Elvas Tower: Goose Island - Elvas Tower

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Goose Island A micro route Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Genma Saotome 

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:27 PM

I might as well let the cat out of the bag... I was really tired of working only on the Cal-P... and just needed to take a break so I started up a new route, a micro route of just 4, maybe 6 tiles, centered on Goose Island in Chicago.

Goose island is a small, man made island on the north branch of the Chicago River, just a couple of miles NW of downtown. It's 1 mile long and at its widest, less than 1/3 of a mile wide. The Milwaukee Road had a small yard there and did switching on the island and along the east side of the river, a run of less than 4 miles total (less than a mile to the south of the island, not quite 2 miles going to the north), with the island in the center. Along the west shore are more industries and the 5-8 track mainline of the C&NW. The MILW had only a couple of customers in this area. Like all of Chicago, it's FLAT and pretty well filled up with streets and buildings.

The overall area, with a rough idea of where the MILW tracks are, looks like this:

Attached Image: Goose Island Overview.jpg

The dashed lines are not likely to be included... generally no switching.

Normal operations were based on a turn from Galewood Yard, located about 5.5 miles to the west (on the dashed line that runs to the left). I don't know how many jobs operated out of the yard on the island but I would image 60+ years ago it would have taken several each day.

The MILW dieselized in Chicago fairly early, mostly Alco S-2's but there were also a few FM's and some 2-8-0's and 2-8-2's kept around too.
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So why Goose Island?

Well, I grew up on the north side of Chicago and every time we went downtown our route took us on the freeway that ran along the west side of the island. Between the car and the island was the 5-6 track mainline of the C&NW... then the river, which always meant bascule bridges, and the island nestled in with all sorts of industrial facilities. How could I not look every time? FWIW, the general atmosphere is captured here:

Attached Image: North Ave Bridge over river looking north.jpg

The MILW bridge to the island is in the lower right... and interesting contraption in its own right: it rotates from a pivot point on the north shore to clear for barges. Normally a rotating bridge pivots at the center... not this one tho. The bascule bridge for North Ave. is also seen... it splits in the center and each half rotates up from a pivot point on each end. If you don't know bascule bridges, here's one at the south end of the island:

Attached Image: Halsted Bridge with Wards.jpg


Anyway, I mentioned some months ago in some thread here at ET that it was probably a good candidate for a tiny route and the more I thought about the curiouser I got about just how much work would it take. I looked at some maps, did a few rough measurements, and saw that most everything it needed fit in 4 tiles. Maybe 1 or 2 more going north and south, maybe a wider ring to put into some background... but the core only needed 4 tiles. Seemed do-able, especially if I don't fully develop the west shore area and the run to Galewood yard (5.5 miles of elevated track that runs thru residential neighborhoods).

So I pushed the Cal-P aside for a bit and started to work on this. Rather fun going back to square one. Rather frustrating at times too... I had forgotten just how rough it can be getting a route started.

Once again I'm working from Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and with the awful discover of the Kuju Skew in mind from the Cal-P's (right angled steets not falling on right angles because of the skew) I'm going about this route differently: Unlike the Cal-P, I de-skewed the terrain before doing anything else. Because the buildings are sized in the maps, the street grid has to be fairly accurate or things won't fit (a never ending problem on the Cal-P). So I'm placing the roads first, then the buildings (making road and building adjustments as needed to ensure the streets run in the right directions). I have a couple of more adjustments to make and then I think I might set down a bit of track -- taking my own advice I've offered to others: start in the middle so when I get tired of going one way I switch ends and go off in the other direction.
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Will it get done?

Dunno. I'm enjoying working on something new. I've learnt a few things, including how to solve one problem on the Cal-P. I also gained what I think may be an important insight for the Open Rails project for an improved method of managing the contents of OR-Enhanced world files... so on the whole, it's been a good thing.

When I get some track in I'll make the route available to a few people for review and feedback. I figure mid October.

In the meanwhile I'll post a few other things about the route and site. I really don't know much about the MILW but I do know Chicago and at some level it's a bit of a home coming... feels good.

#2 User is offline   Genma Saotome 

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 07:33 PM

The route as viewed from Mosaic:

Attached Image: Route Map.jpg

Yellow lines are the tile borders, blue are roads, red is track. The superimposed images are lifted directly from USAPhotomaps in 512x512 blocks and pasted (temporarily) into the route using Mosaic. They're also turned into tertex files for viewing in the route editor.

As you can see, what's here can fit in just 4 tiles. I expect to add 1, possible two more tiles in the upper left because the route does extend a short distance in that direction.

