PRR Interlocking Diagrams: Fort Wayne to Chicago Main Line

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Mileposts are based on PC Western Region Timetable #1, 1968-04-28.

This web page makes mention of many connecting or crossing railroads. Their abbreviations and full names are listed at the bottom. I also will try to provide links to informational web sites that pertain to these railroads, and will maintain them as best as I can. Since these are off-site links, I guarantee nothing.

Main Line -- Pittsburgh to Chicago

JUNCTION, Fort Wayne, Ind., M.P. 321.1

VANDALE, Columbia City, Ind., M.P. 339.2

The PRR's own Logansport Branch crosses the Fort Wayne main, continuing on its trip northeast to cross the GR&I at LA OTTO and ending at Butler, Ind., where trackage rights on the Wabash provided access to Toledo, approaching from the southwest.

WEST VANDALE, Columbia City, Ind., M.P. 341.1

Remotely controlled from VANDALE.

WARSAW, Warsaw, Ind., M.P. 358.7

Crossing of a NYC branch later (and by NYC?) called the "Goshen Branch". This is one of the few non-PRR lines to receive PRR signals in later years.

WEST WARSAW, Warsaw, Ind., M.P. 359.7

Remotely controlled from WARSAW.

PLYMOUTH, WEST PLYMOUTH, Plymouth, Ind., M.P. 383.9, 386.3 / ???

Ref 9, Sheet 51, 1949; 2170x1209, 65K, 200 dpi

Crossing of the PRR South Bend Branch with the Fort Wayne main line. Also, an NKP line from Indianapolis to Michigan City crosses. Note the searchlight signals on the PRR Fort Wayne main -- this location had problems with phantom aspects.

The map appears in Reference 9 because the South Bend Branch had been transferred to the Chicago Division. See below (BART and EAST BART) for the portion of the Fort Wayne main that was within this same division.

The longest stretch of tangent track on the PRR was somewhere nearby [Al Buchan] [anyone know exact MP's?]. Track supervisors were based here, with Supervisor--Track A handling the main line from Columbia City to the Chicago Division, exclusive of branches or yards.

The track coming off at switch 27, crossing the South Bend Br., is the interchange track to the NKP. This track also cut through the platform at the freight house. [Bob Albert, Al Buchan].

Map notes: Can anyone comment on the Flag Signal at WEST PLYMOUTH (as to its purpose and operation)?

More map notes: because of the out-of-focus reproduction of the blueprint from which John Cooper I have been working on, several items were unclear. If anyone can confirm or correct any of these items, please email me. *** At WEST PLYMOUTH on #1 track, the switch machine is presumably an M-20 type, by analogy with #2 track. The M is a mere blob on the original. *** Signal 3882 appears to have a "G" grade marker on it. *** The mark between the upper and middle arms of the 04L signal appears to be the siding, not a yellow aspect. Is this correct? *** At the western limits of PLYMOUTH, there is a break in #2 track at the 81 signal, but no corresponding break in #1 track. Is this intentional? *** I cannot be certain if the 80 signal has a "T" end for the stop aspect (81 and 82 definitely do). *** The eastern end of both sidings is garbled, but that of the eastbound siding is quite severely so. The line from the main to the upper arm of the 84/83 signal is clear, as is the line across the B (middle) arm of the same signal. L53-54 must refer to a switch and derail lock, by analogy to the westbound siding if for no other reason; I've added the "missing" trace in gray. *** At the right end of the diagram, automatic signal 3816 appears to be numbered "3876", but this is nonsensical given that PLYMOUTH is 383.9. *** On the diagonal line that starts from the Fort Wayne and crosses the South Bend Br., the dwarf signals appear to be numbered 74 and 12; the latter is unclear and could be 18; anyone know for sure? *** What is the sideways "Z" symbol below derail 27? *** On the NKP's 78 signal, there is a line between the upper (or only?) arm and the "M"echanical designation which appears to be a stray mark. Can anyone confirm? *** My thanks for any help anyone can provide regarding these questions.

HAMLET, Hamlet, Ind., M.P. 397.9

The NYC Kenkakee Branch (from South Bend) crosses the Fort Wayne main. It will cross the Panhandle main at NORTH JUDSON.

HANNA, Hanna, Ind., M.P. 408.6

A Pere Marquette line from New Buffalo, Mich. (in the southwest corner of Michigan, on the lake shore) crosses the Fort Wayne. This line proceeds south to cross the Panhandle main at LA CROSSE. [MDB, Bill Gustason] It presently (2000) exists from LaCrosse north to a B&O and GTW junction at Wellsboro. [BG]

EAST WANATAH, Wanatah, Ind., M.P. 413.2

Remotely controlled from Wanatah.

