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Re: Gaps in the third rail

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  • thegreatthirdrail
    ... While that is most certainly a true statement, consider that those records were not set in 1900 when the decision to build the CA&E was made. Those records
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 10, 2006
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      --- In thegreatthirdrail@yahoogroups.com, "riispark99" <kend@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > I'm not sure your theory holds since the North Shore was overhead
      > and held speed records for interurbans.
      >

      While that is most certainly a true statement, consider that those
      records were not set in 1900 when the decision to build the CA&E was
      made. Those records were set on a railroad which was mostly built
      after the Aurora & Elgin, and those older, original parts had
      seriously upgraded from the original designs by then.

      The CA&E was designed for what were for the times, high speed
      operation (45-60 mph)The CA&E was something of an innovator for the
      times in terms of operational speeds. My belief is that the
      technology of reliable high speed overhead operation did not evolve
      until some 20 years or so after the CA&E has built with 3rd rail.

      John
    • Fred Crissey
      I think that the reason the North Shore was overhead was that it started that way from Waukegon to Evanston and they just were used to. The line north to
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 10, 2006
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        I think that the reason the North Shore was overhead was that it started that way from Waukegon to Evanston and they just were used to.  The line north to Milwaukee which was built several years after the CA&E was better engineered due to the fact they only served three cities/villages north, Zion, Kenosha and Racine and the line was built to the west in then unpopulated areas and could be straight and almost gradeless.  I have a feeling although I cannot prove it that the CA&E intended to go to the Loop when it was built using the el east of Laramie Ave and the third rail was the appropriate power distribution system.  Also the CA&E had more curves due to passing through more populated areas and obstructions such as the cemetaires just west of Des Plaines Ave.  The CA&E did have plans to flatten out some of the curves in Villa Park and Maywood but it never got done.  CA&E trains ran fast but because of the el traffic going to Westchester branch and only two tracks west of Marshfield Ave they were necessarily slow.  There are all kinds of stories about CA&E trains sneaking up on els and applying power and the brakes at the sametime causing the el to go slower and then turning off the power and brakes causing the el to jump forward.  If the CA&E had built the proposed cut off from Westchester to Aurora which would have roughly paralleled Butterfield Road, I think it would have given the NS a run for their money as there was nothing out there except farms until the late 1950's.  West of Bellwood it was pretty fast but there were lots of stops.  The "Cannonball" which was a nonstop train from Wells Street to Wheaton was the hot train on the line.  Until 1953 the CA&E base service (non rush hour) were three trains an hour in each direction between Wheaton and Wells Street; an all stop local, a principle stop express and a limited train that made it's last eastbound stop at Lombard Main Street until Des Plaines Ave.  This train left Wheaton at :50 and Lombard on the hour (:00).  When the CA&E was built it was one of the fastest lines in the US.  Speeds up to 70 mph were no unusual.
        Fred Crissey 

        riispark99 <kend@...> wrote:
        I'm not sure your theory holds since the North Shore was overhead
        and held speed records for interurbans.

        --- In thegreatthirdrail@ yahoogroups. com, "thegreatthirdrail"
        <thegreatthirdrail@ ...> wrote:
        >
        > My understanding, and someone more knowledgeable please correct me
        if
        > applicable,, was that third rail "technology" was more suited for
        high
        > speed service in the early 1900's than overhead wire.
        >
        > IE, the use of a gravity fed shoe running on a rail was more
        reliable
        > at high speeds than a pole on the wire. Assuming this to be a true
        > statement, clearly the overhead wire system caught up pretty
        quickly
        > in terms of suitability for high speed use.
        >
        > As regard gaps in the third rail, besides the obvious reasons of
        > switches and grade crossings, I beleive some other reasons for the
        > gaps, as well as switching the third rail from the inside to the
        > outside running rails might include evening out the wear on the
        shoes,
        > as well as block protection.
        >
        > John
        >


      • cgchisholm@aol.com
        Anyone interested in the Interurbans should get a copy of Hilton & Dues ELECTRIC INTERURBAN RAILWAYS IN AMERICA. Look at Chapter 2 THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 10, 2006
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          Anyone interested in the Interurbans should get a copy of Hilton & Dues'
          ELECTRIC INTERURBAN RAILWAYS IN AMERICA.
          Look at  Chapter 2 THE TECHNOLOGY OF THE INTERURBANS
          On p.45 there is a discussion of Third Rail vs Overhead.

          THE ELECTRIC INTERURBAN RAILWAYS IN AMERICA
          George W. Hilton and John F.. Due
          STANFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
          Stanford, California
                 1960
          There are later printings of this book.

