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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Brakeman's Blues


This photo should not in any way be construed as an anti-train commercial. Consider it a use your brain commercial.

July 21, 1933, Springfield, Illinois. Possibly a Model T or Model A. Or an Oldsmobile. Or a Dodge. Hard to tell. Anyway, this is where the car was towed to after it and its driver (my dad's brother) unfortunately met a train at a railroad crossing that, I believe, no longer exists. (View large.)

Meanwhile, back at the roundhouse,* it looks like the State Journal-Register is hitting it hard and heavy in what appears to be its continuing effort to get the word out on the Tenth Street tracks versus the Third Street tracks case. From its Boiler Room blog today:

Can you tell which side the SJ-R is on, yet? One thing I never see mentioned in all this, and maybe it has been mentioned and I just missed it, is how the State Journal-Register could be personally affected if the 10th Street tracks win out over the 3rd Street tracks. The paper's operations are on the block bounded by Capitol Avenue, Ninth Street, Monroe, and Tenth Street. Maybe there would be no impact. Either way, I do wish the SJ-R would address this issue.

Also on that block, and also owned by the paper is the Great Western Railroad Station from which Abraham Lincoln gave a most touching farewell address to Springfield. The station is almost right up on the rail bed. I think we'd all hate to lose that place.

Train songs:

One last train thing today: We've been talking about faster trains through this town for a long time as evidenced by this Illinois Issues article from November 1975.

* Roundhouse: It's where they work on train engines. As opposed to the ubiquitous "back at the ranch."

Posted by Marie at September 2, 2009 10:56 PM


In case anyone's confused, that train singing yodeler Jimmy Rodgers is a different one than the Honeycomb singing Jimmy Rodgers. And, I guess they're both spelled Jimmie, not Jimmy.

Posted by: Marie at September 2, 2009 11:27 PM

I've yet to figure out why people are so against high-speed rail. Is it the noise? Do the fast trains *really* make any more noise than those godd@mned freight trains? Um, no.

The other thing that perplexes me is why high-speed rail is absolutely a horrible thing on 3rd Street, but 10th Street would be okay. Sounds an awful lot to me like a "let the Eastsiders deal with it" stance...

But even so, I don't get what's so wrong with it. At this point I'm really neither "for" nor "against" the high-speed rail coming through Springfield. I just want to know why it's such the horrible thing people seem to think it is.

Posted by: Johann at September 3, 2009 8:44 AM

I've re-read the latest State Journal Register article a a few times now. I think this sentence by Davlin sort of sums it up, "He also said he’d rather see traffic get backed up downtown than put an overpass or underpass near the Dana-Thomas House". Of course the UP would recommend that the city build overpasses and underpasses, they would no longer have to maintain crossings but the city doesn't have to follow those recommendations. The paper and Davlin are egging this whole thing on. Most of the commenters still seem to believe that trains will be going 110 mph through town and that there will be more than 40 trains a day.

I'd like to see a transcript of this meeting with the UP officials because this whole thing is still rather fishy.

Posted by: Kath at September 3, 2009 10:02 AM

Posted by: Kath at September 3, 2009 12:14 PM

Johann, good points. I've always lived within four or five blocks of some railroad tracks somewhere, except for one town that got the railroad taken away from it (and subsequently lost jobs) because the people threw a fit over some environmental issue. It happened before I lived there, but I think it had something to do with polluting Lake Michigan. Anyway, the sound and/or vibration of the train has never bothered me. But, I realize it does bother some people.

Kath, egging on is right! The line you quoted is just so indicative of the drama being thrown by certain people. We need less dramatics and more facts, then the people can decide.

Posted by: Marie at September 3, 2009 11:24 PM

The SJ-R's raildock is in back and so close to the Norfolk Southern ("10th Street Tracks") that there is no clearance for a man on the side of a car. There's room to put a second track on the other side, but nothing more.

Posted by: David P. Jordan at September 6, 2009 12:44 AM

Thanks, David. I've driven by there many times, but never stopped to look.

Posted by: Marie at September 6, 2009 12:50 AM

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