Sunday, November 29, 2015

Andersons Railcar Services

Andersons needs so much railroad equipment to handle their grain, ethanol, corn oil, distiller dried grains, fertilizer, etc. that in the 1990s they created a Railcar Group that handles:
  • leasing 22,000 railcars and locomotives
  • railcar repair including a wash, blast, paint and cure shop in Maumee, OH and four tankcar repair locations.
  • fabrication in Maumee, OH. Looking at the pictures on that page, they not only fabricate parts for railcar repairs but for equipment needed to repair their grain elevators, ethanol plants, etc.
Andersons Fabrication
They have a computer controlled plasma cutter that can handle 9'x12' plates up to 1.5" thick.

Update: Andersons has a fleet of more than 23,000 railcars that it leases. Evidently it has coal cars because the article is talking about the downturn of coal. 59% is covered hoppers and 14% are tankers. So is the other 27% coal?The unit is still profitable. But it is not as profitable as it used to be. The rail unit is just 4% of revenues, but it was the most profitable. [TheBlade]

Friday, November 27, 2015

IHB's Norpaul Yard

Edward Kwiatkowski -> Chicago's Western Suburbs.
Edward's comment:
The Ringling Brother's and Barnum & Bailey circus train. Temporarily parked in the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad's NorpaulYard. Melrose Park Illinois. Friday,November 27th, 2015.
According to Goggle Maps, it is in the southern part of Franklin Park.

There was quite a bit of industrial switching in the area.

Update: Jerry Jackson posted two photos with the comment: "A pair of SD40A's and an SD40-2 with a transfer on the IHB, passing NorPaul yard in Franklin Park, IL winter of 91. I like that Engineer's window on the SOO SD40A."



Jerry Jackson posted
One Thousand, lean mean IHB NW2 horsepower, built in 1949. NorPaul Yard Franklin Park, May 1990.
erry Hongoltz Two of those pulling a coal train thru Dolton was a sight, then get a red light , block all the crossings and locking myself and the hind man in the caboose so the Dolton police couldn't give me a ticket ! Fun times!
Mark Llanuza posted
Its very Hot month of May 1975 .The door is open to keep the crews a little cooler at Norpaul [IHB ] yard near Franklin Park IL .This is a Erie train heading to Bensenville IL with three E-units.
[Mark has posted photos of Erie E units in the Bensenville Yard. This comment provides insight as to how Erie trains crossed Chiucago to get there.]
Mark Llanuza posted two photos with the comment: "Its April 1975 I'm at Norpaul on the IHB [Franklin Park IL with a southbound Erie transfer heading to 51st yard with four E-units sounding really cool these were some of my best times growing up at 18 years old."


Mark Llanuza posted
Its Sept 1976 were at IHB Norpaul yard near the town of Melrose Park IL with Erie and Penn Central caboose.
Gary Clark EL and PC just don't mix!
Mark Bilecki Sr. Yes, a dash 2 only 4 years old.

Mark Llanuza posted
Its may 1975 a Eire transfer train is stopped at IHB's Norpaul yard at Melrose park IL waiting to get into Bensenville yard .I wish i had closed the front door while the crews were waiting in the yard office.
James Ridgway Jr. Freight service E8s!

Flickr from John W. Barriger III IHB Album

IH: McCormick Office Building: Reaper Block

Moved to the other blog.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mayfair Tower: C&NW vs. C&NW vs. Milwaukee

(CRJ; Satellite)

Also called Tower CO by C&NW. Mayfair Yard was just a little southwest of this tower.

This tower controlled the crossing of the Chicago & North Western and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific near Cicero (was Jefferson in 1897) Avenue a little north of Montrose Avenue. The following 1897 map shows another railroad crossed the C&NW next to the Milwaukee. If you look at a modern map, you will see that the crossing has been removed by having the south branch join the C&NW main and then the north branch diverges from the main.

Bird's Eye View
The photo shows the C&NW has 3 tracks and the Milwaukee has 2 tracks. I was surprised that a contemporary satellite image shows the same number of tracks. The railroads tend to remove tracks from their routes.

