A tribute to Bill Gustason and the Chicago Rail Junctions website
Goodbye Chicago Rail Junctions ... Hello, Chicago Rail Info!
Bill Gustason has had a lifetime interest in railroads that was nurtured by his father, who worked for a time for the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway. In the mid-Nineties, Bill envisioned creating a website to untangle the web of rail lines and junctions located in Chicago’s south suburbs and in northwest Indiana.
After his retirement from Purdue University, Bill created his new site, Chicago Rail Junctions (CRJ), achieving his goal. With help from many contributors, Bill incorporated additional information about railroad locations on the north and west sides. By 2002, CRJ covered the railroad junctions and crossings throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
Along the way, Bill found time to co-author with Samuel Beck the Indiana Harbor Belt In Color book published by Morning Sun Books in 2010. Bill also established the Indiana Harbor Belt Archive website, and plans to continue maintaining that site.
Since Bill created CRJ, a new generation of railfans and rail photographers have come to rely upon it for accurate information and updates. After many years of maintaining the site, Bill is ready to turn it over to a fresh team.
Moreover, technology has progressed in the quarter century since Bill launched CRJ. We take advantage of the Blogger software platform to offer new features for readers. Chicago Rail Junctions (CRJ) now becomes Chicago Rail Info at blog.chicago-rail.info.
The new CRI team consists of Doug Davidson, Bob Lalich, and Jon Roma. No doubt we will add contributors over time.
The priority of CRI is to remain true to Bill’s original mission to provide accurate information and updates concerning Chicago area railroad infrastructure and operations. We have plans to expand each of the existing site pages, and add some new topical content. In time, we hope to add historical content to each location covered. The focus on railroad junctions will not be lost.
The new platform offers capabilities that didn't exist when Bill launched the CRJ site in the early days of the World Wide Web. We're still exploring, but two capabilities stand out as significant for the modern-day user of Chicago Rail Info.
- First, the new site is mobile-friendly, meaning that is more usable than ever on smartphones and tablets that today's mobile railfan pack along with their scanners and camera gear.
- Second, the new platform allows for reader comments and questions. We're looking forward to greater interaction between readers and the site maintainers.
So, all aboard and welcome to Chicago Rail Info! And thanks, Bill Gustason, for getting the ball rolling when the Web was still in its infancy.