Friday, March 25, 2016

CY Tower: Milw vs. C&NW and Clybourn

Douglas Kydd posted
C&NW at Clybourne in 1974.
Kevan Davis About to hit the diamonds at CY
(CRJ for Clybourn)
The Sears tower indicates the train is northbound. Doug Kydd's comment is wrong. Clybourn was a couple of blocks north of here where the north and northwest branches of the UP/C&NW separated. Kevan's comment indicates the train is just south of where the Aban/Milwaukee used to cross the C&NW. You can see the Milwaukee track and perhaps the shadow of the tower. These diamonds are now gone because the Milwaukee to the west is abandoned and now the 606 Trail. The Milwaukee to the east is now operated by the Chicago Terminal Railroad and interchanges with the UP/C&NW.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Judging from the shadows in this 1938 photo, the Milwaukee went over the C&NW rather than cross it with diamonds. So what kind of changes happened between 1938 and 1974 and why? Looking at a contemporary map, one answer is probably the Kennedy Expressway.
It looks like the tracks were lowered to a grade crossing and a tower added so that the Kennedy did not have to be built high enough to go over a railroad that was going over an elevated railroad. Also, by the 1970s, the freight traffic from the east side of the Milwaukee was probably a lot less than it was in previous decades so the freight traffic would not obstruct the Metra commuters on the UP line. I was able to find a 1973 photo that shows at least 6 diamonds and CY tower.

1973 Historic Aerials

Dave Arganbright shared  Chicago & North Western Historical Society's photo.I stumbled across the CNWHS facebook page, and realized that they have published a killer collection of old B&W facility shots and the like. Clybourn!!
The shared comments: 
Here is another view of the C&NW station at Clybourn in Chicago which we published on March 13. The tracks to Crystal Lake and Janesville are on the left while the ones on the right go to Waukegan and Milwaukee. We are adding this one because we see pickle cars spotted by a pickle company at the right side of the photo. That building still stands.
David Daruxzka commented on Dave's posting
Clybourn was an important junction point that warranted an impressive station. Archibald Clybourn built Chicago's first stockyards near here. The tanning industries that grew up around it were a remnant of that early era.
Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
The photographer is looking to the northwest in Chicago toward the Clybourn station. Note the wooden "tower" at the right center of the photo. That is a Milwaukee Road tower built to protect the crossing of the C&NW by a Milwaukee Road track which will go off to the right, cross the north branch of the Chicago River and serve the area along Kingsbury Street north of Goose Island. A single track still curves off to the right today. The "diamonds" are gone and the Milwaukee Road track to the west is now the "606Trail."
Lou Gerard captured the Bloomington Line still in use in June, 1995
[Sorry, I forgot to note the source of this photo. Note the tower on the right.]
Ned Carlson posted
CNW steam pulling bilevel cars in Chicago. Photo is from James Yanke
David Daruszka Looking south from Clybourn. You can see the gasometer in the background that was a landmark next to the tracks for ages.Kevan Davis That's the signal bridge for the northwest line at cortland and you can see the one for the diamonds at CY in the distance.
Bjorklund-63-08-19 (from a Milwaukee Road (East) album (source))
AMTK/MILW, Chicago, Illinois, 1972
Amtrak passenger train no. 9, the North Coast Hiawatha, with Milwaukee Road lead unit no. 30A at Ashland Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, on April 1, 1972
[This was during Amtrak's "rainbow era" before they had a chance to building their own equipment. Amtrak evidently chose us use C&NW tracks between Chicago and Milwaukee for the North Coast Hiawatha. (An Amtrak map for 1971)]

The gasometer was south of Division Street.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

A D.W. Davidson Flickr Photo of a commuter crossing the Blomingdale Line diamonds from the cab of another commuter. The tower is to the left of the commuter.

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