WANATAH, Wanatah, Ind., M.P. 414.9

The MONON (CI&L) Michigan City Branch crosses the Fort Wayne main line. [MDB] The Monon is presently (2000) abandoned here. [BG] Wanatah served as division point for a while. [BP]

GRAND TRUNK, west of Valparaiso, Ind., M.P. 426.9

Conversely called FORT WAYNE JCT. on the Grand Trunk Western. [BG] The GTW main line crosses the Fort Wayne main in its circuitous approach to Chicago. It will continue nearly due west to cross the Panhandle main at MAYNARD. [MDB]

EAST BART, BART, Hobart, Ind., M.P. 433.0, 434.4

Ref 9, Sheet 1, 1949; 2139x1200, 44K, 200 dpi

Crossing of the EJ&E Porter Branch and the Fort Wayne main. This served as the division point for the Chicago Division for many years. Sidings on either side of the main extended from east of the crossing to the remotely controlled EAST BART. [MDB] The tower was manned by an EJ&E operator. [BP]

Present status: the EJ&E was torn up from GRIFFITH through here to Porter Jct. in 1984. [BG]

LIVERPOOL, Liverpool, Ind., M.P. 437.4

Ref 9, Sheet 2, 1947; 2164x1204, 45K, 200 dpi

The Fort Wayne main crosses the MC (NYC) Joliet Branch, with a wye track in the northwest quadrant. ("M&C" must be a typo for "MC".)

TOLLESTONE, Tolleston, Ind., M.P. 441.8

Ref 9, Sheet 3, 1949; 2168x1221, 56K, 200 dpi

The Fort Wayne main crosses the MC (NYC) Ivanhoe branch (from PORTER). Note the grade crossing of Garfield St., which appears to be right through the crossing diamonds. Does anyone have a photograph of this unique grade crossing? [MDB] The PRR next passes underneath the IHB, which runs E-W just on the opposite (N) side of W 9th St. The WAB, which had been paralleling the IHB on its way from Toledo to Chicago, turns NW to parallel the PRR. This line can be seen on the CLARKE JCT. diagram below. Both roads then pass underneath the CSS&SB as shown on the left side of the diagram. [BG]

The leftmost portion of the map is shown again and in more detail on the next diagram.

The spelling Tollestone is used on these maps, though later PRR documents list the location without the terminal e. The town's name is currently spelled without the e. Can anyone shed some light on the reason the PRR used the extra e? Is this an old spelling?

Disposition: under Penn Central, a connection was made to the Ivanhoe Branch, at which point the tower became superfluous and the interlocling was controlled by the Chicago dispatcher.

CLARKE, CLARKE JCT., Clarke Jct. Gary, Ind., M.P. 443.8, 445.7

Ref 9, Sheet 4, 1949; 2150x1210, 61K, 200 dpi

Here the EJ&E passes overhead, and the Wabash joins into joint B&OCT -- SC&S (PRR) line. This line is described on the Chicago branches page. CLARKE JCT. was the beginning of 261 (bidirectional signalling), from here to WHITING.

Map notes: the diamond between the WAB and B&OCT tracks, 46 MPF, has 2 very faint lines from upper right to lower left, one on either side of the crossing. I cannot be sure if this is an erasure or simply poor reproduction of the blueprint. Also, there are faint erasures around the area in the lower middle of the map where the SC&S-B&OCT tracks are angled; mainly, the signals appear to have been redrawn.

Disposition: closed around 1985-1986. [JR]

INDIANA HARBOR, Indiana Harbor, Ind., M.P. 448.1

Ref 9, Sheet 5, 1949; 2134x1195, 56K, 200 dpi

The Fort Wayne main crosses the north-south NYC line from Danville and Kenkakee, Ill.

INDIANA HARBOR CANAL, Indiana Harbor, Ind., M.P. 448.5

Ref 9, Sheet 6, 1949; 2166x1208, 49K, 200 dpi

The Fort Wayne crosses the Ship Canal (Indiana Harbor Canal) on a bascule bridge, passing the Standard Oil refinery in East Chicago. It then runs through downtown Whiting and then Hammond, Ind.

The tower was still standing in 1996 but is surrounded by a steel mill and difficult to photograph. [Frank Garon]

Map notes: There is an upside-down T-shaped mark just below the "B" head of the 23 signal (left side of the map). This appears to me to be a stray mark. Can anyone confirm what this is?

WHITING, Whiting, Ind., M.P. 450.8

Ref 9, Sheet 7, 1949; 2154x1226, 49K, 200 dpi
Ref 10.

