Wednesday, December 7, 2016

1893 World's Columbian Exposition - Intramural Railway.

The Intramural Railroad, which carried without serious hitch or accident nearly 6,000,000 passengers during the term of the Exposition. This is an elevated structure, the motive power of which is electricity. Its length, from end to end, is three and one-eighth miles, and its track is double all the way. 
There are ten stations at convenient points. The railroad begins with a loop that encircles the Indian School. It runs southeast, encircling the Anthropological Building, and then turns northwest. Passing between the colonnade and the Stock Pavilion, the railroad skirts the south side of the Machinery Building and Annex and then turns northward past its west end. It next crosses over the roof of the Perron of the Terminal Station, where the connection is made with all out-of-town railways. 
Click for a large, readable image.
The next station is on the roof of the Annex to the Transportation Building, which is called Chicago Junction. Here the connection is made on a level with the trains of the Elevated -Railway which runs to the city. From here, turning to the western edge of the grounds, the railroad extends directly north to the northwest corner, passing Midway Plaisance, the California Building, and through the Esquimaux Village. 
Click for a large, detailed photograph.
Here a turn is made east along the north fence, and upon reaching the Iowa Building a curving course among some of the other State structures carries the tracks between the French  Building and the East Annex to the Art Gallery, through the Foreign Buildings, and past the Fisheries Building. Its terminus here is at the United States Government Building, where it makes a loop over the waters of the lagoon and turns back on its course to retrace its way on the other track to the starting point. 
The railroad is unique and substantial in construction, and in all its details is a triumph of electrical engineering. Its use is indispensable to the visitor who desires to see the great Exposition quickly and with comfort. Each train makes the round trip in thirty-five minutes, attaining a speed of from twenty to thirty miles per hour between stations.

From ten to fifteen trains are in operation every hour. Injury to passengers by accident has never occurred. The trains cannot be derailed, and the block signal system makes collisions impossible. One fare of ten cents entitles the passenger to transportation to either terminus of the railroad, from the station where the train is taken. 

The Intramural Railway is in itself one of the greatest exhibits of the Exposition. The enormous dynamo, or electrical generator, which furnishes the power for operating the railroad, is the largest machine of its kind in the world, and the largest piece of machinery on exhibition at the Fair. It supplies three thousand horse-power; it cost $100,000 ($2,880,750 today) and weighs 192 tons. It is on exhibition in the powerhouse of the railroad near the Forestry Building.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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