According to the satellite image, both routes are elevated, so I can't drive there and easily verify that the jointed rail in the photo has been replaced with CWR (Continuous Welded Rail).

The junction is in the upper-left corner of the Bird's Eye View. If you zoom in and pan the area between the raillines, you can see that many of the smokestacks in the background of the photo are still standing. I counted seven in the Bing Map.

Lou Gerard posted
Penn Central E8 4061 leads an Amtrak train to Milwaukee past Mayfair Tower in July 1973.
Steven J. Brown posted
Milwaukee Road GP38-2 354 (built 1973, became Soo Line 4504 to KCS 2022) at Mayfair Tower in Chicago, Illinois - June 7, 1977.

Steven J. Brown shared
Doug Jirsa Great composition!
Steven J. Brown 15 year old me thanks you! (Present me too.)
Albert Carello In Milwaukee Road's final years those Freights would be seen frequently on the mainline going through Morton Grove, Glenview, Golf, and Techny on the passenger mainline!
Steven J. Brown posted a couple of pictures. His comment:
Two images of trains at Mayfair taken standing on the the same spot. The slide mounts say June 1982, but from the lighting and the leafless trees, I suspect it is probably February or March. The first frame is RTA (later Metra) F40PH 128 on the Chicago and Northwestern Northwest line. Turning slightly right and waiting just a few moments, F40C 46 on a Milwaukee Road North line train.

Steven J. Brown posted
The last bit of light is fading as Metra F40C 610 heads for Fox Lake thru Mayfair in Chicago. A CNW freight waits on the Skokie Valley line for the rush hour to abate so it can get across the Northwest Line to 40th Street Yard. March 18, 1988.
Mark Hinsdale posted
... @ Mayfair in Chicago's Northwest. Crossing of Chicago & North Western's Northwest Line, from Chicago to Harvard and Madison WI, and Milwaukee Road's Chicago to Milwaukee main line. Here, 5031B leads a long rush hour train out of town in June, 1977. Photo by Mark Hinsdale
Jon Roma commented on above posting
The attached diagram shows what the plant looked like before it was rationalized and remote controlled.

According to my records, the resignaling of Mayfair interlocking
 was completed and control transferred to the operator at ex-C&NW "CY" Tower at Clybourn on November 16, 1996.

Mayfair also controlled the Grayland interlocking; when the above change took place in late 1996, Metra operators were sent to Mayfair to operate the Grayland plant, until Metra's signal department converted that plant to be remote controlled from their Tower A-5, on March 3, 1997, at which time Mayfair Tower was closed for good. The tower was demolished on December 18, 1997.

Douglas Kydd posted
F-40-C at Mayfair Interlocking - 1976
Matt Ignowski obviously Mayfair has changed a lot, new platforms, searchlights are gone, the tower is gone the UP Craigin lead is single tracked and no longer sees anything more than a one car local and the weber sub sadly is long gone.
Mark Llanuza posted
We go back to 1980 were at Mayfair tower with covered wagons coming off the Skokie line at Mayfair towerJeff Lewis 6 of them working a branch line? How long was that train?
Carl Venzke posted
Milwaukee Road's 'Olympian Hiawatha' at Mayfair Tower. The Skytop sleeper-observation car of Milwaukee Road's Olympian Hiawatha bangs across the C&NW diamonds in a 1952 view from the tower at Mayfair, on the north side of Chicago. W. A. Akin Jr. photo
[Note the silos of a retail coal company.]

Jim Arvites posted
Jon Roma The photo looks compass north-northwest.
Jon Roma The powerhouse behind the elevator still stands north of the Kennedy Expressway today.
[The "powerhouse" is a water supply pumping station.]

