June 1986 - Page 15
A westbound Burlington Northern f reight thunders past IC tower-and
through the light of flashbulbs-as it crosses the Illinois Central Gulf tracks at Mendota, I II. The Burlington-owned installation was more distinctive than most Midwestern towers, especially in later years when it acquired a pronounced lean.
A n osta lg ic look at a typica l ra i l road ju n ctio n
brances of one kind or another when reference is made of them. Men tion of MO tower in the Bronx, N . Y. , recalls New York Central's exalted Great Steel Fleet as well as the hun dreds of plain-Jane commuter locals which alr,o o c c u p i e d t h e p l a n t throughout the day. And Zoo inter locking in Philadelphia? Why, that conj ures up visions of Tuscan Red li miteds hauled by Loewy-styled GG 1 's on "The Standard Railroad of the World," of course .
ertain railroad location names natur a l l y summon remem
BY JAMES E. HUMBERT
Specify "IC tower," though, and one is l iable to name at least a dozen loca tions in a handful of states which might qualify before Mendota, Ill., en ters the conversation. In fact, this small expanse of real estate-the topic of this issue's Lineside-actually be longed to the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (Burlington Northern after March 1 970) though the installation was referred to as Mendota tower by many people, CB&Q timetables, publi cations and employees commonly re-
ferred to it as IC tower. Mendota tower actually refers to another instal lation which once stood some five miles east of IC tower. The plant located in this north western La Salle County municipality p r o t e c t e d t h e i n t e r s e c t ion of the B u r l ington , I l l inois Central (since 1 972, Ill inois Central Gulf) and Mil waukee Road. Mendota lies approxi mately 82 miles southwest of Chicago on B ur l ington's Chicago-Galesburg (Il l . )-OmahaiKansas City main. The ICG l ine through here is IC's original main line, dating from the 1 850's,
J UNE 1986