White car first up is a Chevy El Camino, GM's answer to Ford's Ranchero. 


NOTE: In 2017 and ongoing this line from Parkside Drive west to Humber Loop 
is being completely rebuilt and will longer have open style trackwork as shown.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, May 17, 2018 10:10 AM

The Chicago Surface Lines route to Hegewisch (Ewing-Brandon) had a few grade crossings which were unprotected.  CSL operating rules required the conductor to flag the car across the railroad in such a situation.  Consequently, this route required two-man cars even though the passenger count was more appropriate for a one-man car.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, May 17, 2018 12:44 PM

Generally, streetcars ran on trackage in the street, so would obey the same traffic signals and railroad crossing flashers that cars and trucks would. If an interurban-type line (i.e. regular ties, ballast etc., not street running)crossed a steam railroad, it would be signalled like any other instance of two railroads crossing each other.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, May 17, 2018 2:57 PM

First thanks to CSSHEGEWISCH and wjstix for the information. I have read an account that in the old old days in Toronto the passengers would have to leave the streetcar and cross the tracks on foot to an awaiting streetcar on the other side to continue on! That seems terribly inconvenient!

Secondly, its been pointed out to me by a former Forum great and now contributor emeritus, that the car identified in the Streetcar/RR crossing at grade picture is a 61 Pontiac Ventura  4 door hardtop and not an El Camino. I believe he is correct!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/coconv/17139119090

So thank you Mike!!!

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, May 17, 2018 4:04 PM

GM cars did have kind of similar models in the different brand names back then (see "My Cousin Vinnie").

Not sure why the street car couldn't cross the tracks in Toronto? There have been situations where there were separate companies, and you had to switch from one to the other to get where you were going. 100+ years ago my hometown of Richfield Minnesota was served by the Dan Patch Electric Line, which ran down to Northfield MN. However, it had to stop at the southern border of Minneapolis. The Twin City Lines streetcars stopped at the border the other way, and didn't go into Richfield. If you wanted to go from say Bloomington to downtown Minneapolis, you could take DPEL north through Richfield to 54th St., then get out and get on a Twin City Lines streetcar at a small joint depot.

Course now you can just take the light rail....

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, May 17, 2018 5:46 PM

Here is the reference:

Toronto Transit Commission 

Grade Separations 

Over a period of many years there were street railway level crossings with regular railways. Because of the dangers involved, and a few collisions they were avoided by subways (street underpasses) beneath train tracks or railway overpasses also in early years a refusal to allow streetcar tracks to cross a railway line. In some cases this meant streetcar riders had to get off and walk across the railway tracks and reboard another car on a different line. 

The last two level crossings were across a CNR track on Bathurst Street into a east side factory just north of Front Street West and a CNR industrial spur once the Toronto Belt Line's Humber loop across the Queen Street Extension west of Sunnyside built in 1955. They ended circa 1960.

So it does appear to be a different line as stated by the article and wjstix.

An El Camino and a Pontiac Ventura were not even close as models. Mike is right though as I can make out door handles behind the driver door so it is a 4 door hardtop and not a gentlemans executive pickup err pick up truck/car thingie. They were quite astonishing and appealing in appearance though. 

  

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Posted by NorthWest on Thursday, May 17, 2018 9:24 PM
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Posted by SD70Dude on Friday, May 18, 2018 4:17 AM

Edmonton's long-gone radial railway had several of these, in addition to the gantlet track section on the Low Level Bridge (all rails removed for 60 years now).  Streetcars always had to obey the rules of the road.

Today the resurrected streetcar and steam train loops at Fort Edmonton Park cross each other at a diamond (the first ones I ever saw).  Streetcars must stop before fouling the diamond, with the motorman normally making quite the show of looking both ways before proceeding.  The steam train's leisurely 10 mph pace also makes it fairly easy to stop in time if a streetcar were to somehow become disabled and stuck on the diamond.

I wonder if there were ever any incidents of dimensional loads (or Brakemen!) contacting the trolley wire at such locations.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, May 18, 2018 7:54 AM

I am sitting here forgetting that we have one in Memphis where the (newly resurrected) Riverfront Loop goes across the east track of the ex-IC line before starting up the bluff toward Central Station.  No freight, but Superliner clearance required for the wire.  Memphis equipment all converted to use pans, so no real wire-height issues.

