Coaling Towers

Northbound Illinois Central Gulf freight passes old steam locomotive coaling towers in Spring, 1982

Artifacts of the iron horse are still around if you know where to look

These structures were used to supply coal to steam locomotives. Although Illinois Central started buying diesel locomotives for passenger trains and yard switching early on, it was one of the last among major lines to convert its freight operations from steam.

Missing is the extensive structure used to load coal into the towers. This included a bridge between the two towers. These components were made of steel and thus were worthwhile to sell for scrap. The reinforced concrete towers themselves are thus left behind and will probably remain unless they become dangerous. These towers are on the Illinois Central (ICG at the time of the above photo) mainline in Illinois, just north of Gilman.

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