The Union Belt of Detroit From 1928 to 1929
Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum
Negotiations With City To Replace Clark Road Interlocker. After discussions with the City, it is felt that the steam roads should assume the entire cost of signals on the additional track and the steel sub-structure to support the interlocking tower, and that the balance of the expense of rebuilding of the plant should be treated as maintenance, estimated at $30,000 and on basis of the unit distribution table, it would be divided as follows: Electric Line 37.5% ($11,250), Steam Roads 62.5% ($18,750, chargeable as maintenance in Zone 2.
Police Protection Discussion. The Wabash reports that it is furnishing all the police protection in Zones 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 as well as having a regular man assigned to Zone 12 between Michigan Avenue and the grand Trunk connection, and feel the Belt should either have its own police organization or some division should be made of the expense of the present protection. The Pere Marquette has no desire to depart from its present practice, which affords service of this nature found to be ample for its needs, and it is not their understanding that service performed by the Wabash is for other than exclusive Wabash benefit. The Pennsylvania favors a separate police force for all Union Belt territory. The matter was revisited in March where it was determined that the member roads have the equivalent of nine men policing Belt territory; the Wabash six, the Pere Marquette two and the Pennsylvania one. The suggestion was offered to procure from the member Roads nine patrolmen to be carried on the Union Belt payrolls and divide the expense on basis of the wheelage according to territorial assignments. The Pere Marquette declined to join in such a recommendation.
Residence Telephone. At the beginning of operations the Superintendent authorized the installation of a telephone at Belt expense in the residence of the Trainmaster. The Board of Managers is asked to reaffirm this authority. It was reaffirmed in March.
Clark Road Interlocker. In the ongoing discussions with the City, the Department of Street Railways is agreeable to the replacement of the present plant with a small electric plant handled from a table-lever machine, the expense to be divided on the unit basis. It is proposed to install derails in the two freight mains, operative derails in the facing direction on the electric line, and spring derails protecting against reverse movements, the steam roads to assume the entire cost of signaling on the fourth track and the cost of the steel substructure for the tower, estimated at 25% of the total cost $30,000, or $7,500; the balance, $22,500, to be treated as maintenance and divided equally between the electric line and the steam roads. This conflicts with the information shown in minutes which erroneously stated that the maintenance proportion was estimated at $30,000. It is recommended that authority be granted to proceed with this work without delay.
Proposed Extension of Jefferson Avenue Track at West End. There is no likelihood of the garbage loading station by the City for some time, if at all. In view of the advantages to be gained from the extension it is recommended that a petition be filed with the Common Council to extend the track to connect with the main line east of West Grand Boulevard and thus avoid any possible objection to another track across the Boulevard. This will necessitate use of some City property for the turnout.
Proposed Contracts for Employee Insurance. The Benefit Association of Railway Employees is a mutual legal reserve health and accident association for railway employees. They promote, for social and relief purposes, lodges which are non-sectarian, non-political and prohibit discussion of labor matters, having 221 of these lodges now with one in Detroit installed on the 20th of this month. It is claimed their low rate protection with liberal claim payment practice is second to none. They issue monthly a "Railway Employees Journal" and numerous safety bulletins. The Association has contracts with the Wabash and Pere Marquette for soliciting among their employees, payroll deduction of premiums and allowance office percent as commission for collections. It is recommended that permission be granted to extend their operations to cover the Union Belt under the terms of present contracts and that notice of discontinuance be given the Continental Casualty Company, which now has but nine of our employees insured. Besides the Continental Company, solicitation is authorized and payroll deductions made for the Central West Casualty Company and the Railway Men's Relief Association. No commission is allowed by the latter for handling premium deductions on the payrolls and it has but fourteen employees insured at the present time.
Crossing Protection. By reason of a serious automobile accident at Junction Avenue crossing on January 30, 1928, the only one that has occurred at any of the streets where flashing light signals were placed in service last December, there has been considerable agitation in the Common Council for restoring the gates at all of these crossings and on that account Inspector Hughes of the Public Utilities Commission, and Superintendent Murphy of the City Department of Public Works made an inspection of all crossings between the Boulevard and West End Avenue, accompanied by members of the Operating Committee on April 17th. The Inspector recommended that the flashers at nine principal crossings be equipped to warn street traffic in both directions; the flashers on teh south side of Artillery Avenue be moved to the center of the street and the one on the south side at Junction Avenue be moved nearer the track. To equip the flashing signals to operate on the track side will cost approximately $65 per signal or $130 per crossing, or a total of $1,170 for the nine crossings.
Automatic Signals on High Speed Tracks. A plan has been prepared for proposed installation of the dwarf type of automatic block signals between Sixth Street and Delray Interlocking Plants, at an estimated cost of $26,000 and early approval is recommended in order to complete the work under favorable weather conditions.
Passing Track Oakman Branch. The extension of the second track on the Oakman Branch across Miller Road and as far as the lead to the Detroit Seamless Steel Tube Company Plant is needed now for efficient and economical switching. The increased traffic of the Graham Paige Motor Car company and the business of other industries now located in that territory make it necessary during switching operations to place cars on all private tracks to the extend that it interferes with the business of the industries and has caused numerous complaints and it also causes excessive switching expense. There is prospect of several additional industries locating there and the Operating Committee recommends extending the Passing Track at once at an estimated cost of $5,708. Authorized in August, 1928.
