Page images
[graphic][merged small]

as is obvious, for the sake of the small tunity of “doing things," as Mr. Roosepay they are able to earn, but doubtless velt says, afford a more powerful incenin a majority of cases for the gratifica- tive than any desire for gain. But, whattion of ambition in one form or another. ever the motive, theirs seems to be a new With some of them, public spirit fur- kind of aspiration—an aspiration which nishes the inspiration; in other instances produces results both substantial and valthe honor, the prestige, and the oppor- uable to the country at large.

A series of elevated crossings. In this case the streets have been depressed, giving roadway beneath the grade

level, for street-car, hauling, and pedestrian service.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

HE railroads of the coun- the Pennsylvania Railroad, and gave the try are spending one hun- company $900,000 in bonds to elevate its dred million dollars to tracks-kind-hearted Philadelphia, which make the streets of Chi- issued $3,500,000 in bonds to induce the cago safe. On an aver- Philadelphia & Reading Railroad to

age, five hundred people a come into that city on elevated tracks, year are run over by passing trains, or and which has extended many other valare injured in collisions with steam loco- uable courtesies to the railroads in conmotives, while using Chicago's streets. nection with track elevation. IndianTen years ago Chicago decided that the apolis is paying enormous damage claims elevation of all steam railway tracks was to corporations on account of the rethe only means of protecting her citizens moval of conduits and other obstructions from the deadly grade-crossings. And from her own streets. But Chicago has the railroads are footing the bill. Last already accomplished the elevation of year over 50,000 men were employed in 800 miles of steam railway tracks within the work of elevating the tracks, and it her borders, and has made the railroads cost the railroads about $5,800,000. pay every cent of the $50,000,000 which

Chicago is not the only city which is it has cost. having her steam railway tracks elevated. Altogether there are 1,600 miles of Philadelphia vacated a whole street for steam railroads ramifying through the city of Chicago; and, excepting the low- ty-three tracks at street intersections. ered and walled-in tracks of the Illinois Over these the street-cars used to bump, Central along the Lake Front, where jolt, and struggle, while passengers there are no street crossings, every mile craned their necks in fear of approaching of this trackage will have been elevated trains. True, there were crossing gates when the work now. in progress is com- -Aimsy wooden arms that were lowered pleted. Sixteen hundred miles of rail- across the streets when a train aproad tracks in one city, is something proached—which served as an excuse for rather difficult to comprehend without protection to passing street-cars, teams, comparisons. Sixteen hundred miles of and pedestrians; and there were watchright-of-way is nearly enough to build men, stationed at the crossings, vested

[graphic][merged small]

two elevated railroads from Chicago to with the duty of lowering and raising Philadelphia. It would build eight ele- the gates at the proper time, and of sigvated tracks from Chicago to Indianap- naling trains and vehicles and pedesolis. It is more than enough to build a trians whether it was safe or dangerous single line from Chicago to Boston, or to to pass. To the competency and faithGalveston, or to Santa Fé, N. M., or to fulness of these low-salaried, overworked Jacksonville, Fla., or to Denver, or even watchmen, were entrusted the lives of the to Salt Lake City. This 1,600 miles of constantly passing throngs. Generally trackage is equivalent to eight miles for these watchmen have been faithful to every one of the 192 square miles of Chi- their trust, and often they have sacrificed cago's area. This is entirely independent their lives to their duty. Two or three of of any lines operated by electricity or by them used to be killed at their posts every any power other than steam.

year before the city began to dispense It was the wholesale destruction of with the grade-crossings. Scarcely an islives and property on railway rights-of- sue of a Chicago newspaper in days gone way within the city, that prompted Chi- by, failed to record some accident at one cago to dispense with the deadly grade- of the city's 3,000 grade-crossings. crossings. In Chicago there are rights. Sometimes the watchman, worn from his of-way that contain from eight to twen- long hours and the complexity of his

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors]

ELEVATING A NETWORK OF TRACKS View at 18th and Fuller streets, looking south. Concrete mixer is shown on rear car of train.

[ocr errors]

task, would neglect to lower the gates in created specially for the work with time. Often he would fail to give the which it is entrusted, that the city is incorrect signal to an approaching train or debted for the wonderful progress which to the stream of traffic watching his has been made in the work. At the head warnings from either side. Frequently, of this office is John O'Neill, termed the in the rush hours, the pressing throngs, “Father of track elevation in Chicago.” in their haste to cross the tracl's, would Since all the expense of track elevation either disregard or mistake his signals. in Chicago is borne by the public service Sometimes the machinery by which the corporations, the performance of the gates were lowered and raised would get city's part in the work is very simple. By out of order. Maybe some of the other special ordinance, the City Council orsignals would fail to work properly. From causes like these, appalling accidents have happened. Probably there is not one of these 3,000 grade-crossings that has not been stained with the blood of human beings caught in the traps and ground to death by the on-rushing trains. Since the construction of the 800 miles of elevated roadbeds, there has been a remarkable diminution of this kind of fatality; and when the other 800 miles is finished, railroad accidents to others than railroad employees will be almost unknown in Chicago. Certainly they will be unknown in so far as grade-crossings are concerned.

In the scheme of raising the tracks on embankments, the 3,000 grade-crossings are to be reduced in number to 1,100 by means of the diversion of streets, and all of these will be transformed into subways under the railroads. Statistics in the office of traction ex

RAISING A DRAWBRIDGE TO New LEVEL OF ELEVATED pert John O'Neill' of Chicago, show that more than a million people cross the railways of Chicago every day in going to ders a certain railroad to elevate its and from their work and in the perform- tracks according to plans and specificaance of other duties. This is more than tions prepared by Mr. O'Neill. The or365,000,000 a year. Well, then, may be dinance is equivalent to an order, statrealized the danger menacing Chicago's ing just how and by what time the tracks moving millions in crossing to and fro of that particular road must be elevated; over the network of railroad tracks. and the road has no alternative but to

Chicago is terribly cut up by railroads obey. The same ordinance serves as a entering the city in what appears to be notice to the gas, telephone, and electric the utmost confusion. There are twenty- light companies, and to other corporaeight trunk lines coming into the differ- tions operating conduits or wires or ent depots, and no two of these enter on pipes or other obstructions anywhere in parallel lines. On the contrary, they the path of the proposed improvement, cross one another at alí conceivable an- that they must make way for it; and they, gles, forming a veritable network of too, have but to obey the city's mandate, tracks in many sections, most conspicu- and, besides, pay all the expenses of any ous of which is that maze of railway in- removal or changes that may be necestersections on the South Side, known as sary for the road to execute its work as Grand Crossing.

ordered by the city. It is to the efficiency of the office of A special ordinance is passed for each Track Elevation, a new city department particular job of elevation required, so



« PreviousContinue »