The Fort Wayne main line passes through the Standard Oil plant. A panoramic view of this location from 1910 is in the archives of the Library of Congress and can be accessed .

Farther west of this location is Colehour Yard, whose western end is just about on the state line.

COLEHOUR JCT., Chicago, Ill., M.P. 453.7

Ref 9, Sheet 9, 1949; 2154x1201, 41K, 200 dpi

Just into Chicago (and thus, Illinois) is this junction to the South Chicago & Southern main line, sometimes (though apparently colloquially) called the "Bernice Cutoff". This line ultimately proceeds south to the Panhandle main at BERNICE. COLEHOUR JCT. was remotely controlled from RIVER BRANCH JCT.

RIVER BRANCH JCT., Chicago, Ill., M.P. 454.7

Ref 9, Sheet 10, 1950; 2151x1205, 57K, 200 dpi

Junction of the Calumet River Branch to Hegewisch.

Map notes: #4 track at the left side of the diagram is drawn continuously, whereas there are breaks in track #s 1, 2, and 3. I suspect this to be a "typo" in the original diagram, but I have chosen not to change it. Also, there is what appears to be a stray mark across signal "C" in the right middle of the map; this was also left as is.

(Szwajkart 1976, pp. 120-121 is somewhat west of here at a location he calls South Chicago Crossing.)

Present status: now called CP 509.

ENGLEWOOD, Englewood [Chicago], Ill., M.P. 460.8

Ref 9, Sheet 11, 1947; 2156x1211, 59K, 200 dpi

Crossing of the Fort Wayne main and the Rock Island main. Here the NYC main line parts company with the PRR, swinging due north alongside the CRI&P main. The Fort Wayne continues northwest over the Dan Ryan Expresswey, soon to turn due north to approach the south side of Chicago Union Station. [MDB] Englewood Union Station is visible on the diagram. [PM]

Readers may also find Tom Wargin's site of interest. Tom was a Rock Island extra towerman and has placed some material related to this tower here.

Can anyone explain the reason why the #5 signal has such a restricted set of possible aspects?

(Szwajkart 1976, pp. 112-113)

Map notes: Several erasures from the previous version are evident. The Rock Island had one additional track that proceeded south from signal 19, paralleling the 3 tracks shown, crossing the Fort Wayne, beneath the cantilevered signal bridge, and joining the adjacent track opposite the #75 derail. The cantilever bridge south of the crossing had an additional signal on it, for southbound traffic on the leftmost of the current tracks. Finally, there used to be a signal on the cantilevered RI signal bridge north of the crossing, drawn directly opposite the #16 signal (i.e. for northbound traffic on the second RI track from the left).

EC, Chicago, Ill., M.P. 461.3

A block station and train order station on tracks 3 and 4 only; no interlocking. "EC" stands for "Englewood Connecting", the track that runs from here due west to the northeastern part of 59th St. Yard on the Panhandle line.

There is no interlocking diagram in the collection for this location.

55th St. Yard, M.P. 462.0

The M.P. is for the yard office.

Though other interlocking diagram books included maps of yards, there was no such map in this collection.

ROOT STREET, Chicago, Ill., M.P. 463.8

Ref 9, Sheet 12, 1942; 2162x1209, 70K, 200 dpi
Another, colorized version that may be useful in following what's happening on this complicated map.

Having just passed 55th St. Yard, two interlocked switches connect Fort Wayne freight tracks with those of C&WI. Later timetables give this location as 40TH STREET. [MDB] This is now CP-508 after passing through Penn Central and Conrail into Norfolk Southern. [Andre Kristopans

The "Chicago Junction" or "Junction" -- officially the Chicago River & Indiana -- passes underneath from the stockyards ("down" on the map) to its connection with the IC at the lakefront ("up" on the map). [MDB] The double track from the south (right) to the west (down) and the single track from north to west are connection tracks to Ashland Yard and remain in place. [AK]

The Wabash yard on this diagram may have been that railroad's coach yard. Of the C&WI tracks shown (2 passenger, 4 freight), only one remains. This track has been relocated to the west, such that it passes west of Conrail's/NS's 55th St. Yard. Previously, this track passed between the former PRR 55th St. Yard and the former Erie 51st St. Yard, which were combined by Conrail into a single intermodal yard. This portion of the C&WI, from 75th St. north, is now owned by METRA, though NS continues to use it. [AK]

Map notes: Scanning this map produced very noisy images which unfortunately required a lot of cleaning up by hand. The signal aspects sometimes required nearly complete redrawing. This is the reason why this map has much less of that "hand-drawn" appearance: I am not very good at faking such an appearance, and did not try. *** The dashed line on the right side of the map shows the location of an erased trace on the original diagram.

