Where is this Crossing?

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Where is this Crossing?
Posted by CPGP60 on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 11:31 AM

 I remember reading a article from either Trains Mag around 2004 or 2005, I remember seeing a picture of this very large and scary looking railway crossing in the US maybe Central or Midwest. The crossing was not a conventional crossing, I think the article said it had WWII Air Raid sirens or horns, and it was painted black. I know this isn't much to go on, but it was a really interesting looking crossing.

Thanks if there is any info. I don't know where I put all my articles.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:27 PM

If we're thinking of the same one, it had a warning sign that said ''Death'' or something similar.

My recollection is that it was in either Florida, or in the Lower Mississippi River valley such as Louisiana, Mississippi, or Arkansas, etc.  I know that's quite a range, but that's the mental association I have for it. 

- Paul North.  

 

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:37 PM

I was thinking you meant a bridge crossing a river or lake. Now I'm guessing you're thinking of that road crossing in Mississippi that had all of those devices to warn vehicles.

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Posted by Rockfan 71 on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 5:27 PM

Grenada Mississippi.

This would be my guess....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billups_Neon_Crossing_Signal

 I know I've seen a pic of it before, but I can't find it anywhere on the web.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:41 PM

According to that Wikipedia link, the railroad was the Illinois Central, the neon message was "Stop - DEATH - Stop", and the original article was in the "Railroad Reading" section of the May 2003 Trains.

- Paul North,   

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Posted by CPGP60 on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:02 PM

 I think that is the one, anyone got a picture?

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Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:22 PM

Paul_D_North_Jr

According to that Wikipedia link, the railroad was the Illinois Central, the neon message was "Stop - DEATH - Stop", and the original article was in the "Railroad Reading" section of the May 2003 Trains.

- Paul North,   

Grenada, Miss is roughly half way between Memphis, T, and Jackson Ms. It lays between the IC Rarlroad east line ( at one time there were about three routes they could take between Memphis and Jackson. The west line closest to the Mississippi River was originally part of th Y&MV RR  ( locally was known as the 'Yellow Dog')  It referenced the crossing of the Southern Rwy and the IC in Morehead Miss ( between Clarksdale and Yazoo City).   Grenada was on the mainline which hosted the IC' fastest passenger trains through the Delta ( among them The Panama Ltd and City of New Orleans).

The Billups Crossing Sign was placed where Ms. Hwy.7 crossed the IC line just west of the parallel Hwy 51. Traffic on the narrow Hwy 51 ran fairly fast as it was leaving the Grenada City limits and of course the IC's speed was notoriously fast. ( The stories were that the 'City' or the 'Panama' went through those little towns "so fast that the hammer on the bell at the crossing only got to half cocked before the trains were past." or "They went through towns so fast they sucked the trash out of Both ditches when the went by!"  Track speed for those trains upper limit was a 'Dollar bill.'   ( I can attest they pretty much ran that most of the way).  Track  was maintained as smooth as glass back then. 

So Crashes at the area of the Hwy/ Railroad crossing were often deadly to the one running the sign. Speed being the operative element.

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 10:52 PM

samfp1943
( The stories were that the 'City' or the 'Panama' went through those little towns "so fast that the hammer on the bell at the crossing only got to half cocked before the trains were past." or "They went through towns so fast they sucked the trash out of Both ditches when the went by!"  Track speed for those trains upper limit was a 'Dollar bill.'   ( I can attest they pretty much ran that most of the way). 

Yes, Sam, the City and the Pannyma (as theye were called in Mississippi) were fast. Even in 1965,  the City had to run at 90 mph to maintain its schedule--without ATS or ATC or cab signals. It ran so fast that in some towns it was impossible to get a proper warning signal off for every public crossing (from my personal experience in riding the engine of #1 from Memphis to Grenada).

By the way, Grenada (100 miles south of Memphis and 88 miles north of Canton (division point)) is not in the Delta; the Delta ends a few miles west of the Memphis-Batesville-Canton-North Jackson line.

