Monday, April 18, 2016

ADM Milling near Downtown Chicago

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Looking at the southeast side.
(DHKE Shortlines) There were a lot of bread bakeries in the Chicago area. This ADM Milling facility is one of the few industries that I know of left near downtown. It is especially rare because it still seems to be rail served. (Bloomer Chocolate is another industry which I passed on my way to get here, and I did smell the chocolate as I drove past the west end of their building.)
Looking at the southwest side.
Unlike elevators in the country, I can't do my normal trick of getting far enough away so that the whole elevator fits in the top half of the camera frame and then crop the picture to use just the top half. That trick avoids the edges of the structure tilting in towards the middle. Although that signpost in the lower left corner really is tilting.

There are at least a couple of hoppers under the shed next to the bins and hoppers on three tracks north of the unloading shed. The Metra/Milwaukee tracks are just north of these spurs. I wonder who handles the freight for Metra in this area.
Looking at the northwest side
Closeup of hoppers on the shed track.
The one on the outside says "Honeymead."

I saw a truck arrive, and this is where he stopped --- next to the flour (I presume) loading facility. So even though a lot of bakeries have left the area, somethings are are still using flour. This air-flow truck was working on a Saturday. (I don't drive downtown during weekdays.)

Judging from the Bird's Eye View, there was still a water tower on top of the headhouse about eight years ago.

Bird's Eye View
Bird's Eye View, looking east
Update: I added the DHKE link at the beginning. I noticed the little switcher mentioned in the comment in Doug's satellite image. So I took a look today. It is not being used because it is "burried" on the second track, but they do still have it.

The DHKE page shows that Conrail, which would now be NS, owns a track. That reminds me that the Panhandle (Pennsy) used this corridor, in addition to C&NW and Milwaukee, because it came up the Western Avenue corridor to get to the north side of Union Station.

Joel J. Sieracki's posted
After completing their switching at ADM Milling, the crew of NS 4170 heads back west. This is former Pennsylvania Railroad trackage just west of Chicago Union Station. 7:13pm 5/27/16
Fred Van Dorpe Its NS BC35, the grain local that switches out ADM and happens every weekday anytime between the end of evening rush hour to 9pm. It also usually runs on weekends too, but sometimes skips a day. Its had a NS GP33ECO recently.
Lance Wales posted
Sort of surprised to see the NS Panhandle Line job come up to work ADM around 5 pm on Wednesday, 12-28-2016. The NS 4711 came up and grabbed the empties and then came back with a dozen or so loads. Seen here, they are doubling together the empty covered hoppers.
Mark Hinsdale When I shot #7 at 2:20 yesterday, the ADM Trackmobile was busy assembling the empty cuts together. I figured something was goning to happen, just didn't know how soon.
Fred Van Dorpe NS BC35 is the train symbol, leaves NS Ashland Ave yard, comes up the CJ to A2, and heads this way. Drops off the loads on a run around track just West of here, goes down and picks up the empties, shoves back to the siding on the other track, uncouples, picks up loads, then feeds them into the 3 tracks at the elevator. Goes back, runs around the empties, and heads back to NS Ashland ave yard. An NS GP33eco is the normal power as you caught. If its a BNSF loco its rare, but Im not sure of the conditions of what would cause a BNSF unit to be used for this local. It used to be NS GP38-2s commonly, sometimes a high hood, but not anymore with these eco rebuilds taking their place at NS Ashland ave yard. 5pm is a pretty normal time to see this. Sometimes this train can be a tad later.
Clayton Johanson BNSF power is used when a BNSF transfer from Corwith or Cicero dies at Ashland and NS steals the motor.
Fred Van Dorpe I kinda thought thats what happened, thanks for the help
Jeff Woodrick This is true, I'm on the bc35
Sam Dickey there used to be a Conrail geep on it fairly often seven or eight years back. Also once in '14 I saw it with a CP gp10 rebuild, which was really weird.
Fred Van Dorpe A CP GP20C? Thats awesome but I wonder how that happened. CP can use that run around track for a local called G47 that served Habel flour behind tower A2. I havent seen them get a shipment in a long time though, and NS does serves them. Are you sure you saw the CP loco switching ADM or were they up there on that run around track only?
Rob Olewinski Cmraseye commented on the above posting
yep, used to be a 38
Street View of the north side
Note that Google's picture taking car caught a couple of NS eco locomotives servicing the plant.

On Facebook I found an article about this mill being closed after a new one is operational in Mendota.
The June 3, 2017, edition of Chicago Tribune had an article on the front page of the Business Section about the this mill closing after the new facility is operational. It says the daily capacity of the new plant will be 1,500 tons with both hard and soft wheat. The reporter, Robert Channick, provided some historical information:
The Chicago plant was built in 1897 by B.A. Eckhart Milling, which operated it for decades. ADM purchased it from Dixie Portland Flour Mills in 1990 for about $14 million, according to Cook County records. Located in the once-gritty meatpacking district on the Near West Side, the plant is now something of an anachronism amid the trendy restaurants, bars and office buildings that have sprung up in recent years.
The 250,000-square-foot industrial facility sits on a 2-acre site, according to CoStar Group.
(Update: The engineer of the bc35 job that delivers to that mill posted a link to the Chicago Tribune article.)

I wondered how long this plant would last. That is one reason why I have already made a special trip to get photos of it, which are at the beginning of this post. I noticed on that trip that new condo buildings were being built in the area. The Tribune article confirms that the plant is in the trendy Fulton Market district. ADM does plan to sell the property.

CoStar Group from Crain's from Google Map
In fact, next to this article in the paper about this mill is an article about Time Out leasing 30,000 sq-ft that was used by El Cubano Wholesale Meats. Time Out plans to develop a "gourmet food hall."

The other reason I figured the plant must be on borrowed time was that some BIG bakeries in the area are gone. Off hand, I know of Schulze (Butternut Bread), Wonder Bread, and Oreo Cookies. Fortunately, we still have Pepperidge Farm and it is still rail served.

It is not worthy of its own post, but a summary of 2015 flour production is worth noting.

You Tube offered my this video when I was looking at one of my concrete truck videos. This will get you started down a rabbit hole of of pneumatic tank videos. For example "Trucker Explains Pneumatic Trailer Unloading"
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  1. This facility is served by NS out of Ashland Avenue yard. They used to have a little 4 wheeled switcher(I think a GE 35tonner)to swap cars around inside. I think they have a trackmobile now, but the switcher might still be there. I am not sure how the NS crew gets there. I have seen NS switch the paper building south of Union Station in the coach yard. They could go through Union Station as they did once upon a time, but I doubt that is the case.

  2. The NS will indeed come up from Ashland Ave. They'll make the right turn up the old CJ mains and then take these all the way thru Ogden Jct and make another right turn in the vicinity of Tower A-2. The wye back there is a PRR era installation and continues to allow NS to be a guest on the northside of CUS today.