Railroad Gazette from 1891 had several articles about the problem of railroads crossing Chicago streets at grade. In one issue, they printed this map of crossings south of Union Station, which I reproduce here with permission.

ALTON JCT., Chicago, Ill., M.P. 466.2

Ref 9, Sheet 13, 1948; 2140x1181, 64K, 200 dpi
 Trackage (49K) [Wallace W. Abbey photo, scanned by Bill Gustason]

Also known as 21st St. Jct. (on which railroad?) ATSF and IC, having crossed the Panhandle at ASH STREET, cross the Fort Wayne here on their way to downtown. C&WI, which has been paralleling the Fort Wayne for some time, crosses as well. Note the three diamonds in very close proximity, on PRR #1 track, westbound IC track, and outer inbound C&WI track.

The C&A (GM&O), which crossed the Panhandle at BRIGHTON PARK), crosses as well, though it gives off a passenger spur to join the PRR. The tower is a 2-story brick structure. Note the color-light signal on the bridge.

I am hoping for permission from someone to post a photograph of this juction in all its glory. John Armstrong, in his book Track Planning for Realistic Operation (available from Kalmbach), states:

Seven curved crossings on each track! Crossings right through turnouts (in distance)! They're all here at 21st St. junction in Chicago ...

(Szwajkart 1976, pp. 98-99)

SOUTH BRANCH BRIDGE, Chicago, Ill., M.P. 466.2

Ref 9, Sheet 14, 1949; 2169x1214, 45K, 200 dpi

Note that this interlocking is at the same milepost number as ALTON JCT. [MDB]; however, the 1951 ETT lists the milepost as 466.7 [Andy Cich]. Here the Fort Wayne crosses over the South Branch of the Chicago River. Note the color-light signal on the bridge. [MDB]

The building was a one-story, wooden structure, separately manned at least into the 1970s. [Rick Tipton]

[Main Line --] Chicago Union Station

The documentary evidence for the PRR-CUS division point is, to put it mildly, less than clear. Some employee timetables explicitly mention the division post, others ignore it and merely supply a double horizontal line, implying its presence. However, three items in the collection of Andy Cich: a track chart, a HARRISON ST. interlocking drawing (dated 1933.03.15, revised to 1966.08), and a CUS rulebook, all show the division point to be directly below the Roosevelt Rd. viaduct. Absent any further evidence, I will go with that location.

The present status (from an inside source) is that Amtrak is joint owner of 21ST ST. interlocking with Conrail, Illinois Central (from GM&O), and Union Pacific (from C&WI). Chicago Union Station property starts at ROOSEVELT ROAD and proceeds northward (RR-west?); the yard to the west is METRA (from CB&Q and BN), the yard to the east is Amtrak's (from PRR). CUS then extends northward, through the station, to Canal Street, where the trackage turns sharply west. Ownership from there west is that of METRA (IIRC), even though (some) signals are PRR-style.

Lumber St.
A hand-operated switching plant. Amtrak interlocked it and installed GRS dual-control switch machines around 1985. [Steve Reynolds]

ROOSEVELT ROAD, Chicago, Ill., M.P. 467.0

An interlocking on the south side of Chicago Union Station. The milepost is given as 467.6 in the 1951 employee timetable.

Amtrak later (1999) combined this interlocking and HARRISON ST. into a single interlocking called LUMBER ST.


Chicago [Union Station], Chicago, Ill., M.P. 467.8


B&O Baltimore & Ohio
B&OCT Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal
C&A Chicago & Alton
CI&L Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville, "the Monon"
C&O Chesapeake & Ohio
CSS&SB Chicago, South Shore & South Bend
CUS Chicago Union Station
C&WI Chicago & Western Indiana
CR&I Chicago River & Indiana NYC affiliate, stockyards area
CRI&P Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
EJ&E Elgin, Joliet & Eastern
GM&O Gulf, Mobile & Ohio
GR&I Grand Rapids & Indiana PRR affiliate, later merged in
GTW Grand Trunk Western Canadian National affiliate
IC Illinois Central
MC Michigan Central NYC affiliate, later merged in
NYC New York Central
PM Pere Marquette merged into C&O
SC&S South Chicago & Southern PRR affiliate, later merged in
WAB Wabash PRR affiliate until 1964.

Mark's Railroad-Related Stuff
The Broad Way: A Pennsylvania Railroad Home Page
Maps of the PRR
PRR Interlocking Diagrams
Fort Wayne to Chicago: Main Line

Mark D. Bej
+1 216-444-0119