C&NW chicago shack

The crossing shanty was a classic railroad structure that sheltered the employee who would protect the motoring public from passing trains.    The building offered rather primitive comfort from the weather but provided some comforts such as stove to keep warm and make coffee.  They were usually painted in the roads standard colors.   The lead picture was taken from the Google online Life magazine photo collection.  The shanty was located on the C&NW in Chicago.

The structure shown below was a Southern Pacific shanty located in San Francisco near their main passenger station.   The diminutive structure was painted Colonial Yellow, Light Brown trim with White windows.  The roof was a medium green. It seems that shack is a gathering place for conversation with crew members and locals.   The crossing tender looks like he had a garden along one side.

King St shanty

I found another shot of a crossing shanty in College Park near Santa Clara on the SP.   This fellow must have been busy since the Coast Division main support through freights and passenger trains as well as busy commute traffic.

Copy of College Park crossing SP

Some railroads resorted to elevated crossing shanties to protect certain situations.   The shanty shown below was on the Soo at Neenah, WI.   The building was preserved and moved to the Mid Continent Railroad Museum.

Neenah gate tower lr

There have been a few articles in model magazines over the years.   The one that always comes to mind for me is the “Super Shanty” construction article that appeared in the October 1968 Railroad Model Craftsman.   The late Paul Larson built an absolute classic.   I built one nearly forty years ago out of scale lumber.
Larson shanty

5 thoughts on “RAILROAD STRUCTURES- Crossing Shanty

  1. Pingback: All Aboard! The Mid-Continent Railway Museum | Adventures in Travel

  2. Hi Gene –

    Enjoyed your blog on crossing shanties (as the others). Just a note: The tower at Mid-Continent came from Neenah, WI, not Fond du Lac, WI.

    For now, Ken

  3. I happened on your site when doing a look-up on my hometown of Neenah, Wisconsin. The elevated crossing shack in your photo is an iconic memory from my youth; if I am not mistaken, it not only shut down the street just to the east of the Neenah Foundry (yes where all the manhole covers came from) Plant #1 Building. it not only handled traffic, but the ore-car traffic in the train yard by the plant. This is a very early photo (1930s, 1940s?) before other working-class housing was built in the neighborhood in the background of the photo.

    • Daniel
      You are correct about the location. I believe the picture was taken in the 1970s. The stairs are recent addition.
      The tower was moved to the Mid Continent Railway Museum.


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