          Chuck Chisholm
        • Larry M
          With the exception on the Skokie line from Howard to East Prairie/Crawford the NS was overhead. The Skokie line had a complex overhead system that went to
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 10, 2006
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            With the exception on the Skokie line from Howard to
            East Prairie/Crawford the NS was overhead. The Skokie
            line had a complex overhead system that went to North
            Chicago Jct. originally but was extended to Waukegan
            around 1948. The Winnetka project also had a similar
            complex system.

            The line from Waukegan to Harrison St. in Milwaukee
            was built to railroad standards with the section
            between Racine and, I believe, College south of
            Milwaukee was straight with few grades and was around
            14 miles. The entire stretch from Waukegan to the
            south side of Milwaukee was built for high speed as
            the Skokie line would be years later. The line was
            burdened with the street running in Milwaukee right up
            until the last day of service in 1963. When I-94 was
            being considered in Milwaukee there were some plans to
            move the line into the median of the interstate. That
            never happened due to, at the time, lack of funds and
            the then desire to abandon the railroad.

            The original NSL from Waukegan to Linden Ave. in
            Wilmette was more traditional with some street running
            (including the section in Wilmette on Greenleaf) and
            went thru the suburbs. It precluded the high speed
            operation that Insull wanted for the Chicago to
            Milwaukee trains and ended up being more of a commuter
            line in its latter years. Service was far more
            frequent than on the Skokie line even up until the end
            of the Shore Line in July, 1955.

            There were only a handful of interurbans that chose to
            use third rail. One, I believe, was the Laurel Line
            in Pennsylvania as well as the still running
            Norristown line near Philadelphia that even used the
            former Electroliners and some of the early CTA 6000
            series L cars.

            Larry

            --- Fred Crissey <fhc1290@...> wrote:

            > I think that the reason the North Shore was overhead
            > was that it started that way from Waukegon to
            > Evanston and they just were used to. The line north
            > to Milwaukee which was built several years after the
            > CA&E was better engineered due to the fact they only
            > served three cities/villages north, Zion, Kenosha
            > and Racine and the line was built to the west in
            > then unpopulated areas and could be straight and
            > almost gradeless. I have a feeling although I
            > cannot prove it that the CA&E intended to go to the
            > Loop when it was built using the el east of Laramie
            > Ave and the third rail was the appropriate power
            > distribution system. Also the CA&E had more curves
            > due to passing through more populated areas and
            > obstructions such as the cemetaires just west of Des
            > Plaines Ave. The CA&E did have plans to flatten out
            > some of the curves in Villa Park and Maywood but it
            > never got done. CA&E trains ran fast but because of
            > the el traffic going to Westchester branch and only
            > two tracks west of
            > Marshfield Ave they were necessarily slow. There
            > are all kinds of stories about CA&E trains sneaking
            > up on els and applying power and the brakes at the
            > sametime causing the el to go slower and then
            > turning off the power and brakes causing the el to
            > jump forward. If the CA&E had built the proposed
            > cut off from Westchester to Aurora which would have
            > roughly paralleled Butterfield Road, I think it
            > would have given the NS a run for their money as
            > there was nothing out there except farms until the
            > late 1950's. West of Bellwood it was pretty fast
            > but there were lots of stops. The "Cannonball"
            > which was a nonstop train from Wells Street to
            > Wheaton was the hot train on the line. Until 1953
            > the CA&E base service (non rush hour) were three
            > trains an hour in each direction between Wheaton and
            > Wells Street; an all stop local, a principle stop
            > express and a limited train that made it's last
            > eastbound stop at Lombard Main Street until Des
            > Plaines Ave. This train left Wheaton at
            > :50 and Lombard on the hour (:00). When the CA&E
            > was built it was one of the fastest lines in the US.
            > Speeds up to 70 mph were no unusual.
            > Fred Crissey
            >
            > riispark99 <kend@...> wrote:
            > I'm not sure your theory holds since the
            > North Shore was overhead
            > and held speed records for interurbans.
            >
            > --- In thegreatthirdrail@yahoogroups.com,
            > "thegreatthirdrail"
            > <thegreatthirdrail@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > My understanding, and someone more knowledgeable
            > please correct me
            > if
            > > applicable,, was that third rail "technology" was
            > more suited for
            > high
            > > speed service in the early 1900's than overhead
            > wire.
            > >
            > > IE, the use of a gravity fed shoe running on a
            > rail was more
            > reliable
            > > at high speeds than a pole on the wire. Assuming
            > this to be a true
            > > statement, clearly the overhead wire system caught
            > up pretty
            > quickly
            > > in terms of suitability for high speed use.
            > >
            > > As regard gaps in the third rail, besides the
            > obvious reasons of
            > > switches and grade crossings, I beleive some other
            > reasons for the
            > > gaps, as well as switching the third rail from the
            > inside to the
            > > outside running rails might include evening out
            > the wear on the
            > shoes,
            > > as well as block protection.
            > >
            > > John
            > >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >


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