HVRM Grasselli Tower

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Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum

Plans for Grasselli Tower

Interlocking towers were once a common feature along area railroads. Towers were once located in North Judson, Knox, Hamlet, Delong, Wellsboro, LaCrosse, and many other towns. All of these towers are now gone. The Indiana Harbor Belt gave the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum a great opportunity to preserve a key piece of American railroad history. Grasselli Tower faithfully served the IHB for nearly a century. After months of careful planning, Grasselli Tower was moved from its original home in East Chicago to its new home at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson. The old railroad tower will serve as the centerpiece of our operational signal system.

Grasselli Tower

Grasselli Tower was once located along the IHB mainline in East Chicago, Indiana. Indiana Harbor Belt generously donated the tower to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana.  HVRM members inspected the tower on January 17, 2008.

Photo by Robert Barcus

Now that Grasselli Tower has been moved to North Judson, the museum intends to make it into a working tower. The HVRM currently has a working signal system and a functional interlocking tower will be the centerpiece of a larger interpretive signal display. The tower will help visitors understand how railroads operated beginning in the late nineteenth century.

Grasselli Tower

Grasselli Tower's bellcranks helped transfer motion from the interlocking machine inside the tower to the rods that ran alongside the tracks. These rods helped control the movement of trains through the interlocking plant.

Photo by Robert Barcus

Not only will Grasselli be setup as a functional interlocking tower, but visitors to the museum will be allowed to explore the tower. Like other exhibits as the museum, guests will be able to to climb to the second floor of the tower and get a leverman's view of the railroad museum. The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has a strong belief that educating its visitors on the various intricacies of operating nineteenth century technology is an important aspect of the entire Grasselli Tower Project.

Grasselli Tower

Chesapeake & Ohio 2-8-4 #2789 rolls past signals located along HVRM's mainline in North Judson. Grasselli will be setup as a working interlocking tower to control some of the signals at the museum.

Photo by Robert Barcus

HVRM members have been aggressive in acquiring, refurbishing, and recreating an operational signal system at the museum. HVRM currently hosts more than a dozen operational signals from the Nickel Plate Road, Pennsylvania, Chesapeake & Ohio, Baltimore & Ohio, Erie, and other fallen flag railroads. Grasselli Tower is a natural extension of the overall goals of the HVRM Signal Department. Through the efforts of our all-volunteer organization, Grasselli Tower has been preserved and brought to North Judson where it will serve as a testament to America's railroading past.

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