Car Inspections. At present the car inspectors of all three roads visit the Detroit Railway & Harbor Terminals Plant daily, with unsatisfactory results and duplication of work. It is proposed to establish joint inspection for 16 hours per day and divide the expense among the three roads on the basis of the number of cars handled for each to and from the Harbor Terminals. Authority received in June.
Smoke Abatement (at Roundhouse). Notice 4274 received from the Bureau of Smoke Inspection and Abatement calls for installation of a breeching with suitable connections over all smoke stacks under which engines are fired, connected with an approved smoke washing system and then to a single stack large enough to accommodate the gasses resulting from the firing up of engines in the roundhouse. The Operating Committee feels that concerted action should be taken by all the roads to the end that uniform practice will be obtained and suggests that the Board of Managers arrange for a meeting of the Mechanical and other interested representatives of all steam roads in Detroit for the purpose of thoroughly analyzing the situation and deciding upon uniform action, as the cost of complying with orders such as this would be very expensive. In July, the minutes reported that other roads in Detroit have equipped their locomotives with ring and combustion tube blowers and can clear dense smoke within ten seconds from the time blowers are put in operation. They are, however, receiving violation notices almost daily and all contend that the Inspectors are too strict in their judgment of smoke with the use of an unbrascope (or quadruple smoked lenses) which makes thin gray smoke appear dense.
Third and Fourth Main Track Update. New connection with the Detroit Chemical Works has been installed and second eastward main completed without the cantilever signal originally proposed at Cavalry Avenue, which has been deferred for further consideration of the dwarf type automatic signals in this territory.
West Belt Extension. The West Belt is being extended across the Detroit Terminal Railroad at Livernois Avenue to the vicinity of Hamilton Avenue and the following industries have been connected with this extension: Sterling Coal Co., Schiewe Coal Co., Lowrie & Robinson Lumber Co., Detroit Motor Bus Company, Davy Fuel & Supply Co., Rex Clay Products Co., and Anchor Pipe & Supply.
Switching Lead. To facilitate switching operations by avoiding use of the Pere Marquette main track, the Operating Committee recommends and urges the prompt construction of a track on the Pere Marquette right of way north of Zone 11 between the Oakman Spur and the West Belt.
Warren Avenue Interlocker. The Department of Street Railways is willing to join in application to the Public Utilities Commission to discontinue the derails in the Pere Marquette (West Detroit Branch) tracks at Warren Avenue.
Equalization of Power. On December 1st, the Wabash and Pere Marquette were 4,586 and 1,949 engine hours below their quota and the Pennsylvania was 6,535 hours over its quota. The Wabash proposed to place some of its engines in charge of Pennsylvania crews in the latter's territory in order to reduce its shortage, but this was not agreeable to the Pennsylvania. The Pere Marquette requests that its engines be used in District 1 in proportion to ownership so as to enable them to furnish power in proportion to its quota, but the Wabash was not agreeable to this, as it would mean the withdrawal of Wabash engine assignments to the extend that Pere Marquette engines are substituted and the Wabash would fall farther behind the quota than at present. This subject is therefore referred to the Board of Managers.
Car Inspection. The joint car inspection at the Detroit Railway and Harbor Terminals Company was discontinued December 19th at the close of navigation and for this season it is intended - unless otherwise instructed - to re-establish it on a slightly different basis at much less expense. Last year, two inspectors were employed for 16 hour service and it was frequently necessary to work them overtime when boat cargoes were transferred to cars at night and the cars pulled from the plant interchange track before the regular inspection service the next day. The inspectors were not kept busy at all times and shortly after the service was established they were assigned to inspect cars at other nearby plants, namely, American Brass, Timken, Graham-Paige and the Detroit Chemical. For this year it is proposed to assign to all of these plants a Wabash inspector for six hours during the day and Pere Marquette Board Yard inspectors two or three hours, as necessary, on the second and third tricks, the expense to be billed against the Union Belt and apportioned among the roads on basis of the card handled for each road at these plants.
Claim of Michigan Bell Telephone Company. This claim, amounting to $67, covers damage to fence and gate at their Plymouth Road yard on January 5th, by crew in charge of engine 9079. While shoving 12 cars from Fullerton Avenue Yard into Coon Avenue passing track the cars headed into the Telephone Company siding on account of switch being open and damaged the fence and gate before cars could be stopped. Switchman Delevern was disciplined by five days actual suspension for his responsibility in connection with the accident. This claim is referred to the Board of Managers with recommendation that the Belt assume the responsibility. Payment was authorized by the Board of Managers.
Company Surgeon. The Operating Committee recommends that compensation of Dr. George W. Ridenour be increased from $400 to $600 per annum.
Claim of Detroit Edison Company. This claim, amounting to $99.81 covers the cost of replacing a pole destroyed February 8th, when struck by car derailed by ice and snow in the Chope-Stevens track which we maintain at railroad expense. The section gang was cleaning other tracks, having ascertained that the conductor had no cars for Chope-Stevens that morning, but during switching operations it was necessary to shove some cars in their. The Operating Committee recommends that the claim be paid.
© Dale J. Berry, all rights reserved.