I am laid up so I need someone like rcdrye to pull up the references where trolleys crossed main with nominal 11kV catenary, as on the PW&B and, I think, Norristown.  We have discussed these on the forums before.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, May 18, 2018 10:10 AM

Aside from previously mentioned CSL operations, prior to the building of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway, the CRT Garfield Park Line crossed the B&OCT/SOO at grade in Forest Park.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by daveklepper on Friday, May 18, 2018 10:50 AM

At Norristown the SEPTA Rt. !00 ex=Philadelphia and Western 3rd-rail line that also once hosted Lehigh Valley Transit Philadelphia - Allentown Liberty Bell interurbans crosses commuter rail, once both PRR and Reading, on a high single-track trestle.

The Washington Baltimore and Annapolis did have a 1200V DC - 11000V AC level crossing with the PRR, now Amtrak NEC main, with wire at the actual diamonds neutral, a gap, and regular railroad interlocing signals and control employed.

In Brooklyn, South Brooklyn freights shared tracks with streetcars and obyed traffic signals, inlcuding locations where one streetcar line crossed another, as at Macdonals and Neptune Avenues.

In Yonkers, the Lake Street connection betwen the 5 Neperhan Avnue line and the 6 Tuckahoe Road line crossed a freight spur of the New York Central's Putnam Division.  On the fan trip that covered this usually out of service line, we had a  photo stop at the grade crossing.  You can access this photo at my old Yonkers thread on the Transit Forum.  I believe freights had to flag the crossing and so did any streetcars, because there was no safety device, gates, lights, or anything.

The LIRR had streetcar crossings, but they were all gone by WWII except the Bushwick branch, a Broooklyn industrial lead, and this meant the freights flagging, the streetcars running as normal traffic, but perhaps had to stop also; I was too late for the riding experience. 

 

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Posted by rcdrye on Friday, May 18, 2018 11:28 AM

Just west of the CA&E/B&OCT crossing, Chicago and West Towns Railway's Chicago Avenue line crossed (from north to south) the B&OCT/Soo, Chicago Great Western and CA&E/CRT in quick succession, each double track crossing protected by a gate tower with manually controlled gates. 

C&WT's Chicago Avenue line also crossed the Lake Street "L" just south of the C&NW on Harlem Avenue in Oak Park/Forest Park.  That crossing involved overhead wire and was protected by crossing gates. Southbound auto and streetcar traffic stopped under the C&NW viaduct.  The gate arms were hinged to clear the overhead wire.

C&WT's crossing of IC's Iowa line used modified highway crossing flashers.  The IHB crossing was flagged by the conductor until the last couple of years when a flagman was stationed there.

C&WT's Riverside line crossed the CB&Q on Harlem Avenue with a full interlocking.  The C&WT narrowed from two tracks to one before crossing the CB&Q.

CSL's 69th-71st street line, 75th street and others crossed IC's electrified South Chicago branch with special wire crossings to prevent IC's pans from fouling on the CSL wire.  I think one line crossed the Blue Island branch as well.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, May 19, 2018 11:31 PM

Michigan reportedly had a prohibition on streetcar tracks crossing rail lines at grade.  There are photos of elaborate streetcar trestles up and over RR tracks.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, May 19, 2018 11:50 PM

"Just west of the CA&E/B&OCT crossing, Chicago and West Towns Railway's Chicago Avenue line crossed (from north to south) the B&OCT/Soo, Chicago Great Western and CA&E/CRT in quick succession, each double track crossing protected by a gate tower with manually controlled gates."----from rcdrye

Wow, quite a gauntlet for the streetcar motorman.  As a kid there was a series of track crossings and 3 seperate gates in both directions in Burlington, Ontario and it used to terrify me to get through that when walking. The whole track arraignment was changed and an underpass built in the mid 60's. It took 3 bridges, one diverging, one converging and the other straight and there are still 7 tracks between them, down from at least 9 or more. A pedestrian or auto/truck could get caught on the roadway in between all the gates. Safe but confusing. 

One set of 2 mains (and 2 storage/sidings also a water tower) is for the Halton Subdivision, then called the Allendale Sub with all traffic coming and going for the North and the West which terminates or begins as a junction with the Oakville Sub which is a 3 track heavily used mainline for all traffic from the East ( Toronto, Montreal, Maritimes) and onto Windsor/Detroit or Niagara Buffalo. There were 3 sets of tracks a couple of hundred feet from that main that served several industries and a fourth set of 2 more which was the Beach Sub serving the Niagara fruit district. Sometimes you could see 4 seperate trains and to cross that as a kid was a daunting task. There was a gateman/tower in the middle of the whole thing. 

Midland Mike--- Sounds like Michigan had a good idea and played it safe. 

 

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, May 20, 2018 11:34 AM

Slightly off-topic, but back in the classic interurban years a lot of the steam railroads were downright hostile to the interurban lines and wouldn't let them cross at grade.

So, the interurbans had to bridge over, or tunnel under, depending on location.

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Posted by rcdrye on Sunday, May 20, 2018 2:38 PM

Miningman
"Just west of the CA&E/B&OCT crossing, Chicago and West Towns Railway's Chicago Avenue line crossed (from north to south) the B&OCT/Soo, Chicago Great Western and CA&E/CRT in quick succession, each double track crossing protected by a gate tower with manually controlled gates."

The oddly shaped Chicago Avenue line was running on Des Plaines Avenue in Forest Park at that point.  Streetcar service was discontinued in 1940, the CTA bought the CA&E line to just west of Des Plaines after which the CA&E was cut back to Forest Park (1953) and then abandoned (1957).  Des Plaines Avenue was rebuilt lower, with three successive overpasses, with B&O, CGW and CTA emblems on them.  Over the years the CTA has rebuilt the Forest Park station and the CGW merged into the C&NW, after which its line was abandoned.  Today the "B&O" and CTA bridges remain with CSX and CTA logos.  CN retains ownership of the former Soo north of Forest Park, but only makes enough moves to keep the line classified as "active".  The industries served by the B&OCT west of Des Plaines are long gone, though there is (or was until recently) some activity a few blocks east at Harlem Avenue.

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Posted by rrnut282 on Friday, June 08, 2018 11:59 AM

Firelock76

Slightly off-topic, but back in the classic interurban years a lot of the steam railroads were downright hostile to the interurban lines and wouldn't let them cross at grade.

So, the interurbans had to bridge over, or tunnel under, depending on location.

 

Same thing happened in my neck of the woods, too.  Very few, if any, at-grade crossings of interurbans and steam roads.  

Mike (2-8-2)
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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Saturday, June 09, 2018 10:10 AM

South Shore crossed PRR's SC&S line at Burnham and an IHB branch at State Line.  Prior to the construction of the East Chicago bypass, it also crossed B&OCT near Columbia Avenue.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, June 09, 2018 6:47 PM

South Shore also crosses ex-MC, now Amtrak at Michigan City, IN.  They also used to cross N&W near the shops.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, June 10, 2018 12:00 PM

The South Shore must have had some "pull," there's a photo in the "Classic Trains" interurban issue showing a bridge over the PRR's Pittsburgh- St. Louis main line belonging to the Dayton and Western, an interurban line that ran from Dayton OH to Richmond IN, with one of the cars on it.  The PRR would NOT let the D&W cross at grade.

Then again, the South Shore wasn't exactly the average interurban line, it was more like a full-blown electric railroad.  "Interurban on steroids" springs to mind.

The D&W was abandoned in 1937.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, June 10, 2018 7:15 PM

Firelock76
The South Shore must have had some "pull," there's a photo in the "Classic Trains" interurban issue showing a bridge over the PRR's Pittsburgh- St. Louis main line belonging to the Dayton and Western, an interurban line that ran from Dayton OH to Richmond IN, with one of the cars on it.  The PRR would NOT let the D&W cross at grade.

Then again, the South Shore wasn't exactly the average interurban line, it was more like a full-blown electric railroad.  "Interurban on steroids" springs to mind.

The D&W was abandoned in 1937.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_South_Shore_and_South_Bend_Railroad

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 12:23 AM

The Indiana Railroad assumed operation of the Dayton and Western in 1936 with through Indianapolis - Dayton service.  Previously, one changed from Indiana Railroad cars to D & W cars in Richmond, Indiana.  But a strike in 1937 precipitated a business delcine, and thus the D & W's abandnment started the abandonment of the major Indiana Railroad lines, with the last being the shorter of the two Idianapolis - Fort Wayne line in Jan. 1941.   Token service to Seymore lasted some months until a tragic accident, but this was not an Indiana Railroad operation, one by the power company owner.  Service beyond Seymore to Louisville ended earlier, but later than 1937.

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Posted by train18393 on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 4:49 AM

In the city of Tacoma they recently put in a trolly, 15 or so years ago. They were to cross the BNSF Prarie Line at grade on Pacific Ave. The Prarie Line had little traffic at that point and what traffic could access the line a bit further south. That is the same line that the Amtrak Cascades train met with tragedy several months ago. Anyways the city negotiated with BNSF to abbandon that section of the rail line rather that go through the legal hoops for a street trolly to cross a heavy rail line. I think that some funds exchanged hands and some property concessions were also made.

Paul

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