Posts

Showing posts from August, 2018

Drachen Fire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Image
Drachen Fire was a late model Arrow Dynamics looping coaster, built at Busch Gardens Williamsburg for the 1992 season.  Building on the success of Arrow's numerous Mega-Looper roller coasters, the ride was supposed to be an incredible addition to an amusement part that had great success with Arrow coasters beforehand, such as 1978's Loch Ness Monster , featuring the only interlocking vertical loops remaining in the world, and Big Bad Wolf , a now-defunct, but fondly remembered, suspended coaster , running from 1984-2009. Aerial of Drachen Fire . Image: Corey Green via Theme Park Tourist At 150’ tall, with a diving inversion for a first drop, as well as other unique inversions, and an airtime hill immediately after the first drop, Drachen Fire was an ambitious project, and was meant to be the signature ride in the park. The ride was stylistically different from previous Arrow projects in a few ways. For one, it did not feature a vertical loop, and it the first time the comp

Lockport's Abandoned Bridge Over the Des Plaines: Division Street Bridge

Image
Division St Bridge in Lockport, IL is currently closed to all traffic (including pedestrian traffic) and hidden behind growth.  The bridge approach is only accessible via IL-53 on the west side of the Des Plaines River/Sanitary Ship Canal. Forgotten Railways, Roads & Places Photo (August 2018) According to HistoricBridges, "this abandoned bridge which is closed to all traffic carried Division Street over Des Plaines River. At one time an additional bridge, a swing bridge which is today gone, would have carried the street over the Sanitary and Ship Canal to the east as well. This bridge was reportedly closed in 1993 when a high level bridge was constructed for IL-7 about three quarters of a mile north of this bridge. "Historical Photo of the Day: Workers pause for a photo while redecking the 16th Street Bridge (now Division Street) over the Des Plaines River in Lockport, Illinois, on October 23, 1923, viewed to the east." (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Ch

The Joliet Iron Works

Image
Before the days of globalization, heavy industry used to build this country had to come from right here. As such, the manufacturing of steel was of the utmost importance in the late 19th century. And while steel continues to be an extremely important industry , much like the railroad industry, steel production has become much more efficient over time, making relatively small plants obsolete, which is what would happen to the Joliet Iron Works.  Joliet Iron Works in 1901. The mainline of the Illinois Central (now CN) ran right through it. Most of the side tracks are abandoned. One can even see this consolidation in the corporate history of the Works. The Joliet works was built by the Joliet Iron and Steel Company in 1869. Twenty years later, the Illinois Steel Company acquired it, and Illinois Steel itself was acquired by Federal Steel, which would form US Steel, which is still in business to this day.  Over 4000 workers were employed at these works in 1926 . The plant

Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge and its Former Railroad History

Image
Grosse Ile, MI, an island of the Detroit River, once was served by the Canada Southern Railway , which later became part of the Michigan Central Railroad. ( Right of way ) Bicyclists on railroad bridge, 1897  (Grosse Ile Historical Society) A railway bridge connected the Island to the mainland of Michigan. Canada Southern Bridge Company, a subsidiary of the Canada Southern, built the rail bridge in 1873. East of the island, railroad cars would be ferried across the river into Canada , where they often would travel to Buffalo and other eastern US cities, that were quicker to access via Ontario than Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. This bridge, pictured above, would carry rail, automobile, and bicycle traffic until 1932, when it was converted into the Grosse Ile Free Bridge , which remains standing today, although not for rail traffic. Notably, it was closed in 2020 for repairs but is planned to reopen at some point. Grosse Ile Michigan Station, 1900. This station now houses the Grosse I

Railroads, National Identity and Confederation in Canada

Image
Railroads, in their early days were a significant force in geopolitics. This continues even today, as countries and regions vie for influence in today's globalized world. An admittedly small, but nonetheless, a part of North & South Korea's conflict involves connecting the two countries together via the railroad . However, the railroad industry has actually built countries, and not in the physical sense, where a railroad builds cities and towns along it's route, but were actually responsible for developing a national identity and connectivity. Canada, with it's extremely large and spread out population, partially owes it's existence as a single transcontinental country to railroads. It is possible, if not likely, that Canada would look a lot differently today politically were it not for the railroads. The Guarantee Act of 1849 ensured that any railroad investment in Canada would yield returns on their bonds. Of course, while the Act indeed spurred railroad

The Recently Abandoned Bedford-New Albany, IN Line (Past and Future)

Image
One of the more recent railroad abandonments in the United States is the Bedford-New Albany, Indiana line that CSX abandoned in January 2018. Eight years earlier, revenue service was discontinued along the route . The abandoned right of way is of course on our abandoned and out-of-service railroad lines map. Image: New Albany City Hall . (WHAS) Just before abandonment in 2018, this is how the right of way looked. The tracks have since been salvaged. The Monon Railroad , also known as the New Albany & Salem Railroad , constructed the line from Bedford, IN to New Albany, IN, in 1854.  As part of abandonment or discontinuance requests, environmental reviews, including historical information on the line, are usually required, and the following information comes from the STB's abandonment document environmental review, albeit abridged. Reflecting its reaches, this name was changed to the Louisville New Albany & Chicago railroad in 1859, and reorganized as the Chicago, Indianap