Johnny

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, August 18, 2010 9:56 PM

The article on this crossing in the May 2003 Trains by Ed Ellis is in the "Railroad Reading" section on pages 66 - 67 - the text is on 66, and the photo is on 67 with a little bit over on 66.  The photo - which shows an EMD cab unit partway across the crossing - is credited to Ellis, who is a former Amtrak official, and now with one of the shortline empires or regionals, I believe.  So, that photo is likely not in the public domain yet.  Actually, he ought to get a lot of credit for having the foresight to take it - it's well done from a composition perspective.  In my humble opinion, the crossing assembly with its cantilever/ gantry over the roadway looks a lot like the entrance to an amusement park or fairgrounds carnival midway thrill ride, with the "Skull & Crossbones" and "DEATH" at the top center.  If you can't reach Ellis, maybe you can purchase that back issue from Kalmbach even though 2003 is not listed on that webpage (below) as being available, or else from one of the dealers in older Trains magazines. 

- Paul North. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by CPGP60 on Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:06 AM

 Thank you for the information. I think I might still have that article I don't think I ever threw out issues, unless I really had some reason, or my mom did by accident *eeghads* but other than that thanks.

 Is there any chance I can see this crossing on Google maps? I have looked around Route 7 and see nothing?

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:36 AM

You're quite welcome.  I don't know why that style of crossing signal isn't still in use today . . . it sure got the message across Smile,Wink, & Grin  There must also have been some write-ups and photos of it in the railroad trade and professional publications at the time such as Railway Age and the AREA's Proceedings, etc. 

I don't know the territory at all, so I suggest you see what info as to location can be provided by either Deggesty or samfp1943, and/ or maybe someone else. 

- Paul North. 

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Thursday, August 19, 2010 8:43 AM

There are two pictures of the crossing on the first page of this link-
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locThumbs.aspx?id=77402&Page=1

I didn't look at the other 26 pages of Grenada.

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Posted by CPGP60 on Thursday, August 19, 2010 9:27 AM

 

Paul_D_North_Jr

You're quite welcome.  I don't know why that style of crossing signal isn't still in use today . . . it sure got the message across Smile,Wink, & Grin  There must also have been some write-ups and photos of it in the railroad trade and professional publications at the time such as Railway Age and the AREA's Proceedings, etc. 

I don't know the territory at all, so I suggest you see what info as to location can be provided by either Deggesty or samfp1943, and/ or maybe someone else. 

- Paul North. 

 

I guess the would have been a lot of noise complaints because of the sirens.

I think I found where it used to be, since it is now called Old Hwy 7 where it used to be located.

http://maps.google.ca/maps?gl=ca&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Toronto,+Toronto+Division,+Ontario&ll=33.803757,-89.789028&spn=0.012517,0.066047&z=15&layer=c&cbll=33.805328,-89.801616&panoid=hbomCXAHBblE2PobeGcYxQ&cbp=12,29.17,,0,0.15

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Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, August 19, 2010 10:11 AM

CPGP60

I don't know the territory at all, so I suggest you see what info as to location can be provided by either Deggesty or samfp1943, and/ or maybe someone else. 

- Paul North. 

Paul!;

           Big Smile You're killing an old man's memoryAshamed. I am in the middle of a brain cell resurection out here!Tongue  I am waking up brain cells that have not been worked very hard for several years...And we're looking back 60 years, Wow!!more or less, and I have no CLIFF"S NOTES to refer back on.Confused

     Grenada, Ms.  Up until the late 1950's and  60's and 70's when Mississippi was building the I-55 HWY. The Ic was a pretty much straight shot through the Grenada area. North of town was a JCT for the line that came down From Jackson, Tn. through  Water Valley, Bruce (Hardwood Flooring Co.) Coffeeville to Jct.

Hwy 51 was the Eastern boundary for locals ( mre or less) of the Mississippi River's Delta to Jackson , and Hwy 61 was parallel to the East bank of the Mississippi River all the way to Vicksburg and then on to Baton Rouge.  Hwy 7 came down from the Area of Ripley (?) Holly Springs  and on to Grenada It junctioned with Hwy 51 nort of Grenada about where the railroad junct was. and the went kinda in a southwesterly direction where it junctioned with Ms Rt 8 west of the Grenada area several miles.

Looking at the Google Maps. The Highways have all been rerouted and changed with 7 being routed down    I- 55. So when it comes to the "Famous Billups Crossing all the geography has changed.  So in my original post my location was off (It was North, Not South of town)

During the 40's,50's and 60's Billups was a name known well thoughout that area of the Mid-South. They were an Independent Petroleum Supplier ( on the cheap side of retail, as opposed to the "Major" Oil Cos.

