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Showing posts from December, 2019

Ogden Avenue Once Had Four Numerical Designations. It Has Zero Today.

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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, at least when there's four highways labeled in a single frame, and none of them exist on this road today. Image: Chicago Transit Authority, 1930 via USEnds.com There is a lot that's forgotten here in this 1930 image of Ogden Ave in Chicago, IL, as the photo depicts two decommissioned US Highways, 32 and 66, and two Illinois state routes that still exist, but run nowhere near Chicago today. What was once signed with 4 different numerical designations is now an unnumbered road.  To make things even more confusing, Ogden Ave in much of the Chicago area is signed as US-34, which came a few years after this picture was taken. Today, we're going to quickly explore how each of these highways came to land on the same road, and why they no longer run on Ogden today. Ogden Ave is currently signed as US 34 west of IL-43/Harlem Ave in Berwyn, which is where US-34 presently begins .  Illinois Route 4 was a Chicago-St. Louis road that some

The Rockdale, Sandow & Southern Railroad

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The Rockdale, Sandow & Southern Railroad connects with the Union Pacific Railroad at Marjorie, TX, running about six miles south to a smelter at Alcoa, TX. Photo: Wes Carr  via TrainWeb.org In November 2019, its parent company Alcoa Energy Services filed a petition to abandon the line, citing no current demand for rail service and no apparent traffic prospects. In the filing, it leaves open the potential for part of the right of way to remain open disconnected from the rest of the US rail network, which would make the line not subject to STB regulation. The line has been in service since 1923, with common carrier service since 1952. The only real traffic came from the metals industry, as the line hauled mostly aluminium products. STB Website : Search for AB_1291_0_X

The Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway

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The Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway connected its namesake towns in Colorado, beginning in 1897. ( right-of-way ) Image: Cathedral Park, Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado. "The train tracks belong to the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek District Railway." Photochrom print by the Detroit Photographic Co. copyrighted 1901. From the Photochrom Prints Collection, Library of Congress. It was built during Colorado Springs' second gold rush during the 1890's, but faced competition from many of the other railroads built to tap into the mines at Cripple Creek. Despite the rugged terrain it ran through, it was a standard gauge line. The line changed hands a few times during the 1910's, before finally becoming part of the Cripple Creek Central Railway, who also controlled the nearby Midland Terminal Railway. By 1917, most traffic had been moved to the MTRwy, with 1919 being the last year of operations. Almost all of the r

The Chicago West Pullman & Southern Railroad

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One of the many, many short line railroads that have existed within the City of Chicago was the Chicago, West Pullman & Southern Railroad , the brainchild of Cyrus McCormick in the 1880's. Paul Hunnell photo, 1984. FRRandP Photo Collection McCormick founded the International Harvester company, and wished to manufacture and produce the materials necessary for its products in house. To that end, he gained control of a steel company that became Wisconsin Steel on Chicago's South Side, and the CWP&S was constructed to transport materials between the two plants. Here's a map of the operations. Originally found from Industrial History. The company lasted until 1983, when the Chicago West Pullman company purchased the assets of the steel plant and railroad, and abandoning unnecessary trackage. What is left of the right of way is now part of Chicago Rail Link . Thanks as always for reading!

Choum Tunnel: The Monument to European Stupidity in Africa

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Scars of colonization are located all across Africa, although some are more obscure and strange than others. With that in mind we come to the Choum Tunnel , built in Mauritania when it was controlled by the French. At first glance, it seems like an ordinary railway tunnel, however, one look at the local geography and you'll find yourself asking what its builders were possibly thinking with creating the project. Choum Tunnel in Mauritania. Unknown photographer. The Mauritania Railway was being built in the early 1960s, and was planned to connect Nouadhibou to Zouérat to exploit the iron ore reserves at Zouérat. That route still exists today in largely its original state, with the exception of the tunnel. Image: Ammar Hassan via Atlas Obscura The easiest route required running a short section of track through the then-Spanish controlled Western Sahara , but rather than pay Spain for the land and other concessions, the French engineers instead chose to tunnel under a hill spur near t

A Railroad Trestle at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site

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The Nevada Nuclear Test Site was one of many areas where nuclear weapons were tested in the United States, with the first one conducted on January 27th, 1951. It was located in Nye County, NV , and is still technically active today, albeit without nuclear weapons tests. A November 1951 image of a nuclear test. Public domain image.. Many tests were conducted on industrial and community buildings to study the effects of nuclear weapons detonations from various distances, both above-ground and below-ground. According to Atomic Heritage , "Underground nuclear testing began at the NTS with Operation Nougat in September of 1961. The Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (AFSWP) originally planned underground tests to be conducted on the island of Amchitka off the coast of Alaska. This changed after the creation of NTS, when the AFSWP decided they wanted to test in Nevada in order to develop a more comprehensive map of fallout. " Image and history (PDF file) A railroad trestle with

The Kaslo & Slocam Railway

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The Kaslo & Slocan Railway began service in 1895, running between Kaslo, BC, and the mining community of Sandon in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. ( Right of way ) Image: Payne Bluff above Sandon on the Kaslo and Slocan Railway (BC Archives) Like most mountainous railroads, it ran a narrow gauge route, and competed with the Canadian Pacific Railway-owned Nakusp & Slocan Railway throughout its life for access to the silver mines in the area. 1908 would be the last year of independence for this line, as expensive repairs were needed after spring flooding.  CP would lease the line in perpetuity and merge it with the N&S Railway in 1911. While it initially was profitable during World War I, traffic slowly dwindled, until CP finally abandoned the line in 1955. Further Reading:  The Skyline Limited: The Kaslo and Slocan Railway ( Amazon ) Thanks as always for reading!

The Transandine Railway

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The Transandine Railway connected Argentina and Chile over the Andes Mountains, running between Mendoza, Argentina and Santa Rosa de los Andes in Chile, along a 154 mile route. ( Right of way ) Image: Umatilla Station, Public Domain It opened in 1910, and in doing so, cut travel time from Valparaiso, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina from 11 days to just 36 hours. Map of the line. Despite the engineering marvel , the railway was never a commercial success, and as such, east of Rio Blanco, Chile, the line has been closed and dismantled since 1984, although proposals still remain to reopen the line. Thanks as always for reading!

Can I Build a BoozeTown? Not Till You're Fifteen.

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Have you ever felt as though society should be built around alcohol? By that I mean not simply allowing unfettered access to the commodity, but build an actual city around drinking as much as humanly possible? Hold onto your livers, because somebody actually proposed such a city. I first heard about this from a Cracked article, and while anyone can propose a crazy city, its promoter actually came somewhat close to making his alcohol-fueled dream a reality. BoozeTown was a city proposal by a man named Mel Johnson during the 1950's, who yearned for a city where alcohol would be available in bars 24 hours a day. This was in a time before Las Vegas and other cities had all-night bars and drinking available. This fits perfectly into the Fallout universe somehow. "At first Mel was going to plan BoozeTown out with straight north/south and east/west roads, but he realized from his time in the old cities that the random layout of those cities was why they were so fun. Getting lost le