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.

Satellite
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."

1

2

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."

1

2


McCormick Office Building: Reaper Block

Moved to the other blog.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mayfair Tower: UP/C&NW and CP/Soo/Milwaukee Road

Jason Simon -> RAILROAD HISTORY BUFFS OF ILLINOIS
(CRJ) 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.

1897
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.
Update: 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.
1

2
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
Steven J. Brown posted
Amtrak Hiawatha southbound at Mayfair in Chicago - April 16, 1997.


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.
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.
Posted
Posted 
Posted
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).

Update:
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

Paul Petraitis -> RAILROAD HISTORY BUFFS OF ILLINOIS
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.

ArcelorMittal/Interlake/Acme Steel Mill at Riverdale, IL

David Daruszka -> RAILROAD HISTORY BUFFS OF ILLINOIS
Pennsy switch engine on the Panhandle line
in Riverdale switching out Acme Steel.
I first learned about this steel plant while studying the Chicago and Great Eastern part of PRR's Panhandle line. David's Facebook posting of the picture on the right motivated me to learn more about the steel plant.

Just as railroads acquire different names throughout history as they are absorbed by other companies, steel companies also tend to have a name history. The current owner is ArcelorMittal.

Acme founded the 114-acre site in 1910 and had a mill running by 1918. Acme replaced that mill with this (below) 1996 state-of-art hot-roll mill. The production facilities of the mill are "basic oxygen furnace; compact strip production facility: ladle metallurgy facility, continuous thin slab caster, tunnel furnace, hot strip mill" (Facts) The tunnel furnace uses 193 rolls. (Video)

Frontier to Heartland
The hot-rolled coils are then shipped to cold-roll mills for further finishing.


David posted a couple more historic pictures as comments to the above posting.
David's comment
David's comment
Google "Streetview"

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
As one would expect, the 1938 aerial view and the 1951 Sanborn Map has the configuration of the 1918 mill. You can see in the Google image that they used vacant land to build the new mill and have torn down the old mill.

I remember seeing a picture that showed a modern CSX engine by the plant, but I can't find that picture again. But it makes sense that CSX would get this Pennsy remnant when Conrail broke up because it could be easily connected to its B&OCT tracks on the east side of Barr Yard.

Update: ACME Steel/Interlake Riverdale Plymouth No. 3 Locomotive

ACME Steel/Interlake Riverdale Blast Furnace Plant and Wisconsin Steel

Steve OConnor posted the Blast Furnace photo, evidently illegally because he provided the link that clearly says at the bottom that you can't use the photo on the web without permission. It looks like there is a gas holding tank on the left of the photo. Steve's comment:
A maze of rail yards surrounds the ACME/Interlake Steel Company plant near Calumet. Blast furnaces "A" and "B" to the north, multiple ore bridges, the suspension bridge conveying coke and gas from the coke plant, and the sintering plant to the south. http://www.idaillinois.org/…/…/collection/pshs02/id/9/rec/71


Sanborn Cook County Vol. 1 - East, Sheet 91
Joe Zeller posted 10 photos of Mittal 1400. Some comments indicate it is a SW1 and there may be 2 or 3 still running around in the works.

Raising Chicago's Street Level to add Sewers

Edward Mendel - Chicago Historical Society, 1857, Public Domain
Chicago Historical Society, 1857 or 66, Public Domain
On the same day that Facebook had a posting about Raising Chicago, it was also the subject of the Chicago Tribune's Sunday Flashback Column,

After a couple of decades of growth, the problem of building a city on shallow land became obvious, the roads were mud because they could not install a sewer system. And recurring epidemics of cholera motivated the city government to do something. The problem was that any sewer pipes laid beneath the streets would be below the river/lake level. So the Chicago Board of Sewerage Commissioners decided to lay the pipes on the existing streets and bring in fill to create new streets that were anywhere from six to fourteen feet higher than the existing streets. New buildings were built with their entrance floor at the new height. But what about the existing buildings? Beginning in 1855, contractors would raise buildings by placing hundreds, even thousands, of jackscrews under a building, or even a block of buildings,

Photo by Johnalden
CC BY-SA
This illustration of a jackscrew is fully extended. Note the bar on the ground that is put in one of the holes at the top to turn the screw.

Excerpt from above photo
This detail from the raising of the Briggs Hotel shows the man-sized jacks that were used and that each one had a man to operate it. That was the key. Each jack was turned the same amount at the same time so that the building maintained uniform stresses across the foundation. The Briggs Hotel remained in operation while it was being raised! This was typical of most buildings. George Pullman's first company was raising buildings. His contracts specified that he would not disturb a guest or break a pane of glass. Other contractors used hydraulic jacks.

One problem with the business of raising buildings is that after the last building was raised, you are out of business. But this provided Pullman the seed money he needed to create his sleeper car business.

One thing that struck me when looking at the pictures was how big Chicago had grown in just a couple of decades.

Update: Another article on the raising of the streets from an Andy Mueller posting. The next time I go north of Goose Island to check out the abandoned tracks and industries, I need to also go west into Bucktown because it is supposed to have some of the homes where they just built a new entrance into the second floor.

A posting of an article that has some interesting photos. The project was a real boon for the company that made jackscrews. 600 men used 6,000 jack screws to raise an entire city block of buildings.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Harvey Junction: B&OCT+Milwaukee crosses GTW

(no CRJ, Satellite)
Scott Griffith posted
Chicago Heights branch
Gary Golden Still ran Milwaukee road to Faithorn in 1976 handed up orders to south bound trains at North Harvey. (IHB connection) BOCT stopped in Chicago heights, Milwaukee road started in Chicago heights and went south. BOCT dispatched Faithorn to North Harvey(Chicago Heights Sub.) Faithorn Road between I 394 & Crete IL. The Milwaukee yard was just south of Faithorn Rd.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Please see Flickr photos taken in 1981 and 1979 of the crossing and its tower.

B&OCT had a spur that went south past Thorton Quarry to Chicago Heights. Milwaukee Road had trackage rights on this route to reach their Chicago, Terre Haute & Southern route that it leased in 1924 to gain access to southwestern Indiana coal fields. (AbandonedRail) Even after Milwaukee abandoned the route south of Chicago Heights, it retained its trackage rights on the B&OCT to serve the Ford plant in Chicago Heights and the Thorton Quarry.

The red line is the B&OCT, yellow is GTW, blue is Illinois Central, and the purple box is where the junction tower stood. Note that the IC is elevated so it is not part of the junction. I include it just for completeness. This picture is at full resolution. The picture below is at a lower resolution so that you can orient the location with a current view.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
In the 1991 Google Earth views below, a lot of the industry has disappeared and more connecting tracks have been added. The crossing still exists, but it is now controlled remotely. If you study the current view, you will see the crossing is gone. Since CSX now controls both B&OCT and GTW in Illinois, they merged the two routes south of here and separate them north of here. The IC underpass is still used, but now for a connector with the IC.

1991 Google Earth
1991 Google Earth
Update:
Scott's picture at the top of this posting caused me to study the junction again. The elemination of the redundant routes between B&OCT and GTW was done before CSX got the GTW route from CN. Looking at Historic Aerials, the parallel track and crossing was removed some time between 1999 and 2002.

Scott Griffith posted
Chicago Heights tower ?
Bob Lalich Harvey, IL.  GT train is EB.
Scott Grifith commented on the first posting