Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois on August 20, 1963 · Page 11
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Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois · Page 11

Galesburg, Illinois
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 20, 1963
Page 11
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Page 11 article text (OCR)

Galesburg Known as 'Hub By PETE BRIGGS As the Denver Zephyr coasts to a stop, a passenger looks out the Vista Dome window at a steam engine parked alongside and asks: "What town is this?" "Galesburg," is the reply. "It's where we change engine crews." Galesburg is, however, more than a crew change point. It often has been called "the hub of the Burlington," and rightly so. Seventy-eight freight and passenger trains enter and leave this l,2dio-acre terminal district each day. An average of 5,500 freight cars go over the twin humps of Willis yard in a 24 -hour period; enough to form a train that would stretch from Galesburg to the Mississippi River. Employing more than 1,300 persons in ,1962, the CB&Q is one of Galesburg's largest industries. Its payroll' exceeds 8% million dollars annually. Taxes paid by the railroad in 1962 to support Community Unit School District 205 amounted to $183,862, and total real estate taxes paid in " Knox County were $387,000, Average 50 m.p.h. Galesburg is served by the fast- est freights on the Burlington. Schedules, of trains 67 and 77, Advance- CD, CD (Chieagd*Den* ver) and CGI (Chicago via Grand Island) demand an average speed of 50.4 miles per hour en route from Chicago. They're a far cry from 100 years ago when the fast* est passenger train, the "Express," left Galesburg at 9.30 a. m. and arrived in Chicago at 5:15 p.m. Average spe^d: 21 miles per hour. Every train must be cleared by Seminary Street Tower before entering the main-line. In this square, brick building southwest of the depot, lights on centralized traffic control and interlocking boards indicate the position of all trains, traveling on main lines within the terminal district. Signals controlled by the tower tell the engineer what route he will follow through the maze of tracks and switches leading to the mainline. Smokestack a Landmark A short distance away is one of Galesburg's most distinctive landmarks, the smokestack of the roundhouse power, plant which marks the eastern boundary of the engine terminal, where more than 100 diesel units are served daily while their trains are being switched or classified. Fuel, ra* diator water and sand are added and electrical equipment cheeked before the engines continue their journey. Minor repairs to locomotives are made in the roundhouse. In addition to regular engine maintenance duties, roundhouse workers are busy repairing and upgrading Airslide covered hopper cars, which utilize air pressure to discharge such bulk food con* tents as flour and sugar. Interiors are washed and given a coating of enamel so pure commodities can be transported. Building Nearly Done Nearing completion is a quarter-million dollar "one-spot" oar repair center. The 3 -track, 100 x 110 -foot, all-steel building will be used 24 hours a day to repair lolling stock. Carmen will have the most modern equipment, including 35 -ton electric jacks and mercury vapor lighting fixtures arranged to provide daytime' working conditions at all hours. Many company service cars and cabooses are rebuilt at this repair center. To keep cars rolling, the wheel and axle' shop supplies wheel sets for Lines East divi- t j BliililiiiB IIP* UNTREATED TIES—Some 265,000 untreated ties ties will be adzed, drilled, branded, and pres- are neatly stacked at the,timber preservation sure-treated with a mixture of creosote and plant. Following 10-14 months of seasoning, these petroleum. REFUSE — Strewn out along the side of the wastes from the plant into the cars. The freight tracks is refuse which is left in freight cars by cars then have to be cleaned, receivers of freight. Many warehouses empty sions. Old wheels are removed by huge hydraulic extractors. Once freed, the wheel goes to the scrap pile. Each 33 -inch wheel weighs about 750 pounds. Most axles can be used again* Calipers are used to make sure the new wheel is drilled to exact tolerances. White lead is applied to reduce the likelihood of tearing the metal, and 120 tons pressure is applied to force the wheel on the axle. Together, two wheels and an axle weigh approximately 2,500 pounds, or as milch as your family automobile. Yard Has 39 Miles Willis yard was named for its designer; the late R. W. Willis, assistant chief engineer for the line, and contains 39 miles of track. Twenty switch engines are used' in the terminal district; many will spend at least part of their 1 8 -hour work shift shoving cars over the twin humps of Willis yard. The speed of cars descending the hump . is electro- pneumatically controlled by reorders, sections of rail'that press against wheel flanges to slow or even stop cars. Switches for the 84 classification tracks are electro -pneumatically controlled, too. A nearby retarder shop overhauls retarder machinery for both the Willis and Lincoln, Nebraska yards. Willis requires the services of 12 yardmasters and assistant yardmasters, aided by 22 yard clerks. Uses Teletype The first railroad to use teletype, back in 1910, Burlington uses it today to link its far-flung system. Information about' the consist of entire freight trains is wired ahead to other division points, thus speeding train classification. A pneumatic tube system at Willis rushes bills of lading between yard offices and to and from inbound and outbound train conductors. Each car of a freight train must be accompanied by a way-bill. Cars are humped at the rate of four per minute, so even the longest freights can be: switched in about half an hour. Radios and strategically-placed loud speakers facilitate yard communications. Burlington has its own water pipelines from a privately-owned lake near Galesburg. A 16-inch water main runs from Lake Bracken to the tie treating plant, and