Showing posts from June, 2019

Railroad University: Abandoned Spur Lines Near Colleges

Spur tracks serving industrial outfits used to be much more numerous than they are now, before competition from the trucking industry made many of them unprofitable. Many colleges and universities in the early 20th century were directly or indirectly served by railroad spurs, some built specifically for the college, others built to serve nearby industries. Notre Dame & Western Railroad #5352, serving Notre Dame University. Image: Dick Leonhardt With that in mind, today's blog will be on these railroads and spurs that served universities. #1.) & #2.) Notre Dame & Western Railroad and St. Mary's Railroad - South Bend, IN I was notified of these sister lines by Tom Burke, who noticed their earlier omission on my abandoned railroads map. Image: Notre Dame University Archives What makes these lines unique is that they actually were separate entities in the railroad world, the Notre Dame & Western Railroad began service in 1902, splitting off from the

The Forgotten Railways of Chicago: The Bloomingdale Line (a.k.a The 606)

The 606  is undoubtedly the most famous abandoned rail line turned linear park in the Chicago area, but it's far from the only one. The Illinois Prairie Path , Great Western Trail , Major Taylor Trail , and the under-construction El Paseo Trail are examples as well. What sets the 606, otherwise known as the Bloomingdale Trail apart from the rest of these, however, is that it sits on former elevated right of way, more resembling the High Line  in New York City. In fact, both railroad lines have a similar beginning, in the sense that both were surface lines before being raised due to safety concerns. What we're left with is a wonderful park to bike or jog in, safe from cars. The 606 Bridge over Milwaukee Av, looking east. One thing that is different about the 606 compared to the High Line is that the 606 is much more geared toward cyclists than those looking for a nature walk. I'm no cyclist, so it took me awhile longer to visit this park than other rail trails in th

How To Get a Job in the Railroad Industry

While I greatly enjoy writing Forgotten Railways, Roads & Places, as well as making my abandoned railroad maps , it's not my day job. In the last year, I've gotten to the point where I can make a little side money from this blog, but at the end of the day, it's a labor of love. One of my 2017 photos on the Illinois Prairie Path . Without going into my background too much, I am employed in the railroad industry, and I know very well that I'm not the only one who dreamed of working for one of the Class I's early in their life or career. While there is no one path to any goal in life, I figured I would share my story of how I got my current position, and maybe you can learn a thing or two from my experience. Image: BNSF Railway on I first got the chance at this dream way back in 2010; being hired as a Freight Conductor. However, it became apparent very early in my career that it wasn't for me. (To those who are conductors, engineers, etc.

The Orphaned US Routes: 4 US Highways With a Decommissioned Parent Route

The United States Numbered Highway System , or simply US Route System, is a network of roads across the US. They were the successor to the Auto Trail system, which itself was a mixture of public and private roads, and not necessarily coordinated with one another. The most famous example of an Auto Trail would be the Lincoln Highway . The system differs from State Route systems in that the routes connect different parts of the US; US Highway 20 runs from Oregon to Massachusetts, while state routes (typically) remain in their own state. They also differ from the Interstate System in that the vast majority were built in the early 1920's, long before current highway standards were adopted. A US Highway can be a freeway, but a US Interstate cannot be below freeway grade, unless you live in Wyoming . Just like interstates, there are 2-digit and 3-digit US Routes, which relate to their parent route in some way. As it is much older than the Interstate System, and vast swaths of US