Jim Arvites posted
On this Day in History on May 24, 1961 the Milwaukee Road's premier passenger train the "Olympian Hiawatha" completed its final runs between Chicago and Seattle/Tacoma. Picture below of the "Olympian Hiawatha" crossing the C&NW Diamonds at Mayfair on the northside of Chicago in 1952.
(W.A. Akins Jr. Photo)
Andrew Stiffler Whose signal bridge is on the far right?
Ryan James Boyle I think that the Weber branch to Evanston. Bridge over the Edens still extant, ROW is now a trail through Sauganash.
Jon Roma Ryan James Boyle, actually both the Weber and Skokie Subdivisions joined there.

Jim Arvites posted
Kevin P. Keefe Correct spelling of the photographer is Akin, not Atkins. Bill Akin was a longtime Kalmbach exec and a fine photographer.
Richard Koenig Very interesting shot for the railroad landscape as well: this was prior to the Kennedy Expressway plowing through. Quite the hot-spot back in the day I would imagine.
Matthias Casey This crossing was controlled by the Milwaukee Road and they held it open for there trains delaying the Northwestern trains.
Paul Musselman No....the info I have read is it was a CNW tower, under their wasn't just to oversee the CNW/Milw crossover, it also controlled the CNW Mayfair Yard, which was just a ways east of the crossover......trains from that yard would cross the CNW main and head north onto the Skokie Sub, which ran diagonally NE to Evanston, joining he CNW North Line at that point.
[And there are several comments discussing the observation car.]

Jeff Grunewal commented on Jim's post
This would be just south of the expressway. Looking at the satellite view, it appears that there currently is nothing where the coal silos were in the short space between the crossing and the expressways are now. The tall chimney is the Mayfair pumping station. The Cicero viaduct is visible in the lower left
Dennis DeBruler Satellite:,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3

Jon Roma commented on Jim's posting
Here's an image of the track diagram of the C&NW/CMStP&P crossing and junction at Mayfair, near Montrose and Cicero on Chicago's northwest side.

Steven J. Brown posted
Amtrak Hiawatha southbound at Mayfair in Chicago - April 16, 1997.
Fred Van Dorpe posted
A UP Northwest line scoot slams the diamonds of Mayfair junction as a Milwaukee District North line outbound waits for clearance on 7/27/17. Theres only 5 places on the entire Metra system where a scene like this can occur, Joliet, Deval junction, Prairie Crossing, Junction A2, and Mayfair junction. Taken on railroad property, without any permission 🤣
Bobby Vladnt Getting pictures like this is even more impossible in Joliet Because the schedules almost never meet up and you really have to trespass to get the pictures lol
Matt McClure And in Joliet there is no crossing of the diamonds by RI District trains with the new station.
Aaron Grace What about Western Avenue/A2 Junction?
Fred Van Dorpe Ah crud I forgot about there, but the angle isnt the same.
Steven J. Brown posted
Run-through ICG caboose on an empty Wisconsin Electric coal train coming off the Skokie Line at Mayfair in Chicago - February 1982. The tower and the Skokie Line are both long gone.
One of several turbo train photos posted by Robert Daly
Tr 335 to Milwaukee at Mayfair, May 19 1981.
Mark Egebrecht They were still in the Phase 2 paint in 1981?Robert Daly The date is accurate. I was pretty careful about writing dates on my slides.Rob C Dargan That track was bad and getting worse. Worked Amtrak in 1986.
Mark Hinsdale posted

Steven J. Brown posted
An inbound Metra Milwaukee North Line train waits for an outbound Metra CNW Northwest Line train at Mayfair in Chicago, Illinois - August 1996.

Steven J. Brown shared

Flickr is almost a duplicate of Douglas Kydd's posting.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

IH: McCormick Reaper Works, Revisited

(Update: Lost Illinois Manufacturing posting. He has some pictures that I don't have.)

Illinois Digital Archives
This picture inspired me to look for more information about the McCormick Reaper Works that I had found in a 1915 map. It was a postcard handed out at the International Harvester's exhibit at the Century of Progress, 1933-34. The text indicates:

McCormick Works (red)
Tractor Works (blue)
Combined Area - 147.1 Acres

The water along the right edge would be the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The water in the middle is the original South Branch before it was filled in. If you look at the 1915 map in the above reference, none of the Tractor Works existed and some of the Reaper Work buildings have changed. The easiest change to spot is that the building on the south shore the of the South Branch is new. The above link was provided as a comment for the following Facebook posting.