a 12-inch main from the tie plant to the engine terminal. Water is used for heating boilers, equipment washing and fire protection. Ties Total 700,000 At the timber preservation plant are more than 700,000 treated and untreated ties, neatly piled and stacked to form wooden canyons, each served by a track. Ties, poles, piling and bridge lumber for the entire railroad are processed here. Believed to be the fifth largest. timber treating plant in the United States, 500,000 ties are processed annually in this 125- acre plant, which employs 80 and has 27 miles of track. Red and white oak ties are allowed to season to 50 per cent moisture • content, which takes from 10 to 14 months, depending on the species of wood. When sufficiently dry, they are taken to the boring and adzing mill. Here an automatic machine processes eight ties per minute, adzing a flat spot on the tie for proper seating of the tie plate and drilling holes for spikes. At the same time, branding equipment impresses both ends of a tic with coded information indicating species of wood, size of tie, boring and adzing pattern for the weight of rail it is to carry and the year treated. Each tie thus carries its own permanent record. Transported to one of three 132- foot cylinders, or retorts, it is pressure treated with a mixture of creosote and petroleum and later stored for eventual shipment to points over the 11,000-mile system. Cost of a railroad tie is about $7, and Burlington uses 3,088 per mile of track — calling for an investment of more than $21,000 a mile in ties alone. An untreated white oak tie lasts about 11 years, whereas the life of a treated tie is 35 years. Timber preservation is a simple matter of economics. An 80 x 220-foot lumber framing mill, brought from Sheridan, Wyo., in 1956, precision-cuts timber for entire bridges. Timbers, poles and piling are cut and drilled to form a prefabricated structure and carried on flatcars to wherever needed. Upon arrival, each piece is fitted into place. On a recent job, such precision workmanship reduced work time by 22 per cent. Weeds are remarkably absent in the tie plant area. Thirty years ago, a Burlington chemist discovered that weed seeds, or pods, OLD AND NEW—Nine years .ago, Burlington completed its diesel- ization of passenger trains. This was a project which. began ,20 years ago. The "new"is shown in the foreground with the "old," a Hudson-type steamer No. 3006 is in the background. Railroad Arrives in 1854 Historically speaking, 1854 was an eventful year both nationally arid locally.' On the national scene, there was the passage of the controversial Kansas- Nebraska act, the subsequent "Bleeding Kansas," and the formation of the Republican Party. Of more particular importance to Galesburg residents, however, was an occurrence Dec- 7 of that year. On that day, the dream of several community leaders was realized when city residents turned but to welcome the first railroad train into Galesburg. Hopes Justified After several early setbacks, the hopes of such men as Chauncey S. Colton and Silas Willard were justified. In fact, it was largely because of the financial backing of these two men that Galesburg had its first railroad. That chilly winter day marked the completion of 79.45 miles of railroad track between Galesburg and Mendota. Construction had started at Mendota in 1852 as part of the Military Tract Railroad. After the completion of rails from Quincy to Galesburg, and the joining of Galesburg and East Burlington by the Peoria Qquaw- ka Railroad in 1855, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was formed through the consolidation of the three lines. . Not everyone in Galesburg greeted the coming of the, railroad with equal enthusiasm. For example, there was .President John Blanchard of Knox College. Never on Sunday. He thought that the railroads should not be allowed to run through Galesburg on Sundays. One Sunday, soon after the railroad had made its first trip through the city, Blanchard personally blocked the tracks outside of Galesburg. His protest was virtually ignored, however, and he was brushed off the track by an unsympathetic engineer. But, for the most part, Galesburg wanted the railroad. Since that time, Galesburg has become the "Hub of the Railroad." With the addition of a tie plant in 1908 and new hump yards in 1931 and 1943, the city has proven well-deserving of its nickname. galesburg Regtster-Mai GALESBURG,. ILL., TUESDAY, AUG. 20, 1963 SEC. 2, PAGE 11 THE HUMP — As car passes over the "hump," air operated reorders press against wheel flanges, slowing the car to a safe coupling speed. The newest.addition to the Galesburg "hump" was in 1943. OVERHAUL—Inside the roundhouse, eleven Airslide covered hopper cars are overhauled each month. Other stalls are used for diesels. did not necessarily sprout the same year they are formed. If buried, they simply came, up a year later. Using caustic soda to soften the pods and arsenic to kill the embryo germ, the railroad developed a weed killer that works on this year's and next year's weed crop. Rails, spikes, tie plates, switch frogs, crossings, angle'irons, nuts and bolts for Burlington's eastern operations are neatly stored adjacent to the timber preservation plant. Worn out freight cars are also dismantled here. In addition to housing the ticket office, the Galesburg station provides offices for traffic sales forces, engineering,, communica­ tions, track maintenance, claim, medical and signal departments. As did the passenger on t h e Denver Zephyr, thousands of other travelers have seen engine No. 3006. Donated to the city by Burlington president H. C. Murphy in December 1961, the steam locomotive typifies the high-speed engines that pulled track passenger trains 30 years ago. It is singularly appropriate that Galesburg —once a smoky rail center and now a nerve center of modem railroading that embraces! s, electronics and Vista Domes — should preserve for modern youngsters this legacy of the days when trains really did "Choo Ghoo."

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