They were usually a few cents cheaper than the others, they sold their motor oil in glass jars with a tin spout, and when you were a teenager, cheap was good. ( gas was somewhere south of .25c a gallon)Bow  So I suspect that the Billups Family errected the sign as a public service and a really good advertising ploy (60 years later we're still talking about it!Yeah!!

So as a disclaimer...As previously statedmy memory may not be 100% but I think I am in the ballpark and if anyone else can add or correct details...

I'll now yield to Johnny who probably has a better take on this than I.Confused

PLEASE, Please, DO!  And Thanks, in advanceSmile,Wink, & Grin

ADD NOTEGuys; While looking at this subject I found a link that I feel Johnny and probably Greyhounds will enjoy going through, and its varied links will be a resource for others here: 

It's called TOM"S CLOSET and is part of a larger body of Illinois Central centered Info that should be of interest to this group.

http://www.illinoiscentral.net/TomsCloset.html

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:58 PM

Paul_D_North_Jr
I don't know the territory at all, so I suggest you see what info as to location can be provided by either Deggesty or samfp1943, and/ or maybe someone else

Thanks for the compliment, Paul. Except when going through on the IC (from 1963 through 1989), I have been in that area only twice--the first time was when I went to a retreat Hugh White State Park near Grenada in 1965 (up by car, down on the City), and the second time when I went by there on I-55 when I was moving my new family from Boise to Reform in 1972. As well as I can tell, others have given enough information to locate the crossing. I do remember the article in Trains.

Johnny

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Posted by rdamon on Friday, August 20, 2010 5:57 AM

nanaimo73

There are two pictures of the crossing on the first page of this link-
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/locThumbs.aspx?id=77402&Page=1

I didn't look at the other 26 pages of Grenada.

Thank you for finding these. It is amazing that this survived for almost 30 years. The contrast between 1940 and 1970 is great. I wonder how many of the sirens and neon lights still functioned in that second photo.

One would think that the track detection circuits would have to be out further than other crossings to give time for the sirens to spool up.

Robert

 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Friday, August 20, 2010 9:15 AM

Dale -

Those 2 photos are a 'most excellent' find.  Way to go - attaboy.  Definitely a demonstration of your web-searching prowness.  What more can I say Bow

Johnny -

Well, that's 2 more trips than I ever had past there.  Even so, thanks for that additional info.  Thumbs Up 

Tangentially related, I showed that photo to my wife.  It reminded here of one of the safety stickers on the small skid-steer loader - think 'Bobcat', only it was a New Holland brand instead - that our builder used for our house.  Up front near the linkage and bucket, it said "AVOID DEATH".  As she observed, apparently "Avoid Injury" wasn't enough - some people (usually guys, see the "Darwin Awards" listing) - just don't get the message unless it's real blunt and direct and to the point.

- PaulNorth.

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Posted by Norm48327 on Friday, August 20, 2010 9:55 AM

 

That was indeed an interesting photo. Looking at the crossing on Google Earth it is apparent the tracks cross the road at quite an angle making it tough for motorists to see an oncoming train to their right.

Norm


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Posted by Zwingle on Friday, August 20, 2010 10:59 PM

 Here's the Google Street View of this crossing.

It appears that the east-side footings are still basically intact.

For convenience, here are the two photos of this crossing from the excellent link Dale provided:

1940

1970

Here's the Bing Bird's Eye View of the crossing today. As a side note, if you zoom out you can see the ancient original route of this line crossed the road to the southwest of this location, finally joining the other line south of the Yalobusha River.  This is also confirmed on antique maps.

 -Mike


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Posted by AgentKid on Saturday, August 21, 2010 1:21 AM

nanaimo73
There are two pictures of the crossing on the first page of this link-

 

When I took a look at the first of the two pictures I had only two words to say:

HOLY COW!!!  Shock

Now I am another step closer to having seen everything.  Big Smile

Bruce

So shovel the coal, let this rattler roll.

"A Train is a Place Going Somewhere"  CP Rail Public Timetable

"O. S. Irricana"

. . . __ . ______

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