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Showing posts from October, 2018

The Zombie Railways: Rail Lines That Are Coming Back to Life

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The Herald News, "Fall River Rail Line Being Reclaimed After 60 Years of Inactivity".  Jack Foley, Photographer. Like any piece of infrastructure, or facility, a railroad line has a finite time of existence. A line is built, and functions as long as it is properly maintained and there is traffic on the line. Once that ends, it is either left in a dormant state , or the rails are dug up and sold for scrap. Dead railroad lines continue to stay dead, generally speaking, and their remnants sometimes make for some interesting discoveries decades later . As I've learned over the course of my abandoned railroad research , the abandoned railroad network is even more vast than our current network. Streetcar tracks discovered during a construction project in Elgin, IL.  Image: City of Elgin. As railroad lines were consolidated, and continue to be consolidated, especially since the beginning of the 1970's, the scenario described reflects the vast majority of the lives

The St. James Forest Preserve (And the Historic Road and Railroad That Ran Through It)

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CB&Q 14351, on display. St James Farm  is a 200 acre preserved farm that has been owned by the DuPage County Forest Preserve since 2007, located on the northeast corner of IL-56 (Butterfield Rd) and Winfield Rd.  Sign facing IL-56. According to the Forest Preserve, the property was acquired by Marion McCormick in 1920, nephew of McCormick Place namesake Cyrus McCormick. Interestingly, another McCormick, Robert, owned the nearby Cantigny Park . Marion passed the property to his son Brooks, who bequeathed the property to the Forest Preserve upon his death in 2007. I had been meaning to visit this place for sometime, and on a day that I simply felt like going for a walk, as opposed to tracing, photographing, and researching abandoned railroad lines, I decided to visit this place, not knowing a thing about it.  Wanting a nice, solitary walk, I did get that from this place, and you will too. About a quarter way through the trail that loops around the land, I took

Martha’s Vineyard Railroad: A Beautiful Disaster

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The narrow-gauge Martha’s Vineyard Railroad ran on Martha’s Vineyard Island, connecting Oak Bluffs with Edgartown, MA. ( Right of way ).  From Oak Bluffs, steamships of the  Old Colony Railroad  would transport passengers to  Woods Hole  on the mainland, whose line today has since been abandoned as well. The train Active leaving Oak Bluffs wharf for Edgartown. From a stereoview. Scan courtesy oldtimeislands.org via Wikipedia Commons . From  Tracing the Route of the Martha's Vineyard Railroad It took just eight weeks to build this line in 1874, after a decline in the whaling industry left Massachusetts industrialists scrambling to develop a new source of revenue. The natural beauty of the island made tourism a viable option, and thus the line transported island tourists to and from ferry operations to connect to mainland Massachusetts.  Say what you will, but you have to love the aesthetics in this picture! ( Wikipedia Commons ) While an eight week timetable for construction sounds