Ken Gidewall commneted on a post
Sharon Clancy Ken Gidewall my mom made airplane parts there during WWII.

Eugene Klichowski commented on a post

Paul Renaud ->  Forgotten Chicago

Paul's comment:
Southeast panorama of the McCormick Reaper Works, rail yard and canal. The factory was owned by the McCormick Harvesting Machine company before 1902. In 1902 it became the McCormick Works of the International Harvester Company. The factory was located at Blue Island and Western Avenues in the Chicago subdivision called "Canalport." It was closed in 1961.
Darla Zailskas in another posting of this picture commented that it was "circa 1900."

I think the stretch of water in the photo is the South Branch rather than the canal. And I think it is after 1915 because the building on the left appears to be the new one mentioned above.

Paul posted three more pictures to Forgotten Chicago. The comments are, respectively:
  • Quitting Time at McCormick Reaper Works
  • McCormick Reaper Works factory and rail yard as seen across a canal. Workers can be seen unloading wood.
  • Twine mill with shipping platform at the McCormick Reaper Works, just after construction.
For the middle photo, I think the view is across a channalized South Branch rather than the S&S Canal. There was controversy in the comments for the third photo as to its location. I have not been able to determine where it was.

About the only difference between the aerial view above and the aerial photo in my  previous posting is that the South Branch river has been filled in west of the new building on the south shore of the river.

In the upper-right corner of the aerial view you can see part of the Chicago Produce Terminal yard.

References for future research concerning IH:  After the Holidays, I need to remember to check out International Harvester, Mccormick, Navistar : milestones in the company that helped build America (from a library search).

Trent Blasco posted
Farmall Tractors and Tanks during World War II at the Tractor Works, 2600 West 31st Street.
(Chicago History Museum, ICHi-25512)
Jeff Nichols posted
McCormick Works (Blue Island & Western) photographed from the opposite bank of the Chicago River, 1914. McCormick - International Harvester, Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID: 45297
Marty Miller posted
 McCormick Works at Western and Blue Island. I don't think the workers used this entrance?Photo dated 1926
Chris La Course posted
The McCormick Reaper Works, 26th and Oakley, 1928, Chicago
MWRD posted
Historical Photo of the Week: Workers prepare to raise a sunken tug boat out of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on July 12, 1922, viewed looking roughly northwest from an area near Damen Ave. (Robey St. at the time of the photo).
David Daruszka McCormick Reaper Works in the background. All gone today

ChicagoHistory has an interactive picture of the works.

A video advertising their complete line of tractors. Unfortunately, I could not find a date.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pullman Works Transfer Table

(Update: the factory in general)

Pullman erecting shops ca 1885
There were quite a view comments associated with this posting as to the function of the little car. The consensus was Richard Fiedler's suggestion: "Ornate shelter for the transfer table operator."

I've read that the shops had 22 miles of track on their property that was switched by their own engines. The green rectangle in the overview aerial photo below indicates where one of their roundhouses was located.

Paul Petraitis comment
At first, I thought the shops had two transfer tables at 90-degrees to each other because of all those wheels on the left in this picture. But now I believe those are just car trucks stored on sidings. Below is a partial resolution aerial photo to provide some context. The red rectangle indicates the excerpt below at full resolution. You can see the transfer table tracks go in an east/west direction between the buildings. I spent some time looking for the Sanborn Map, but I still haven't found which volume they are in.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

The red rectangle area

Paul Petraitis posted
Update: Paul's comment:
Pullman Factory 1890, from a 5x7 glass negative I printed up when I worked at the Chicago Historical Society 1970-86.
Paul Petraitis posted
Pullman factory
David Daruszka Transfer table.

David Daruszka commented on Chuck's posting
It appears there was more than one transfer table in the factory because this one does not have an operators cab. Maybe it is simply pushed by some workers.
David Daruszka commented on Chuck's posting