Author Topic: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun  (Read 4083 times)

laker2555

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IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« on: May 03, 2019, 01:02:16 PM »
Sadly, the demolition of IU Tower in downtown Indianapolis has begun.  Today crews were on site removing the top floor windows as part of the asbestos abatement and environmental clean up of the building.  Inside, the interlocking machines will be saved as well as some other artifacts but there won't be much time left for the structure itself. 

Built in 1930 by the Indianapolis Union Railroad it was closed in 1980 by Conrail and rendered obsolete in 2018 after the old pneumatic switch machines were upgraded as part of the IU physical plant overhaul and track reconfiguration.   
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 01:39:47 PM by laker2555 »

trainmaster53

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 01:40:15 PM »
It was my understanding that IU Tower was on the Historical List of Buildings along with Union Station and Could not be Tore Down. I also understand that the Switch Machine and Board are going to French Lick. That maybe what is going on. I would hope that Someone isn't about to get their Tit in a Ringer if they do Tear that Building Down. Could possibly get them Big Fines from the state.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 01:55:41 PM by trainmaster53 »

Peoria Man

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 02:19:36 PM »

Built in 1930 by the Indianapolis Union Railroad it was closed in 1980 by Conrail ...

I thought it closed in 1998?  I was there on the last day...

IU_Tower

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 05:10:49 PM »

Built in 1930 by the Indianapolis Union Railroad it was closed in 1980 by Conrail and rendered obsolete in 2018 after the old pneumatic switch machines were upgraded as part of the IU physical plant overhaul and track reconfiguration.

Yeah, I was inside the tower a lot later than 1980 too

trainmaster53

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 05:11:14 PM »
I think that Mel Hartley was the Operator that Closed the Tower. If Not Him it was Bob McCord.

Laguna Man

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 05:32:41 PM »
Sad.

Ralph

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 06:13:28 PM »
It was my understanding that IU Tower was on the Historical List of Buildings along with Union Station and Could not be Tore Down. I also understand that the Switch Machine and Board are going to French Lick. That maybe what is going on. I would hope that Someone isn't about to get their Tit in a Ringer if they do Tear that Building Down. Could possibly get them Big Fines from the state.

Tragic that this seems to be going away. That said let's address this misconception that buildings on the register can not be torn down. Unless someone can show that Indiana has tighter regulations than the National Park Service has then the buildings can go. Click on this Google search and choose your article.
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&authuser=0&q=Can+a+national+historic+landmark+be+torn+down%3F&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=2ahUKEwiD_PTFh4DiAhWK7GEKHaiDCrMQzmd6BAgPEBo&biw=1920&bih=947

Or read a story about the Astrodome:
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-does-historic-preservation-really-mean

By the way, Union Station is on the list but not I U Tower specifically based on a download and quick perusal of the database.

trainmaster53

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 11:06:08 PM »
IU Tower has been around for 89 Years and is an Icon to Indianapolis and after 89 Years CSX want's to remove This Structure that has carried a Lot of History for Indianapolis. Very Sad On CSX's Part. IU had over 200 Mail, Express and Passenger Trains through Indianapolis a day. That in it's self should mean Something and Give Reason to Save this Big part of Our History in Indianapolis..

DM114836

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2019, 02:09:33 AM »
Very sad indeed. Here is my tribute to the tower. The shot from the parking garage is mine. The other two are from Trey Kunz. One of the shots shows the "master" himself; Bob McCord. The tower had a USS electro pneumatic machine, 122 levers if memory serves.


CSX_CO

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2019, 09:15:56 AM »
IU Tower has been around for 89 Years and is an Icon to Indianapolis and after 89 Years CSX want's to remove This Structure that has carried a Lot of History for Indianapolis. Very Sad On CSX's Part. IU had over 200 Mail, Express and Passenger Trains through Indianapolis a day. That in it's self should mean Something and Give Reason to Save this Big part of Our History in Indianapolis..

Ok, so how much you willing to donate to save it?

Writing has been on the wall for quite some time.  It’s not like this was t expected.  With all the development plans for that area, an old railroad tower would stick out like a sore thumb anyway.

Bob Durnell

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2019, 10:03:28 AM »
The biggest problem is the location.  Being between the rail lines, I'm sure the only preservation CSX would have agreed to would be to move the building, which based on it's size and location, would likely carry an unreasonable cost.  I am as saddened as anyone to see it go, but I honestly have no practical answer to save it. I don't know that you COULD raise enough money to move that sucker, even if CSX would stand for the disruptions to rail traffic it would cause during the move.  Maybe a more practical option would be to try to save the tower at Union City before it meets the wrecking ball too.    Much easier and cheaper to move, and it could be placed over by the passenger station.

danielm75

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2019, 12:09:01 PM »
If IU tower couldn't be moved in one piece, what about dismantling it, and rebuilding it in another location? Dismantling has been done to other historic structures, including the statue of Ramses the Great, and other related things in Egypt, when threatened with the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Sure, it would be nice to have a building moved in one piece.

