EJ&E Baldwin DT-6-6-2000 #912 crossing the C&NW at Tower JB in West Chicago, Illinois, on January 26, 1966, photo by Chuck Zeiler
More info soon. What started out as a roster shot suddenly got introspective. Although I was 18 years old when I shot this photo, this was the location of my first employment as a paperboy when I was seven. This is where my paper route began. And I also realized I know someone who worked in that tower, and is still alive. I better interview him quickly. One thing for sure, there was a lot of noise as the EJ&E crossed the C&NW, especially with short wheelbase freight cars.
I talked to Bob Fox, the guy I know as I mentioned in the above paragraph, who worked in the tower. He did not have fond memories of his experience in that tower. Apparently, all was quiet in the tower one AM when the buzzer sounded and an EJ&E transfer run asked for permission to cross. Bob didn't see any C&NW trains asking for permission, so he allowed the EJ&E train to cross. Even in the best of conditions, the EJ&E train, which at this point was in Service Brake application, would have taken some time to get up to speed, maybe 10 mph, to cross the C&NW. According to Bob, as soon as the EJ&E train occupied the circuit, the buzzer went off, a C&NW train asking for permission to cross. Then another. Before he knew what happened another C&NW train asked for permission, and Bob was tieing up three C&NW trains, and the EJ&E train hadn't even hit the diamonds.
Bob had to answer to both the EJ&E and C&NW dispatchers. He quit the railroad business a couple of weeks later.
Here's a link to more EJ&E stuff I shot: