Located just north of the downtown area of Hammond, Indiana, this junction is just a few blocks across the Illinois state line. From I-94--the Ford (formerly the Calumet) Expressway--exit at Dolton Avenue. Head east on Dolton--it eventually becomes State Street--about two and one half miles. At the Indiana state line, turn left onto the appropriately named State Line Road. Go north a block to Willow Court and turn right. The junction is about two blocks, located under the Hohman Avenue overpass.
Coming from the south on I-94, use the east exit at Sibley Boulevard. Head east on Sibley to State Line Road. Turn left and proceed to Willow Court, turn right and go two blocks to the junction.
One of Chicago's major terminal and transfer roads, the Indiana Harbor Belt, crosses Norfolk Southern's ex-NKP main line. The east-west IHB is triple track, although only one of them is considered a main track (the other two being "runners"). The NS line is double track and heads northwest toward Calumet Yard in southeast Chicago. It handles about 25 trains daily. Traffic on the IHB includes CP and CSX run-through trains, as well as CN and NS transfers. All told, it features 25 to 30 trains a day. IHB's Gibson Yard is about two miles to the east, and is exclusively dedicated to auto rack trains. IHB trains from Gibson and East Chicago head west through here toward Dolton and Blue Island Yard. Hohman Tower stood on this site for many decades, and to my mind was a wonderful piece of architecture. It was closed in April, 2001 and the junction is now remotely controlled by IHB dispatchers. The tower had stood vacant for nearly ten years while local rail groups attempted to preserve it. Unfortunately, those efforts came to naught and it was demolished in the summer of 2011.
At one time, Hohman featured more than 100 trains a day. The double track ex-NYC ex-Michigan Central main line from Detroit paralleled the IHB here, but one of the tracks was taken up in the 1980s and the other is now operated by IHB. Also, trains of the Monon, Erie and Chesapeake & Ohio once passed through the junction, running along the west side of the NS and crossing the IHB and MC. The Erie/C&O joint trackage then crossed NS north of the junction and paralleled it on the east to State Line Crossing. However, the Monon had its own track running parallel to and just west of the Erie/C&O, crossing NS at State Line. Both the Monon and Erie/C&O tracks were removed in the early 1980s but south of the downtown area the Monon track still remains and may be used as part of a new commuter route in the future. For now, however, it is out of service and CSX freights on the ex-Monon line from Lafayette, Indiana, cross over to Canadian National's ex-GTW main line at Munster, about five miles to the south (for more, see the Thornton listing on the "Other South Suburban Junctions" page). The Hohman overpass did not exist back when the MC, Monon and Erie/C&O tracks were in use, and some of the diamonds were literally in the street. In those days, there were so many railroad crossings that it was often said your money was safe in a downtown Hammond bank. No bank robber could make a successful getaway because of constant stream of trains in the area.
IHB has posted trespass signs on the overpass support columns and in the tower area, but you can see all of the action from Willow Court. Also, a church parking lot just east of the crossing affords a good view of both NS and IHB.
For more on IHB mainline junctions, see Blue Island Crossing, Dolton Junction, Franklin Park and LaGrange / Congress Park. See also Calumet Park at Other South Suburban Junctions, Gibson at Other Northwest Indiana Junctions and Argo and Chicago Ridge at Other West / Southwest Suburban Junctions.
For more on NS (ex-NKP) junctions, see Burnham Junction, Wayne / Spriggsboro Junction and State Line Crossing. See also Van Loon and Osborn at Other Northwest Indiana Junctions, and Pullman at Other South Side Junctions.
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