#3 User is offline   Genma Saotome 

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

A couple of other decisions I've made for this project:

  • It will be built as an Open Rails route: No MS/Kuju content, which means persons who do not own MSTS will be able to use Open Rails to run this route.
  • I will make use of any unique OR features that become available (i.e., showcasing).
  • As much original content as practical will used, ideally all (there are certain access / licensing issues w/ most freeware I want to avoid; more below).
  • It will be released as freeware.
  • I do not expect to get it to a state of full completion before making it available to the public.
  • I will ask for contributions from ET members when I can't do something on my own.
  • I am open to assistance from ET members but I'm not ready to "staff up" much right now... too many irons in the fire.
  • I will license the route under one of the GNU Public Licenses or Creative Commons License (not sure which) which will allow others to enhance the route and re-release it w/o issues.
  • I expect to release the source files using the same license as the route (this is why I want to avoid other freeware content). Not all will be released at once but all will eventually be released.
  • I expect I will make several releases before stepping back from extensive development.
    I expect the license will restrict distribution to Elvastower.com, at least for some period of time.
  • I will make available the Sanborn maps for certain adjacent neighborhoods in order to provide the information necessary to enable expanding the route w/ the same historical accuracy as it was started (e.g., track maps, building information).
  • I do not want the route's C&NW portions extended to the north, west, or northwest as that's being done in another route by another person. I have no desire to step on the toes of another project. There are already opportunities for including the Chicago Street Car lines, the elevated CTA, more passenger train terminals (several just a few streets away) and looking south/southwest, most of Chicago's industrial district.


#4 User is offline   Genma Saotome 

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:06 PM

Here's an updated take on the project scope.
Attached Image: Project Scope Map.jpg

The dark shaded areas have always been out of scope. What's changed is the possibility of including the areas marked in blue. To the west, this would give the PRR and MILW passenger trains a bit more legroom to run before they hit the north side of Union Station. It would also open up switching the LCL houses between Lake and Grand streets. To the north it would extend the C&NW Wisconsin Div tracks which, at this location, are heavily engaged in commuter service.

A few blocks south of this map are to be included but not the La Salle Street Station and/or Grand Central Station with all the very interesting track to their south. Those locations, plus the huge IC yards along the lake can be added by some other brave soul.

#5 User is offline   Genma Saotome 

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Posted 16 May 2020 - 04:47 PM

The longer I work on this project the more convinced I am it would be wise to include the whole Loop of downtown Chicago. For those of you unfamiliar with Chicago The Loop refers to a circle of elevated track providing commuter rail service to the downtown area. Covering both sides of the route encompass area two streets wide in a square of 8 streets by 8 streets, roughly a bit more than 1 square mile.

Within this square mile is also found the Chicago Surface lines -- streetcars! 7 of the 8 east/west streets have street cars, 5 of the 8 north;south streets have streetcars. The ridership data I've seen shows an annual ridership in hte 1950's of between 120 and 130% of the entire population of Chicago. It is as-if half the city population took two trips every Monday thru Friday.

Combined, there are only 4 street intersections in this area that do not have rails present.

I don't think laying the track for this will be much of a task; The work of creating the buildings they pass along will take time.

Testing has shown me these two rail services are best appreciated by rotating the monitor to a portrait orientation. AFAIK no other MSTS/Open Rails route calls for that orientation so that alone adds some unique flavor.

#6 User is offline   timmuir 

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Posted 17 May 2020 - 07:04 AM

What an interesting notion- rotating the monitor for traversing the downtown canyons of stone, concrete and steel. Makes sense. CSL! Pretty exciting stuff for a traction fan.

Attached Image: CSL 1895 1950.jpg

#7 User is offline   timmuir 

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:10 AM

I know this is older than your target era, Dave, but it's just too neat to not share...

From March of 1933:

Attached Image: csl-1.jpg

Attached Image: CSLMAp1.jpg

Attached Image: CSLMAp2.jpg

I read that the Western Avenue Line was the longest straight street car line in the world.

#8 User is offline   Genma Saotome 

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 11:42 AM

Yeah, that was the 1933-34 World's Fair. I'm targeting 1947 which is right before the everything was taken over by the CTA. IOW when the old paint schemes were still on the road!

The streetcar service in Central District (The Loop) didn't change much before 1948 so that "close up" map is quite accurate for what I want to do (with some trimming on the north and south).

I'm about to lay generic pavement on Wells St (the line that starts in the lower left corner). If it goes as well as I expect then in a day or so I can replace the generic stuff w/ cobblestone cut for street car tracks and put in the tracks too. Gives me a chance to test out whether a street railway is going to be a good thing or not.

#9 User is offline   timmuir 

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 01:40 PM

Well, if you can make use of it, all the better! I just thought it was a cool pamphlet that fits the topic nicely.

I sure hope the street railway wont be too much of a hassle. heh- They usually are. But I'm very much interested in this.

#10 User is offline   CrisGer 

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Posted 19 May 2020 - 02:36 PM

I too would love to ride a streetcar in the City of my forefathers to see what they saw before they all escaped to Callifornia to get way from the frigid winter wind off the Lake. i will keep my fingers crossed and my nickels handy. I still remember the clang of the Streetcar bells in San Diego and the sound of coins rattling down the dispenser by the driver. Man that brings back memories. My next memory was gun stuck under the car seats :) lol

great to hear of the progress Dave we are rooting for you!!

Chris

some more memories of the Windy City

https://www.youtube....h?v=QW0wWecCKrE

https://www.youtube....h?v=lVPlKef6quc

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