Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Chicago and Illinois Western

Shortlines has a few maps.

Chicago has both a C&WI and a C&IW railroad. The C&WI was a terminal railroad serving the Dearborn Station. The Chicago and Illinois Western Railroad (CIW) was incorporated on February 26, 1903. (Wikipedia)  It ended up being a switching railroad owned by Illinois Central and Commonwealth Edison (DonsDepot) serving industries in the southwestern Chicago area. Cicero Central Railroad now switches the Koopers chemical plant.

Doug Kaniuk posted
Doug's comment:
CN 9610 (IC) returning (heading East) from dropping off a car, crossing the Des Plaines River (just South of 47th St.) on the former C&IW line. 8-14-2014
Mark Bilecki Sr. Wow I am surprised this line is still active, I can remember when it crossed old Lawndale Ave (old 171) years back and ran along side of the ATSF to Fisher body. [Which is now the UPS Chicago Area Consolidation Hub.]

The rare Rall Bascule Bridge still exists even though it is not used.

Doug's 1908 map indicates they planned to build west from the Panhandle north of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and west of the Des Plaines River to Joliet. As the above comment and the the 1908 map indicate, they made it as far as the GM Fisher body plant. The SPV Map indicates that it crossed the IC at the IC/IN crossing (for which I cannot find a name for this junction on a few maps that I have looked at).

I was hard to find a map that was old enough that the C&IW was built, new enough that parts had not been abandoned, and detailed enough to show it crossing near the IC/IN crossing. I finally found this 1916 map. It was prepared by Pennsy, that is why the Panhandle on the eastern end of the C&IW is a red line. I don't know why the C&IW itself is shown as a dashed line.

1916
It is easy to follow the C&IW route east of the IC/IN crossing because the track still exists. But note that it is out-of-service because the turnout connecting it to the IC mainline has been removed. The overpasses for KedzieCalifornia, and 31st still exist. Note the 31st Street overpass is curved because the C&IW is turning north to join the Panhandle, which is abandoned so it is now just dirt on the west side of the Western Avenue Corridor. The bridge over a canal slip also still exists.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Because C&IW was south of the IC along the Crawford Generating Plant, it used to have the spurs that served the coal storage yard. It looks like there is a spur on the east side that goes all the way to the canal to handle the coal unloaded from barges. It is interesting that back then the Crawford Generating Plant had four units of the same size. I'm glad to see that there is very little soot in the smoke. That is, the smoke is white instead of black.

Looking at a satellite image of Pulaski Road, I assume the top two crossings are the original IC tracks and the bottom crossing was the C&IW. It is interesting that CN evidently upgraded all three crossing with modern rubber crossings and maintains crossing gates for the old C&IW track even though just a little bit east CN has removed the turnout connecting it to the mainline. This severed connection makes the maintenance of the crossing gates rather silly.

1916
I zoom in on Hawthorn Junction in the map so that you can see where the C&WI went through the junction because there are no land scars left for this route. The map also shows that a spur runs north from the C&IW tracks to connect to Manufacturers' Junction. That connection is now the C&IW's connection to the outside world. The C&IW has track past Koopers chemical plant, past a connection with the tracks that serve the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, over the Des Plaines River, past another industrial spur, past an industrial spur that is actually still being used, until it ends.

Update: It had the nickname "Wobbly." (HotTimes)

Bill Molony posted
This map of the Chicago & Illinois Western Railroad is from the February 1950 edition of the Official Guide.



While researching Chicago & Illinois Western I found the following links that I save for future research:

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