Very Small Electric (Underground, Too!) Railroads

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by hudsonelectric, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Back before the turn of the last (you know, before this one, you know the one that WE were born in?) century in Chicago, the Illinois Telephone & Telegraph Company ended up with underground tunnels 40' below the streets of the Loop. These tunnels later became the famous freight tunnels of Chicago. Here's a couple of postcards from my collection.

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  2. Here's another postcard view, circa 1907, from my collection.

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  3. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

  4. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

    Hello HudsonE,

    Neat stuff. Underground trains are a special kind of railroad. I relied heavily on the tube in London when I worked in the city and have enjoyed Toronto's underground and Montreal's Metro. Montreal has surely the neatest, quietest and slickest system I have ridden and would consider it a world leader. It runs on pneumatic rubber tyres in a U shaped track....comfy.

    As a child I went on a school trip to a Post Office in London, I think it was Liverpool Street, where we were shown one of London's secret railways. The battery powered tiny train runs from Paddington to Whitechapel (I think) carrying mail. The rail grade drops rapidly leaving the post office stations using gravity to assist acceleration and braking. The train is equipped to carry mailbags only and is semi-automatic.

    Your post brought back the memory of that school trip quite nicely. I thank you for that.
  5. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I saw a segment on the program Tracks Ahead about this railroad. It showed some footage of the railroad in action.
  6. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Very neat photos, are these tunnels still around and in use?
  7. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Cool! I'd never heard of these tunnels before.

    I did have an opportunity to ride London's tube in the early 70's and was amazed how deep and how old it is. Compared to Toronto's subway the cars were extremely narrow - you were practically bumping knees with the person across from you. There was moss growing in the tunnels and the whole thing was 3 very long flights down, and pretty air-less.

    It's a major subway system compared to Toronto as well, with lots of different lines, as opposed to our 2. I still have a map somewhere, as well as New York's, which was an adventure as well. I was told that in New York you should memorize your route first, because if people saw you standing around looking at a map they would peg you for a tourist - not something you wanted. :eek:


  8. Sorry to say that they're not. The system shut down for good in the 1950s. I think about 10 years or so ago one of the tunnels that connected major buildings in the Loop began to leak. It wan't long before the Chicago River was rushing in and flooding the basements of these buildings. There are sections of the tunnels still there with abandoned equipment in place just rusting away. Sad but true. I'll eventually have a 'History on One Page' about the Chicago Tunnel Railroad on the National Railroad Postcard Museum, but I have my hands full with related projects and unbuilt models making faces at me. :rolleyes: :eek: :rolleyes:
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have a video on the Chicago subway, and there was a book as well, called Forty Feet Below .
    IIRC, the subway was closed when they built some other underground construction through it. The flood was caused when someone drilled into the part of the tunnel that went under a river.
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I have a couple of interesting maps of the London Underground. One is an Historical map, showing when lines and stations were built and abandoned. The other is a track diagram. If you are interested, I can bring them to the next train show.
  11. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    belated welcom to the gauge Hudson electric:wave:
    neat post cards here is a pic of a differnt type on underground rr
  12. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    That would be great David!!! I think the Scarborough MRR Club has one coming up this weekend.

  13. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    Those photos brought back a lot of memories for me, having spent many years underground in South African gold Mines. Must have traveled hundreds of miles behind a host of little locos,
    Battery,diesel driven and overhead trolley traction. Remember one weekend a gang of us went underground on Friday evening to install an overhead loco line, came up on Monday morning to a Foreman raving about us haveing taken all weekend to install 800 meters,but he soon shut up when told that we had in fact installed a mile and a half
  14. Good Evening, Crew...

    Great views and discussion of these 'little locos'! From what I can piece together, Baldwin made some of the motors used in the Chicago tunnels as did a division of Dresser Industries. There were also compressed air locos used in mines as well. Worked in a glass bottle factory, worked in a big shipyard, on a river tug long enough to get fired for not knowing what I was doing, worked offshore doing oil exploration...never in a mine, though. What are the mine car trains and locos like? How do they Let's hear some more!

    Russ :wave:
  15. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    Stories about U/G loco's I have plenty, Will dig out some pictures when I return from my holiday next week

    Riding in a small enclosed passenger car one morning,traveling between two shafts, one of the idiots in the car reached out as the loco slowed and pulled out the link pin, he thought the loco would go on without us but instead the car started to run back towards the shaft we had just left,gathering speed all the time, Myself and one or two others decided to bail out,geting only minor grazes.but the others were more seriously injured when the car derailed. After the shift we dealt with him in the change house in the most approprete manner and the mine owners gave him a fine and his walking ticket
    One mine had a Loco run by a gyro wheel housed in a helium tank It was wound up and would run for about 4 days without a load, it pulled 4 passenger cars with about 80 persons for two miles before requiring another spin.....Made iin Switerland by Oelicon..I believe there are busses running using this traction
  16. Another Chicago Freight Tunnel Motor

    Hello, Crew! :wave:

    This is a new postcard into my collection. It's postmarked 1914 and gives a good view of the overhead contact wire in a protective trough. The system was operated off of 250v.

    Russ :sleeping:

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