Author Topic: The Inland Port and Terminal Railway  (Read 923 times)

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dckuk

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The Inland Port and Terminal Railway
« on: September 26, 2016, 03:51:58 PM »
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I'll be catching up on all of my "other" layout at home here as well, which is not all in the blog. But it does have a "story" of sorts:

A Brief History

Naming took over 30 years; but I finally decided on The Inland Port and Terminal Railway, or Terminal Railway (IPT reporting marks). I even went so far as to start on a story:

Bedford Valley was settled by river traders that wanted a convenient place to camp on their journeys to and from the growing city of Chicago. When the railroads came through this part of Illinois the town was too close to Chicago to warrant a major terminal, but the Chicago & Great Eastern Railway Co. (a subsidiary company of the Pennsylvania Railroad) built a depot North East of the (then) town 'proper'. A few years later the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific crossed the Great Eastern and agreed to share 'terminal' costs, i.e. the station expenses, and rebuilt the Great Eastern “Bedford North” station as Bedford Junction.


As Bedford Valley prospered and grew, the city fathers desired a direct connection from the city to the 'outside world', and since neither the (by now) Pennsylvania nor Rock Island were eager to do so in accordance with the desires of the city, a short line (the Bedford Valley Railroad) was proposed, chartered, and over the course of two years built from Bedford Valley to the Rock Island Freight House at Bedford Junction. For it's first years there was no permanent connection between the Chicago & Bedford Valley Railroad and neither the Rock Island or Pennsylvania , perhaps owing to publicised plans to offer competition to one or both lines once Chicago (the dreamed of ultimate destination) was reached, were eager to stump up money to help out. A small yard office in North Bedford served as both the management’s headquarters and the line’s freight office. Sadly for the railroad and the city the financial turmoil of the time left no resources to build further and less interest in competing with the existing connections. Westward expansion continued slowly, paralleling and crossing the tracks of two Rock Island branch lines, eventually meeting the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad at (Burlington) junction several miles to the west.


The connection with the Burlington motivated both the Pennsylvania and Rock Island to be more cordial with the Bedford Valley line; the Rock Island through fear of competition, and the Pennsylvania through the prospect of connection with the expanding western US without being routed through Chicago, saving considerable time and providing an advantage over their competitors. The re-incorporated The Chicago & Bedford Valley Railroad connected with the Rock Island/Pennsylvania Interchange yard in 1902. Later that year the City of Bedford Valley began construction of an urban electric railroad, and the decision was made to combine it with the Chicago & Bedford Valley Railroad to form The Bedford Valley Electric Terminal Railroad


The (reincorporated) Bedford Valley Electric Terminal Railroad (The Terminal) operated trolley, Interurban, and electric freight service between the city of Bedford Valley and Blue Island until the early 1950s, connecting freight and passengers with Rock Island and Pennsylvania railroads at Bedford Junction, and the Burlington at Clearing Junction (via the Belt Railway of Chicago). The Pennsylvania Railroad had access to one of the junction yard tracks for interchange, and frequently carried Rock Island connecting loads as well as those from the Terminal. An 0-6-0 switcher was frequently seen assisting the Terminal's electric freight motors switching Bedford Valley industries, as Pennsylvania steel arrived by the train load for Horace Wilson. After the Interurban services were withdrawn in 1952, the trolley service was terminated, the overhead wires came down, and a small fleet of Alco road switchers worked the industries at Bedford Valley. The tracks towards the Burlington were left unused, relying on the Rock Island to haul Burlington connecting freight via its own lines to Bedford Junction. The folly of this was evident several years later; as the Rock Island withered, the through route was eventually truncated just east of Bedford Junction, and crews used Bedford Valley as an impromptu terminal of sorts. The remainder of the main line and branch line track west and southwest from Bedford Valley deteriorated from years of neglect and maintenance cutbacks.


Pennsy's fates soon followed the Rock's, and as the companies' lines deteriorated more and more shippers gave up; two of the largest, the longest running manufacturer of iron and steel products in the region, and the sprawling brass machinist's plant could not compete due to the poor and infrequent service, and closed their doors. Even the power plant that had served Bedford Valley for over seventy years stopped receiving coal by rail, choosing truck shipments as "more reliable" until it too finally closed. Less and less able to make ends meet, the Bedford Valley Terminal Railroad finally ran its last "train" in 1977.


The company was never officially dissolved, and small parts of the property were used to serve Valley Glass, one of the last rail shippers in the city, by CRI&P (C&NW operated the Bedford Valley area lines after Rock Island's collapse in 1980). As freight traffic dried up, the Pennsylvania/Penn Central/Conrail (briefly)/nobody/Regional Transportation Assembly (ReTA, pronounced "Rita") continued to operate commuter service and limited passenger train service to Bedford Valley via North Bedford and Macklin over the Bedford Valley/Pennsylvania joint line.


In 1982 a group of politicians and local speculators re-incorporated the Terminal as the Bedford Valley Railway (BV), and took over operation of the old Bedford Valley Terminal trackage and several miles of abandoned Rock Island track in caretaker status with the state. Seeking cash, they took C&NW to court over track lease payments for the time the railroad served the Valley Glass factory, saying that the Northwestern "had no right to free use of Terminal Railroad properties". Valley Glass's board supported the North Western’s defence, and the Bedford Valley lost the case. And as many over-ambitious do after losing a major, though frivolous, court case, the company went bust.


Several years later the properties were again re-organized and re-incarnated as The Inland Port and Terminal Railway to offer highway shippers an alternative by loading trailers and containers in North Bedford Valley. The tracks west were relayed, re-connecting to the BN (now BNSF), and several nearby Regional rail companies via several miles of rehabilitated ex-Rock Island track that the Chicago and North Western no longer desired to operate. Valley Glass still receives shipments of raw materials by rail, and now enjoys greater access to world markets via containerized ladings from it's North Bedford Valley warehouse and Bedford Valley factory.


A thriving locomotive repair service, car repair shop (both privately owned, on the site of the trolley and interurban car barns), as well as grain, coal, and carload shipments for a large warehouse complex add to the inter-modal service and glass works, and keep the railroad busy. Motive power is slowly being modernised, but it is still possible to see Also RS units, FM switchers, and other odd ducks working the main and switching the loads...

To be continued!

http://iptrr.blogspot.co.uk/

nkalanaga

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Re: The Inland Port and Terminal Railway
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 01:30:12 AM »
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Is Bedford Valley any relation to the Village of Bedford Park that advertises on WBBM radio in Chicago?
N Kalanaga
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dckuk

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Re: The Inland Port and Terminal Railway
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 11:13:10 AM »
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Is Bedford Valley any relation to the Village of Bedford Park that advertises on WBBM radio in Chicago?

Not at all.

Many years ago I picked up a heap of used covered hoppers and grain cars from a hobby shop in Minneapolis; about a third of them are lettered for Bedford Valley Railroad. I liked the variety, and incorporated this name into the history of the Terminal Railway.

Naming the town was toughest decision I had to make!

Dennis

nkalanaga

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Re: The Inland Port and Terminal Railway
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 01:43:36 AM »
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Ahhh, recycling a freelanced railroad?  I wonder if the previous owner is still in model railroading?   
N Kalanaga
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dckuk

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Re: The Inland Port and Terminal Railway
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 03:48:10 AM »
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Ahhh, recycling a freelanced railroad?  I wonder if the previous owner is still in model railroading?

At the time I am sure; the dealer said that the seller felt that "7000 freight cars was more than enough"!

It was many years ago now, but I have never seen any of these cars in any other photographs...

Dennis