CSX_CO

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2019, 01:06:49 PM »
If IU tower couldn't be moved in one piece, what about dismantling it, and rebuilding it in another location? Dismantling has been done to other historic structures, including the statue of Ramses the Great, and other related things in Egypt, when threatened with the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Sure, it would be nice to have a building moved in one piece.

If you’re going to all that trouble, why not just build IU from scratch?  Probably cheaper.

It’s a 90 year old tower, not a 6000 yr old carving.

Part of the appeal of Hailey Tower is its proximity to the line it “controls”.  You move IU to a park some place, will it have the same draw?  Move it to a museum grounds, does it have the same draw?

It’s unfortunate there was no “street level” access.  Then you could have fenced it off, kept access not involving crossing live tracks, and kept it in place.

hytwr1

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2019, 09:25:28 PM »
If IU tower couldn't be moved in one piece, what about dismantling it, and rebuilding it in another location? Dismantling has been done to other historic structures, including the statue of Ramses the Great, and other related things in Egypt, when threatened with the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Sure, it would be nice to have a building moved in one piece.
Brick by brick?

indyspy

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2019, 11:57:16 AM »
You can't move that tower thanks to the half basement level.

It wasn't the air that kept the tower open to 2018. (That was moved outside in 2003, see the tank and small building to the left of the building in the shot?)

Vital circuitry for the interlocking was kept within. All Conrail did was rig the tower for remote operation. It was still quite possible to go up to the top of the tower and shift it to local control and operate the interlocking from the tower.

So the tower wasn't officially closed until 2018. It was simply remoted in 1994.
If in doubt, Notch it out!

trainmaster53

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2019, 11:52:37 PM »
And if Jacksonville were to go Down, There would be No way to Move Trains Through Indianapolis, Due to NO  BACK UP SYSTEM. And No One who would know how to use the Tower if it could even be used. No Planning what so ever for an Emergency Plan, if there is one. that was one of the nice things about IU Tower.

CSX_CO

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2019, 01:04:54 AM »
And if Jacksonville were to go Down, There would be No way to Move Trains Through Indianapolis, Due to NO  BACK UP SYSTEM. And No One who would know how to use the Tower if it could even be used. No Planning what so ever for an Emergency Plan, if there is one. that was one of the nice things about IU Tower.

Psst...still a whole backup center ready to go inside 31 E Georgia Street if Jacksonville “goes down”.

So...you’re able to move trains through IU if you keep the tower there.  What about every other interlocking in the state?

Nevermind the physical layout of IU is nothing like what the Tower originally controlled. 

Finally, most interlockings have “local control” boards on site that could be used in such an emergency. So, no need for a big tower structure when the replacement fits on a shelf.

CSX_CO

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2019, 09:23:28 AM »
Upon reflection: I’m as much of a student of this industry as anyone.  I value the historical and technological aspects of this hobby/industry.  I think it amazing they were creating the equivalent of mechanical computers in the early 1900’s.  That’s basically what interlocking machines were.  Giant “else/if” processors (people with a smidgeon of programming will get that) with moving steel parts.

However, once electrical circuits were invented, the interlocking tower was basically obsolete. Operating agreements prolonged their demise, but once you could control something electrically, you had no need for an “on site” method of control.

We’re lucky IU lasted as long as it did.  Sure, I’d love to see it preserved, but I’m also realistic about its chances.  I’m also grateful that places like Haley Tower are preserved as they are.  As Mr Foster has said in my visits up there: “the tower doesn’t *know* it’s disconnected (paraphrasing of course)”. That’s the best kind of preservation.

You gut IU, all you have is a shell.  You move it, it’s not in its element.  It’s unfortunate, but realistic, not everything can be saved.

As an aside, the MY building has had the boards over the windows removed. And some smashed.  Was able to peer inside.  No control boards, just looks like someone trashed a two room apartment.

csxdispatcher

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2019, 11:19:37 AM »
And if Jacksonville were to go Down, There would be No way to Move Trains Through Indianapolis, Due to NO  BACK UP SYSTEM.

Incorrect.  There are two complete dispatch centers that are just sitting in case of West Jax being unusable. 

crblue

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Re: IU Tower Demolition Has Begun
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2019, 12:27:00 PM »
However, once electrical circuits were invented, the interlocking tower was basically obsolete. Operating agreements prolonged their demise, but once you could control something electrically, you had no need for an “on site” method of control.
Seems like AC tower in Marion, Ohio, claims to be the first electric interlocking (relays) as opposed to using mechanical or pneumatic logic. I suppose that these days, interlocking is done with electronic circuits, programmable gate arrays, etc.

Don't forget the other reasons for having operators in towers:
1. Communication between train crews and dispatchers in the days before two-way radio. Radio systems are pretty good these days, so we don't need operators.
2. Observation of passing trains for defects. Defect detectors are pretty good these days, so we don't need operators.

F Tower in Fostoria went remote control about 4 years ago, I think. Was that the last of the interlocking towers in the midwest that were staffed by humans?